I posted a tutorial a long time ago for this, but thought I would revive it for anyone that may need it searching on google or on the forums.
If you have a Hauppauge PVR150/250/350/500 tv tuner card on your computer, this tutorial will show you how to get TV working in Ubuntu. And for users of other distros, everything is the same except for how to get ivtv-utils. Check your package manager to download ivtv drivers.
Do: (Leave out vlc if you already have it.)
Open VLC player
sudo apt-get install ivtv-utils vlc
Media -> Open Capture Device -> PVR (from pull down menu) -> Play.
Then you can do (in terminal)
(25 is channel number)
Which changes the channel. (this is for people that have cable coming into their computer directly, and NOT coming from the cable box)
If your signal is coming from a cable or satellite box, do ivtv-tune -c3 and change the channel on the box.
To see the options which control the card, but you probably won't need to change anything for TV.
For a cool desktop tv remote,(so you dont have to use terminal to change channels, or to start tv) go to: http://tvremote.sourceforge.net/ Highly recommended.
Remember to have Java installed first. Then you can right click>properties> open with> java. Also go to the permissions tab and make executable. After that, just click normally to launch.
To record tv while you're watching, in VLC, go to Views and check off advanced contols. You will then see a record button in vlc's interface. All recordings will be saved to your home folder.
For another way to watch and schedule TV recordings, there is also TV-Viewer. A good GUI-based way of recording and watching TV.
For those who prefer the command line method, we are going to use cron for the job.
We need to make sure you are a member of the crontab group first. Go to System>Administration>Users and Groups and unlock the window by clicking the keys button, or the "unlock" button. Enter password. Then click on Manage Groups button. Scroll down until you see the crontab entry. Highlight it, and then click on Properties. Check your name if it is not already. Log out and then back in.
First, select which channel you want to record by: (we will use channel 25 as an example)
Then, in the same terminal window, do:
Delete everything you see in there.
Then as an example of a recording you want done on Dec. 31 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM, you would enter in crontab: (see below for an explanation of how cron works)
# start recording
00 16 31 12 05 cat /dev/video0 > /home/user_name/name_of_show.mpg
# stop recording
30 17 31 12 05 killall cat
To save the job, do Ctrl-X then Y then Enter.
Remember to put your user name in after /home. You can name the show whatever you want, just make sure you have .mpg after the name.
For those not familiar with cron, in the line 00 16 31 12 05 cat /dev/video0 > /home/user_name/name_of_show.mpg
00 represents the minutes of the hour (4:00), 16 is the hour (4:00 a 24 hour clock is used. 12 midnight would be 00, 1 AM would be 01, etc.), 31 is the date, 12 is the month, 05 is the day of the week -Thurs. in this case. (Sunday is 00, Monday is 01, etc)
You may also find the following link useful. Thanks to MeKino for this. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=758845