[mythtv-users] New MythTV Web/Internet Video Plugin

Robert McNamara robert.mcnamara at gmail.com
Tue Dec 15 22:19:55 UTC 2009

Hi All,

Wanted to share something that has been percolating for a few weeks
that you might enjoy.  As most of you know, there have been many,
many, many efforts to add a "Internet Video" plugin to Myth over the
past few years, but each of them had serious issues, whether they be
code, design, terms of service violations, or a number of others.
With that in mind, I asked Doug Vaughan (who wrote the TVDB grabber
and Jamu) if he was interested in working with me on a new plugin for

Doug was interested and we set out to build a plugin for myth that met
a number of goals:

1)  The plugin should allow for using popular web sites without
violating their terms of service.
2)  The plugin should be very easy to extend with scripts.
3)  The grabber script format should be very, very easy to understand and use.
4)  The plugin should be MythUI, completely themable, and contain code
which conformed to the rest of Myth's coding standards.
5)  The plugin should ship with a number of very popular sites already

With those goals in mind, we created MythNetvision.  MNV is a native
MythUI Internet video on demand plugin in two parts.  An internet
video search and an internet video tree browser.  MNV uses the
net-standard RSS 2.0 item format in returns, and is fully compatible
with itunes and yahoo media namespaces.  We support both media which
is web-only (by spawning a browser directly to the playback link) and
downloadable (by threading off a download and playing in the internal
player as soon as enough data is buffered).  We provide full support
for external players and download scripts for sites and media which
the internal player does not support, or which require logic to
accomplish the download.  Adding a site is as simple as parsing an API
or site and formatting each item as an RSS article in the output of
the script.


* Youtube, Vimeo, Blip.tv, MTV Videos, and TMDB Trailers are all
already included as search and tree views
* Tree parsing happens in the background any time MythFrontend is
open.  The tree is always kept current as long as the frontend is
* Technically speaking, "curl http://path/to/an/RSS/feed.rss" is a
valid grabber script which will return working, downloadable results.
* All existing grabbers return full screen, autoplay results when they
are available and the API allows.  When not possible, the best
possible result is played.
* Plugin respects all terms of service of all involved sites.

Goals going forward:

* To integrate downloadable media into recordings.
* Enable the user to add a "tree view" for a site by dumping the video
RSS feeds for the site into a grabber config file (adding Revision3 as
a fully browseable site would be as simple as dropping the RSS feeds
in the grabber config)
* More search grabbers, more tree views.
* Code cleanup.  Lots and lots of code cleanup.
* Encourage the development of other grabber scripts.

So, the idea is to bring together all the ideas of MythVodka,
MythTube, MythStreams, and all the others that have gone before in a
plugin that is simple to use, simple to expand, and allows everyone to
achieve their goals.

MythNetvision is not yet available.  Doug and I want it to be truly
polished before we release, and that means a lot more work on the
code, and a bunch more grabbers.  But, as a sneak peek, here is
version from a few nights ago doing its thing.  You will see both the
search and the tree view in action.


Hope this gets people excited about the idea.  To head off a few
potential questions before they are asked, we don't need beta testers,
we'll likely just release when it's ready.  We will release by .23.
The current plugin would run just fine on .22.  We can only distribute
scripts/grabbers which comply with the terms of service in our code.

Examples of sites that should be very easily (and legally) implementable:

Comedy Central
The Escapist Magazine
Recent Apple Movie Trailers
BBC iPlayer


Note that not all of the above have Search APIs, but would be easily
addable to tree view by using their provided video RSS feeds and
stitching them together with a little script-fu.  Plus, with the BBC
iPlayer API expected sometime in the future, full browse and search
support should be possible too.


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