TV Tuners in Linux

10 Jun

I have an elderly PC running MythTV which has worked well for sometime but the USB TV Tuner I was using failed. Not a major problem; they’re cheap to replace. Unfortunately, the software support is not too good – few manufacturers provide Linux drivers and firmware. I bought my tuner from Maplin (and I’ve just found that it’s now £10 cheaper than when I bought it!) – it’s a KWorld UB499-2T.

A new install of Ubuntu 12.04 almost works (but, as my old German teacher used to say, “If you’re nearly right, you’re wrong” so “almost works” really means “doesn’t work”) so I decided to find out how to make it work. This was not as easy as I hoped so I’ve made some notes which will help me next time I reinstall and might perhaps help someone else!

There are lots of articles on the web which refer to the script “get_dvb_firmware” and just seem to assume it will be present. It’s not present on a default install of Ubuntu but it gets installed if you add the linux-doc package (at least, /usr/share/doc/linux-doc/dvb/get_dvb_firmware.gz gets installed; copy that somewhere safe, unzip it and make it executable) Run the code to get the firmware and then unload/reload the driver

cd ~
cp /usr/share/doc/linux-doc/dvb/get_dvb_firmware.gz .
gunzip get_dvb_firmware.gz
chmod +x get_dvb_firmware
#get the firmware
./get_dvb_firmware it9135
#copy it to the right location
sudo cp dvb-usb-it9137-01.fw /lib/firmware
#Now unload and reload the driver (you could just reboot but Linux never needs rebooting ...)
sudo rmmod dvb_usb_it913x
sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.2.0-24-generic-pae/kernel/drivers/media/dvb/dvb-usb/dvb-usb-it913x.ko

If you now run dmesg you should see that the tuner is found, firmware is loaded and the tuner is ready.

The Kaffeine media player is really good for checking that the tuner is working – stop the Mythbackend service because otherwise it grabs the device.


5 Responses to “TV Tuners in Linux”

  1. Andy 22 June 2012 at 13:51 #

    Thank you! This has saved me from my idiot self!!

  2. narp101 24 June 2012 at 22:55 #

    absolutely spot on! I can’t thank you enough for this. Got my TV up and running in minutes few after reading this.

    • triptogenetica 19 September 2012 at 18:29 #

      Yes – thank you!

      Note that Maplin is now selling the UB499-2t t09, which discusses – it seems to want the it9137 firmware, rather than the it9135.

      Also – I was tearing my hair out, as the final command you worte wasn’t working for me (folder didn’t exist). Then I just tried to navigate to that folder, and found sure enough, the linux kernel has changed since you wrote the article!

      So, the command that worked for me:

      sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.2.0-30-generic/kernel/drivers/media/dvb/dvb-usb/dvb-usb-it913x.ko

      Otherwise – great stuff!

      • triptogenetica 4 October 2012 at 21:46 #

        A quick follow-up –

        so I did all the above (including my modified commands for the more recent kernel). What I’d forgotten was a male-to-male aerial cable adaptor.

        So all the signs were good, but i couldn’t try out whether it worked, for lack of signal!

        I was in no rush – so only picked one up today.

        Now I find – the first two or three programs I tried, KAffeine, MythBox, and Xine, don’t work at all. Kaffeine caims to be scanning, but says Signal 0% (SNR 100%) and finds no channels.

        But the next program I tried – Me TV – auto scanned and worked perfectly!

        SO – I would suggest if anyone’s having trouble – try 2, or 3, or 4 programs first! Me TV works for me, but you might have a different experience.

        (I have no financial interest in any of these softwares whatsoever).


  1. KWorld UB499-2T – USB Freeview TV Tuner « narp101 - 24 June 2012

    […] work, it’s all taken from someone else’s page for which am I bloody gratefull “” is the source of it, but posting an extract here for future […]

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