HDTV and Kodi in your living room - based on Nvidia VDPAU, VDR and Ubuntu Linux


The bootable ISO image contains a standard Ubuntu text based installer (the same that is used on the Ubuntu alternate installer ISO). It is not a live CD. The installation should take no longer than 20-30 minutes.

Using VirtualBox: If you don't want to take any risks, you can install yaVDR on a virtual machine using VirtualBox to try it. But you won't be able to test your DVB hardware or watch HDTV channels. XBMC needs OpenGL support to start.

Install yaVDR from an USB stick

You can create a bootable image on an USB stick - but you can't use the tool UNetbootin to do so. It won't work! On Ubuntu (or booting from the standard Ubuntu Live CD) you can create a bootable image of yaVDR via usb-creator-gtk or usb-creator-kde (more infos). Currently, we are evaluating reliable instructions on how to create the USB stick from Windows.

s2-liplianin support: If you are unsure if you need these special V4L-DVB drivers, leave them out during installation. You can install them at any time later on. (Please read section about DVB drivers below for further details.)

Partitioning: Regarding partitioning the hard drive, we generally recommend to have a swap partition and a root partition (ext4) as a minimum.

Username choice: This is very important: When you are asked to create a user account, please make sure that you

  • don't choose the name "vdr" as your username. You will run into big trouble if you choose the name vdr. It is reserved.
  • remember the username and password because you will need it for the web frontend and for all command line operations.

Errors during installation? If the installation should abort, press Ctrl+Alt+F4 to see detailed error messages. Please check the list of known issues.

About firmware and device drivers for DVB cards

Many DVB cards (or USB boxes) need an appropriate firmware file in folder /lib/firmware. Ubuntu provides a collection of firmware files in the packages linux-firmware and linux-firmware-nonfree that are preinstalled on yaVDR. If your DVB card needs a firmware to run on Linux and the firmware is not included in these packages, you have to find the appropriate firmware file and copy it to /lib/firmware. Some manufacturers offer firmware files for download from their support web pages.

If you use a satellite dish for digital TV and own a DVB-S2 card/box, please check out the LinuxTV Wiki if the needed v4l drivers are part of the standard Ubuntu kernel. If not, you might need to use the v4l drivers kindly provided by Igor Lilplianin to get the card/box working. yaVDR provides a packaged version of these v4l drivers. At the beginning of the installation you can enable the installation of these drivers with yaVDR. But if you are unsure, you can also install them later manually via "sudo apt-get dvb-s2api-liplianin-dkms". A list of cards which are reported to work with this driver package can be found in this forum thread (German).

For users of the package dvb-s2api-liplianin-dkms: If new upstream Ubuntu kernel packages are available for update and you decide to install these packages, all kernel modules within the package dvb-s2api-liplianin-dkms will be automatically recompiled against the new kernel (via DKMS). This will take a while, depending on the power of your CPU. On an Intel Atom, this can take longer than 30 minutes. We are aware of this inconvienience but there is no better solution at hand at the moment. We just want to warn you that the first boot after a kernel update will take very long. We are planning to work around this problem by providing updated versions of the package dvb-s2api-liplianin-dkms which already contain precompiled modules for the latest kernel version.

First boot

The first boot might take very long depending on your hardware and if you have chosen an installation with s2-liplianin drivers. Please be patient.

After booting up yaVDR you should be able to see a TV picture on your screen - even if you don't have a DVB card in your PC. As a default, yaVDR comes with three pre-configured IPTV channels which are streamed over the internet.

The screenshots below show what you will see during boot and frontend start. (The screenshots were taken from a Sun VirtualBox window.)

Troubleshooting: If no TV picture is visible

FAQ Answer
I have waited for a long time during boot, but I don't see a "yavdr" logo on my screen at all. It seems that the X server is failing to start. What can I do? Do you use a non-NVIDIA GPU? Please configure the X server manually and install missing display driver packages if necessary. Try if you already can start the Web Frontend from a second computer for diagnosis.
After boot, there is nothing going on besides the "yavdr" logo in the center of the screen. If there are updated yavdr-* packages avaliable, please apply the updates and retest.
After boot, there is nothing going on besides the "NO SIGNAL" sign. What can I do? If you haven't changed the channel list: Check if you have a working internet connection. The pre-configured IPTV channels are streamed over the internet.
I use a NVIDIA GPU, but after boot, the NVIDIA driver doesn't seem to be loaded, VDPAU is not used or XBMC refuses to start. This may happen if you have more than one active GPU in your setup. Disable the onboard GPU to make a NVIDIA graphics card the only active GPU. If you use an onboard NVIDIA GPU, make sure that a sufficient portion of your RAM is assigned to your GPU. (BIOS setting)

First steps: Discovering the VDR frontend

FAQ Answer
After boot, there is a TV picture on my screen. Which channel is this? yaVDR comes with three pre-configured demo IPTV channels (3sat, ntv, nasa). When you update the channel list, you can easily get rid of these channels.
How can I get to the OSD? My remote control doesn't work yet. Press "m" on the keyboard to get to the main menu of the OSD. Use the keyboard (arrows, numbers, ENTER) to navigate.
Can I change the language of the OSD? Yes, you can change it via the OSD menu itself (System->Setup->OSD->Language). Alternativaly, you can achieve it by modifying /var/lib/vdr/setup.conf (parameter OSDLanguage).
How can I start XBMC? In the main menu of the OSD, press "5" for applications, in the applications menu you find XBMC

Next steps: Do you now want to configure LIRC to make your remote control work? Or would you like to add your personal channels list to VDR, please continue reading here.

Copyright © 2010 yaVDR. This page was last updated on 2012-06-19.