Archived:How to install DVB device drivers

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This page contains information to help an "end user" install DVB device drivers in a GNU/Linux system.

Note: This article assumes you have already physically installed or connected the hardware device into your system. (Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for details).

Solution for new kernels (2.6)

If you have a new Linux kernel and its compiled with many modules installed (as normal Linux distros ship it), then chances are good that a driver for your device has been included. In that case, upon boot up of Linux, your device should be detected and the driver modules loaded. Use


to see if the required modules are installed with your kernel. Which are the required ones? That depends on the chipsets used by your device (See TwinhanDTV Digital Terrestrial TV Card Ter as an example).

If the drivers were loaded automagically, you should now have a non-empty directory

 ls -l /dev/dvb/adapter*

If you don't see such directory, then something has failed. (Note: this directory is created automatically by udev, so you do not need to create it yourself).

If a module did not load, but you know you have it configured on your system, you can load it with the appropriate


If you have all the modules active (listed in lsmod) but no /dev/dvb/ directories to be found, check dmesg for any errors, ie:

dmesg | grep dvb  

The problem may be as simple as the firmware for the device not being load. For example, for many TechnoTrend & Hauppauge (and other similar "premium" cards), if the dvb-ttpci firmware is not available you will observe an error such as: With Ubuntu 6.06.1 the problem was that dvb-ttpci was not in the firmware directory.

dvb-ttpci: could not load firmware, file not found: dvb-ttpci-01.fw
dvb-ttpci: usually this should be in /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware or /lib/firmware
dvb-ttpci: and can be downloaded from

Resolving that missing firmware issue should then result in proper detection and configuration of your device.

Solution for old kernels (2.4.x)

The linux DVB drivers work on only reasonably new kernels (>= 2.6.12) and so you should upgrade your kernel to a 2.6 kernel before attempting to use DVB. You should also investigate installing the "udev" package (for kernels >= 2.6.15) which automatically populates the /dev directory when devices are found.

The LinuxTV drivers

The LinuxTV project hosts the latest set of drivers for v4l-dvb devices.


1. Acquire the necessary software
Before you can start you need the following:

  • mercurial: needed to download the latest source
  • kernel-headers, make, gcc: needed to compile the the driver

The following provides examples of how to install those software packages for some distributions:

On Debian-based distributions you can use the following command to install all required software:

 $ [sudo] apt-get install mercurial linux-headers-$(uname -r) build-essential

Note: [sudo] means that you only have to specify "sudo" if you aren't root, otherwise omit it.

On Gentoo-based distributions you can use the following command to install mercurial. Other dependancies are installed in main system tree.

 $ [sudo] emerge mercurial

Fedora is just as easy:

 $ [sudo] yum install mercurial

On Mandriva you can use:

 $ [sudo] urpmi mercurial

provided you setup a contrib source

2. Obtain latest v4l-dvb source code from LinuxTV
After we have installed all required software you should be able to download the latest source code with the following command:

 $ hg clone

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

3. Compile the v4l-dvb source code
Let's go inside the directory that contains the previously downloaded source:

 $ cd v4l-dvb

Then compile the source:

 $ make

If you run into any problems here, you should contact the developers via on #linuxtv or on #dvb.

4. Install the drivers
The next step is to install the driver by executing:

 $ sudo make install

Perhaps the most straight forward thing to do at this point for the newbie would be just to restart your system.

More experienced users might appreciate using "sudo make unload" (which essentially will remove all modules (rmmod) for the device that might be currently loaded in memory from the running kernel) and then "modprobe" the appropriate driver modules for your device.

Either way, the end result should be the same.

6. A note on firmware
Some devices also need a firmware. To obtain the correct firmware you need to know what card you're using. Normally the device name and model are written on the device, on the box or in the manual.

The output of the following tools may be helpful, too. For PCI devices use

 $ lspci -v

For USB devices use

 $ lsusb -v

Most firmware (if needed) can be found on one of these links:

However, not all supported devices have a firmware that is easily available (eg Hauppauge HVR 1100 & 1300). Firmware for such cards could be loaded via temporary installation in an MS Windows System with the Manufacturer supplied drivers.

Once you find the necessary firmware for your device, copy it into the appropriate hotplug directory. The location of this directory depends on your distribution, but normally it's one of those:


Further documentation