User Manual:DVB

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What is DVB?

DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting) is the most popular standard for digital TV, other standards include ATSC, and DCII. DVB is confusingly also the name of the Linux drivers used for most DTV receivers in Linux, including ATSC, DCII and other MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 based broadcast standards.

DVB is widely used in Europe and Asia. USA's Dish Network uses an incompatible variant of DVB, while Direct TV and some cable operators use an earlier system that predates DVB called DCII. Cable operators in the US were supposed to move to ATSC for by 2006 for broadcast channels but few have complied with the law.

DVB was initially based on the MPEG-2 compression and packet formats, but has recently been extended to support MPEG-4 AVC streams as well. The physical part comes in the variants

  • terrestrial (antenna, airwaves) (DVB-T)
  • cable (DVB-C)
  • satellite (DVB-S)

Some channels (esp. pay channels) are encrypted, there's a standardized decryption hardware slot called "Common Interface" (CI) for the decryption hardware called "Conditional Access Module" (CAM), which usually also needs a smartcard for legitimation/accounting.

Note: To compile in DVB driver support (used for many DTV devices) into MythTV use a recent kernel (2.6.12 or better) then use the --enable-dvb configure option. E.g.

./configure --enable-dvb

as root user:

make install


There are several hundred or thousand DVB-S channels available in Europe, e.g. over the satellite fleets Astra and Eutelsat, almost all of them "free to air" (unencrypted), including all the major free stations. DVB-T is (being) deployed at the moment in UK, Germany, France, Australia, Spain, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and other countries as a replacement for the classic analog TV over antenna.

Supported Hardware

For DVB devices supported by linux see the following pages on the wiki.

See also

External links