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Linux on Laptops & Notebooks with Video Ports

The Linux status of the laptop models reported below, is changing and improving. Therefore, if a laptop is reported as "unsupported" you should give it a try. Why is this survey valuable though: To encourage people which want to buy a "working" stated machine (remember: no guarantees) and to collect technical information (what video ports are used) about different models. At ByteSex you may find neccessary drivers and tools.

Compatibility Check

There are different ways how to detect, which video port is used in your laptop:

  • from the official specs
  • from the output of lspci

Survey of Laptops with Video/TV-Out Ports

Manufacturer Model Linux Status Annotations Contributor/ Source
Apple Powerbook G3 - Lombard unknown SVIDEO out Bernhard Reiter <bernhard_at_intevation.de>
ACER Extensa 712TEV unknown none own research
Actebis Targa Premium 133C unknown NTSC own research
Apple/Macintosh 7x00/8x00 Power Macintoshes video input driver in beta test Video4Linux  [archived link] none Video4Linux  [archived link]
DELL Latitude CPt unknown SVIDEO (PAL/NTSC) out port and a ZV in port Jan Marius Evang <jmariuse_at_ifi.uio.no>
DELL Latitude CPt S500GT unknown "SVIDEO output, PAL and NTCS, ZV port, .. also comes with an adapter cable for CompositVideo output." Johan Winas <johan.winas_at_isg.se>
Hewlett-Packard Omnibook 7100 and 7150 S-Video output (NTSC or PAL) ZV port Dhananjay Joshi <dj_joshi_at_yahoo.com>
IBM Thinkpad 600X unknown ZV port own research
IBM Thinkpad A20P, A21P "I think it's a standard feature of the ATI Rage video chipset. Other current Thinkpads may have it too." S-Video in, out phr-2001_at_nightsong.com
Oki OkiBook D266 unknown NTSC/PAL Video Out "
These laptops are really AsusTek's P6300 powered up by Oki."
Miguel Armas <kuko_at_dis.ulpgc.es>
Olivetti Xtrema Series unknown Video in (ZV Port) own research
Panasonic CF-25 MK III unknown ZV port own research
Sharp MN-6350 unknown video I/O Trident Cyber 9385, with bt817 chip Carlos Collao V. <ccollao_at_accessnova.cl>
SONY VAIO PCG-808 unknown NTSC/PAL video port Chris McDonough  [archived link]
Toshiba Tecra 750CDT unknown none own research


If your laptop doesn't support a video port by itself you may try an according PCMCIA card, for instance the IBM Smart Capture video capture card. A driver is contributed by <oka_at_nanotsu.kobe-u.ac.jp> Koji Okamura . See also this README .


  • NTSC (North America Television Standard C.) - North America (and Japan at a different sub carrier) television standard. The oldest standard at 1954 (-525 line).
  • PAL (Phase Alternating Line) - European television standard. First used in the UK and Germany in 1967 (625 line).
  • SECAM (Système Électronique pour Couleur avec Mémoire) - Typical French politically-inspired system - a beast of a signal. Have also seen it referred to as: "Something Essentially Contrary to the American Method" "SEcond Colour Always Magenta!"
  • ZV (Zoomed Video) - A separate bus for high speed connection of video and audio data to the graphics and sound processor. Reduces CPU load by bypassing it.



dvgrab saves the video data from a digital video (DV) camcorder into an AVI file. It detects NTSC or PAL without command line options.


w3cam is a small and fast CGI program to retrieve images from a video4linux device. It supports PPM, PNG and JPEG as output format. You can select size, quality, input device (TV, S-Video, etc.) and more.


atitvout is a tool for enabling/disabling the TV out connector and switching of TV standards (PAL, NTSC, etc.) of ATI Rage graphics boards from within Linux on IA32. It is especially useful on ATI Rage Mobility boards, which boot up in NTSC mode by default and need to be switched to PAL for use with German TV sets. Radeon and Rage 128 are supported too, but your mileage may vary.

Linux Video Studio

Linux Video Studio is a GUI written in GTK to capture video from an external source through an MJPEG-compatible CODEC board: the Pinnacle DC10(+), the Iomega Buz, Matrox Marvel G200/G400/G-runner series, and Linux Media Labs 33. It can do simple frame-by-frame editing (add/delete/move/split scenes and scene trimming) on the recorded movies. The resulting movies can be played back to the output of the video-capture device or can be encoded into MPEG movies.

Digital Cameras

According to the DIGITALKAMERA-HOWTO (in German)" you may use the Composite Video Out for connections to digital cameras.

USB TV-Tuner

pvrusb is a Linux driver for the WinTV PVR USB (not the plain WinTV USB), a USB MPEG2 encoder with a TV tuner.

The USBvision project provides drivers for the WinTV USB from Hauppauge.

Adapters & Cables

Description Type Distributor
S-VHS cableMDINST4-MDINST4 segor electronics #02409
audio/video cable3xCIST-3xCIST rt,ws,ge segor electronics #31459
SCART-Cinch Adapter3xCINCH + SVHS Video/Audio + I/O switch segor electronics #2808

Other Resources


  • Jason France <jason_at_orb.cx>

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© Werner Heuser 1997-2015 · http://tuxmobil.org/video_linux.html · last change Wed Mar 21 2012