How to capture from composite input of an analogue tv card

wally bkg wb666greene at
Thu Mar 10 08:33:16 PST 2011

> Subject: How to capture from composite input of an analogue tv card
> Hi,
> I hava an old SAA7134-chipped old tv card with analogue tuner and
> composite+svideo inputs. It works with tvtime by just giving /dev/video0
> as the command line parameter. BTW, I am only interested in capturing
> the composite video-in signal.
> However, I do not know how to capture it with totem. Giving /dev/video0
> as the parameter does not help. I have v4l2 plugin installed and the
> gstreamer-properties shows my card and it gives output from an untuned
> tv channel.
> But how do I construct a pipeline for capturing composite video-in and
> is it possible to watch it through totem using this pipeline?

Gstreamer lacks an easy or reliable way to setup the input on capture cards.

You can get some info about the "tuner interface" here:

There is a link to some sample code, but I've never found it to be reliable
-- after a reboot the gstreamer code often fails to work the first time, but
if I quit the program and rerun it, it then seems to work OK until the next

The TVtime application is the most reliable program I've found with regards
to changing video inputs and norms (PAL vs. NTSC) across the eight brands of
capture hardware I have access too.  I'll eventually pull its v4l2 selection
code out and use it in my application instead of the "interfeces" kludge of

If you set your cards norm and select the input you want with TVtime or
v4l2-ctr  (its of the ivtv-utils package) then this should work:

v4l2src device=/dev/video0 ! xvimagesink

As far as I can tell Totem is only setup for playing file inputs.
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