I was in the process of writing a big long post about how I got my latest “toy”—a USB digital TV tuner stick—working on my Eee 701 under Linux (Eeebuntu v3).Whilst I’ve kept the draft of what I’ve written thus far, I’m going to “sit on” the original for the time being; mainly because I have no idea what I did that suddenly made it start working.
For a few days, no matter what kernel modules I compiled and loaded, what firmware files I acquired, or what aerial I plugged into the tuner stick (the bundled one, or the boosted aerial in the lounge at home), the thing just wouldn’t tune into any TV channels.
Suddenly, tonight, after all my tinkering, I hooked up the 701 and the TV tuner to the lounge aerial one more time, and set off the
scan utility to find the TV stations. To my amazement, it worked for the first time, and within a few minutes I was channel-hopping to my heart’s content (via VLC, as it was the first program I tried). I suspect the boosted aerial connection may have helped, but I’m not sure that’s the entire story…
But anyway: in the meantime, I thought I’d jot down a few things I learned in the process, which I am pretty sure will be of some use to someone following the same path as me 🙂
The USB TV tuner stick I bought, is a Maplin Value USB DVB-T (digital terrestrial) single-tuner unit (Maplin being just about the closest the UK has to a store like Radio Shack). At UKP20, this stick is the cheapest USB TV tuner in their range, and I wondered if I’d be able to get it running under Linux; at least if I couldn’t, I figured I would not have lost much money on it!
To cut a very long story short: after lots of Googling, running various Linux terminal commands and the like, I found out something rather interesting about the Maplin Value USB TV tuner: it is basically an unbranded KWorld 395U tuner stick… which Maplin also sells, for UKP5 more (as their “DVB-T USB Free-To-Air Stick”).
The unit is supported in Linux; indeed, most of the more recent kernels include the driver for the AF9015 chipset and QT1010 tuner in the stick. You’ll need to ensure that you download the firmware for the AF9015 and save it in
/lib/firmware/[your kernel version]/, and once you plug in the tuner stick, you should run
dmesg to check the kernel messages. (You should see things like “KWorld… 395U successfully identified”; anything which looks like an error, and it’s time to start troubleshooting. If anyone’s interested, I can post some of what I found during my setup attempts.)
One piece of advice: unless you live close enough to the transmitter to see it, I wouldn’t bother with the bundled “cat’s whisker” aerial—it delivers nowhere near a strong enough signal to allow the software to scan for and pick up TV channels (at least in my experience). I had to hook up to our house’s main aerial socket (which has a signal booster) to get any channels, so now I’m looking for a small but effective powered/boosted aerial to use with the tuner.
I’m also trying to find a suitable TV application for Linux. VLC does a basic job, but I’d prefer something which makes recording/scheduling programs easier. I found Me TV (at least the version in Eeebuntu’s repositories) a bit erratic, and I thought I might give Freevo a try, but that’s all to come.
Anyway, hope this helps someone, and I’ll post back here another time to let you know how I’m getting on.