HOWTO: Multicast Irish Freeview (Saorview)

If you’re in Ireland and you’ve been watching TV, you probably know about Saorview and the migration to Digital Terrestrial TV.

Being a geek, I decided that using a TV to view TV wasn’t really the way to do things.
So instead, I decided to find a way of viewing Saorview on my PC.

So the easy way, is to get a DVB-T receiver for a PC, and tune to the channel you want to view. I’m not going to show you how to do this, because the guys at mpeg4ireland already have.

I’m going to show you how to receive every Saorview channel at the same time.
Although I’m sure you’re not going to be able to watch them all at the same time…

First, you need a DVB-T receiver.

I used a €40 Hauppauge Nova-T USB Stick.

Then you’ll need MumuDVB. You’ll need at least version 1.6.1
I got the latest release from here.
Yes, Ubuntu has a version in their repo’s, but thats version 1.6. It will NOT work. (well, if you only want to receive the radio stations and the test pattern, then 1.6 is for you!)

Plug your DVB-T card/stick in, make sure it gets recognised and you get an entry in /dev/dvb

$ ls /dev/dvb/

Install dvb-apps

sudo apt-get install dvb-apps

Grab the wideband tuning file from the mpeg4ireland site and use it to scan for channels.

scan wideband > channels.conf

Make sure there’s something useful in your channels.conf
The start of each line should be a channel name, followed by a frequency.
If there’s something in there, make a note of the frequency that you see.
In my case, since I’m getting signal from Three Rock Dublin, my frequency is 738000000 (or 738Mhz)

If you don’t get anything, you might have some problems. So I suggest doing some research on Saorview using the mpeg4ireland site to see if you have coverage.

Now, unpack MumuDVB and build it.

tar -zxvf mumudvb-beta.tar.gz
cd mumudvb
autoreconf -i -f
sudo make install

Then create a config file (mumu.conf). Make sure you set your frequency correctly to the one you extracted from channels.conf earlier. (Divide the long number by 1000000 to get MHz).


Now start up MumuDVB using this configuration. There will be loads of debug output, just so you can see what its up to.

sudo mumudvb -c mumu.conf -s -t -vv -d

Then install VLC on your PC (or another PC on the same network).
Start it up, and press Ctrl-P to get the Preferences.
In the bottom left, select Show settings All.
In the Tree, select Playlist > Service Discovery.
Enable Network streams (SAP)
Click Save.
Press Ctrl-L and wait 10 seconds.
You should see a folder caller Saorview.
Expand it, and double click the channel you wish to view.


Launch VLC, and open the Network address udp://@ (Should be RTE One)
udp://@ should be RTE Two.
udp://@ should be TV3.


If you poke around in the VLC options, you’ll notice that Teletext works too.
There’s even a Program Guide that has the next 7 days line-up in it. (Tools > Program Guide)
Subtitles work, and on some channels there may even be a second Audio stream.

Now do it on another PC, and view a different channel at the same time. Continue until you get bored.
For fun, check the CPU usage of the mumudvb process.
On my system it only uses around 5% of 1 CPU since its not actually doing very much. Not bad…

The process will be spewing out loads of stats, like Bit error rate, Signal Strength and SNR. Their meaning is self evident.
Every 5 seconds it will also output Traffic information, which is quite interesting since it displays the actual Bandwidth used per channel.

As an exercise for the reader, I’ll leave you to figure out how to get it to start up in the background.
Personally, I run it in a screen session so I can easily open it up again and see the Signal Strength, etc.

Note: RTE Two is broadcast in HD, and viewing it may be a bit CPU intensive.