How to set up Linux PC to watch digital TV?

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How to set up Linux PC to watch digital TV?

Postby technosinga » 2017-06-10 07:13

I want to set up my PC which is running Debian Stretch to watch digital TV of DVB-T2 broadcast.

Has anyone done this?

My online searches throw up some USB-based receivers that comes with antenna and remote control. But no mention of software.

Any suggestions for the right hardware and software for the set-up?
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Re: How to set up Linux PC to watch digital TV?

Postby Dai_trying » 2017-06-10 09:45

I use mythtv on an old laptop as a24/7 PVR system, it actually uses Mythbuntu as it was easier to get set-up and working, but I use the mythtv-frontend on my other (Debian) machines to watch and configure it. It can be set-up entirely on Debian although you may have to use deb-multimedia repository for newer versions (not checked lately but that was the situation a while back). I needed the newer versions in order to maintain compatibility with Mythbuntu but if you just want a single machine it should be achievable with Debian only.
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Re: How to set up Linux PC to watch digital TV?

Postby nikobit » 2017-07-08 15:35

Did you look towards both 'tuxTV' and 'freetuxTV' correspondingly? Not sure about DVB-T2 broadcast but there's a lot of IPTV playlists for these.
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Re: How to set up Linux PC to watch digital TV?

Postby kalle123 » 2017-07-09 11:28

Using Kaffeine under KDE and Xfce desktops ....
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Re: How to set up Linux PC to watch digital TV?

Postby Seventh » 2017-07-09 11:41

Search terms to explore.

Tvheadend / Kodi.

I use tvheadend and kodi on a debian jessie openbox system. Works a treat.
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Re: How to set up Linux PC to watch digital TV?

Postby Wroxter » 2017-07-22 14:08

You asked about hardware - make sure there are linux drivers. has some excellent pages for linux compatable hardware. Tuner drivers are often closed source binary blobs and not available for linux. So unless the company provides one or someone has figured out open source versions or existing linux drivers that may work on the specific chips in the device...

Depending on what you are doing you may want to investigate something like the HD HomeRun tuners. These are LAN connected and can stream signals to PCs or other connected devices. I am in North America and they work well here and they apparently do sell other models.

Antennae can be as simple as a bit of copper tubing, some RG-6 cable and a balun, or commercially constructed and more expensive. There are outrageous claims on some, which are no better than the copper pipe. ... elevision/ does have an antenna forum and while it is in NA (not T2) some good home built antennae are discussed. If you have a long cable run (or weak signals) a modern low-noise preamp is useful.

HD TV streams can be ~ 4-8 Gb/hour so a computer that can handle that in storage space if you are time shifting and more computational capacity can be better if you are doing something like flagging commercials or changing video to other formats and streaming it to other devices, while timeshifting several other broadcasts. Again that depends on what you intend to do.

We cut the cord and have been using Myth on Debian systems for the last 7 years. In the earlier years one did have to go to Sid for the on motherboard/GPU/sound drivers/kernel support. After a hard drive failure about a year ago, when I tried to re-install a backend on Stretch I did run into some issues with mysql. A slimmed down desktop such as XFCE is often recommended.

Mythbuntu is being wound down, but its install disk does simplify the install. ... allthefish
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Re: How to set up Linux PC to watch digital TV?

Postby makhan » 2018-10-30 08:56

Any legit addon of Kodi that you can suggest to watch live TV online. I know many Live TV streaming sites but need add-ons.
Last edited by makhan on 2019-01-16 15:53, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How to set up Linux PC to watch digital TV?

Postby kevinthefixer » 2018-11-11 01:38

I've been using Me-TV for years, it's easy to set up and operate. Unfortunately it is no longer being maintained and has no installation candidate for Stretch. However the Ubuntu version can be manually installed:

As far as hardware is concerned, I've had the best luck with Hauppauge devices. I have PCI cards in the desktops and a dongle for the laptop; the desktops are connected to a rooftop antenna, the laptop dongle has just a cheapie "flat" antenna, they seem to be just as effective as the old rabbit-ears.

Edit: forgot, it's also possible to watch DTV in VLC. Install the package w-scan and read the manpage; it has an option (labelled experimental but worked for me) to create a VLC-compatible playlist. The command to scan the channels and create that playlist is
Code: Select all
w_scan -f a -t 1 -c US -L

Note that you may need to change that some, the "-c US" part means "country=United States" for instance. But take the last part of the terminal output (it's separated by a line of asterisks), copy and paste it into a blank text file and save it with a .xspf extension. Open that file with VLC and you're in business; change channels (and edit the channel list) with VLC's playlist editor, double-click on the channel to switch to it. Or use the keyboard, see VLC's list of keybindings (they are fully configurable in-app). The limitation that keeps me from using this rather than Me-TV is that VLC will only show you the Electronic Program Guide for the channel you're currently watching, and if I'm looking at the EPG it's usually because I don't like what I'm watching!
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