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DVB-over-IP set-top box software for the Raspberry Pi.

It requires Tvheadend running on a server:

pidvbip requires a development version of tvheadend from later than the 24th August 2012. It will not work with the 3.0 release or earlier. This can be cloned as follows:

git clone

In addition to pidvbip itself, this repository contains some experimental software:

  • flvtoh264 - Simple parser to extract an h264 video stream from an FLV file


The platform being used to develop pidvbip is Raspbian (2012-08-16 image).

pidvbip requires the following dependencies:

libmpg123-dev libfaad-dev liba52-dev libavahi-client-dev libfreetype6-dev

After installing the above libraries, you can build pidvbip by typing "./configure && make" in the source code directory.

MPEG-2 decoding

pidvbip requires that the MPEG-2 hardware codec is enabled (by purchase of the license). Early versions of pidvbip has a software MPEG-2 decoder but this was removed in February 2013 to simplify maintenance and development of the main hardware playback code.


There are three ways for pidvbip to locate the tvheadend server:

  1. Via the command line - e.g. ./pidvbip mypc 9982

  2. Via the config file pidvbip.conf. See pidvbip.conf.example for the list of possibe configuration values.

  3. If no host and port are configured via the command-line or the config file, pidvbip will use avahi. To do this you need to ensure that tvheadend is compiled with avahi support and avahi-daemon is running on both the machine running tvheadend and the Pi running pidvbip.

As soon as pidvbip starts it will connect to tvheadend, download the channel list and all EPG data, and then tune to the first channel in your channel list and start playing.

You can optionally specify a channel number as a third parameter to skip directly to that channel (only when also specifying the host and port on the command-line).

Once running, the following keys are mapped to actions:

'q' - quit
'0' to '9' - direct channel number entry
'n' - next channel (numerically)
'p' - previous channel (numerically)
'y' - switch to the previously viewed channel
'i' - show/hide current event information
'h' - toggle auto-switching to HD versions of programmes from an SD channel
' ' - pause/resume playback
'c' - display list of channels and current events to the console
    - Also shows basic onscreen channel listing, whilst onscreen use
    - d for down a screen of channels, or u for up a screen of channels in listing
'o' - To toggle subscribe/unsubscribe (idle) on current channel
'a' - Cycle through available audio streams
'z' - Force 4:3 (pillarbox) or 16:9 (fullscreen) display
's' - Take a screenshot (filename is ~/pidvbip-NNNNNNNNNNN.ppm)
'w' - Crop video to remove BT Sport Europe HD "L" graphics (a hack!)

pidvbip currently supports hardware decoding of H264 and MPEG-2 video streams, and software decoding of MPEG, AAC and A/52 (AC-3) audio streams. Multi-channel audio streams are downmixed to Stereo.

OpenELEC build

NOTE: As of January 2013 the OE build is not functioning. I hope to fix this soon.

A modified version of OpenELEC using pidvbip instead of xbmc as the mediacenter package can be built from the fork of OpenELEC at:

This is configured to take the latest "git master" version of pidvbip directly from github. To build, do the following

git clone cd PROJECT=pidvbip ARCH=arm make release

This will generate (after many hours, and using about 6GB of disk space) a .bz2 file within the "target" subdirectory.

To create a bootable SD card, format a SD card as FAT32 (no Linux format partitions are needed) and copy the following files:

3rdparty/bootloader/bootcode.bin 3rdparty/bootloader/start.elf target/KERNEL (rename to kernel.img) target/SYSTEM

In addition, you should add a config.txt file including your MPEG-2 license key (if required) and any other settings, plus a cmdline.txt file containing the following line:

boot=/dev/mmcblk0p1 ssh quiet

(if you don't want to enable the ssh server, remove "ssh" from the above line)


pidvbip is still very early software and many things don't work or are not implemented yet. See the file BUGS for more information.


(C) Dave Chapman 2012-2013

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


tvheadend client for the Raspberry Pi




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