This page is intened to help the "end user" determine whether the device they own, or one that they are considering purchasing, is supported or not under Linux.
Check For Hardware Compatibility
Before purchasing a DVB device, you should check whether it is listed as supported within the appropriate section of the wiki:
* ATSC devices * DVB-C devices (Digital Cable TV) * DVB-S devices and DVB-S2 devices (Digital Satellite TV) * DVB-T devices (Digital Terrestrial TV) * Sortable List of Device Vendors * DVB Conditional Access Modules (Pay TV)
If the device you're considering is not cited as being supported, then there is a good chance that it will not work under Linux. However, as the information in the wiki is not always current, you should also consider inquiring about the device's status on the mailing list (but please search the archives first!). In addition, there may be support for your device offered outside that provided by LinuxTV (see the next section).
If you have already purchased your DVB device but can not find mention of it in the wiki's supported device sections, it might be a good idea to search this wiki for the device's name or the manufacturer name -- Reason being: while there are indeed many DVB devices available on the market, the actual selection of hardware components that a manufacturer has to choose from when designing their device is limited. As a consequence of this fact, many DVB devices have a similar component constitution, and hence some information can usually be ascertained about any given unsupported device. Furthermore, sometimes you can even adopt the support provided for another device for your own currently unsupported device.
Gathering Information About Your Unidentified/Unsupported Device
Normally the device name and model are written somewhere on either the device itself, its box/packaging or, at the very least, listed in its manual. That may seem obvious enough, but a surprising number of devices are available with no or next to little in the way of model identification. In those latter cases, your first starting points should be to perform the following steps. In the other case, where you already know the device's identity but are seeking to add support for it, the following steps are still just as relevant/crucial:
A. With the device NOT installed within or attached to the system:
For PCI or PCIe based devices, see if there are any written text/numerical markings printed on the device's IC components or directly on the board itself -- basically any visual clues that will help others identify a card.
For USB based devices, as they tend to be completely encased, it is difficult, if not impossible, to make any visual identifications of components used in the device's design without resorting to physically prying it open. The degree of difficulty of undertaking such a task can vary greatly, but in most cases the user can, with patience and care, find a way to non-destructively disassemble the device. Nonetheless, anyone attempting such a venture should be prepared to fully accept the consequences of their own actions in the event of an unsuccessful attempt. If you are not willing to do so, proceed to step "B".
B. With the device installed within or attached to the system:
For PCI or PCIe based devices, the output of the following commands may be able to aide you in making a determination
$ /sbin/lspci -v
$ /sbin/lspci -vnn
In the output from those commands, look for lines with
Multimedia video controller: ... Multimedia controller: ...
or "Multimedia adapters" or something similar. Of particular interest is the subsystem ID for that entry.
Similarily, for USB devices, look at the output generated from the command
$ /sbin/lsusb -v
C. Consult the Mailing Lists
Send the information obtained from steps "A" and "B" to the mailing list, but please first do a search through the archives* to make sure that this hasn't been submitted previously --- a simple way to check if this has been the case is to search the archives for your device's subsystem ID (as determined in step "B").
* because most users don't make a distinction between the two different, but in many ways intertwined, subsystems, there is a lot of misplacement/mis-posting of threads on both the V4L and DVB mailing lists; hence you should check both lists' archives:
- MARC provides a comprehensive searchable V4L archive ... the actual m/l is archived here but requires authentication to access, nor is it as easily searched through
- MARC also provides a searchable DVB archive, but its records are not comprehensive (dating back only to Feb 2006). Therefore, for inquiries relevant to older equipment you will have to sift through either the new DVB mailing list (which began Feb 2005) or use the likes of either a goolge site search or spinics to find even older DVB m/l postings.
D. More preliminary steps you can take in finding whether support for your device exists or not
- Try a google search -- try various combinations of your device's name, the term "Linux" and/or "how to", and the device's subsystem ID for your keyword searches .... there may be support for your device offered outside of LinuxTV's support.
- There are likely also a number of websites (outside of the LinuxTV wiki) that track hardware support -- For example, you can take a look at http://hardware4linux.info/type/87/ to see the note for the different devices.