From MEPIS Documentation Wiki
Watching television on a PC requires a good recent hardware configuration with sufficient processor speed and memory, software to process the signal for display and an adapter card that works with Linux. A number of programs are available and are listed below; which one works for a given tuner card is VERY DEPENDENT on which native driver(s) your card uses. The later Mepis kernels provide a fair number of drivers, but firmware for your device may need to be added to the /lib/firmware folder. You can review the output of dmesg to see if your hardware was recognized and if error messages indicate missing firmware.
This MPlayer-based media player has DVB functionality built in - if your DVB card is correctly detected and kernel drivers or modules are present and loaded, DVB signals should be received and all available channels listed. You can also manually configure your DVB card for KMPlayer by editing the ~/.kde/share/apps/kmplayer/tv.xml file.
A good alternative application is Kaffeine, which is available for install via Synaptic from Debian. It has more advanced configuration capabilities (see the Kaffeine help files: help:/kaffeine/dvbwindow.html in Konqueror) and can read EPGs (electronic program guides) and record programs that you can schedule. Be warned - the resulting files can be huge!
Kaffeine can scan for available digital TV signals on its own, but its resulting list can't be used by other programs.
A Gnome based digital TV viewing and recording application, Me-TV can use the "scan" command line application provided by dvb-apps to scan for channels, then create a "channels.conf" file in ~/.me-tv. This file can also be used by MPlayer and VLC to tune digital TV.
Me-TV can also read EPG's embedded in the digital signal, and schedule programs for recording. The Xine engine is used for the digital TV display. Me-TV is available for installation from the Debian Lenny repository.
The Swiss Army knife of multimedia applications, VLC can also be used to watch digital TV. Just have it open a "channels.conf" file created by Me-TV or independently by the scan command, and the list of available channels will appear as a playlist.
MythTV Setup is popular and well-supported software collection currently being used on Linux platforms that "provides the functions commonly known as a PVR or DVR (personal, or digital, video recorder) — essentially, it's a computerized DVR, similar to a TiVo or a ReplayTV.
TvTime or Xawtv are options to view TV on a computer with a TV tuner card, such as the Hauppage line of video cards. If connected to a cable line, cable channels in your area can be viewed. Configuration is relatively easy, NTSC rather than PAL for US use. Software configurations allow for channel scanning to set the channel inputs, as well as other configuration choices you might expect for brightness, contrast, color balance.
TvTime and Xawtv are available in the Debian Etch and Lenny repositories.