MythTV on a Virtual Machine

You want to setup MythTV so you can get DVR service to your home network, but do not want to dedicate a single computer.  This guide will show you how you can leverage your Windows PC to run MythTV on a Virtual Machine using VitualBox.  You could also do this just for testing out MythTV functionality then move it to a dedicated PC if it works for you.  These same principles can be used to try out any operating system on your windows box.

We have a full guide on how to get TV with DVR capabilities on your network utilizing an HDHOMRUN with cable card or over the air antenna.  You can see that here.

Let’s get started.

Software Needed

  • MythTV – A free DVR service that runs on Linux – We suggest Mythbuntu as it is optimized for MythTV out of the box.
  • VirtualBox – A free Oracle VM software package

Download the software

VirtualBox

VirtualBox

 

Mythbuntu iso file

myth get link

 

Here are the system requirements for Mythbuntu.

Minimum System Requirements (SD content):

  • 1.0 GHz x86 or x86_64 Processor
  • 512 MB of system memory (RAM)
  • 2 GB of disk space (Frontend Role)
  • 10GB + 1.5GB/hour for storage of SD material (Backend Role)
  • Graphics card capable of 1024×768 resolution (if using VDPAU, 256MB minimum)
  • Supported TV Tuner Card (Backend Role)

Recommended System Requirements (HD content):

  • 2.0 Ghz x86 or x86_64 Processor (2+ cores)
  • 2GB MB of system memory (RAM)
  • 10 GB disk space (Frontend Role)
  • 10GB + 5GB/hour for storage of HD material (Backend Role)
  • nVidia GT 4xx+ 512MB+ Graphics Card
  • Supported TV Tuner Card (Backend Role)

I should also note that this works flawlessly with HDHomerun or other network based tuners.  You will have a super hard time at best if you try to do this with an integrated tuner card.

VirtualBox Virtual Machine Setup

Install VirtualBox, open it, and create a virtual machine

Name it, set the type to Linux, and version “other linux (64-bit)

v1

Set the memory size to 512MB or 2048MB depending if you want HD min requirements or not.

v2

You will want to create a virtual hard drive which will partition some of you physical drive specifically for MythTV.

v3

 

Choose Virtualbox Disk Image

v4

 

I used “Fixed size” for my storage type.

 

v5

Here you need to set your storage size.  You would probably want to add a 500GB or 1TB drive to your box so you have plenty of DVR space.

  • Keep in mind – 10GB + 5GB/hour for storage of HD material (Backend Role)

v6

 

Click Create!

 

 

v7

 

Now we have the virtual box ready to install Mythbuntu.

Right click on the instance and go to the storage settings.  Click the disk + button.

v8

This is where we can select the Mythbuntu Iso you downloaded earlier by selecting “Choose Disk”

v9

You will see the iso under the controller

v10

Next go to the “Network” header on the left.

  • Enable Network Adapter checkbox on Adapter 1
  • Attached to: select Bridged Adapterv11

Ok that then start the machine.

 

Boot to the Mythbuntu setup

A windows will open up where you can now walk through the Mythbuntu setup.

The first screen will ask you to select your language

v12

You can download updates while installing; hit continuev13

Erase disk and install Mythbuntu:  Remember this is the virtual disk you created earlier so your windows installation and directors are safe.

v14

Add your location

v15

Keyboard layout preferences

v16

 

You will want to name your virtual box and login automatically

v17

Depending on your needs you will select one of the following options.  I suggest the first instance.  You are going to use this box as the “backend” so other TV’s can access for TV and DVR.  The first option will also allow you to test if everything is working within your virtual environment.

v18

 

I would add all the following check boxes for additional services.  This way you can access the virtual box from multiple services.  The MythTV Service needs to be selected.

v19

 

 

I didn’t setup a remote as I will use the remote for my other XBMC Kodi boxes around the house, not on the virtual machine that will be used as a backend.  So to be clear, you will be able to use your phone for instance as a remote on your TV’s even though you select “No Additional Remote Support” on this screen.

v20

 

It will install and complete.

v21v22

Restart.

 

Setting up MythTV

At this point you will want to use the Mythbunut setup guide on our XBMC Kodi Live TV HDHOMERUN Prime MythTV Cox Cable Card Setup post.  This will help you get everything talking from the cable card/Antenna -> HDHOMERUN -> MythTV.

Once you have the Mythbuntu setup in the other blog, you can use the MythTV Frontend app within your virtual server to see if you are getting TV signal.  I would do this to ensure everything is working before you move on to connecting your XBMC/Kodi boxes to it.

 

Under applications in the top left hand corner you will see “MythTV Frontend”.  When you open it you can go to “Watch TV” and make sure everything is working.  Again, you have to setup the backend first before this will work which is described in the blog link above.

v23

 

If all is good you will have TV!

v27

So again, this is for those of you that

  1. Want to test out this setup before buying a dedicated PC for MythTV
  2. Those that have a multi-purpose windows pc/server they want to add this functionality too

Good Luck!

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