Some hints to get the bttv driver up and running
(1) Make sure if your board is recognized correctly. The bttv driver
should print a line like this one (Use the 'dmesg' command to see
the kernel messages):
bttv0: model: BT848(Hauppauge old)
If your card isn't autodetected correctly, you have to specify the
board type as insmod argument (card=n). You might also have to
specify tuner=x and pll=x.
Check the driver documentation for details and a list of supported
cards. The standard kernel has the bttv documentation in the
(2) If you are using a vanilla 2.2.x kernel kernel, it is worth trying
to upgrade as the very first step. Either download and build bttv
0.7.x for your 2.2.x kernel, or upgrade to 2.4.x which includes
the 0.7.x driver already.
bttv 0.7.x knows a lot more cards than the 2.2.x kernel driver, the
autodetect is much improved and a number of known problems is
(3) If you have problems with xawtv, you should open a xterm (or
whatever your favorite terminal app is) and start xawtv from
there. This way you'll see any error messages xawtv might print on
stderr which should help to find the source of the problems.
(4) If something broke after an update, have a look at the changelog.
It might be mentioned there.
?: I have a black screen in overlay mode
!: The driver was not initialized correctly, v4l-conf (or the
X-Server) has to configure the bttv driver with the current video
mode and framebuffer address first. Check if v4l-conf is installed
suid root, it needs root priviliges to do this. You can also start
v4l-conf from a terminal and check the messages it prints.
?: I have a blue screen.
!: Good, the overlay is working. A blue screen is what you get if the
grabber chip has no input signal. You are probably using the wrong
video source, pick another. Also happens sometimes if the tuner
type is wrong, check the driver configuration.
?: I have a noisy screen and/or can't tune (some) stations.
!: Most likely the tuner types is wrong, check the driver configuration.
It's no problem to do trial-and-error here.
?: The video is outside the window and spread in thin lines over the
!: xawtv / v4l-conf didn't autodetect the color depth for your screen
correctly. You can fix that with xawtv's -bpp switch.
?: Only the left part of the window is updated, the right one is updated
never / sometimes / only if the window is small.
!: Your graphics card and/or motherboard can't deal with the data rate
going over the PCI bus, leading to canceled PCI transfers. Reduce
the color depth, with 16 bpp instead of 32 bpp should work much
?: I get no sound.
!: (a) If your TV-Card is connected to the sound card's line in with a
short cable: Make sure the sound driver is loaded, sound cards
are usually quiet until initialized by the driver. Also check
the mixer settings.
(b) Double-check the card type is correct (see above).
(c) If there is still no go, have a look at the Sound-FAQ in the
hardware specific problems
* bttv + DRI seem not to play nicely together with some cards (ATI
Rage128). The linux box just freezes. Don't know why. Suspect
it's either a hardware problem or a bug somewhere in DRI (either
kernel or xfree86). The only workaround I know of is to turn off
* Some motherboard chipsets have PCI bugs, especially with PCI-PCI
transfers which are used for video overlay. The bt848/878 chips
have some bug compatibility options, which can be enabled to
workaround these problems. Have a look at the triton1 and vsfx
insmod options. For some known-buggy chipsets these are enabled
* Sometimes IRQ sharing causes trouble. It works most of the time,
but in combination with some hardware and/or drivers it doesn't work.
Especially graphic cards are known to cause trouble due to the lack
of a IRQ handler. Try disabling the VGA IRQ in the BIOS. Try moving
cards to another PCI slot. Your motherboard manual should tell you
which PCI slots share IRQ's.