Use Fitlet for Over The Air Television Reception in Mint

Application notes using fitlet. Credit goes to user Hassellbear for publishing more than enough cool application notes to justify a dedicated sub-forum.

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Use Fitlet for Over The Air Television Reception in Mint

Post by hassellbear »


Over the Air (OTA) television reception has become less popular over time as newer technologies such as CATV, satellite television, and on-demand streaming have emerged. Although OTA TV doesn't offer the variety of content available using other systems, it does offer good video quality via the new digital standards. It also provides reliability in times of emergency such as severe weather. Plus, OTA TV does not have high network bandwidth requirements as does streaming.

The prevalent digital television standards by region are:

1. ATSC (North America)
2. DVB-T (Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe)
3. DTMB (China)
4. ISDB-T (Central and South America)

Since I live in North America, this demonstration will focus on the ATSC standard.

Important Resource is the preeminent resource for implementing tv reception in Linux. I recommend starting there for any tv project.

Another good resource is Kernel Labs found here:


Relatively inexpensive USB digital television receivers are readily available for all of the standards. For this project, I am using the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 850 which is based on the Xceive XC5000 tuner. This unit performs well and offers NTSC analog reception in addition to ATSC digital reception.
FitletOTA.jpeg (53.92 KiB) Viewed 12624 times


A wide variety of Linux packages which support television reception are available. They vary greatly in complexity and features. The available software includes packages such as Kaffeine, MeTV, MythTV, VLC, VDR, and Xine. For a more complete list see:

I chose MeTV for this project because it is relatively uncomplicated and offers good features including channel tuning and video recording. You can easily install MeTV using the command line (sudo apt-get install me-tv) or your package manager.

Driver and Firmware Support

Linux provides good driver and firmware support for many receivers. Later kernels typically include what is needed. However, if your device is not supported natively, you will likely be able to find and install the required drivers and firmware. You can often find what you require here:

For my device, the required firmware can be found here: ... TV-HVR-850

Verfying The Setup

Once you have installed the necessary drivers, firmware, and software, you should verify Fitlet is properly recognizing your tv recevier.

1. Execute lsusb in the terminal

Look for your device.

fitlet@fitlet-desktop ~ $ lsusb
Bus 002 Device 003: ID 046d:c52b Logitech, Inc. Unifying Receiver
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 0438:7900 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 8087:07dc Intel Corp.
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0438:7900 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
Bus 003 Device 003: ID 2040:7240 Hauppauge WinTV HVR-850
Bus 003 Device 002: ID 046d:082c Logitech, Inc.
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

2. Execute lsmod

Look for the kernel modules which apply to your receiver.

fitlet@fitlet-desktop ~ $ lsmod
Module Size Used by
ctr 13049 1
ccm 17773 1
au8522_dig 13676 1
xc5000 26985 2
tuner 27358 1
au8522_decoder 13383 1
au8522_common 14644 2 au8522_decoder,au8522_dig
kvm_amd 60328 0
dm_multipath 22843 0
kvm 452088 1 kvm_amd
scsi_dh 14882 1 dm_multipath
crct10dif_pclmul 14307 0
crc32_pclmul 13133 0
ghash_clmulni_intel 13230 0


pps_core 19382 1 ptp
libahci 32424 1 ahci
i2c_algo_bit 13413 1 igb
video 20128 0

3. Look for the firmware

fitlet@fitlet-desktop ~ $ sudo dir /lib/firmware
[sudo] password for fitlet:
3.13.0-37-generic libertas
3.16.0-38-generic Makefile
3com matrox
acenic moxa
adaptec mrvl


ctfw- r128
ctspeq.bin radeon
cxgb3 README
cxgb4 rp2.fw
dsp56k rsi_91x.fw
dvb-fe-xc5000-1.6.114.fw rt2561.bin
dvb-usb-dib0700-1.20.fw rt2561s.bin
dvb-usb-terratec-h5-drxk.fw rt2661.bin
ea rt2860.bin
edgeport rt2870.bin
emi26 rt3070.bin
emi62 rt3090.bin
ene-ub6250 rt3290.bin


iwlwifi-7265-9.ucode whiteheat_loader.fw
kaweth wsm_22.bin
keyspan yam
keyspan_pda yamaha
korg zd1201-ap.fw
lbtf_usb.bin zd1201.fw
lgs8g75.fw zd1211

4. Make sure the receiver is available in the system

a. Check for digital (ATSC)

Use the command ~ $ sudo dir /dev - You are looking for the device video1

b. Check for analog (NTSC)

Use the command ~ $ sudo dir /dev/dvb - You are looking for adapter0

Launch the MeTV Software

1. Scan for Channels
ChannelScan.jpeg (171.46 KiB) Viewed 12624 times

2. Select a channel and watch tv
MeTV.png (330.4 KiB) Viewed 12624 times

Results and Conclusions

1. A good antenna is a must for OTA reception.

2. Fitlet easily handles television reception and performs quite well.

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