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Thread: HOWTO: Watch digital TV (Freeview)

  1. #1
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    HOWTO: Watch digital TV (Freeview)

    Watching Digital TV (Freeview) in Ubuntu

    Introduction - PLEASE READ
    I haven't tried this since 8.04 (I no longer have a Freeview tuner), so some steps may no longer be necessary. It should still work though (on 8.10 or 9.04).

    This guide is aimed towards the UK, but it may work in other countries too.

    There are now two ways to watch TV:
    (1) If you have a digital tuner continue reading the post below.
    (2) If you don't have a tuner (or you can't be bothered to set it up) you can now watch most digital channels over the internet using Zattoo. Simply go to the website, download and install.

    What is required?
    Most of what you need to watch digital TV in Ubuntu is installed by default. There are three things required:
    1. A tuner
    2. The right modules
    3. The right firmware
    4. And a program to watch TV with


    Go through each heading in this guide and after each section check if the TV is working yet by using Kaffeine (see below). Hopefully, by the end of the page you will have installed everything you need to enjoy digital TV in Ubuntu.

    TV App and Codecs
    The best program by far for watching TV is Kaffeine. It is installed by default in Kubuntu but not in Ubuntu, so that's the first thing we need to do. Launch the terminal and enter the following. This will install Kaffeine and the necessary codecs. If you feel more comfortable doing this in Synaptic then by all means, go ahead.
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install kaffeine libxine1-ffmpeg
    It is also important to make sure that the user who is trying to watch TV is in the "video" group. To add them launch the terminal and add the following (replacing "tom" with the name of the user you want to add to the group).
    Code:
    sudo usermod -G video -a tom
    Modules
    Kernel modules are a tricky business and outside the scope of this HOWTO. Suffice it to say that modules are to Linux what drivers are to Windows. The right modules are already installed by default and are usually loaded automatically when needed. There are a few digital TV devices that aren't always autodetected. Bugs are filed against these so this should be fixed soon*. Try loading these modules then see if Kaffeine works. Try only one module at a time.
    Code:
    sudo modprobe em28xx
    sudo modprobe cx88-dvb
    sudo modprobe dvb-bt8xx
    If that works then you need to set the module to be loaded each boot. enter the following in the terminal. Replace the module name (i.e. "cx88_dvb") with whichever of the above it was that worked.
    Code:
    sudo sh -c "echo "cx88_dvb" >> /etc/modules"
    * As of March 19th 2008 there seem to be no bugs filed - maybe these have been fixed?

    Firmware
    As well as the module, Ubuntu needs the firmware for the device so that the two know how to talk to eachother. Firmwares are stored in /lib/firmware/ in folders by kernel version (take a look at /lib/firmware/ to see what I mean). These are installed by the package linux-restricted-modules. However the package doesn't always contain all the firmware files available. Therefore I have produced a collection of extra firmware files (attached). Install this package then reboot your TV tuner (by unplugging and plugging in or by rebooting the computer) and then launch Kaffeine. To install simply download the attachment then double-click it to install.

    ---

    Edits

    Januray 11 2009
    • Added info about Zattoo.

    April 19 2008
    • Updated with new package (see changelog below). I've kept the old package in case the new one breaks something.
    • Removed list of old changes. Does anyone care?

    Changelog for Firmware Bundle

    April 2008 - 1.5.5-0ubuntu1

    ---

    For more information on digital TV in Linux, visit http://www.linuxtv.org/wiki/index.php/DVB_USB
    If this tutorial fails, and I don't respond to your cries for help within 2 weeks, give this page a try - http://www.2nrds.com/digital-tv-in-l...em28xx-devices

    I will try and keep the firmware package updated every few months or as requested.

    Post any questions/problems you have and I'll do my best to answer
    Please run dmesg|tail then plug in your device and post the output in your question.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by tom56; January 11th, 2009 at 03:50 PM.

  2. #2
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    Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

    Re: HOWTO: Watch digital TV (Freeview)

    Quote Originally Posted by tom56 View Post
    4. Then run the script (replacing tda10046 with whatever firmware you need)
    Code:
    sudo /usr/src/linux-source-2.6.20/Documentation/dvb/get_dvb_firmware tda10046
    I can't seem to complete this step - I am unsure what to enter in place of "tda10046". I have a Nebula DigiTV USB unit, but I can't figure out what to enter from the page you linked to.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    (I get this terminal output)

    get_dvb_firmware nxt6000
    Unknown component "nxt6000"
    syntax: get_dvb_firmware <component>
    Supported components:
    sp8870
    sp887x
    tda10045
    tda10046
    tda10046lifeview
    av7110
    dec2000t
    dec2540t
    dec3000s
    vp7041
    dibusb
    nxt2002
    nxt2004
    or51211
    or51132_qam
    or51132_vsb
    bluebird

    So I guess I have to use one of those, but I dunno which one!!

  3. #3
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    Re: HOWTO: Watch digital TV (Freeview)

    Nice howto. I thought that usb support was suppose to be very limited.

    Can i be rude and ask which USB TV card you have? I tried to gt my old mans Cute TV USB box to work but it was a no show!

    Thanks

    Luke
    Registered Linux User #219690 @ Linux Counter, http://counter.li.org.

  4. #4
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    Re: HOWTO: Watch digital TV (Freeview)

    Quote Originally Posted by brencamb View Post
    I can't seem to complete this step - I am unsure what to enter in place of "tda10046". I have a Nebula DigiTV USB unit, but I can't figure out what to enter from the page you linked to.
    Unplug and plug back in your usb tv card. Then wait a few seconds and enter the following in the terminal and post the results here.

    Code:
    dmesg|tail

  5. #5
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    Re: HOWTO: Watch digital TV (Freeview)

    Quote Originally Posted by lukew View Post
    Nice howto. I thought that usb support was suppose to be very limited.

    Can i be rude and ask which USB TV card you have? I tried to gt my old mans Cute TV USB box to work but it was a no show!

    Thanks

    Luke
    I have a WinTV Nova-T USB (the old USB 1.1 one not the new USB 2.0 one). It works perfectly - better on Linux than in Windows actually!

  6. #6
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    Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

    Re: HOWTO: Watch digital TV (Freeview)

    Yep kaffeine is the best app for watching digi tv in linux, mythtv is way too much hassle to set up.
    i just followed this code to set up my card and it worked off a fresh feisty install....

    sudo modprobe cx88-dvb

  7. #7
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    Re: HOWTO: Watch digital TV (Freeview)

    For PAL DVB Kaffeine under Feisty has a problem. Additional Xine plugins and codecs have to be installed.

    Without them Kaffeine throws up an error message.

    I'm not sure which one precisely is needed because I just installed everything for Xine that looked relevant.

    Under Edgy it was OK so I guess someone removed the vital dependency.

    In spite of the above yes I agree that Kaffeine is an excellent program for watching digital TV.

    Rob

  8. #8
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    Re: HOWTO: Watch digital TV (Freeview)

    Quote Originally Posted by Erlander View Post
    For PAL DVB Kaffeine under Feisty has a problem. Additional Xine plugins and codecs have to be installed.

    Without them Kaffeine throws up an error message.

    I'm not sure which one precisely is needed because I just installed everything for Xine that looked relevant.

    Under Edgy it was OK so I guess someone removed the vital dependency.

    In spite of the above yes I agree that Kaffeine is an excellent program for watching digital TV.

    Rob
    That's true. Following instructions for enabling DVD Playback gets the stuff you need so I'll add the relevant bit to the original post.

  9. #9
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    Re: HOWTO: Watch digital TV (Freeview)

    No its not the DVD playback filters. Its one for TS (Transport Streams) I'll do some more checking and find precisely which one it is for PAL DVB_T

    Also if this thread is going to become a How-To then it needs to acknowledge that som tuners work out of the box and don't need firmware installed. Everything for them is included in the kernel. In the Mythtv documentation there is a list of tuners known to be in this category.

    All I have to do is the install Kaffeine and then the TS filter and I'm able to use my tuner with kaffeine. I'll check on the filter/plugin needed and get back.

    Hope this is of use.

    Rob

  10. #10
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    Re: HOWTO: Watch digital TV (Freeview)

    Quote Originally Posted by tom56 View Post
    Unplug and plug back in your usb tv card. Then wait a few seconds and enter the following in the terminal and post the results here.

    Code:
    dmesg|tail
    Finally got round to doing what you suggested - here's the results:

    [ 116.640981] dvb-usb: recv bulk message failed: -75
    [ 117.656871] dvb-usb: recv bulk message failed: -75
    [ 118.420778] usb 1-4: USB disconnect, address 4
    [ 118.422007] dvb-usb: Nebula Electronics uDigiTV DVB-T USB2.0) successfully deinitialized and disconnected.
    [ 123.196481] usb 1-4: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 5
    [ 123.328826] usb 1-4: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
    [ 123.328908] dvb-usb: found a 'Nebula Electronics uDigiTV DVB-T USB2.0)' in cold state, will try to load a firmware
    [ 123.435561] dvb-usb: did not find the firmware file. (dvb-usb-digitv-02.fw) Please see linux/Documentation/dvb/ for more details on firmware-problems. (-2)
    [ 123.435571] dvb_usb_digitv: probe of 1-4:1.0 failed with error -2
    [ 123.435592] usb 1-4: device_add(1-4:1.0) --> -2

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