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Fri, 10 Jul 2009

An easy to use cheap DVB-T USB dongle - 11:35
The other night at home we realised that the tv did not have digital tuning capability, thus with the Ashes starting we could not watch the tour coverage. As I am not at home at 6pm much I could not even watch the highlights package easily (repeated at 9:30pm on SBS2). Although my mythtv box at work can record this stuff, it had been playing up and not making scheduled recordings, and I had not fixed it yet. (finally started an upgrade yesterday, have not had time to see how it went)

Anyway I did not have time to go into town and buy a digital tuner to go with the tv, however the on campus computer shop has USB DVB-T dongles. One they had for sale (rather cheap at $68) is the Leadtek Winfast DTV Dongle Gold, which according to this page at the mythtv wiki works well on Linux. So I bought one, plugged it in, discovered that the driver is already in the 2.6.30 kernel I am running, the firmware linked to on that page first however was buggy, some forum posts suggested running the latest 4.95.0 firmware rather than 4.65.0 and it would work (it did).

After playing around with a few tv programs I settled on simply using xine which can tune into all the channels I scanned for Canberra. I am happy to say this works a treat and only took about 5 minutes to make it work. Of course if I make it to swimming tonight I may try to come back past the shops in Civic and buy a tuner box for the tv in the lounge room so everyone can enjoy the tour at home.

Though I do not watch tv much I have to say it is sort of exciting to have a tuner that only takes up a really small amount of space (the dongle, antenna and short usb cable extension are about the size of a small USB hard drive all up) in my laptop bag and works fine in most places like this.

[/comp/hardware] link

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