Nick MacKechnie
#8 wire kinda guy.....

New Set top box for the home office

Wednesday, 8 October 2008 10:21 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

I’ve been spending a bit more time out in the home office, and decided a TV wouldn’t be a bad thing, so after some research, I decided to buy a higher end model of the unit I use in the lounge for my office.

I picked up a Dreambox 7020si via a contact I had made on Ebay some months back for $US305.

DM7020

When we moved into our current house, we had a four car garage. Within the 1st week of moving in, I had hired a concrete saw, a jack hammer and was digging a trench to drag cat 6 cabling between the house and the garage. The garage has been split into half, and an office built at the back for me to retreat to when I needed to work, as well as relax.

I managed to pickup a cheap dish with 3 LNB's, so my mate Murray and I installed it up on the garage roof on the weekend. So this box is tuned into Optus D1, D2 and C1 and works superbly!

DSCF6307 DSCF6308 DSCF6310 DSCF6313

Nick.

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RSS on your TV!

Thursday, 19 June 2008 11:00 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

I recently blogged about my Dreambox – Freeview Set-top Box, and after a bit of poking around today for something else, discovered that there's a RSS Reader available for the Dreambox. To install the RSS Reader, press the blue button on the remote (I'm using the PLI image), select Software Management, select Downloads,  select Addons/plugins... and select RSS Reader to install.

Once installed, you can manage your RSS feeds by modifying the file \var\tuxbox\config\rss\feeds.xml. Below is a quick file I put together to test functionality, feel free to use as base.

<--cut-->

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<feeds>
    <feed>
        <name>Nick MacKechnie - Work Blog</name>
        <url>http://blogs.msdn.com/nickmac/rss.xml</url>
    </feed>
    <feed>
        <name>Computerworld</name>
        <url>http://computerworld.co.nz/rss/computerworld.xml</url>
    </feed>
    <feed>
        <name>Stuff - Top Stories</name>
        <url>http://www.stuff.co.nz/feeds/topstories.xml</url>
    </feed>
    <feed>
        <name>Stuff - National News</name>
        <url>http://www.stuff.co.nz/feeds/nationalnews.xml</url>
    </feed>
    <feed>
        <name>Stuff - World News</name>
        <url>http://www.stuff.co.nz/feeds/worldnews.xml</url>
    </feed>
    <feed>
        <name>Stuff - Sports News</name>
        <url>http://www.stuff.co.nz/feeds/sport.xml</url>
    </feed>
    <feed>
        <name>Stuff - Technology</name>
        <url>http://www.stuff.co.nz/feeds/tech.xml</url>
    </feed>
    <feed>
        <name>NZ Herald - National News</name>
        <url>http://syndication.apn.co.nz/rss/nzhrsscid_000000001.xml</url>
    </feed>
    <feed>
        <name>NZ Herald - World News</name>
        <url>http://syndication.apn.co.nz/rss/nzhrsscid_000000002.xml</url>
    </feed>
    <feed>
        <name>NZ Herald - Business News</name>
        <url>http://syndication.apn.co.nz/rss/nzhrsscid_000000003.xml</url>
    </feed>
    <feed>
        <name>NZ Herald - Sports News</name>
        <url>http://syndication.apn.co.nz/rss/nzhrsscid_000000004.xml</url>
    </feed>
    <feed>
        <name>NZ Herald - Technology News</name>
        <url>http://syndication.apn.co.nz/rss/nzhrsscid_000000005.xml</url>
    </feed>
</feeds>

<--cut-->

To start the RSS Reader at any time, press the Yellow button on the remote, and select RSS Reader to view your feeds. Here's a few screen shots below.

 

Nick.

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Dreambox – Freeview Set-top Box

Sunday, 8 June 2008 00:45 by Nick MacKechnie

When Freeview launched in New Zealand (Free to air TV via Satellite), the price of set-top decoders were very expensive, they are however starting to drop in price. So I had a look around for an alternative which ended up costing NZ $100-$150.

The Dreambox is a Linux-powered DVB satellite, terrestrial and cable digital television decoder (set-top box), produced by German multimedia vendor Dream Multimedia. Its firmware is officially user-upgradable, since it is a Linux-based computer, as opposed to third-party "patching" of alternate receivers. I currently use the PLI Image on my boxes - http://www.pli-images.org/downloads.php

There are a bunch of different models available, coming in various configurations with hard drives included, dual tuners etc – Check this link here for the models available -http://www.dream-multimedia-tv.de/english/products_overview.php

I picked my first one up from Ebay in Australia, however there are a bunch of people starting to import them. Where things start to get interesting is when you also have a sky subscription, or multiple LNBs. The Dreambox can merge the EPGs into one and give you a single EPG/device for all. Here’s a snippet of the specifications of the entry level box – the DM500S (S = Satellite, C = Cable) The manual can be found here (5.38mb)

DM500-S Specifications:

The Dreambox 500S is the smallest Linux satellite TV receiver, with 1 x Smartcard-Reader.

1. 250 MHz IBM PowerPC Processor (350 Mips)

2. 2 LED status

3. Linux Operating System

4. Full automatic service scan

5. Supports directly bouquet-lists (indirect unlimited)

6. Supports multiple LNB-Switching control (supports DiSEqC)

7. 1 x Smartcard-Reader

8. Unlimited channel lists for TV/Radio

9. SPDI/F nterface for digital bit stream out (AC-3 / DTS)

10. MPEG2 Hardware decoding

11. Channel-change time < 1 second

12. Fully adaptable OSD in many languages (skin-support)

13. 100Mbit full duplex Ethernet Interface

14. Supports EPG (electronic program guide)

15. 1 x Scart-interfaces (fully controlled by software)

Video decoder:
Video Compression MPEG-2 and MPEG-1 compatible
Video Standard PAL and NTSC
Video Formats 4:3 / 16:9
Footage 16:9, automatic assimilation for 16:9 TV-Device (over Scart)
Letterbox precolating for 4:3 TV-Device Audio decoder:
AudioCompression MPEG-1 & MPEG-2 Layer I and II
Audio Mode Dual (main/sub), Stereo
Frequency: 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 16 kHz, 22.05 kHz, 24 kHz

Video parameter:
Input Level FBAS 1 Vss +/- 0.3 dB on 75 Ohm
Teletext filter in conformity with ETS 300 472 Standard
TV-Scart:
Output: FBAS,RGB,S-VHS over OSD selectable

DBS-Tuner:
Frequency Range 950 .. 2150 MHz
Signal Level - 65 dBm .. - 25 dBm
Signal-to-Noise Level 12 dB max.
DBS-Tuner Input Connector F-Type female
Input Impedance 75 Ohm
AFC +/- 3 MHz
Demodulation Shaped QPSK
Input Symbol rate 2 .. 45 Mbaud/s, SCPC / MCPC
FEC Viterbi and Reed-Solomon
Viterbirate 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, automatic assimilation
Roll-off Factor 35 %
Demultiplexing according ISO 13818-1

Ethernet:
100 MBit compatible, bi-directional interface
Function Update of Firmware and Preprogramming

LNB Power and polarisation:
LNB Current 500mA max. ; short-circuit-proof
LNB Voltage vertical < 14V without load, > 11,5V at 400mA
LNB Voltage horizontal < 20V without load, > 17,3V at 400mA
LNB shut-off at Standby-Mode

Count of active satellite position:
DiSEqC 1.0/1.2 SAT POSITION / SAT OPTION
DiSEqC - Rotor Control

Output digital:
Output Level 0,5 Vss on 75 Ohm
Sampled Data Filtering 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz
S/PDIF-Output optical (AC3)

Output analog:
Output Level L/R 0,5 Vss on 600 Ohm
THD > 60 dB (1 kHz)
Crosstalk < -65 dB

Serial Interface RS 232:
RS232 bidirectional
Bit rate 115,2 kBit/s max.
Plug Connector SUB-D-9
Function Update of Firmware and Preprogramming

Power consumption:
< 10W / 12V

Input voltage:
DC12V,alternating current +/- 15%

Extern power supply:
Input:
110-240V AC / 50-60Hz / 0.6A
Output:
12V = / 1A

Others:
Ambient Temperature +15°C...+35°C
Humidity < 80%

In order to get a Dreambox configured correctly to talk to the LNB/Satellite in NZ, BarTender on Geekzone has posted some useful information/guides.

This box can also act as Personal Video Recorder (PVR) like MySky. For those devices that don’t have a physical hard drive in them, like the DM500, you can mount a share over the network and record directly in MPEG2 format or it can stream the recording using Ngrab.

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=34&TopicId=16887&page_no=1#96524

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=34&TopicId=16887&page_no=1#96206

Other useful Resources

http://www.rdi-dreambox.com/

http://www.austech.info/dreambox/

http://www.satsig.net/maps/satellite-tv-dish-pointing-australia-new-zealand.htm

http://www.geekzone.co.nz

Nick.

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