Thursday, January 10, 2008

Linux and the HVR 950

Just purchased a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950, which is essentially a small USB device that acts as an analog / digital television tuner. Not only can one tune into new digital over-the-air broadcasts, but also HD programming as well. Using a home-made DB2 antenna, I am able to pull in 31 digital channels including 6 HD channels. This was a very pleasant surprise :)

My ultimate goal is to connect this tuner to my PC and the PC to my old HD television so that I can get over-the-air digital channels and rid myself of cable. I attempted to get the tuner working with Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy) using this guide (

This guide ( was also helpful in my attempt to set up MythTV. Unfortunately, I did not succeed in getting the software to work. I may try again at a future date. I was able to get the tuner to work with a few simple command line utilities though. I installed the following packages in Ubuntu:

dvb-utils, dvbsnoop, dvbstream, dvbtune

These utilities allowed me to scan all digital channels identified by the receiver. The scan takes a few minutes, so be patient. Also look at the other example scan files in the dvb-utils directory. Another may be more directly applicable, depending upon your location and interests.

sudo /usr/bin/scan /usr/share/doc/dvb-utils/examples/scan/atsc/us-ATSC-center-frequencies-8VSB > channels

This gives output like the following to a file called channels:

Good TV:665028615:8VSB:65:68:4

Dont be surprised if you get allot of output on the command complained about every unavailable channel for me. The information above includes the name of the channel, frequency, and encoding. To tell the tuner to tune into a channel, use a command like the following:

azap -r -c channels "Good TV"

Note that we are using 'azap' (for ATSC digital programming). See for more information.

Finally, the following command will stream the output of the tuner directly to mplayer for display on the screen:

mplayer /dev/dvb/adapter0/dvr0 -cache 8192 -framedrop -vo x11

I have successfully tuned into standard and HD digital broadcasts using this simple technique.

1 comment:

gloarb__ said...

I follow instructions here: and it works on analog mode too!