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Android Set-top Boxes With Digital Satellite TV Receiver (DVB-S2)

There are now plenty of Android set-top boxes or HDMI TV sticks, but if you want to watch digital satellite or terrestrial TV, the options are limited. If you already have a satellite receiver at home, you could buy an Android set-top box with an HDMI input such as Huawei MediaQ M310, or use a DVB-S2 USB adapter, but you may need to acquire both the kernel source and DVB driver to compile it for your device. So for now, the last option is currently reserved for ODM/OEM as mentioned on Geniatech store. But today, I’m going to write about an Android set-top boxes that comes with a satellite receiver (DVB-S2). They are all based on AMLogic AML8726-M1/M3, and models include:

Geniatech ATV1100B

Geniatech ATV1100B

Geniatech ATV1100B Key Features:

  • SoC – AmLogic AML8726-M1 ARM Cortex A9 @ 800MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB RAM
  • Storage – 2 to 32GB flash memory (optional) + SD card
  • Digital TV – ISDB-T / ATSC / DVB-T / DVB-T2 / DVB-S / DVB-S2 / DMB-TH standards
  • Connectivity:
    • Ethernet – RJ45 10/100M
    • Wi-Fi – Built in 802.11b/g/n module
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4a (Up to 1080p), CVBS
  • Audio Output – HDMI + Line out via RCA
  • USB – 3x external USB ports
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A

Digital TV support will depend on the country you live, and even your exact location, so when you buy, you’d better make sure you’re using the correct standard. I’ll give a short description for the 7 digital TV standards mentioned above:

  • ISDB-T – “Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting – Terrestrial” – Used in Japan and Brazil
  • ATSC – “Advanced Television Systems Committee” – Used in North America (USA, Canada, Mexico)
  • DVB-T – “Digital Video Broadcast – Terrestrial” – Used in Europe, India, South East Asia, Oceania, and a few other countries.
  • DVB-T2 – “Digital Video Broadcast — Second Generation Terrestrial” – Used in a subset of countries using DVB-T. Read “Market Adoption” in Wikipedia to know which country used the second generation of the standard.
  • DVB-S – “Digital Video Broadcast – Satellite” -  Accessible worldwide. MPEG2 codec, standard definition broadcast.
  • DVB-S2 – “Digital Video Broadcast – Satellite – Second Generation ” – Accessible worldwide. MPEG4 codec, support for both standard and high definition broadcast. Backward compatible with DVB-S (As I understand it).
  • DMB-T/H – “Digital Multimedia Broadcast – Terrestrial/Handheld” – Now called DMBT. Used in Greater China and Laos. Some middle east countries are experimenting with the standard.

For Satellite support, it’s pretty easy as DVB-S and DVB-S2 are supported worldwide. A few years ago, I needed 2 different dongles to support DVB-T and DMB-T/H, so I’m not sure if the STB can only support a subset of standards, or there’s just one tuner supporting all standard in ATV1100B.

One person has acquired an STV-502 media player, and dedicated one website (dvbdroid.info) to the device with links to the user’s manual, firmware files, DVBPlayer application, and the short video demo below.

At this point, you may think (or not): “Hey! I want one!”. I’ve spent one or two hours looking around for this type of device, but finding the exact model you want is nearly impossible, and searching for “dvb-s2 android” in Aliexpress just return 4 devices without any feedback. STV-502 is available from one manufacturer in Alibaba, with minimum order quantity of 1 piece, so this may also be an option. However, if what you’re looking for is an Android media player supporting DVB-T, there are nearly 500 devices to choose from, with prices starting around $80 including shipping.

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  1. Darethehair
    April 15th, 2013 at 20:12 | #1

    Hmmm…I immediately began wondering if this device could be used as a generic SDR (software defined radio) receiver for Linux folks?

  2. Ian Tester
    April 16th, 2013 at 00:36 | #2

    It could act as a tuner backend for MythTV, sending data back to a master backend with lots of disk space. It’s not really worth it with only one tuner though. Better if it had two or more tuners though.

  3. joker
    April 16th, 2013 at 02:03 | #3

    wOow ! endless possibilities !

  4. April 16th, 2013 at 09:41 | #4

    @Ian Tester
    There has also been some work on the STV-500 for an XBMC port. You can also see in dvbdroid site that it’s a f16ref board, the same as j1nx is working on for XBMC Linux, but just with an extra DVB-S2 tuner.

  5. Javi
    April 16th, 2013 at 14:49 | #5

    Do you remember thid model?

    http://www.asiapads.com/en/android-tv-box-gv10-with-dvb-t-digital-terrestial-tv-android-4-0-2353.html

    Last week I had this model but DVB-S2 version in my hand… A little expensiver than the DVB-T one. I don’t know the DVB-S2 technology very well, so I did not put attention on it. Anyway it’s easy to get one.

  6. April 16th, 2013 at 19:46 | #6

    Yeah, I still have it on my list to pick one of these things up and start implementing the DVB drivers and TVHeadend. I do have TVHeadend enabled though ;)

    But personally I like the German version more;
    http://www.comag.de/de/pro.php?p=196

    (That one works straight out the box with my current firmware, so it is only a matter of getting the drivers enabled)

  7. Javi
    April 16th, 2013 at 19:57 | #7

    @Javi

    I just back from take one… case is exactly same than the DVB-T version. The only difference are the connectors.

  8. April 16th, 2013 at 21:03 | #8

    @Javi
    Yes that should be the only difference together with the tuner.
    DVB-T is connected to you terrestrial antenna, and DVB-S/S2 to your satellite dish.

    I don’t know if people are really interested in this type of device. I got good feedback in Facebook, but guys in Google+ did not care :)

  9. Javi
  10. sam
    April 17th, 2013 at 03:57 | #10

    And what about DVB-C? Missed in action??

  11. April 17th, 2013 at 09:39 | #11

    @sam
    None of Geniatech’s Android boxes support cable TV, and it seems even more difficult to find than DVB-S2.

  12. April 17th, 2013 at 14:14 | #12

    @sam

    You can tune the DVB-T in on the Cable frequencies, so the DVB-T could be consideren as DVB-T/C

  13. sam
    April 18th, 2013 at 16:52 | #14

    j1nx :
    @sam
    You can tune the DVB-T in on the Cable frequencies, so the DVB-T could be consideren as DVB-T/C

    Great news! Thanks j1nx

  14. February 14th, 2014 at 15:08 | #15
  15. natsu
    April 24th, 2014 at 03:24 | #16

    actually,it is very hard to find that it looks, no DVB S2 on other than AML8726-MX, I suppose that this chip will be replaced by the S802 by time, but still not very interesting without HVEC support, I ‘m rather looking for something with the RK3288, with all box tv based on this chip, I hope that some manufacturers will include a DVB S2 tuner

  16. April 24th, 2014 at 10:41 | #17

    @natsu
    Another options is TBS Matrix (Freescale i.MX6) – http://www.cnx-software.com/2013/12/18/tbs-matrix-arm-mini-pc-features-freescale-i-mx6q-supports-usb-dvb-tuners/

    No HEVC of course, albeit something might be done thanks to Vivante GC2000 GPGPU capabilities.
    If you want HEVC for 4K videos distributed by satellites (I’ve read satellite should be first here compared to cable and terrestrial), then you’ll need to wait for another platform. RK3288 will be one of the first chinese SoC to support HEVC 4K so hopefully somebody with make DVB STB or at least support DVB USB dongles.

  1. February 14th, 2014 at 15:40 | #1