Kernel Labs Linux driver for Hauppauge HVR-955Q

Over the last six to twelve months, we’ve been working on Linux driver support for a variety of new TV tuner products. The first one out the door though is what we’ll be talking about today.

The Hauppauge HVR-955Q is the latest ATSC/ClearQAM/analog tuner they started to ship a few months back as a replacement for their popular HVR-950Q tuner. More info on the hardware can be found here:

Now if you follow the LinuxTV mailing list, you might be inclined to ask, “Didn’t an open source driver get released for that last month?” The answer I would have to give would be “sort of”. The driver released by the community has no support for analog tuning, unknown/inconsistent tuning performance for digital tuning, and relies on a driver that has a history of reliability problems that haven’t been fixed in the five years since it was submitted upstream.

By contrast, the Kernel Labs driver provides support for ATSC/ClearQAM as well as analog (including closed captions), making it a drop-in replacement for commercial customers currently deploying the HVR-950q. In fact, we introduced a module option called “emulate_950q” which results in the driver reporting that it *is* a HVR-950q – a useful feature for applications which check for the device type to run unmodified.

So you might be inclined to ask, “Why another totally separate driver?” The answer lies in a difference in the goals of Kernel Labs versus the freely available LinuxTV drivers. Our goal is to provide a high quality driver that is easy to deploy against multiple kernels, is well tested against popular applications, includes commercial support, and provides the rock-solid reliability necessary for companies embedding the tuner into products. A self contained driver completely within our control allows us to ensure a consistently reliable product that doesn’t suffer from the constant regressions found in tuners as the mainline kernel continues to churn out new releases.

For a casual end-user who wants to occasionally watch TV on their laptop, the open source driver is probably fine. If you’re a commercial customer though who intends to embed the tuner in a product and expects a robust driver that is well tested with popular applications and has good performance under a variety of signal conditions, then the Kernel Labs driver is what you want.

More information, including a datasheet can be found on the following page:


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