Upgrade Your Old Apple TV with Crystal HD Decoder

Crystal HD Decoder Boards

Broadcom BCM970012 and BCM970015 Crystal HD card boards can be installed in the Apple TV’s mini-PCIe slot as a replacement for the Broadcom BCM4321 wireless card. These boards enable OpenELEC to decode H.264 video content using a dedicated hardware decoder chip instead of software decoding H.264 using the main system CPU. The standard Apple TV box will handle software-decoding of SD and standard profile 720p content but the 1GHz CPU chokes on higher profile 720p and all 1080p content unless you spend many (many) hours painstakingly re-encoding videos with tools like Handbrake. Even then the CPU is typically running at 90-100% during playback and you can expect dropped frames and stuttering during fast panning shots. With a BCM970015 Crystal HD decoder card installed and decoding offloaded from the system CPU the Apple TV is capable of playing all but the most challenging of 1080p content with the system CPU load peaking around 45-50%.

The older spec full-height BCM970012 or BCM970015 boards can be bought on BuyDVB for $19.99 or $34.99. The BCM970015 supports more H.264 modes and is more efficient at decoding than the older BCM970012 card but both types mechanically fit in the Apple TV’s full-height mini-PCIe slot .the BMC970015 is half-height but is usually shipped with a full-height adapter). In practice there isn’t a significant difference in playback performance.

Gigabit USB Networking

The onboard Realtek 10/100 Ethernet chipset is theoretically capable of handling 1080p content but in reality unless you have a proper NAS system and you’re streaming content from NFS shares you’ll probably see the dreaded “buffering” on-screen frequently with files >10GB in size. To improve things a USB gigabit NIC is a good (and reasonably cheap) investment. There is an element of “russian roulette” when buying from sites like eBay as very few USB adapters are advertised as being Linux compatible; only Windows and occasionally Mac OS X support will be mentioned. OpenELEC supports the ASIX 88178 chipset out of the box, and this chipset is used the vast majority of cheap USB adapters, but it cannot be guaranteed!

Wireless Networking

The internal Broadcom BCM970015 mini-PCIe HD decoder card supports 802.11b/g/n in 2.4GHz and 802.11n 5GHz networks. It is supported by the Linux bcm_sta driver which is included in the ATV image. The bcm_sta driver isn’t the best performing driver but since you won’t be playing content more challenging than standard profile 720p without a Crystal HD board any 802.11n network should work fine. If you’re connecting to an 802.11g network SD content should stream okay but you’re likely to experience problems with HD media that has larger file sizes as the bandwidth is rarely high enough and 802.11g networks often suffer when additional 802.11g devices (phones, laptops, etc.) connect to the same base station. If you’re using an 802.11b network you’ll be able to “scrape” for locally stored media but streaming from a NAS isn’t going to work. OpenELEC includes drivers and firmware for the main wireless chipsets from Realtek, Ralink, Atheros and most Broadcom devices so it’s also possible to install a Crystal HD b oard and still connect to the internet or a NAS box by using an external USB wireless card. If you are going to stream from a NAS it is highly recommended to get a dual-band card that can operate in the 5GHz range (with a 5GHz capable router) as 2.4GHz devices often have single antennae and don’t provide enough bandwidth for reliable streaming of HD content. The negative of 5GHz networking is that the wireless signal is easily blocked by walls so the Apple TV and wireless basestation probably need to be in the same room. If you can use Ethernet without animals or kids chewing the cable or your wife/girlfriend complaining it’s always going to be a better option.

Booting from USB vs HDD vs SSD

OpenELEC can be run from a USB key or USB hard drive if needed and many people start this way as it allows you to experiment without the leap of faith required to wipe the AppleTV OS and install to the internal drive. However, most USB keys aren’t so quick, particularly the smaller 1-4GB drives that people seem to find in a drawer for testing. If you are testing with a USB key it’s a good idea to disable XBMC fanart as this requires reading of large files frequently from the drive and enable “dirty region” encoding to reduce the idle CPU load. Without fanart and with dirty regions enabled the XBMC GUI is noticably “snappier” to use. USB hard drives offer greater capacity but are typically slower than a flash memory key.

Installing OpenELEC to the internal drive will bring a speed boost. USB 2.0 has a theoretical bandwidth of 480Mb/sec (60MB/sec) which is comparable to the performance of the original 40GB Fujitsu MHW2040AT 4200rpm drive. In reality many cheap USB flash drives run around 50% of the theoretical maximum making the internal 40GB and faster Samsung HM160JC 5400rpm 160GB drives a higher performance option.

Best performance comes from an SSD, and for Apple TV users who hoard content on a NAS box it’s an option worth considering as it’s increasingly easy to find older and lower capcity SATA SSDs and small IDE/SATA adapters cheaply on eBay. SSD’s will reduce boot times and make the XBMC GUI smoother to use. Equally if not more importantly, SSD’s also run cooler and an SSD equipped Apple TV is typically 55-60°C under normal use against 70-75°C in a standard HDD equiped box; still warm to the touch (as the Apple TV casing acts us the primary heatsink) but considerably cooler than it was before.

Related Articles:

1.What is HDTV Decoder?

2.Make your old Apple TV better than new

3. How to install XBMC on Ubuntu Server with Broadcom Crystal HD Decoder BCM70015

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Review: TBS5280 USB DVB-T2/T Dual Tuner TV Box

TBS, a professional PC TV card manufacturer, has released a new USB DVB T2 tuner box. This is a dual tuner USB TV box which is compatible with the advanced DVB T2 transmission technology being used for Freeview HD in UK, or Italy, Sweden and many other European countries. This DVB T2 USB TV box makes a feature of the Freeview HD support but also says ‘for standard DVB-T Freeview too. With USB slot, it is more friendly for laptop users.

The TBS5280 has with two terrestrial tuners available on board. That means you can record one channel while viewing another Freeview HD channel. The tuner also has a built in IR receiver for the supplied remote control.  There are rare choices for DVB T2 card, especially for USB slot. The price is US$116.99 , each tuner for $58.99. It might be a little expensive but acceptable. Here is a test in Window Media Center. It does work properly in0 Window Media Center and receive the Freeview channels in high definition without any clash.

Using TBS5280 USB DVB T2 Dual Tuner TV Box in Windows 7 Media Center

Honestly speaking I was more interested in how the TBS5280 device performed in Windows Media Center on my HTPC , rather than other DVB software’s. I decided to start by testing with Window Media Center on my Laptop. Firstly, install the Window drivers on PC. TBS has its own supplied CD which included the latest Window/Linux drivers. There is no problem in installing the drivers. The computer also immediately detected the new tuner and prompted for TV setup to be run. The normal tuner setup screens appeared was shown as a choice to install.

Tuning took a while to get started and was a bit slower in Media Center I choose one of the tuner A for testing its stability and reality. Another tuner B can be used to record . The HD channels showed up fine and once tuning had finished appeared in the guide complete with program data

Picture quality was excellent. Channel changing was quick and despite my low signal quality there was no sign of any break up. TBS5280 is obviously able to cope with fast moving images with no sign of it introducing any pixilation or additional jaggedness over that in the original transmission.

Working properly on DVBDream, TBSViewer

I also did a quick test with DVBviewer,Progdvb, media portable. The TBS5280 will also courtesy of its manufacturer’ wise decision to cater for Linux-appeal to those who hope to build an open source PVR around software like MyrhTV, VDR. As a result, The TBS5280 worked superbly. Its sensitivity was judged to be better than that of many DVB-T cards. Even the Crystal Palace HD channels, which will be carried with lower power until switchover (a couple of months, always at the time of writing) is complete, were received without glitches in our Lssex location. The two tuners yielded the kind of recording and viewing flexibility that is currently impossible with set top PVRs

Conclusion

Overall this seems to be a really good bit of technology. It works well and seems built well. I’m pleased to say that it worked really well in Window Media Center. Absolutely, it is one of the best USB DVB T2 cards you are worthy owning in the recent market.

Related Articles:

 Review: TBS6284 PCIE DVB T2 QUAD TUNER TV CARD

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How to Watch Cable TV on Computer/PC

With a personal computer by your side, you have access to several sources of entertainment – right from music to games. The lengthy list of activities that you can do on your computer has just got better with the inclusion of Cable TV-on-PC option. With the facility to watch cable TV on your computer, you can enjoy all your favorite TV shows which you were not able to see due to some or the other reason; and that too in real time.

Requirements

In order to watch cable television on your computer, you will require a  cable TV tuner card or a software, an updated computer and high speed Internet access. Another way, using broadband Internet will ensure that you get uninterrupted services, and enhance your cable TV experience.

How to Watch Cable TV on Computer?
Basically, there are two methods by which you can watch cable TV on PC- in the first, you can use simple hardware to gain access to the cable service, and in the second, you have to download particular software for the same. While the term ‘hardware’ here refers to the DVB-C Cable TV tuners, the term ‘software’ refers to programs which facilitate the use of computer to watch cable TV in real time. Such as DVBDream, MythTV, MediaPotable, ProgDVB and othe DVB software. As far as convenience is concerned, it is easy to execute both the methods by following some simple guidelines given in the user manual. Given below are the further details of each of these two methods.

Using Cable Tuner Card
If you intend to resort to a TV Tuner, which is slightly more convenient than the software downloading method, you will be able to buy one from the electronics store in your neighborhood or online store. Basically, there exist two types of TV tuners for PC - internal TV tuner (which comes in form of a PCI/PCIe card) and external TV tuner (which comes in form of a USB device.) While the TV tuner card (internal TV tuner) has to be plugged onto the motherboard of the computer, the external device can be plugged into the USB port. The TV tuners available today receive feed from cable service provider through the broadband network, and hence the picture quality is at par excellence even on the PC.

Both have their own pros and cons – while an internal TV card is relatively inexpensive and more stable, you are likely to have a tough time installing it on the motherboard. Similarly, the external device may be easy to connect, but the fact that it comes for some extra amount may make you give it a second thought. Depending on which of these two options you would prefer to go with, you will have to shell out something between US$50-$150. Brands like Hauppauge and TBS boast of some of  best usb tv tuner box, which are priced in the range of US$100-$150.

Downloading Software
If you are not keen on buying TV tuner, you can resort to software applications which facilitate live streaming of cable TV channels on the computer. This method will require a high-speed broadband connection, or else distorted picture quality and ruin your experience. You can inquire with your cable TV operator for the details of downloading the right software program for your PC. The entire process of downloading this software will take less than half an hour, and you will get access to thousands of TV channels on your computer or laptop. Though this method is not considered to be at par with TV tuners, the fact that it saves you the trouble of going through the technicalities of the hardware makes it ideal for some people.

With computers becoming an integral part of each and every American household, it isn’t surprising that we now have the option of watching the television on our desktops today. Once you have installed the TV tuner or downloaded the required software, you can just sit back and watch your favorite shows with no disturbance whatsoever. At the same time, you would also get added benefits of recording live TV shows or watching previously recorded shows on your computer.

Recommendation:

TBS6618 –It is a digital cable TV tuner card with PCI express slot for watching and recording digital cable TV on PC. With integrated CI slot, it can be used for watching clear QAM or encrypted Pay TV By inserting the correct CAM and subscription smartcard into the CI slot.

TBS5680-It is a digital cable TV Tuner external box with USB connection for watching and recording digital cable TV on PC. Built with Common Interface, This USB TV box allows insertion of CAM and smartcard for pay TV. It is a good choice for watching digital cable TV on laptop.

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How to Watch Euro 2012 Online Streaming

The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, aka Euro 2012, kicks off on Friday 8 June and runs until 1 July. Hosted by Poland and Ukraine, Euro 2012 is one of the most anticipated tournaments in this calendar year and is expected to attract an audience of 4.3 billion and a global television audience of 1.1 billion across 220 countries. How to watch the Euro 2012 live online streaming might be one of the most concerned issues for football fans. Now TBS cads will will be bringing the Euro 2012 live online stream of all the matches for its users. The football fever is just about to spread and if you are not able to catch a seat at home or are stuck at office than you can watch the Euro 2012 live online streaming. Now we show you how to watch Euro 2012 online live streaming on PC.

What you need:

l  PC/Desktop/Laptop

l   TBS TV Tuner Card( TBS6981/(DVB S2)TBS6284/TBS6280/(DVB T2)TBS6618(DVB-C) are recommended)

l  Valid TV License

Watch Euro 2012 online: Live Streaming

Provided you have a valid TV license, you can tune in live or catch up on-demand through your PC, laptop, iPad and iPhone. Please make sure what kinds of TV reception signals you are catching in your area. Then choose the right TV tuner cards from BuyDVB Store. TBS cards lets you watch and record live free-to-air /terrestrial/ cable television on your computer. To watch Euro 2012 on a Windows, or Linux PC, simply insert the TV tuner card into your computer or laptop and install the window/ Linux drivers. Most of the TBS TV tuner cards are compatible with Windows7 Media Center, MediaPortal, DVBlink, DVBDream, DVBViewer, ProgDVB, Skynet, TSreader, XBMC,MythTV,VDR and many other popular softwares. You can use one of them to run the TV programmers Different the online internet streaming, TBS card download all the data directly from satellite or terrestrial reception. All the football match of Euro 2012 will be in a high quality of sound and vision. If you are out of home, you can record all the games on PC and watch when you are available.

Why choose TBS TV Tuner Card to Watch Euro 2012 online Live Streaming

Choose TBS DVB S2/ DVB T2/DVB C cards allow you watch live TV or Sport event and download TV date with high speed. It has Real Time and Scheduled Program Recording (PVR) function. Time shifting to pauses live TV. you’ll no longer to pay any fee and no need worry about the internet speed if you watch online streaming sports from online website

We will add more Euro 2012 streaming links once the tournament gets underway. The opening match will be between co-host Poland who will play against Greece in Group A which also includes Russia and Czech Republic. You can see the full Euro 2012 tournament map here.(U(update June 19th,2012)

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Clone+ Home Edition SRF150 Client Card Splitter- Wireless Digital TV at Mulit Room

Are you still fretting with the high subscription fees of the digital Pay TV in your big family? It seems to be impossible to connect different TV receivers simultaneously in a house. Now the good news is that the Clone+ Home Edition 150 can help you solve the problem. Clone+ card is a high quality splitter compatible with all HD devices. This card sharing system shows the multiroom system performance – innovative service wireless signal separation (package) operators including Digits, Orange TP, Television on the Charter (TNC), viaccess, irtedo, Cryptoworks, such as SCT cards xxx, Free-X TV, theme, and many others. By paying only one subscription, digital pay-TV customers gain significant savings with a device called card splitter. It separates the signal (packet) satellite, cable or terrestrial set-top box so that all digital pay-TV channels can be seen up to 8 different television sets.

  Clone+ Home Edition SRF150 wirelessly splits Digital TV from one subscription’s card in the range of 150 m; all channels are available on even eight TV receivers. Now, each house member can enjoy all their favorite channels without any conflicts. On each TV receiver, different channels can be watched at the same time. More importantly, the latest Clone+ technology ensures comfortable TV watching even in the unfavorable conditions like thick walls, ceilings, insulated walls, etc.

How to Make Clone+ Wireless Card Splitter Work with Your Tuner?

If you are not sure how to make the Clone+ wireless card splitter work with your TV and HD tuner cards, you can follow the next steps. Generally speaking, the Clone+ works with all digital satellite tuners and CI modules which are MediaGuard compatible. Actually HD devices are no challenge to Clone+, which will work with them seamlessly.
Why Choose Clone+  Home Edition 150 Card Splitter?

* The comfort which Clone+ provides means you can independently and simultaneously watch channels on 8 TV receivers.
* Cost saving – you pay only one subscriber’s plan and you can watch all channels on even up to 8 TV receivers.
* Ease of installation and use Clone+ was designed to be easily operated
* Wireless operation – subscribed TV package is wirelessly supplied to TV receivers without cables.

Key features:

* Dedicated for: Cyfra+ (Poland), Digital+ / Astra / (Spain), Canal Digitaal (Holland), Can***** (France), Meo (Portugal),
* serving up to 8 active users,
* unauthorized access protection,
* works with all satellite tuners and CI modules which are MediaGuard compatible,
* extended LED indicators system,
* advanced Plug&Play technology,
* fast and reliable performance,
* software update via USB,
* easy and fast installation.

Hardware list that Clone+ was already checked with:

* Reality Cam
* Diablo Cam
* Aston v 1.05, v 2.x
* Matrix Reborn, Revolution, Reoladed
* Magic Cam
* Xcam , Xcam Premium
* Dragon v 4.0 / 4.1 Cam
* T-Rex Cam
* Zeta Cam ver.2A270X
* Icecrypt Cam
* Cyfra+ Cam
* Philips DSB 6010
* Philips DSB 3010
* Philips DSR 3201
* Mediasat Pioneer 1330, 1430, 1530, 1630, 1730
* Mediasat Kenwood DTF -1/2
* Mediasat Thomson TS3P, nowa wersja w malej obudowie
* Mediasat HDTV Phiilps
* Mediasat HDTV PVR Phiilps
* Ferguson AF 6018, AF 7018, AF 8018 (without Eurosport), DF 6000, DF 9000
* Ferguson AF 6318, AF 7318
* Ferguson HF 8800 HDTV, HF 8900 USB
* Ferguson FX 6600, FX 7600, 9600 USB
* Protek 9200, 9300
* Radix DT X9
* Globo 7000 CR, 7100CR, 7010CR and CX series
* Golden Interstar 770 XSpeed
* Golden Interstar 780 XSpeed
* Golden Interstar 870 XSpeed
* Dreambox 500, 5620, 7000, 7020, 7025
* Relook 200, 400
* Triple Dragon
* Mediasat Pace DSR 221
* Strong SRT 6860

Each Clone+ Home Edition 150 set comes with follow

* 1 Clone+ Master
* 2 Clone+ wireless client card´s
* 1 Power supply
* User manual
* CD

 

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Window Media Center Edition MCE Remote Control

Media Center Edition (MCE) remotes are designed to control PCs running Microsoft Windows with Windows Media Center. MCE remotes come with an external infrared receiver that connects to a PC via USB. Newer PCs may have the IR receiver integrated in the case.

Note: Originally there were two modules lirc_mceusb and lir_mceusb2. These were later merged into a single lirc_mceusb driver. More recently (2.6.35 kernel and lirc-0.8.7) the module was known as just mceusb. You need to adjust all the configuration examples below depending on exactly how the module is named.

MCE Remote

*IR transmit and receive are supported on all generations of mce transceivers, as of lirc-0.8.6.

*Some newer devices may require post lirc-0.8.6 cvs for full functionality

*Historically, there were separate 1st-gen and 2nd-gen drivers, lirc_mceusb and lirc_mceusb2. They were merged into a single lirc_mceusb driver as of lirc-0.8.6, which as noted above, supports transmit and receive on all devices.

MCE Keyboard

*Keyboard is supported as a USB HID device

*IR Receiver is supported

*IR Transmitter is supported with lirc_mod_mce > 0.1.3

MCE Remote alternative

* Based on the mod-mce project

* Version 1 & 2 Receivers supported as a USB HID device

* LIRC not required

You can click here Download kernel module source

Installation guides

Be sure your kernel has support for USB. Most default kernels will. You will only need the USB 1.1 driver (OHCI or UHCI) and USB 2.0 (EHCI) is not required. There is no kernel module specific for this device. Before continuing, be sure your device is recognized by your USB host controller:

# lsusb

Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0471:0815 Philips

Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

Windows Vista MCE Remote

The new version MCE remote control now responds with the following when you type lsusb:

# lsusb

Bus 002 Device 002: ID 0609:0334 SMK Manufacturing, Inc.

Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

This window vista remote requires an updated lirc_mceusb2 driver (newer than current lirc-0.8.2 released: 9-Jun-2007) Download just the updated driver (version 1.30 of the file and newer has support) from LIRC CVS or follow the instructions below for a complete CVS checkout.Use the default mceusb2 lircd.conf file and all of the remote’s keys work without modifying the example mceusb2 lircd.conf file.

Download a lirc CVS SnapShot

Generally the latest cvn snapshot from the official LIRC website should work fine. As of writing, the latest snapshot available is lirc-0.8.7pre1. Download and extract it either manually from the previous link or using the following code.

cd /usr/src

wget http://lirc.sourceforge.net/software/snapshots/lirc-0.8.7pre1.tar.bz2

bunzip2 lirc-0.8.7pre1.tar.bz2

tar -xvf lirc-0.8.7pre1.tar

cd lirc-0.8.7pre1

Users of the very latest linux kernels may find they have problems compiling or running code from the svn snapshot. If you have problems with the above install, or just want to run the latest and greatest lirc version, download the latest cvs lirc code using the following method. If that still doesn’t work, please report your issues to the lirc mailing list.

Downloading using CVS

  1. Make sure you have the cvs, autoconf, automake and libtool packages installed (rpm package manager users search for them and install their rpms).
  2. 2. Type the following on a command line and ignore what it says about not finding /root/…:

cvs -d:pserver:anonymous@lirc.cvs.sourceforge.net:/cvsroot/lirc login

3. Type the following: cvs -z8 -d:pserver:anonymous@lirc.cvs.sourceforge.net:/cvsroot/lirc co lirc

4. Type the following:cd lirc./autogen.sh

5. Continue with the following Install section, starting with “./setup.sh”.

You now have two choices, you can either run the Lirc Setup script and accept it installing itself where it wants to, or you can carry out a manual configure. Using the setup script is easier, but it means that the various binararies and configuration files aren’t placed in the normal Gentoo locations.To use the automated setup process:

./setup.sh

Menu Option # (1) – Driver Configuration (enter)

Menu Option # (8) – USB Devices (enter)

Menu Option # (o) – Windows Media Center Remotes (new version, Philips et al.) (enter)

Menu Option # (3) – Save your configuration and run configure (enter)

make install

Important.png Note: If bash returns ‘dialog not found’ when running ./setup.sh, install the dialog packageThis will also create a /etc/lircd.conf file which should work. If it complains about missing fedora source files use “yum install kernel-devel” and rerun ./setup.sh.

To perform the manual configuration:

./configure –prefix=/usr –sysconfdir=/etc/conf.d –with-x –with-driver=all

cp remotes/mceusb/lircd.conf.mceusb /etc/conf.d/lircd.conf

If you get errors during the compile, try to change the .configure step to be./configure –prefix=/usr –sysconfdir=/etc/conf.d –with-x –with-driver=mceusb2 instead of -with-driver=all. You should change mceusb2 to mceusb if you are using the old version of the remote.

If you get an error message that the “kernel source is required”, it actually means the kernel headers. On my system this Ubuntu package was linux-kernel-headers-2.9.12-9-386 to match the version returned by the uname -a command. Installing the right version of the headers to match your kernel version is esssential. You may also need to install the gcc compiler.Load the module and Start lircdTest it with the irw utility. irw will output the commands received by the IR receiver that match your lircd.conf file. So start irw, point your remote and start pressing buttons.

# irw

000000037ff07bfe 00 One mceusb

000000037ff07bfd 00 Two mceusb

000000037ff07bfd 01 Two mceusb

000000037ff07bf2 00 Home mceusb

000000037ff07bf2 01 Home mceusb

If everything works, then autoload lirc_mceusb2 when your computer loads (how to depends on your distro) and start lircd as well (also depends on your distro).One note, I’m running a late-model Gentoo and I have to load lircd with this option:

# lircd -d /dev/lirc/0

Otherwise it fails, as it defaults to /dev/lircd. You will also need to install an lircrc file (note no dot at the front of the filename in the ~/.mythtv directory so that when the frontend starts up it can see the mythtv configuration settings for your remote control buttons.

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VCM,ACM and CCM

Background

Variable Coding and Modulation (VCM) and Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) are techniques that are strongly associated with the DVB-S2 standard. VCM can be used to provide different levels of error protection to different components within the service. It does this by allowing different combinations of modulation and FEC rate to be applied to different parts of the data stream. ACM extends VCM by providing a feedback path from the receiver to the transmitter to allow the level of error protection to be varied dynamically in accordance with varying propagation conditions. Claims of performance improvements exceeding 100% have been made for ACM in terms of satellite capacity gain.

What is less well known is that the DVB-S2 VCM and ACM concepts can be applied to traditional Single Channel Per Carrier (SCPC) types of services and can offer similar benefits. This whitepaper gives an overview of how these concepts can be used outside of DVB-S2 satellite services.

DVB-S2 itself is offered by Paradise in SCPC modems and can be used in both SCPC and Multiple Channels Per Carrier (MCPC) modes. However, it is convenient to use a term that can be used to refer specifically to non DVB-S2 SCPC satellite services and the terms ‘SCPC’ and ‘traditional SCPC’ are used in this whitepaper for that purpose (even although traditional SCPC systems have themselves evolved to have an MCPC capability).

For the avoidance of doubt, the traditional SCPC services (i.e. all services offered by Paradise SCPC modems) that are being referred to include, but are not limited to the following: IBS and IDR framed satellite services, Closed Network services, Engineering Service Channel (ESC),Automatic Uplink Power Control (AUPC), Drop and Insert, TPC, Viterbi, Reed-Solomon, TCM, LDPC

(Including the low-latency variety), all traditional modulations (including 8QAM and 16QAM), multiplexing of data from multiple terrestrial interfaces onto a single carrier, MIL-STD-188-165A/B, etc. – all using a variety of terres- trial interface types including IP, EIA530, LVDS, G.703 and HSSI.

SCPC VCM

VCM can be used to extend traditional SCPC services in a similar manner to how it is used in DVB-S2. A quasi-error free quality target is set for each remote terminal as normal. The choice of modulation and FEC rate, which determines the strength of the error correction, will be determined by a number of factors including the position of the remote terminal within the satellite footprint.

The DVB-S2 concept of a frame can be applied to SCPC links along with all of the other DVB-S2 concepts including, but not limited to, mode adaptation, stream adaptation, baseband frames, mapping, pilots, dummy frames, scrambling, bit interleaving, constellation bit mapping, slots, generic continuous and generic packetized streams, stream synchronization, FEC frames and Physical Layer framing. When applied to traditional SCPC services, these DVB-S2 concepts perform similar functions and provide similar benefits to those documented for DVB-S2.

At its simplest, the user data (whether packetized or continuous) is put into baseband frames (possibly with padding), FEC information is added and then a Physical Layer (PL) header is prefixed prior to transmission to create the satellite frame for transmission.

The size of the baseband frames is dependent on the particular FEC scheme being used. For block based FECs such as LDPC and TPC, the baseband frame size is related to the block size of the FEC.Mode adaptation and stream adaptation deal with the issues of single and multiple stream inputs and merging and slicing of these streams into a sequence of satellite frames. A particular frame, PL header apart (see overleaf), is always transmitted in a homogeneous manner using a single modulation and FEC rate.

As with DVB-S2, particular information can be conveyed in the baseband header to help with decoding at the receiver, including:

Data format (packetized/continuous)

Single/multiple stream indicator

CCM/VCM/ACM indicator

Stream synchronisation information

Roll-off factor.

Also as with DVB-S2, particular information can be conveyed in the PL header to help with receiver synchronization and demodulation of the frame, including: Frame identification information Details of the FEC type, modulation and FEC rate used to encode the remainder of the frame Indication of the FEC frame length. All of the baseband and PL header fields can easily be extended to accommodate non-DVB-S2 pertinent data that is required for use of these techniques with traditional SCPC services (such as the use of alternative FECs to those specified in DVB-S2).

A key point is that the PL header is always transmitted using a particular robust modulation (BPSK is used in the DVB-S2 standard) and strong FEC rate. This helps the receiver lock onto the signal and it provides the information required to demodulate the remainder of the frame. When not receiving a signal, the receiver is automatically configured to detect any PL header, requiring just a centre frequency and symbol rate to have been set.

Note that the DVB-S2 concept of pilots (unmodulated symbols) can also be applied to make traditional SCPC services more robust.

SCPC ACM

ACM can be used to extend traditional SCPC services in a similar manner to how it is used in DVB-S2. The benefits include greater satellite throughput, reduced link Margins and higher service availability.SCPC ACM is applicable to both point-to-point and point- to-multipoint systems. In terms of a return channel, both a direct return channel over satellite and an indirect return channel via a terrestrial network can be used. Even over satellite, multiple separate SCPC return channels arePossible using receive-only modems at the hub, where the return information can be passed on to the transmit modem to allow it to optimize the strength of error correction for each stream as applicable to the channel conditions.

The concept of the DVB-S2 ACM command can equally be applied to traditional SCPC systems and for the same purpose. Signaling of reception quality via the return channel can be supported in SCPC systems, in particular continuous feedback of the carrier to noise plus interference ratio at the receiver along with other potential reception quality parameters (e.g. Eb/No, Modulation Error Rate (MER), Error Vector Magnitude (EVM) and suchlike).

SCPC ACM is particularly well suited for use in IP networks because mechanisms readily exist in terms of IP protocols such as Quality of Service provisioning, traffic shaping and TCP to feedback changes in data rate to the terrestrial network, allowing dynamic changes in satellite bandwidth due to varying reception conditions to be quickly reflected in the data stream to optimize use of the link.

In summary, the flexibility, robustness and efficiency of DVB-S2 VCM and ACM multistreaming features can now be used to extend traditional SCPC services, bringing the same benefits to all applications including cellular backhaul, ISP trucking and backbones, broadcast, teleports, government, military and SNG.

TBS6925

TBS6925 PCI express DVB S2 TV Tuner Card is a professional satellite PCTV tuner card. It is the first unique TV tuner card of supporting CCM, VCM, ACM mode and multiple Transport Stream receiving. With TBS6925, there are many unknown frequencies. It is the best TV tuner card for satellite hunter or enthusiasts.

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Review: TBS6984 PCI-E DVB S2 QUAD TUNER TV CARD

TBS has developed a unique TV card represents that easiest way of equipping a PC with no fewer than four DVB S2/S satellite tuners. The new TBS6984 quad tuner card was reviewed in the latest issue of What Satellite (a professional and authoritative satellite magazine from UK) and received a Silver award from review ranking! Thanks to Martin Pipe, the author of this review. We really appreciate your contribution and Professional evaluation. Now we would like to share this great review with you!

Preface

 Digital TV tuner cards facilitate the monitoring of TV or radio programmers on your computer desktop. They’ll also turn a computer into a PVR-bitstreams plucked out of the ether can, after all, just as easily be written to a file for future playback as passed to decoder software for live viewing. If your computer is networked, then other connected devices around the home, like multimedia players, Can access these files. With appropriate software and configuration they can be streamed to private locations across the internet too. Only now are commercial PVR manufactures like TiVo waking up to such flexible possibilities-those with tuner cards fitted to their PC’s have enjoyed their benefits for years.

The first TV tuner cards had only one tuner, this restricted you to one channel at a time, although some software (such as DVBViewer) lets you simultaneously watch and record channels carried by the same transponder. If you wanted channels on different transponders-e.g BBC Two and Channel 4.-It was neccessory to install a pair of tuners, the problem with modern PCs is restricted expansion potential; gone are the days when a PC would have five and more expansion slots for the peripherals of your choice. The only get-around was to reply on a USB second tuner.

Hardware manufacturers like BlackGold noted this and introduced TV cards with multiple tuners. PC bound satellite viewers could now independently record and view multiple channels form different transponders.

A dual LNB was ideal for UK viewers with a 28.2°E minidish. Dishes trained on different satellites could be connected to each input, although flexibility would be lost. But most tuner cards will support Diseqc 1x/2x switchboxes. With appropriate setup in this vein, much can be achieved. Most modern satellite cards cater for DVB S2 as well as DVB S2, and can thus be used for HDTV reception if your PC is powerful enough, which brings us to the next evolutionary stage.

The TBS6984 PCIE DVB S2 Quad TV tuner card ups the ante by building four DVB S/S2 tuners into a single card. With a quad LNB on that dish, you will able to simultaneously receive a quartet of transponders, Astra/Eurobird viewers with their dishes can therefore simultaneously stream or record programs carried by BBC Two, BBC Four, ITV1 and Channel 4. Impossible with any current PVR, such a system could serve the viewing requirement of an entire viewing requirement of an entire household- one TBS6984 equipped PC, a Gigabit Ethernet network, and streaming media players installed in the appropriate rooms, Free-to-air (FTA) channels are fair game. For encrypted channels, though, you PC must be equipped with the necessary conditional access hardware and software (TBS5980 or TBS69828 DVB S2 CI Card with CAM can do it). TBS6984′s DiSEqc2x compatibility gives rise to further reception possibilities.

Build and Connectivity

At 80mm. this card is taller than average and might not fit in some slimline cases, As a PCI express card, it should be compatible with most recent PC motherboards, Each pair of tuners (which lack loopthrough) is covered by a screening scan, and severed by a Trident CX24117 dual demodulator chip.  Other components on the board are associated with the power supply circuitry, among other things. A supplied cable takes a 12V feed directly from PC’s power supply. DC-to DC conversion circuitry on the board processes this to obtain the 13V or 18V supplies needed to switch polarity.

To minimise unwanted voltage drops, the cable is connected to no fewer than three of the power supply\s drive connectors. We recommend that your PC is fitted with a decent power supply. if one isn’t already present. Elsewhere on the board are DiSEqc and band switching tone generators, There’s also a socket , standard with many PC tuners, for a trailing infrared sensor, This enables channels to be changed with the supplied handset, provided your software is compatible.

Basic use

On which subject, quite a lot of this is provide on an accompanying CD-ROM. You get TBSViewer(a cut-down version of DVBViewer), an OEM version of DVBDream(an alternative to DVBViewer) and TBSVHID(which maps handset buttons to the appropriate keyboard for different applications).

On top of this are the drivers-the software that allows the operating system and applications to recognise and work with the tuner hardware, TBS has been very thoughtful here. In additional to Window200, XP,Vista and 7 is support for Windows media center(built into Windows Vista/7) and Linux. The latter drivers, which are most welcome, will interest anyone interest in building a complete TV solution around MythTV(covered in a Wotsat series a while back)

Installing the card is relatively straightforward, although you’ll need to open up your PC to reveal the motherboard slots.If you’re worried about this, a local PC technician could do the job for you. Attaching LNB cables to the four sockets located on the backplate, which is accessible from the rear panel of your PC, can be a rather fiddly task.

When the PC is booted the tuners are detected and the drivers are then installed, These are compliant with the BDA(Broadcast Driver Architecture)standard, and as a result you’re not restricted to the supplied TV software.We were, for example, able to use TBS6984 with full (GE) version of DVBViewer. Naturally, the software you are using will influence how the TBS6984 is used.This, together with your system hardware, will determine picture and sound quality as well as what features are your disposal.

PVR and multimedia

Naturally, Microsoft Media Center and the supplied DVBDream and TBSViewer Programs also recognised the four tuners that were now at their disposal. Features vary across the software, but with this powerful tuner all will enable you to record multiple channels or watch one while recording another. The capabilities of TBS6984 will satisfy even the hungriest of telly addicts. With DVBViewer GE we once viewed one show while recording eight others carried on the four transponders accessible to the card

Performance

Window Media Center, which conveniently enough, can deal with up to four tuners-benifits from a delicated “Set UP TV signal” wizard. Originally, we had nothing but problems with this, – out Yoyotech PC, a 64 bit quad-core machine running Windows 7 Ultimate. Would crash approximately 90 per cent into the examining TV signals phase. We then discovered that no other digital TV software would work either. In the end the firmware of the PC’s Biostar motherboard was updated and we used the TBS6984 successfully with all the TV software.

Sensitivity compares will with other PC tuner cards, and search speeds are fast. With the PC hardware described earlier, an all-channels scan of Hot Bird with our DVBViewer GE reference software took just over five minutes, which compares well to many standard receivers.

This program dovetailed neatly with the card’s facilities, in the options/hardware menu, any of the four tuners (labeled from A TO D) can be turned on or off- a function of the card’s drivers.

Verdict

Not everybody needs such power, but if you do the TBS6984 is a clear choice, It’s certainly ideal for TV a multimedia servers, such as MythTV, the Linux support is of obvious benefit here. It is also ideal for IPTV provider for commercial use.

Scan Copy from What Satellite

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Review: TBS6284 PCIE DVB T2 QUAD TUNER TV CARD

The TBS6284 PCIE DVB T2 quad tuner TV cardwas reviewed in the latest issue of What Satellite (a professional and authoritative satellite magazine from UK) and received a Silver award from review ranking! Thanks to Martin Pipe, the author of this review. We really appreciate your contribution and Professional evaluation. Now we would like to share this great review with our TBS fans!

Author: Martin Pipe

We’ve certainly come a long way since the earliest days of digital terrestrial TV reception on PCs. And yet not so long ago the idea of getting this new-fangled digital TV malarkey on your desktops. Generally with a mammoth PCI card full of “chippery”, was quite a novel one. With the supplied software you could also record programmers onto your PC’s hand disc-thereby effectively converting it into a PVR at a time when there these not commonplace items. Now the average modern PC has a hard disk measured in terebytes. And there are a lot more digital terrestrial channels to choose from a handful of which are broadcast in high definition.

Building and connectivity

To make the most of this we have the unique TBS6284- a card with no fewer than four terrestrial tuners on board. That means you can record three (or more) channels while viewing a fourth. Better still, all four tuners are compatible with not only the established DVB T standard but also the newer DVB T2 technology that carries HD channels. Like its satellite equivalent, the TBS6984 DVB S2 Quad Tuner TV card, it takes the form of a PCI expressx1 card. Most of PCs made over the past five years should be compatible with such hardware.

The TBS6284 is purely a tuner, for encrypted channels your PC must be equipped with the necessary conditional access(CAM) hardware and software, The card, which is 80mm tall and thus might not fit in some slimline cases, splits its tuners into two pairs-A/B and C/D-each of which has its own input and output.

Setup

Using a supplied patch cord the output from first pair of tuners can supply signals to the input of the second-and so you might only need one aerial cable. In contrast, the TBS6984 needs separate LNB feeds for each tuner, owing to its need to independently switch band and polarization, and the single UHF band used for broadcasting doesn’t need switching, The only other rear-panel connector itself a 2.5mm mini-jack for an infrared sensor, which works with the supplied handset. On the board it lurks an optional power connector that’s interface to your computer’s power supply if the motherboard’s PCI-Express slot is incapable of supplying enough current. It’s highly unlikely that you will need it (and in any case it’s not even referred to in the documentation)

Also supplied in the package is a mini CD-ROM that contains the drivers. These support Windows2000,XP, Vista and 7 and Media Center can deal with a maximum complement of four digital tuners(certainly if you are using Window7). Thanks to their BDA compliance, the drivers allow the tuners to work with a wide variety of third party software such as the full version of popular DVBviewer,Progdvb, media portable. The TBS6284 will also courtesy of its manufacturer’ wise decision to cater for Linux-appeal to those who hope to build an open source PVR around software like MyrhTV, VDR

Basic use

In additional to the drivers a small collection of application software is included. These programs are TBSViewer(a cut-down version of DVBViewer), an OEM version of DVBDream(an alternative to DVBViewer) and TBSVHID(which maps handset buttons to the appropriate keyboard commands of your digital TV software). Sadly, none of these programs id documented with the exception of a DVBDream help file.

Getting the card into our Yoyotech quad-core Window7 PC and installing the drivers from CD-ROM was straightforward. Setup will depend on the application, but TBSViewer and DVBDream were easy enough to drive, The tuning menu of most software gives you control over the range of frequencies to be scanned(the TBS6284 will deal with VHF and as well as UHF channels)and the channel bandwidth(8MHZ in UK). You can usually also turn off one or more of the tuners, if desired.

PVR and multimedia

For standard-definition viewing with the supplied software, a Pentium 4 processor will suffice, but if HD is envisaged you will need a multi-core processor with a copy of DVBVivew GE, which supports the reception of multiple programmers from each tuner if they are in the same multiplex, we were able to record no fewer than nice channels simultaneously, That should be more than enough for anybody.

Performance

The TBS6284  DVB S2 Card worked superbly. Its sensitivity was judged to be better than that of many DVB-T cards. Even the Crystal Palace HD channels, which will be carried with lower power until switchover (a couple of months, always at the time of writing) is complete, were received without glitches in our Lssex location, It worked very well with Microsoft Media Center, DVBDream and TBSViewer, the four tuners yielded the kind of recording and viewing flexibility that is currently impossible with set top PVRs

Verdict

The TBS6284 is not cheap, but if you do need such power (in a professional capacity perhaps) there is nothing around to touch it, you need never miss another program again.


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Choosing a TV Tuner Card to Record Digital TV on PC

What is a TV Tuner Card?

A TV tuner card is a kind of television tuner that allows television signals to be received by a computer. Most TV tuners also function as video capture cards, allowing them to record television programs onto a hard disk much like the digital video recorder (DVR) does.

The interfaces for TV tuner cards are most commonly either PCI bus expansion card or the newer PCI Express (PCIe) bus for many modern cards, but some USB interface tuner cards are specially designed for laptop, which also works fine.

Why Buy a TV Tuner Card?

If you want to watch TV on PC, you might consider buying a TV tuner Card. When you hook up your cable or antenna to a television, all you’re essentially doing is connecting a signal to a monitor. All televisions are equipped with tuners that allow the monitor to decode the signal coming through the cable into comprehensible images and sound. Such a TV tuner card also allows you to record these signals digitally on your system. It performs much like a DVR device that records programs from your television.

Generally speaking, these TV tuner cards are not standard in PCs you buy off the shelf at your local electronics store. Therefore, you have to buy a TV tuner card from a third party or some professional TV tuner manufacturers. For personal, you can use a TV tuner to build HTPC. For business usage, some companies will buy the card for IPTV application.

How to choose a TV Tuner Card?

When choosing a TV tuner card, consider what you want to accomplish by installing this component on your computer’s motherboard. You should also ask yourself the following questions: Is the computer you currently own capable of supporting the tuner? Do you have the knowledge and skill to install it yourself? Are you planning to use the TV tuner as a replacement for cable, satellite or other television services? Each TV tuner card on our lineup has different features and capabilities; we rated and ranked all the best TV tuner cards on the market today. When our review of the best TV tuner cards ended, the Hauppauge WinTV HVR-2250, the TBS6984 PCIe DVB S2 TV Tuner Card and the AVerTVHD Bravo each claimed one of the top spots on our best TV tuner card comparisons and reviews. There are also several factors should consider on how to cut your home entertainment budget using this technology.

Compatibility

Most computers don’t have the latest and greatest operating system available. This is especially true in the Microsoft Windows universe. The best TV tuner cards not only work with the latest iteration of Windows, but also with past versions that still reside on a majority of computers currently in use. Some professional TV tuner producers, such as TBS, even offer the Linux drivers compatible, that’s big good news for Linux users. Linux TV tuner cards also will be one of spread in the future.

Picture Quality

High definition is the new standard for media in all forms. Unfortunately, a lot of technology has not caught up to this rich resolution. The best TV tuner cards pipe HD signals into your computer system in all their deep, colorful glory.

Help & Support

Even though a TV tuner card is easy to use and install, you can run into trouble occasionally. The best TV tuner cards are supported by their manufacturers with a warranty, and those companies provide technical support when necessary.

At the end of the day, a TV tuner card performs a simple yet powerful task. It routes television signals through your computer, allowing you to watch, record and store television shows and programs.

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