Thanks to Amy and JB‘s motivational dissing of our old (and oft-broken) mythtv installation, I set out last weekend to rebuild the setup, which involves a backend system in the basement and a frontend in the TV room driven by an xbox that can retrieve recorded video from the myth system downstairs.

I had a very easy time getting current myth (0.20) installed on a SuSE 10.2 box with a Hauppauge PVR-350 last weekend, and as I’ve come to expect in 4+ years of myth use, 0.20 is noticeably better than 0.18. Since the xbox scripts that interface with myth are version-specific, I needed to update them too. and this was enough motivation for me to go ahead and get a modern XBMC install.

It’s all working now, and it seems pretty cool.

I’ll spare you the particulars, but there were 2 non-obvious problems I encountered along the way, the corresponding solutions to which I thought I’d leave here where google can find them:

problem #1: database connection errors from the xbmcmythtv script. This was puzzling as I’d verified that the host-level packet filters on the server running mysqld were allowing traffic, I was seeing successful TCP connections, and I had verified from a different machine on the network could connect to the target db using the username+password I had configured xmbcmythtv to use. Since the xbox has relatively few other diagnostic capabilities, I used ethereal wireshark to watch more closely, and found a mysql auth error being sent back by the server that read:

Client does not support authentication protocol requested by server; consider upgrading MySQL client

solution #1: use pre-mysql-4.1 style password encoding on the server. With the specific error string (unhelpfully obscured by the xbmc script), google quickly found this note in the MySQL reference manual.

problem #2: script says “caching subtitles” when I try to play a recorded show, then appears to hang for a while before returning to the program listing. This one was quite a head-scratcher for a while, since I wasn’t trying to do anything with subtitles, I couldn’t find any caching options that seemed related, and there was no other indication of something that might be failing (permissions, etc.). What’s more, this problem was coming up after I was successfully getting the list of recorded programs, which meant the xbox was successfully talking to the backend server (mysql, smb, and the myth backend process are all on the same box).

I found some threads on various xbox fora that described very similar problems, but none with solutions that were even potentially relevant.

solution #2: use IPs in the xbmcmythtv config. I had been using the FQDN of my backend box in both the db and general paths config screens of xbmcmythtv. The xbox is configured to use an internal DNS server that is authoritative for the domain in question, and to remove all doubt that DNS was actually working, the DB connection and connection to the mythtv backend worked fine (as evidenced by my ability to retrieve the program listing).

While desperately searching for clues on the “caching subtitles” problem, I found a mention in some random “common problems” document that emphasized that unqualified hostnames (i.e. missing the full domain) in the xmbcmythtv config would not work. I was already using FQDNs, but on a lark I tried replacing the FQDN with the IP of the backend server in the SMB path part of the config, and sure enough, that did the trick.

Apologies for what was certainly a very boring post for, well, anybody who came here except via a search for one of the aforementioned problems. For those of you who did get here looking for answers, I hope this helped.

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