DVB-T – the Kaffeine Media Player for TV under Ubuntu

Kaffeine is a general purpose media player oriented towards supporting TV playing and recording. It has a very clear Electronic Program Guide which allows you to schedule any program to be recorded in the future and provides a guard band of -5 and +10 minutes by default. It is easy to search for channels and chose the ones you want. It will use any DVB-T USB stick which is loaded by the kernel or custom drivers.

Kaffeine is installed by the Synaptic Package Manager and searching for kaffeine – it is not in the Ubuntu Software Center as it is optimised for the KDE desktop but I prefer it to the simpler Me TV

You should also install dvb-apps using the Synaptic Package Manager or you will not have a list of local transmitters available for you to scan. There are 100 Digital Transmitters in the UK.

Kaffeine needs to have some configuration information before you can scan for channels and watch TV – you have to:

  • Plug in device so kaffeine knows there is a TV tuner available.
  • Run kaffeine
  • Select TV on right hand vertical tabs
    • Select Configure on horizontal tabs – it looks like a spanner
      • On general tab – update scan over internet
      • On Device tab – Select Autoscan from source or from the drop down list if you know the transmitter you are using.
    • OK
    • Select the Channels tab on bottom (looks like a screen)
      • Click Start Scan
      • When scan has finished you should have channels on the right
      • Use the buttons and check boxes to copy your selected channels to the left
      • OK
  • You should now be able to select a channel your channel to watch by clicking it

You need to install dvb-apps using the Synaptic Package Manager if you do not have a list of transmitters as noted above.

Kaffeine is reluctant to do another automatic scan if you change region often like we do on the boat. I have found you need to:

  • Plug in device
  • Run kaffeine
  • Select TV on right hand vertical tabs
    • Select the Channels tab on bottom (looks like a screen)
      • Click Clear at top of right panel (you must remove all the channels if you want to rescan)
      • OK
    • Select Configure on horizontal tabs – it looks like a spanner
      • On Device tab – Click Reset
      • On Device tab – Select Autoscan from source from the drop down list
      • OK
  • Quit kaffeine (this closing and opening is important if you want to rescan)
  • Open kaffeine
    • Select the Channels tab on bottom (looks like a screen)
      • Click Start Scan
      • When scan has finished you should have channels on the right
      • Use the buttons and check boxes to copy your selected channels to the left
      • OK
  • You should now be able to select a channel your channel to watch

If you do not carry out the procedure you can only update channels corresponding to the transmitter you are using. There may be several transmitters in you list and you have to tune to each one.

Mostly you can control Kaffeine by hot keys as well as the drop down menus and control icons under the channel list. F is important as it toggles in and out of full screen. G gives the Onscreen Guide which also allows you to schedule recording with a guard band either end.

The best way to find the nearest transmitter and its direction from an OS map Reference is Wolfbane’s UK digital TV reception predictor

You can also use a program called w-scan which can be installed by the Synaptic Package Manager to create a scan list suitable for Kaffeine – enough details to get one going are on the Kaffeine Forum at http://hftom.free.fr/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=178

1 Comment

  1. Deandre

    I feel saeisfitd after reading that one.

    Reply

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