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HDTV working using GadgetGeek USB tuner and BlazeDTV

In a follow up to my earlier post on HDTV, I’m pleased to report that HDTV is now working. My previous attempts to get this working resulted in the conclusion that my antenna was, politely, end of life (or in other words a heap of rubbish). So, I popped in to see the guys at Hi Gain Antennas, and brought some photos with me.

They confirmed my suspicions – the antenna was old, unable to pick up the frequency range required to receive digital broadcast signal, and was positioned too low to be effective (my house in on the downside of a hill). So, a new setup was installed which has two antennas (so that the signals can be combined to get good signal strength), which is positioned higher on the roof and affixed with guidewires. This goes into an amplifier which further boosts the signal.

Part two of the installation involved re-cabling the existing TV points with shielded coaxial cable. The old cable was not shielded, and is subject to electrical interference. While the blokes were there, I also got them add another point in my bedroom. They also provided some fly leads for me which was a great bonus.

To get HDTV working on the computer, I needed a HDTV tuner. Because my computer is a laptop (and let’s face it, laptops are going to outsell desktop models very shortly), I didn’t want to put in a tuner card. The alternative is a USB HDTV tuner, and I was able to get a Gadget Geek USB DTV model from Dick Smith for under $100 which is quite reasonable. Allegedly the USB models are not as fast at processing as the cards, but so far so good – and I only really got it to prove whether or not I could get HDTV on the computer anyway.

This comes with Blaze HDTV software to allow you to record your programs. I set Blaze to scan for channels – and voila! All the digital channels available came through – and now I have HDTV on my computer 🙂

My Linux platform (Fedora 9) doesn’t recognise the USB HDTV tuner, so I can’t run MythTV as planned – but I suppose now I have at least one reason to boot into Windows 🙂


  1. Paul
    Paul Tue June 23, 2009

    Hi Kathy

    Have just purchased Gadget Geek with Blaze HD TV but after installation it keeps telling me Windows has found a problem and will close the program etc. Could you help me out ?

  2. KathyReid
    KathyReid Tue June 23, 2009

    Hi Paul,
    A couple of quick questions; did it ever work at all after installation? Were you logged in as an admin to install the program? Have you tried uninstalling and reinstalling and does that make a difference? What version of Windows are you on?

  3. Paul
    Paul Wed June 24, 2009

    Hi Kathy
    It has never worked at all after installation and how would I go about logging in as an admin to install ? I have uninstalled and reinstalled several times to no effect. I’m on Vista Basic, do I need something better ?
    Regards, Paul.

  4. Walter
    Walter Fri September 18, 2009

    I think you may actually be able to use the Gadget Geek tuner under Linux. I’m considering of buying one myself, and found a forum thread that claimed the device uses the AF9015 chip – see for driver details.

  5. Walter
    Walter Sat September 19, 2009

    I ended up buying the Gadget Geek tuner, but it turns out that this model uses the ec168 chip. Unfortunately, it’s not as well supported as the AF9015, but you can get it working if you’re willing to install an experimental v4l release – see

  6. Aaron
    Aaron Thu December 16, 2010

    The gadget geeks drivers under linux are called ec168 its an ec3 chip. it takes a while to find, compile and install the modules plus there will most likely be a compile error which you have to search for in the source code but after that it works ok

  7. KathyReid
    KathyReid Thu December 16, 2010

    Thanks Aaron – appreciate the extra information. In the meantime I’ve bought myself an ASUS EeePC running Ubuntu 10.10. The Gadget Geek tuner is automatically detected under this OS – which makes me think the drivers are already installed.

    I’m using MeTV as my client under Ubuntu – and quite liking it.

    My next challenge is to see whether I can play HDTV under VLC Media Player – can’t seem to get the playlist in the right format!

  8. ssuuna.kenneth
    ssuuna.kenneth Mon April 4, 2011

    hi am ssuuna kenneth from uganda my brother bought for me a blaze hdtv usb gadget and i finished installing its drivers and i failed to get the frequency range and also filed to get the advanced settings and i want to use it on my computer desktop and a laptop but it has failed to scan channels help me and send me how i can configure it or change the settings so that i can watch ugandas tv staions. thanks hope to hear from you soon.

  9. Ver
    Ver Fri March 21, 2014

    Hi Guys.. May I ask if this can be use here in our country-Philippines.. though in selection of country…Philippines is not included in the list..but there is one option there “Universal”..Do you think this will work.. or just tell me if this gadget is exclusively working in Australia…

    Thanks.. and have a nice day! =)

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