Originally Published: Sunday, 9 April 2000 Author: Jan-Erik Mouzakis Gagnum
Published to: enhance_articles_multimedia/Video Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

User Experiences With Setting Up TV Tuner Cards in Linux

Check out my experiences with setting up my tv tuner card.

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This weekend I purchased my first TV tuner; a Hauppauge WinTv card. I was really exited about installing it, and on the way back from the store I remember thinking how eager I was to watch TV. Before I returned home I stopped to purchase and VHF/UHF antenna from my local Radio Shack dealer. I spent about 50 dollars for the card (Hauppauge WinTv Go) after unsuccessfully trying hard to persuade the salesman to sell me an OEM version. Then $24 for an expensive indoor antenna, for a total of about $74 all together. Now for the actual setup.

I quickly installed the tuner in a free PCI slot and started up my machine. Then I had to compile the kernel modules for bttv support, since Hauppauge tuners use the bttv chipset. Because I had the latest stable kernel version, I didn't I needed to download and compile the latest bttv driver since it is included in the kernel. If you want to re-compile the kernel and add video for Linux support, as well as the BT848 driver directly in the kernel you can do that, but I would just recommend you use the module, its easier.

After compiling and installing the new modules, I made sure they startup at boot time, by adding them in /etc/modules. The modules must load in a certain order just in case one is dependent on another. Load the i2c module first, then videodev followed by the bttv, and then tuner. Thats it! Now your tuner should be ready to be recognized by software, such as KWinTV and XawTV. So what exactly what did I do? I got the latest version of KWinTV, (my preference) since it has a scanner that scans all frequencies looking of channels with good reception. Of course I did all this after hooking up the antenna to the coaxial input cable, on the card. Amongst other things the Hauppauge WinTv card comes with a audio output line, which I then connected to the audio line-in of my sound card, and a composite video input, for video connections.

The results for the auto scan found 7 channels to my surprise, since the building I live in does not have a central antenna, I have to use a smaller one, which did not have good reception. For some reason the sound was working perfectly but there was no picture. Well there still is no picture, since I have to run some more tests, such as testing it on another machine, in another location, where there is better reception (i know for sure). I think the problem right now is a poor reception, although the one thing that keeps me from believing this is that the sound is hear really good, ie no distortions or interference. This then leads me to believe that there is something wrong with the tuner hardware itself. At this point I'm just making my own tests and gathering results, and getting more frustrated with the results I'm getting. I also tried the card in Windows, with still exactly the same problem; sound, but now picture. I also removed a second graphics card that could have been conflicting, although I think that was all for not.

What i have managed to do, is to scan a few frequencies and home in on some police dispatches, which I must admit was pretty amusing.

This goes to show that one must consider all possible situations that things can go wrong. Right now I can't really say whether it is a reception problem, or a hardware, but with further testing I hope to find out. I believe my experience has, or will offer useful information for future Linux TV watchers. Goodbye for now.

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