[mythtv-users] ALSA volume mixer integration

E. Westbrook mythtv-users at westbrook.com
Thu Nov 11 23:56:34 UTC 2010

Hi folks,

When at my desk, I often run mythfrontend in a window so I can enjoy TV
while I work.  At the same time, I often run other applications that use
audio (for notifications, audio UI feedback, and such), and having set up
ALSA's default pcm to a dmix in my /etc/asound.conf, my world is mostly

My only (relatively minor) grumble with this arrangement is that
mythfrontend doesn't update its idea of what the mixer's volume level is
when I change it in another application (mostly, I like using gkrellm's
volume plugin regardless of what else I'm doing).  For example, I can watch
the levels change in alsamixer when I use the [ and ] keys in mythfrontend,
but not the other way around.  This causes undesirable volume jumps whenever
it's mythfrontend's turn to work with the level for any reason.

I'd like to see mythfrontend take notice when another application changes
the levels, at least enough so that the [ and ] keys work with the volume
from where ALSA currently has it, and so that starting playback doesn't
reset it.  There may be other cases too.  While not strictly necessary to
satisfy me, it would be a bonus if the volume status bar could appear to
reflect externally initiated change events.

I would suspect that in the vast majority of MythTV installs, mythfrontend
is the only application working with volume levels on a given frontend, so I
wouldn't be surprised (or upset) if few or none other people cared about
this.  But for me, it's a little "nit" that gets my goat from time to time.

Has this kind of integration already been discussed and/or addressed somehow
or somewhere that I am not aware of?  If not, I'm inclined to try to attack
it in the code, either by myself or with help.  I'll be appreciative for any
observations, corrections, pointers, or tips.  Thanks!

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