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How to connect to digital TV from a computer in Linux (IPTV, DVB-IP and TVoIP)

IPTV, DVB-IP and TVoIP

From a technical point of view, Internet TV provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) is different from video streaming such as YouTube or even live TV broadcasts.

Internet providers for digital television services use local IP addresses and multicast. Such broadcasting is tightly tied to the local resources of ISPs (that is, it will not be possible to watch TV channels of an ISP “A” while connected to the Internet via ISP “B”). Due to the use of multicast, the load on the broadcasting server does not increase with each additional client connection. Another feature is that the UDP protocol is used, an example is the stream address:

udp://@225.77.225.5:5000

Often, Internet service providers offer a set-top box that allows you to convert the data stream from the network into a TV signal. Also, the set-top box can be used to decrypt the data stream if the broadcast is encrypted.

Streaming broadcasting of television channels on the Internet is closer to YouTube than we are used to. An example of the Euronews stream address is http://evronovosti.mediacdn.ru/sr1/evronovosti/playlist.m3u8. That is, HTTP and TCP protocols are used.

For the end user, it may not matter what happens “under the hood”. Just remember that some streaming addresses are ISP bound and only work when you're connected to a specific network.

List of Best IPTV Applications for Linux

The list of the best IPTV apps for Linux that you can find is as follows:

Astroncia IPTV

Homepage: https://gitlab.com/astroncia/iptv

IPTV player with EPG support.

Functions:

  • Watching IPTV (from m3u / m3u8 / xspf playlist, local or remote)
  • XTream API support
  • Viewing unencrypted streams UDP (multicast), HTTP, HLS (m3u8)
  • Adding channels to favorites
  • Recording TV programs
  • Hotkeys
  • Channel search
  • TV program (EPG) support in XMLTV and JTV formats
  • Display of technical information - video / audio codec, bit rate, resolution
  • Channel groups (from playlist and custom)
  • Hide channels
  • Sorting channels
  • Video settings for each channel - contrast, brightness, hue, saturation, gamma
  • Change user agent for each channel
  • M3U playlist editor
  • TV archive
  • Internalization
  • MPRIS support (and remote control using KDE Connect)
  • Taking screenshots

Excellent program, functional and intuitive. One of my favorites for watching IPTV.

FreeTUXTV

Homepage: https://github.com/freetuxtv/freetuxtv

One of the best for IPTV under Linux. Available in 21 languages and with the ability to record content for later viewing. To start using it, you just need to download and install the program, find the URL of the m3u playlist you want to view, open the app, paste the link and hit search…

Small tests have shown that links to built-in TV channels are often not working.

It was possible to add channels from the .m3u file. But for this, I had to start a local web server and copy the file to it in order to specify a link in FreeTUXTV, since the program, apparently, cannot open local files with channel lists.

In general, the program is quite buggy and was unable to open .m3u8 files. But at least it successfully copes with the display of digital television.

Hypnotic

Homepage: https://github.com/linuxmint/hypnotix

This is an IPTV streaming app supporting live TV, movies and series. It can support multiple IPTV providers of the following types:

  • M3U URL;
  • Xtream API;
  • M3U local playlist.

Hypnotic was created by the developers of Linux Mint, so this distribution comes pre-installed with it.

In my tests, the program was unable to open local .m3u files. At the same time, the program itself already has built-in lists of TV channels, broken down by country.

Megacube

Home page: https://megacubo.tv/online/en/

It is an intuitive, free and open source IPTV player.

Stremio

Homepage: https://www.stremio.com/

One-stop hub for aggregating video content (movies, TV shows, series, live TV or web feeds).

The program asks to register. Unable to play digital TV without registration. This is where my acquaintance with the program ended.

Kodi

Homepage: https://kodi.tv/

Certainly one of the best. A complete multimedia center with which you can watch IPTV and much more, as it has a large number of functions and add-ons to expand its capabilities.

Miro

Homepage: http://www.getmiro.com/

Another IPTV player available for Linux. It has many interesting features, but perhaps the most notable is that it allows you to handle many video formats and HD content without any problems. You just need to download it, install it, open the app, find the m3u link you want to see and put it in the app to start watching channels.

VLC

Homepage: https://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

As you know, this media player is one of the most powerful and complete and it is available for Linux. And among its features, there is also support for ITPV. Download, install, open the app, go to Media, Open Network Location, paste the URL and click Play.

tvheadend

Homepage: https://tvheadend.org/

Another option for streaming video. It also supports recording, and you can manage it via the web interface after installing it if you navigate from your web browser to http://[your-ip]:9981/, replacing [your-ip] with your address. For example, http.//192.168.1.2:9981.

IPTVnator

Homepage: https://www.electronjs.org/apps/iptvnator

Although many are not fans of Electron for obvious reasons, here is another application based on it and compatible with IPTV lists (m3u, m3u8). It has a very simple interface that you can easily learn to manage from the first moment.


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