An unofficial plug-in is one not included as part of the MythTV distribution set. It is in this particular arena that MythTV lacks the fit and finish of a polished retail product such as Windows MCE (with its third-party collection in the Windows marketplace). Some direct analogs such as the Netflix plug-ins available for both MCE and MythTV provide equally limited interaction with the Netflix service.
Owing to their unfinished, "work-in-progress" characteristics, and because they're invariably not yet candidates for official release with the MythTV distribution, all of the unofficial plug-ins come prefaced with the following disclaimer:
"They may work with the newest MythTV Versions, or they may require modification in degree ranging from trivial to extreme, because they are developed for older ones."
That said, the following unofficial plug-in entries represent some wide-ranging creativity born from what some might view as a desire to meet essential needs, but which others might see as a phenomenon originating in capricious wants from the community of MythTV end-users and independent developers. It's also unfortunate that some of these unofficial plug-in projects fall into disrepair as developer interest and commitment wane over time. Thus, each unofficial plug-in is different, and your experience with each one will also be individual and may vary considerably from instance to instance.
There are unofficial plug-ins for the MythTV frontend and plug-ins for plug-ins on the MythTV frontend. There are also plug-ins that enable other devices to plug into the MythTV network and make use of its back-end services (such as TapeWorm) or that enable MythTV to work with other communications and entertainment-based devices (such as Myth2iPod).
Frontend plug-ins are straightforward - they enhance or extend frontend functionality directly. Not all of them are as well-groomed as the official plug-ins, but they do provide features above and beyond what's available in the official MythTV release. Though hundreds of such plug-ins are available, we describe 15 noteworthy frontend plugs in the sections that follow next, and list them in alphabetical order.
For users of MythTV up to version 0.19, MythBurnUI provides a graphical user interface to use MythBurn scripts on any MythTV frontend. Later versions have supplanted this plug-in with a new official MythArchive frontend plug-in so it is not mostly of historical value (or for those still using earlier MythTV releases).