This article describes the setup and use of DVB-S (sat TV) cards on Arch Linux.
- 1 Load required Modules
- 2 Additional firmware: OpenELEC DVB-firmware
- 3 Setup Permissions
- 4 Scanning channels
- 5 Switching channels
- 6 Software
- 7 Additional Resources
Load required Modules
You have to lookup the chipset of your specific card; tools likeAUR may help you.
Pinnacle PCTV Sat
This card uses bt878 and cx24110 as chipset.
Load them (under root) with:
# modprobe dvb-bt8xx # modprobe cx24110
If you want Arch to boot them on startup, add both modules to
Additional modules: S2-liplianin
However, there is not a working kernel module for all (especially newer) devices.
Igor M. Liplianin manages some additional modules at his mercurial repository.
First of all, you have to download and prepare the source code.
$ hg clone https://pikacode.com/liplianin/s2-liplianin
If you do not have installed mercurial, you will get an error message:
hg: command not found
You can either download the package here and extract it manually.and try the obove command again or download the source code from
After obtaining the code, change the working directory to the extracted folder:
$ cd s2-liplianin
Unfortunately not all modules of liplianin are compatible with recent kernels and cause some trouble if you want to compile them hence you have to exclude these modules from the build process (if you do not need them). You can choose which modules you want to build by executing:
$ make config
which will create a config file:
After that, you have to build the chosen modules:
If all configured modules were compiled successfully, you can install the modules at the kernel's default modules directory by executing:
# make install
After that, reboot your machine.
Additional firmware: OpenELEC DVB-firmware
The OpenELEC project provides additional firmware files for various DVB devices, eg. TechniSat SkyStar S2. To use these firmware files you can install either AUR or AUR.
To use your DVB-S card as user add him to the
# gpasswd -a [username] video
Most applications like szap or xine are needing a channel list created by scan, which is part of dvb-utils. You will find the dvb-utils package under the name.
scan needs an channel to initialize scanning. In
/usr/share/dvb/dvb-s/ are some files which contain these channels; you will need that one that fits the satellite you are watching from.
The following command will scan all channels and save them to
$ scan -x0 -t1 -s1 /usr/share/dvb/dvb-s/[your satellite] | tee channels.conf
AUR allows for automatic scanning of channels without configuration. Install it then issue:
# w_scan -c [your country] > ~/someChannels.conf
Alternatively you can also scan using the satellite position like 19.5E for Astra 1. Scans like that can be done as follows:
# w_scan -fs -s S19E5 > ~/someChannels.conf
You can also add the -X flag to generate tzap/czap/xine output instead of vdr output.
# w_scan -X -c AU > ~/AustraliaChannels.conf
DiSEqC switch scanning (AKA multiple satellite LNB)
If you have a LNB with a DiSEqC switch in it you can manually select that using the -D option like so:
# w_scan -fs -s S23E5 -D 1c > ~/someChannels.conf
The above line should work but not all found channels where actually saved. The line below worked perfectly for me:
# w_scan -fs -s S23E5 -a 0 -D 1c -o 7 -e 2 > ~/someChannels.conf
By using zap, which comes with dvb-utils, you can switch channels, so you do not have to rely on the abilities of your player.
szap needs the channel file we created earlier; it will try
~/.szap/channels.conf by default. You can move the
channels.conf there or you can use the
"-c" command-line option.
Switching channels works like this:
$ szap -r [channel]
You can list all available channels with:
$ szap -q
Now you can watch the stream for example with xine:
$ xine -g stdin://mpeg2 < /dev/dvb/adapter0/dvr0
or with mplayer:
$ mplayer /dev/dvb/adapter0/dvr0
or with mplayer, but using DVB directly:
$ mplayer "dvb://RTL Television"
You can find all the channel names by running szap -q (assuming the channel list is also in ~/.szap/channels.conf).
Kaffeine is a really nice player; it supports EPG, time-shifting, and recording. Additionally Kaffeine has built-in channel-searching.
Install it with official repositories.from the
Importing channel list
- Linosaw.de provides channels.conf files for VDR
- conv2conf converts these files into kaffeine channel list format
Me-tv is a simple but powerfull dvb-viewer, supporting EPG, recording and channel-searching with a light-weight gui.
Klear is also a really nice player, but more than 4 years old (last release 2006). It supports EPG, time-shifting, and recording, videotext. Channel-searching is still missing. Install it from AUR: AUR[broken link: archived in aur-mirror].
Copy your channel file to
Watch a specific channel with following command:
$ xine dvb://[channel]
or use the playlist editor in Xine