Tvheadend vs MythTV for Kodi – TVH the Clear Winner

As you can see from my previous blogs, I’ve been playing around with MythTV of late, as a backend TV server for Kodi.  Even though I was successful in setting this up, I’ve hit some frustrating limitations and have so decided to pull the pin on that experiment, and go back to Tvheadend (TVH for short). My major annoyances are/were:

  • I couldn’t find a way to split DVB-T TV and DVB-T radio stations, the way TVH does in Kodi. With MythTV, they all appear as TV stations.
  • The ability to set channel groups seems to be lacking in MythTV.

I was looking further and further into these issues and there was some talk in some forum somewhere about being able to do these things with SQL commands in MySQL, but I figured I didn’t want to waste any more time – I’d invested far too much already! In TVH it *just works*.  Other gripes with MythTV include:

  • Since Myth’s both a front-end and back-end, there are often parts of config that relate to the front-end that I’ll never touch, so it’s a bit confused when you’re only using the backend. This is especially apparent with some iPhone apps I bought, where some screens of the app are for the backend server, and some for the frontend. The benefit of TVH is that it is a pure server – there is none of this confusion of backend vs frontend!
  • It’s pretty fiddly just to get the MythTV server running. You also have to jump through a lot of hoops to get the mythweb webserver going as well. Say goodbye to a weekend!

A fairer comparison is MythBuntu vs TVH-Ubuntu, rather than MythTV-FreeBSD.  I’ve tried MythBuntu, and set-up is a bit easier than all that work I did on FreeBSD, but it’s still kludgy to my mind, and still suffers from my major gripes with it.

I have found it to be actually quite straightforward to install TVH from a vanilla Ubuntu install, and to keep it up to date with Git pulls. I’ll add a blog post soon to show how this is done. My ideal setup would be for TVH to stabilise and add native HDHomeRun support for FreeBSD (the way MythTV manages to do!), and then have the FreeBSD people update the Ports collection with this stable code. Hopefully TVH will get there in the next year or two. Then I could run TVH on my FreeNAS/FreeBSD box, and shut down my separate Linux server.


  1. With you obviously being experienced with getting live OTA channels to work on Kodi,… I thought I would ask…
    I am running RPi2/Openelec. I now have laying before me an approved USB powered hub and approved USB TV Tuner card. I installed TVHeadend Backend and can log into it through 192.168.x xx:9981. I am not finding accurate info for where to set what. I do now have a TV icon and it shows that I have about 6 channels of which only two work with audio only. I am not sure where the setup issues are coming from and was needing a setup guide. Do you know of one that utilises the latest TVHeadend (not 6.? beta).
    I also have sitting here a nice hard drive i am just dying to plug into my RPI but am not sure how to format/configure it to work as storage for RPi and PVR functions. Any advice on this ???

    1. Hi RStephen. What you’re doing sounds a bit ambitious and I don’t know if you’ve got it to work yet but if you have – you’ve done well! I assume a lot of the TV Tuner cards will work for Linux/x86 and Linux/xAMD64 architecture, but doubt that many if any work for Linux/RPi2. My TV tuner is a HDHomeRun that connects over my LAN to a Ubuntu Linux 64-bit box, which is virtualised on an INTEL-based box running VMWare ESXi 6.0.
      Sorry to disappoint about the second question – I run all my storage over my LAN with a FreeNAS NAS – so haven’t had experience with formatting a drive for the RPi2. I assume this is a common thing though, and there must be plenty of docs around for that. Good luck!

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