How do I turn my FreeBSD desktop into a set-top box?

Dave freebsd01 at
Sat Oct 17 21:47:56 UTC 2015

On Saturday 17 October 2015 17:04:42 Aryeh Friedman wrote:
> Any ideas? (What hardware and stuff out the ports collection).... please
> keep hardware limited to anything available in a computer superstore like
> MicroCenter (not special order or web only)
> I switched ISP's for the first time in 5 years and now have access to cable
> TV for the first time in 15 years (I have not owned a TV for 10 years).
> So I am very new to the hardware side of the the equation but I have worked
> in streaming media so am at home on the software side.
> So far I have hooked the HDMI and speakers up to my monitor (I need to move
> the back and forth between the sound card and the monitor currently).
> Here is the dmesg for the machine I want to set stuff up on:
Have a look at MythTV and Kodi.

Both will install on a FreeBSD system, but both also are available as "images",
ie Linux with everything already set up to "Just Work(tm)"

Personally, I have Kodi running on twp Rasperry Pis (using OSMC/Kodi), a couple of FreeBSD boxes and a Windows box all sharing a central MySQO database.  MythTV is a bit more involved with more options, eg seperate backend and multiple seperate frontends and IIRC can be a bit of a bugger to set up on FreeBSD (might have changed in recent years.)  MythTV seems to have better support for off-air recording/transcoding/advert cutting but I've not used any of that.

I don't use mine for live/off-air TV/recording but from what I've seen you need to be very, very careful with choice of tuners if using FreeBSD while Linux seems to be a bit more accommodating.  Kodi seems to have much better support for streaming via various add-ons, especially those from 3rd-party repositories (or so I'm told.  Some may not be entirely legal in some jurisdictions)

In particular, my non-technical wife can easily handle Kodi using her tablet or smartphone as the remote with the Kodi Remote App.

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