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V-Bridge Muses DTV Modulator and Video Encoder Review – Part 2: Muses-β Turnkey Solution Demo

November 12th, 2016 No comments

V-Bridge Muses-α and Muses-β boards can be used to respectively broadcast video to DTV standard from your PC, and as a turnkey solution taking any HDMI, CVBS, or USB inputs. The VATek SoC used in those  board support various DTV standards including DVB-T, DVB-C, ATSC/QAM, DTMB, ISDB-T/TB up to full HD resolution. I’ve received an early prototype for each, and I’ve already taken pictures and show how to assemble both Muses-α and Muses-β kits in the first part of the review. Today, I’ll show a demo with Muses-β turnkey solution taking HDMI input from an Android TV box (R-Box Pro), encoding and modulating the video to DVB-T, before broadcast it to an Android STB with a DVB-T/T2 tuner (U4 Quad Hybrid). This tool could be useful to test STB featuring ATSC or ISDB-T too, as those two standards are not supported in my country, and I could instead generate signals within my office.

muses-beta-video-encoder-dtv-demodulator-demo

U4 Quad Hybrid (Left), Muses-Beta Kit (Center) and R-Box Pro TV box (left)

You could also connect it directly to your TV, but for this review it was easier to show with an external device, and my TV is using a coaxial input instead of a female F-connector, so that made it easier. If you connect it to your TV, you could still combine your local TV station signal with Muses-Beta signal by using a 2-way splitter as shown below.

2-way-splitter-antenna

The company provided a cable to connect the RF board to tuner directly, but you could also use the type of antenna shown above instead. The power level is -12dBm, which means it won’t affect others, and should not break any laws in your country. If you need longer range you’d need to use an amplifier, and check with your local authorities if you need any specific licenses.dtv-antenna

Now that the connection is done, let’s have a look at the LCD display, since it;s used to configure the DTV standard, frequency, and many more options. I did not have to change much for this demo. First I select DVB-T and QPSK modulation.

muses-beta-dvb-t
Then set the frequency to 628 MHz as it’s one of the listed frequencies in U4 Quad Hybrid.
muses-beta-dtv-frequency
And kept HDMI to 720i-60, as the prototype can only handle HD resolution (720p) smoothly, and while Full HD (1080p) is possible it won’t be that smooth yet, but should be in the final hardware.
muses-beta-hdmi-resolution

There are many options as shown in the UI chart below.

User Interface State Machine (Click to Enlarge)

LCD User Interface Options (Click to Enlarge)

If HDMI input is detected, the LCD should then soon show three full squares on the top left indicating video is being broadcast with whatever standard you’ve chosen. In order to get the signal I had to configure U4 Quad Hybrid set-top box with the frequency, bandwidth, and delivery system  I selected for the modulator.

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Click to Enlarge

And it worked pretty much out of the box, as you can see from the photo below showing U4 Quad Hybrid menu overlaid over the DVB-T signal showing R-Box Pro user interface. Please ignore the vertical lines, as it’s just a problem with LG 4K TV.

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Click to Enlarge

I’ve also shot a video showing the setup, and how well it works. Sadly, the video I selected does not play optimally in R-Box Pro (the video source), but I found it only after the review, and other videos are being broadcast normally without smoothness issues nor audio cuts. But the important in the video is to show how easy it is to configure the system and that it works reasonably well. Quality will obviously suffer a bit compare to the source since its re-encoded and HDMI output is set to 720p.

Latency & video quality can be adjusted using three profiles: High Quality (500ms), Average (300ms) and Low latency (200ms). You’ll find some more details in the preliminary? Muses Turnkey Product user’s manual.

The kickstarter campaign is still on-going with 21 days to go. Muses-β kit with the LCD control board – as reviewed in this post – requires a $559 pledge, but if you prefer to replace the STM32 Board and LCD display by your own control board (API will be provided), you can get Muses-β board with AV input board and RF board for $399. I’ll test the cheaper $200 Muses-α board connected to a computer in the next few days in part 3 of the review.

MUSES-α & MUSES-β DVB-T/C, ISDB-T, DTMB & ATSC Modulator Boards Review – Part 1: The Hardware

October 19th, 2016 4 comments

V-Bridge Muses digital TV modulator boards launched on Kickstarter earlier this month, with the cheaper $200 MUSES-α board modulating video from a PC, and $600 MUSES-β turnkey solution capable of broadcasting HDMI or AV + stereo input to various digital TV standards including DVB-T/C, ATSC/QAM, DTMB, and ISDB-T/TB without the help of a computer. The company sent me the two hardware kits for evaluation and review on CNX Software, and today I’ll start by showing off the hardware I received.

muses-dvb-atsc-modulator-package

I got 3 packages and a F-female to F-female cable, which means you can connect the board directly to your TV tuner without having to rely on actual RF signals, and potential legal issues that goes with it.pc-modulator-kit

The first package I open if for the PC modulator kit that include MUSES-α board, an “RF” board, as a USB cable to connect to your computer.

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Click to Enlarge

MUSES-α board features Vatek A1 chip, a USB port, an Ethernet port, a power jack, and  headers for UART, I2C, TS, JTAG, RF board and GPIOs.

muses-alpha-bottom

The back of the board just has a Winbond flash.

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Click to Enlarge

The RF board is based on Texas Instruments TRF372017 IQ modulator PLL/VCO chip, and includes an F-male connector.

muses-alpha-usb-cable-tuner-cable

To get started you’d have to connect the USB cable, the coax cable to your TV’s tuner, as well as a 5V power supply.

The next package is the STM32 + LCD control board allowing to use MUSES-β board without PC.

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Click to Enlarge

It’s made of off-the-shelf parts including DF Robots LCD keypad shield for Arduino, connected to an STM32 based board via jumper cables + some glue.

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The “STM32F4xx” board is also an off-the-shelf STM32F407ZET6 ARM Cortex-M4 board found on Aliexpress for $15.50. So what you are paying for here, is not really hardware, but all the development work required for a niche product.

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Click to Enlarge

The third package includes the rest of the turnkey solution with an RF board, MUSES-β board based on Vatek B2 modulator and video encoding chip, and a video & audio input board with HDMI input, and 3 RCA connector for video composite and stereo audio input. All boards are already attached to an acrylic base, and the kit adds the top acrylic cover, some spacers and screws, and a 5V/2A power supply.

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The RF board is exactly the same as the one used with MUSES-α board, and the AV input board features Explore Microelectronics EP9555E  for HDMI input and Intersil TW9912 for CVBS input.

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MUSES-β board comes with a USB port, a power jack, headers for the RF and AV input boards, I2C, MCU connect, and a TS port. I must have a received a prototype board, so there’s also some rework that should be gone once the kit ships to backers.

MUSES-β Kit Fully Assembled - Click to Enlarge

MUSES-β Kit Fully Assembled – Click to Enlarge

Assembly is quite straightforward:

  1. Connect the STM32 board to the “MCU connect” header
  2. Optionally add the top acrylic cover
  3. Connect the 5V/2A power supply
  4. Connect the coax cable to your TV, and add video and audio input(s) to the HDMI port or CVBS + stereo audio RCA jacks
  5. Scan the channel on your TV, and enjoy

That’s exactly what I’ll try in the second part of the review, once I receive some documentation from the company.

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

October 5th, 2016 15 comments

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.

VATek VMB8202D Enmoder SoC Supports DVB, ATSC, DTMB and ISDB Modulation, H.264 & MPEG-2 Encoding up to 1080p30

June 3rd, 2016 12 comments

Terrestrial digital TV transmitters normally cost over 1,000 dollars because there are usually implemented with expensive FPGA chips, but Taiwan based VATek has designed a low cost chips such as VMB8202D Enmoder (aka B2 Enmoder) capable of encoding 1080p60 video input to MPEG-2  (1080p30 max) or H.264 (SD resolution max), and transmitting the resulting video over DVB-C, DVB-T, ATSC, DTMB, or ISDB-T standards.
DVB_Encoder_Chip

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Click to Enlarge

VATek B2 Enmoder SoC specifications:

  • CPU – 32-bit RISC @ 400MHz
  • Memory – Built-in DDR
  • Modulation Engine – VATek Multi-standard Modulator 1.0 ATSC / DTMB / DVB-T / DVB-C
  • Media Encoder – VATek Ultral Low Latency HD Encoder supporting 1080p30 or SD MPEG-2 and SD H.264 encoding
  • Audio Formats – MPEG-1 Layer 2, AAC
  • Raw Video Inputs – 1x ITU-R BT.1120 or 2x ITU-R BT.656 up to 74.25MHz pixel clock
  • Raw Audio Inputs – I2S up to 48kHz sample rate
  • Stream Input Interface – Ethernet,  Transport Serial serial interface, or USB 2.0 device
  • Stream Engine – Auto Stream Regulator / Advance Header generator
  • Encryption – DVB CSA V1 & V2 / Triple DES
  • Baseband outputs – IQ / IF up to 50MHz
  • MER (modulation error rate) – 45.08 dB as measured with Agilent N9010 signal analyzer.
  • Peripheral I/O – UART / I2C / SPI
  • Control Interfaces – I2C / USB
  • Control Protocol – VATek Gateway for I2C & USB
  • Typical Power Consumption – 2.5 W
  • Operating Temperature – 0 to 70 deg. C
  • Package – 128-LQFP package

VATEK_B2_ENMODER_Modulation_CapabilitiesThe company informed me that the chip supports Linux, and there API allows for control of many of the video encoder and modulation parameters, including bit rate, latency, GOP, quant control, and frequency, bandwidth, FFT, GI, code rate… They also have sample code for STmicro STM32 to control the chip via I2C on their reference/evaluation platform.

VATek also have a modular only chip (A1) without video encoder where the video encoding must be handled by a external processor (e.g. ARM SoC), as well as a lower end B1 Enmoder chip called that supports 720p60 max, and the same modulation standards as B2, except ISDB-T.

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DTV modulation platform – Click to Enlarge

The company is also working on DTV modulation boards based on B1 and B2 that will be open source hardware with both API tools, PCB layout, etc.. released, so that developers can integrates the board into drones, use for HAM radio, and surveillance or DTV applications. The solution will be launched on Kickstarter in a few weeks for around $200 (A1 board + RF board) and $400 (B2 board + RF board + video input board as pictured above).

You can contact the company or find some more info on VATek Enmoder product page.

Asus Zenfone Go TV Android Smartphone Includes a DVB-T2 & ISDB-T TV Tuner

May 12th, 2016 No comments

Asus has introduced Zenfone Go TV Android 5.1 mid-range smartphone that only stands out thanks to its built-in digital TV tuner supporting DVB-T2 and ISDB-T standards letting you watch terrestrial digital TV on the go without needing Internet connection.

Asus_Zenfone_GoTV
Asus Zenfone Go TV (ZB551KL) specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (MSM8928) quad core Cortex A7 processor @  1.4GHz with  Adreno 305 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3
  • Storage – 16GB/32GB eMMC Flash, MicroSD card slot up to 64 GB
  • Display – 5.5″ TFT display with capacitive touch panel; 1280×720 resolution, Gorilla Glass 3; 450nits brightness
  • Tuner – SONY SMT-EW100 Digital TV (DTV) tuner supporting  DVB-T, DVB-T2, DVB-T2 Lite, ISDB-T, ISDB-Tmm
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi; Bluetooth V4.0+EDR +A2DP; GPS, GLONASS, AGPS & BDS
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • Dual Micro SIM card with Sual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS) support
    • Network Standard – WCDMA/TD-SCDMA/TDD-LTE/FDD-LTE
    • Data Rate – LTE Cat4 – UL 50 / DL 150 Mbps
    • 2G – GSM: 850MHz/900MHz/1800MHz/1900MHz/850(5)/900(8)/1800(3)/1900(2)
    • 3G
      • UMTS: 850MHz(5)/900MHz(8)/1900MHz(2) /2100MHz(1);
      • WCDMA :(WW/IN version) 850MHz(5)/900MHz(8)/1900MHz(2) /2100MHz(1)
      • WCDMA :(TW/JP version) 850MHz(5)/850MHz(6)/850MHz(19)/900MHz(8)/1900MHz(2) /2100MHz(1)
      • TD-LTE : (TW/JP version) 2600MHz(38)
      • TD-LTE : (IN version only) 2600MHz(38)/1900MHz(39)/2300MHz(40)/2600MHz(41)
    • 4G
      • FDD-LTE: (WW version) 2100MHz(1)/1900MHz(2)/1800MHz(3)/850MHz(5)/2600MHz(7)/900MHz(8)/800MHz(20)
      • FDD-LTE: (TW/JP version) 2100MHz(1)/1800MHz(3)/850MHz(5)/850MHz(6)/2600MHz(7)/900MHz(8)/1800MHz(9)/800MHz(18)/850MHz(19)/700MHz(28)
      • FDD-LTE: (IN version only) 2100MHz(1)/1800MHz(3)/850MHz(5)
  • Camera – 8 or 13MP rear camera with auto-focus and dual-tone flash; 5MP front-facing camera
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, built-in speaker and microphone
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 port
  • Sensors – Accelerator/Ambient Light Sensor/Hall Sensor
  • Battery – 3,010 mAh
  • Dimensions – 151 x 76.9 x 10.7 mm
  • Weight – 160 grams with battery

The smartphone runs Android 5.1 with ASUS ZenUI “skin”, and ships with the battery, a power adapter, a USB sync cable, and a 3.5mm wired headset with microphone.

Android_Smartphone_DVB-T2The tuner makes it suitable for ASEAN & Middle East, Europe, Africa,  South America, Taiwan, and Japan, all countries that broadcast using DVB-T/T2, or ISDB-T. I’d assume you’d have to be relatively close to the broadcasting station for it to work, and/or that it might not work everywhere you go.

Asus Zenfone Go TV smartphone  sells for 5490 NT$ ($169) in Taiwan, and 5,990 Baht inc. VAT ($170) in Thailand.

Via Liliputing

WeTek Play+ Amlogic S905 Android Set-Top Box Features a Tuner with a SmartCard Reader and an mSATA SSD Bay

January 9th, 2016 33 comments

When WeTek announced the WeTek Core, some people were disappointed that they did not include a tuner like in the original WeTek Play, but the company has been working on a successor called Wetek Play+ that is based on Amlogic S905-H quad core processor and supports DVB-S/S2, DVB-C/T/T2, ISDB-T and ATSC tuners with a smartcard reader, as well as an extra store with an half-size SSD slot.

WeTek Play+ (Click to Enlarge)

WeTek Play+ (Click to Enlarge)

WeTek Play+ specifications:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905-H (Revision C) quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.0GHz with  penta-core Mali-450MP GPU @ 750 MHz
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC 5.0 flash + micro SD card slot + mSATA SSD socket (implemented via USB to SATA)
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz with HDCP 2.2 support, and AV port
  • Audio – HDMI, AV (stereo), optical S/PDIF
  • Tuners – Support for DVB-S2, DVB-C/T/T2, ISDB-T and ATSC tuners
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports (external), 2x internal USB 2.0 ports
  • DRM / CAS – Playready and Widewine included, Smartcard reader for tuner
  • Misc – 3.5mm jack RS-232 port (TBC)
  • Power Supply –  DC 12V
  • Dimensions – N/A
Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The TV box will run Android 5.1, but while I don’t have much more details about the software, I’m pretty sure it will run a recent version of Kodi, WeTek Theater for live video via the tuner, and WeCloud Antenna for IPTV channels, just like on WeTek Play.

Amlogic S905-H means the box with have the DTS and Dolby license to downmix audio on any apps, and not only Kodi, and Revision C is a new revision of the chip that apparently fixes bugs with 4K 10-bit HEVC DVB-S2 streams. I did notice the video freezing for a few seconds before resuming with some 4K DVB-S2 samples on two Amlogic S905 boxes, respectively K1 Plus and MINI MX, but I could not reproduce the issue with MINIX NEO U1 and XBMC for MINIX. I’m sure the MINIX box did not have the revision C of the processor since it’s very new, but it’s quite possible there are several bugs, and there must be a reason for Amlogic to create a new revision, so it will be something to check in the future if you want to make you sure you don’t have this bug, and want to buy a device with the latest revision.

The smartcard reader shown on the left of the first picture will be useful for people needed to have premium channels via the tuner. I’ve not been told which standard it supports yet. Since USB to SATA implementations are not exactly equal, with some Genesys Logic chips providing really poor performance, I’ve been informed that the performance was good enough to record 4K DVB streams, but I don’t have raw numbers.

I often see HDCP 2.2 and DRM mentioned in product specs, even for cheap Amlogic S905 devices, but usually they don’t have the right keys and firmware for this, and again WeTek Play+ will definitely support both.

I don’t have pricing nor availability information, but WeTek Play+ looks like a pretty good device on paper.

TBS5520 Multi-Standard Tuner Box and Linux Drivers

November 14th, 2015 27 comments

TBS Technologies is a company that specializes in digital TV tuner cards for PC, and recently they’ve also worked on ARM based boards or devices such as the Matrix 2. The company has sent me one of their TBS5520 USB tuner board and box supporting DVB-T2, DVB-S2, DVB-C and ISDB-T for evaluation, as well as some Linux drivers. Today, I’ll provide some specifications, take some pictures, and show how I compiled and installed the drivers in my Ubuntu 14.04 computer.

TBS 5520 Tuner Box specifications

TBS5520 is a multi-standard USB tuner with the following features:

  • USB – USB 2.0 device port
  • Antenna connectors – 1x LNB IN, 1x RF IN
  • Standards
    • DVB-S2/S
      • Symbol rate: 1~45Msps;
      • FEC
        •  DVB-S2: 8PSK: 3/5, 2/3, 3/4, 4/5, 5/6, 8/9, 9/10;
        • DVB-S:  QPSK: 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8
    • DVB-T2/T 
      • Receiving channel: VHF band, UHF band;
      • Bandwidth: 1.7,5, 6, 7, 8 MHz;
      • FEC: QPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM, 256QAM
      • FFT mode: 1K, 2K, 4K, 8K, 16K, 32K
      • Code rate: 1/2, 3/5, 2/3, 3/4, 4/5, 5/6, 7/8
      • RF-Input impedance: 75Ω (IEC-DIN female)
    • DVB-C & ITU J83 A/B/C
      • Frequency range: 47~862 MHz
      • Signal level: -65~-10dBm
      • Symbol rate: 0.87 to 9Mbaud
      • QAM modes: 16QAM, 32QAM, 64QAM, 128QAM, 256QAM
    • ISDB-T
      • Supported modes: 1, 2, 3
      • Bandwidth: 6 MHz, 7MHz, 8MHz
      • QAM modes: DQPSK, QPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM
      • Code rate: 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8
  • Misc – IR receiver, power LED
  • Dimensions – ~ 8 x 6 cm

TBS5520 Board and Box Pictures

The first time I received the board with a cable with Y USB cable.

TBS-5520_Tuner

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DVB-S2_DVB-T2_Connectors

TBS 5520 Tuner Antenna’s Connectors

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The shield is soldered, so I could not check the details of the tuner from the hardware, but as we”l see below with drivers to hardware includes RafaelMicro R848 multi-standard tuner and AVL6882 demodulator.

After your truly spent many hours struggling with the Linux drivers, the company informed me there was likely an issue with the hardware, so they sent me the full kit.
TBS5520_USB_Tuner

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Click to Enlarge

The kit has the same tuner board in a case, as well as the Y USB cable, a remote control, an indoor antenna, a coaxial to F-cable adapter, and a DVD with some documentation and software.

Building TBS5520 Drivers in Linux 3.x

I’m running Ubuntu 14.04.3 with kernel 3.18.xx on my computer, and if you connect the tuner, the USB is recognized:

But you don’t get anything in /dev/dvb, so you’ll need some drivers. So TBS provided me with a patch for Linux 3.x (Linux 4.x is currently WIP), and told me to “build it the usual way”. So I decided to do so on my computer instead of an ARM board, as I thought it might be easier…

I basically followed the instructions I wrote in “How to build a single kernel driver in Ubuntu“. I had already installed Linux 3.18.0 for this, but I first upgraded to a more recent Linux 3.18.23 version:

After installation, I rebooted my machine to make use of the update kernel, and downloaded Ubuntu Linux source code in order to patch it and build the drivers.

At this stage, the source is set to the latest working version

So you’ll want to switch to the tag/branch of the kernel installed on your computer to avoid “invalid format” error when inserting the modules.

Let’s make sure we’ve indeed switched to 3.18.23.

Now I’ll download and apply Ubuntu specific patchsets:

Before applying TBS5520 patch to the source tree:

Patching failed, but it was only a small issue, so you can manually edit drivers/media/tuners/Makefile to add the line with r848:

Let start the actually build procedure with make olconfig, which should ask about Turbosight TBS5520 support.:

Build TBS5520 drivers as modules by entering “m”, and carry on with the procedure:

At this stage, I ran make menuconfig to double check support for TBS5520 was enabled.
TBS5520_Make_Menuconfig

All good. Then I tried to build the modules one by one, as with the serial drivers I used in the previous instructions, but it did not work…

Eventually, I did not find a solution, and TBS was not very helpful, except they told me the media tree drivers were a pain to build, and  eventually mentioned I’d also need a firmware file (dvb-usb-tbsqbox-id5520.fw) and copy it to /lib/firmware… .

So I decided to just build the complete kernel and install all modules and firmware:

All modules where built into /lib/modules/3.18.23+/ directory, and i first tried to load the modules manually

Hmm… wrong file name for the firmware… let’s fix that:

I had a few more issues, and I’ve told to delete the media directory in my Ubuntu kernel drivers directory, and replace that with the one I’ve just built. So instead, I backed it up, before replacing it with the new drivers:

Then I rebooted the machine, all drivers were automatically loaded successfully, and I got a dvb adapter:

InitiallyHowever the output of dmesg appears suspicious:

There are some i2c errors, the MAC address is set to 00:00:00:00:00:00, and some systemd errors are popping up too. And soon after, I noticed /dev/dvb/adapter0 would just appear and disappear in loop.

The next step will be to find a solution to this issue, and get a DVB-T2 video stream likely with TvHeadEnd.

The tuner can be purchased for $79.99 on buydvb.net, and you can to check out TBS5520 tuner page for some more details.

WeTek Play Android & Linux DVB-S2 / DVB-C/T/T2 Receivers are Now Available for 109 Euros

December 13th, 2014 27 comments

I reviewed Wetek Play Android media player with a DVB-S2 tuner this summer, and although I found it pretty good for a dual core media player, and liked its PVR functions, more work was needed to fix several bugs, and improve “WeTek Theater Live TV” app. Several months later, they must consider their devices ready, as they’ve now launched their online store selling the DVB-S2 and DVB-C/T/T2 versions for 109 Euros, and a version without DVB tuner for 99 Euros, all including free shipping worldwide.
Wetek_PlayLet’s remind us of the specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic AML8726-MX dual core Cortex A9 @ 1.5GHz with a dual core Mali-400MP GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 4 GB NAND flash + 1x micro SD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI, AV (CVBS + R/L audio)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • Tuners – DVB-S2, or DVB-C/DVB-T/DVB-T2 depending on model with two antenna connectors. ATSC and ISDBT versions may also be in the works based on the released datasheet.
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi , and Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6210)
  • USB – 3x external USB 2.0 ports, 2x internal USB 2.0 ports (used by anti-copy USB token, and RF dongle for remote)
  • Debugging – Serial debug port
  • Misc – IR receiver, 3 LEDs for power, Ethernet and Wi-Fi, RS-232 port for serial console.
  • Power – 12V/1.5A
When I received WeTek Play package it included the media player, a 12V/1.5A power supply, a RS232 serial cable for debugging, a IR + RF remote, and a registration card to activate your device online. The retail package will include all that, plus an HDMI cable, and a multilingual Quick Start Guide.
Wetek_Play_DVB-T2

WeTek Play DVB-C/T/T2

Beside running Android 4.4, the company also provided me with some images for Lubuntu 14.04, Linux Enlightement, CyanogenMod, AOKP, OMNI ROM, and PanaroidAndroid, as well as CWM and TWRP recovery. But these are rather old, so I’d wait for the latest images on their Download page (now empty, except user’s guide). More recently, I’ve also received links to the latest OpenElec 5.0 and Android 4.2 images. You might also find more details on WeTek forum, where the Linux section is moderated by codesnake an active OpenElec developer. The device is also one of the rare Android media players to be get the Google GMS certification.

Further details can be found on WeTek Play product page.