MythTV – converting TV shows to iPOD video

Recorded something on MythTV but wanna watch it on your iPOD? Try this quick command line:

As I’m using “ffmpeg” most platforms are covered! [Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, etc]

Use ffmpeg too convert video from any format (ffmpeg supports as input), to iPod video friendly format. Most MythTV feeds are MPEG2 (.mpg)

Make sure that your version of ffmpeg has XVID (for mpeg4 encoding) and FAAC support. This may require building from the source.

Now that you have everything up and running, you may try to convert a video. For a 4:3 video, use:

ffmpeg -i <input_file> -f mov -b 1800 -maxrate 2500 \
      -vcodec xvid -qmin 3 -qmax 5 -s 320x240 \
      -acodec aac -ab 128 \

For 16:9, you’ll need to tell ffmpeg to add the black bars on top and bottom itself and substract the height of the black bars from the actual video size:

ffmpeg -i <input_file> -f mov -b 1800 -maxrate 2500 \
       -vcodec xvid -qmin 3 -qmax 5 \
       -s 320x180 -padtop 30 -padbottom 30 \
       -acodec aac -ab 128 \

My setup for Free-to-Air (DVB-S) and DVB-T for our house

OK, so I had a lovely (or at least I thought it was!) MythTV set up at my house. I got a cheap “free to air” DVB-S card from Maplin. Stuck a dish up on the roof and connected the two. Part one of the hardware out of the way… That will bag us BBC1..4, ITV1..4, Film4, CBeebies, etc all for free.

The MythTV server is in the attic, connected to wired and wireless network for client machines to access. Here are the specs:

  • OS: Ubuntu 8.04
  • HD: 1 x 250Gb (for root filesystem and live TV recording), 1 x 750Gb to “general”
  • Processor: AMD Athlon™ XP 2400+
  • Mem: 1Gb

The next hardware step: The DVB-T solution. Easy, there are a loads of Hauppauge and Pinnacle Systems cards or USB devices that will work with the DVB stack on Linux. I opted for a Hauppauge 93002 (or Nova-T-USB2). Got it connected to my MythTV server with the USB lead provided and hooked up a small set-top antenna pointing into the Dublin mountains.

When I did this setup a few years ago, it was quite trick to get the dam thing working, but now it works like a charm. The old versions of Ubuntu/OpenSUSE did not have a firmware for the Nova-T-USB2, but now I think they are included in the DVB package (dvb-usb-nova-t-usb2-01.fw and dvb-usb-nova-t-usb2-02.fw). This used to get RTE1, RTE2, TV3, TG4.

Up until the end of July 2008, this all worked a treat… We could watch “media” (live TV, recordings, movies, etc) on any PC in the house. That is MythTV running on 5 clients. But now we are down the terrestrial stations. I need to get this sorted!!

2012-10-01 Update:

DVB-S cards in MythTV setup