Experiences with the easycap DC60 audio and video capture adapter on Linux

This Blog is dedicated to all owners of the STK1160 chip based EasyCAP (or identical) devices, who want to use it under Linux.

Activating audio for the STK1160 device: read the this post

German speaking users: read my article on ubuntuusers.de

The EasyCAP DC60 and its clones are cheap little USB analogue capturing devices which can be used for viewing and recording video under Linux from different sources like VHS tape recorders, satellitereceivers, camcorders ...

GUI TV


GUI applications for TV viewing and recording 

Many people are just looking for a simple program for watching TV, VHS tapes or any other analogue video source. The program should be capable of taking video snapshots or it should be usable for recording longer video sequences, with and without sound.
In short, it should have the 'red button'.

Sadly this simple program doesn't really exist for Linux.

There are some other GUI programs which are very useful for either watching TV or for recording:


Tvtime

Tvtime is the most prominent program for watching TV under Linux because it provides the best picture quality, but it's only for watching not for recording.

Solving sound problems

If you cannot hear sound from your TV source while watching with tvtime, try to adjust the mixer settings for your TV capture card (e.g. with alsamixer in the terminal).

If this doesn't work you need to play back the sound by another program. The best choice for that is avplay (ffplay). 

Tvtime with avplay (ffplay)
Simply copy and paste the tvtime and avplay line into the terminal.
Change the parameters, if needed, according to your device and system.
It is possible to change the video settings (device, input, norm) in tvtimes GUI.

Viewing with tvtime and avplay (ALSA):
avplay -f alsa -i hw:1 -nodisp | tvtime -d /dev/video0 -i 1 -n PAL
or
ffplay -f alsa -i hw:1 -nodisp | tvtime -d /dev/video0 -i 1 -n PAL

Using avplay for ALSA sound playback is recommended because it doesn't cause delayed audio. If avplay is not available for your system you can try SoX or gst-launch instead:

Tvtime with SoX
sox -t alsa plughw:1,0 --buffer 48000 -b 16 -c 2 -r 48000 -t alsa default | tvtime -d /dev/video0 -i 1 -n PAL

After you have stopped tvtime, you must kill the sox program by typing
killall sox
into the terminal.

Tvtime with gst-launch
gst-launch-0.10 alsasrc device=hw:1 ! audio/x-raw-int,channels=2 ! volume volume=3 ! autoaudiosink | tvtime -d /dev/video0 -i 1 -n PAL

After you have stopped tvtime, you must kill gst-launch by typing
killall gst-launch-0.10
into the terminal.

Mtvcgui

Mtvcgui is a highly flexible GUI frontend for mplayer and mencoder.

Mtvcgui (mencoder) is recommended if you want to make high quality recordings from any analogue video source (v4l2) under Linux 

This program is declared in detail on my Mtvcgui page.

VLC

VLC, the "highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats", is also capable of playing and recording analogue video (v4l2) in Linux.

While the viewing quality of VLC is similar to mplayer or tvtime, I couldn't get really satisfactory recordings with VLC, but I didn't try all possible settings.
For me mencoder (Mtvcgui) persists to be the preferred application for recording analogue TV under Linux.

Using the grafical interface for viewing: 

In the main menu select "Media" >  "Open Capture device"

into the field "Video device name" type: /dev/video0:input=1
into the field "Audio device name" type:  plughw:1,0
(change the numbers according to your system if necessary)

If you have OSS audio:
into the field "Audio device name" type: /dev/dsp
check the 'Show more options' checkbox and
change the line in the 'Edit Options' dialog from "alsa" to "oss"
Now click on "Play" if you want to view with vlc.

Recording with VLC

If you want to record a video with vlc,click the arrow button left from "Play" and select "Convert", now a window appears

Type in the name of your destination file, select the preferred "Profile" (= filetype) and click "Start".
Now don't forget to click the "Play" button.

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