Recording Analogue PAL TV using Video4Linux

If you have any old VHS cassettes which you need to record to your PC, then mencoder which comes bundled with mplayer can do this for you in a single command.

Before you start make sure you have your Video4Linux analogue TV capture card setup in linux with the correct kernel modules loaded. Most capture cards of this type will require an additional sound card to send the sound to. To test the setup you can use the following command to preview what the capture card would record:

mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:norm=PAL:width=720:height=576:outfmt=uyvy:device=/dev/video0:input=1:fps=25:alsa=1:adevice=hw.0:amode=1:forceaudio:immediatemode=1

With the above command the first Video4Linux capture device and the first alsa sound card will be used on the system. Once you are seeing and hearing the PAL TV input proceed to the next step.

To record the PAL TV input to an AVI use the following command:

mencoder tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:norm=PAL:width=720:height=576:outfmt=uyvy:device=/dev/video0:input=1:fps=25:alsa=1:adevice=hw.0:amode=1 -oac pcm -ovc lavc -ffourcc XVID  -o /tmp/out.avi

The switches in the command above set the encoded movie to have the higest quality sound and using XVID compression to save space.

Last updated: 04/07/2013