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Ubuntu Linux and Pinnacle PCTV DVB-T Stick Solo (72e revision)

Saturday January 26th (last update April 15th, new firmware: October 3th 2008)
Picture of Pinnacle PCTV DVB-T Stick Solo (revision 72e)
I've finally bought a DVB-T receiver. I'm going to write down my first experiences here, hoping to
give some useful information for the people who bought this stick, or are considering buying it.

I bought it for € 40 in the "Fnac". It didn't work out-of-the-box on my Ubuntu Feisty system.
It's a Pinnacle pctv DVB-T Stick Solo 72e (the 72e is on the bottom of the box, near the barcode.
Its chipset is different from the 70e version. The 70e (according to some fora), uses the em28xx
driver. This 72e uses a dib0700 chipset. It shows up on lsusb as: 2304:0236 Pinnacle Systems, Inc.

This is what you need to do

  • get the kernel headers for your running kernel
  • The firmware can be found here: PIN72e.tar.gz
  • get the latest version of v4l-dvb from
  • set V4L to use the correct kernel headers (make release VER=`uname -r`)
  • use "make gconfig" of menuconfig to configure which drivers you want. This requires gtk dev packages.
  • compile and install it (make; make install)
  • remove all dvb and v4l related modules from the running kernel
  • copied the firmware (dvb-usb-dib0700-1.10.fw) into /lib/firmware
  • modprobe dvb_usb_dib0700
  • plug in the stick and p(l|r)ay
  • checked in dmesg that the device was recognized (see below)
  • Use "Kaffeine" to start scanning for channels and watching TV the easy way.
  • A not so easy approach is to use a channel.conf (with frequencies) and the "scan" and "tzap" utilities. Good files for the VRT (in Belgium) can be found here(thx Roeleboel): href="">
  • with scan I build a complete list of the VRT channels. Here's the resulting href="/dvb/channels.conf">channels.conf.
  • copy the channels.conf file to ~/.tzap/ and ~/.mplayer/ and ~/.xine/
  • with tzap I tuned to a channel
  • succesfully dumped a stream with "mplayer -dumpstream /dev/dvb/adapter0/dvr0"
  • succesfully played that stream with xine

dmesg output

This is the dmesg output I got on my system when plugging in the device:

[835129.758595] usb 5-2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 10
[835129.890452] usb 5-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[835129.890932] dvb-usb: found a 'Pinnacle PCTV 72e' in cold state, will try to load a firmware
[835130.195456] dvb-usb: downloading firmware from file 'dvb-usb-dib0700-1.10.fw'
[835130.413242] dib0700: firmware started successfully.
[835130.912066] dvb-usb: found a 'Pinnacle PCTV 72e' in warm state.
[835130.912147] dvb-usb: will pass the complete MPEG2 transport stream to the software demuxer.
[835130.913948] DVB: registering new adapter (Pinnacle PCTV 72e)
[835131.130065] DVB: registering frontend 0 (DiBcom 7000PC)...
[835131.320400] DiB0070: successfully identified
[835131.320548] input: IR-receiver inside an USB DVB receiver as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.7/usb5/5-2/input/input7
[835131.347514] dvb-usb: schedule remote query interval to 150 msecs.
[835131.347527] dvb-usb: Pinnacle PCTV 72e successfully initialized and connected.

Some notes:

  • Mplayer didn't play the sound at first, that problem disappeared as soon as I removed "alang=nl"
    from the ~/.mplayer/config
  • renamed KETNET/CANVAS into KETNETCANVAS in .mplayer/channels.conf because 'mplayer
    "dvb://KETNET/CANVAS"' results in mplayer trying to find channel "KETNET". But renaming the channel
    in channels.conf and playing "mplayer dvb://KETNETCANVAS" does the trick
  • Kaffeine mediaplayer rules, it can perform a complete scan for channels. You can start watching
    without recording anything, but you can also start recording, or timeshifting whenever you want,
    just by clicking pause or record. Kaffeine also supports EPG.
  • The VRT doesn't seem to be transmitting an EPG. I contacted them recently (14-04-2008), and they answered they don't broadcast an EPG yet,
    this should be fixed when they change to newer DVB-T broadcasting equipment, probably somewhere in 2009.
  • The driver doesn't report a SNR (signal noise ratio). If you know anything about communication systems, you'll know that this is at least as important
    as the signal strength (which the driver does report). If you got the dmesg message reporting it detected the device, the driver is probably fine. The
    reception of the signal is a hard to test problem if you're not sure about the proper working of the driver, but if Kaffeine works, and shows variable
    signal strengths during scannings, the driver is fine. If you see the green "lock" indication lighting up (in the Kaffeine GUI), it means it found a digital signal (afaik).
    If you don't get a channel list, it probably means the reception isn't good enough, try the best antenna you can find in your house, maybe even climb to the attic, or mounting the antenna outside the window might help a lot. Good Luck!

Infrared: this device contains an IR receiver. With the new drivers (tested them last week 11-04-2008) the
device creates a new "event" device in /dev/input/. Add/remove the DVB-T stick and see which one appears and disappears,
or use the /sys/ filesystem :). You can use "cat /dev/input/eventX" and test with an infrared remote whether it receives
anything (on my pc this generated some garbage in the console, but that means it is somehow working. Unfortunately I
didn't find any method to use an arbitrary remote control yet. Some remotes seem to be predefined in the sources of the
dib0700 driver, but I didn't figure out how to use an arbitrary remote with lirc or inputlirc.

New FirmwareI noticed that the newer versions of the drivers from the mercurial v4l repository require a new firmware version. dvb-usb-dib0700-1.20.fw
I attached the file to this post. I'll try to update this post soon, but unfortunately, the video of my new notebook crashes after showing television for a few seconds...

Binary Data dvb-usb-dib0700-1.20.fw32.98 KB