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Dreambox DM7080 als Nachfolger von DM8000 in den Startlöchern — Gigabit Ethernet

Unter der Hand wird gemunkelt, dass es sich hierbei nicht um einen Fake handelt, sondern tatsächlich um das nächste Dreambox-Modell. Zudem soll es schon innerhalb der nächsten Wochen oder Monaten in den Handel kommen.

Doch nun erstmal gibt es hier im Dreambox-Blog einen ausführlichen Einblick in die neuen Features der DM7080.

40nm und 7000 DMIPS

Diese Neuerung bezieht sich auf den in der Dreambox verbauten Prozessor. Zwar gibt es in dem Video keine genaue Aussage um welchen Prozessor es sich wirklich handelt — 40nm und 7000 DMIPS sagen nur etwas über die Geschwindigkeit und Bauweise des Prozessors aus. Doch liegt es relativ nahe, dass es sich um, wie bei den Vorgängern bereits, um Broadcom-Architektur handeln muss. Dadurch sind in Frage kommende Prozessoren bereits deutlich eingeschränkt. Ein Blick auf die neusten Produkte von Broadcom lässt den Schluss zu, dass es sich um BCM7435 handeln muss.

Dieser Prozessor bringt eine Vielzahl an äußerst interessanten Features mit, die wir hier im Detail betrachten werden und die im Original auf den Seiten des Herstellers nachgelesen werden können.

So handelt es sich um eine Dual Core CPU, die je zwei Threads verarbeiten kann, mit 7000 DMIPS. Bei DMIPS handelt es sich um ein Benchmark das Aussagen über die Leistungsfähigkeit des Prozessors trifft und tatsächlich sogar aussagekräftiger sein kann als eine Ghz-Angabe.

Besonders Smartphone- und Tablet-Nutzer werden sich über die Möglichkeit, sogar hochauflösende Programme in Echtzeit zu transkodieren — dies ermöglicht das Streamen von hochauflösenden Programmen, wenn die Bandbreite nicht ausreicht und/oder das Device keine hohen Auflösungen unterstützt. All dies geschieht auf Hardwareebene und wird sicherlich von Enigma2 unterstützt. Somit wird zusätzliche Software, die in der Vergangenheit auf einem leistungsstarken Computer laufen musste, komplett überflüssig.

Zwar scheint es so, als ob der Hype um 3D-Fernseher ein wenig eingeschlafen ist. Dennoch bringt der neue Prozessor wohl auch neue Möglichkeiten für die Gestaltung von dreidimensionalen Benutzeroberflächen sowie Spielen. Davon könnten beispielsweise neue Enigma2-Skins profitieren, sofern dieses Feature im System entsprechend implementiert wurde.

Besonders spannend wird es bei offensichtlich implementiertenDRM-Features. Der Hersteller listet hier bezüglich das folgende Feature auf:

Secures web browsers and Apps stores to be delivered together with premium broadcast content while protecting overall core functions and high value content.

Es scheint so, als ob mit der neuen Hardware Anforderungen von Rechteinhabern erfüllt werden könnten, sofern die entsprechenden Features auch in Enigma2 implementiert werden. An dieser Stelle sei besonders hervorzuheben, dass von diesen Features nicht unbedingt Gebrauch genommen werden muss. Es sind nur optionale Features, die von der Prozessorarchitektur unterstützt werden. Dass dies auch so in Enigma2 einfließt, ist keinesfalls sicher und eher als extrem unwahrscheinlich einzustufen.

1080p und HDMI 1.4a

Im Einklang mit dem neuen Prozessor, der auf Hardwareebene auch die Video-Kodierung und Video-Ausgabe übernimmt, kann die DM7080 nun nicht nur in 1080p wiedergeben, sondern auch auf 1080p hoch skalieren. Dies kann je nach Fernseher in einer besseren Bildqualität resultieren, da die Dreambox die Skalierung sowohl auf die größere Auflösung als auch auf Vollbilder übernimmt.

Zudem bringt die DM7080, wie schon oben angedeutet, eine erweiterte 3D-Kompatibilität mit. Unterstützt wird nun der HDMI-Standard 1.4a. Hierbei handelt es sich um einen speziellen 3D-Übertragungsstandard für Filme und Spiele, der insbesondere auch genug Bandbreite liefert. In Verbindung mit der sehr hohen Rechenleistung der DM7080 kann davon ausgegangen werden, dass hochauflösende 3D-Filme problemlos wiedergegeben werden können, ohne dass es irgendwo einen Flaschenhals oder Leistungseinbußen geben wird und dies nun offiziell von Dream unterstützt wird.

Gigabit Ethernet

Bei Gigabit Ethernet handelt es sich um eine besonders schnelle Netwerkverbindung, die vor allem im Heimnetzwerk große Vorteile bringen kann. Bereits seit langer Zeit handelt es sich hierbei um ein lang ersehntes Feature. Bei den Vorgängermodellen hätte Gigabit Ethernet keinen Sinn gemacht, da die verwendete Architektur ohnehin nicht in der Lage gewesen wäre, die Leistung ausnutzen zu können. Bei dem jetzt genutzten Prozessor wird die Dreambox aber sehr wohl in der Lage sein, Gigabit Ethernet die Grenzen aufzuzeigen.

Besonders wichtig ist eine schnelle Netzwerkverbindung, wenn beispielsweise Aufnahmen auf ein Netzlaufwerk getätigt werden anstelle einer internen Festplatte. Doch auch das Streamen von hochauflösenden Programmen — vor allem bei mehreren Streams gleichzeitig — nimmt einiges an Bandbreite und Ressourcen in Anspruch.

SATA3

Mit Serial ATA (SATA) wird die Schnittstelle von der Dreambox bzw. der Hauptplatine zur Festplatte bezeichnet. Dabei gibt SATA3 eine genauere Aussage über den theoretisch maximal möglichen Datendurchsatz dieser Schnittstelle. Lange Zeit spielte dies keine signifikante Rolle, doch seit SSDs günstiger geworden sind, bietet es sich natürlich auch an, eine solche SSD in der Dreambox als Festplattenersatz zu nutzen. Dies hat gleich mehrere Vorteile. Zum einen sind SSDs komplett lautlos, und zudem auch deutlich schneller als normale Festplatten. Außerdem verbrauchen SSDs auch noch weniger Energie.

In den bisherigen Dreambox-Modellen konnten SSDs noch nicht wirklich ausgelastet werden, u.a. auch wegen der Schnittstelle. Damit sollte es nun aber vorbei sein: SATA3 ist recht flott und eignet sich hervorragend, um schnellere Festplatten anzubinden.

USB 3.0

Gleiches gilt auch für die Anbindung externer Festplatten. Stand bisher nur USB 2.0 zur Verfügung, war dies auch nicht so schlimm. Die Datenrate war über eSATA ohnehin nicht signifikant höher, da die restlichen Komponenten schlicht nicht schnell genug waren, um SATA und die angeschlossenen Speichermedien wirklich auslasten zu können.

Da mit der DM7080 ein deutlich schnellerer Prozessor genutzt wird und entsprechende Hardwarekomponenten, muss natürlich auch eine schnellere Schnittstelle für externe Speichermedien her. Mit USB 3.0 wird damit an den aktuellen Standard aufgeschlossen.

eMMC

In der Vergangenheit wurde sehr oft der zu kleine Flash-Speicher der Dreambox beklagt, bis Dream die überarbeiteten Versionen bestimmter Dreambox-Modelle veröffentlich hat, die genug Flash-Speicher enthielten. Davor war nur die DM7020HD und DM8000 mit üppigem Flash-Speicher bestückt.

Nun jedoch scheint Dream einen neuen Weg einzuschlagen. Die neue DM7080 unterstützt eMMC. Dabei handelt es sich um eine Technologie, die quasi MMC-Karten auf Speichersteine bringt und vor allem von Mobiltelefonen verwendet wird. Der Speicherzugriff darauf ist sehr schnell und die Bausteine sehen in etwa so aus wie RAM-Riegel. Daraus lässt sich schließen, dass in Zukunft der Flash-Speicher spielend einfach ausgewechselt oder erweitert werden kann.

Damit sollte es nun keine Notwendigkeit für Flash-Erweiterungengeben. Sollten in Zukunft Images und Programme für die Dreambox veröffentlicht werden die nicht mehr in den vorhandenen Flash-Speicher passen sollten, dann scheint dieser nun ohne Basteln zu müssen erweiterbar sein.

BLE — Bluetooth Low Energy

Besonders interessante und praktische PlugIns sollte die Ünterstützung von BLE nach sich ziehen. Bei BLE handelt es sich um einen neuen Bluetooth-Standard nicht nur zur Übertragung von Daten, sondern auch zur Vernetzung von Geräten, wie es beiWikipedia so schön geschrieben steht. Das Besondere hierbei ist, dass der Stromverbrauch deutlich geringer ist, als es bei älteren Versionen von Bluetooth der Fall ist.

Mit BLE ließen sich beispielsweise PlugIns entwickeln, die auf Basis der sich im Raum befindenden Devices (ebenfalls mit aktivierten BLE natürlich) erkennen können, welcher Nutzer sich im Raum befindet und dann vielleicht das Skin entsprechend einstellt, oder automatisch auf den Lieblingskanal wechselt.

Über BLE lassen sich übrigens jede Art von Dateien und Medien einfach übertragen und es wird von allen modernen Smartphones und Tablets unterstützt.

Neues Flaggschiff mit 4 Tunern

Nach der Produktionseinstellung der DM8000, über die wir hier im Dreambox-Blog berichtet haben, war der Aufschrei doch ein wenig groß und viele haben sich einen würdigen Nachfolger gewünscht. Das ist genau die DM7080 — zwar dürfte es sich hierbei nicht um Goliath handeln, aber es ist sehr wohl ein neues Gerät, das nicht nur die DM8000 bei weitem übertrifft, sondern auch die Konkurrenz im Schatten stehen lässt.

Unterstützt werden, wie bei der DM8000 auch schon, bis zu vier Tuner von denen zwei fest angebracht sind (hierbei dürfte es sich, wie damals schon auch, um DVB-S2-Tuner handeln). Zudem gibt es zwei Steckplätze, die mit kompatiblen Tunern bestückt werden können, z. B. DVB-C oder DVB-T, oder zwei weitere DVB-S2-Tuner.

[ Update: Wie manche User korrekterweise angemerkt haben, sind auf dem obigen Video nur drei Tuner zu sehen. Bei einem der drei auf dem Video sichtbaren Tunern handelt es sich jedoch um einen Twin-Tuner DVB-S2, und, wie von der DM7020HD und DM8000 gewohnt, es noch zwei zusätzliche Tuner-Steckplätze zur Verfügung stehen, die beliebig bestückt werden können. Praktisch unterstützt die Box demnach insgesamt 4 Tuner.  ]

Enigma2 und OpenGL

Interessant ist ein Blick auf die Software der DM7080. Wie es sich auf dem oben verlinken Video nur unschwer erkennen lässt, läuft die DM7080 mit Enigma2. Der Vorteil davon ist groß: Alle Nutzer kennen das Betriebssystem bereits und es existieren eine sehr große Auswahl an PlugIns, Themes, und anderen Erweiterungen. Mit der neuen Rechenpower und Ressourcen sollten HbbTV und der Web-Browser nun sehr schnell sein, quasi wie vom Desktop-Computer gewohnt. Damit sollten beide Programme und Kern-Features von Enigma2 nun richtig Spaß machen!

Die üppige Rechenleistung könnte auch darauf schließen lassen, dass es eine neue Enigma2-Version mit OpenGL-Unterstützung geben wird. Das würde Visualisierungen und graphische Benutzeroberflächen ermöglichen, wie man sie von Computern kennt. Dazu zählen beispielsweise schöne Effekte, als auch die Möglichkeit bestimmte Graphiken zu verarbeiten. Die Möglichkeiten stehen hier quasi offen.

Natürlich kann auf Basis der verbauten CPU und anderen Komponenten auch davon ausgegangen werden, dass die DM7080 mit reichlich Arbeitsspeicher und Flash-Speicher ausgestattet wurde, sodass es hierbei keinesfalls zu Engpässen kommen wird.

Verkaufsstart der neuen DM7080

Über den Verkaufsstart gibt es keinerlei offiziellen Informationen, wobei davon ausgegangen werden kann, dass es in naher Zukunft soweit sein wird. Zudem ist auch nichts über den Preis bekannt, hier kann nur spekuliert werden. Erst wenn die Dreambox auch offiziell von Dream bestätigt wird und eine entsprechende Pressemitteilung erscheint, werden erste Aussagen über den Preis getroffen werden können.

Ein Blick auf die Komponenten, insbesondere die neue CPU, OpenGL-Unterstützung und insgesamt üppig bestückte Dreambox, lässt schon mal Hoffnungen aufkommen. Dass die Dreambox dadurch aber im gehobenen Preissegment anzusiedeln ist, wäre an dieser Stelle naheliegend. Was die Größe angeht dürfte die DM7080 dem Video nach zwischen der DM800se und DM7020HD liegen.

Wir werden euch im Dreambox-Blog natürlich auf dem Laufenden halten! Sobald es neue Informationen über das neue Flaggschiff von Dream geben wird, gibt es zeitnah einen entsprechenden Artikel.

How to receive multi PLP streaming with DVB Dream and ProgDVB

First we need a simple understanding of PLP:

PLP-It’s a technology short for Physical Layer Pipe, it allows the combining of services with different transmission requirements. The configuration includes two Physical Layer Pipes that are combined and transmitted in a single multiplex.

Tools we need:

Hardware-TBS5880 DVB-T2 USB TV Tuner

(Or other TBS DVB-T2 TV Tuners which support PLP technology)

Software: DVB Dream or ProgDVB

For prepare:

Turn on your computer and connect TBS5580 to it, then install the latest driver of TBS5880 from , if you have installed the driver, please update it to the latest.

How to receive multi PLP streaming with DVB Dream?

Step1: Install and run DVBDream

Install DVBDream, and ensure it’s the latest version, then run it. Click “Channels-Manual Scan” to proceed, we can see empty drop-down box of SubStream ID.

Step2: Scan Stream ID

Click “Scan”, we will see there’re two numbers 0, 1 in the drop-download box, it indicates that we can receive two streaming in one frequency now.

Step3: Scan TV channels from SubStream

Select “0” in “SubStream ID” , then click “Scan” until we see channel list, remember to click “Save Channels” button to save channels scanned from “Stream 0”.

The same as last step, select “1” to scan TV channels and click “Save Channels”.

Step4: Watch TV channels from Multi Stream

Now we can see all of TV channels from “Stream 0” and “Stream 1” have listed on the left of picture below, so choose one of the TV channels to watch.

 

How to receive multi PLP streaming with ProgDVB?

Step1: Install and run ProgDVB

Install the latest ProgDVB and run it.

Step2: Detect Streaming

Select “Channel list-Manual Search” to proceed, we can only see “All” in “Multistream filte” Drop-down box.

Then click “Detect” button and wait a few seconds we will see ”0”,”1” has added in the drop-down box like picture below, it means that we can receive two streaming in one frequency now.

Step3: Scan TV channels from Multistream

Choose “0” ,then click ”Lock”,” Scan” button to save and scan TV channels, wait a moment we’ll see TV channels scanned from “Multistream filte 0”.

In the same way, scan TV channels from “Multistream filte 1”.

We will see all of TV channels scanned from Multistream filte “0” and “1” have listed on picture below, then click “OK” to continue.

Step4: Watch TV channels from “Multistream filte”

At last, choose one of the TV channels from Multistream filte “0” to watch

 

Choose one of the TV channels from Multistream filte “1” to watch

Review of the TBS MOI+ DVB S/S2 Satellite TV Linux Server – a bit like a HDHomeRun, but for Free-To-Air satellite signals

oday we’d like to share a wonderful review of the TBS MOI+ DVB S/S2 Satellite TV Linux Free IPTV Streaming Server. The author, the adminstrator of Free-To-Air America Blog .is  a long time  professional satellite TV hobbyist. He had well test the MOI+ in America and gave a comphensive review to our readers.

The original article from

Review of the TBS MOI+ DVB S/S2 Satellite TV Linux Server – a bit like a HDHomeRun, but for Free-To-Air satellite signals

The reason I wanted to write this review

I’m a long time satellite TV hobbyist, having having had a large C-band dish for a couple of decades now (I’ve acquired a few additional C-band and Ku-band dishes since then). Some think that satellite TV as a hobby is dead, but it really isn’t. There are still many signals up there, but if you’re still trying to make an old analog satellite receiver work, you’re not going to see much. Sorry, my friend, but the world has gone digital, and now you need a digital satellite receiver to see all the free TV in the sky.

You could go out and buy a standalone receiver for the purpose, but in most cases you are limited to connecting it to one TV set. If you hook it up to the TV in your Living Room, then you’ll need extra wiring and maybe a switch to also enjoy it in your bedroom. If you want to be able to watch the satellite signals you receive in any of several rooms of your home, or on your computer, tablet, or phone, that’s going to be rather difficult with a standalone box.

A couple of years ago, I acquired a HDHomeRun Dual device, and discovered how nice it was to be able to stream terrestrial TV signals to anywhere in my home via my local network. I set up a backend system so that I could record programs and enjoy watching them at my convenience. I wondered if it was also possible to do the same thing with the signals I received off my satellite dishes. So earlier this year I attempted to build a backend system that could receive free-to-air satellite signals and stream them to the various computers around my home, including the home theater PC’s that are connected to my HDTV receivers. Let’s just say that the first attempts didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. There is a huge learning curve, particularly if you’re not a programmer nor otherwise particularly geeky, and sometimes the hardware and the backend software just won’t cooperate.

Then I stumbled across a page on the TBS MOI+. I suspected that it might be able to accomplish what I’d been trying to do, and in a lot smaller package. So, I went online in an attempt to find some reviews on this device. To my surprise, little has been written about it, particularly in English. So, hoping to fill that gap, I contacted TBS and asked if they might be interested in providing a unit for review purposes. They graciously consented, and this review is the result. Just so you know, I did not promise to write only nice things about the unit, and I’m not getting paid anything for this review, beyond receiving the MOI+. So, this will be as honest of a review as I can make it.

 

 

Introduction to the TBS MOI+

MOI+ Front

The TBS MOI+ is a standalone unit that streams satellite TV signals over your local network to PC’s, tablet computers, or phones, and with a small bit of effort can also function as a PVR. It runs Linux and has two different flavors of backend software installed, VDR and TVHeadEnd (actually, those are the only two that can be configured from a web browser, but the MOI+ also includes Mumudvb and DVBlast for more specialized applications). Therefore it can serve as a PVR or live streaming backend for Kodi (formerly known as XBMC), the popular multi-platform software that can turn almost any modern computer or tablet into a magic video box, and to other software clients that can receive such streams.

Please keep in mind that the MOI+ is not a standalone receiver – you cannot hook your TV directly to it, since it has no HDMI port. However, you can watch the received signals on a TV connected to a PC (some “smart” TV’s may be also be able to receive the streams directly). The sole purpose of the MOI+ is to receive and stream live and recorded satellite TV signals to other devices in your home. Outside of North America, it may also be able to receive terrestrial TV signals, depending on the region and the card installed.

MOI+ Back

As the unit is currently supplied in North America, it includes a TBS6991SE Dual Tuner Card with two CI slots. The description for that card states that “Inserting the correct CAM and subscription smartcard into the CI slot makes it possible to watch encrypted pay TV.” Unfortunately, that does not mean you can use it to receive North American commercial services such as Dish Network, DirecTV, Bell Expressvu, Shaw, etc. since they use a different authorization method that only works with their equipment. However, that particular card also works very well for receiving Free-To-Air satellite signals, which are available here in North America.

You can remove the supplied card and replace it with any of several other TBS PCIe cards, including theTBS6985 DVB-S2 Quad Tuner PCIe Card, in the event that two tuners aren’t enough for you.

I tested the unit using the supplied card, and I connected it using wired Gigabit ethernet. I’m not a big fan of using WiFi for streaming video, although the MOI+ has that capability.

The first thing I will say it that in my testing, it was able to flawlessly stream every free-to-air signal that I was able to receive, including a difficult 4:2:2 signal. With both tuners in use, and the device streaming previously recorded content to one computer, CPU usage was nowhere near being maxed out. As long as the tuner could lock onto the signal, the channel could be streamed or recorded.

MOI+ specifications

The specifications for the MOI+, taken from their product page, are as follows:

System
SoC: Marvell 88F6282 1.6 GHzCPU: Sheeva CPU core V5TE ARMRAM: 1GB DDR3Flash: 512MB NAND Flash
Interface
2x USB 2.01x SATA portEthernet: 100/1000M Gigabit EthernetWifi: 802.11nProtocol: HTTP, UDP, RTP, TCPOS: Linux
Preinstalled software
Tvheadend, VDR, Mumudvb, DVBlast, szap, tzap, czap, dvbdate, dvbnet, dvbscan, dvbsnoop, dvbtraffic, dvbscan, scan-s2, szap-s2, dst_test, telnet, ssh, sftp, samba, oscam
Client end support
PC: Windows, Linux, MacTablet: Android, iOSSmartphone: Android, iOS
DVB tuner support
DVB-S2/S: 1 tuner cardDVB-T2/T: 1 tuner cardDVB-C/J.83B: 1 tuner card

Note that the unit will only accept one tuner card, and in the United States or Canada only a DVB-S or DVB-S2 card would be useful, but you would probably want a DVB-S2 card (which also receives DVB-S signals), since quite a few channels have converted to DVB-S2 in recent years.

The specifications note that there is a SATA port on the unit. That is true, but you have to remove the cover of the unit (which involves removing six tiny screws) to get at it. Unfortunately what is not available is a way to mount or power a SATA hard drive. There is enough room inside the unit for a notebook-style thin SATA hard drive, but there are no mounting holes or brackets. There is a connector on the main board that is not used, and its purpose isn’t identified, and it might in fact be a power connector, but I couldn’t be sure. So, when I hooked up a hard drive, I simply ran a SATA cable out the back of the unit, through the card slot opening, and connected it to an external SATA drive using a separate external power supply. This arrangement seems to work quite well.

This is a picture I took of the inside of the unit – sorry about the flash glare but I’m not a professional photographer. In this photo, the SATA connector is on the main board (the one on the left), just above the TBS logo. The unknown connector that might be power is above it, near the top edge of the board in this photo, next to the LAN port:

MOI+ inside with original tuner card

The published specifications don’t mention anything specific about the operating system, but the MOI+ appears to be running BusyBox, which describes itself as “The Swiss Army Knife of Embedded Linux.”  BusyBox has become a rather popular on small devices such as this, and it offers much of the functionality found in larger Linux-based operating systems.  You can find a full description and usage information at this link.

The preinstalled software includes the following:

  • Tvheadend – a TV streaming server for Linux that also supports recording, it is configurable using a web-based GUI.
  • VDR (Video Disk Recorder) – designed primarily to record and store digital video, configurable using a web-based GUI.
  • Mumudvb (Multi Multicast DVB) – a program for streaming TV over a network.
  • DVBlast – from the VideoLAN organization, a simple and powerful MPEG-2/TS demux and streaming application.
  • dvbscan – a command line frequency scanning utility that is part of the LinuxTV dvb-apps
  • scan-s2 – a command line frequency scanning utility very similar to scan
  • szap, tzap, czap, dvbdate, dvbnet, dvbsnoop, dvbtraffic, and szap-s2 are all part of the LinuxTV dvb-apps.  Few of these will be useful in North America.
  • dst_test – appears to be some kind of test/demo utility that is useful when CI slot is used.  Probably not useful in North America.
  • telnet, ssh, sftp, samba – protocols for network connections to the MOI+.  The latter two are useful for file transfers.
  • oscam – Open Source Conditional Access Module software. Probably not useful in North America.

I suspect that most non-commercial purchasers of the MOI+ in North America will use either TVHeadEnd or VDR almost exclusively, and rarely touch the other software, except for the software that enables local network connections to the server.

Unfortunately, the MOI+ does not appear to include any software that will do true “blind scanning” of satellites (that is, software that will find all of the transponders, and the services contained within them, on a given satellite). With both dvdscan and scan-s2, you can only scan a single transponder, and you must enter the frequency of that transponder.

Setting up the MOI+

The MOI+ is what I would consider about average in terms of setup difficulty. Connecting up the hardware is easy, you simply connect your wires from your LNB(s) or switch(es) to either or both of the tuner inputs. There is an ethernet cable supplied with the unit and you connect that to your router or switch, or if you want to use a Wi-Fi connection you simply attach the included antenna.

When you power up the MOI+, it flashes a number of messages on the front panel display, but the one you will initially be most interested in is the IP address of the unit. It will grab an IP address via DHCP and you can then go to any computer on your network and browse to that IP address to verify that the unit is working and accessible via the network.

At this point, before you do anything else, I suggest you upgrade the unit’s firmware. The reason for doing this now is that whenever you upgrade the firmware it essentially performs a factory reset and you lose your existing settings, so there is no sense configuring anything until you have the latest firmware installed. The instructions for updating the firmware are in the first post in this thread, or after you have performed the initial firmware update, you can browse to the MOI+ IP address and click the button that says “Update Guide”. Note that you’ll need a USB flash drive with at least 1 GB of space, preferably formatted in FAT32 format (Linux formats such as EXT3/4 may or may not work). I do recommend copying all three of the mentioned files to the flash drive, so that all are updated. Note that you have a choice of kernels, one supports cards with DVB-S2 + DVB-T2 and the other supports cards with DVB-S2 + DVB-C. In North America you are not likely to be using a card that receives anything other than DVB-S2, so you can use either kernel, since both include DVB-S2 support. So copy either one of the kernel files, plus the other two mentioned files, to your flash drive.

When you attempt to download the firmware files, which are stored on Sourceforge, you may run into difficulty obtaining them from a North American site. If that happens, just switch to a different mirror site. I wound up getting the files from a mirror site in Singapore.

After the MOI+ finishes updating its firmware, you can go back to the web page and begin configuration. There are buttons in the left-hand column that show the available options. The first one is Network Settings:

MOI+ Network Settings

By default it will come with DHCP enabled but you will almost certainly want to disable it and use a static IP address, so that your other computers can find it on your local network. Also, if you leave it on DHCP, it seems to pull a new IP address every time it reboots, or at least it did for me. So disable DHCP and enter a valid fixed IP address on your local network here, or alternately you could configure your router to assign the same IP address to the MOI+ every time it boots up.

I did not try enabling WLAN because as I mentioned before, I simply don’t care much for WiFi. It seems to me that if you are going to try to stream high bitrate video, you will get best results with a wired Gigabit connection. But, the ability to utilize WiFi is there if you need it.

If you don’t connect the supplied antenna to the unit, the front panel display will complain “Antenna Issue” at regular intervals, even if you don’t enable WLAN. But, that does not seem to affect operation of the device.

The next button gives you access to the Tuning Settings:

MOI+ Tuning Settings

This page lets you select which backend software you want to use. When you check the desired button it will configure the program and take you to its interface. I elected to use TVHeadEnd since it seems to be preferred by Kodi/XBMC users. Note that when you elect to use TVHeadEnd, all the configuration of LNB’s, switches, etc. is done from within the TVHeadEnd interface. If you ever forget how to get to that interface, just come back to this page and click on TVHeadEnd and it will take you there.

I want to skip down a bit and mention the About page, since it contains information on how to log in to the device using ssh:

MOI+ About

The about page shows the firmware version you are running, and also is a handy reference page for various ways to connect to the MOI+.  Note that the address 192.168.8.188 is just an example address; you should actually use the IP address shown on the front panel display.

There are at least a couple of things that might give security-conscious folks a bit of concern. One is that you log in as root, using a default password (and there is no way to change it using the web interface). The other is that when you browse to the MOI+ SMB share, the entire filesystem is fully exposed:

Finder showing MOI+ shares

While this can be very convenient, it’s not such a great thing if people you don’t fully trust have access to your local network. But keep in mind this is Linux, so if you know your way around in Linux then you already know how to make it more secure, should you deem that necessary. If you don’t know your way around in Linux, or don’t want to be bothered with additional security, then at least make sure your MOI+ is behind a router with a firewall that’s enabled, and don’t forward any ports to the MOI+ or do anything that would expose it to the wide open Internet.

The other side of that coin is that you Linux guys that like to tweak various software programs to make them better won’t need to figure out how to “jailbreak” a locked-down device in order to play around here.  The true Linux gurus in the crowd might well be able to extend the capabilities of this device!

The Utilities page was really the only place where I ran into significant issues with the MOI+ web interface:

MOI+ Utilities

First I will note that at the bottom of this page there is a button you can use to reboot the MOI+ – I had totally missed that until I took the screenshot for this review! It is good that they provide that, but I wish there was also a similar button that would allow you to safely power down the device, particularly since there is no power switch on the unit – the only way to physically power down the MOI+ is to pull the power cord. You can safely power down the device by going into an ssh session and entering the poweroff command, but for those who would rather do it from the web interface, a “Power Off” button would be nice.

The page also offers a way to ping an IP address to make sure that the network connection is working. Strangely, it appears that if the ping is successful, it pops up a box saying “The IP is in the same IP range as MOI”, whereas if the ping is unsuccessful, the popup reads, “The IP is not in the same IP range as MOI”.

The real issue with this page is the time setting. No matter how many times I attempted to set it, refreshing the page would always show that I was in the time zone for Beijing, Hong Kong, and other parts of Asia, although the time itself would appear to be correct, and if I ran the date command in Linux it would show the correct time but the wrong time zone. So, you might ask, what is the problem? Well, the problem was that TVHeadEnd got confused about time. For example, if I told it to record a channel at 4:00 PM (or 16:00) it would then tell me the recording was scheduled for 17:00. It would actually record at the time I had set, but the saved recording would be timestamped an hour later than when it was actually recording.

The fix for this was to not use the web interface to set the time, but to follow these instructions in “Method 3 of 3: Using the Command Line” on this page (only up through step 4) and then rebooting. You may also want to edit the /etc/sysconfig file line that reads TZ=”Asia/Shanghai” to correctly reflect your region and city (you will know what those are if you followed the instructions mentioned above) but that doesn’t seem to affect TVHeadEnd as much as /etc/localtime not being correctly linked (if you do edit /etc/sysconfig, you may also need to run “chmod 644 /etc/sysconfig” afterward to make sure that the permissions are still set as they should be). I have no idea why the Utilities page wouldn’t set the time correctly for me, but one way to check whether it did is to ssh into the MOI+ and run the date command – if it shows the wrong time zone designator then it probably didn’t get set correctly. This was the only real issue I had with the MOI+ web interface.

There is one other issue with the time, however – the MOI+ doesn’t keep it very well, which is a bad thing if you intend to use it to schedule recordings of programs.  Fortunately there is an easy fix, which I will discuss a bit later.

The TVHeadEnd Guide and the Update Guide are exactly what you would think they are – guides on setting up TVHeadEnd, and on how to update the firmware. Note that if you manage to really screw things up, you can re-update the firmware (using the same versions as you previously installed, if no new version is available) and it will have the same effect as a factory reset (one user reported that if it’s only the TVHeadEnd configuration that is irreparably messed up, running rm -fr .hts/* from the command line will give you a fresh start, but that may not always work). Obviously, a firmware update is not something you want to do frivolously, because you will need to re-enter your settings after you have completed the update. If there is a way to save your entire TVHeadEnd configuration to a file that can the be re-imported back into TVHeadEnd, I have not discovered it yet.

Configuring TVHeadEnd

As noted above, there is a menu selection in the MOI+ web interface that shows you how to configure TVHeadEnd (also available here), and it should be enough to get you started. For the most part you can just follow those instructions, but there are a few things that North American users should be aware of. For one thing, TVHeadEnd assumes you’ll be using a Universal LNB, which is not something used all that often in this part of the world. Here, you are much more likely to be using a standard (Ku band) LNB, or even a C band LNB. But when you are setting up the TV adapters, you won’t find an option for those. The trick is that you need to select “Advanced” in the SatConfig dropdown, then save it, and then you will notice that in the left hand menu tree, additional options are exposed. This is how TVHeadEnd seems to work; it doesn’t show you options that are not applicable to your existing configuration, so as you make the configuration more complex, more options are exposed.

TVHeadEnd TV Adapters Tuner Settings

So once you have selected the Advanced setting and clicked Save, you can expand the tree view an additional level and click on Advanced, where you will select the number of orbital positions that each tuner has access to, which is 1 if you are connecting a tuner directly to an LNB. If you are connecting to a 4 port DiSEqC then it’s 4, as shown here:

TVHeadEnd TV Adapters Tuner Advanced Settings

After you save that, then you can configure settings for each of your orbital positions, including LNB type. In North America you will probably want to select either “C-band” or “Circular 10750″. You would use the latter for any standard Ku band LNB that has a LO Frequency of 10750 MHz, even if it’s not circularly polarized. Keep in mind that this type of software (or at least the satellite tuning portion) is much more widely used in Europe and other places outside North America, and they are much more likely to be using a circularly polarized LNB than we are here.

TVHeadEnd TV Adapters Orbital Position Settings

If you are using a standard DiSEqC and/or 22 kHz tone switch, then select “Generic” for the switch type. For a four port DiSEqC switch, you would use the “Committed” dropdown and select the port there. TVHeadEnd uses AA, AB, BA, BB port descriptors, which correspond to DiSEqC switch ports 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively. I had no problem using a standard 4 port DiSEqC switch (well, except that it turned out that the brand new DiSEqC switch had a bad port 4, but that’s obviously not the fault of TVHeadEnd or the tuner). In the screenshot below, DiSEqC port 2 (AB) is selected. Settings for any types of switches you don’t have should just be left at the default settings.

TVHeadEnd TV Adapters Generic Switch Settings

One other consideration for North America is that it is extremely rare for the free-to-air signals to include Electronic Program Guide data. Therefore, it would be a good idea to go to Configuration | Channel / EPG | EPG Grabber and in the Over-The-Air Grabbers section, uncheck all the grabber selections. None of those will work in North America anyway, so there’s no sense burning up CPU cycles checking for EPG data that will never appear.  I will have a bit more to say about getting EPG data later in this article.

TVHeadEnd Disable Over-The-Air Grabbers

Adding storage for recordings

In testing the MOI+ I found that the best way to add additional storage is to add an external SATA hard drive with its own external power supply.  It should be formatted using EXT4 format, which will be much easier if you have access to a computer that runs a full version of Linux, such as Ubuntu.  If you don’t have any computers that have Linux permanently installed, keep in mind that you can always download a “Live” version of a distribution such as Ubuntu, and run it from a DVD or a flash drive long enough to format a hard drive.  I temporarily hooked up the drive to my home theater PC box that runs Ubuntu, and formatted it there.

When formatting the drive, I used GUID partitioning rather than MBR.  If your drive is larger than 2 TB then you really don’t have a choice – you must use GUID!

If you have a MOI+ that comes with the same TBS6991SE card that the one I’m reviewing did, and you are not using the CI slots (as you would not be in North America), then you can run the SATA cable out though the hole where the CI cards would be inserted.  If you decide to use a different TBS tuner card, there is a little insert next to the card tab that is held in place with two screws and that must be removed in order to add or remove a card.  You can just leave that off and run the SATA cable out through that hole.  If the cable is likely to get jiggled a lot, I’d be inclined to wrap some electrical tape around it at the point where it comes out of the hole.  The edges aren’t particularly sharp, but a lot of repeated jiggling could eventually wear through the SATA cable’s insulation.

Once you connect the SATA drive and boot up the MOI+, it will display “SATA mounted” as one of the front panel messages.  You should then be able to browse to the drive at /mnt/disk, and in TVHeadEnd under Configuration | Recording | Digital Video Recorder you can specify something like /mnt/disk/recordings as the Recording system path, and the in the Timeshift tab you can specify something like /mnt/disk/timeshift as the Storage Path (don’t forget to check the Enabled box if you want timeshifting to work).

One minor annoyance is that if you connect to the SATA drive from another machine on your local network via SMB, it does not show the free space on the mounted drive accurately, but instead shows the free space remaining in the MOI+ internal storage.  This may prevent you from copying large files to that drive via SMB, though I can’t think of any reason you’d want to.  TVHeadEnd has no problem with saving large files to the drive, and if you really feel the need to copy a large file to the drive you can always use SFTP, which works fine for the purpose.

In case you are wondering, when TVHeadEnd saves recordings to the drive, it saves them as .ts (MPEG transport stream) files, which can be copied and played using any software that recognizes that file format (such as VLC).  Of course, Kodi/XBMC can also play the recorded programs.

There are two USB ports on the device but it appears they only recognize devices formatted as FAT32, which you definitely don’t want to use for saving satellite recordings due to the limitations of that filesystem.  Also, it appears that a FAT32 device is only automatically mounted for a short time at bootup for the purpose of accessing any update files and installing the updates.  If you want to access a device plugged into the USB port thereafter, you will need to ssh into the device and issue a mount command from the command prompt. A Linux guru may well be able to get more functionality out of the USB ports, but I am not a Linux guru and my SATA connected drive worked perfectly, so I really didn’t attempt to do much with the USB ports.

The only downside of using a SATA drive is that there is no provision for mounting it inside the case.  I mentioned earlier the question of whether there is a power source available that is capable of powering the drive.  That said, there is certainly available enough room inside the case for a laptop-size hard drive, but there are no mounting brackets or any other obvious way to mount one there.  But in our testing, an external SATA drive powered by a separate external power supply has been working very well for recording programs.

Saving the internal flash memory

If there is one thing that I think might have been a questionable design choice for this unit, it is that the flash memory is not removable and replaceable.  What this means is that eventually, hopefully after many years of use, the internal memory will have received the maximum number of write cycles that it will accept, and it will begin to fail.  If that happens, the entire device will likely fail and there will be no easy way for the end user to bring it back to life.  So, it’s preferable to limit what is written to the flash memory, and one of the biggest offenders is log files, since they are continuously created.

For those knowledgeable in Linux, an easy solution is to symlink the /var/log file on the device to a directory on the hard drive.  Of course, you only want to do that if you have added a hard drive and plan to leave it continuously connected.

There are plenty of pages on the Internet that explain how create a symlink in Linux so I won’t cover that here.  But basically, there are five broad steps to making this work:

  1. Create a directory on your hard drive to hold your log files, and make sure that ownership and permissions are the same as for the original /var/log directory.
  2. Copy the existing contents of /var/log to your new directory.
  3. Rename the existing /var/log directory to something like /var/log.backup
  4. Create the symlink, linking /var/log to your new directory.
  5. Verify that if you do “cd /var/log” and then list the contents of the directory, you see the original contents of /var/log (which should be the same as in  /var/log.backup).  If it looks okay, reboot the device.

Please do not attempt this if you aren’t familiar with Linux, because if you mess things up and accidentally delete any vital files, you could wind up having to do a full firmware reinstall, and you would lose your entire current configuration!

By the way, I am not suggesting that the log files are the only files that are sufficiently large, or updated frequently enough to consider moving them to the hard drive.  As I gain more experience with the MOI+, I may well decide that there are other files or directories that fall into that category.  I just wanted to point out that it is possible to do this.

In my attempts to ascertain how much of an issue this really is, I discovered that the primary filesystem on this device is formatted using yaffs2, which I had never heard of prior to encountering it here. This is revealed if you run the mount command:

[root@moi /]# mount
rootfs on / type rootfs (rw)
/dev/root on / type yaffs2 (rw,relatime)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,relatime)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,relatime,gid=5,mode=620)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,relatime,mode=777)
tmpfs on /tmp type tmpfs (rw,relatime)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,relatime)
/dev/sda1 on /mnt/disk type ext4 (rw,relatime,barrier=1,data=ordered)

The final line of the above output is the attached SATA hard drive.

My understanding is that yaffs2 is designed to be more “friendly” to flash memory than some other, better-known filesystems, by minimizing unnecessary writes, so at least the designers of the MOI+ appear to have taken the limitations of flash memory into account. However, this cannot prevent application software from performing excessive writes.

If TBS ever comes out with a second generation MOI+, I would hope they would consider using removable and replaceable flash memory, perhaps a SD card such as is used by the Raspberry Pi.  That way, if the memory ever does go bad, the user could simply replace it, reload the firmware, and get the device working again.  Another potential improvement that could work with the existing hardware would be to give users some way to copy the entire system from the internal memory to the hard drive, and then run it from there, so that virtually all writes go to the hard drive and not the flash memory.  Unfortunately, I’m not familiar enough with Linux to be able to tell you how to do that, or whether it’s even possible.

Using a different tuner card

I wanted to test this unit using multiple tuner connected to DiSEqC switches, so I swapped out the provided card with a TBS6985 DVB-S2 Quad Tuner PCIe Card.  At one point I had four tuners recording high definition signals, and I was simultaneously playing one of them using XBMC on my computer.  I also ssh’ed into the MOI+ and found that the CPU was hardly breaking a sweat – it rarely edged up to around 25% but that was about it.  The recordings made with this unit have virtually flawless.

MOI+ inside with 4 port tuner card

The above photo shows the MOI+ with the TBS-6985 tuner card installed, and also the SATA cable for the external drive.  I did have one small issue after installing this card with regard to TVHeadEnd, which found the card and showed the tuners properly, but when I tried to scan for signals it didn’t appear to be receiving anything.

TVHeadEnd with TBS6985 installed

It turns out that for some reason, when a TBS-6985 card is installed TVHeadEnd identifies the tuners in the reverse order of what you’d expect. So, whereas you might expect tuner port A to be mapped to adaper0, and tuner port D to be mapped to adapter3, in fact it’s exactly the reverse, where tuner ports A, B, C, and D  are on adapters 3, 2, 1, and 0 respectively in TVHeadEnd’s configuration.  Once I figured that out and adjusted my TVHeadEnd configuration accordingly, it worked great!  So if you ever install a different tuner and it doesn’t seem to be working, make sure it’s not simply an issue of the tuners being mapped in reverse order to the adapters in TVHeadEnd.  Note that this reversal did not occur with the original tuner card that was installed in the device, so you might or might not see this happen with any given TBS tuner card.

Note that you can’t just plug in any old DVB tuner – since this is a TBS device it quite naturally assumes you will be using a TBS card.  And only certain cards will work (there is a list at the bottom of the product page).  It accepts certain TBS DVB-S2, DVB-T2/T/C, and DVB-C tuner cards, although the latter two types would not be very useful in North America.

Keeping the time

If you plan on using the MOI+ to record programs on a schedule, then it is rather important that the system time be accurate.  The device is not configured by default to sync up with any time servers on the Internet, and unfortunately its internal clock has a tendency to lose several seconds per day.  But, you can make the MOI+ synchronize the time once by running this from the command prompt:

ntpd -q -p north-america.pool.ntp.org

If you are not in North America or wish to use a different NTP time server (perhaps one on your own network), substitute it for north-america.pool.ntp.org.  Or, you can just use pool.ntp.org, which should connect you to a nearby server. You can make ntpd run as a service until the next reboot by leaving out the -q option,

Note, however, that if you change the time while TVHeadEnd is running, and you do not reboot immediately afterwards, your recordings are likely to have incorrect time code information.  This is probably the most annoying quirk of TVHeadEnd that I have encountered.  I strongly suggest that you don’t ever run any command that impacts the system time if you do not plan to reboot afterwards, because what happens is that TVHeadEnd will make recordings that are challenging to play, especially if you like skip forward or backward while viewing a program.  Also, the reported duration of the recording may be wrong – for example, I’ve seen a one hour program reported as a two hour program.  I’ve never actually had a recording that could not be viewed at all, but viewing the program was a lot less enjoyable when I couldn’t skip backwards or forwards, or use fast forward or rewind.

The solution to that is to start ntpd as a service every time the system reboots, and before TVHeadEnd starts.  To do that, you need to add a script in the /etc/init.d directory named S95ntpd.  The “S95″ part of the filename sets the priority, and should cause the script to run after your network connections have been established, but before TVHeadEnd is started.  Here is a sample S95ntpd script:

#!/bin/sh
#
# ntpd        Starts ntpd
#

start() {
	echo -n "Starting ntpd: "
	/usr/sbin/ntpd -p north-america.pool.ntp.org
	echo "OK"
}
stop() {
	echo -n "Stopping ntpd: "
	killall ntpd
	echo "OK"
}
restart() {
	stop
	start
}

case "$1" in
  start)
	start
	;;
  stop)
	stop
	;;
  restart|reload)
	restart
	;;
  *)
	echo "Usage: $0 {start|stop|restart}"
	exit 1
esac

exit $?

Don’t forget to change the time server address to the one you prefer to use, if you don’t want to use north-america.pool.ntp.org.  After adding the script, open a ssh session and run this to make the script executable:

chmod 755 /etc/init.d/S95ntpd

After rebooting the system you can run this to see if ntpd is running:

ps aux | grep ntpd

You should see something like this:

 1035 root       0:00 /usr/sbin/ntpd -p north-america.pool.ntp.org
30856 root       0:00 grep ntpd

It’s the first line that is important; as long as that is there you know that ntpd is working.

I am not a Linux coder so for all I know the above may not be the best possible example of such a script, but it seems to work for me (if you have any problems, try replacing the leading spaces in the lines with tabs).  Also, the above script only works when you have a working Internet connection.  If you are going to use the MOI+ in a situation where you don’t have Internet access, I have read that you can use the adjtimex command to fix the drift of the system and hardware clocks, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

If you go into the TVHeadEnd Configuration | General section, you may notice checkboxes for “Update time” and “Enable NTP Driver”.  If ntpd is not running then these settings will not persist, and if nptd is running and you set them, at least in my experience you’re likely to get recordings with bad time code information, which as mentioned above can make playing them a challenge. And, the settings still will not persist through the next reboot. So, my advice is that you don’t check either of those boxes.

Connecting Kodi/XBMC to the TVHeadEnd backend

Once TVHeadEnd is up and running it is easy to connect Kodi or XBMC.  All you need to do is this (from the XBMC Wiki):

  1. Go to Settings -> Add-ons -> Enabled add-ons -> PVR Clients and select the Tvheadend add-on
  2. Select “Configure”
  3. By default, you should only need to fill in Tvheadend hostname or IP address.

 

Quirks of the TVHeadEnd software

This is not properly part of the review of the MOI+, but should you purchase one I’d like to see you as happy with it as I am with this one.  TVHeadEnd has a bit of a learning curve, to put it mildly, but fortunately it’s not that hard to get it set up and to get it streaming to Kodi/XBMC, or whatever other compatible software you’d like to use.  I’ve used at least two other backend programs prior to TVHeadEnd (Mythbuntu and MediaPortal).  TVHeadEnd is, for the most part, definitely easier to configure than either of those once you figure out that certain options aren’t exposed until you select another option that requires them.  When I was trying to get MediaPortal to work, one of the things that really drove me batty was their screwy method of handling DiSEqC and 22kHz tone switches.  In contrast, TVHeadEnd handles things like that in a much more logical manner, although you do run into the occasional weird thing (like the tuners sometimes being mapped in reverse order). Still, with one exception (importing guide data), this was the easiest of the three programs to configure, in my opinion.

But TVHeadEnd does have a few weird quirks.  One is that after you have mapped services so that they appear in the Channels tab (under Configuration | Channels / EPG), you will probably want to try to rename many of them.  Under the Channels tab (NOT Services), you can rename a channel by clicking on it, then clicking the Edit button, and then changing the name.  BUT if you do that, what you may find is that Kodi/XBMC or whatever you are using can no longer tune in that channel!  The fix for that is to delete the channel under the Channels tab, go back to Configuration | DVB Inputs | Services and map the channel again, and then before you attempt to rename it again, clear the cookies from your browser and reload the page (or use a different browser to do the renaming).  I have no idea what causes this problem, or why clearing cookies or using a different browser works, but it was the only way I could get all the channels renamed the way I wanted.

When you have added your LNB’s, DiSEqC and/or tone switches, etc. and configured everything according to the instructions, TVHeadEnd does an initial scan of the transponders on that satellite.  This does take some time, so don’t be in too big of a hurry to go in and map services.  However, it does not seem to find all the transponders, and I had to add several of them manually (particularly the ones using DVB-S2).  I don’t know whether TVHeadEnd actually has some kind of blind scan logic, or if it is using a transponder list that may be somewhat out of date (I suspect the latter), but it doesn’t find everything up there without some assistance.

One problem we have in North America is that most of the available signals on the satellites do not include embedded guide data, which is sometimes referred to as Event Information Table (EIT) data. In other parts of the world this information is commonly provided within the satellite signals themselves, and therefore software developers based in Europe, Asia, or Australia/New Zealand tend to assume it’s available everywhere, which makes it far more difficult than it should be to utilize certain other backend software.

Getting guide data into TVHeadEnd is a subject for its own article, but I will just say this much.  If you plan to use an xmltv.xml or similar XML format file, as produced by a program such as mc2xml, you will likely need to create that file on a different machine than the MOI+ and then transfer it over to the MOI+ via SFTP or SMB.  If you dig around in the TVHeadEnd documentation and on their forum long enough, you will discover that what you need to do is obtain a file called tv_grab_file and place it into the /usr/bin directory on the system running TVHeadEnd.  And if you do that on the MOI+, it won’t work, because the original tv_grab_file is a bash script, and BusyBox doesn’t run bash, it uses ash instead.  Fortunately, a converted script is available, thanks to the efforts of Harald Becker, a participant on the BusyBox mailing list.  Here is the converted tv_grab_file script that will run on the MOI+:

#!/bin/sh

if [ $# -lt 1 ]
then
  cat /mnt/disk/.xmltv/tv_grab_file.xmltv
  exit 0
fi

while [ $# -gt 0 ]
 do case "$1" in
   -d | --description )
     printf "tv_grab_file is a simple grabber that just read the ~/.xmltv/tv_grab_file.xmltv file\n"
     ;;

   -v | --version )
     printf "0.1\n"
     ;;

   -c | --capabilities )
     printf "baseline\n"
     ;;

    -* )
      printf "unknown option: %s\n" "$1"
      printf "Usage: %s: [--description] [--version] [--capabilities]\n" ${0##*/}
      exit 2
      ;;

 esac; shift
done

exit 0

Note that you may need to modify the path or filename in the line that starts with “cat” – it should point to the xmltv file that you want TVHeadEnd to use. I copy the file to the hard drive to so as not to use space on, or cause unnecessary writes to the device’s internal memory. Save the above script with the filename tv_grab_file and copy it to the /usr/bin directory on the MOI+. Then, open a ssh session and run this to make the script executable:

chmod 755 /usr/bin/tv_grab_file

One other thing to note is that even after TVHeadEnd successfully reads in an XML file for the first time, it may take a while for the channels in that file to become available for mapping, which is done in the same place where you edit channel names. The channels in your XML file should appear in the EPG Source dropdown, but there may be some delay. If they don’t appear, rebooting the MOI+ may help.

In case you are wondering where you tell TVHeadEnd to use the tv_grab_file script, that’s under Configuration | Channel/EPG | EPG Grabber, in the Internal Grabber section. After you have installed tv_grab_file and fixed the permissions, you will probably need to reboot the MOI+ to make this option appear.

TBHeadEnd Internal Grabber Settings

The grab interval can be whatever you like, it is simply how often TVHeadEnd tries to re-import the XML file. Since the guide data on most sites is only updated once a day anyway, and since you apparently can’t control the time of day at which TVHeadEnd runs the tv_grab_file script, running it twice a day will at least refresh the script within 12 hours of the time the XML file was copied over to the MOI+.

The above is not a complete guide on getting schedule data into TVHeadEnd on the MOI+ (as I mentioned above, that may be the subject of an upcoming article) but if you know your way around TVHeadEnd, the above should get you through the major hurdles.

I should mention that TVHeadEnd does have one glaring deficiency – if you don’t have schedule data available for a particular channel, then to the best of my knowledge you cannot set up a recurring recording on that channel. You can tell it to record once at a specific time on a specific channel, but without schedule data there is no way to specify that you want to record that same channel at the same time every day or every week. If all else fails, you could always create your own schedule data for a channel in XMLTV File format, but again, that would be a subject for an upcoming article, if there is any interest in that.

One other quirk worth mentioning is that when attempting to tune live TV from the MOI+ and TVHeadEnd using XBMC Gotham 13.2, on rare occasions it will at first display video but no audio.  This never occurs with recordings, only with live TV, and reselecting the channel always fixes the problem.  Once the sound starts playing, then it is okay from that point on, and the audio does not subsequently disappear (unless the channel itself drops the audio).  I suspect this is a problem with XBMC or perhaps the XBMC PVR add-on for TVHeadEnd, rather than TVHeadEnd itself, because if XBMC is receiving video then it’s receiving the transport stream, which always contains the sound (assuming there is sound available, of course).

In conclusion (finally!)

Let me just put it this way, I had previously built up a backend system using Windows 7 and MediaPortal, and the TBS6985 Quad Tuner card I mentioned above was originally purchased for use in that.  But I always had issues with MediaPortal, such as missed recordings and partial recordings, which I think are in part attributable to the fact that it has issues controlling DiSEqC switches.  It took me the better part of the summer to get that system running halfway well.

Yet when I saw how well the MOI+ worked, I took down that system and installed the TBS6985 in the MOI+ and I am MUCH happier with the way the MOI+ works.  It’s not that there are no challenges at all to getting it working, but after only a week of use it was working better than the previous system did, despite fully two months of banging my head against the wall (figuratively speaking) trying to get the previous backend to work properly.

Now I realize that some readers may think that I am only giving a relatively glowing review because TBS sent me a free unit for evaluation.  All I can say is that I don’t do that; I tell it like it is, and overall I really am happy with this device.  Plus, if you notice all the hints and tips for configuration that I have given above, you will realize that I have spent a considerable amount of time with the MOI+ and TVHeadEnd.  I’ve had no previous exposure to either, other than looking at TVHeadEnd one time for about 20 minutes, so I had to put the time in to learn how to do certain things, and I would not have made that effort if I didn’t like the results I was getting.  If nothing had been working out, it would have been much easier to just stick with my old system and write a four or five paragraph review, and let it go at that.  But the more I used the MOI+, the more impressed I was with it.

As I write this, the MOI+ is available at Amazon (and note that is NOT an affiliate link, so it doesn’t put a dime in my pocket if you buy one).  When comparing prices, keep in mind that it can essentially replace a computer running a backend server.  Also, if you are considering it for any kind of commercial installation, there are brackets that can be attached to make the MOI+ rack mountable.

Thank you for reading this review, and if you do decide to purchase a MOI+, I hope that my configuration hints are helpful to you!

Disclosure:

Just in case you somehow missed it the first two times I mentioned it, I did get a free MOI+ in exchange for the promise of writing this review. However, I did not promise to write anything specific or to only say favorable things about the MOI+. Hopefully, I’ve now made that clear enough to keep our friends at the FTC happy!

2015 china TBS New Release Presentation:TBS6908/TBS6983/TBS7720/TBS2216

At the beginning of new year 2015,  TBS released a series of TV Tuner cards, like TBS6908/TBS6983 DVB S2 Professional Card. They are the successor of the old model TBS6925, but much more stable and powful than TBS6925. The price will be more acceptable for most of satellite feedhunter enthusiast. BuyDVB Store will provide more TBS new products information in the following 2015.

TBS6908 Professional DVB-S2 Quad Tuner PCIe Card

TBS6908 is a Professional level digital satellite TV Tuner card with PCI Express interface. TBS6908 supports not only normal DVB-S2/DVB-S QPSK, 8PSK which is supported by normal satellite receivers, but also CCM, ACM, VCM, Multi Input Stream, 16APSK,32APSK,Generic Stream Mode , which most satellite receiving devices can’t support. With use of dedicated TBS tools, those special streams can be captured. Both Windows BDA driver and Linux driver up to the latest kernel 3.X are ready.

Main Features:

Quad tuner DVB-S2/S transponders receiving

CCM, VCM, ACM and Multi Input Stream support

Generic stream mode Support

Up to 190 Mbit/s channel bit rate capture

Wide range symbol rates support from 1Msps to 45Msps

High-speed data download via satellite

Unicable/one cable compatible

Blindscan

High reliability

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TBS6983 Professional DVB-S2 Dual Tuner PCIe Card

TBS6983 Professional DVB-S2 Dual Tuner PCIe Card, built with the highest industry standard, with its rock reliability is the device that any personal enthusiasts or engineers in digital satellite TV industry dream to have. The applying of an unique DVB-S2 demodulator chipset makes it possible to receive special streams broadcasted with ACM, VCM, Multi Input Stream, 16APSK,32APSK or Generic Stream Mode. The built in hardware blind can feature allows scanning of unknown satellite transponder with symbol rate as low as 200ksps, while most satellite receiving device can receive no less than 1Msps symbol rate. Such blind scan feature can be achieved by dedicated TBS tool.
Main Features:

DVB-S2/S transponders receiving
CCM, VCM, ACM and Multi Input Stream support
Generic stream mode Support
Up to 190 Mbit/s channel bit rate capture
Wide range symbol rates support from 1Msps to 45Msps
High-speed data download via satellite
Unicable/one cable compatible
Blindscan

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TBS7220 DVB-T2/T/C TV Tuner mini PCIe Card

TBS 7220 DVB-T2/T/C TV Tuner mini PCIe Card, is a digital terrestrial tuner card with DVB-C function added, which allows you to enjoy free-to-air (FTA) digital terrestrial/ cable TV and digital stereo radio on PC. TBS 7220 can be used as a digital video recorder for recording digital terrestrial/cable TV programs with full HDTV support. It also enables you to pause a live broadcast and continue from where you left with the Time-shifting function. This DVB T2/T/C PC TV card is ready with windows BDA driver and Linux driver. It’s ideal for watching UK Freeview SD and HD channels on your PC.

 

Please ensure you can receive the Digital Terrestrial Television (DVB-T, DVB-T2, Freeview) service in your region. The TBS 7220 requires you use a high-gain roof aerial to enable and enjoy reliable Digital Television reception throughout the UK.

 

Main Features:

Watch free-to-air digital terrestrial TV on PC

DVB-T2, DVB-T and DVB-C are supported

High-definition video, real-time and scheduled video recording

High sensitivity tuner for the best digital TV reception

TBS2216 HDMI Encoder Professional HD video coding box

Main Features:

l  Professional high-definition video coding box

l  Equipped with 1 HDMI channel input and dual stream RJ45 output

l  MPEG-4 AVC/H.264,dual stream H.264 ,audio ACC format support

l  Widely used in IPTV/Video Conference/Live Broadcast/NVR etc

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TBS2216 HDMI Encoder Professional HD video coding box

l  Professional high-definition video coding box

l  Equipped with 1 HDMI channel input and dual stream RJ45 output

l  MPEG-4 AVC/H.264,dual stream H.264 ,audio ACC format support

l  Widely used in IPTV/Video Conference/Live Broadcast/NVR etc

===============================================================================

Comparison of TBS6925 & TBS6983 & TBS6908

TBS6925( 1 Generation) TBS6983( 2 Generation) TBS6908( 3 Generation)
Price US$249.99 US$249.99 US$449.99
Tuner Single tuner Dual tuner Quad tuner
Chip Component ST0900aac ST0910ADB FPGA PCIE
Connect Interface PCI-E PCI-E PCI-E
DVB-S2/S Transponders Receiving 1xTransponder 2xTransponder 4xTransponder
DVBS2 QPSK/8PSK
DVBS2 16APSK
DVBS2 32APSK
CCM, ACM, VCM
Software Support Windows7 Media Center, MediaPortal,DVBDream, DVBViewer, XBMC, MythTV, etc Windows7 Media Center, MediaPortal,DVBDream, DVBViewer, XBMC, MythTV, etc Windows7 Media Center, MediaPortal,DVBDream, DVBViewer, XBMC, MythTV, etc
System Windows, Linux Windows, Linux Windows, Linux
Applications Satellite feed hunt/Satellite data download/Lock of special transponders Satellite feed hunt/Satellite data download/Lock of special transponders Satellite feed hunt/Satellite data download/Lock of special transponders
Low Profile Size 120mm*58mm 130mm*62mm 145mm*92mm
M

Dreambox DM7080 HD ab

Dreambox DM7080 HD ab sofort in mehreren Varianten vorbestellbarDie neue Dreambox DM7080 HD wird in mehreren Ausstattungsvarianten auf den Markt kommen. Diese können ab sofort vorbestellt werden. Auch ein voraussichtliches Lieferdatum wird erstmals genannt.
Die neue Dreambox DM7080 HD soll im kommenden Monat das Feld der Linux-basierten Enigma2-Receiver ordentlich aufwirbeln. Die Box des Herstellers Dream Property wird mit einem 7000-DMIPS-Dual-Core-Prozessor, einem Flash-Speicher von 4 GB und einem Arbeitsspeicher von 2 GM RAM auf den Markt kommen. Als weiteres Merkmal bietet der Receiver einen HDMI-Eingang, mit dem aktuell nur die Top-Modelle von Xtrend, Golden Interstar oder Atemio aufwarten können.
In der Grundausstattung verfügt die DM7080 HD über einen Twin-Tuner für DVB-S2. Daneben besitzt der Receiver noch zwei Steckplätze für Wechseltuner und lässt sich somit flexibel für alle Empfangswege ausstatten. Je nach Grundausstattung variiert dabei der Preis für die neue Dreambox. Diese kann ab sofort beim Händler HM-Sat in verschiedenen Ausstattungsvarianten vorbestellt werden. Der Preis für das Einstiegsmodell liegt dabei bei 619 Euro. Mit vier DVB-S-Tunern ab Werk werden 759 Euro fällig.

how to download a channels list for your dreambox

You can rearrange the channels on your Dreambox to make them easier to navigate but why bother when someone else has already done this for you? This quick guide will have you up and running with a new channel list in a few minutes.

1. Download dreamboxedit from http://dreambox.happyllama.com/ as a zip file
2. Extract the files to a working directory (I used C:/Program Files/Dreamboxedit/ on my PC)
3. Create a working directory for the data files. For simplicity I used C:/Program Files/Dreamboxedit/Data/
4. Download the channel list you want to use from the tm9100.co.uk board at http://www.vhannibal.net or whatever source you prefer
5. Extract the channel list files to your new working directory
6. Launch dreamboxedit.exe

7. On the Profiles tab under Options, change the IP address of Dreambox to the IP address of your Dreambox and click Test IP Connection to confirm that this worked.
8. Change the Password on Dreambox to your Dreambox password (dreambox is the default on manufacturer images).
9. Click Test Username / Password to confirm everything is working so far!
10. Select the file path by choosing the appropriate version for your Enigma firmware. For example if you have a DM 500s, you need to select Satellite receiver. Other models such as DM 500HD and DM 800HD select New Enigma2 settings.
11. If everything works, click the Save button to save this as your default profile
12. You will now be at the dreamboxedit main screen.

13. Click the FTP Button to load the FTP screen and type the name of your working directory, in my case Data.

14. Click the Back button to return to the main screen and click the folder icon to open a listing of files in your working directory. From this list select the channel list you downloaded earlier and click OK.
15. You should now return to the main screen with your chosen channel list loaded
16. Edit the channel list if required. The most likely edit you will want to do is to sort the Services screen by satellite (Just by clicking the headingSatellite) and then deleting all services for those satellites that you are not able to recieve. Deleting the channel from the services list will also remove it from the bouquets.
17. Once you are happy with the look of your channel list, click the FTP button once more and click the Send Files to Dreambox button.
18. If you have edited the list you will be prompted to save the changes you made, just accept this.
19. Once the FTP completes succesfully, click the Reload settings on Dreambox button to activate the new channel list on your Dreambox
20. Once the FTP log shows the message “Second of two steps completed. Reload command ready.” you are ready to use your new channel list.
21. Press up or down on the bouquet button on the Dreambox remote to load the bouquet menu and press the blue button to select User Bouquets and there you have your shiny new channel list

ThinkPads get Broadwell and break the 100 million mark

Lenovo says it’s crossed a huge milestone with its ThinkPad line that’s impressive even if you say it without the Dr. Evil pinkie to the lips: 100 million.

That sales figure, of course, goes all the way back to 1992 and the ThinkPad 700 when Big Blue was hawking the line.

IBM, as we all know, gave up on the PC in 2004 and sold its PC division to Lenovo in a move that was first seen as prescient, but these days might be seen as trading away a graying quarterback who then goes on to win the Super Bowl the next season. Current events record Lenovo as the top PC vendor in the world, selling one out of every five PCs, while IBM has been in the doldrums for the last couple of years.

To mark the event, Lenovo said it actually pulled out ThinkPad No. 100,000,000, named it Eve and will be letting her (yes, it’s a she) Tweet throughout the year. I’m hoping to snap a selfie with Eve at CES.

Lenovo is also apparently celebrating by giving its ThinkPad lineup a refresh using Intel’s latest 5th-generation CPUs. That’s pre-announcement-speak for Broadwell, of course.

The most notable refresh is the benchmark for most commercial Ultrabooks: the ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

 

For the most part the ThinkPad X1 Carbon hasn’t changed much in external appearance since 2012, when it was first shipped with Intel 3rd-gen Ivy Bridge chips. The X1 Carbon saw one refresh last year with a 4th-gen Haswell Intel CPU, and now Lenovo is back with a 5th-gen Intel CPU version. Broadwell’s big promise is slightly better CPU performance, a better GPU and longer battery life, too. Lenovo says the X1 Carbon will hit 10 hours of run time on a charge.

Although it looks almost exactly the same, the latest ThinkPad X1 Carbon does offer some differences. The top-end screen is still a 14-inch, 2560×1440 touch-enabled IPS panel, but the lower-resolution screen is now 1920×1080 instead of 1600×900. The keyboard is modified slightly (maybe an actual caps lock so we can scream in emails?), and an improved click pad appears as well.

Lenovo says it is now also offering a PCIe-based SSD, but we’re not clear on how that’s changed from the previous model’s M.2 SSD. I’ll let you know if I’m able to dig more info out of Lenovo during the chaos of CES.

Weight remains the same at 2.87 lbs, and Lenovo still claims the X1 Carbon is the “lightest 14-inch Ultrabook around.” The price of the X1 Carbon starts at $1,250 and moves up as you ladle on options.

 

Other ThinkPads get buff

I like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon as much as the next nerd, but others ThinkPads also get the Broadwell love—namely, the rest of the X, T, L and E series. So $1,149 ThinkPad X250? Take a 5th-gen CPU too. T450s and T450? ($1,099 and $849), you, too. Budget ThinkPad E450 and E550 (starting at $599) will offer Broadwell for you as well! Unfortunately you won’t be buying these updated ThinkPads immediately: Lenovo says it won’t have the units available until next month. Further details of any changes to these units weren’t disclosed by Lenovo before CES kicked off.

thinkpad thinkvision x24 sh02LENOVO
The ThinkVision X24 is aimed at business customers who apparently care what a computer monitor looks like.

It’s not all about ThinkPads, either. Lenovo is also introducing the ThinkVision X24 monitor, aimed—surprisingly—at business customers who apparently don’t want their monitors to look like they came out of a 1990s movie.

The ThinkVision X24 is 7.5mm at its thinnest section and offers a 1920×1080 resolution with HDMI and DisplayPort inputs, which we’re going to assume are HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2 respectively. The monitor will start at $250.

The Withings Activité Pop is a cheaper brand of beautiful fitness-tracking wristwatch

The Withings Activité is a watch. A Swiss Made watch, much like the ones we’ve been wearing for decades — only slightly smarter. At $450, it’s a serious purchase, an investment in quality. Now Withings has tweaked the formula a bit. The Activité Pop, which was just announced at CES 2015, is a $149.95 wristwatch made more for the Timex wearer.

The Pop comes in three colors: Azure, Shark Gray, and Sand. Which is to say it comes in black, blue, and beige. (There are other strap colors, too.) You won’t find “Swiss Made” anywhere on these devices, because they’re not nearly as high-end as the Activité; they’re made of PVD-coated metal, a standard material in many mid-range watches, along with a silicone strap. The watch is water-resistant up to 30 meters, and its battery lasts up to eight months.

The looks are different, but the Activité’s functionality all carries over to the Pop. It’s designed to tell the time, of course, with a simple face and two dials to help you keep track of everything. While you wear it, it’s invisibly tracking your sleep, your steps, and your swimming. It syncs to Withings’ Health Mate app to help you track everything, though it’s iOS-only for now. (Android support is apparently still coming soon.) In a lot of ways, a slightly lower-end device makes sense; on the Activité, when you want to run or swim you have to swap straps, but the Pop can handle anything as-is.

The Pop will be on sale at Best Buy, starting January 5th. It proves Withings is on to something with the Activité lineup, and the best thing about the Pop is that it makes the idea — a great-looking watch that just happens to do a little more — accessible to a market that can’t or won’t spend $450 on a watch. Oh, and the blue looks pretty great.

Roku to stream 4K Ultra HD Netflix on future models

CES is a prime occasion for all parts of the TV industry to promote the slow but inevitable march to 4K becoming widely adopted, from TV manufacturers to content providers. This year, Roku is among the companies making 4K a priority — the company has just announced that it plans to support 4K Ultra HD streaming in future models. To start pushing the format forward, the company has built a Roku TV reference model to license out to smart TV manufacturers, and Chinese manufacturing giant TCL has been announced as the first partner who’ll build 4K TVs running the Roku TV platform.

Naturally, Roku will need 4K content, and Netflix is being announced as its first 4K streaming content provider. It’s a logical choice, given how Netflix has been one of the first supporters and distributors of popular 4K video, even though its selection is still rather limited. Of course, Roku hasn’t said when we can expect to see models that support the 4K resolution, so by the time they launch Netflix may have filled out its content selection a bit more.

THERE’S NO WORD YET ON WHEN THESE NEW 4K-CAPABLE MODELS WILL LAUNCH

In addition to its new 4K push, Roku also announced the expansion of the Roku TV platform with two new hardware partners. Best Buy’s Insignia brand will start offering Roku TV on select models starting this spring. Haier is also planning to include Roku TV on some of its smart TVs, but they won’t be available until Q3 of this year. Still, Haier is a natural partner for Roku — the company was one of the first to put its weight behind the Roku streaming stick at CES 2013. While the wide variety of devices like Roku and its competitors means that it isn’t terribly essential to have a great smart TV platform built into your TV set, it’s definitely a positive move to see more companies embracing popular platforms like Roku rather than building their own (often substandard) solutions.