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Kaffeine is a media player. What makes it different from the others is its excellent support of digital TV (DVB). Kaffeine has user-friendly interface, so that even first time users can start immediately playing their movies: from DVD (including DVD menus, titles, chapters, etc.), VCD, or a file.

Kaffeine version 2.0, launched in 2016, has its GUI witten on the top of KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt5. For video/audio playback, it uses libVLC as backend, and it interfaces with Linux TV devices via libdvbv5.

It has a simple but intuitive interface (example live TV 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.

The latest version is 2.0.3.

Supported features:

  • Digital TV and Radio via Digital TV
  • Time Shifting
  • Recording -- including unattended recording
  • EPG, EPG-driven recording timers, OSD EPG now and next.
  • AC3
  • DVB subtitles
  • HDTV
  • Multi standards are supported:
    • Cable standards: DVB-C
    • Terrestrial standards: ATSC, ISDB-T, DVB-T, DVB-T2;
    • Satellital Standards: DVB-S, DVB-S2
  • Kaffeine can simultaneously play and record different channels within the same transponder.
  • Nicely handles mutiple frontends on a single device (for example a multi-standard card supporting DVB-C and DVB-T/T2 on the same frontend).
  • Channel scanning on multiple devices/frontends, and multiple satellites.
  • Channel favourites lists.
  • DiSEqC 1.x switches, DiSEqC 1.2 rotors and USALS.
  • Supports both Low and High level CI.
  • KDE application style, rather than set top box (like MythTV or VDR)

Command line options

The files/URLs opened by the application will be deleted after use
-f --fullscreen
Start in full screen mode
Play Audio CD
Play Video CD
Play DVD
Dump dvb data (debug option)
--channel name / number
Play TV channel
--tv channel
(deprecated option)
Play last tuned TV channel
Files or URLs to play

Setting up Kaffeine for live view (e. g. "over the air broadcasts")

(assumes you have correctly installed your DVB device)

A) Simply open up Kaffeine

Kaffeine initial screen

B) choose "Digital TV" in the Start Menu

Digital TV screen

PS.: if it is the first time you're using, the channel tab will be empty and the main screen will be black.

C) hit "Configure Television" option icon

Configure Television screen

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

Configure ATSC device screen

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

Scan channels screen

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

Scan channels screen after scan

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"

Scan channels screen with channel added

I) Hit "Ok" 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 !


Kaffeine uses the file scanfile.dvb with a list of known channels per locality and per Satellite (for DVB-S/S2).

The scanfile.dvb file is weekly updated when new patches are added to the Digital TV scan tables git tree.

When either new channels are added on some City, or when new Satellite beams are added, which are not available in Kaffeine, either use dvbv5-scan or w_scan to generate a new file (in the latter case, converted to the proper format using dvb-format-convert), and submit it to linux-media@vger.kernel.org, with the subject:

 [PATCH] dtv-scan-tables: some description

The new patch will be added to scanfile.dvb and the updated file will be available to be updated from the Internet in the Kaffeine application.

External Links

Kaffeine versions

Kaffeine versions 0.x (KDE3 Version)

Originally, Kaffeine was written using KDE 3 and were maintained at SourceForge. Old versions of Kaffeine 0.x and 1.x are still available there.

The oldest available version there is Kaffeine 0.3.2, writen in 2003 by Jürgen Kofler. Latter, Christophe Thommeret joined the efforts.

Kaffeine version 1.x (KDE4 Version

The latest Kaffeine release 0.x is a KDE3 application although it can be made to run under KDE4. Kaffeine versions 1.x are rewritten to use KDE4. On that time (April, 26 2009, with Kaffeine version 1.0-pre1), Kaffeine was migrated to kde.org, and it started being maintained by Christoph Pfister. On versions 1.3.x, the maintainership switched to Lasse Lindqvist.

The authors claimed that features in Phonon were required, 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.

KDE4 Version with OpenGL OSD

Some work had been done on a better on-screen display (OSD) using OpenGL. It was under development here http://websvn.kde.org/trunk/extragear/multimedia/kaffeinegl/. Such work sounded like some development testing to improve the interface rather than a full Kaffeine program.

Kaffeine version 2.0

In Jun, 2016, Mauro Carvalho Chehab annonced Kaffeine port to KF5 and started maintaining Kaffeine version 2.0, based on KF5/Qt5, libVLC and libdvbv5.