Save the Drama for Primetime: Restart MythTV the Easy Way
First, an admission: after using MythTV for nearly two years, I succumbed to the lure of a blazingly fast fiber optic internet and television bundle, and I've been using the provider supplied DVR. I have some regrets about this. Though the multiple high definition tuners are great, the actual software on my proprietary DVR is sometimes less than intuitive.
While I have yet to relegate the MythTV box to other media tasks (or a testing machine), there were a few nagging issues on the system. One was strictly hardware related (if the features-price balance on the motherboard seems too good to be true -- it probably is), while the other is an eventuality in nearly every MythTV installation.
Over at Baablogic, there's a neat how-to on programming your remote to restart a MythTV frontend process that's lost contact with the database.
Okay, another admission: at our house, we were usually too impatient to bust out the keyboard or SSH into the box, so we'd just hit the reset button on the case. That amounts to overkill, of course, and if we had happened to have multiple frontends running off of a single backend, it would result in a lot of fiddling when we really wanted to vegetate.
The beauty of this script (which is hopefully slated to make its debut in the Mythbuntu Control Center for the Lucid release) is that it's easy to get running now, with minimal programming knowledge. In fact, it's probably one of the simpler modifications to make in your remote configuration -- just be sure that you and LIRC are on the same page in regards to what your chosen button is called.
It's a lovely, clean solution to a problem that reared its head a little too often. If only I could do something similar when my service provider's DVR goes comatose.