MythTV is an open source and free software project that allows you to build a home media theater in just a few minutes and with minimum effort. It will deploy a so-called PVR (Private Video Recorder) or DVR (Digital Video Recorder) system on any type of PC hardware.
Features at a glance
The end goal of MythTV is to have a nice interface for watching TV, recording shows, listening to music, etc., all displayed on a TV and controlled by a remote. It provides basic 'Live TV' functionality, the ability to pause, fast forward, and rewind "live" TV sessions, supports multiple tuner cards and multiple simultaneous recordings.
Because of its distributed architecture, MythTV allows multiple playback machines and multiple recording machines on the same network, completely transparent to the user. The software is designed to compress video in software using mpeg4 (from libavcodec) or rtjpeg (from Nuppelvideo).
Full support for hardware MPEG-2 encoder cards like Hauppauge PVR-250 / PVR-350 is also included, along with a wide range of add-on modules that will extend the application’s default functionality.
Under the hood and availability
While the program is primarily written in the C++ programming language and distributed as a source archive, it can be easily installed on any Linux-based operating system by using the packages provided on its default software repositories.
The application can be used in any GNU/Linux distribution, as well as on BSD flavors and Mac OS X operating systems. It also works on Microsoft Windows OSes, but only for playing multimedia files.
Several Linux distributions are built around the MythTV software, such as the popular Mythbuntu operating system, in order to provide you with an out-of-the-box home media theater experience.
Summing up, MythTV is without no doubt the best DVR/PVR open source software project that is successfully used on several GNU/Linux distributions, such as Mythbuntu.