Archived:HOW TO Installing DVB

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This page contains information to help an "end user" install a DVB device on his or her GNU/Linux system.

NOTE: Some of the following steps are specific to Debian-based distributions, however these instructions should still be helpful to users of other distributions as a guide.

Required Software

Before starting, you'll need to have installed the following software:

  • mercurial: needed to download the latest source from the source code management system used by LinuxTV developers
  • kernel-headers: needed for compiling the the driver
  • compiling suite: tools for compiling and installing the driver
    • make
    • gcc

This guide does not include steps to accomplish the installation of the above software for all distributions.

Required Software: Debian and Debian-based

On Debian (and Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu) you can use the following command to install all the required software:

 $ sudo apt-get install mercurial linux-headers-$(uname -r) build-essential gcc make

Obtain latest source

Now that we have all the software installed you should be able to download the latest source with the following command:

 $ hg clone

This should create a directory called v4l-dvb in the current working directory.

Compiling the latest driver

Let's go inside the directory that contains the previously downloaded source. Now we just have to compile the source with

 $ make

If you run into any problems here, you can contact the developers via IRC at:

  • Server:
  • Channels: #linuxtv #dvb

Obtain the firmware

To obtain the firmware needed by your device you need to know the name and model. The device name and model are usually written on the device itself, on the box and/or in the manual, but you can also use the command:

 $ lspci -v

if your device is connected by PCI or

 $ lsusb -v

if your device is connected by USB to discover such information.

Selecting the right firmware

Now that you know the details of your device, you can look at the list of the supported devices at:

There you can find which firmware you'll require (if any).

Downloading and installing the firmware

The firmware can be found on one of the following addresses:

It must be downloaded to the directory used by your hotplug installation; that usually depends on the distribution you're using. Normally it's one of the following directories:


Installing the driver

The next step is to install the driver. To install the driver you have to execute:

 $ sudo make install

Then connect the device (if external) and reboot. After that start your preferred program for watching DVB (eg. Kaffeine).

Appendix A: Further reading

Further steps can be followed at:

Appendix B: FAQ

Q: My device was working perfectly previously, but now is not recongnized anymore. Any idea why?

A: It's possible that you're using a different kernel now, so you have to install the driver again and ensure that the firmware is reached by the hotplug system. This problem occurs due to certain distributions (such as Ubuntu) using a firmware directory specific to each kernel version installed.

Q: My DVB device is recognized but I'm not able to use it. What can I do?

A: You should check that the user that is trying to access DVB device has permissions to read and write to the /dev/dvb directory which contains all virtual files representing a DVB device discovered by your system.

Q: I have download the firmware but /dev/dvb is not present on my system. How come?

A: It's possible that you've saved the firmware in a directory that's not used by the hotplug system for discovering the available firmware, or the firmare is not readble by ALL users. Also, read Documentation/dvb/udev.txt included in your kernel documentation to ensure udev is configured correctly.