Setup Capture Cards

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Software-update-available.png This page is up-to-date as of MythTV version 0.27.6, the current release is 0.28.1

This article describes the Capture Cards Setup page of MythTV Setup. Here you tell MythTV what devices will be used to capture the TV signal. You can attach capture devices to the Master Backend or to Slave Backends. This way recording tasks can be spread across several backends.

The initial menu presents options for adding a capture card, deleting all capture cards on the system, deleting all capture cards on the current logged in backend, and a list of capture cards already configured. You can highlight one of the existing capture cards and either press enter to reconfigure it or press D to delete it.

Card type: DVB-T/S/C, ATSC or ISDB-T tuner card

These capture cards are digital TV tuners, able to receive digital TV signals from various sources, such as over the air, cable TV or satellite. Different standards apply to different countries. Support for these devices depends on drivers supplied by http://www.linuxtv.org/.

To see if your card is supported, see the list of cards in the "Supported Hardware" section of the DVB Wiki at http://www.linuxtv.org/wiki/index.php/Supported_Hardware for more information. Also see the V4L-DVB Wiki. There are articles about each type of tuner in the relevant categories.

If you have a dual digital/analog card, such as the pcHDTV cards and some DViCO cards, then you should not configure this as two separate cards. Configure the digital portion as a DVB card, then click on the "Analog Options" button within the DVB configuration panel for the card and configure the analog portion of the card there.

Setting Default Value Settings Page's Description Additional Comments
DVB device List When you change this setting, the text below should change to the name and type of your card. If the card cannot be opened, an error message will be displayed. If Linux recognizes your device it will appear in the list. If there is nothing in the list you will need to investigate whether Linux supports the card and how to get it working.
Signal timeout (ms) 500 Maximum time (in milliseconds) MythTV waits for a signal when scanning for channels. If it is missing channels on the channel scan, increase this value.
Tuning timeout (ms) 3000 Maximum time (in milliseconds) MythTV waits for a channel lock. For recordings, this value will be doubled. If Live TV or recordings fail you may need to increase this.
Recorder Options
Max recordings 2 Maximum number of simultaneous recordings this device should make. Some digital transmitters transmit multiple programs on a multiplex, if this is set to a value greater than one MythTV can sometimes take advantage of this. This is only useful if you have two recordings at the same time from two channels that share the same frequency.
Wait for SEQ start header. Checked If enabled, drop packets from the start of a DVB recording until a sequence start header is seen.
Open DVB card on demand Not Checked If enabled, only open the DVB card when required, leaving it free for other programs at other times.
Use DVB card for active EIT scan Checked If enabled, activate active scanning for program data (EIT). When this option is enabled the DVB card is constantly in-use.
DVB tuning delay (ms) 1 Some Linux DVB drivers, in particular for the Hauppauge Nova-T, require that we slow down the tuning process by specifying a delay (in milliseconds).

Card type: HD-PVR H.264 encoder

The Hauppauge HD-PVR captures analog video signals from component or composite outputs and audio signals from digital or analog sources and encodes them. It can be used for recording from satellite or cable TV converter boxes if those boxes have component outputs. Note that the HD PVR Model 2 is not supported by MythTV.

For detailed instructions see Hauppauge HD-PVR.

Setting Default Value Settings Page's Description Additional Comments
Video device List If Linux recognizes your device it will appear in the list. If there is nothing in the list you will need to investigate whether Linux supports the card and how to get it working.
Audio input List If Linux recognizes your device it will appear in the list. If there is nothing in the list you will need to investigate whether Linux supports the card and how to get it working.
Tuning timeout (ms) 15000 Maximum time (in milliseconds) MythTV waits for a channel lock. For recordings, this value will be doubled. If Live TV or recordings fail you may need to increase this.

Card type: HDHomeRun networked tuner

These capture cards are digital TV tuners, able to receive digital TV signals from over the air or cable TV. The Silicondust HDHomeRun can receive unencrypted signals over the air or from cable TV. The Silicondust HDHomeRun Prime (USA only) can receive encrypted or unencrypted signals from cable TV only. Receiving encrypted signals requires a cablecard from your cable company. As of 2015 there are very few unencrypted cable channels in the USA so that for receiving cable TV you will need the HDHomeRun Prime.

The Hauppauge WinTV DCR-2650 and WinTV-DCR-3250 are USB versions of the same device. They are configured here as if they were HDHomeRun Prime. The USB devices need a Linux driver that creates a virtual network device and an IP address.

You can install the hdhomerun-config and hdhomerun-config-gui programs to provide test tools for the HDHomeRun. Those are available in the Ubuntu repository, or else you can download and compile the source. They are useful but are not necessary for using the device with MythTV.

For detailed instructions see Silicondust HDHomeRun Dual, Silicondust HDHomeRun Prime, Silicondust HDHomeRun Plus.

Setting Default Value Settings Page's Description Additional Comments
Available devices Manually Enter IP Address Device ID and Tuner Number of available HDHomeRun devices. If there is an HDHomerun device on your local network the tuners should populate in the list. You can create several capture card entries in MythTV, one for each tuner id in the list. If it does not populate in this list you can enter the IP address and tuner number manually below.
IP Address blank This is only available for entry if you selected "Manually Enter IP Address"
Tuner 0 Each device has several tuners, numbered from 0 up. This is only available for entry if you selected "Manually Enter IP Address"
Recorder Options
Signal timeout (ms) 1000 Maximum time (in milliseconds) MythTV waits for a signal when scanning for channels. If it is missing channels on the channel scan, increase this value. Not applicable to HomeRun Prime when using a cablecard.
Tuning timeout (ms) 3000 Maximum time (in milliseconds) MythTV waits for a channel lock. For recordings, this value will be doubled. If Live TV or recordings fail you may need to increase this.
Max recordings 2 Maximum number of simultaneous recordings this device should make. Some digital transmitters transmit multiple programs on a multiplex, if this is set to a value greater than one MythTV can sometimes take advantage of this. This is only useful if you have two recordings at the same time from two channels that share the same frequency. Note that this does not apply to Homerun Prime or other devices when using a cable card.

Card type: FireWire cable box

Some cable converter boxes rented by cable companies have a FireWire (IEEE 1394) socket. Until recently, cable companies in the USA were required to provide a working FireWire connection on all cable boxes that support HD. This is no longer required and will likely be phased out.

Recording from a cable box via FireWire can be difficult to achieve reliably.

You need a FireWire card in your backend and an appropriate cable to connect the set top box. Low cost FireWire cards are available.

For detailed instructions see FireWire.

Setting Default Value Settings Page's Description Additional Comments
GUID List Once you have connected your cable box successfully to the FireWire port, it will show in this list. Select the appropriate entry.
Cable box model List of Cable boxes Choose the model that most closely resembles your set top box. Depending on firmware revision SA4200HD may work better for a SA3250HD box. If your model does not show in the list, the cable box will likely work using another model number.
Connection Type Point to Point Options are "Point to Point" or "Broadcast". See FireWire for discussion of how to choose a setting.
Speed 100Mbps Options are 100Mbps, 200Mbps, 400Mbps, 800Mbps. I recommend 400Mbps for HD.
Signal timeout (ms) 2000 Maximum time (in milliseconds) MythTV waits for a signal when scanning for channels. I suggest leave the default setting
Tuning timeout (ms) 9000 Maximum time (in milliseconds) MythTV waits for a channel lock. For recordings, this value will be doubled. If you have an external channel change script that takes some time you may need to increase this.

Card type: Ceton cablecard tuner

The Ceton InfiniTVis a range of devices that support cable TV decryption in the USA. There are internal PCI Express cards, USB attached devices and Ethernet devices. Each device can hold one cablecard from the cable company. Each device can receive up to 6 channels simultaneously, depending on the model. The PCI Express and USB models require a Linux driver, which will create a virtual network device and assign an IP address to the InfiniTV. The Ethernet devices require no Linux driver.

For detailed instructions see Ceton.

Setting Default Value Settings Page's Description Additional Comments
IP Address blank IP Address of the Ceton device (192.168.200.1 by default) That default does not apply to the ethernet device. Fill in the appropriate IP address here
Tuner blank Number of the tuner on the Ceton device (first tuner in number 0) Create several cards for your device, one for each tuner.

Card type: IPTV recorder

For information see IPTV

Setting Default Value Settings Page's Description Additional Comments
M3U URL http://mafreebox.freebox.fr/freeboxtv/playlist.m3u URL of M3U containing RTSP/RTP/UDP channel URLs.
Tuning timeout (ms) 30000 Maximum time (in milliseconds) MythTV waits for a channel lock. For recordings, this value will be doubled.

Card type: Analog to MPEG-2 encoder card (PVR-150/250/350, etc)

These are TV tuners that capture analog TV and encode it to MPEG-2 in hardware. This is of interest in countries that have not switched to Digital transmission. It may be difficult to obtain these tuners since most countries have switched to digital broadcast.

Support for these devices depends on drivers supplied by http://www.linuxtv.org/. To determine if your device will be supported, visit the Wiki. There are articles about each type of tuner supported.

If you have a Hauppauge PVR-500, you must think of it as two PVR-150's on a single PCI card. For example, if you have a single PVR-500 card, it will appear as /dev/video0 and /dev/video1. Each /dev/video device will have a Tuner input.

Setting Default Value Settings Page's Description Additional Comments
Video Device List of devices If Linux recognizes your device it will appear in the list. If there is nothing in the list you will need to investigate whether Linux supports the card and how to get it working.
VBI Device List of devices If Linux recognizes your device it will appear in the list.
Tuning timeout (ms) 12000 Maximum time (in milliseconds) MythTV waits for a channel lock. For recordings, this value will be doubled.

Other Analog Capture Card Types

  • Card type: Analog to MJPEG encoder card (Matrox G200, DC10, etc)
  • Card type: Analog to MPEG-4 encoder (Plextor ConvertX USB, etc)
  • Card type: Analog capture card

These are TV tuners that capture analog TV. This is of interest in countries that have not switched to Digital transmission. They may also support capture of composite output from a converter box (Standard Definition only).

Support for these devices depends on drivers supplied by http://www.linuxtv.org/. To determine if your device will be supported, visit the Wiki. There are articles about each type of tuner supported.

Setting Default Value Settings Page's Description Additional Comments
Video Device List of devices If Linux recognizes your device it will appear in the list. If there is nothing in the list you will need to investigate whether Linux supports the card and how to get it working.
VBI Device List of devices If the card supports closed captions the device will show here. If Linux recognizes your device it will appear in the list.
Audio Device ALSA:default If the device needs to capture audio separately from video you may have to select an audio device here.
Force audio sampling rate (None) If non-zero, override the audio sampling rate in the recording profile when this card is used. Use this if your capture card does not support all of the standard rates.
Do not adjust volume Not Checked Enable this option for budget BT878 based DVB-T cards such as the AverTV DVB-T which require the audio volume to be left alone.

Card type: Import test recorder

If you need to test the backend but do not have a tuner, you can use this. It creates a dummy tuner that simply copies from a file you supply when making a "recording". You can also use this to import files with an event.

Setting Default Value Settings Page's Description Additional Comments
File path blank A local file used to simulate a recording. Leave empty to use MythEvents to trigger an external program to import recording files.

Card type: Demo test recorder

If you need to test the backend but do not have a tuner, you can use this. It creates a dummy tuner that simply copies from a file you supply when making a "recording". This recorder requires an MPEG file and it will copy slowly as if recording, i.e. will take 1 minute to copy 1 minute of video.

Setting Default Value Settings Page's Description Additional Comments
File path file:/ A local MPEG file used to simulate a recording. Must be entered as file:/path/movie.mpg