Follow along with the discussions here: http://www.reddit.com/r/rtlsdr or find some of the useful software here: http://sdr.osmocom.org/trac/wiki/rtl-sdr
I picked up one of the compatible receivers from ali-express:
and will document here the steps I took to set it up with gnuradio on ubuntu 12.04.
There are a few things that I won't cover in this instructable, because they deserve an instructable of their own. These include:
1) using the Ubuntu command line (terminal)
2) cloning a git repository
3) building software from source on Ubuntu (especially with cmake)
If anyone has links to stellar, class A++ quality tutorials on any of these things, please add them to the comment and I will link them here.
Step 1: Install gnu-radio
1) use an install script
2) install from source
Don't ask me why, but I tried the second option (probably the harder). After a first attempt that failed, I went for the first (and recommended option) to much success! So... lesson learned. Note to self, follow advice of program developers when installing software.
My advice, use the install script.
Step 2: Install rtl-sdr tools
Again, rather than duplicating instructions, follow the steps outlined here to install the rtlsdr library & capture tool: git://git.osmocom.org/rtl-sdr.git
Although this page also mentions a gnu radio module (git://git.osmocom.org/gr-osmosdr) I was unable to get it to work. Instead, I installed:
as recommended from here: http://2h2o.tumblr.com/
the basic steps are:
git clone https://github.com/balint256/gr-baz
sudo make install
Now you should have all the necessary software to communicate with the DVB-T dongle using gnuradio.