June 26, 2008

TVTime - Television on Linux

TVTime is a nice application for those of us who own a TV card, and it is known to offer the best quality from all the applications with the same goal.

Of course, it doesn't compete with the programs manufacturers provide, but given that they are only available on Windows, TVTime will be a good solution for watching TV on Linux. It offers basic features, like settings for contrast and brightness, together with easy to use shortcuts for taking screenshots or the fullscreen mode.

Actually, the simplistic approach is what impresses me, but I really miss a recording feature. It works very well with my Leadtek TV2000 XP Deluxe card, and you can find a complete list of supported cards on the official website, here.

You can also find a FAQ and a complete list of shortcuts available to TVTime.


Heso said...

What do you mean it doesn't compare to the manufacturer's original software? From what I remember from Windows, those are most of the time terrible and I would end up using generic free software like DScaler anyway.

I find TVTime simply great. It does everything I need it to and I love the baren interface. For those who don't, there are alternatives, like KDEtv, Zapping etc.

Granted, it doesn't do recording, but then again most Linux applications subscribe to the philosophy "do one thing and do it well". I use mencoder (from the MPlayer package) to record from TV. One can also use ffmpeg. And there are front-ends like Freevo or MythTV.

Dan Craciun said...

Of course, the 'do one thing and do it well' philosophy is very good, but what I was referring at is that (at least in this particular case - for my TV card) the software provided by Leadtek for Windows is more complete than TVTime offers.

Regarding recording with mencoder, I didn't even know that's possible, I'll have a look into it. And I recently installed MythTV and I'll set up MySQL and try it when I'll find the time.

Heso said...

Sure, mencoder is great. Here's an example:

mencoder tv:// \
-tv device=/dev/video0:alsa:input=1:\
driver=v4l2:width=384:height=288 \
-lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=800 \
-ovc lavc \
-lameopts cbr=64:mode=2 \
-oac mp3lame \
-o ~/tvcap.avi

This example does not select a channel (you can add a number to the source, like this: tv://5). That's because I usually watch TV using TVTime, and I've defined a shortcut in Gnome that launches a script that kills tvtime and starts this capture command. So the channel selection is preserved. The shortcut script goes something like this:

killall tvtime && \
aterm -e tvcapture

...where tvcapture contains the mencoder call above.

You can also bind this to your IR remote, if you have one and are using LIRC.