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V4L Realtek driver

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I think this how-to is deprecated now as RTL283x has in-kernel support for some time now. I'm no longer using DVB-T, so I can't help. But I'm sure there are other how-to out there. Also, I believe things rather work out of box nowadays.

This section is about how-to make DVB-T USB sticks based on RTL2832U chip working under GNU/Linux. There is not much to it as you're going to see.

First of all, let me say thanks to member of Croatian Ubuntu community which goes under nickname 'mrle' for providing me with version v1.4.2 of drivers which speed up the process. I've also used couple forums to gather information and references can be found at the end of this document.

I also thank to people whom contacted me regarding this chipset. I'm somewhat sorry I couldn't be more help. However, all that seemed to be somewhat useful, I put here.

I don't know why Realtek doesn't provide drivers straight away. As for driver not being in v4l/v4l-dvb, it's because licensing - what else could it be. If you read about kernel development from time to time, you surely can imagine why. I'm not going to write down any theories here. Anyway, it's probably good idea to contact Realtek about newer driver version from time to time. What I've heard so far, their approach is great and they're trying to help, which I've been glad to hear. It also seems that Realtek is willing to put some work to not only improve their GNU/Linux driver, but get it into V4L. I wish them good speed!

Please, note I'm no developer of presented driver. I've just put together this small and humble how-to. Developer of this driver is, and always has been, Realtek or somebody close to it.

I should be glad and happy for being given credit, but I'm not. Credit belongs to other people and should be given to them. The only credit I'm willing to take is for this how-to :-)

I'm happy though this how-to is useful to some of you and I want to say thank you all for your responses.

Zdenek Styblik 2011/01/16 07:13


Bits about hardware

These links were sent to me by poma

Afatech AF9015 & MaxLinear MXL5007T dual tuner

Realtek RTL2832U & Fitipower FC0012


All files mentioned here can be downloaded at

Latest known version of driver: 2011-06-14

Newer versions of drivers are courtesy of Realtek.

kernel 2.8.38

I had issues installing driver above on this version of kernel, so i wrote to realtek and they sent me driver here it is, just unpack with tar -xvzf name_of_archive and follow instructions in README, have a nice day


Let's do it. First of all, forget all perpetuated, well copy-pasted, how-to's around the internet. These which are built on driver version 1.1 do not work. You get devices /dev/dvb/adapterX created, yeah, but that's all. They are blind and they do not work.

Version 1.4.2+ fixes it.

NOTE: you have to substitute correct version of driver. It would be tedious to update instructions every time driver gets a new version.

All cards with same chipset

  1. unpack '091207_RTL2832U_LINUX_Ver1.4.2.rar'
    • % rar x 091204_RTL2832U_Linux_Ver1.4.2.rar; (note: original filename, 'linux_install_package_091207', seemed a bit non-saying)
    • % cd linux_install_package_091207;
    • % tar -vjxf v4l_rtl2832_install.tar.bz2;
  2. % cd v4l-dvb-e0cd9a337600;
  3. There are two ways to do this:
      • % make distclean
      • in % make menuconfig; choose:
      • Multimedia support ->
        	DVB/ATSC adapters ->
        		<M> Support for various USB DVB devices
        			<M> Realtek RTL2832U DVB-T USB2.0 support
      • then # make && make install;
    1. this also should be sufficient: # make && make install;
  4. Reboot, although this must not be necessary. You can try to # depmode -a && modprobe; modules manually.
  5. And enjoy. To my knowledge there is no extra firmware needed.
% lsmod | grep dvb
dvb_usb_rtl2832u      147072  0 
dvb_usb                21388  1 dvb_usb_rtl2832u
dvb_core               99732  1 dvb_usb

There should be two adapters per stick in /dev/dvb/ The first one (adapter0) is DVB-T tuner and the second one is (probably) DAB (radio) tuner.

Many cards, different chipsets

→ merge with v4l-dvb

You have to extract modified or specific RTL files and copy them into your favourite 'branch' of v4l-dvb. You can use script like this:

for FILE in `find ../linux_install_package_091207/v4l-dvb-e0cd9a337600/ \
-printf "%h/%f\t%t\n" | grep Dec | awk '{ print $1 }'`; do 
	FILENEW=`echo ${FILE} | \
sed 's/..\/linux_install_package_091207\/v4l-dvb-e0cd9a337600\///g'` 
	echo $FILENEW
	cp -i ${FILE} ./v4l-dvb-export/${FILENEW}; 

It has its limits. You could use % diff; and such - whatever works. May be even mercurial itself it could be used, but I'm not familiar with it.

I've found only two differences - Kconfig and Makefile.

The rest is same as in the beginning. Pick the cards, compile stuff, works :)


Kernel panics at 64bits

Pavel Moravec has sent a patch which should address kernel panics at 64bit machines. It can be found in 'kernel-panic-64bit-patch/' directory.

This patch is not necessary for v2.0.1.

Newer kernels

D.Palamarchuk -[A|T]- suggested it's required to modify 'v4l/dvbdev.c' in order to get RTL2832U driver working with newer kernels (in his case, 2.6.31).

Note: Actually, the problem is elsewhere. Go to Linux Kernel dir eg. /usr/src/linux-<version> and run # make modules; or similar command. Kernel headers(?) are not present in /usr/src/ directory.

	dvb_class->nodename = dvb_nodename;
	dvb_class->devnode = dvb_devnode;

Other DVB-T Sticks

fermio.kll -[A|T]- suggested it's possible to use this driver with other [unknown] DVD-T sticks. All is required is to change identificator in code “1f4d:b803 in my case is af4d:a803”. Kernel version is unknown.


This wiki

To edit these pages use 'realtek@GoRealtek!66'. However, image upload is disabled due to space concerns. So if you want to upload some images, please, let me know.

Contacting Realtek

Don't be afraid to do so. However, keep in mind that RLT283x is not the only one thing going on in this world, thus Realtek's reply might not be swift and so on.

If everything else fails, contact the maker.

If you have patches, that's where they should have be sent.

Mailing lists

Original readme changelog

This is kept only for historical reasons and reference

  • 2010/Nov/15 @ Zdenek Styblik
    • update - Genius TVGo DVB-T03 info
  • 2010/Nov/12 @ Realtek
    • added - new version; version is v2.0.1 now
  • 2010/Nov/12 @ Zdenek Styblik
    • added - outdoor antenna results
    • added - LV5TDLX has new HW revision
    • added - patch from Pavel Moravec for v1.4.2 and kernel panics
    • added - Genius TVGo DVB-T03 works with v1.4.2, reported by Petr Jakubec
  • 2010/Oct/27 @ Zdenek Styblik
    • added - patch for DigitalNow Quad DVB-T Receiver from Alan Forbes
  • 2010/Jul/13 @ Zdenek Styblik
    • added - patch for RTL2838, Terratec Cinergy T Black
  • 2010/Apr/18 @ Zdenek Styblik
    • added - tips section
    • edited - foreword
  • 2010/Mar/21 @ Zdenek Styblik
    • added - merging with different branch
  • 2010/Mar/11 @ Zdenek Styblik
    • fixed - RTL2831 driver instead of RTL2832U


linux/v4l/realtek/start.txt · Last modified: 2016/04/17 06:39 by stybla