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  • The tvtime program (tvtime command) enables you to display video output - television channels, in particular - on your desktop. You can change the channels, adjust the volume, and fine-tune your picture. In addition, tvtime sports a slick onscreen display and support for a widescreen display. The following sections describe how to choose a TV capture card and use tvtime to watch televi- sion on your desktop.

    Getting a Supported TV Card
    Video4Linux (V4l/V4l2) is the video interface available for Linux. It supports a variety of TV capture cards and cameras, and is included in some distributions. If your distribution does not include V4l or V4L2, you can install it on your own, although it is not the easiest task to accomplish. For more information about obtaining and installing V4l and the appropriate driver, visit http://linux·bytesex·org/v4l2/index.html.

    To see a list of supported TV cards that you can use with tvtime, refer to the CARDLIST and Cards files of your V4l installation. To view these files, you need to have the kernel-source pack- age installed. You'll find the Cards file in /usr/src/linux*/Documentation/video4linux/ bttv/Cards on your Linux system. The Cards file applies to the Video4Linux bttv driver. In addition, look at all files starting with CARDLIST in / usr/src/linux*/Documentation/ video4linux/CARDLIST*.

    Video4Linux is designed to autodetect your TV capture card and load the proper modules to activate it. Install the TV-card hardware (with the appropriate connection to your TV reception), boot Linux, and run the tvtime command as described in the next section. You should see video displayed in your tvtime window.

    If your card doesn't appear to be working, here are a few things you can try: Check that your TV card was properly seated in its slot and detected by Linux by typing:
    $ /sbin/lspci

    This shows you a list of all valid PCI cards on your computer. If your card doesn't show up, you probably have a hardware problem. It is possible that the card is there but that the right card type is not being detected. Improper detection is most likely if you have a card for which there are several revisions, with each requiring a different driver. If you think your card is not being properly detected, find your card in the CARDLIST files. Then add the appropriate line to the /etc/modprobe.conf file. For example, to add a Prolink PV-BT878P, revision 9B card, add the following line to the file:
    options bttv card=72

    You can also add other options listed in the Insmod-options file for the bttv driver. If you are still having problems getting your card to work, a mailing list is available on which you can ask questions about Video4Linux issues: http://listman·redhat·com/mailman/listinfo/video4linux-list. While this list is for Red Hat specifically, the information is germane to most distributions.