Accessing my working tvheadend server from OSMC on Pi Zero W

Hi everyone.

I have tvheadend 4.2.8-4 running on a server (Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS). A USB DVB-T dongle is connected to the server and I can connect to tvheadend via a web browser from a PC and select and view over 100 channels with excellent picture quality. I have also tested this by installing TVHClient and VLC Media Player on an Android tablet and can select and view channels live on that over WiFi. So that side of things seems to be working perfectly.

I have just installed OSMC 2018-12.1 on a Pi Zero W and it is running apparently OK. I wish to connect to the tvheadend server and watch live TV, recordings etc. on the Pi.

I have googled until I am blue in the face, skimmed through the WiKi, FAQ etc on the OSMC site. I found various sets of instructions but have been unable to follow any of them because they suggest selecting options that don’t appear on the OSMC menus I see.

I understand I need to install/enable a tvheadend or PVR client. Then configure the client with the IP, username, password etc for the tvheadend server. Various guides I have read suggest this should appear under “Ad on browser”. There are nearly 300 options there, but none of them fit the description. Nothing resembling “PVR Client” or “tvheadend client”. I also checked the App Store, and found tvheadend server (which is not what I need), but not the client.

As an experienced forum member on the Arduino forum, I know how annoying it is when new members don’t read the guides they should and don’t give all the information you need to help them. I am sincerely hoping I am not falling into that trap myself!

Can someone please guide me with steps i need to perform or the information I need to provide.

Many thanks!


Most PVR Clients are already installed on OSMC, just not enabled. The one you need is Tvheadend HTSP Client and it should be under:

My add-ons, PVR Clients

Thanks Tom.

Thanks Tom.

Thanks for responding, Tom!

Can’t find that option in the menus. Can you be really explicit please?

Here is what I tried:

Am I in completely the wrong menus?

Also found this:

Settings->Add-on browser->My add-ons->PVR clients->TVHeadend HTSP Client

It’s exactly as explained here

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Can’t find “My add ons”!

It goes to “Video add-ons”. Is it skipping a level in the menus, between “Settings” and “Video add-ons”?

Go up to the top and hit the .. choice to get back to the “My Add-Ons” base.

Kodi always jumps to the last selected sub-menu level, and the last place you were browsing was “Video add-ons”, so that’s why it went there.


Ah, thanks very much! That aspect of the menu system was unexpected. I must have navigated to “Video Add-ons” earlier while I was exploring, and it remembered. Have now connected to the tvheadend server.

Ok, on to the next problem.

When I select “switch to channel” I get a black screen and no audio. I’ll do some more research and come back to it tomorrow…

So, it sounds like I need to buy an mpeg2 licence. I now remember buying one many years ago for a different pi.

Please save me from disappointment (rather than the £2.40 cost, which I think I can scrape together). Is this a likely reason for the blank video? (Note: no audio either)

EDIT: no, there is audio and I’m an idiot. Was forgetting there is no way for the audio to get to my pc speakers through the DVI cable to the monitor! Connecting the pi to my big TV and surround av amp, the audio comes through ok.

Thanks again everyone.

That would depend on how it’s encoded in your country.

On this page it says

What technologies are being used for HD in the UK?
Two technologies are being introduced to terrestrial broadcasting for Freeview HD. The first is the H.264 - aka AVC, or MPEG 4 part 10 - video codec. This can be used for both HD and SD pictures, and is much more efficient than the MPEG 2 codec used by Freeview at the moment. H.264 is already used for satellite HD services, and for terrestrial HD in other countries.

My usb dvb-t dongle is an old model and can receive only SD, not hd, so that would imply all channels are mpeg2.

Can a UK forum member please confirm?


Not exactly. If your dongle is DVB-T compliant, you will be able to receive all channels broadcast in that standard (SD or HD, MPEG-2 or H.264). Unfortunately it looks like HD channels in UK are broadcast only in DVB-T2 standard, so you will not be able to tune them with a DVB-T-only tuner. You should go to the web interface of tvheadend and see which channels you can tune. If you select a service you can see also which codec is used (MPEG2 or H.264). For Live viewing on a Raspberry Pi of an MPEG2 channel you need to buy the codec if you want to use hardware acceleration decoding. Maybe you could try to disable hardware acceleration from OSMC/KODI setup menu, but I don’t remember if it would allow to see MPEG2 channels via software decoding.

SD channels in UK are DVB-T and MPEG2. I recall back in the day a Pi1 could not hack MPEG2 in software - I thought we got a picture, just grossly stuttering. Shell out the £2.40 and you should be good to go.

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Thanks all. Will purchase the licence and keep you updated.

I was aware that my dongle would not be capable of receiving HD/DVB-T2. If this prototype project turns out well and useful, I will invest in a T2 dongle and maybe also a pi3B+ for running osmc.

Was considering MiGica T230 or August T210. Since the server running tvheadend is a 2U size, I could also consider a low profile pcie card, but they seem quite expensive by comparison. They do seem to offer at least 2 tuners. I can’t imagine needing more than 2 tuners.

I do have a pi1B I could also try. Slower, but has ethernet, so not reliant on WiFi. With a choice between pi1B and pi0W, which would forum members recommend?

If you are like me and can only get one HD mux, one HD tuner and your existing tuner will be enough.

I have the August in daily use for 4 years - 2 years with a Pi2B and 2 years with a Vero4k. Also an OSMC stick which works just as well and of course is supported in here. The Pi1B will need another £2.40 spending on it of course. I’ve never had a Zero so can’t compare.

Thanks again for the advice. Mpeg2 licence installed and I am now getting video (and sound).

As I feared, the WiFi signals from both of my routers are too weak at the location I want to use the pi, causing pauses and stuttering. So I will try the Pi1B on ethernet now. Another licence to buy, as I have long since lost the licence I bought for that pi, years ago.

Later Pis store the licence in firmware. Perhaps not on the Pi1.

Digging though my old email archives, I managed to find the mpeg2 licence for my pi1B. It is now running osmc and installed under my large TV. So far, looks great, no stuttering or freezing during live TV streaing.

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