MHEG plugin for VDR
Here are some trivial patches to the "redbutton" MHEG display program which
convert it into a plugin for "VDR", a popular DVB viewing/recording
The purpose of this plugin is to view the "Redbutton" interactive data
service which is broadcast in the UK by the BBC. I believe that a similar
service exists in a few other countries, such as New Zealand.
This plugin is INCOMPLETE and EXPERIMENTAL. I am still developing the code,
so please don't download it and expect it to work straight away. I am doing
my development under Debian, with a DVB-S card and "Freesat", and using
the "xineliboutput" plugin for output. I don't guarantee that this code
will work in a different environment; in particular, it creates an OSD
display that occupies the whole screen, and I think that the hardware of a
"fully-featured" DVB-S card does not support this.
There are actually two plugins, named "mheg" and "redbutton".
The "mheg" plugin runs in the background and downloads the
data; the "redbutton" is responsible for displaying the
data on the OSD.
To build the VDR plugin for VDR 1.7.28:
Install the following prerequisite packages (these are the package names
in Debian Wheezy; they may be slightly different in other distributions):
Download the vdr source code (in Debian, it is sufficient to install
the vdr-dev package).
plugin source code. Unpack it in the PLUGINS/src directory of the
vdr source tree, and then just type "make".
In Debian with the vdr-dev package installed, it is sufficient to
make a PLUGINS/src directory anywhere, and unpack the source in it;
any missing vdr header files can be copied from wherever the vdr-dev
package put them.
Download and build the
plugin source code in the same way.
The code requires access to an X11 display in order to work. It does not
write anything to the display - all output is via the OSD - but the
code makes extensive use of X11 functions which need a display handle.
If you are running vdr as a daemon, you will need to give it permission to
access the display: I did this simply by running the command
"xhost +local:". If you are running vdr on a headless box, you will have
to install xvfb.
Tune to BBC1 and select the redbutton plugin from the main VDR menu.
You should see a icon in the corner of the screen, telling you
to press the red button.
I put the following line in keymacros.conf:
Red @redbutton Red
so that pressing the red button both selects the plugin and sends the
initial red button keypress.
To exit from the plugin, press the "stop" button.
Bugs and features
Sometimes the MHEG application wants to show the current video stream
in a small window. This doesn't work properly: instead of seeing the
whole picture compressed to fit into the window, you just see a
cutout portion of the whole picture.
The "Sports Multiscreen" option on the main menu works OK, and
I can switch between the various sports feeds; also pressing "red"
to go home works. But pressing yellow to go back causes a crash.
It's fairly easy to make the whole thing crash. I'm squashing bugs
as I find them.
All the redbutton download and browser code was written by Simon Kilvington
for his standalone MHEG browser, which is available from
All thanks, bouquets, bottles of wine and cheques for large amounts of money
should be sent directly to him.
All I have done is to convert the stand-alone programs into VDR plugins.
However, this makes me solely responsible for all the bugs in these
plugins, so please send all your brickbats, complaints and patches to
fix bugs to me: john (at) pond-weed.com