receiving aerial digital TV

Dieter BSD dieterbsd at
Fri Feb 1 18:27:55 UTC 2013

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> i am out of current knowledge about common TV for about 10 years.
> Currently in Poland there is aerial TV broadcasted in DVB-T standard.
> There are TVs with builtin decoder/demodulator or separate
> decoders/demodulator with HDMI output.
> But how about just receiving demodulated data and letting mplayer play it,
> and - most importantly - recording it directly. I know there are USB
> receivers on market.
> Are such devices supported under FreeBSD? if so -  what driver, what
> chipset to look when buying such a thing? any other recommendation.
> With analog TV broadcast there were PCI cards with brooktree chipset that
> worked with FreeBSD.

There are PCI and PCIe tuner cards, USB tuners, and Ethernet tuners.
There used to be firewire tuners but these have disappeared the last
time I looked.  Each type has advantages and disadvantages.  Cards
require expansion slots, which you may or may not have available.
Ethernet tuners allow locating the tuner near the antenna, giving
less signal loss in the coax.  And they don't need a slot, and are OS
independent.  Unfortunately, there seems to be only 1 brand of
Ethernet tuner (Silicondust HDhomerun).  The ATSC/8VSB version has
better debugging info than other tuners, but there are many reports
that other tuners give better reception. I don't know if this
applies to the DVB-T version.  Word is that some of the very small
USB tuners suffer from poor reception.  A high-gain "outdoor" antenna
will give much better reception (due to less multipath) than a low
gain antenna.  Garbage in garbage out. If you manage to get a signal
that is too strong, an attenuator is very inexpensive.

Yes, you should be able to record to a file on disk and watch it later.
Cron(8) and at(1) are useful for this. Some people like mythtv.

Many of the cards use a cx88 family chip. cx88 (in ports) supports
many of these cards.

Ethernet tuners

Useful forums for tuners, antennas, how to fix reception problems, ...

Useful info about antennas and reception

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