Example setups

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This page provides examples of working hardware and software system configurations that may provide guidance for readers as to what can be accomplished on or with their own system.

If you believe you have a PVR / Linuxtv box that works well, please post a description that may be beneficial for others to read [such as your system hardware (mobo/chip/video), what TV tuner device you have (ideally with a link to the manufacturer's product page or to the device's entry here in the wiki) and with what kernel, drivers and software applications you operate on your system].

In order to be most useful for the reader, this page is divided into three sections:

  • setups for DVB cards that rely on "software decoding" (aka budget cards ... DVB cards without hardware decoders)
  • setups for DVB cards with hardware decoders (aka full featured cards)
  • setups for analog TV cards

Each of the three sections can, in turn, be subdivided into categories covering the different standards (DVB-{C,S,T}, ATSC) for that type of hardware. Please add to the appropriate one, or create a new one if need be.

Readers should note that the suggestions found here are just that -- suggestions. For a more complete listing of available programs, see the commented TV Related Software page. Likewise, for more complete listings of supported hardware, consult the [Hardware & Components] section of the wiki.

A sample solution for a system with a budget DVB card

My system is a Twinhan DTV Mini Ter on a cheap HP Pentium 4 1.2GHz. The graphic card is only an on-board Intel 82810E with shared memory, so nothing fancy.

After installing the card drivers, I tried several solutions. I didn't get the VDR Software Decoder Plugin working so I tried xine -- which worked on the first trial and provides much functionality (for watching) on an easy and intuitive interface.


I use a TwinHan Express compatible card Axtrom which works great with linux. So far kaffeine is the best choice to use with a budget card. Since xine does not let you to record and it's interface is buggy and VDR is very hard to setup and startup I decided to stick to kaffeine. It lets you record un-attended. you can even record and watch multiple channels within same transponder.


DVB-T example

Location: Hampshire, UK

Device: Nova-T stick

Hardware: Via SP13000 epia system

OS: Fedora Core 6

kernel: 2.6.18-1.2869.fc6

Drivers: extracted from hg

Works reasonably well, records about 8 TV programs a day using freevo. Get kernel ops requiring reboot about once a month, can be slow to tune and sometimes doesn't tune at all. Wouldn't recommend this device if you are looking for a hastle free solution ;) Also worth noting that I can only watch live TV with mplayer / xine, and record using mplayer. Things like dvbstreamer don't work with this stick, I just get mt2060 errors to syslog and no data.

UPDATE - see here for new driver / firmware details to solve the various problems. Now streaming works correctly and I no longer get mt2060 errors, seems to work very well. Will update and remove previous comments once stability and long term lack of ops is proved.

Another DVB-T example

Location: Sydney, Australia

Devices: 2 x LifeView TV Walker Twin

Distribution: Debian

Kernel: 2.6.20

Drivers: from http://linuxtv.org/hg/~aapot/m920x

Software: kaffeine

Works fine playing and recording. It should be possible to play/record up to 4 channels simultaneously with this setup. Tuning a new channel takes 1-2 seconds.

Another example, using Terratec Card

It was really easy to setup the following, good working configuration:

  • Debian linux
  • kernel.org sources for
  • Terratec Cinergy HT !CardBus card, [1]
  • kernel modules:
    • tda827x
    • saa7134_dvb
    • video_buf_dvb
    • dvb_core
    • tda1004x
    • tuner
    • saa7134
    • video_buf
    • compat_ioctl32
    • ir_kbd_i2c
    • ir_common
    • videodev
    • v4l2_common
    • v4l1_compat (for older software, compatibility with e.g. {{{camE}}}
  • no additional firmware was required
  • no kernel parameters were required
  • watching analog + composite works fine with:
    • gxine, xawtv
  • watching dvb-t works fine with
    • gxine

To get the DVB-channels for Austria / Linz, i had the following line in the scan-script: T 650000000 8MHz 3/4 NONE QAM16 8k 1/4 NONE #K43, Linz found on [2].

A sample solution for MPEG-4 encoded / PAFF interlaced streams with budget card

  • Transmiter: Emitel/POT - Warsaw; Poland
  • Compression: video - MPEG-4; audio MPEG-2/AC3
  • Hardware:
    • AMD 1.7XP/512MB DDR400 as MythTV server & client (frontend)
    • AMD64 3200+ Venice/1024MB DDR400 as MythTV client (frontend)
    • AverMedia 777 A16A-C budget card (with Fedora 8/9 ia32 & Gentoo ~amd64)
    • AVerTV Hybrid+FM PCI (A16D) (with PLD Th ia32)
  • Software:

Due to MPEG-4 encoding and no PAFF interlacing in x264 must use CoreAVC commercial codec v. 1.7 ~ 15 €. Served by coreavc-for-linux dshowserver. Note that works good with Mythtv 0.21 and xine-libs+xine-ui. Other xine front-ends freezes when changing channels. To convert such streams use 32bit mencoder with dshowserver patch.

It's a pity both my computers are too slow to decode HD/MPEG-4 streams.

A sample solution for a system with a full-featured card

DVB-C example
My system is a MythTV pc installed with Fedora Core 6 following this howto. I use the TechnoTrend Premium C-2300 hybrid DVB-C card, which I bought from Dvbshop in Germany. I was thinking buying the TechnoTrend Budget C-1500, but it was out of stock from Dvbshop at that time. I am going to document in the MythTV Wiki how to use the Norway - Grimstad channels.conf file for setting up channels in MythTV. Also see, the Grimstad Cable TV use example.

A sample solution for a system with an analog card

My PVR is constructed with a low-power, fanless, mini-itx computer hidden within a former dual-tape recorder.

  • Zotac ION N230 with integrated Intel ATOM CPU and Nvidia GPU
  • HVR-1950, which has a MPEG2 encoder

These seems like a weak setup for PVR use. However, it works because of the specific hardware combinations:-

  • MPEG2 from the HVR-1950 imposes little CPU demand when recording.
  • VDPAU libraries use the integrated GPU with little CPU demand during playback.

Here is a script for NTSC-tv or cable:-

 # record analog TV (MPEG2 Transport Stream) from HVR-1950 
 # file: tv1.sh

 PREFIX=`date +%F-%H-%M`
 echo "[tv1.sh channel=$1 duration=$2 seconds]"

 ivtv-tune --freqtable=us-cable --channel=$1
 (cat /dev/video0 > ~/Videos/${PREFIX}_$1.ts)&
 echo waiting $2 seconds for channel $1 process $pid
 sleep $2
 kill $pid
 echo Bye..

Also See: