Driver Installation

Set Up OpenELEC with TBS Drivers and Tvheadend

How To Set Up OpenELEC with TBS Drivers and Tvheadend

This guide shows you how to upgrade an existing OpenELEC Media Center system with the TBS drivers for Turbosight DVB tuner cards. It then explains how to configure your tuner card to scan for channels so that live TV becomes possible in Kodi by using the tvheadend back end and client add ons.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time testing various OpenELEC images and tailored upgrades and I have finally settled with a system that I now use daily. However, I encountered so many problems in achieving a usable system that I thought it was worthwhile writing down the solutions to help others working on similar projects.

My OpenELEC Media Center:

Dell Studio 540S; 6GB RAM, ASUS 1GB GeForce GT430 and a Turbosight TBS 6280 Dual DVB-T2 tuner card.

Official OpenELEC distro: [Beta] OpenELEC 5.95.1 (x86_64) | Generic 64 bit Build

TBS Driver upgrade image: 6.0 Beta 1 | OpenELEC-Generic.x86_64-6.0.b1-TBS-1.0.tar

Main features: Kodi 15.0 Isengard Beta 1; Video Skip Steps (skip backwards and forwards); remote Power button Suspends and Wakes the machine; serves as a digital video recorder, waking to record and suspending when complete. It’s reliable and boots from cold quickly.

What You Will Need

TBS 6280 Dual DVB-T2 Card Installed

TBS 6280 Dual DVB-T2 Card Installed

  • A Turbosight DVB tuner card installed in your target computer.
  • The computer running the OpenELEC system needs to be connected to your home network, either with a wired ethernet cable or a wireless connection.
  • A second computer, connected to the same network, will be used to connect to the OpenELEC system using the Secure Shell (SSH) network protocol. Linux-based operating systems like Ubuntu and Mint have this tool as standard. If your second computer is running Windows, then download the free telnet and ssh client,  PuTTY to do the same tasks. This computer will also be used to connect to the tvheadend back end with a web browser to allow configuration of the TV server.

The Procedure

  1. Download and then install an official OpenELEC distro on your target system.
  2. Download a compatible upgrade image that contains the TBS DVB drivers. Copy this to your OpenELEC system and upgrade.
  3. Set up tvheadend in Kodi.
  4. Configure tvheadend via the web browser graphical user interface (gui). This includes transmitter selection, scanning for channels and channel mapping.
  5. Instruct Kodi to unload TBS DVB drivers during Suspend. This prevents the loss of tuner functionality when Kodi is woken from sleep.

1. Selection of Official OpenELEC Distros

OpenELEC Download

OpenELEC Download

Visit OpenELEC.tv and navigate to the download page and make your decision on either a 32 or 64 bit operating system.

Nvidia Legacy Builds

Notice the Nvidia Legacy builds that cater for older Nvidia cards. One of my first builds was based on this initial distro because my Nvidia GT430 card was listed as supported. It certainly was, but I found by experimentation that my old GeForce card was also supported in the latest OpenELEC distro too.

My advice then is to try the latest version of the OpenELEC distro. If you find that your card is not supported, then restart your project with one of the Nvidia Legacy builds.  After all, each release is only ~140Mb and the installation time from USB stick, minimal.

My choice: [Beta] OpenELEC 5.95.1 (x86_64) | Generic 64 bit Build

Openelec Installation Guide

OpenELEC Installation Guide

Once you have your downloaded image, visit the OpenELEC wiki installation instructions and install.

Enable SSH Server During the Installation of OpenELEC

Enable SSH Server During the Installation of OpenELEC

During installation, ensure that you Enable SSH server per default and select Configure SSH and Samba Services in the Kodi set up wizard.

OpenELEC Kodi Configure Services

OpenELEC Kodi Configure SSH and Samba Services

2. How to Apply OpenELEC Upgrades

2.1 Obtain an OpenELEC image with TBS DVB drivers

Kudos to CvH on the OpenELEC forums for providing these images for download and to the people who spent time creating them. Visit:

http://openelec.tv/forum/83-dvb-s-s2-support/70750-oe-5-0-6-0-images-for-additional-dvb-drivers

then use either Dropbox, OneDrive or the FTP Mirror to download a suitable image containing the drivers for your card.

My choice: 6.0 Beta 1 | OpenELEC-Generic.x86_64-6.0.b1-TBS-1.0.tar

6.0 Beta 1 - OpenELEC TBS DVB Image

6.0 Beta 1 – OpenELEC TBS DVB Image

2.2 Upgrade OpenELEC with TBS DVB drivers

Boot your OpenELEC system, ensuring it is connected to your home network.

On another computer, open your file manager and navigate to the OpenELEC Update folder, which can be found via a Windows network share:-

Network > Windows Network > Workgroup > OpenELEC > Update

Navigate to the Openelec Update Folder

Navigate to the OpenELEC Update Folder

Enter the Update folder and you should find it empty.

Copy the upgrade (.tar) image from your computer to this folder. When the copy process is complete, reboot your OpenELEC system by rebooting Kodi.

When the system reboots, pay attention to the top left of the screen. You should see:

Found new .tar archive. extracting…

The OpenELEC system will reboot automatically when the update has been completed.

Upon reboot, check that your graphics card hardware is still supported after the upgrade. Navigate to:

System > System Info > Video

3. How to Set Up Tvheadend on OpenELEC Media Center

Note: Many problems encountered during the set up and configuration of tvheadend can be resolved easily by a simple reboot of Kodi and your OpenELEC system. Sometimes, the changes you make are not recognized until the next reboot.

3.1 Install the tvheadend backend service

From the Kodi main menu, navigate:

System > Addons > Get Addons (or Install from Repository) > OpenELECMediacenter OS Add-ons > Add-on repository > UnofficialOpenELEC(Generic/x86_64) Add-ons

Install the  UnofficialOpenELEC(Generic/x86_64) Add-on repository.

Go back x3 to update the repository, then:-

Get Add-ons (or Install from Repository) > UnofficialOpenELEC(Generic/x86_64) Add-ons > Services > tvheadend

Install

Enter the tvheadend service Configuration and select the DVB tab.

Enable Wait for frontend initialization and chose the Number of adapters to wait for

Click OK

3.2 Install the tvheadend client

Go back x3

Disabled Add-ons (or My Add-ons) > PVR clients > Tvheadend HTSP Client

Click Enable.

Return to the Kodi Settings menu.

3.3 Enable Live Tv

Navigate to:-

Settings > TV > General

and click Enabled.

Return to the Kodi main menu.

IMPORTANT: Reboot your OpenELEC system

4.  How to Configure tvheadend

4.1 How to access the tvheadend web configuration page

On your other computer, launch a web browser and type the IP address of your OpenELEC machine into the web browser’s address bar with the port suffix used by tvheadend:-

192.168.x.xxx:9981

This should display the graphical user interface configuration page for tvheadend.

If you are unsure of your OpenELEC system’s IP address, find it in Kodi by navigating to:

System > System Info > Network

Tvheadend Web GUI

Tvheadend Web GUI

If the tvheadend web page fails to show or asks for a user name and password on the first attempt, then on a Linux machine, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T (use PuTTY if you have a Windows operating system).

Use a Secure Shell  (SSH) to login as the root on your OpenELEC system. Type:-

ssh root@192.168.x.xxx

The password is:-

openelec

at this point you have access to your OpenELEC system and have  full ability to manage the file system. A list of useful SSH commands can be found here if you need to do something else.

Type:-

tvheadend -C

and press enter. Go back to your web browser and try to access the tvheadend configuration page once more. If this fails, reboot your OpenELEC system and try again.

4.2 Create a tvheadend user account

Configuration > Access Entries > Add

and create a user account with complete access to everything.

Tvheadend Login Account

Tvheadend Login Account

The default account, without a user name or password can then be deleted to secure your system.

Login with your newly created account.

4.3 How to configure tvheadend to scan for channels

On the tvheadend web page, navigate to:

Configuration > DVB Inputs > TV Adapters

tvheadend | Configuration > DVB Inputs > TV adapters

tvheadend | Configuration > DVB Inputs > TV adapters

Check that your tuner card details are displaying the correct driver details. If they do not appear or are incorrect, then search for another update image that may contain the drivers for your card and try again from Step 2.

If all is well, then the first step in this process is to configure the network type.

Networks tab > Add

Networks

tvheadend | Networks

Select the network type from the drop-down list. Either IPTV, ATSC, DVB-S, DVB-C or DVB-T Network.

Give the network a name (“Freeview” in my example) and select the transmitter from which you receive your broadcast. If yours is not represented, try one of the generic ones at the top of the list like Generic auto default.

Tvheadend DVB-T Configuration for Freeview

Tvheadend DVB-T Configuration for Freeview

My example shows a typical DVB-T Freeview set up for the Mendip transmitter in Bristol.

Click Create to complete the network set up.

Now click on the TV adapters tab then the first of your tuners.

Enable the tuner and rename it if you so wish.

At the Networks drop-down menu, select the network that you created in the previous step (“Freeview” in my example).

Select any other options that your tuner supports and when done, click Save.

Repeat this process if you have more than one tuner.

Tvheadend TBS Tuner Configuration

Tvheadend TBS Tuner Configuration

Now, go back to the Networks tab and wait for the #Services (channels) to be found. There is no requirement to press any sort of scan button. As soon as the network and tuners are configured, tvheadend will begin to scan for channels.

Tvheadend can take a few minutes to complete the scan. Initially, #Muxes will be equal to Scan Q Length.

Tvheadend Start of Channel Scan | #Muxes = Scan Q Length

Tvheadend Start of Channel Scan | #Muxes = Scan Q Length

As each of the pre-defined muxes are scanned, Scan Q Length will decrease accordingly. The channel scan will have finished when Scan Q Length reaches zero.

Tvheadend Channel Scan Progressing | Scan Q Length Total Decreasing and #Services Increasing

Tvheadend Channel Scan Progressing | Scan Q Length Total Decreasing and #Services Increasing

Tvheadend Channel Scan Successful

Tvheadend Channel Scan Successful

If, at the end of the scan, no channels have been found, then edit your network profile and change Pre-defined Muxes to Generic-auto-default and try again. Press Force Scan to initiate this.

4.4 Map services in tvheadend

When tvheadend has completed a successful scan and has returned a good number of services, the next step is to map those services to channels.

Configuration > DVB Inputs > Services > Map All

tvheadend | Map all (Services to Channels)

tvheadend | Map All (Services to Channels)

Make the following selections and then click the Map  button to map services to tv channels.

tvheadend | Map All Selections

tvheadend | Map Services

  • Check availability – if you select this option, services that are not currently transmitting will be omitted.
  • Include encrypted services – self explanatory.
  • Merge same name – prevents channel name duplication.
  • Create provider tags – produces useful tags that Kodi can use to filter tv channels; for example, SDTV and HDTV. It’s beneficial to select this option.

The mapping process should be completed quickly in a matter of seconds. And when complete, TV will appear in the Kodi menu.

5. How to unload OpenELEC DVB drivers for suspend

Depending on your tuner card and the TBS drivers chosen, a condition may exist where the tuner card(s) cannot be accessed after the computer has been suspended and then woken. This problem spoils the whole installation and means that the system cannot be used reliably as a digital video recorder.

To circumvent this problem it is necessary to force the DVB driver modules to unload during the Suspend operation.

Reboot your OpenELEC system and ensure that you are able to play TV channels to demonstrate that the tuner drivers are loaded and running.

Use a Secure Shell (SSH) to log into your OpenELEC system as described in step 4.1, and having logged in as root, type:-

lsmod

and press Enter. This command will list and detail the kernel modules that are currently loaded.

lsmod | OpenELEC

lsmod | OpenELEC

Look down the list and take note of the module name that is clearly associated with your tuner. In this case, the module name is:-

saa716x_tbs_dvb

Go to your OpenELEC system and using Kodi, navigate to the tvheadend back end service add on. Click configure and choose the DVB tab.

Settings - Tvheadend | DVB

Add the module name to the field entitled Unload DVB modules before suspend and click OK.

A notice that Kodi is Working and unloading the DVB drivers will be seen when Suspend is now initiated. The drivers will be re-loaded upon resume.

6. Other Aspects to Try

Once you have your OpenELEC machine running reliably, you may want to consider exploring the following to improve your system.

  • Tvheadend – Timeshifting with available RAM.
  • Configuring Kodi Power Management to Suspend your machine after so many minutes of inactivity.
  • Recording time offsets so that you don’t miss the beginning or end of your favourite shows.
  • Adding TV logos to your TV channels.
Advertisements

TBS 6280 DVB-T2 Freeview HD Dual Tuner Card Review

TBS 6280 DVB-T2 Freeview HD Dual Tuner Card Review

The TBS6280 DVB-T2 Freeview HD dual tuner is a low / high profile PCIe x1 card that generates mpeg transport streams at hardware level to enable the playback and recording of free-to-air Freeview HD and standard definition channels. Driver support for Windows and Linux means that this card can be used with many of the popular, free-source, Home Theatre software packages such as MediaPortal, Argus TV, TVHeadEnd & MythTV. It’s an excellent piece of kit for any HTPC enthusiast.

TBS 6280 Dual DVB-T2 Freeview HD PCIe x1 Tuner Card

TBS 6280 Dual DVB-T2 Freeview HD PCIe x1 Tuner Card

What it does

Hardware Transport Stream Generation

The TBS 6280 DVB-T2 tuner card has two tuners to receive free-to-air, terrestrial digital television broadcasts and convert that data into a MPEG transport stream (MPEG-TS, MTS or TS files) for immediate playback or storage. Effectively, the transport stream is a format container for multichannel audio, video & subtitles. It uses error correction data to preserve continuity when the broadcast signal is weakened. And since all this is done in the hardware, there is negligible loss of your PC’s resources. The dual tuners have good sensitivity, which means better reception for those in poor reception areas.

Simultaneous Multichannel Recording

Terrestrial digital television services are transmitted  on multiplexes (or Mux) and many stations can occupy a single broadcast frequency.

Since there are two tuners in the TBS 6280, it can receive the broadcasts from two multiplexes at once. This means that it is possible to watch and / or record more than two channels at once, provided that the chosen channels occupy the same two multiplexes.

I receive broadcasts  from the Mendip transmitter where channels are assigned to the mulitplexes shown below:

Mendip Mulitplexes & Channels (17/09/13)

Mendip Mulitplexes & Channels (17/09/13)

So, for example: recording all the HD channels simultaneously would utilize just one of the tuners, leaving scope to watch or record channels from one other mux with the second tuner.

Since our favorite channels span just two multiplexes, there is rarely a time when a programme cannot be scheduled to record because there is no spare tuner.

What it does not do

The TBS 6280 tuner card plays no part in the final reproduction of the transport stream. If you experience micro-stutter, dropped frames or degraded picture quality the items responsible will be your choice of codecs and / or the hardware of your PC.

What’s in the box?

  • TBS 6280 DVB-T2 dual tuner card PCIe x1
  • Low profile bracket for conversion
  • Remote control and infra red receiver
  • A mini in-door aerial
TBS 6280 DVB-T2 Dual Tuner Card: Box Contents

TBS 6280 DVB-T2 Dual Tuner Card: Box Contents

TBS 6280 Physical Installation

  • The card is packaged with a low profile bracket and swapping it with the supplied taller one is relatively straight forward.
  • Fitting the card into an available PCIe x1 slot is a breeze. It couldn’t be easier.
  • This card boasts a RF IN and RF OUT connector (aerial pass-through). Fantastic news for those people with just one aerial connection at the back of their TV sets. My aerial connects here, then I use a connector cable to supply the RF signal to my TV. There seems to be no apparent loss in signal strength at the television by connecting in this way.
  • As my installation was part of an upgrade, I opted to continue using my more versatile, Windows Media Center remote instead of the one supplied. And as for the in-door aerial: it may work if you happen to live next door to the transmitter.

TBS 6280 Driver Installation

How to install the TBS 6280 driver – Windows

Visit the download section of tbstv.com by clicking here.

Download the Windows Driver set-up program; run it and install the appropriate driver for your operating system (XP/Vista or Win7).

Once installed, you have the option to install bundled software such as TBSViewer and TBSVHID Tool. Don’t bother with these unless you intend to use them.

There is no requirement to re-boot.

How to install the TBS 6280 driver – Linux

These directions are based upon the driver revision v130909. Visit the download site to ascertain the current revision and make that substitution if necessary.

You will need the unzip program installed. This can be obtained through the Software Centre application.

Launch a terminal window then type each line followed by ENTER:

mkdir driver
cd driver
wget http://www.tbsdtv.com/download/document/common/tbs-linux-drivers_v130909.zip
unzip tbs-linux-drivers_v130909.zip
tar xjvf linux-tbs-drivers.tar.bz2
cd linux-tbs-drivers

Depending on which version of Linux you have (x86 or x64), you will have to identify the correct driver to install from those just created from the above uncompression.

Type:

uname -a

Then depending on the output, select the correct driver for your operating system.

  • for x86 kernel 3.x (x86 32 bit installations of kernel 3.x): ./v4l/tbs-x86_r3.sh
  • for x86 kernel 2.6.x (x86 32 bit installations of kernel 2.6.x): ./v4l/tbs-x86.sh
  • for any x86_64 kernel (x86 64 bit installations of Linux): ./v4l/tbs-x86_64.sh

Then, type the following to install the correct driver for your system. This example shows the installation of the x64 bit driver. Substitute the highlighted file path and file name with the one appropriate for your system.

sudo ./v4l/tbs-x86_64.sh
sudo make && sudo make install

When complete, reboot so the driver can take effect.

sudo shutdown -r now

TBS 6280 DVB-T2 Review

I have set TBS 6280 DBV-T2 tuner card up and had it working with various combinations of operating systems and HTPC software. And it has performed flawlessly; waking from the PC’s sleep state without problems and never missing a recording.

The Good Points:

  • Dual tuners with good sensitivity
  • Receives terrestrial, free-to-air, Freeview SD & HD channels
  • Ability to watch and / or record multiple channels simultaneously, from two multiplexes
  • Works in Windows and Linux
  • The developers, TurboSight, seem committed to Linux as drivers are continually revised
  • Low profile option for media center PCs
  • Aerial pass-through
  • Wakes from PC sleep state without problems

The Bad Points (And these are minor bad points):

  • The Linux drivers are not open source
  • There is no infra red remote driver available for Linux, so the supplied remote will not work. However, Windows Media Center remotes work as normal.

OVERALL SCORE 5/5

The Codecs I Use for Windows Playback

With the right selection of codecs, both SD and HD video are crisp and vibrant while playback is smooth and faultless. I use the LAV filters in Windows, available with the installation of MediaPortal or separately here, at Sourceforge.

Not only is the video codec the best, but the LAV audio codec resolves a lot of the problems associated with audio playback on the Freeview HD channels. If you’re having problems with your set up, try these codecs out.

Google