Pinnacle PCTV nano Stick (73e)

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This is a very small USB stick for DVB-T reception, made by Pinnacle. It comes with a small thin antenna and a remote control.

It is advertised as specially sensitive and thus able to capture weak signals, but not in moving environments such as cars. My experience is that the sensitivity of reception/reception quality is comparable to PCI DVB-T cards such as the TwinhanDTV Digital Terrestrial TV Card Ter. In any case it's a neat device - very compact, which is also true for its remote control.

Note that this USB sticks requires a USB 2.0 slot (USB 1.1 is not enough, as according to the driver, the USB stick does not have a hardware PID filter, i.e. the data stream is of the order of 8 MB/s which is too much for USB 1.1). Also, I noticed that the powersupply via USB is crucial - on my laptop, the USB port did not provide enough current to actually watch TV (although tuning partially worked, which was very confusing). Now, an externally powered USB 2.0 hub solved the problem.

For older kernels, the stick does not work with standard Linux distribution kernel drivers, but installation of v4l-dvb is not difficult (see below "Driver Compilation and Installation"). For kernel versions and higher (and probably some earlier ones, too), the standard Debian distro kernel image identified and loaded the drivers correctly, but I had to install the firmware (see below "Firmware Installation").


First check we're talking about the same piece of hardware:

$lsusb -v
Bus xxx Device yyy: ID 2304:0237 Pinnacle Systems, Inc. [hex]
Device Descriptor:
  idVendor           0x2304 Pinnacle Systems, Inc. [hex]
  idProduct          0x0237

Driver Compilation and Installation

If your distro kernel does not have the drivers included, you have to download and compile the driver v4l-dvb to get it running, but that's only a few command lines.

Install mercurial and linux-kernel-headers. In Debian-related systems like Ubuntu this is:

sudo apt-get install dvb-utils mercurial build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)

And then in any system:

hg clone
cd v4l-dvb
hg update -C 4501
sudo make install

You can now restart your computer, but for me it worked to just do:

sudo modprobe -v v4l-dvb 

You can test whether the driver is running with

ls /dev/dvb*

where you should get something, and not a "No such file...".

Now go and watch DVB-T with programs like Kaffeine or play around with the hardware, see Testing your DVB device.

Firmware Installation

If you plug in the USB stick and get an error message like "firmware not found", you have to download the firmware:

cd /lib/firmware
sudo wget

This downloads one file into the /lib/firmware directory. Now plug in the stick again, and it should load fine (without the "firmware" error message), i.e. you get an adapter0 if you do

ls /dev/dvb*

More info

Sources: This is where I got these tricks from -- thanks guys:

According to this documentation on a French speaking Ubuntu wiki, this device contains the DiBcom 7000 chipset and works as expected with the corresponding drivers.

Also here from Linux-dvb mailing list, probably works