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The Operating System

VDR runs on Linux. I currently use openSUSE Leap 15.0, kernel 4.12.14, but of course, any other current Linux distribution should work just as well.

The DVB card driver

The Linux DVB driver is part of the Linux kernel.

The VDR program

The main part of this project is the actual implementation of an On Screen Menu system that offers complete control over channel settings, timers and recordings. The source code can be found in the download section.


Here are some screenshots showing some of the On Screen Menu pages. They were taken using the default "LCARS" skin. (screenshots show the OSD of version 2.0.0)

OSD Main Menu The Main menu gives you access to the primary functions of VDR, like the programme schedules (EPG), channels, timers, recordings, system setup and even user defined Linux shell commands.

Pressing the red button on the remote control starts an immediate recording of the current broadcast. The green button opens a menu from which you can select the audio track, and the yellow button pauses live tv. The blue button either resumes replay of the last viewed recording, or opens the list of recordings.

The bar on the left side displays the current date and time, the actual disk usage (98%) as well as an estimate of the remaining recording space (7 hours and 15 minutes in this case), and the current system load (1.1).

On the right side a list of upcoming timers (15 out of a total of 36) is displayed together with a list of available receiving devices (6 in this case). Small rectangles between the two areas indicate which timers are currently recording from which devices. Each device shows its type, the CAM it uses (if any), and the signal strength and quality. The blue indicator next to device 1 tells that this device is currently being used for live viewing.

On Screen Menu This is the programme Schedule. The red button allows you to easily program a timer that records the highlighted programme. The green and yellow buttons switch to the What's on now? and What's on next? screens.

On Screen Menu Pressing the Ok button during normal viewing brings up the Channel display, which shows the current channel, date and time, as well as information about the currently running and the following programme. The same device display as used on the main menu is shown at the bottom of the channel display.

On Screen Menu This is the Extended description of a programme, which can be displayed by pressing the Ok button in the Schedule menu.

On Screen Menu The What's on now? menu lists all the programmes that are currently running on all channels. If you find something interesting here you can press the blue button to switch directly to that channel, or the red button to create a timer that records this programme (or the rest of it, for that matter). The green button switches to a list of all programmes that start next. The yellow button switches to the full schedule of the selected channel.

On Screen Menu The Channels menu allows you to switch channels, edit the channel settings, create new channels or delete existing ones, and rearrange their sequence.

On Screen Menu This is the Edit channel menu, where you can define all the parameters of a channel.

On Screen Menu The list of all timers can be accessed through the Timers menu. It displays the channel number to record, the day(s) on which recordings will be done, the start and stop time and the name the recording will be given.

The list is sorted chronologically, so that the timer that will start next is at the top of the list.

The character on the left indicates whether a timer is inactive, active, recording or will only start recording after a given "first day" date.

Pressing the blue button displays the EPG information of the programme that the selected timer will record (if such information is available).

On Screen Menu The Edit timer menu is where you can manually define all the various parameters of a timer.

On Screen Menu The list of Recordings contains all the recordings your timers have made. If an entry has a date and time in the left two columns, you can simply press the Ok button on it to start replaying it. If there are only simple numbers in these columns, that entry is a directory of recordings which you can open by pressing the red or Ok button on it. In that case the first number indicates the total number of recordings in this directory, while the second number tells you how many new recordings there are.

On Screen Menu Pressing the Ok button while replaying a recording brings up the progress display which shows the date, time and name of the recording, as well as the current position within and the remaining time of it. Here you can see that there are already some editing marks defined which allow you to create an edited version of this recording, where all the commercial breaks are cut out.