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VDR (Video Disk Recorder) can also operate as an mp3 player and DVD player using available plugin.

VDR (Video Disk Recorder) is an open source application for Linux designed to allow any computer to function as a digital video recorder, in order to record and replay TV programming using the computer's hard drive.

The computer needs to be equipped with a digital TV tuner card. VDR can also operate as an mp3 player and DVD player using available plugins. VDR uses drivers from the LinuxTV project.

With the streamdev plugin it is easy to build up a client/server environment with VDR. While VDR-to-VDR streaming works like a charm, there's not a lot the client can do on the server. The plugins on this page are the missing pieces to a powerful multi-VDR environment.


* Operation entirely via DVB card's On Screen Display and infrared control (LIRC/RCU) or keyboard
* Support for multiple DVB cards (up to four, at least one full featured card with video out required) and "conditional access" (CICAM)
* Channel groups
* EPG display by channel or by time ("What's on now/next")
* Timers: Programming via EPG or manually, priority/lifetime model, single-shot or repeating timers which use EPG subtitle info as recording's title additionally
* Recording storage on disk: Automatically splitting of recording into files (<2GB), support for multiple storage directories (may be spread over multiple disks), support for hierarchical storage
* Support for multiple audio tracks and Dolby Digital
* Instant recording
* Playback modes normal, pause, fast forward/backward (multi speed), jump to specific location, jump 60 seconds
* Support for editing recordings (with I-frame accuracy: ~1/2 second)
* Multiple language support
* Support for executing system commands and displaying output on screen
* Network support (SVDRP): Manage timers and recordings via telnet
* Automatic shutdown/wakeup (with certain mainboards)
* Support for automatically executing commands upon recording start/end and editing recordings
* Instant Time Shift
* Plugin interface (see the list of available plugins)
* Macros can be assigned to remote control keys
* Multiple recordings on the same device
* Simultaneous recording and replay on the primary device

Plugin svdrpservice.

svdrpservice > README > HISTORY
2008-09-25 > vdr-svdrpservice-0.0.4.tgz

This plugin offers SVDRP connections as a service to other plugins. Instead of implementing the same SVDRP connectivity stuff over and over again, all of my client side plugins use svdrpservice. So it is even possible to share a single SVDRP connection among multiple plugins on the same client.

There's no reason to load this plugin if no other plugin relies on it. If you are a developer and your plugin needs connections to a remote SVDRP server, you might want to take a closer look at it.

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Plugin remotetimers.

remotetimers > README > HISTORY
2008-03-28 > vdr-remotetimers-0.0.2.tgz
2010-02-22 > vdr-remotetimers-0.1.3.tgz

Allows you to add/edit/delete timers on the local (client) VDR and a remote (server) VDR. Even moving timers between the two VDRs is possible. The plugin has its own implementations of the Schedule and Timer menus, since 0.1.0 also of the Recordings menu. All of them are feature extended copies of VDR's original menus.

WARNING: Version 0.1.x is a development release. The core functionality should be fine, but some of the new features are either incomplete or not very well tested. In particular I didn't check how renaming recordings on a VDR with multiple video directories works. Beware! You might loose your data.

Remotetimers requires plugin svdrpservice.

Additional features:

  • Multiuser support: An individual user ID can be assigned to each timer. Since 0.1.0 multiple user IDs for timers and recordings are possible
  • Edit recordings menu allows you to rename recordings and change priority or lifetime (since 0.1.0)
  • Server-side cutting of recordings (since 0.1.0)
  • Patch for redirecting instant recordings to the server (since 0.1.0)
  • Show available disk space of the actual filesystem for recording subdirectories on different mounts (since 0.1.2)
  • Progress bars in the "What's on now?" menu (since 0.1.0)
  • Swap key bindings of "Ok" and "Blue" in "What's on" menus (since 0.1.1)
  • Show size and length of recording in "Edit recording" and "Recording info" menus (since 0.1.2)
  • Automatic update of recordings list when server's recordings are mounted as a subdirectory of the local video directory (since 0.1.0) or when local video directory is mounted/unmounted (since 0.1.1)
  • Backport of VDR 1.7.12's folders.conf for easy subdirectory selection in "Edit timer" and "Edit recording" menus (since 0.1.3)
  • Support for MainMenuHooks patch. The VDR mainmenus can be replaced by remotetimers' counterparts

Plugin remoteosd.
remoteosd > README > HISTORY
2009-10-07 > vdr-remoteosd-0.1.0.tgz

Allows your (client) VDR to operate the menu of a remote (server) VDR. You can e.g. edit timers and channels, run commands from the commands menu or change the setup of the remote VDR. Especially if you are running a headless streaming server somewhere in the cellar, this plugin comes in handy.

Requirements local (client) VDR:

  • plugin remoteosd
  • plugin svdrpservice

Requirements remote (server) VDR:
  • plugin svdrposd (or it's successor svdrpext)
So you will need to download all three plugins and install them in the right place!


  • Plugin asks for confirmation if remote menu is already in use
  • To make it easier to distingues the local and the remote menu, the server IP is prepended to every remote menu title and message. In the plugin setup you can even select a different color theme for the remote menu
  • Support for MainMenuHooks patch. You can replace the local "Schedule" and "Timers" menu by the corresponding remote menu. Please apply remoteosd-readconfig.diff if you want to use this feature. Otherwise the setting will be lost every time you restart VDR.
  • OSD menu pops up on the server. There's no concurrent access
  • Limitations of VDR status interface apply (e.g. no event title/subtitle). Just text, no graphics (like e.g. femon output)

Plugin svdrposd (formerly svdrpext).
svdrposd > README > HISTORY
2006-06-06 > vdr-svdrposd-0.1.0.tgz

Publishes the OSD menu via SVDRP. Server-side counterpart of remoteosd.

Plugin epgsync.

epgsync > README > HISTORY
2009-02-10 > vdr-epgsync-0.0.3.tgz

Imports the EPG of an other VDR. It is implemented as a separate thread and you can select either a quick but resource consuming or a slow operation mode. The later allows you to share the SVDRP connection with other local plugins, so you can e.g. still use the remoteosd plugin while syncing.

Since epgsync-0.0.3 it is possible to limit the import to a specific channel type (DVB-C/S/T, analog) and to lookup channels by name instead of ID. You could e.g. copy the EPG of DVB channels to their analog counterparts.

You have to install plugin svdrpservice >= 0.0.2 along with epgsync.

Femon SVDRP extension.

Running a headless streaming server and worried about how to monitor the signal quality? Since 1.1.0 femon is able to retrieve the frontend status remotely via SVDRP. You can download the plugin at > http://www.saunalahti.fi/~rahrenbe/vdr/femon/.

Simply install the new femon on both, client and server. On the client you will also need the svdrpservice plugin >= 0.0.2. Finally enable the SVDRP feature in the femon setup on the client. It's a good idea to install the dummydevice plugin >= 1.0.1 on the server, unless you have some output device attached.

Thanks to Rolf Ahrenberg for integrating my patches into femon. Keep on with the great work!

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About Hugo Repetto

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that offers an operating system predominantly focused on desktop computers but also provides support for servers. Based on Debian GNU / Linux, Ubuntu focuses on ease of use, freedom in usage restriction, regular releases (every 6 months) and ease of installation.
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