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 ...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summary before summer - Part 2

Summer is here now. Since I planned this post some great things concerning the EasyCAP happened.
A new driver for the EasyCAP DC60 has been published and the program mtvcgui has been updated. (See previous posts).

Some other news I want to mention:
  • Lavc - avconv
    In Ubunt 12.04 there is a new versin of libav (ffmepg branch) which now supports v4l2 capturing again. The ffmpeg and ffplay command in libav are deprecated and soon will be entirely replaced by 'avconv' and 'avplay'.
  • Puppylinux (Racy Puppy) and EasyCAP
    On my other EasyCAP related site I published an article, how Puppylinux can be installed besides of Ubuntu and how the EasyCAP can be used with Puppylinux. 
  • After these evolutions a widely rewrite of some pages of this blog is pending.
  • By the way, I changed my blogname for not to cause some confusion.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

New driver for the EasyCAP DC60 - stk1160

Great news!

Some time ago Ezequiel Garcia informed me:
"I just wanted you to know I've re-worked the old easycap driver
from scratch. Now it's called stk1160, because it's the correct name
for such driver. "
Inbetween the driver has been succesfully tested on Ubuntu 12.04 and Bodhilinux 1.4.0 with kernel 3.2. So it should work even on most systems which have the 3.2.0 kernel.

Although some enhancements have to be done, the driver already can be used as a replacement of the easycapdriver. It is expexted that the driver soon will get into the mainline kernel.

The great improvements compared to the easycapdriver are:
- there is no framedropping anymore
- the snd_usb_audio issue is solved
- the driver loads and registers quicker than the easycapdriver

Installation and usage (tested on Ubuntu 12.04)

Note: Although the driver is tested on Ubuntu, you do the installation at your own risk!

Download the driver from here:

Unpack the content into your homedir and open a terminal.

At first we blacklist the easycap module (driver), so it cannot conflict with the new driver.

echo "blacklist easycap" | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf 
If you want to reuse the easycap module, simply run
sudo modprobe easycap
or delete the entry
blacklist easycap 
in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

Enter the unpacked directory with the driversource inside
cd ezequielgarcia-stk1160-standalone-...(the exact name)
and run
sudo make install
sudo depmod -a
With the next command you can check if the module has been correctly installed:
modinfo stk1160

After plugging in the EasyCAP test it with mplayer:
mplayer tv://

Configure sound 

The stk1160 module registers a control-only alsa soundcard. This sound card is called 'stk1160-mixer'.
The real sound capture is done through the 'Controlle' soundcard which is also created after plugging in the EasyCAP.
To get a list of the registerd ALSA soundcards, run the following command:
cat /proc/asound/cards
Sample output:
  0 [Intel          ]: HDA-Intel - HDA Intel
                      HDA Intel at 0xf0580000 irq 43
 1 [Controlle      ]: USB-Audio - USB 2.0 Video Capture Controlle
                      Syntek Semiconductor USB 2.0 Video Capture Controlle at usb-0000:00:1d.7-2, hig
 2 [stk1160mixer   ]: stk1160 - stk1160-mixer
                      stk1160 ac97 codec mixer control
To enable sound capture you have to open alsamixer when the EasyCAP is plugged in and select the 'Line' item on the capture menu for stk1160-mixer device:
1. start alsamixer
2. select stk1160-mixer sound card (with F6)
3. select capture controls (with F4)
4. select "Line" output (with space key) 

You can do this on the commandline as well with this line:
amixer -c stk1160mixer sset Line unmute cap 

Note! In the viewing- or capturing program you must then select the 'Controlle' soundcard or its number to hear sound!

Reinstallation oft the driver is required after kernel update!

If you have installed a new kernel on your system (or your update-manager did so automatically)  you need to reinstall the stk1160 driver!


When you do not want to use the stk1160 driver anymore

Simply blacklist the stk1160 module as described above and revert the blacklisting of the easycap module.

Thanks to Ezequiel for his work and support!