Home > Hardware, Linux > V-Bridge Muses Digital TV Modulator Boards Let You Broadcast Your Own TV Channel for $199 and Up (Crowdfunding)

V-Bridge Muses Digital TV Modulator Boards Let You Broadcast Your Own TV Channel for $199 and Up (Crowdfunding)

I wrote about VATek VMB8202D Enmoder SoC handling both DVB, ATSC, DTMB and ISDB modulation and H.264 hardware encoding earlier this summer, and at the time, the company also planned to launch a crowdfunding campaign for two open source hardware DTV modulation boards in a couple of weeks. Weeks turned into months, but finally V-Bridge Muses boards and video input & RF daughterboards have now launched on Kickstarter where you can get your own live video broadcasting board for $199 and up.

MUSES-α board

muses-alpha-dvb-modulator-board

Muses Alpha Board

MUSES-α board is the cheapest of the two boards, and features a header for the RF daughter board, and a USB port to connect to a computer.
MUSES-α board specifications:

  • SoC – VATek A1 32-bit RISC modulator chip
  • Storage – SPI flash (unclear whether it can be accessed/modified by user)
  • Modulation – DVB-T/C, ATSC/QAM, DTMB; RF header
  • Video Encoding – N/A (handled by PC via USB or another board via TS header)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Expansion – UART header, Master I2C header, TS header, GPIO header
  • Debugging – JTAG pin
  • Misc – License MCU
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel

MUSES-α board is sold with the RF board, and allows you to broadcast video over your chosen modulation scheme, through a GUI and video encoded on your PC via the USB interface. Alternatively, you should also be able to input the video signal via the TS serial/parallel header with video encoded by your own board.

MUSES-β board

Muses Beta Board

Muses Beta Board

MUSES-β board combined with the RF daughterboard, video input board, and an optional STM32 kits with display and buttons, is a standalone solution taking video composite + stereo audio (RCA connectors) or HDMI input, encoding the video to MPEG2 or H.264, and broadcasting using your selected modulation scheme.

MUSES-β board specifications:

  • SoC – VATek B2 Enmoder 32-bit RISC chip
  • Storage – SPI flash (unclear whether it can be accessed/modified by user)
  • Modulation – DVB-T/C, ATSC/QAM, DTMB, ISDB-T/TB; RF header
  • Video Encoding – MPEG-2 in full HD resolution, H.264 in SD resolution
  • Video/Audio Input – 2x BT 601/605 header, 1x TS header, video input daughterboard header
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Expansion – UART header, Master I2C header, GPIO header, Ethernet module header, MCU connect header
  • Misc – License MCU, audio switch MCU, reset and rescue buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel

You can also connected to a PC via the USB port to do the same task as you would with Muses-α board. You can more control with the more complete board, as it can be programmed via an host MCU if needed.

Video Input Board (Left) & RF module (Right) - Click to Enlarge

Video Input Board (Left) & RF module (Right) – Click to Enlarge

 

You’ll be given STM32 sample code, an MCU Porting Guide, operating tools, PCB layout & schematic, and a user’s manual  once the boards are shipping.

Three kits are available on Kickstarter:

  1. $199 Basic Package –  MUSES-α Board, RF Board, Power supply (Design complete)
  2. $399 Standard Package –  MUSES-β Board, Video Board, RF Board, Power supply (Work in progress)
  3. $559 (Early bird)/$599 Turnkey Package –  MUSES-β Board, Video Board, RF Board, STM32F4 MCU Board, Panel & Button, Power supply (Design complete)

While you’ll be paying $169 to $200 for a MCU board with LCD display with buttons for the turnkey package, it should be the easiest way to get started with MUSES-β board. The standard package requires you to connect and program your own MCU board to control the system. The basic package should also be straightforward to use then it just relies on the GUI program (no detailed info yet).

Shipping adds $25 (Taiwan) to $70 depending on the destination country, and delivery is scheduled for January 2017. You may also be able to get some more details on V-Bridge Tech website.

  1. natsu
    October 5th, 2016 at 20:33 | #1

    I think such board would be illegal in most countries

  2. October 5th, 2016 at 21:02 | #2

    @natsu
    I guess it should be similar to HAM radio. There might be some licenses to acquire.

  3. ben
    October 5th, 2016 at 22:32 | #3

    There seems to be issue with the link/site… I’m getting Internal Server Error for their funding project..

    For the HDMI input, does it work with encrypted HDCP?

    For those interested in ham radio / atsc , I imagine the transmitting power is low, so an external amplifier is needed?

    LimeSDR also has a nice ATSC transmitter application:
    https://myriadrf.org/blog/digital-video-transmission-using-limesdr-gnu-radio/

  4. olin
    October 6th, 2016 at 02:43 | #4

    @natsu
    I don’t see anything illegal here, providing the brodcast go over coax cable into your receivers only. It’s good for learning DVB stuff and verifying the data (transport stream) you produce / assemble actually works on consumer devices (TVs, set-top-boxes, etc.). Similar commercial products like this exist and you can already buy them, but they cost 6-7 times more and may not be as versatile as this one.

  5. NIPSZX
    October 6th, 2016 at 03:04 | #5

    What is the end device that this device can transmit? Does it broadcast over air to all TVs within a certain range? How could somebody pick up the signal?

  6. October 6th, 2016 at 09:05 | #6

    @NIPSZX
    Yes the video would be picked up by any TV. You’d have to tune to the broadcast frequency.
    The company just contacted me this morning, and I should get the Turnkey Package for evaluation next week, provided it can go through customs…

  7. JJ
    October 6th, 2016 at 12:30 | #7

    Seems like a great toy!
    Looking forward to see the evaluation report on CNX.

  8. so
    October 6th, 2016 at 14:42 | #8

    so, this turnkey basically takes your predefined encodes and then wraps it in the given protocol DVB-t etc !

    it can also encode old HDTV 1080P and tiny standard definition on the fly but that’s not a real reason to buy it for me in 2016/17

    IF they can add in DVB-T2 encapsulation ready for feeding already encoded 4K video.mkv as in the current 4K sports cameras out now, then it may be a viable option for the local distribution, an included omnidirectional transmission antenna would also be required in the package probably as generic yagi directional antenna’s are the usual use case…

  9. Steve
    October 7th, 2016 at 17:46 | #9

    DVB-T is being used for Amateur TV in narrower bands than regular DVB-T which is why this board supports lower bandwiths I guess, and presumably also supports RF frequencies outside regular broadcast TV bands.

    Also – it supports DVB-C and ATSC QAM which are cable standards, and you can happily route DVB-T, ATSC 8VSB and ISDB-T terrestrial digital standards over a cable (just like many hotels do) without causing any legal issues. It would only be a legal problem if you ran this product to send signals over-the-air to receive on regular antennas in a band which you didn’t have a licence to broadcast in (or was unlicensed)

    There should be no problems using this product in Amateur bands (if you meet your country’s amateur licence requirements for the band or are using unlicensed bands)

    I have a similar non-Open Source device from HiDes which I’ve used to create a custom DVB-T mux. http://www.hides.com.tw/product_cg74469_eng.html However the support is not great – but as a proof-of-concept it is great.

    This would be a great way of getting CCTVs into your domestic TV system, or routing the output of a satellite set top box around your TVs without having to go via composite (though I notice the Beta board only modulates HD to MPEG2 not H264). You will need an HDCP workaround I suspect. Though this is not a problem these days AIUI.

  10. October 22nd, 2016 at 06:50 | #10

    BOA NOITE.
    É UM PRAZER FALAR COM VOCÊS. QUERO SABER COM DEVO FAZER PARA COMPRAR ESTE PROJETO, E COMO DEVO FAZER PARA RECEBE-LO AQUI NO BRASIL PRECISO MOITO DESTE PROJETO .O QUE VOCÊS PODE FAZER PARA ME AJUDAR.
    ATENCIOSAMENTE VALDOMIRO MARTINS.
    ESPERO RESPOSTAS . OBRIGADO TENHA UM BOM FIM DE SEMANA.

    GOOD EVENING.
    It IS A PLEASURE TO TALK WITH YOU. WONDER WITH SHOULD I DO TO BUY THIS PROJECT, AND HOW SHOULD I DO TO GET IT HERE IN BRAZIL MOITO NEED THIS PROJECT .The WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP ME.
    CAREFULLY VALDOMIRO MARTINS.
    I hope ANSWERS. THANK YOU HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND.

    晚上好。
    這是與你談話很高興。 WITH應該怎樣做才能買這個項目,我應該怎麼做才能在巴西MOITO GET IT WONDER NEED這個項目.The什麼可以做,以幫助我。
    仔細VALDOMIRO馬丁斯。
    我希望的答案。謝謝您有一個愉快的週末。

  11. October 22nd, 2016 at 09:17 | #11

    @Valdomiro Martins
    You can pledge for the board(s) via the Kickstarter page linked in the post.
    It will be shipped from Asia, so you may have to pay for custom fees too.

  12. valdomiro martins
    November 3rd, 2016 at 06:23 | #12

    BOA NOITE.
    TENHO DUAS PERGUNTAS PARA FAZER.
    1-ESTA PLACA MODULA NO CANAL 69 COM O SISTEMA BRASILEIRO ISDB-T
    2-QUAL E O VALOR DA PLACA E CUSTO DE ENVIO PARA CEP 72255109, Brasília, Distrito Federal.
    OBRIGADO PELA ATENÇÃO.

  13. November 3rd, 2016 at 09:26 | #13

    @valdomiro martins
    1- Better ask on Indiegogo
    2 – The shipping price should be shown on Indiegogo.

  14. Steve
    December 5th, 2016 at 02:29 | #14

    Sadly the campaign didn’t come close to meeting its target, with only 13 backers. Real shame.

  15. December 5th, 2016 at 11:26 | #15

    @Steve
    It’s quite a niche market I suppose.
    While I could use Muses-Beta easily, I never managed to make MUSES-α board work.

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