GATOS Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Revised: Fri Oct 20 01:41:37 2000

Table of Contents

1. General
2. Getting Started
3. Using xatitv
4. Trouble Shooting xatitv
5. Trouble Shooting ati_xv
6. Credits

1. General

1.1. What is GATOS?
GATOS (the General ATI TV and Overlay Software) is an effort to create standard drivers for all currently unsupported features of ATI video cards, specifically TV features.

1.2. What cards are supported by the GATOS xatitv program?
The GATOS xatitv program is intended to support ATI cards in the Rage, Rage Pro, and Rage 128 line. These cards use Brooktree/Conexant chipsets. xatitv does not support Rage 128 Pro based cards, which use ATI's Rage Theatre chipset. Please note that this means that the 16 MB version of the ATI All-in-Wonder 128 is supported in xatitv, but the ATI All-in-Wonder 128 32 MB card, which uses the Rage Theatre, is not supported in xatitv (see next question).

1.3. What cards are supported by the GATOS ati_xv XFree86 Xvideo extension?
The ati_xv extension is intended to support cards with the ATI Rage Theatre chipset and some cards with the Brooktree Bt829 chipset. This currently includes ATI Rage 128 and Rage Pro line of cards.

1.4. Is my ATI TV-Wonder card supported? Will it be?
No. The TV-Wonder PCI cards are based on completely different hardware than the rest of the ATI cards. It is based on the bt878 chip and while GATOS won't support it, it looks like bttv does. If anyone gets it working with the bttv driver, please contact livid-gatos.

1.5. What is gatitv?
gatitv is a port of xatitv to GTK by Gustavo J. A. M. Carneiro.

1.6. What other programs do I need to use ati_xv?
You will need to be running XFree86 4.0.1 to use the ati_xv Xvideo extension. You will also need a program that will provide a user interface and controls ati_xv. Xawtv is used by GATOS developers and is recommended. Follow xawtv's instructions on configuring XFree86 and xawtv to use the Xvideo extension. Some users are experimenting with xine, oms, and other programs.

1.7. Will GATOS support the DVD playback features features of my video card?
ATI hardware does not directly support decoding of MPEG-2 encoded video used in DVDs. However, it does provide some features which help decrease the CPU load of a mostly-software MPEG-2 decoder (i.e., a DVD player). The ati_xv exposes an interface to YUV->RGB conversion in hardware that other programs can take use. ATI Rage Pro and Rage 128 based cards also support motion compensation and the Rage 128 provides hardware iDCT (inverse discrete cosine transform) support. These features can have a big effect on CPU utilization. However, at this time, information on this feature has not been supplied to GATOS developers, and no support is planned. Some Rage 128 users have found success with Loki Software's SMPEG, for which hardware acceleration is supposedly in development.

1.8. Is TV-Out supported?
No, TV-Out is not supported at this time, mostly due to a lack of documentation. Some users have reported success in using frame buffer support to turn on TV-Out. Someone has contributed a set of instructions on setting up the frame buffer, and Fabio Giovagnini has reported success using VGA=781,784 (the values making resolution 640x480@depth=16 or 800x600@depth=16). The most important thing appears to be using a refresh rate of 60 Hz.

1.9. What video standards other than NTSC are supported?
The GATOS xatitv program supports NTSC and PAL standards. The GATOS ati_xv Xvideo extension supports NTSC and has recently gained PAL support, too.

1.10. Is there a mailing list for discussion about GATOS?
There are two different mailing lists. livid-ati is a mailing list for user discussion about ATI related hardware and video. livid-gatos is for discussion with/between GATOS developers. You can subscribe to both mailing lists at Thanks go to LiViD for hosting the mailing lists.

2. Getting Started

2.1. Where can I get GATOS?
GATOS is available at the GATOS Homepage.

2.2. How do I install/setup xatitv?
xatitv installation and setup instructions are in the INSTALL file in the GATOS distribution.

2.3. How do I get ati_xv?
ati_xv is currently only available in the GATOS CVS branch. Getting it set up is obviously not for the novice user.

2.4. How do I access GATOS CVS?
Instructions are available at

2.5. How do I compile ati_xv?
Note that the GATOS CVS usually contains a precompiled module, eliminating the need to compile. However, if you decide to compile ati_xv, you'll need to download and unpack the XFree86 4.0.1 source (which can be quick large), available from XFree86 as X401src-1.tgz. The ati_xv code can reside anywhere; there is no need to unpack it into the XFree86 tree. However, the Makefile contains paths for include directories within the XFree86 source tree. You can either modify TOP in the Makefile to point to the correct directory, or rebuild the makefile(s) from the Imakefile(s). Go to your ati_xv/r128 or ati_xv/m64 driver directory and type: xmkmf <path to xfree86 tree>. For example, xmkmf /vol1/xfree86/xc. This generates a new Makefile, and you can then compile normally with make all.

3. Using xatitv

3.1. How do I use xatitv?
xatitv usage instructions are in the README file in the GATOS distribution.

3.2. How can I hide the interface in xatitv so I can see the whole picture?
Hit TAB, or right-click on the video area. You can also set the autohide timeout in setup.

3.3. Why does the GUI keep randomly disappearing?
Look in the setup dialog for the "autohide" setting. It is probably on and the GUI is simply autohiding after a certain period of inactivity. If you don't want this, disable it in setup.

4. Trouble Shooting xatitv

4.1. When I use xatitv, my mouse cursor gets messed up, why?
This is because the required video memory has not been reserved. You need the "gatos.conf" file (in /etc usually) to have the correct "buffermem" setting (600 for NTSC/PAL-M or 864 for PAL). The XF86Config should have the SAME amount reserved from the base amount of memory on the card. See the INSTALL, gatos.conf.sample and XF86Config.sample files for more details. Alternatively, this can all be setup with a GUI using the "gatos-conf" program. Make sure you restart your X server after you make any changes to the XF86Config file for them to take effect.

4.2. The volume control doesn't work, why?
Try setting the volume of the slider very high, then going into the setup dialog and selecting each mixer in turn on the list at the right. If that doesn't work, or if there is no mixer list on the right, make sure your soundcard is properly setup in Linux. Also see the next question.

4.3. The mixer menu disappeared, where'd it go?
This is usually caused by sound driver bugs. Try removing the "AudioType=" line from the ~/.gatosrc file before running xatitv.

4.4. My TV picture is green-tinted or has green static, why?
Go into setup and lower the value of the "overclock" setting until it looks ok again. Then let us know what card you have and what you had to set it to.

4.5. When I change capture size, the TV picture gets blurry, why?
This is how it is supposed to work. Changing capture size changes the size of the buffer used by the card to display the video. If you reduce its resolution, it has to do more smoothing, thus the blurriness.

4.6. Why does gatos-conf still ask for the Video Ram even when I select autodetect?
Gatos can autodetect the amount of video RAM, but in order to reserve the memory in X, the total RAM still needs to be known.

4.7. Why does xatitv ask for the root password?
This is because it is trying to run gatos-conf. Gatos-conf must be run as root. If the configuration is found, it will not do this. You can manually run gatos-conf as root and set thing up first, then it won't ask for this. Or you can run xatitv as root the first time, then it won't need the password to run gatos-conf. It's generally not a good idea for a program to ask for the root password if it can be avoided. GATOS will use another solution in the next release.

4.8. Why does gatos-conf fail to run with a "connection refused" message?
If your machine is not configured to accept connections from localhost, programs run by another user (eg: root) will not work. Run "xhost +localhost" as the normal user before running an X program as root, and it should work.

4.9. GATOS exits with "xatitv: gatos_init(): No such device" Why?
Right now GATOS only runs on cards that have full TV-Tuner capability. The overlay and tv-in capabilities are not yet modularized enough to allow them to be used without a full-featured card. We are working on fixing this.

4.10. I have read this FAQ and still can't get it to work. What should I do?
Contact the livid-ati mailing list. See the "General" section for instructions. Make sure your reply address is correct. Include a dump of "xatitv -v" (if you managed to compile it) or the compiler output (if you didn't) and what version of gatos/ibtk and gcc you are using. Describe the problem and your system's hardware (especially the ATI card(s)) as thoroughly as possible.

5. Trouble Shooting ati_xv

5.1. I'm not getting any sound from xawtv. What can I do?
First, make sure that your hardware is properly setup. Secondly, ensure that the volume unmuted. Lastly, check your ~/.xawtv file for lines with "mixer=" and try deleting them. Also note that audio is currently supported with the TV tuner. Audio with composite video is currently not supported, and additional documentation may be needed before it can be.

5.2. I have read this FAQ and still can't get it to work. What should I do?
Contact the livid-ati mailing list. See the "General" section for instructions.

6. Credits

6.1. Who's the current GATOS maintainer?
GATOS is currently maintained by Insomnia (Stea Greene). However, it is recommended that you contact the appropriate mailing list with any questions you may have (after reading the FAQ, of course).

6.2. Who's the current maintainer of this FAQ?
Bob Bell currently maintains this FAQ and welcomes any suggestions you may have.

6.3. Who are the primary authors?
Řyvind Aabling, Daniel Caujolle-Bert, Vladimir Dergachev, Insomnia (Stea Greene), Christian Lupien, and Octavian PURDILA have all made significant contributions to the GATOS project.

6.4. Who else has contributed to GATOS?
Bob Bell, Bruce Forsberg, Chris Hardy, Victor Bogado da Silva Lins, Ken Dresser, Jan Ondrej, techt, hook, Rodrigo Ventura have all been helpful with the progress of the GATOS project.

Copyright (c) 2000 Bob Bell under the GNU Free Documentation License