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Installing and Using a USB ATSC TV Card with Me TV in Linux Lite

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N4RPS:
Hello, All!

Having used a Hauppauge WinTV USB dongle in Windows 7/8, I've noticed that the software produced by them just doesn't work very well. You're lucky to get it to work an entire hour without it 'locking up' on you.

For the sake of curiosity, I wanted to see if it worked better in Linux, and found that this device works MUCH better in Linux. My guess is that it's because the CPU workload for Linux itself is far less in Linux than in Windows 7 or 8, as trying to do this sort of thing is very processor-intensive.

This is my experience with installing and using this dongle with the Me TV software, which will detect many types of TV cards. First, I installed the needed software. Using a terminal window, I added the Me TV PPA like this:


--- Code: ---sudo add-apt-repository ppa:me-tv-development/ppa
--- End code ---

I then typed the following:


--- Code: ---sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install dvb-apps w-scan me-tv
--- End code ---

After installing the software, all I had to do was plug in the dongle, rebooted, and fired up Me TV. On a couple of my laptops, everything was pretty much automatic. It gave me the option to automatically scan for over-the-air channels. Using an amplified antenna, it detected 25 channels in my area.

With a couple of other laptops, I was asked to select a channels.conf file to configure the channel list. To create this list, I had to use the scan command in a terminal window to create this file. The syntax is as follows:


--- Code: ---scan /usr/share/dvb/atsc/us-ATSC-center-frequencies-8VSB >channels.conf
--- End code ---

This lets the scan command use the dongle to scan every US digital channel to find the ones used in one's area, and to create a channels.conf file in the home directory. One can then select this file to load the channels into Me TV. (In the /usr/share/dvb directory, there are some sample channels.conf files for detecting cable TV channels and ATSC digital channels for a few major US cities.)

Other here use MythTV to do this, but doing so requires one to either compile everything from source or install Mythbuntu. I was not able to make either solution work - Me TV was FAR easier.

May this help others in the future...

73 DE N4RPS
Rob

gold_finger:

--- Quote from: N4RPS on May 13, 2014, 04:13:38 AM ---After installing the software, all I had to do was plug in the dongle, rebooted, and fired up Me TV. On a couple of my laptops, everything was pretty much automatic. It gave me the option to automatically scan for over-the-air channels. Using an amplified antenna, it detected 25 channels in my area.
--- End quote ---

Thanks for this -- very helpful!  Have been curious about these TV things, but never tried one myself.

Just one question out of sheer ignorance on my part -- is the "amplified antenna" something separate, or is it part of the dongle?


P.s.  I wonder if this might be better in the tutorial section so it doesn't get lost.

N4RPS:
Hello!

Valtam or Teddy have the ability to move things around here; maybe one of them will do that. I created the post because what I found online to help set these cards up is sketchy, at best, and leaves a lot to have to 'tweak'.

An amplified antenna is an optional (but usually necessary) accessory. Like a TV card, the dongle has an 'F' coaxial connector that can connect to either cable TV, satellite service, or an external antenna. Both PCI card and USB dongle cost the same ($60-$80), but the USB model can be used on ANY computer - even a laptop or netbook. On the other hand, PCI cards with multiple inputs (UIAM, up to four) can record more than one channel at a time.

To initially scan for channels, I used a set of VHF/UHF 'rabbit ears' that have a built-in 18 dB amplifier. As for the dongle, it came with a little non-amplified telescoping antenna attached to a cable, like a portable radio or TV would have, but in order to get the best reception and the most number of channels, no matter what kind of TV it is, an amplified antenna is necessary.

Of course, now that I have a channels.conf text file for my area, I can just copy it to any computer that needs it to set the card up...

73 DE N4RPS
Rob

Jerry:
This topic could live under either section, happy for it to reside here as the 'Other' section does mention tv cards, Rob could make a copy if he likes in Tutorials but its no biggie.

gold_finger:

--- Quote from: N4RPS on May 14, 2014, 02:18:49 AM ---An amplified antenna is an optional (but usually necessary) accessory. Like a TV card, the dongle has an 'F' coaxial connector that can connect to either cable TV, satellite service, or an external antenna. Both PCI cars and USB dongle cost the same ($60-$80), but the USB model can be used on ANY computer - even a laptop or netbook.

To initially scan for channels, I used a set of VHF/UHF 'rabbit ears' that have a built-in 18 dB amplifier. As for the dongle, it came with a little non-amplified telescoping antenna attached to a cable, like a portable radio or TV would have, but in order to get the best reception and the most number of channels, no matter what kind of TV it is, an amplified antenna is necessary.
--- End quote ---

Thanks for the info.  If you don't mind my asking:  what brand of rabbit ears did you use and what's your opinion on how well they perform?  (Hopefully I'm not being a pain in the a**!)

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