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Topic # 13609 20-May-2007 09:17
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Hi, I've been on the Lightspeed 80G package for a while now, and I'm strongly considering getting their Digital TV, since this month there is no connection fee, but I've been utterly unable to find vital information about the STBs they use. I've put together a PVR machine out of bits I had lying around, with a Hauppage WinTV PVR500MCE (Dual tuner card with dual hardware MPEG-2 encoders), a 400gb raid array for recordings, and running Gentoo Linux with MythTV, but I keep hearing differing stories as to what sort of outputs the STBs offer.
Basically I'd just like answers to the following questions
Which configurations of outputs are avaliable - can I get S-Video or not?
Does it have a serial port to allow the scheduler to change channels, or will I need a less reliable IR blaster?
Will splitting the connection to allow me to plug in a second non-decrypted stream for recording the FTA channels have a noticeable impact?
Additionally, the room I'll be getting the decoder put in is the same one the modem is in, which is reasonably far from the street, does this mean they'll simply split off the cable at the room, or lay a second one? - I already find the performance pretty sub-par, as I only get around 3mbit rather than 10mbit, and if it were to be split and degrade the performance even further, it would be entirely unacceptable - Its only a step above at the moment.

Thanks in advance for any and all answers.

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  Reply # 71362 20-May-2007 09:53
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First up welcome to geekzone!Cool

On to answer your questions

Outputs are 1 X Svideo, 1 X composite and one Both are active at the same time. The down side to this is that unless you have your PVR running all the time and watch TV through it then you have to toss up which will get the svideo out.

No it does not have a serial port. You have to ways to deal with that. Either schedule the programs through the epg to record however you can not do series linking or anything like that.

You can split out the cable from the output side of the digital STB and get the FTA channels. I dont think this has any impact on the digital feed or your high speed internet however I would suggest that you get the tech to have a look at your high speed internet at the same time as it may be showing a symptom of something else being wrong which may also affect the digital TV.

edit.. sorry they will run it off the same cable in the room. You will also get a second modem for the digital TV service and no apparently they cannot just use a network port off your existing one.







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  Reply # 71364 20-May-2007 10:20
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My two digital STB have two sets of composite out, though aparantly you can only use one. (I have asked TCL and they said you are unable to use the second set and advise against it, though they would not say why). And it has a RF out.

As Nety said no serial port.

AFAIK you can split it and you will not have a big impact. However this will all depend on your current signal quality, which may not be the best by the sounds of it.

Again AFAIK they will split, but it will all depend on the quality of the existing signal. I have two digital STB's two phone lines and one cable modem. So I need to cable connections from the grey box on the side of the house.

The EPG on the STB will not change channels for you like sky's does. It will pop-up a message saying your programme is about to start on anoher channel, and you need to hit a button to change the channel. So you will need an IR blaster.



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Reply # 71371 20-May-2007 11:43
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Thanks for the welcome!

Alrighty I guess I'll try to track down an IR blaster, but having s-video is certainly nice.

With the RF port, does it just output the channel you are currently decrypting, or does it output the full band, but only the channel you have selected is decrypted? - I assume its the former, but if it is the latter, I won't need a split for the second tuner, which would be nice.

I believe the reason my net is reasonably slow is that they used a lower grade cable between the road and my room than they should have, given the distance - when a Telstra guy first came to take a look at my house when I was first getting it installed, and I mentioned that I am a heavy user, and frequently have to VNC into servers at work, he said that given the distance they would probably use a heavier grade cable than normal, resulting in less signal degradation, but I dont think they actually did. Unfortunately I also doubt they'd be willing to correct that, as they had to lay cable up the side of the house to get here, which involved having to dig in several places. Hmm, unless they are able to insert another cable into the external sheathing.. I'll have to ask about that.

As far as the second modem just for the STB goes, I had heard that.. it does indeed seem a little silly not to be able to plug it into ones switch/hub/router, but I guess it sort of makes sense as it would only work if one either had a uniform network setup, or was running a dhcp server, plus a router/firewall may interefere. But rscole86, are you saying they run a connection from the STB directly to the outside cable box, rather than adding more modems, if you have several? - its likely I'll get a second STB for the TV in the living room downstairs, for my flatmates, and having 3 modems would be pretty darn overkill.

Anyway, thanks a lot for the prompt and informative answers, it really helps to know what I'm getting before I buy, so I can make a more informed decision.

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  Reply # 71378 20-May-2007 12:22
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They will install a cable modem for every STB you have. There will ba a cable running from the grey box on the side of your house to the modem's. For the STB the will split it and run one to the modem and the other to the STB. You do not need to use the modem if you do not want to receive the EPG, buy movies or get updates for your STB. So I would suggest you leave it plugged in.

AFAIK the rf output will only be of what you are currently watching, as it is not a passthrough port. If you want to watch free to air on another TV then you will need to split it first.

As far as your speed it concerned, call TCL and let them know that you are not happy with your cable speeds. They will only check it if you let them know. Try and let them know if it happens at certain times of day, and how often it happens. And keep on letting them know. If you complain enough then they will send out a technician to look at the line.

How many STB's are you planning on getting?

And are you eventually going to have 1 cable internet, 2 STB's and one phone line? If so then they will almost definitly run two seperate feeds from the grey box.

If they do that, ask if you can get the internet feed seperate from the TV's and phone line, this may help with the speed/reliability of that line to the box.

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  Reply # 71380 20-May-2007 12:31
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rscole86: The EPG on the STB will not change channels for you like sky's does. It will pop-up a message saying your programme is about to start on anoher channel, and you need to hit a button to change the channel. So you will need an IR blaster.


rscole86 this is how it is setup by default however if you go into the setup -> Preferences -> Reminder prefs you can change it to default to record which will change the channel.

There is also a way you can do this on a reminder by reminder basis but I cant remember how as I have just set mine to default to record.







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  Reply # 71382 20-May-2007 12:36
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Thanks Nety!

I had tried it once before and it never worked, maybe ill try it again, its never really been a problem for me as I have two STB's anyway :p



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  Reply # 71391 20-May-2007 14:28
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Nety:
rscole86: The EPG on the STB will not change channels for you like sky's does. It will pop-up a message saying your programme is about to start on anoher channel, and you need to hit a button to change the channel. So you will need an IR blaster.


rscole86 this is how it is setup by default however if you go into the setup -> Preferences -> Reminder prefs you can change it to default to record which will change the channel.

There is also a way you can do this on a reminder by reminder basis but I cant remember how as I have just set mine to default to record.


Ooh, nice, I'll have to have a play around with that, and if it works well I can do that rather than getting an IR blaster.

I'm planning on getting two STB's, probably, but only one would be in the same room as the modem is, the other would be in our living room, which shares a wall with the outside box, so it would be three feeds going into my room, one for the modem, one for the STB, and one for the STB Modem.

Anyway, thanks a lot for all the great advice! Smile

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  Reply # 71393 20-May-2007 14:34
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The reminder method is what i use for recording things that are not on 1,2,3 or prime which I record direct from the FTA feed. It has never not worked for me yet. It also has that advantage that if the program time changes slightly then the channel switch does as well. On my PVR I just make sure that I start recording a bit before I need to and leave it recording for a while after the program is supposed to end.







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  Reply # 71399 20-May-2007 15:41
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If you're willing to move from MythTV to GB-PVR it has support for several brands of DVB-C cards with CAM modules. This means you'll be able to hook it up to the TCL network directly. You still need your card for the CAM slot and this doesn't allow you to get free TV in any way. Sub (GB-PVR author) is from Wellington and posted about the solution here last year.



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  Reply # 71410 20-May-2007 19:16
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Whilst I'm not particularly attached to MythTV, I certainly wouldn't use a windows box for a PVR, it needs to be up, recording, and serving 24/7, and windows is just too unreliable. Besides which, MythTV does in fact support DVB-C cards, I wasn't actually aware that the encryption that TCL use had CAM modules avaliable. Having said that, I'm sure that the effort and price to import one would be prohibitive. Going through the STB is just much easier, even if I do have to use an IR blaster, though it is perhaps something to consider in the future.

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  Reply # 71413 20-May-2007 19:46
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KryNx: Whilst I'm not particularly attached to MythTV, I certainly wouldn't use a windows box for a PVR, it needs to be up, recording, and serving 24/7, and windows is just too unreliable. Besides which, MythTV does in fact support DVB-C cards, I wasn't actually aware that the encryption that TCL use had CAM modules avaliable. Having said that, I'm sure that the effort and price to import one would be prohibitive. Going through the STB is just much easier, even if I do have to use an IR blaster, though it is perhaps something to consider in the future.


I run GB-PVR on top of Windows XP and have found it to be extremely reliable. I've spent quite a bit of time playing with MythTV as well and would personally prefer my XP + GB-PVR setup any day. I've never had a single instance in a year of my PVR failing or crashing and despite being used daily it might get rebooted maybe once every few weeks if I change something, the remainder of the time it stays in S3 sleep mode as GB-PVR can wake up to record from S3 and put the PC back to sleep. There are small qwirks when it comes to configuring and running a PVR under Windows that running on Linux doesn't have but to say "Windows is too unreliable" is completely untrue.







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  Reply # 71444 21-May-2007 08:28
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Some of the information I found here seemed a bit wrong to me.

I have one of the (older??) STB's with the two composite out connections.

I used to have one hooked to the TV and one to my GBPVR based PVR.  Windows has no problems being up 24/7 running as a server and a client - but that's another thread!!! -

I switched from MythTV as it took me a good couple of months of playing with it (using KnoppMythTV no less) and then if found the light (aka GBPVR) I prefer windows machines since I use them more and I can develop in C#.net - GBPVR supports a plugin API - go sub!!! .   So those are the main reasons I switched.

Now i just have the PVR attached via one composite connection.

Also the rf-out of the STB was connected to the antenna of the TV. 

I have TCL "tuned" to channel 7 of my tv as well as the FTA passthroughs that seem to be present on the cable (TV1, TV2, TV3, C4, Saturn Weather, Sneak Peek and for a while TV1 Australia).

And then finally I have a USB-UIRT remote transmitter to change the channels on the STB from GBPVR.








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  Reply # 71454 21-May-2007 10:02
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davidcole: Some of the information I found here seemed a bit wrong to me.

I have one of the (older??) STB's with the two composite out connections.



Can someone confirm if there is or is not a STB with s-video out??

As I stated earlier I have 2 digital STB's one is 17 months old, the other is brand new, as it got re-installed on Saturday due to another one burning out.

AFAIK there is not one. Both of mine have two sets of composite out and the rf out, which I have never used.



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  Reply # 71455 21-May-2007 10:03
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Whilst its true that windows can stay up 24/7 with a reboot once a month or so, any driver or software problems can cause a plague of instability, and I just prefer a box that will stay up 24/7/365, only needing to be rebooted for hardware or kernel updates, in addition to which, the box will be headless, for the moment, till I can get a larger KVM, and remote administration with linux is just easier. I agree that since NT windows has become far more reliable as a server, but having had experience running both windows and linux servers simultaneously for 7 or 8 years, I'd take linux any day, windows is just not worth the headache.

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  Reply # 71458 21-May-2007 10:08
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rscole86:
davidcole: Some of the information I found here seemed a bit wrong to me.

I have one of the (older??) STB's with the two composite out connections.



Can someone confirm if there is or is not a STB with s-video out??

As I stated earlier I have 2 digital STB's one is 17 months old, the other is brand new, as it got re-installed on Saturday due to another one burning out.

AFAIK there is not one. Both of mine have two sets of composite out and the rf out, which I have never used.


There is however the older boxes did not have svideo so it is best to check or ask before the tech comes out to make sure you get one that does have it.







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