MythTV Server in a FreeNAS Jail

MythTV is is one of the most well-known open source LiveTV/PVR servers, and worth trying out and comparing to Tvheadend for serving up live TV to Kodi. I have previously given some background info on both of them. Here’s how you can install the MythTV backend in a FreeNAS jail.

Creating your Jail

First make sure your jail environment is set-up correctly:

Jail setup

I’ve carved out a range of IPs from my local LAN /24 subnet of 10.69.10.0/24

Next, go to the Jails tab and “Add Jail”. Click on “Advanced Mode” if not already.

I like to call my MythTV Jail “mythserver” – I feel this is preferable to calling it say “mythtv” because if the name is too close to the program name, it can get confusing later on in system log files.

I let it auto-select the next available free IP address, and then manually add the “IPv4 default gateway” – the router’s LAN IP which for me is 10.69.10.1.

I leave “autostart” and “VIMAGE” selected.

Once you hit “Ok” you can edit the jail you just created, and you should see that it’s added a MAC address, and for FreeNAS 9.3 it’s also added “allow.raw_sockets=true” in the “Sysctls” section.  If this is your first jail, it’ll take a while as it downloads the jail template from FreeNAS, before it finalises setting up the jail.

Jail Storage

You’ll want to map some extra storage into your jail for recordings. I give it full permissions:

mythstorage

I limit it to 40 Gigs in the Options:

mythoptions

Then I mount it into the jail:

mythmountstorage

Jail Login

SSH to your FreeNAS and list your jails:

jls

e.g.:

root@sarlacc# jls
 JID IP Address Hostname Path
 1 - dhcp_dns /mnt/volume1/jails/dhcp_dns
 2 - mythserver /mnt/volume1/jails/mythserver

My MythTV jail called “mythserver” is jail ID #2 at the moment. Log into the jail:

jexec 2 /bin/csh

Jail Update

pkg update
pkg upgrade

The “pkg update” is redundant as the upgrade does an update first, but I still like to do it regardless. Just say yes to all the upgrade prompts. You can run the same commands again after the upgrade, just to confirm the software is now current.

Bash Shell

If you prefer Bash like I do, install it tweak it.

pkg install bash
vi ~/.bashrc

and add some aliases…

# some useful aliases
alias h='fc -l'
alias j=jobs
alias m=$PAGER
alias ll='ls -laFo'
alias l='ls -l'
alias g='egrep -i'

Log out and back in with bash:

exit
jexec 2 /usr/local/bin/bash

That’s if jail ‘2’ is your myth jail. You may only need to type jexec 2. Try it and see.

Helper Software

Install “GNU Make” for compiling LAME:

pkg install gmake

Install the FreeBSD Ports tree and compile the LAME encoder:

cd /usr/ports
portsnap fetch extract
cd /usr/ports/audio/lame
make install clean
cd /

NB: Even though the directories are there, if you don’t do a fresh “extract” then the system will complain, so you have to run this the first time after creating the jail. If you are doing further installs some time in the future (say next week), all you need to run before compilation is portsnap fetch update

Install the graphical packages. You’ll need these for configuring MythTV by the setup GUI which runs on the X-Windows system. Note the upper case X in libXv:

pkg install libXv
pkg install qt4-webkit
pkg install xauth
pkg install xorg-fonts

Install MythTV

pkg install mythtv

You have time to go grab a coffee now, as it’ll take a while. You’ll see a message at the end like:

**********
MythTV has now been installed, but it still needs to be configured.
1. To create the database, use the following command:
mysql -uroot -p < /usr/local/share/mythtv/database/mc.sql
2. Next, run mythtv-setup.
See http://www.mythtv.org/docs/ for more information.
**********

You’ll get to do (1.) and (2.) later. For now, update /etc/rc.conf with the following:

sshd_enable="YES" #change the existing "NO" entry to "YES"
mysql_enable="YES"
mythbackend_enable="YES"

I found that the hostname was in that file twice, so I deleted the duplicate.

Tip: You can quickly update system variables with the following:

sysrc sshd_enable=YES
sysrc mysql_enable="YES"
sysrc mythbackend_enable="YES"

Install MyQSL

Of course we don’t have MySQL installed yet, so we need to grab that too, and start it up:

pkg install mysql56-server
service mysql-server start

Populate mysql with the MythTV database:

mysql -uroot -p < /usr/local/share/mythtv/database/mc.sql

Just hit the “enter” key at the password prompt, as a password isn’t yet set. Out of interest, this does the following:

==========
CREATE DATABASE IF NOT EXISTS mythconverg;
GRANT ALL ON mythconverg.* TO mythtv@localhost IDENTIFIED BY "mythtv";
FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
GRANT CREATE TEMPORARY TABLES ON mythconverg.* TO mythtv@localhost IDENTIFIED BY "mythtv";
FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
ALTER DATABASE mythconverg DEFAULT CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci;
==========

Login into mysql (hit enter at the password prompt) and check that “mythconverg” is in there.

mysql -p
show databases;
exit

MySQL Timezone Update

Update timezone info with:

mysql_tzinfo_to_sql /usr/share/zoneinfo | mysql -u root -p mysql

I found I got the “Data too long for column ‘Abbreviation’ Error” so I did the following:

mysql_tzinfo_to_sql /usr/share/zoneinfo > /tmp/timezonefix
vi /tmp/timezonefix

I searched through the file and found the stanza (parts between two semicolons) that contain “use tzsetup” and edited out the following lines:

;
INSERT INTO time_zone (Use_leap_seconds) VALUES ('N');
SET @time_zone_id= LAST_INSERT_ID();
INSERT INTO time_zone_name (Name, Time_zone_id) VALUES ('Factory', @time_zone_id);
INSERT INTO time_zone_transition_type (Time_zone_id, Transition_type_id, Offset, Is_DST, Abbreviation) VALUES
 (@time_zone_id, 0, 0, 0, 'Local time zone must be set--use tzsetup')
;

I then ran:

cat /tmp/timezonefix | mysql -u root -p mysql

This now completed without error.

Set MySQL Password

mysqladmin -u root password <yourpassword>
e.g
mysqladmin -u root password letmein

Test with:

mysql -p

You should have to put in that password now. Type “exit” to quit out.

Setup X11 Forwarding

Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config with the following updates, replacing the IP address below with your IP:

ListenAddress 10.69.10.22
PermitRootLogin yes
PasswordAuthentication yes
X11Forwarding yes
X11UseLocalhost no

Now start sshd:

service sshd start

This generates keys and starts the SSH server. I like to test the server with a  service sshd restart , to make sure it starts cleanly now that the keys are present.

Set a root password, and test the password along with external connectivity to the mythtv-setup script. If all’s successful, it’ll time out and say that it cannot connect to the X server. That’s the desired outcome, as you want to connect to an X server on another machine. Remember to update the IP address below to that of your jail.

[root@mythserver /]# passwd 
Changing local password for root
New Password:
Retype New Password:
[root@mythserver /]# exit
[root@mythserver /]# ssh -Y root@10.69.10.22 /usr/local/bin/mythtv-setup
Password:
mythtv-setup: cannot connect to X server

Setup Remote X Server

Download Xming from here:
Download PuTTY from here:

1) Install Xming server and start it
2) Install PuTTY on your local machine
3) Configure the default profile in PuTTY with the IP and SSH port of your MythTV Server
4) Go to the Connection panel then select ssh and enable compression, then the x11 tab and check “Enable x11 Forwarding” box, then enter localhost:0 in the “X Display Location” and check “MIT-Magic-Cookie-”
5) Go to “Session”, type “MythTV Server” in the Saved Sessions, and hit the Save button.

Configuring MythTV

With the Xming server started, open the PuTTY session you saved and login (with the user you created earlier) to the myth server, then type….

mythtv-setup

This will open an Xwindow on your local screen and load the myth setup screen. You might have to run this a second or third time, as it might quit after a country and language update, and also after a database schema update. You’ll get there eventually.

I recommend you follow the MythBuntu setup guide here, skipping right down to the “MythTV Backend Setup” section, and taking it from there.

Start the Backend

The backend service now needs to be started if not already:

service mythbackend start

Also make sure it’s filled with your config settings:

mythfilldatabase

Congratulations – you’ve now configured MythTV backend on FreeNAS in a jail.

Troubleshooting

If you have any issues, check where the logserver stores its files and check the logs.

[root@mythserver /var/log/mythtv]# ll
total 12988
drwxr-xr-x 2 root wheel - 5 Apr 21 03:00 ./
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel - 22 Apr 21 03:01 ../
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel - 219163 Apr 21 03:00 mythbackend.20150420163447.83755.log
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel - 12917053 Apr 21 19:40 mythbackend.20150420170022.85871.log
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel - 4998 Apr 21 03:00 mythlogserver.20150420163448.83757.log
[root@mythserver /var/log/mythtv]#

tail the latest backend log file:

[root@mythserver /var/log/mythtv]# tail -5 mythbackend.20150420170022.85871.log
2015-04-21 19:41:31.854481 E [85871/101782] HttpServer107 servicehost.cpp:426 (ProcessRequest) - No Security Pin assigned. Run mythtv-setup to set one.
2015-04-21 19:41:31.862285 I [85871/101739] ProcessRequest mainserver.cpp:1420 (HandleAnnounce) - MainServer::ANN Monitor
2015-04-21 19:41:31.862295 I [85871/101739] ProcessRequest mainserver.cpp:1422 (HandleAnnounce) - adding: kodi as a client (events: 0)
2015-04-21 19:41:31.875402 E [85871/101782] HttpServer114 servicehost.cpp:143 (Invoke) - MethodInfo::Invoke - An Exception Occurred: No Security Pin assigned. Run mythtv-setup to set one.
2015-04-21 19:41:31.875436 E [85871/101782] HttpServer114 servicehost.cpp:426 (ProcessRequest) - No Security Pin assigned. Run mythtv-setup to set one.
[root@mythserver /var/log/mythtv]#

ooops – didn’t add a security pin – have to set that up!

Other tips:

  • Go to another box and “telnet <your myth IP> 3306” to make sure your MySQL database is working and allowing connections.
  • Got to http:<your MythTV IP>:6544  to make sure you have web connectivity
  • All else fails – RTFM: MythTV Wiki, and the User Manual.

Other Tasks

It’s advisable you setup MythWeb for managing your TV recordings.

10 comments

  1. I very much enjoy your blogs and appreciate all the time you’ve obviously put in. I’m just an beginner going on intermediate *nix user, but in your Permissions graphic at the start of this fine article, shouldn’t you have the “Set permission recursively” check box *OFF* and not checked as you have done? Wouldn’t that make the entire jail world writable?

    Thanks again for your fine work!

    1. Oh yes after writing this I think I created a “multimedia” group and added my mythtv user as a member of that group.
      I actually abandoned mythtv for tvheadend and in actual fact I’m no longer even using FreeNAS! I am instead using Ubuntu 16.04 with ZFS and Samba – a bit of a roll-your-own NAS – I need to blog about it! 😀
      Also thanks for your comments and hope this helped you in some way.

  2. Thank You for a great post!! I am enjoying running mythtv on my FreeNAS. Could you please share the steps to upgrade mythtv to the latest version? Thank You!

  3. Great guide, thanks for putting it together.

    I don’t suppose you have any insight into compiling TBS drivers for their tuner cards? They only provide linux drivers not BSD and as this is my first outing into the BSD world I’m not sure if this will even be possible. Make complains of missing dependency operators and gmake complains of no lsmod (which BSD doesn’t use I think!)

    1. Hi David. I didn’t have to install any drivers as I use the SiliconDust HDHomeRun (Dual), and MythTV supports it natively. It sounds like you’re heading into murky waters there with driver installs on BSD for devices that only have Linux drivers supplied. That’s why I use the HDHomeRun – to try and avoid as many driver issues as possible! It’s moot now though as I have moved back to using TVHeadend as my TV server. MythTV was just giving me too many headaches overall!

      1. Thanks for replying Gav,

        I shall give one of those homerun boxes a go, I don’t like the sound of murky waters.. The TBS drivers are closed source too and need to be recompiled for each kernel update which can be a pain so maybe this is the way to go. Shame it’s not a quad tuner but can’t have everything I guess.

        I’ve asked the question in the BSD forums, I’m not hopeful but we’ll see if anything comes back.

        Keep up the good work!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.