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VDR stands for Video Disk Recorder, an open source software application to turn any PC into a digital video recorder. These initials do not fully explain what VDR is capable of. VDR does also implement all the functions of a modern set-top box to watch either live television or recordings. With the extensive amount of available plugins almost countless features can be added, e.g., play DVDs, play audio and video files, view your photo collection, check your email account...

With its flexibility Arch Linux is perfectly suited for setting VDR up and customizing it. AUR, the Arch Linux User-Community Repository, and the ArchVDR team provide PKGBUILDs for VDR and its most commonly used plugins and addons.

This article is divided into three parts. In the first part I am going to show you how to install VDR on your PC and how to get it up and running. The second part of the article is about how to extend VDR by adding new features like playing DVDs or controlling VDR over the Internet. The third part is about rather advanced features like how to automatically detect and mark commercial breaks in your recordings or how to stream VDR over the Internet.

Initial Steps

This part of the guide is about how to install VDR and how to get it up and running.

Hardware Requirements

VDR is designed to work with a huge variety of DVB cards. See the VDR Wiki for whether or not your specific card will be supported. Let me just tell you that so called budget cards, i.e., cards without a hardware MPEG decoder, work perfectly fine with VDR thanks to plugins like vdr-xineliboutput. At present, HDTV - mainly via DVB-S2 - is becoming more and more popular and the good news is that VDR supports a wide range of such cards, e.g. internal PCI cards. A widely used HDTV card is Hauppauge's Nova-HD-S2, which comes with a remote control that can be used in VDR, more about that later. Ok then, lets get into more detail.


Even though you can install VDR from the AUR, installing, it is recommendable to use the up-do-date PKGBUILDs for VDR, its plugins and addons provided by the ArchVDR team. The Wiki explains further details on how to get the files.

Prepare for compilation

First step is to install the needed packages:

# pacman -S subversion fakeroot patch sudo linuxtv-dvb-apps at make
# pacman -S autoconf automake git pkg-config
# pacman -S libvdpau libogg flac libvorbis libmng libtheora a52dec
# pacman -S faad2 faac x264 ffmpeg libdca libpulse mercurial
# pacman -S ffmpeg cvs libdca mesa freeglut
# pacman -S w3m gcc libtool

Getting the pkgbuilds

Now issue the following commands to get the pkgbuilds:

$ svn co https://archvdr.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/archvdr archvdr
$ cd archvdr/trunk/archvdr/

Install ttf-vdrsymbols

First install ttf-vdrsymbols:

$ cd ttf-vdrsymbols/
$ makepkg
# pacman -U ttf-vdrsymbols-20100612-1-i686.pkg.tar.xz
$ cd ..


$ cd start-stop-daemon/
$ makepkg
# pacman -U start-stop-daemon-
$ cd ..


$ cd vdr-1.7.23/
$ makepkg
# pacman -U vdr-1.7.23-1-i686.pkg.tar.xz
$ cd ..


$ cd libbluray/
$ makepkg
# pacman -U libbluray-20110620-1-i686.pkg.tar.xz
$ cd ..


$ cd xine-lib-1.2/
$ makepkg
# pacman -U xine-lib-1.2-11678-7-i686.pkg.tar.xz
$ cd ..


$ cd vdr-plugin-xineliboutput-git/
$ makepkg
# pacman -U vdr-plugin-xineliboutput-git-20110620-1-i686.pkg.tar.xz

The VDR package's install script will create a special user called vdr, especially for running VDR. The vdr user will be added to the video group so that it can access DVB cards and should own VDR's configuration files in /etc/vdr and the recordings and Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) directories /var/spool/video and /var/spool/epg.

DVB Card Kernel Modules and Firmware

If you own one of the famous full-featured DVB-S cards (with hardware MPEG decoder) from Technotrend (identical in construction to Hauppauge Nexus, Technisat Skystar 1 and Fujitsu-Siemens DVB-S), you might have to do a little extra work since, at least on my computer, a wrong module gets control of the card. On my computer the command "lspci -k" shows the following output:

03:02.0 Multimedia controller: Philips Semiconductors SAA7146 (rev 01)
	Subsystem: Technotrend Systemtechnik GmbH Technotrend/Hauppauge DVB card rev2.3
	Kernel driver in use: dvb
	Kernel modules: dvb-ttpci, snd-aw2

As you can see, two modules, dvb-ttpci and snd-aw2, are assigned to the DVB card while only the former should take control. Simply add the unwanted one to the list in /etc/rc.conf:

MODULES=(... !snd-aw2 ...)

A restart of the computer should do the rest. Another two things you might do before the restart: if you own one of those full-featured cards (perhaps also for some other cards), you will also need a firmware for the card to work. For the full-featured Technotrend cards the firmware is dvb-ttpci-01.fw and has to be placed into the folder /lib/firmware. Instead of restarting the computer you just can unload and load the kernel module dvb_ttpci. The second thing which requires at least a new login to take effect is to add yourself to the group "video" (gpasswd -a <username> video).

Also other cards, like the already mentioned DVB-S2 card Nova-HD-S2 from Hauppauge require a firmware to be put into /lib/firmware, in the case of the Nova-HD-S2 the firmware's name is dvb-fe-cx24116.fw. Do not forget to eiter reload the card's module or to restart the computer.

Starting VDR

You can now start vdr:

# /etc/rc.d/vdr start

VDR logs to /var/log/everything.log:

# tail -f /var/log/everything.log

Now connect to vdr with xine. This must be done by the same user that has started the X server, not the user vdr. This should yield a screen with "no signal"

$ vdr-sxfe

VDR can be automatically started when the PC is booted by adding it to /etc/rc.conf:

DAEMONs=(... @vdr)

If you want to change the user running VDR, the destination of the video directory or the configuration files, you can do so by editing the VDR's configuration file (/etc/default/vdr):

OPTIONS="-u franz -c /video -v /video -E /video/epg.data -w 60"

Extending VDR


As already mentioned in the introduction, the functionality of VDR can be extended with plugins. The following set of plugins, all available from ArchVDR, will make a usable basic VDR installation

  • vdr-epgsearch, a replacement schedule with extended functionality. The epgearch plugin is being used by the plugin vdr-live.
  • vdr-extrecmenu, a replacement recordings menu with extended functionality.
  • vdr-femon, a frontend status monitor.
  • vdr-streamdev, a streaming server/client. Easy to set up with vdradmin-am.
  • vdr-live, a web interface that can be used to control VDR, view and search the EPG, schedule recordings and stream live TV.
  • vdr-xineliboutput, which provides a frontend for VDR and can be used with cards without a hardware MPEG decoder.

VDR does not support MHEG-5 teletext ("The Red Button" in the UK), so the vdr-rssreader plugin can make a useful alternative.

How to Setup a Plugin

The command line syntax for running a plugin with VDR is

vdr -P"name [OPTIONS]"

and the quickest way to find out what options each installed plugin has is to run

$ vdr --help

Once installed, the plugins are loaded automatically when VDR is being started. If you want to alter the configuration of a plugin, you can do so editing the according config file in /etc/vdr/plugins/.

Remote Control

You might want to control VDR not only by keyboard but using a remote control while relaxing on the couch. On one hand, there is LIRC, which works with every DVB card, because it works independently from your DVB card. On the other hand, provided that your DVB device has an integrated IR-reciever, you might give the plugin vdr-remote a try. Both possibilities will be described here.


To setup VDR to make use of your LIRC remote control you have to adjust the file /etc/vdr/remote.conf. The labeling after "LIRC.", e.g., "Up" has to correspond with the labeling in /etc/lircd.conf. The second column stands for the correspondent VDR command.

LIRC.Up         	Up
LIRC.Down       	Down
LIRC.Menu       	Menu
LIRC.Ok			Ok
LIRC.Back       	Back
LIRC.Left       	Left
LIRC.Right      	Right
LIRC.Red        	Red
LIRC.Green      	Green
LIRC.Yellow     	Yellow
LIRC.Blue       	Blue
LIRC.0          	0
LIRC.1          	1
LIRC.2          	2
LIRC.3          	3
LIRC.4          	4
LIRC.5          	5
LIRC.6          	6
LIRC.7          	7
LIRC.8          	8
LIRC.9          	9
LIRC.Power      	Power
LIRC.Volume+   		Volume+
LIRC.Volume-   	 	Volume-
LIRC.Mute       	Mute
LIRC.Audio      	Audio
LIRC.Recordings 	Recordings
LIRC.Info       	Info

Finally, make sure to add the option "--lirc" to the VDR command line

$ vdr ... --lirc

or enable LIRC in /etc/runvdr.conf if you are using runvdr-extreme

# Use a LIRC remote control device. If set to 1, vdr uses /var/run/lirc/lircd.
# If not set, or set to 0, do not use LIRC.

Remote Plugin

This plugin only works with cards with build-in IR-recievers, as on Technotrend's full-featured cards or on the Hauppauge Nova-HD-S2. Install the package vdr-remote from ArchVDR and use the guide on the VDR Wiki to set it up.

Configuring VDR

Channel Scan

Make sure that the file channels.conf in /etc/vdr concurs with the satellite your dish is pointing at. Linowsat provides up-to-date channel lists for all satellites out there.

If you own a DVB-T or DVB-C card then either the scan utility from linuxtv-dvb-apps or w_scan, which is available from the AUR, will be your friend. (You might have to use translate.google.com for translating w_scan's German wiki into English.) If you live in the UK then scan has the advantage over w_scan because it can output channels in Logical Channel Number order for VDR, i.e. channel 1 will be BBC ONE, 2 will be BBC TWO etc.

$ scan -o vdr -e 3 -p -x 0 -t 3 -u -U -q -q <path_to_initial_tuning_data_file> > channels.conf
$ cat /etc/vdr/channels.conf
BBC ONE;BBC:505833:C34D34M16B8T2G32Y0:T:27500:600:601=eng,602=eng:0:0:4164:9018:4100:0
BBC TWO;BBC:505833:C34D34M16B8T2G32Y0:T:27500:610:611=eng,612=eng:0:0:4228:9018:4100:0
Channel 4;Channel 4 TV:481833:C23D12M64B8T2G32Y0:T:27500:560:561=eng,562=eng:0:0:8384:9018:8197:0

Controlling and Displaying VDR

Eventually, we want to make sure that we can submit controls to and can see the output (live tv and menu) of VDR.

Full-featured cards have got a VGA connector on the card in order to connect an external TV set, alternatively this role can be taken over by DXR 3/Hollywood+ cards. Nevertheless, these possibilities are getting less important nowadays. On one hand with the advent of computer screens with 24 or even more inches the computer screen itself has become very attractive for watching TV, on the other hand, new TV sets do also have an implemented DVI, HDMI, or even DisplayPort input allowing the computer's graphics board to become the output device.

Therefore, this guide focuses on the VDR output on an X-server. BTW, to make us of the VGA output of your full-featured card you simply have to connect your TV set using an adequate VGA cable.

For testing purposes it makes sense to control VDR with the keyboard. For how to control VDR by remote control see below. If you have a full-featured card there are two ways of dispaying the VDR screen and to control VDR by keyboard, if you own a budget card, one possibility will be given.

TVtime - Full-Featured Cards Only

TVtime is a TV application which can be used to display VDR's screen. Install the packages tvtime and the wrapper script vdr-tvtime from AUR. To control VDR, adjust the first column of the file /etc/tvtime/maps.txt according to your liking. Here is an example:

m	Menu
Enter	Ok
Backspace	Back
F1	Red
F2	Green
F3	Yellow
F4	Blue
+	Channel+
-	Channel-
u	Volume+
d	Volume-
c	Channels
t	Timers
r	Recordings
s	Setup
a	Audio
n	Info

Now you can start VDR (/etc/rc.d/runvdr start). Then execute the script "vdr-tvtime.pl". TVtime should display the VDR screen and you should also be able to control VDR with the keyboard.

Xineliboutput - Full-Featured and Budget Cards

The plugin vdr-xineliboutput enables VDR to be used with cards without a hardware MPEG decoder chip such as the often mentioned Hauppauge Nova-HD-S2.

Configuring vdr-xineliboutput

There are some xine configuration changes that can improve performance with VDR. Make sure that xine is not running then edit the following in ${HOME}/.xine/config

# number of audio buffers
# numeric, default: 230

# number of video buffers
# numeric, default: 500

# default number of video frames
# numeric, default: 15

# method to sync audio and video
# { metronom feedback  resample }, default: 0

# enable resampling
# { auto  off  on }, default: 0

Using xine-ui-vdr you can also use your keyboard to control VDR. Start Xine once and close it so that the file ~/.xine/keymap is going to be created. Edit this file so that at least the basic keys for controlling VDR will work, e.g.,

# jump to media Menu
Menu {
	key = m
	modifier = none

# menu navigate up
EventUp {
	key = Up
	modifier = none

# menu navigate down
EventDown {
	key = Down
	modifier = none

# menu navigate left
EventLeft {
	key = Left
	modifier = none

# menu navigate right
EventRight {
	key = Right
	modifier = none

# menu select
EventSelect {
	key = Return
	modifier = none

# VDR Red button
VDRButtonRed {
	key = F1
	modifier = none

# VDR Green button
VDRButtonGreen {
	key = F2
	modifier = none

# VDR Yellow button
VDRButtonYellow {
	key = F3
	modifier = none

# VDR Blue button
VDRButtonBlue {
	key = F4
	modifier = none

# VDR Command back
VDRBack {
	key = BackSpace
	modifier = none

# menu select
Alias {
	entry = EventSelect
	key = KP_Enter
	modifier = none

Also remember that you will get an error if you assign a key twice, make sure therefore to change for instance the key for "SpeedFaster" from "Up" to "VOID". It is possible, however, to assign two keys to the same event, you do so with the "Alias" keyword. More information on the Xine website.

Start Xine with the following command:

$ xine "xvdr+tcp://<VDR's IP address>:37890#nocache" 

By adding the option "-D" (deinterlace) the picture quality is increased.

It might be necessary to adjust the plugin's configuration (/etc/vdr/plugins/plugin.xinliboutput.conf)

--remote=<VDR's IP address>:37890 

Special Features

This part is meant for advanced users of VDR who might get some little hint on how to enhance their VDR installation.

Noad - No Advertisement

NoadTemplate:Linkrot is able to detect commercials and to set cutting marks accordingly. The package "noad" is available on AUR. And let me tell you, noad does a great job. Even though I always check the marks before starting the cutting process it is very seldom that I have to correct them within a movie. It is more outside a movie, i.e., within the recording buffer before and after the movie, that sometimes marks have to be manually eliminated.

By adding the following to the VDROPTS section of the file /etc/rc.vdr, noad is being executed automatically after a recording has been completed.

-r'/usr/bin/noad nice -b -O -C -a -j --statisticfile=/video/noadstat'

The second possibility is to start the commercial detection process manually from the commands menu of the recordings. Just edit the file /etc/vdr/reccmds.conf and add the following line:

start noad: /usr/bin/noad nice --background -O -C -a -j --statisticfile=/video/noadstat

As a third possibility you can start noad on the command line. For how to do that and for an explanation of all the command line options check the READMETemplate:Linkrot (also available in /usr/share/doc/noad/).

Augment VDR's EPG


Some channels like BBC or ITV do only provide EPG information for the current and the next broadcast which is somewhat unspectacular compared to the standards set by other broadcasting services like ARD (Germany) or ORF (Austria). Fortunately, XMLTV can step into the breach as it is able to get TV-listings for one ore even more weeks in advance. You can follow this guide to install and configure XMLTV.

The XML-file created by XMLTV has to be converted in order that VDR can use the data. For this purpose the script xmltv2vdr has been written, it is availabe on AUR. Install it and follow the README in /usr/share/doc/xmltv2vdr/. The example file channels.conf has been prepared in /etc/xmltv2vdr:

BBC 1 London;BSkyB:10773:h:S28.2E:22000:5000:5001=eng,5002=NAR:5003:1:6301:2:2045:0:london.bbc1.bbc.co.uk
BBC 2 England;BSkyB:10773:h:S28.2E:22000:5100:5101=eng,5102=NAR:5103:1:6302:2:2045:0:london.bbc2.bbc.co.uk
BBC THREE;BSkyB:10773:hC56:S28.2E:22000:5200:5201=eng,5202=NAR:5203:0:6319:2:2045:0:bbcthree.bbc.co.uk
BBC FOUR;BSkyB:10773:hC56:S28.2E:22000:5300:5301=eng,5302=NAR:5303:0:6316:2:2045:0:bbcfour.bbc.co.uk
BBC NEWS;BSkyB:11954:hC23:S28.2E:27500:5000:5001=eng:5003:0:6704:2:2013:0:news-24.bbc.co.uk
CBBC Channel;BSkyB:10773:h:S28.2E:22000:5200:5201=eng,5202=NAR:5203:0:6317:2:2045:0:cbbc.bbc.co.uk
ITV1 London;BSkyB:10759:vC56:S28.2E:22000:2305:2312=eng,2314=NAR:2315:0:10060:2:2044:0:carlton.com

You can create a cronjob to get the updating of the EPG data done automatically, your crontab could look like this:

00 00 * * * tv_grab_uk_rt --config-file ~/.xmltv/tv_grab_uk_rt.conf --quiet > /tmp/uk.xml
05 00 * * * xmltv2vdr.pl -x /tmp/uk.xml -c /etc/xmltv2vdr/channels.conf


vdraepg is a Ruby-script which transfers EPG-data from one channel to another, i.e., the data is not being downloaded from the Internet as with XMLTV, but is already present in VDR's EPG-information.

This makes sense in some cases when, for example, a channel is available on DVB-T, but does not have as elaborate an EPG as the same channel on DVB-S (which, for instance, might even be encrypted). The script can also be used to change the time information. So the script can transfer EPG-data from, e.g., ITV2 to ITV2+1, just by adding one hour to the EPG-information from ITV2.

You can install the package vdraepg from AUR. Read the file /usr/share/doc/vdraepg/README.en for instructions on how to set vdreapg up. An example configuration has been prepared (etc/vdraepg/vdraepg.conf)

#source-channel, target-channel, time-adjustment
S28.2E-2-2044-10070, S28.2E-2-2041-10172, 60 #itv2, itv2+1
S28.2E-2-2054-10260, S28.2E-2-2054-10261, 60 #itv3, itv3+1
S28.2E-2-2042-8335, S28.2E-2-2042-8330, 60 #film4, film4+1
S19.2E-1-1101-28106, T-0-562-1, 0 #ARD, DVBS --> DVB-T

Again it might make sense for you to have vdraepg run as a cronjob:

10 00 * * * vdraepg.rb

Streaming VDR

Over the Local Area Network (LAN)

Imagine having your computer running VDR somewhere in your study, living room, or even in your cellar and watching live tv and recordings provided by the same VDR on a deck chair in your garden. This whish can be put into practice.

The very same plugin that we already used with budget cards we are going to use again to show the VDR frontend on any computer on the LAN or WLAN: vdr-plugin-xineliboutput.

On the remote computer the packages xine-lib-vdr and xine-ui-vdr, availabe on AUR, have to be installed.

Adjust the file ~/.xine/keymap as described above to control VDR with the keyboard.

Now watch your favorite movies any place in and around your house:

xine "xvdr+tcp://<VDR's IP address>:37890#nocache" -D

Over the Internet

Theoretically, the concept of streaming VDR over LAN or WLAN with the plugin vdr-xine can also be adopted to the Internet. The point is, though, that the requirements in terms of bandwith will only be fullfilled in very rare cases. To stream VDR without further compression you are going to need an upstream speed of three or even more Mbit/s, according to the bitrate of the broadcast. Therefore, John Doe has to use highly optimized codecs like H.264 AVC and this is exactly what this part of the tutorial about streaming VDR over the Internet will be about.

Even though the quality of the video is visibly diminished, the result looks startlingly great and you can watch live TV and recordings with hardly any cutback.

You can control the remote VDR with either the [| LIVE plugin] or SVDRP software like "VDR Remote Control" (unsecure, since the SVDRP port has to be forwarded on your router). You can even use your iPhone or iPod Touch with the application ZapperPro, available in the Apple Store. As a requirement you need access to to the Internet through WLAN. Be careful regarding the security issue when opening the SVDRP port to the Internet.

Two concepts will be provided, since using the same techniques, the quality of the resulting stream should be similar.

StreamDev Plugin

An easy approach and also the recommended one is to set up the plugin Streamdev from ArchVDR.


The plugin's config file (/etc/vdr/plugins/plugin.streamdev-server.conf) has to have a reference to the file externremux.sh.

-r /usr/bin/externremux.sh

That is the content of the file /usr/bin/externremux.sh, adjust it to your liking:

# externremux.sh


mkdir -p $TMP
mkfifo $TMP/out.avi
(trap "rm -rf $TMP" EXIT HUP INT TERM ABRT; cat $TMP/out.avi) &

case ${1:-$STREAMQUALITY} in
     "100") exec mencoder -ovc x264 -srate 22050 -x264encopts bitrate=100:vbv_maxrate=180:vbv_bufsize=300:ratetol=0.1:threads=3 -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=32:q=2:mode=3 -vf pp=ci,scale -zoom -xy 320 -o $TMP/out.avi -- - &>$TMP/out.log ;;
     "150") exec mencoder -ovc x264 -srate 22050 -x264encopts bitrate=150:vbv_maxrate=180:vbv_bufsize=300:ratetol=0.1:threads=3 -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=32:q=2:mode=3 -vf pp=ci,scale -zoom -xy 320 -o $TMP/out.avi -- - &>$TMP/out.log ;;
     "200") exec mencoder -ovc x264 -srate 22050 -x264encopts bitrate=200:vbv_maxrate=180:vbv_bufsize=300:ratetol=0.1:threads=3 -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=32:q=2:mode=3 -vf pp=ci,scale -zoom -xy 360 -o $TMP/out.avi -- - &>$TMP/out.log ;;
     "250") exec mencoder -ovc x264 -srate 22050 -x264encopts bitrate=250:vbv_maxrate=180:vbv_bufsize=300:ratetol=0.1:threads=3 -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=48:q=2:mode=3 -vf pp=ci,scale -zoom -xy 400 -o $TMP/out.avi -- - &>$TMP/out.log ;;
     "300") exec mencoder -ovc x264 -srate 22050 -x264encopts bitrate=300:vbv_maxrate=180:vbv_bufsize=300:ratetol=0.1:threads=3 -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=48:q=2:mode=3 -vf pp=ci,scale -zoom -xy 440 -o $TMP/out.avi -- - &>$TMP/out.log ;;
     "350") exec mencoder -ovc x264 -srate 22050 -x264encopts bitrate=350:vbv_maxrate=180:vbv_bufsize=300:ratetol=0.1:threads=3 -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=48:q=2:mode=3 -vf pp=ci,scale -zoom -xy 440 -o $TMP/out.avi -- - &>$TMP/out.log ;;
     "400") exec mencoder -ovc x264 -srate 22050 -x264encopts bitrate=400:vbv_maxrate=180:vbv_bufsize=300:ratetol=0.1:threads=3 -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=64:q=2:mode=3 -vf pp=ci,scale -zoom -xy 480 -o $TMP/out.avi -- - &>$TMP/out.log ;;
     "450") exec mencoder -ovc x264 -srate 22050 -x264encopts bitrate=450:vbv_maxrate=180:vbv_bufsize=300:ratetol=0.1:threads=3 -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=64:q=2:mode=3 -vf pp=ci,scale -zoom -xy 480 -o $TMP/out.avi -- - &>$TMP/out.log ;;
     "500") exec mencoder -ovc x264 -srate 22050 -x264encopts bitrate=500:vbv_maxrate=180:vbv_bufsize=300:ratetol=0.1:threads=3 -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=128:q=2:mode=3 -vf pp=ci,scale -zoom -xy 480 -o $TMP/out.avi -- - &>$TMP/out.log ;;
     "750") exec mencoder -ovc x264 -srate 22050 -x264encopts bitrate=750:vbv_maxrate=180:vbv_bufsize=300:ratetol=0.1:threads=3 -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=128:q=2:mode=3 -vf pp=ci -o $TMP/out.avi -- - &>$TMP/out.log ;;
     "1000") exec mencoder -ovc x264 -srate 22050 -x264encopts bitrate=1000:vbv_maxrate=180:vbv_bufsize=300:ratetol=0.1:threads=3 -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=128:q=2:mode=3 -vf pp=ci -o $TMP/out.avi -- - &>$TMP/out.log ;;

	   *) touch $TMP/out.avi ;;

On the client side only VLC has to be installed, you can start the streaming process with

vlc "http://<VDR's public IP>:3000/extern;250/19"

In this example, channel 19 is being streamed with the "250" option resulting in 250 Kbit Video and 48 Kbit Audio streaming. Make sure to forward port 3000 to the computer running VDR.


VLC is not only a well known multimedia player, but is also perfectly suited to encode and stream video and audio. Therefore, we use it to grab audio and video in order to encode and stream VDR over the Internet. VLC has to be installed on the server as well as on the client.


Adjust "vb=250" (video bit rate) and "ab=48" (audio bit rate) in the following commands according to your upload speed. The two values in the example work great with an upstream of 384 Kbit/sec.

Full-Featured Cards Only

Start the video streaming on the computer running VDR with the following command (for easy access you can include the command in /etc/vdr/commands.conf):

/usr/bin/cvlc -d v4l:// :v4l-vdev="/dev/video0" :v4l-adev="/dev/dsp" :v4l-norm=3 :v4l-frequency=-1 --sout #transcode{vcodec=h264,vb=250,scale=0.5,acodec=mp4a,ab=48,channels=1}:duplicate{dst=std{access=http,mux=ts,dst=}}'

Full-Featured and Budget Cards

You need to install the plugin vdr-xineliboutput, available on AUR. You start the video streaming with the following command:

cvlc http://localhost:37890 :http-caching=3000 :sout="#transcode{vcodec=h264,vb=200,scale=0.5,acodec=mp4a,ab=48,channels=1}:duplicate{dst=std{access=http,mux=ts,dst=}}"

On the remote computer you can open the stream with the following command. If the computer running VDR is behind a router, make sure the port 1234 is being forwarded.

vlc http://<VDR's public IP>:1234

Make sure to forward port 1234 to the computer running VDR.

Streaming to iPhone, iPad and iPod

Wouldn't it be great to access your VDR on the go, e.g., on the train or just in a boring meeting ;-) Well, iStreamDev makes exactly that possible. iStreamDev is a relatively new project with the aim of watching live TV, playing VDR's recordings and even streaming arbitraty video and audio files from your PC at home to Apple's mobile devices, over Wifi as well as over UMTS. The setup is rather simple, just follow the guideTemplate:Linkrot. To ensure you are motivated to get started, have a look at some screenshotsTemplate:Linkrot. Believe me, it is as awesome as it looks!

When configuring Apache and PHP, make sure to add your VDR video directory to the open_basedir line in /etc/php/php_ini, e.g.

open_basedir = /srv/http/:/home/:/tmp/:/usr/share/pear/:/video/

As for now, to make it work on the iPad you have to use the git version.


I remember having almost given up on setting up VDR on Arch Linux at the very beginning because of the problem mentioned above with the wrongly loaded module for my full-featured card. This guide might help some of you to also get beyond the point of only trying to get VDR up and running.

This guide is not intended to be complete and it never will be. Hopefully, with the cooperation of you guys it will become more and more detailed and useful.