I’ve been using Mythbuntu with XBMC since Frodo was released – and before that I was using Windows Vista Media Center with the Leadtek DTV2000DS dual tuner DVB-T card. Under Windows the card is pretty reliable, but Windows Media Center just wasn’t configurable enough for my liking, so I preferred XBMC. Of course, XBMC requires a backend Live TV provider for which I use MythTV since it seems to be the most reliable.
The problem however is, that although MythTV is the most reliable Linux based TV Backend I found (and I tried TVHeadend and VDR – both had good feature sets but were either not as nice on the web side, or just didn’t feel as polished as Myth) the problem is that the LeadTek DTV2000DS can be quite a pain in the backside under Linux.
The good news is that it has improved significantly since I first started playing with it a couple of years ago. At that time you had to manually download firmware and install it with modprobe. That’s not necessarily with the latest versions of Ubuntu / Mythbuntu. You will need to install the linux-firmware-nonfree package as this contains the af9013 and af9015 firmware.
sudo apt-get install linux-firmware-nonfree
You shouldn’t need to reboot to get that installed, and in any case you’re probably already running the firmware if you’re reading this, since you’re interested in improving the reliability of these cards.
The next tips I found which seemed to help, come from the Linux TV Wiki – much of the information is out of date here now, but the following tips are still worth following – switching off the USB power management significantly reduced lockups for me.
# Turn off USB power management to keep both DVB tuners running echo -n -1 > /sys/module/usbcore/parameters/autosuspend
I also found that disabling the 2nd recorder of each tuner in MythTV-Setup also reduced lockups. I’m not entirely sure though whether this was a real issue or whether the Power Management made the biggest difference.
Finally, I’ve noticed that MythTV on Ubuntu 14.04 seems to suffer more MythTV freezes / hangs / lockups than 12.04 did. I’m not sure if the firmware has changed between versions ( I should go look really! ) or whether something else is at play here. I had the power management solution and the second encoder removed and XBMC live TV was still locking after it the Live TV had been unused for a while. Sadly it often crashed XBMC completely resulting in a remote SSH and reboot needed.
I then discovered this thread about Zero Length Recordings on MythTV Wiki which indicated that the user was having the same problems. They resolved it by switching off the over the air EIT program guide data and switching to an XMLTV guide feed. I also (as per that article) changed the settings of the Tuner Card to release the card when not in use.
The scope of setting up XMLTV is a bit beyond this quick guide, but it might be worth investigating as it seems to have worked for me, my XBMC Live TV seems to be significantly more reliable over the past few days.
I hope these tips help others with the LeadTek DTV2000DS card – they’re actually quite a good card, I’ve had mine for 3 years and the picture quality has been good and they often seem to work better than my Digital TV when the signal quality has been a bit dicey. The price for them is good and with these tips and the latest firmware from Antii they’ve worked well for me.