TBS has designed two small DVB-S2X/S2/S tuner cards with the TBS7230 M.2 module and TBS7901 mini PCIe module designed to easily add DTB support to a desktop PC or even a single board computer with the right interfaces.
Both models are based on a Lattice Semi LFE3-17EA-6FTN256C FPGA and Montage LZ M88RS6060 single-chip DVB-S2X/S2/S receiver with a tuner, a demodulator, and an LNB controller, but as I understand it, the mPCIe module relies on a
USB PCIe (see comments section) interface, while the M.2 module features a PCIe interface and you can even install more than one in a PC through a PCIe card for NVMe drives.
- Host interface – Mini PCIe edge connector
- QPSK – 1/2, 3/5, 2/3, 3/4, 4/5, 5/6, 8/9, 9/10
- 8PSK – 3/5, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6, 8/9, 9/10
- 16APSK – 2/3, 3/4, 4/5, 5/6, 8/9, 9/10
- 32APSK – 3/4, 4/5, 5/6, 8/9, 9/10
- DVB-S2X (QPSK only)
- 1/4,1/3, 2/5 (S2-MODCODs)
- 1/2, 3/5, 2/3, 3/4, 4/5, 5/6
- 8/9, 9/10 (S2-MODCODs)
The M.2 module specifications are similar, but the company apparently also offers a variant with DVB-T2/C2/T/C (J.83A/B/C), ISDB-T/C, and/or ATSC1.0, and the DVB-S2X/S2 model I receive is not listed on that specific page.
In theory, having a tiny module to add DTV to a computer or SBC looks like a good idea, but there are some caveats, as each kit includes the module itself and an antenna connector, but also a TBS-7901PW power board and SATA power cable…
I was told DVB-S/S2/S2X satellite TV requires 13V and 18V, so that’s not optional, meaning a PC power supply or something small like a PicoPSU is required even when installed on a single board computer. I’ve installed the board in the Radxa ROCK 5B SBC’s M.2 PCIe socket as shown below, but I can’t use it for two reasons, the first one being I don’t have a spare PC power supply in my current location, and more importantly, the company only officially provides Windows drivers for now…
So I guess it might work in an x86 SBC running Windows like the LattePanda 3 Delta or the Youyeetoo X1 provided you use the eMMC flash for the OS. While writing this post, I noticed some Linux drivers on GitHub and a video showing the TBS7901 card working with DVBlast in a terminal window. The company appears to be interested in collaborating with SBC vendors for an Arm Linux port, but I’m not sure many will be interested considering the 13V/18V requirements that make it inconvenient for most boards.
So at this time, the TBS7230 M.2 module and TBS7901 mini PCIe module are mostly interesting for standard PC with a PSU and at least a spare M.2 or mPCIe socket. Typical applications include data reception, IPTV streaming, media monitoring, and digital content distribution. The video below shows how the mini PCIe DVB-S2X/S2 module can be installed in a PC.
Both the M.2 and mini PCIe modules can be purchased on the TBS IPTV store for $119.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.