DTV and Linux

This guide attempts to provide an overview to receiving FTA digital TV transmissions in New Zealand. The New Zealand freeview FTA (free to air) service utilises two broadcast methods -

  • DTH – Direct to Home satellite service via Optus D1
  • DTT – Digital terrestrial television via UHF

If you want to try out DTT under Linux yourself I suggest you take a look at the following guide on

DTH Technical Details

The DTH service utilises two half transponders on the Optus D1 satellite. Each half transponder is capable of providing upto 9 services.

Setting Transponder 1 Transponder 2
Frequency 12456000 12483000
Polarity Horizontal Horizontal
Symbol Rate 22500000 22500000
FEC 3/4 3/4
Inversion Auto Auto
Transmission Encoding DVB-S
Transmission Stream MPEG-2 TS
Video Encoding MPEG-2
Audio Encoding MP2
Video Resolutions 4:3 576i,
16:9 576i

DTT Technical Details

The DTT services is transmitted via UHF, covering 75% of the New Zealand population. Initially 3 multiplexes will be in use capable of providing between 18 and 20 services.

Multipex A Television New Zealand
Multiplex B MediaWorks
Multiplex C Kordia

The current design allows for upto 2 additional multiplexes to be added at some point in the future.

Unlike the DTH service they have decided to utilise H.264 AVC (MPEG-4) for the video encoding, and a combination of HE-AAC and AC-3 for the audio. There will be a mix of SD and HD services.

Transmission Encoding DVB-T
Transmission Stream MPEG-2 TS
Video Encoding H.264
Audio Encoding HE-AAC,
AC3
Video Resolutions 4:3 576i,
16:9 576i,
720p50,
1080i50

Full technical details of the DTT service as well as the transmission sites can be found on Kordia’s Website.

Channels

Num Name 16:9 DTH DTH SID DTT DTT SID DTT HD
TV One 1 TV One Y 12483H 1035 Mux A 1200 720p
TV 2 2 TV 2 Y 12483H 1036 Mux A 1201 720p
TV 3 3 TV 3 Y 12456H 1920 Mux B 1300 1080i
C4 4 C4 Y 12456H 1921 Mux B 1301 SD
Maori TV 5 Maori Television Y 12483H 1025 Mux C 1400 SD
TVNZ 6 6 TVNZ 6 Y 12483H 1904 Mux A 1202 SD
TVNZ 7 7 TVNZ 7 Y 12483H 1038 Mux A 1203 SD
TV 3 PLUS1 8 TV 3 PLUS1 Y 12456H 1922 Mux B 1302 SD
TVNZ Sport 20 TVNZ Sports Extra Y Mux A 1204 SD
Stratos 21 Stratos N 12456H 1922
CH 22 - Parliament 22 Parliament TV Y 12456H 1923 Mux C 1401 SD
Cue 23 Cue N 12456H 1924
Ch 24 - Te Reo 24 Te Reo Y 12456H 1925
Ch 30 - TV Central 30 tvCentral Mux C 1408 SD
Radio NZ National 50 Radio NZ National 12456H 1929 Mux C 2000 Radio
Radio NZ Concert 51 Radio NZ Concert 12456H 1930 Mux C 2001 Radio
George FM 70 George FM 12456H 1935 Radio
Base FM 71 Base FM 12456H 1936 Mux C 2002 Radio
Ch 100 - freeview HD 100 freeview|HD™ Y Mux C 1406 720p

DTH/DTT Hardware

Details of hardware that is know to support digital television under Linux. More details can be found at the linuxtv.org Wiki.

Card Bus DTH DTT Analogue Notes
Freecom USB Stick USB2 Y
Hauppauge WinTV Nova-S PCI Y
Hauppauge WinTV-Nova-T-500 PCI Y
Hauppauge HVR 4000 PCI Y Y Y Only one tuner can be used at any time
Hauppauge HVR 900 USB2 Y Not in mainline kernel, only mono audio for analogue
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2200‎ PCIe N PCIe card – Driver in Development
Technisat SkyStar 2 PCI Y Only supported by revision 2.6 or below hardware
Technotrend S-1401 PCI Y
Technotrend S-1500 PCI
Technotrend T-1500 PCI

Tools + Libraries

Here is an overview of some Linux video tools and their level of support for the DTH and DTT services.

Tool DTH DTT Notes
mplayer 1.0rc2 Yes Partial Poor video support, no audio support for DTT
mplayer 1.0svn Yes Yes Video issues with interlaced DTT channels
ffmpeg svn Yes Partial No audio support for DTT
vlc Yes Partial
MythTV 0.20 Yes No
MythTV 0.21 Yes Partial Interlaced video issues, and cannot support HE-AAC audio
Kaffine
totem
Library Notes
libfaad2 Provides support for HE-AAC
Currently cannot support LATM encapsulated AAC audio frames, which is required for DTT Support
MPlayer SVN has a custom patch for this support

Useful links and references