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Posts Tagged ‘dvb’

Geniatech ATV598Max is a Certified Android TV Hybrid TV Box with ATSC, DVB-T2, DVB-C, or ISDB-T Digital TV Tuner

January 10th, 2018 7 comments

Geniatech ATV495 Max was the first model from the company to get official Android TV certifications. There now a bunch of those ATV OEM devices, but if you want one with a digital TV tuner, then the choice is much more limited, and so far, I only heard about ARRIS set top boxes.

Geniatech ATV598 Max can now be added to the list, as the company informed me the Amlogic quad core hybrid TV box with ATSC, DVB-T2, or DVB-C tuner had just received official Android TV certification from Google too.

ATV598Max specifications:

  • SoC  – Amlogic S905D quad core Arm Cortex-A53 processor up to 1.5 GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3 (optional 1GB)
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a;
  • Audio – Via HDMI, optical output, optional Dolby support
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi or 802.11 b/g/ac WiFi module, Bluetooth
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Tuner – Optional ATSC/DVB-T2/DVB-C/ISDB-T tuner, 75 Ohm antenna input (coaxial or F-connector)
  • Power Supply – 5.0V/2A
  • Dimensions – 132 x 126 x 27.5 mm
  • Weight – 250g

The box ships with a HDMI cable, a user manual, a power adapter, and a remote control

ATV598Max runs Android TV 7.1, and the certification also includes Google Mobile Service (GMS) with the Play Store and other Google apps, as well as support for features such as Google Cast and Google Voice Search. The tuner software supports EPG, schedule recording, timeshift and parental control functions.

More details can be found on the product page.

Mecool KII Pro Set-Top-Box Upgraded to Amlogic S905D Processor, Android 7.1.2

December 29th, 2017 10 comments

VideoStrong is making some of the most popular – at least on this website – Android set-box boxes with digital TV tuner on the market with products like Mecool KIII Pro, or KI Pro, mostly because of their affordability. Software may be hit or miss depending on your local requirement (e.g. AC3 on DVB-T2, language encoding issues, etc..), so there’s fairly large number of users and some community tools or firmware such as DVB Channel Editor or Vitmos OS that may make them better devices.

Most models are based on Amlogic S905 or S912, but Amlogic launched S905D processor some time ago with better tuner support (multiple demodulator support) which for example allowing me to watch terrestrial TV (DVB-T2) while recording satellite TV (DVB-S2) on Sen5 TV box. VideoStrong decided to upgrade their KII Pro Android set-top box  with S905 processor, DVB-T2/T/C and DVB-S2/S tuners to the new Amlogic S905D processor, and the new version of the device also get some interesting firmware and software upgrade with support for Android 7.1.2, YouTube 4K, Widevine L1 DRM, Netflix HD, and MAC25X (IPTV) Stalker TV box compatibility.

Mecool KII Pro (2017/2018) specifications:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905D quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60Hz with HDR10/HLG HDR and HDCP 1.4, and 3.5mm AV (composite video) jack
  • Audio – HDMI, AV (stereo audio), optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – 10-bit H.265 up to 4K60, VP9 Profile 2 up to 4K30, MPEG/VC-1/AVS+/H.265 up to 4K30
  • Tuner – Combo DVB-T/T2/C and DVB-S/S2 with two connectors (coaxial and F-type)
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – Power button and LED, IR receiver
  • Power Supply –  DC 12V/1A
  • Dimensions – 130 x 120 x 32 mm
  • Weight – 187.50 grams

Going to Amlogic S905D from S905 also has the advantage of adding support for HDR, and 4K VP9 video codec. The company paid for a HDCP 1.4 license as well, but not HDCP 2.2 if the table below is to be believed.

You’ll still be able to watch and record free-to-air TV, get access to EPG (Electronic Program Guide), and other features described in previous reviews. VideoStrong/Mecool usually have hidden features such as CCCAM/NEWCAMD support, and I’d expect the new model to be able to record one channel via  cable/terrestrial antenna, and watch another via satellite dish.

The new Mecool KII Pro set-top box is sold on GeekBuying for $66.99 including shipping, but you’ll also find it on Aliexpress, or GearBest. From time to time, I receive email asking “why can’t I receive free-to-air channel, I live in the US”. So please, if you live in the US, or another country where DVB-T/T2 standard is not in use, do not buy this box, unless you are interested in satellite or/and cable reception. In the US, people need to check for boxes with an ATSC tuners, in some other countries for ones with ISDB-T tuner.

Thanks to Natsu for the tip.

Dune HD Unveils 5 Entry Level to Premium 4K HDR Linux + Android Media Players & Set-Top Boxes

December 29th, 2017 4 comments

Dune HD is known to make high-end digital media players that often costs several hundred dollars such as Sigma Designs based Dune HD SOLO 4K or Dune HD Solo Lite. The company has now sent out an email announcing new models classified into three categories with most models based on Amlogic processors:

  • Neo Series – Entry level
    • Dune HD Neo 4K – 4Kp60 HDR media player + Android Smart TV box
      • Amlogic S905X
      • 1GB RAM, 8GB flash
      • 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 100Mbit Ethernet, Bluetooth
    • Dune HD Neo 4K T2 – 4Kp60 HDR media player + Android Smart TV box + DVB-T/T2/C receiver
      • Amlogic S905D
      • 1GB RAM, 8GB flash
      • 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 100Mbit Ethernet, Bluetooth
    • Dune HD Neo 4K T2 Plus – 4Kp60 HDR media player + Android Smart TV box + DVB-T/T2/C receiver
      • Amlogic S905D
      • 2GB RAM, 16GB flash
      • 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 100Mbit Ethernet, Bluetooth
  • Sky series – Models with satellite receiver
    • Dune HD Sky 4K Plus – 4Kp60 HDR media player + Android Smart TV box + DVB-T/T2/C receiver + DVB-S/S2 receiver
      • Amlogic S905D
      • 2GB RAM, 16GB flash, 2.5″ SATA HDD
      • 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 1Gbit Ethernet, Bluetooth, 2.5″ SATA HDD
      • Slot for CI/CI+ Conditional Access Modules to access premium DVB channels
  • Pro series – Premium models with high-end audio/video
    • Dune HD Pro 4K – Premium 4Kp60 HDR media player + Android Smart TV box
      • Realtek RTD1295
      • 2GB RAM, 16GB flash
      • 802.11ac Wi-Fi 2T2R, 1Gbit Ethernet, Bluetooth
      • USB 3.0, SATA HDD port, HDMI input
      • Hi-End video quality, BD3D support, full support for HD audio

All models listed above support HDMI 2.0a, 4Kp60 with HDR and BT.2020, and run the original Linux based Dune HD software and Android OS simultaneously. You can also run Android apps while Dune HD media center is playing music or a video in the background. Widevine Level 1 DRM is also enabled for premium online video services such as Hulu+, Netflix, and others.

The devices are said to support various various TV-optimized applications, plugins, extensions, GUI skins, collection management solutions, as well as integrations with home automation systems via the official Dune Store, 3-party vendors, or the one-million+ user’s community.

You’ll find more details on Dune HD website, including price information (MSRP):

  • Dune HD Neo 4K – $99.90
  • Dune HD Neo 4K T2 – $124.90
  • Dune HD Neo 4K T2 Plus – $149.90
  • Dune HD Sky 4K Plus – $209.90
  • Dune HD Pro 4K – $199.99

So you’d still pay a premium compared to equivalent Android TV boxes on the market due to software support, and features like Widevine L1 DRM. Dune HD boxes are usually sold through distributors, and I could not find the new model for sale online, and very few of the older models.

 

 

How to Use Khadas VIM2 Board with VTV Expansion DTV Board as a Live TV Streaming Server

December 18th, 2017 10 comments

Khadas VIM2 is the first and only Amlogic S912 based hobbyist development board on the market, which makes it interesting by itself, but the company also added some interesting features such as an SPI flash for network boot, Wake-on-LAN support, and more. Last month the company sent me a sample of the Khadas VIM2 Basic (2GB RAM/16GB flash) together with VTV Extension DTV Board featuring a DVB-T2/C and DVB-S2 tuner.

I’ve already checkout the hardware and shown how to assemble the kit, so for the second part of the review it seemed like a good idea to use the board as a Live TV streaming server broadcasting satellite, cable or terrestrial TV to devices connected to the local network. At first I wanted to use Linux operating system, because I could have run other Linux server services, but SuperDVB, the company that makes and supports the tuner board, only have Android software for their board.

So I changed plan, and instead used their Android VTV app to stream the video over Gigabit Ethernet. I’ll report my experience setting this all up in this post.

Click to Enlarge

Download & Flash Android firmware to Khadas VIM2 board

First we need to download the latest firmware on Khadas Firmware Resources page. Here you’ll find a little of firmware with names such as VIM2_Nougat_V171028 or VIM2_Nougat_vTV_V171024. The “vTV” string is important here, as the one without do not support the tuner board, so we’ll need one with vTV. So I downloaded VIM2_Nougat_vTV_V171024.7z  Android firmware, and VIM2_Uboot_Nougat_171028.7z “uboot” files from the page. Just make you download the latest version on the website.

The firmware provided works with Amlogic USB Burning Tool Windows software, but the tool is not really user-friendly, and in my case not directly supported as it only runs on Windows. So instead it’s better to flash the firmware to a bootable SD card (backup instructions here) in Ubuntu. If you are using Windows, Burn Card Maker Tool is much easier to use.

If you are using Ubuntu or a Linux distributions, there are a few steps to follow. After inserting you card, locate it with lsblk:

I’m using a 16GB card, so /dev/sdd is the device to so. We’ll need one partition, but my card has none for now:

I’ll use /dev/sdX to refer to the device from now on to avoid potential data loss due to copy/paste gone wrong.

We can create a new primary partition of W95 FAT type with fdisk or (g)parted:

Once it’s done let’s format it with FAT32:

Now we can copy u-boot binary for SD card to specific locations in the storage device:

Now unplug and replug the card to mount it automatically (or mount it with the command line) in order to copy the command and firmware files:

Now we can remove the card from the computer, and insert it into Khadas VIM2 board, and enter upgrade mode, by pressing the power key, pressing and releasing the reset key, wait two or three seconds, before releasing the power key on the board.You should see an Android logo and “Upgrading…” string together with a progress bar, and after a few minutes, the firmware should be flashed successfully.

A look at Android Settings

At this point, we can remove the micro SD card, and reboot the board, and within a few seconds, we’ll get to the (stock) launcher.

Click for Original Size

Several apps are installed including Google Play and MoviePlayer. VTV is the app we’ll use to watch and stream Live TV.

But let’s have a look at some of the settings. I’ve reviewed many Amlogic S912 TV boxes from the popular MINIX NEO U9-H media hub, to the cheap MN12N TV box, or Mecool KIII Pro set-top box with a dual DVB-T2/S2 tuner among other, so I’m not going into the full details, but instead focus on some of the unique features.

Click to Enlarge

The image is based on Android 7.1.2 with Linux 3.14.29, and offers typical features like HDMI CEC or playback settings (HDMI self-adaptation), but if we go into More settings we’ll find some less usual option for the cooling, LED, and WOL.

Click to Enlarge

Cooling fan will allow you to turn on or off fan support, and set either automatic speed, low speed, medium speed, or high speed. LED option allows the user to control the board’s LED behavior such as always on, always off, heartbeat mode, or breather mode.

WOL is used to enable or disable Wake On LAN.

Khadas VIM2 CPU Temperature, Fitting an Heatsink

During my first post, people had concerns about using the board without heatsink, and based on CPU-Z app, CPU temperature is indeed around 76°C in idle mode.

When I watched and streamed live TV, the video did not feel very smooth especially on the display connected to the board, so I decided to fit an heatsink to the board.

I put some thermal grease on Amlogic S912 SoC, the flash and the two RAM chip to the heatsink on top. You may not necessary use such large heatsink, but that’s the only spare one I had. The amount of cooling you need also depends on your application.

With the heatsink, the temperature drops to 58°C (26°C room temperature), but I still had some troubles while watching live TV. So the problem is most probably not temperature related, as reported temperature only climbed to around 62°C while watching and streaming video from VTV app

Install VTV V2 App with IP Streaming Function

This section may not be necessary in the future, as the latest app will be updated in the firmware, but IP Streaming function is new, so I had to download VTV-2017-11-30-IpStreamming.rar, extract it, and manually install VTV-2017-11-30-IpStreamming.apk to the board. It’s now important to reboot the board to avoid version conflict.

At this point we should launch the app, and scan the channels. VTV app is based on DTV app found in Videostrong/Mecool set-top boxes, you can follow the same DVB-T2/DVB-S2 configuration instructions. I connected the tuner to my roof top antenna, so the first time after being asked to scan the channels, I went through DVB-T2 configuration.

That part took me an awful lot of time, as despite having 95 to 100% signal strength, none of the channels would lock. Eventually, the company sent me another tuner board, but it turned out my antenna cable connector had a bad contact or short circuit, as I would only get proper signal when bending the cable. So I disassembled and cleaned up the connector, and everything worked fine. Lesson: high signal strength in DTV/VTV app do not mean you cable / antenna is working fine.

Finally, we can make sure we have the latest app, by pressing the INFO key while watching a channel in order to show service info & version of the app.

APK (V2) is exactly what we want so we can go ahead. There’s a problem with Thai font or encoding, which has been a recurring problem in all Amlogic set-top boxes I’ve tested in the past. Hopefully, this will be fixed one day.

Khadas VIM2 Live TV Streaming

Once we have the channel configured, we can enable IP streaming by pressing the MENU key on the remote control, then DTV preference->IP stream setting.

You can manually set the port between 10,000 and  65,535 (20,000 default), and the app will provide you with the streaming link (e.g. http://192.168.0.114:20000), and the maximum number of client (10). You can use now use this link with a program or app on other devices in the network. I used GoodPlayer app in my Android phone and VLC in computer like I did while streaming video from Zidoo X9S’ HDMI input.

In the demo below, I use three clients: one Android phone, a Ubuntu 16.04 laptop, and my Ubuntu 16.04 desktop PC playing the video from Khadas VIM2 board at the same time.

I think the feature is still beta, so maybe that’s why there are problems while changing channels where the client may not pick up the stream. The live channel in Khadas VIM2 appears not to be quite as smooth as it could be too, again some optimization may likely solve this issue.

A better way to change channels however is to export ip stream list file tvlist.txt in VTV app by pressing the red/audio button on the remote control, which in my location looks as follow:

I copied it to my computer, and renamed it to tvlist.m3u, and you use in VLC to easily switch to the channel of your choice.

Click to Enlarge

Going forward, I think Linux support for the tuner board is unlikely, so people should really focus on Android if they plan to use the board. I’ve asked the company if they planed to release the source code for VTV app or at least an API to let people integrate support into their own app, but I have not received an answer yet.

For end users support for TVHeadEnd would be a bonus, as they’d be able to watch live TV, access the EPG, and change channels right from Kodi running in the client, as it’s now done in products such as U4 Quad Hybrid, U5PVR, or WeTek Play 2.

[Update: answers from company:

  1. Linux is not in their plan now, and they are focus on Android platform.
  2. VTV app can not be made open source due to it being used in other business projects, and there does not seem to be plans an API either
  3. “TVheadend is supported by LibreElec already, for Android platform, we will try to learn it and make it into software if possible.”  See comments below for download link for LibreELEC.

I’d like to thank Khadas (Shenzhen Wesion), and SuperDVB for sending the kit for review and their support getting this to work. Khadas VIM2 Basic board can be purchased on GearBest for $89.99 shipped, and the “VTV Expansion DTV board” for $39.99. You’ll pay a bit less if you take a bundle for a total of $112.98 including shipping ($17 discount) available from the latter link.

Magicsee C300 is a $70 DVB-T2/C & DVB-S2 Android Set-Top Box Powered by Amlogic S905D SoC

November 14th, 2017 11 comments

Amlogic S905D processor is an evolution of Amlogic S905X with Gigabit Ethernet support, and TS interfaces for digital TV tuners. That explains why most devices launched with the processor come with tuners. So far, we’ve covered or reviewed a few including Sen5 STB (2x DVB-T2/C), Mecool KI Pro (T2/S2), and TX95D TV box with a single DVB-T2 tuner.

Magicsee C300 is another Amlogic S905D Android STB that comes with DVB-T2/C (Terrestrial & Cable), and DVB-S2 (Satellite) tuners, and sells for just under $70 on Aliexpress, and can be found on other shops such as GearBest.

Magicsee C300 specifications are quite similar to the ones for Mecool KI Pro:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905D quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz with penta core Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60Hz with support for HDR10 and HLG, and 3.5mm AV (composite video) jack
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV (stereo audio), optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – 10-bit H.265, and VP9 Profile 2 up to 4K60, H.264 up to 4K30, AVS+ and other codecs up to 1080p60
  • Tuners
    • DVB-T/T2/C tuner with coaxial antenna input connector
    • DVB-S/S2 tuner with F antenna input connector
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.1 LE
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – Power button and LED, IR receiver
  • Power Supply –  DC 12V/1.5A
  • Dimensions – 14.80 x 12.00 x 3.30 cm
  • Weight – 195 grams

The only differences are that they used DDR3 memory instead of DDR4, Fast Ethernet instead on Gigabit Ethernet, and a slightly more powerful power supply (18W vs 12W). The ports layout is exactly the same, so I suspect Magicsee is using Videostrong KI Pro board with DDR3 memory, and no Gigabit Ethernet placed into a different case.

The set-top box is said to run Android 6.0.1 according to Aliexpress/GearBest, and ships with a power adapter, a HDMI cable, an IR remote control, and a user manual.

Shenzhen Intek Technology may be the manufacturer of the device as they list Magicsee C300 on Alibaba. There’s one key difference however, as they claim the device runs Android 7.1.2 support instead of Android 6.0.1. Android Nougat would make more sense, as KI Pro is running the more recent operating system.

Via AndroidPC.es

Giveaway Week Winners – November 2017

November 9th, 2017 15 comments

Like every year, I’ve organized a giveaway week to send some of the items I’ve reviewed in the past year or so. There was a good mix of devices this year starting with a mini Linux NAS kit, following by some ESP32 boards, and Amlogic development boards among others.

The results are in, and instead of 10 winners, I actually have 11 winners due a “timing issue”, and to make for one missing ESP32 board, a LinkIt Smart 7688 Duo board was also given away.

Click to Enlarge

While it started strongly for Eastern Europe, We have winners from 3 continents this year:

  • NanoPi NEO2 NAS Kit – Hap Hapablap, Serbia
  • Muses Beta DVB Encoder and Modulator Board – Luka, Slovenia
  • ESP32 PICO Kit v3 boards (5 Winners):
    • Andrius Kurtinaitis, Lithuania (2x ESP32 boards)
    • Kebab, Turkey (2x ESP32 boards)
    • Zoobab, Belgium (2x ESP32 boards)
    • Sollie, Germany (2x ESP32 boards)
    • BobR, USA (1x ESP32 PICO Kit + LinkIt Smart 7688 Duo)
  • NanoPi K2 board – ml, Sweden
  • Wio GPS Tracker – Tumpang L., Malaysia
  • Nextion Enhanced 7″ Display – Ved Vernekar, USA
  • Khadas VIM Pro board – gleveque, France

I’ve just send all 11 packages earlier this afternoon.

I hope the winners will enjoy their prizes, and thank you to everyone who played. Let’s do it again next year.

Giveaway Week – Muses-β DTV Modulator and Video Encoder

October 31st, 2017 76 comments

The next item for giveaway is rather specialized hardware, as V-Bridge Muses-β allows you to take raw video input via HDMI or video composite, encode it and module to your DTB standard (DVB-T, ATSC… ) and get the video through your TV tuner via a cable, or over-the-air if you add your own an amplifier and antenna.

MUSES-β Kit Fully Assembled – Click to Enlarge

The system is controlled by an STM32 board with LCD display and button, and you can operate directly from the board, selecting various option. I used a TV box as input, and U4 Quad hybrid set-top box to get the video signal and output it to my TV when I reviewed the system with DVB-T / QPSK modulation. The system is limited to MPEG-2 up to 1080p30 encoding since it’s what the SoC supports.

I’m giving away the complete “turn key solution” shown in the first photo to one lucky winner.

To enter the draw simply leave a comment below. Other rules are as follows:

  • Only one entry per contest. I will filter out entries with the same IP and/or email address.
  • Contests are open for 48 hours starting at 10am (Bangkok time) every day. Comments will be closed after 48 hours.
  • Winners will be selected with random.org, and announced in the comments section of each giveaway.
  • I’ll contact the winner by email, and I’ll expect an answer within 24 hours, or I’ll pick another winner.
  • Shipping
    • $25 for registered airmail small packet for oversea shipping payable via Paypal within 48 hours once the contest (for a given product) is complete.
    • If Paypal is not available in your country, you can still play, and I’ll cover the cost of sending the parcel by Sea and Land (SAL) without registration if you win.
  • I’ll post all 7 prizes at the same time, around the 8th of November
  • I’ll make sure we have 7 different winners, so if you have already won a device during this giveaway week, I’ll draw another person.

Good luck!

At the time of the crowdfunding campaign, this system was going for $559, but the company failed to raise enough fund, and I cannot find it for sale anywhere, so it’s kind of a collector item now…

Categories: Hardware, Video Tags: dvb, giveaway, vatek

TV030 is a $10 DVB-T Tuner for your Android Smartphone or Tablet

September 20th, 2017 5 comments

We’ve previously covered tuners or small boxes that allow you to watch free-to-air TV on your smartphone or tablet with products such as PT115m/PT115e or DTV Link box, but I’ve just noticed GeekBuying added TV030 DVB-T tuner that connects to the micro USB port of your smartphone, and sells for just $10.99 shipped.

TV030 TV mobile stick specifications:

  • Signal: 75 Ohm Digital TV Aerial Input
  • Punctured Codes: 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 4/5, 5/6 and 7/8
  • Receive Frequency: DVB-T: 474 ~ 858 MHz (UHF)
  • Input: DVB-T
  • Bandwidth: 6/7/8 MHz
  • Dimensions – 27 x 18 x 7mm; antenna: 210mm long max
  • Weight – 14 grams

The stick sells with an antenna, and a CDROM apparently containing the Android apk for EZTV app. It requires Android 4.1-5.0 or greater with the following minimal requirements to watch:

  • SD TV – Cortex A8 @ 800 MHz with 512MB RAM, 20 MB flash, 800×480 display resolution
  • HD TV – Cortex A8 @ 1.2 GHz with 512MB RAM, 20 MB flash, 1024*600 display resolution

With this type of requirements, it’s clear the tuner is not a new product, and I could find it on Banggood too where they provided the content of the CD with padtv_v1.0.1_933(isdbt).apk. Make sure DVB-T is a supported standard in your country, as I regularly receive emails from people in the US asking me why they DVB-T2 TV box is not working… That’s possibly why there are several bad reviews on Amazon and eBay, where I also found the cheapest price ($9.99). TV030 only supports DVB-T, not DVB-T2, but Banggood points to MyGica PT360 if you want the latter. It’s out of stock in most places, but Aliexpress still has it for about $23. The review below (really starting at 1:00) shows Mygica PT360 in action. Note that TV030 and PT360 use different apps.

Categories: Android, Hardware, Video Tags: Android, dvb, smartphone