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Kaffeine is a very versatile KDE media player that, by default, utilizes Xine as its backend. It has a simple but intuitive interface (example screenshot) and is easy to setup. Amongst its list of supported formats are CDDA, VCD, DVD, .... and, since versions >0.5, it also provides full DVB support.

Note: This page is a mess; contains dated information; and smacks of ungrateful, whiny, biased, self-centred end-user comments....in other words, it could stand for some clean up :)

The latest version is 0.8.8.

  • TV and Radio
  • Time Shifting
  • Recording -- including unattended recording
  • Network streaming (transmission and reception)
  • EPG, EPG-driven recording timers, OSD EPG now and next.
  • AC3
  • DVB subtitles
  • HDTV: Kaffeine will display HDTV delivered over DVB-S2 or DVB-S (e.g. BBC HD on Astra 2 at 28.8 degrees East). To use multithreaded ffmpeg decoding set the xine option video.processing.ffmpeg_thread_count equal to the number of CPUs, ie. 2 for a Dual-core or 4 for a Quad-core (in the GUI it is in Settings/Xine engine config/Video/Advanced). BBC HD and LUXE HD working.
  • DVB-S2 support (via S2API) was released in Kaffeine version 0.8.8 (23.05.2009). A patch (no longer necessary) adding DVB-S2 support to Kaffeine is available here: http://linuxtv.org/pipermail/linux-dvb/2008-October/029839.html.
  • Remote control
  • Handles multiple devices of any type (DVB-{C,S,T} and ATSC1 ).... and even if you have only one DVB device, Kaffeine can simultaneously play and record different channels within a same transponder).
  • Handles mutiple frontends on a single device (for example a multi-standard card supporting say DVB-S and DVB-T).
  • Channel scanning on multiple devices/frontends, and multiple satellites.
  • Channel favourites lists.
  • DiSEqC 1.x switches, DiSEqC 1.2 rotors and USALS type goto longitude feature.
  • Supports both Low and High level CI.
  • KDE application style, rather than set top box (like MythTV or VDR)

Note 1: Scanning with ATSC hardware is supported since version 0.8.7. For older versions, to configure tuning support for ATSC devices, refer to the directions contained in this thread.

Available Flavours

Bleeding-edge KDE3 Version

To make use of the latest features (e.g. HDTV and S2API support) you might need to compile bleeding-edge versions of ffmpeg,xine-lib and kaffeine.

Remove old versions of ffmpeg,xine-lib and kaffeine first (but type 'ffmpeg' first to check what compilation options were used).

Get SVN ffmpeg, check what compilation options your old version used, compile and install

ffmpeg [shows old compilation options]
svn checkout svn://svn.mplayerhq.hu/ffmpeg/trunk ffmpeg
cd ffmpeg
./configure  [plus old options]
sudo make install

Get latest xine-lib, compile with --with-external-ffmpeg option, install

hg clone http://hg.debian.org/hg/xine-lib/xine-lib
cd xine-lib
./configure --prefix=/usr --with-external-ffmpeg
sudo make install

Get SVN kaffeine. Remove all projects (subdirs) you don't want to build. At least you need admin and kaffeine of course. Configure, making sure your current kernel includes are found (it needs linux/dvb/frontend.h) using --with-extra-includes if necessary. Compile and install.

svn co svn://anonsvn.kde.org/home/kde/branches/extragear/kde3/multimedia
cd multimedia
rm -fr doc k3b kdetv klicker kmplayer kplayer
make -f Makefile.cvs
./configure --with-extra-includes=/lib/modules/`uname -r`/source/include  [for example]
cd kaffeine
sudo make install

KDE4 Version

The latest Kaffeine release is a KDE3 application although it can be made to run under KDE4. A KDE4 version (kaffeine4) is under development here http://websvn.kde.org/trunk/extragear/multimedia/kaffeine/ . As of May 2009 it is unfortunately only pre-alpha. It plays DVDs, videos and finds some (not all) DVB channels but with a host of missing features and options. When you consider that KDE is already at version 4.2 and extremely good, it's a mystery why Kaffeine 4 development has lagged behind. Those interested in the DVB features of Kaffeine may be alarmed to hear that the the mature core DVB (i.e. not just GUI) code from Kaffeine 3 has been almost entirely dropped and is being rewritten by the new maintainer. Why? Just expect pain. Please do try it out and give feedback, give help and report bugs (http://bugs.kde.org). Get KDE4.2 (e.g. from http://kubuntu.org) and do the following:

svn co svn://anonsvn.kde.org/home/kde/trunk/extragear/multimedia/kaffeine
mkdir kaffeine-build
cd kaffeine-build
cmake ../kaffeine

The authors claimed a while ago that they required new features in Phonon, although this was disputed by Aaron Seigo. See http://dot.kde.org/1166377123/1166385374/1166438293/ and http://hftom.free.fr/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=18.

April 26 2009: Maintainership changed hands and a 1.0-pre1 preview version was announced. See http://kaffeine.kde.org.

Example of Using Kaffeine for "over the air broadcasts"

(assumes you have correctly installed your DVB device)

A) Simply open up Kaffeine

B) choose "Digital TV" in the Start Menu

C) hit "Configure Television" option icon

D) Click on the appropriate "Device" tab ... if you only have one DVB device installed, it should be "Device 1"

E) Choose "Source" or whatever is appropriate for your usage (e.g. "us-ATSC-center-frequencies-8VSB" for over-air broadcasts in the U.S.; ....)

F) Close window, go back to Kaffeine TV window and click "Channels" option icon

G) In "Channels" window, make sure the "Source" is set correctly (i.e. to "ATSC" in this example), then hit "Start Scan" button -- the scan will take a couple of minutes or so

H) Once the scan is complete, highlight all channels found in the right-hand box "Scan Results" (or all that you would like to save) then click "Add Selected" and those channels will then appear in the left-hand box called "Channels"

I) Hit "OKAY" to get out of "Channels" window and you will return to Kaffeine "Digital TV" window with your selected channels appearing in the left margin column.

j) Double click on a channel to select -- and now hopefully you are watching !

KDE4 Version with OpenGL OSD

Some work has been done on a better on-screen display (OSD) using OpenGL. It is under development here http://websvn.kde.org/trunk/extragear/multimedia/kaffeinegl/. It looks like this repo is for testing the interface rather than a full Kaffeine program. Hopefully the result will be an improved OSD in Kaffeine4. Try it out and contribute: get KDE4 (e.g. http://kubuntu.org) and do the following:

svn co svn://anonsvn.kde.org/home/kde/trunk/extragear/multimedia/kaffeinegl
mkdir kaffeinegl-build
cd kaffeinegl-build
cmake ../kaffeinegl

External Links