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I've set up a Pinnacle TV tuner card in an Ubuntu 10.04 box, but I'm getting very weird behavior surrounding the audio that I can't figure out. I know the solution is somewhere in oss, ALSA, pulse or something along those lines but I just can't find a resource which really fully explains how audio in Ubuntu works, let alone how to control it.

So, if I open up a VLC instance and start a playback for /dev/video0 : /dev/dsp the audio will playback over the speakers just fine, but if I record those same settings I just get ocean whooshing sounds, no real audio. From multiple tests I've found out that it's completly irrelevant what I select in the audio box, the sound will always play, but nothing will record. There is almost always a message stating that the MRL /dev/dsp or hw:0,0 or whatever I'm attempting could not be found. But, what baffles me is the audio is playing over my speakers, so we're getting the data... somewhere.

Setup - Pinnacle TV tuner (brook tree bt878), connected via 3.5mm externally from card to line-in jack of on-board sound card.

Any idea what could be causing the problem? From surfing around the inet it seems most people have the reverse problem (records but doesn't play locally). In addition what is the difference between /dev/dsp, /dev/dsp1, /dev/audio, /dev/audio1, /dev/mixer hw:0,0 - hw3,3 ... they all seem exist.

If it's at all useful here is a dump of my arecord -l

**** List of CAPTURE Hardware Devices ****
card 0: ICH5 [Intel ICH5], device 0: Intel ICH [Intel ICH5]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: ICH5 [Intel ICH5], device 1: Intel ICH - MIC ADC [Intel ICH5 - MIC ADC]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: ICH5 [Intel ICH5], device 2: Intel ICH - MIC2 ADC [Intel ICH5 - MIC2 ADC]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: ICH5 [Intel ICH5], device 3: Intel ICH - ADC2 [Intel ICH5 - ADC2]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 2: Bt878 [Brooktree Bt878], device 0: Bt87x Digital [Bt87x Digital]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 2: Bt878 [Brooktree Bt878], device 1: Bt87x Analog [Bt87x Analog]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
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