Watching DVB-T TV and Using SDR Mode at the same time with two RTL-SDRs

Normally if you want to use the RTL-SDR as an SDR on Linux you install the SDR drivers, and blacklist the Kernel's built in DVB-T drivers to prevent them from taking over the RTL-SDR. Once blacklisted, no RTL-SDR plugged into that system can be used for DVB-T watching unless the blacklist is removed. But if the blacklist is removed, SDR mode cannot be used. So it's impossible to use one RTL-SDR as an SDR, and one for DVB-T TV at the same time.

However now, Hayati A. has submitted news about his RTL-SDR driver patch which allows you to run SDR mode and DVB-T TV mode at the same time with two RTL-SDR dongles.

The idea behind allowing two dongles to operate in separate modes is that one dongle needs to have the PID code stored in its EEPROM changed to a code which was recently registered by Hayati. The dongle with this PID code won't be recognized as a DVB-T device by Linux, and so can only be used for SDR. An dongle with the stock EEPROM can then be plugged in and used for DVB-T.

The patch has been accepted into the development branch of the librtlsdr drivers and the Readme notes read:

  • A special USB vendor/product id got reserved at : 0x1209/0x2832 
  • for such devices the linux kernel's DVB modules are not loaded automatically, thus can be used without blacklisting dvb_usb_rtl28xxu below /etc/modprobe.d/
  • this allows to use a second RTL dongle for use with DVB in parallel 
  • the IDs can be programmed with 'rtl_eeprom -n' or 'rtl_eeprom -g realtek_sdr'

Note that the DVB-T drivers in Linux should not be blacklisted if you are doing this. Also some cheaper RTL-SDR models don't come an EEPROM, and those models can not do this.

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I am a bit confused.

Will new Rtl-sdr radio dongles come programmed with a IDENTIFYING number that will cause the LATEST LINUX SDR software to load instead of Digital Television software?

For older dongles how will we program them with this identifier number?


How do we program the Rtl-sdr if we do want to run both digital TV and SDR software?