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VDR (Video Disk Recorder) is a video playing and recording application for DVB (Digital Video Brodcast) cards.

File system layout

The vdr package is adapted to fit seamlessy into the openSUSE filesystem hierarchy:

  • /etc/vdr contains configuration files that you might want to modify to suite your needs (e.g. channels.conf). See man 5 vdr for the syntax of those files.
  • /var/spool/video is the place where recordings are stored. If you are low on space you should consider putting this on a separate partition. Recordings can take up several Gigabytes.
  • /usr/lib/vdr contains shared libraries for plugins. If you compile you own plugins you need to put them there.
  • /usr/include/vdr contains header files necessary to compile plugins.

Start scripts

You almost never want to run the vdr binary itself. Use /etc/init.d/vdr to start vdr as daemon on console 9 or runvdr to start it in the current terminal. You can configure several parameters for these scripts in /etc/sysconfig/vdr.

Note: vdr as packaged on openSUSE does not run as root but under a special vdr user account to reduce the risk of damage to the system in case of (security-)bugs. Do not try to re-use the vdr start scripts for a self-compiled version without applying the necessary patches!

Setting up the channel list

vdr as packaged on openSUSE contains a minimal /etc/vdr/channels.conf for Astra-19.2E (DVB-S). You can create you own using dvbscan. For example if you live in Nuernberg, Germany and want to create a channels.conf for DVB-T you would run

 scan -o vdr /usr/share/dvb/dvb-t/de-Nuernberg > /etc/vdr/channels.conf

Note: in older openSUSE, the scan command was instead named dvbscan.

Using vdr with a TV set attached

If you have a full-featured card and intend to run vdr on a dedicated machine just like a regular VCR, you probably want also use a remote control unit to control vdr. Unfortunately, the remote control unit shipped with the popular Hauppauge DVB cards is not supported out of the box. You need to install the Remote Control-Plugin contained in the vdr-plugins package. For home-brew hardware or if you also have an analogue card with remote you might want to use lirc. Use the yast runlevel editor or chkconfig to have dvb, lirc and vdr started during boot.

Using vdr on a desktop machine

With a full-featured card you can use xawtv for watching TV on your desktop. You should append /usr/share/doc/packages/xawtv/vdr.config to your ~/.xawtv file to control vdr from within xawtv.

Using vdr on budget cards

Budget cards do not have an mpeg decoder so you can't connect a TV set to them nor use v4l applications like xawtv to watch TV. Instead you may use the xine-plugin for vdr (package vdr-plugin-xine). To tell vdr to use this plugin set the following values in /etc/sysconfig/vdr:


When vdr is running press the "VDR" button in xine (package xine-ui) to get the live TV picture. Instead of xine-ui you can also use any xine based media player like kaffeine by opening the url vdr://var/lib/vdr-xine/stream#demux:mpeg_pes

You may need to install additional codec packages to be able to view mpeg streams like the one from the dvb card.

Compiling your own plugins

See also openSUSE:Packaging_vdr for instructions how to properly package vdr plugins to fit into package management.

Normally, vdr plugins expect to be compiled inside the vdr source directory. This is of course not possible with a prebuilt package. Fortunately, most plugins can still be easily compiled using the following command:

 make VDRDIR=/usr/include/vdr LIBDIR=/usr/lib/vdr LOCALEDIR=/usr/share/vdr/locale all

If you add the plugin name to VDR_PLUGINS in /etc/sysconfig/vdr, it will be loaded automatically when vdr starts. Please read the associated comment in that file for details. Some plugins require additional treatment because vdr is not running as root. The osd-teletext plugin for example wants to put files into /vtx. You have to create that directory yourself and change it's owner to vdr. Other plugins like the dvd plugin open device files, you need to adjust permissions for these as well.

Updated Packages

Packages for the most recent stable vdr version are available via the openSUSE build service