TBS Linux USB Receiver

The TBS 5927 and TBS 5520SE devices are USB-based DVB-S2 receivers. They receive the satellite signal fed via a coaxial interface and output data to the host over USB. They are also configured directly over USB, and the host is responsible for setting such configurations using specific Linux tools.

The instructions that follow prepare the host for driving the TBS receiver.

Table of Contents

Hardware Connections

The TBS 5927/5520SE should be connected as follows:

TBS5927 connections

  • Connect the LNB directly to “LNB IN” interface of the TBS 5927/5520SE using a coaxial cable (an RG6 cable is recommended).
  • Connect the TBS’s USB2.0 interface to your computer.
  • Power up the TBS device. For the TBS 5927 model, connect the 12V DC power supply. For the TBS 5520SE, connect both male connectors of the dual-male USB Y cable to your host.

TBS Drivers

Next, you will need to install specific device drivers to use the TBS 5927 or 5520SE receivers. These are installed by rebuilding and rewriting the Linux Media drivers. Hence, if you are not setting up a dedicated machine to host the TBS receiver, it would be safer and recommended to use a virtual machine (VM) as the receiver host so that the drivers can be installed directly on the VM instead of your main machine.

To install the drivers, run the following command:

blocksat-cli deps tbs-drivers

Once the script completes the installation, reboot the virtual machine.

Setup Configuration Helper

Some configurations depend on your specific setup. To obtain detailed instructions, please run the configuration helper and the instructions menu as follows:

blocksat-cli cfg
blocksat-cli instructions

Software Requirements

Now, install all software pre-requisites (in the virtual machine) by running:

blocksat-cli deps install

Note: this command supports the apt, dnf and yum package managers. For other package managers, refer to the manual installation instructions and adapt package names accordingly.

Configure the Host

Next, you need to create and configure a network interface to output the IP traffic received via the TBS 5927/5520SE unit. You can do so by running the following command:

blocksat-cli usb config

If you would like to review the changes before applying them, first run the command in dry-run mode:

blocksat-cli usb config --dry-run

Note this command will define an arbitrary IP address to the interface. If you would like to set a specific IP address instead, for example, to avoid address conflicts, use the command-line argument --ip.

Furthermore, note that this configuration is not persistent across reboots. After a reboot, you need to run blocksat-cli usb config again.


Finally, start the receiver by running:

blocksat-cli usb launch

Next Steps

At this point, if your antenna is already correctly pointed, you should be able to start receiving data on Bitcoin Satellite. Please follow the instructions for Bitcoin Satellite configuration. If your antenna is not pointed yet, refer to the antenna alignment guide.

Further Information


A Docker image is available for running the Linux USB receiver host on a container. Please refer to the instructions in the Docker guide.

Useful Resources

Install Binary Packages Manually

The following instructions are an alternative to the automatic installation via the CLI (with command blocksat-cli deps install).

On Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt apt update
sudo apt install python3 iproute2 iptables dvb-apps dvb-tools

On Fedora:

sudo dnf update
sudo dnf install python3 iproute iptables dvb-apps v4l-utils

On Fedora, package dvb-apps is not available via the main dnf repository. In this case, you can install it from our repository by running:

sudo dnf copr enable blockstream/satellite
sudo dnf install dvb-apps

If command dnf copr enable is not available in your system, install package dnf-plugins-core.

Building dvb-apps from Source

Alternatively, you can build dvb-apps from source by running the following commands:

git clone https://github.com/Blockstream/dvb-apps
cd dvb-apps
sudo make install

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