xawtv was originally just an analogue TV viewing application for Bttv devices (bt848, bt878), written by Gerd Knorr, but evolved into a small suite of X11 applications for V4L devices (the 3.9x branch). The version 4.x development branch, amongst other changes, added support for DVB functionality.
xawtv 3.xx branch
For a number of years, development on the version 3 branch (and 4 as well, actually) had come to a halt. Having not kept in step with broader kernel developments, version 3 had become broken and most Linux distributions choosing to include it within their releases were stuck with having to independently provided their own patch solutions to xawtv version 3.95. It is doubtful that version 4 ever saw widespread packaging by distributions. In any regard, in 2010, an effort was made by LinuxTV developers to provide a centralized repository for both versions (see here and here for details).
The xawtv version 3.xx development repository can now be found in the http://git.linuxtv.org/xawtv3.git tree.
Since becoming hosted on LinuxTV, there have been a number of changes made to this original xawtv branch that help to modernize it and allow it to act as a reference like V4L application. In time, it is hoped that Linux distributions will both submit changes to this version as well as utilize it as the one they package within their releases.
The xawtv package includes a number of useful console commandline utilities. Some Linux distributions have, in the past, chosen to separate these utilities from the core application, and have packaged them under varying names [i.e. v4l-tools (SUSE), xawtv-tools (debian?)]. Some of these utilities include:
- alevtd - a http deamon for use with analogue TV teletext
- mtt - a console and X11 based teletext viewer
- radio -- a console radio listening app
- scantv -- an analogue TV frequency scanner
- v4l-conf -- current video mode (size and color depth)
- v4lctl -- used to control a v4l device and set varying image parameters
- webcam -- capture images from a webcam
See http://git.linuxtv.org/xawtv3.git/blob/HEAD:/README for more information.
xawtv 4.xx branch
The version 4 branch was never officially released, and might be described as existing in its alpha stage of development. Some of the new features it introduced, in comparison to the version 3 branch, where changes to the main app's GUI and configuration, support for DVB devices, and support for analog devices with hardware based MPEG encoding. See the New_IN_4 file for further details.
Similar as to the case with the version 3 branch, development on the version 4 branch came to a halt a number of years ago. Likewise, the xawtv version 4.xx branch is also now hosted on LinuxTV, where the development repository can be found in the http://git.linuxtv.org/xawtv4.git tree. However, unlike version 3, this branch essentially remains in a state of stasis, and awaits anyone so inclined and willing to pickup/resume its development.
While most of the associated utilities from the version 3 branch have been carried over untouched, some have undergone some change, primarily in regard to the package's incorporation of dvb support. For example, the mtt application now features support for digital teletext in addition to its original analogue teletext capabilities.
The new dvb feature extension also resulted in the addition of a few entirely new utilities to the xawtv package. Notables include:
- alexplore - a dvb frequency scanner
- dvbrowse - a slave epg utility to a master tuning application
- dvbradio - a console dvb audio stream listener
On the whole, many of the elements of the version 4 package are currently simply unusable, while others function quite well. This should not be particularly surprising for essentially alpha stage software.