This article is no more than a translation in English of my previous article which is in French : Recette de madame la moule : Faire marcher une PCTV USB2 sous Linux.
Here we go. The first step to make work your PCTV USB2 (and the others Pinnacle products based on the same chipset) is to install the kernel source or the kernel headers linked to your current kernel version. Then, you have to download the lastest version of the video4linux driver on the CVS of the project. The commands are :
  • cvs -d :pserver:anonymous@cvs.linuxtv.org:/cvs/video4linux login
  • cvs -d :pserver:anonymous@cvs.linuxtv.org:/cvs/video4linux co -P v4l-kernel
To build the CVS version of the video4linux driver, enter in the directory named "v4l-kernel" (this directory is created by the CVS commands) and execute this 2 commands :
  • make
  • sudo make install (you will be prompted for the root password)
Before connecting your PCTV USB2, you have to add some lines to the file modprobe.conf to make it work. The lines to add at the end of the file are :
  • alias char-major-81 videodev
  • alias char-major-81-0 tveeprom
  • alias char-major-81-1 em28xx
  • options em28xx tuner=38 : this line specifies the version of the turner, 38 is the french version i think. Take a look in the file tveeprom.c to find out the right version for your card. Don't hesitate to make a lot of tests with different numbers
  • options tuner secam=l : this line specifies the video norm used by your turner. I don't know the option for PAL or NTSC but i think if you try pal=d or something like this it should work
  • options tda9887 port2=0 : don't ask me, i don't know why this line is important
At this point all is done for the video. But TV without sound, it's not TV. So let's configure the sound. Stay in the file modprobe.conf and add these two lines after the others :
  • alias snd-card-1 snd-usb-audio : the sound chipset of the PCTV is detected as a soundcard so we must specify that it will be the second soundcard (or the third, ect... it depends of your hardware configuration, make move the "1" to do what you want)
  • option snd-usb-audio enable=1 index=1 nrpacks=10 : this line is necessary because of collisions between image packets and sound packets. If you don't put it, the image will be very bad.
To hear sound, you have to redirect the stream from the PCTV USB2 "soundcard" to the main soundcard of your system. The Sox project is good for doing that. After installing it, open a command line and execute the following command : sox -r 86000 -t ossdsp /dev/dsp1 -t ossdsp /dev/dsp. Normally you will hear something,i.e with a little luck a TV channel, i.e some interferences.

The last step is to use a TV application. The only application which working with my PCTV i know is TVTIME. On the first launch enter this command : tvtime --norm=YOUR_VIDEO_NORM --frequencies=YOUR_TABLE_OF_FREQUENCIES

Then go to the configuration menu Channel Management. There click on Disable signal detection and reactivate it. Then click on Scan all channels for signal.Normally, some channels will be detected. Quit TVTIME and launch it again. Your PCTV is working (i hope :P).

This little howto is a bit out of date, you can go there for more informations : http://www.linuxtv.org/v4lwiki/index.php/Talk:Em2820