What is V4L or DVB?

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Revision as of 23:37, 7 September 2009 by CityK (talk | contribs) (minor edit)
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LinuxTV.org hosts both the Video For Linux (often written as "Video4Linux", or abbreviated as "V4L", or sometimes "v4l") and Linux DVB subsystems, which are governed by their respective application programming interface (API).

The V4L API is essentially a kernel interface for analog video capture and output drivers, and is applicable to most video streams that are not related to DVB devices (see explanation below) or graphics cards -- though, the V4L API also entails a few oddities such as analog radio and RDS services. Examples of devices which fall within the scope of V4L are, amongst others, webcams, MPEG encoders/decoders, digital video streamers, analog TV tuners and video capture devices.

The term Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) is originally a synonym for Digital TV (often written short as DTV), and refers to telecommunication systems that send TV signals by way of digital transmission schemes, in contrast to the older, traditional, methods of signal transmission employed by Analog TV systems. Consequently, the Linux DVB API is essentially a kernel interface for Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) device drivers. Not surprising then, DVB devices are largely comprised by TV receiver systems, in form of either an add in computer device or STB, for the varying Digital TV standards utilized around the world -- though, the DVB API also entails coverage for some other purposes such as satellite based internet service.

Despite the fact that these two subsystems are very unique from one another, real world application often finds them closely intertwined in scope or context. As such, it is practical that the two are housed together, as it fosters a more efficient dissemination of content and, in general, makes for a more user friendly source of information. At the same time, this by no means undermines the fact that we are indeed dealing with two unique subsystems!

Unfortunately, the distinction between the two is not always realized or made in contemporary dialogue, leading to misappropriate usage of the terms "V4L" or "DVB".

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