The ability to capture and view video sources is one of the more interesting multimedia features of Linux. Many different types of video devices are supported via the video4linux API ( http://roadrunner.swansea.uk.linux.org/v4l.shtml), including several TV tuner cards based on the Conexant bt848 and bt878 chipsets. This document explains how to use these cards on a Linux system.
This HOWTO is copyrighted 1999 Eric Sandeen.
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The most recent official version of this document can be obtained from the Linux Documentation Project http://metalab.unc.edu/LDP/.
Thanks to Ralph Metzler and Marcus Metzler for writing the original bttv driver. Also, Alan Cox for creating the Video4Linux API, Gerd Knorr for his work on the radio cards, subsequent bttv releases, and xawtv. And everyone else who contributed to Linux support for these cards. Thanks to William Burrow, who also wrote a BTTV Howto (which I learned about after I wrote this document...) I have improved this guide, thanks to his work.
In writing this HOWTO I have drawn heavily on the bttv and xawtv documentation.
Use the information in this document at your own risk. I disavow any potential liability for the contents of this document. Use of the concepts, examples, and/or other content of this document is entirely at your own risk.
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From the bttv
Bttv is a device driver for frame grabber cards using the Conexant ( http://www.conexant.com) Bt848 family of video decoder chips. Among those are the Bt848, Bt848A, Bt849, Bt878 and Bt879. The only major differences between the cards by different manufacturers are the types of tuners and extra components on the boards. E.g., some cards by Hauppauge have an additional Videotext decoder and/or sound decoder chip. Only some of these additional components are supported by bttv. Also, type (Composite or S-Video) and number of inputs differ.
The following cards should work:
If you know of other cards which work, please email me and I'll add them in the next revision of this document.
To use these TV tuner cards under Linux, you will need the appropriate kernel drivers. The bttv drivers have been a part of the kernel distribution since version 2.2.0.
Alternately, you can get the latest version of tbe driver package and use it with 2.0.35 or newer kernels. However, it's not guaranteed to work with the older 2.0.x series kernels. The updated bttv package is available from http://www.thp.uni-koeln.de/~rjkm/linux/bttv.html, and an even more updated version is available from Gerd Knorr at http://www.in-berlin.de/User/kraxel/xawtv.html These packages add support for more audio chips, including the TEA6300, TDA8425, and DPL3518.
If you're new to the world of the bttv driver, I would suggest starting with the version included with the latest kernel. If you find that you have trouble with it, or that it does not support your card, then venture out to the updated 0.6 series drivers at the locations shown above. If you're feeling really adventurous, you can try Gerd Knorr's 0.7 series drivers, due to be incorporated in the 2.4 kernel. The 0.7 series drivers are also available at http://www.in-berlin.de/User/kraxel/xawtv.html.
This document is based primarily on the 2.2.14 kernel drivers, with some mention of the features available in the updated 0.6 series driver packages. The 0.7 series is currently not covered, as it is in heavy development at the time of this writing.
(Thanks to William Burrow for this section.)
If you are afraid to open the case of your computer, be sure to read over this entire HOWTO first and make notes about the card, such as its tuner type, integrated circuit numbers, the frequencies of the crystal(s) and so on. Then get someone competent to install the card for you.
Otherwise, open the case and install the card in an available slot. Pick one that supports PCI bus transfers and PCI bus mastering, if your mainboard is picky about this (see your mainboard's manual). You will want this for overlay mode.
For sound, there are two different ways to connect your video grabber card and your sound card. One way is internal routing. Connect your CD-ROM audio cable to the video card sound input and the video card output to the sound card CD-ROM or Tuner audio input. Another way is to connect the external 1/8'' audio jack on the video card to the audio card's 1/8'' line audio in jack. You can also just plug amplified speakers into the grabber card audio out if you do not have an audio card or don't want to route through the sound card. (A few of the newer bt878 cards don't have any sound connector, because they send digital audio data across the PCI bus. There is no support for this at the time of this writing.)
A video source is also handy, especially for determining if the card is working or not. Many cards handle composite video in, S-Video in and, if equipped with a tuner, RF in. There is a separate connector for each of these inputs.
Your kernel will need to be correctly configured to support your card.
Most newer Linux distributions come with the necessary
modules already compiled, so if you can find the
you should be ready to go.
If not, you'll need to recompile your kernel with
enabled, preferably as loadable modules. See the Linux Kernel HOWTO ( http://www.linuxdoc.org/HOWTO/Kernel-HOWTO.html) for details on recompiling your kernel.
If you want to use the updated 0.6.x package, you should first retrieve the archive from one of the sites mentioned above. Extract it with
tar -xvzf bttv-0.6.x.tar.gz
and change to the newly created
su to root, and type
in the main
directory to create the drivers. (You can safely ignore the information
INSTALL file about editing makefiles, and the like, since
we will pass this information to the driver as module parameters.) Then, type
to install them. Finally, run
to update your module dependency information.
Next, you may need to make the special character files in the
ls /dev/video*; ls /dev/radio* to see if these
devices already exist. If not, you'll need to create them. All of the
files have major device number 81, and the minor device numbers depend
on the specific device (video, radio, etc.) as well as multiple instances
of these files. See the Video4Linux API
for the programming-related details.
There is a
MAKEDEV script in the
of the bttv driver package which will create four video devices for
you. You can also do it yourself fairly easily if you only have one video
As root, type:
mknod /dev/video0 c 81 0
chmod 666 /dev/video0
ln -s /dev/video0 /dev/video
mknod /dev/radio0 c 81 64
chmod 666 /dev/radio0
ln -s /dev/radio0 /dev/radio
There are also videotext and VBI devices which can be created if you have an application which needs them. (Currently, there are only a few.) Type:
mknod /dev/vtx0 c 81 192
chmod 666 /dev/vtx0
ln -s /dev/vtx0 /dev/vtx
mknod /dev/vbi0 c 81 224
chmod 666 /dev/vbi0
ln -s /dev/vbi0 /dev/vbi
The bttv driver provides many different modules, with many different options, as described in the appendix of this document. With so many modules and options, you may wish to do this by hand until you get everything working. On the off chance that this causes your box to crash, it wouldn't hurt to type
sync; sleep 1; sync
to flush any dirty disk buffers before proceeding. Then, using the
insmod command as root, try
loading up the modules. The first two are easy, because they don't usually need
Now you're ready to load the bttv module itself:
By default, the
bttv module attempts to autodetect your card type.
/var/log/messages to see what it finds. If it doesn't
you can add the
card=n option to the end of the previous command
to force a card type, with
n chosen from the following list. (Types 0 through 19 are provided
in the kernel series driver, bttv-0.6.4h contains support for types 20 through 27)
You can also add the
radio=1 option if your card has FM tuner functionality.
card=n card type 0: Auto-Detect 1: Miro 2: Hauppauge (old bt848 boards) 3: STB 4: Intel 5: Diamond 6: AVerMedia 7: MATRIX Vision MV-Delta 8: FlyVideo 9: TurboTV 10: Hauppauge (new bt878 boards) 11: MIRO PCTV pro 12: Terratec/Vobis TV-Boostar 13: Newer Hauppauge WinCam (bt878) 14: MAXI TV Video PCI2 15: Terratec TerraTV+ 16: Aimslab VHX 17: PXC200 18: AVermedia98 19: FlyVideo98 (newer FlyVideo cards) 20: Zoltrix TV-Max 21: iProTV 22: ADS Technologies Channel Surfer TV 23: Pixelview PlayTV (bt878) 24: Leadtek WinView 601 25: AVEC Intercapture 26: LifeView FlyKit w/o Tuner 27: Intel Create and Share PCI
Next, load the tuner module, with
modprobe tuner type=n
You will probably need to dig into your case to see which tuner you have. Some
cards (Miro and Hauppauge) allow the tuner to be automatically detected, but
you may need to specify it. The tuner should be marked with the brand name,
and you can look at the crystals (little aluminum cans) on the board to see if
you have an NTSC or a PAL tuner. For PAL, the crystal is marked 28.xxxMHz
(where xxx are three digits). For NTSC, the canister should say 35.xxxMHz.
Once you have identified your tuner, select the value of
the following list (types 8 and 9 are included only in bttv-0.6.4h):
type=n type of the tuner chip. n as follows: 0: Temic PAL tuner 1: Philips PAL_I tuner 2: Philips NTSC tuner 3: Philips SECAM tuner 4: no tuner 5: Philips PAL tuner 6: Temic NTSC tuner 7: Temic PAL tuner 8: Alps TSBH1 NTSC tuner 9: Alps TSBE1 PAL tuner
Finally, insert any sound modules you may need. Again, you will probably need to take a very close look at the card to see what you've got. Note that drivers for TEA6300, TDA8425, TDA9855, and DPL3518 chips are only included in the 0.6.4h series driver, and are not included with the current (2.2.14) kernel drivers.
modprobe msp3400 or
dpl3518(see the appendix for details and options)
Fire up your favorite video4linux program, and see if it works. If you can't change the channel, make sure you have inserted the correct tuner module. If you can't hear any sound, double check the sound module, and make sure that the channel is not muted, if you're running the audio through your sound card.
After you know which modules and options you need, you can automate the
process by putting the information into
/etc/conf.modules. Then, running an
application which needs the driver will cause it to be loaded automatically.
I use the following:
# TV alias char-major-81 bttv pre-install bttv modprobe -k tuner; modprobe -k msp3400 options bttv radio=1 card=3 options tuner type=2
/sbin/depmod -ato make sure all your module dependency information is up to date, as well.)
Now that your kernel is configured, your devices have been configured, and your modules are inserted, you will also need an application to actually view or capture the images from your card. There are many available:
There is also a driver available for the FlyVideo98 Remote control card at http://wolf.ifj.edu.pl/~jochym/FlyVideo98/
Be sure to read the documentation for any applications you plan to use. Many of them require detailed configuration files to be edited before the application will work properly! Due to the many different types of cards out there, you must take the time to read the documentation on most of these, as the application defaults will most likely not work for your card.
Items preceded with a "*" are only available in the 0.6.4h series driver
videodev.o this is the basic video4linux module, all video drivers (incl. bttv) register themselves here. i2c.o the generic i2c module. It does much of the i2c bus management, all other modules (except videodev.o) use this one insmod args: scan=1 scan the bus for i2c devices verbose=0 shut up i2c i2c_debug=1 for debugging, it sticks the whole (software) i2c bus traffic to the syslog bttv.o the bt848 (grabber chip) driver insmod args: remap=adr remap Bt848 memory to adr<<20 vidmem=base frame buffer address>>20 (of graphic card) triton1=0/1 for Triton1 compatibility Triton1 is automatically recognized but this might also help with other chipsets pll=0/1/2 pll settings 0: don't use PLL 1: 28 MHz crystal installed 2: 35 MHz crystal installed radio=0/1 card supports radio card=n card type 0: Auto-Detect 1: Miro 2: Hauppauge (old bt848 boards) 3: STB 4: Intel 5: Diamond 6: AVerMedia 7: MATRIX Vision MV-Delta 8: FlyVideo 9: TurboTV 10: Hauppauge (new bt878 boards) 11: MIRO PCTV pro 12: Terratec/Vobis TV-Boostar 13: Newer Hauppauge WinCam (bt878) 14: MAXI TV Video PCI2 15: Terratec TerraTV+ 16: Aimslab VHX 17: PXC200 18: AVermedia98 19: FlyVideo98 (newer FlyVideo cards) *20: Zoltrix TV-Max *21: iProTV *22: ADS Technologies Channel Surfer TV *23: Pixelview PlayTV (bt878) *24: Leadtek WinView 601 *25: AVEC Intercapture *26: LifeView FlyKit w/o Tuner *27: Intel Create and Share PCI remap, card, radio and pll accept up to four comma-separted arguments (for multiple boards). The CARD and PLL defines from the Makefile are used as defaults. msp3400.o The driver for the msp34xx sound processor chips. If you have a stereo card, you probably want to insmod this one. insmod args: debug=1/2 print some debug info to the syslog, 2 is more verbose. *tea6300.o The driver for the tea6300 fader chip. If you have a stereo card and the msp3400.o doesn't work, you might want to try this one. This chip is seen on most STB TV/FM cards (usually from Gateway OEM sold surplus on auction sites). insmod args: debug=1 print some debug info to the syslog. *tda8425.o The driver for the tda8425 fader chip. This driver used to be part of bttv.c, so if your sound used to work but does not anymore, try loading this module. insmod args: debug=1 print some debug info to the syslog. *tda9855.o The driver for the tda9855 stereo decoder / audio processor chip. insmod args: debug=1 print some debug info to the syslog. *dpl3518.o Driver for the dpl3518a Dolby Pro Logic Processor insmod args: debug=1 print some debug info to the syslog. tuner.o The tuner driver. You need this unless you want to use only with a camera or external tuner ... insmod args: debug=1 print some debug info to the syslog type=n type of the tuner chip. n as follows: 0: Temic PAL tuner 1: Philips PAL_I tuner 2: Philips NTSC tuner 3: Philips SECAM tuner 4: no tuner 5: Philips PAL tuner 6: Temic NTSC tuner 7: Temic PAL tuner *8: Alps TSBH1 NTSC tuner *9: Alps TSBE1 PAL tuner i2c_chardev.o provides a character device for i2c bus access. Works for 2.1.x only, not compiled by default.