[mythtv-users] Unicode characters showing up as question marks

Dave M G martin at autotelic.com
Tue Jan 16 13:16:43 UTC 2007

Mr. Demeanour,

Thank you for responding.

I've made a little progress which I suspect may be of help to other 
MythTV users.

First, I checked to make sure that the program information guide created 
by tv_grab_jp was, in fact, in Unicode (utf-8, actually). It seems that 
it was.

Then I looked at the database directly (using phpMyAdmin), and saw that 
it was all question marks. That can't be good.

I make bilingual Japanese/English web sites, so this is something I have 
a little experience with. When dealing with utf-8, it's important to 
make sure every step of the process is utf-8. In MySQL, there are 
"collation" settings which describe the character set used for fields, 
tables, and the whole database.

Whoever designed the MySQL database left the collation settings at the 
default - which is (for some reason) "latin_swedish_ci".

I changed all the text fields on the "program" table to use 
"utf8_unicode_ci" as their collation. Then I set the collation for the 
table and the collation for the whole database to be "utf8_unicode_ci" 
as well.

I wiped the table clean, and used mythfilldatabase to populate it again.

And presto - the data was stored in the database in its proper utf8 
encoded Japanese.

Okay, well, but what about in the MythTV interface?

When I go to MythTV, and call up the onscreen menu ("m" button on the 
keyboard), then go to "Programme Guide", it comes up in Japanese! Great.

But we're not out of the woods yet.

If I press up or down keys on the keyboard to move channels, then a 
brief summary of the channel guide appears in a band at the bottom of 
the screen. The channel number is in a red tab, and the summary text is 
in a blue bar.

That text shows up as little boxes. Like I said, I work a lot with 
encoding issues, and I know those boxes mean that the font can't find 
the right character. In other words, it's not a unicode enabled font.

And this is where I hit a wall. Despite looking on the web, I couldn't 
find out how to control or change the font that is used for those 
particular on screen messages.

Can anyone point me in the right direction? Because if so, then I think 
I may have this language display issue licked, and it would most likely 
benefit anyone using non-English characters, not just Japanese.

Dave M G
Ubuntu 6.06 LTS
Pentium D Dual Core Processor
PHP 5, MySQL 5, Apache 2

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