Watching TV

If you have a TV card, you may be able to use it to watch TV under Ubuntu. Ubuntu doesn’t come with a TV tuner application by default, but you can download the tvtime program from the software repositories by using the Ubuntu Software Center.

Checking for Video Input

Ubuntu includes the Video for Linux project, an extension to the Linux kernel, to allow many popular TV and video-capture cards to work. You can find out whether yours is compatible by opening a terminal window (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and typing gstreamer-properties. In the dialog box that appears, click the Video tab and click the Test button in the Default Input part of the window. If you see a video window without an error message, your TV card is compatible. If you receive an error message, your card probably isn’t compatible.

Installing tvtime

To download and install tvtime, open the Ubuntu Software Centerand enter tvtime as a search term. In the list of results, click the entry for the package, mark it for installation, and then click Apply. When the download has completed, you’ll be asked a number of questions during the configuration process. First, you need to choose your TV picture format. Users in the United States should choose NTSC. Users in the United Kingdom, Australia, and certain parts of Europe should choose PAL. To find out which TV system your country uses, look up your country at You also need to choose your geographical area from the list so that tvtime can set the correct radio frequency range for your TV card.

After the program is installed, you’ll find it on the Applications > Multimedia menu. Using the program is straightforward, but if you need guidance, visit the program’s web site at