Available for testing: Kbtv -- KDE TV viewer for bktr

Danny Pansters danny at ricin.com
Tue Nov 1 02:14:37 PST 2005

Hi all,

If you have a bktr based TV or capture card and are using KDE on FreeBSD 5, 6, 
or 7 I'd like to invite you to try out Kbtv. It is a small and simple TV 
viewing app written mostly in python. Uses PyKDE for GUI and mplayer for 

For quite a while I wasn't too happy with the offerings for TV viewers, 
especially under KDE. Fxtv works but looks out of place. Mplayer is arguably 
the best TV renderer available for us. But KMplayer has a rather bad GUI for 
using TV and because it starts a new mplayer instance (kicking the bktr 
driver and/or the hardware) everytime you switch channels it exhibits 
frequent hard freezes. If merely using the tuner (through ioctls) such things 
don't happen. This made me write btcontrol, which is a small C program that 
does a selection of the available ioctls.

I've also been the maintainer for the PyQt and PyKDE ports for quite a while 
now, and it was about time to actually use it in an app that's useful for me 
as well as for other *BSD folks (and figure out, which I've now done at least 
partially, how QT and KDE really work... lots of reading/googling mainly).

And so I made Kbtv, with simplicity being a priority as well in the GUI as 
under the hood. I'm sure it still has plenty bugs and things that might be 
Done Better (but perhaps Never Will) (TM) but I've been using it for several 
months now -- first through a few python modules with mplayer, later with 
mplayer embedded in the GUI -- and it works fine and is quite fast. I must 
say that I have P4 3.4GHz and 1.5GHz boxen on which I tested and both aren't 
exactly skinny of course.

Obviously I only have one signal here (through cable, and basically all of 
Holland is cable with similar signals). I've been able to test two TV cards: 
a Miro bt848 (temic pal) and a Pinnacle/WinTV bt878 (philips pal + FM). So 
I'm interested in any results. Specifically how it works with antenna (is the 
1MHz unit scanning good enough), if/how it works out with ntsc and with other 
tuner units, whether secam can be stomped into working after all ...

Please see 


for tarball, port, package, bugs and screenshot. Run it through your KDE menu 
or by running 'kbtv'. I'd like to move to one or more BETA's soon, then PR it 
as a release. It's been sitting on my desktop for too long :) Any testing is 
very much appreciated.

Thanks for your interest,


PS1: Yes, I looked at kdetv first, but considering the mediocre performance I 
experienced under Linux (tried ark a while ago and debian recently and it's 
still bad) and the fact that one would have to make first a generalization 
for btkr to fit in with v4l[1][2] and then bend over backwards to make that 
fit in with the bktr reality again, I gave up. I did try. It even compiled 
and ran (without video though).

PS2: Kbtv does not support teletext or recording and that's not going to 

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