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 ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

STK1160 News

Asking for Linux support from Syntek

Ezequiel is asking every EasyCAP stk1160 user to send an email to Syntek
asking them to support Linux drivers and provide a datasheet for their chips.


STK1160 driver in kernel 3.7.

The stk1160 driver will replace the easycapdriver in the 3.7.x kernel release.
So, the spring releases of all major distros (Ubuntu 13.04 ...) will have the stk1160 driver onboard. :-)

STK1160 S-video support

Ezequiel is continuously working on the driver and has recently added s-video support.
If you want to use the s-video input you must download the svideo2_for_v3.2 branch from https://github.com/ezequielgarcia/stk1160-standalone/tree/svideo2_for_v3.2 (hit the ZIP button on top left).
Install the driver as described below.

Before you can use the s-video input with the stk1160 driver you need to run (while the STK1160 device is plugged in):
sudo rmmod stk1160
sudo modprobe stk1160 svideo_input=9
Now s-video is available from input number 4.

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!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mtvcgui updated

Santiago Bruno, the developer of mtvcgui, informed me about the new version (1.0.2) of his great program he has released some days ago.

"One of the new features in this release is that it queries mplayer to get the list of supported norms, so it should report the correct values," he reports.

The other great new feature is, that he provides booth a .deb and .rpm package, which installs (and adds a launcher to the menu), and runs (I've tested the .deb package with Ubuntu 12.04) without any problem.

If you want to preview or capture video, now mtvcgui and the EasyCAP DC60 work together without any adaptations,
but if you want to capture audio as well as video with the EasyCAP, you need to do the following:

On the second tab, check the "Capture audio using ALSA" checkbox,
then type in "hw.1" as ALSA device (if the EasyCAP is the second soundcard on your system).
Into the "Extra tv parameters" field type in:
else the audio stream won't be captured (and you won't hear audio if you press the "Preview channel with mplayer" button on the first tab.

When I've done some more tests I will update the description concerning the usage of mtvcgui with the EasyCAP on the Recording page of this blog.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Summary before summer - Part 1

Here is a summary of some news concerning the easycapdevice and about improvements of EasyCAP related software. 1'st part

  •  New driver for Easycaps with somagic chip
    This page
    is the light at the end of the tunnel for owners of any Somagic - EasyCAP who want to use it with Linux.

    When buying any EasyCAP on the Internet, people cannot figure out, what type of device they will get.
    (See the picture and the Devices page on this blog.)
    Let's hope that any time soon the Somagic EasyCAPs can be used with Linux as easy as the "real" DC60 devices at present .

  • Changes to the easycapdriver
    When typing "easycap" into the search field of the gitweb summary of the latest mainline kernel (3.5 -rc2) on kernel.org,
    the output shows that some people were recently working on the driver.
    Although I cannot interpret the effects of these changes in detail, I think that the driver will become still more stable in future kernel releases.

  • Minimal system requirements for the EasyCAP
    Piotr from Poland mailed me his success story with his EasyCAP 002 and Zoneminder.
    His system data:
    Celeron 533 MHz, 320MB RAM, Debian Wheezy (alpha) !

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More Information

In the last few weeks I altered some pages and I added some more information to my blog:
  • Practice page has been created.
  • The Drivers and Installation pages have been updated and put together.
  • I've tested the recent stk11xx driver with my EasyCAP DC60.
    Read more on the Drivers and Installation page.
  • I found out, that the recent easycapdriver is only capable of 22.75 fps (PAL).
    Read more on the bottom of the Quickstart page.
  • A description of a DIY surveillance installation, provided by a reader of this blog, including EasyCAP related hints for Windows has been published.
  • Some more corrections and updates have been applied, but there is still a lot to be done.

Average more than hundred visitors daily spur me on to make this blog better.

Some people emailed to me, and I like to help if I can.
Feel free to comment or email if you have any question or contribution.