You can install everything that is required via PPA's (personal package archives) which provide pre-built packages for the items we need
You can get up and running with VDR and XBMC in around 30 minutes (assuming you have a TV Tuner that is natively supported in Linux) - you need to check this yourself, a basic way would be to type 'ls /dev/dvb' and see if the number of adapters listed matches what you physically have in the machine.
So I will make the assumption that you currently have an install of Ubuntu Maverick in either full or minimal form, with working graphics and TV tuner drivers...
The Main Install
Lets start by adding the PPA sources to the system, to do this run the following at your terminal;
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alexandr-surkov/vdr-maverick
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lars-opdenkamp/xbmc-pvr
We should now be in a state where we can update apt to include package from our new sources, to do this run;
sudo apt-get update
As long as you receive no errors when running that command you can go ahead and install VDR and XBMC - **NOTE: If you already have any form of VDR/XBMC already installed it will get replaced if you run the next command**
sudo apt-get install vdr vdr-plugin-vnsiserver xbmc
Press 'Y' to download and install the packages, this will probably take a little while depending on your internet connection.
Scanning For Channels
You need to provide VDR with a channels.conf which contains a scan of your available channels.
To do this you have several options depending on your setup.
Predefined channel lists
You can find pre-scanned channels.conf files for various satellites here (thanks to decaturguy for the links);
Scan your own
You can scan your own channel lists by doing the following;
Note that the '-a 0' argument is your adapter so if you have more than one card increase this to scan using another card.
sudo /etc/init.d/vdr stop
sudo apt-get install dvb-apps
scan -o vdr -a 0 /usr/share/dvb/dvb-s/Astra-28.2E > /etc/vdr/channels.conf
scan -x 0 -o vdr -a 0 /usr/share/dvb/dvb-t/uk-RidgeHill > /etc/vdr/channels.conf
Adjust the scan templates to suit your satellite / DVB-T transmitter - You can find these at /usr/share/doc/dvb-utils/examples
Ommit the '-x 0' argument to retrieve pay and free channels (-x 0 will only get FTA channels)
Once you have your channel list saved in to '/etc/vdr/channels.conf' you need to restart VDR - do this by typing the following at a terminal.
sudo /etc/init.d/vdr start
Ensure that when VDR restarts it loads the vnsi extension - you should see this on the screen after you issue the above command.
Now you need to allow access to VDR via the network, this is done by editing the plugin.vnsiserver.config file and entering the IP's or IP range of your clients;
sudo nano /etc/vdr/plugins/plugin.vnsiserver.conf
Now add your client IP's or enter a range such as 192.168.1.0/24 - note lines starting with hashes are ignored so remove this if you want a line included.
Now press Ctrl + X and press Y to save the file, issue a stop then start to VDR using the command above.
Now open up XBMC and enable the VDR addon within the settings menu, hit configure and enter the IP of the vdr server.
Then go back to settings and enter the TV section and hit 'enable'
If you are using Freesat I would highly recommend using the excellent Extended EPG plugin which is available at Hepi's PPA - this will provide you with full EPG (ie. days) instead of just Now & Next.
To install this type;
sudo apt-get install vdr-plugin-eepg
sudo /etc/init.d/vdr restart
I recommend editing the setup.conf in /etc/vdr and setting 'minuseractivity' to 0 otherwise you will find your server keeps shutting down when TV is not active
Also, if you don't want your channel list messed with by auto scans then change 'UpdateChannels' to 0 aswell.
If you run into issues then check the config files within /etc/vdr and /etc/vdr/plugins - If you are using a seperate client machine then you need to allow access to your network or a specific IP in these files.. by default only the local machine is allowed access.