Author Topic: Infrared and Satellite box  (Read 1359 times)

b4rney

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Infrared and Satellite box
« on: January 30, 2009, 07:21:23 pm »
I want to attach my sky plus satellite stb to my core, out of the way in a cupboard. Then plug it's composite/audio into a capture card on the core. Hopefully this will then be available everywhere.

My question is ... can I control the sky box with a standard sky infrared remote in the living room and get the ir relayed to the sky box? Or am I looking at this the wrong way and I should be using my orbiters to send commands which get transmitted via a transmitter (usbuirt)?

My current orbiters are a gyration air mouse and nokia n800 (no infrared).

I have browsed the wiki and similar threads but I just can't grasp the concepts involved.
Barney

seth

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Re: Infrared and Satellite box
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2009, 07:55:06 pm »
 :)
You will need a USB-UIRT and a blaster dongle to achieve this. It is not unlike how I used to have my setup rigged, all my receivers were in a closet, with the core, and the USB-UIRT, Now they are in a big wiring closet with all my gear, core, network, dish receivers, USB-UIRT, Roku Netflix Player. But to control them I use a single USB-UIRT.

However as you have the receivers in a different area than the core, you will need to use an extension dongle plugged into the back of the USB-UIRT. They make a nice dual-headed one, and it is also available in a single headed model.

USB-UIRT - http://www.usbuirt.com/order.htm

Single Emitter - http://www.smarthome.com/8170/Mini-Stick-On-Infrared-IR-Emitter-Bugs-Blasters/p.aspx

Dual Emitters - http://www.smarthome.com/8172/Xantech-Mini-Stick-On-Infrared-IR-Emitter-286-00/p.aspx

Pick one up, soon you will be like me and have 3.

Best regards,

Seth
« Last Edit: January 30, 2009, 07:59:38 pm by seth »
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b4rney

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Re: Infrared and Satellite box
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2009, 08:13:08 pm »
Seth, thanks for the info. I already have a usb-uirt but no idea what to do with it. I guess this is the transmitter.

My satellite receiver is connected to the core (in a cupboard) but I want to control it from the md in the living room. Did you use the original remotes to control the devices or did you use your orbiters? How do you get the usbuirt to transmit the signals you want it to?

Sorry for being dense! I will understand this if it kills me!! :-\

seth

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Re: Infrared and Satellite box
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2009, 08:55:45 pm »
 :)
I created a template for my satellite receivers, and part of that process was using the original remotes to teach the system the codes. This is the first thing I used the usb-uirt for.

Once the template is created, you can then integrate it into your system. Where my core is, I have 2 sat. receivers, a roku netflix player, and a usb-uirt. After creating templates for each device, and learning the respective codes into thesystem by using the usb-uirt and the original remotes, I then assigned each device to a pvr150 card on my core, the next step was assigning each sat box to a tuner for mythtv use.

After these were all added/set up through the setup wizard and sarah, I just started building MD's. Now any MD in the house can control the receivers or the roku netflix player through the core.

Signal is sent from MD to the core to start Live TV, and then it just knows from there, which receiver/device to use, and stream across the network.

I have 3 usb-uirt's but I only use one of them to control my receivers and the roku box. The others are on MD's to control AV equipment and the TV's attached to the MD.

Hope that helps clear things up.

Regards,

Seth
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b4rney

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Re: Infrared and Satellite box
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2009, 12:32:29 am »
Thanks Seth. That's definitely cleared some things up.
I'll work through the steps you used. Really appreciate it.
Many thanks
Regards
Barney

maybeoneday

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Re: Infrared and Satellite box
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2009, 09:29:25 am »
Hi b4rney,
 I'm assuming you're in the UK,   (sky+) , yes ?  if so totallymaxed and his team are working  on this at the moment,using this      www.dusky-control.com/usb.shtml    which  will get rid of the "flakiness" of IR control of sky box,in VDR.I believe it's allready usable in Myth by using an external channel changing option.
I have a dusky and can confirm it works under it's own cli , and I would recommend you giving it a look.Check out this thread, http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=6413.0

As for usbuirt , check the wiki to enable  the blasting,but fwiw I experienced unexpected  delays/actions,while changing channels,and while being able to access the channell guide was unable to pass through that , to the planner for recordings , or to access  services/box office etc,
hope that's usefull,
regards,
Ian

b4rney

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Re: Infrared and Satellite box
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2009, 11:51:43 am »
Thanks Ian,
Yes I'm in the UK. I did read that thread but it sounded very complex. I had hoped for a simple solution, but it sounds like there are lag issues with infrared. So .... now I am considering several options. :-\
Satellite box in cupboard out of sight
1. As described above. Teach linuxmce the sky commands using the usbuirt and use the orbiters to control sky via usbuirt transmitter.
(Still not sure how to send every button selection using this technique and this is the 'flaky' option I guess)
2. Dusky Sky Controller option (not available yet but seems to be the most reliable solution) uses orbiters as controls I guess.
3. Use a normal sky extender plugged into the rf connector and run the cable into my living room. Use sky ir remote to control it.

Satellite box in living room
4. Run composite and audio (about 7 metres) into cupboard to core but primarily use sky ir remote in living room.
5. Use usb capture card on my living room md and plug sky into this. Again use sky remote.
6. A combination of the above which allows both use of sky ir remote and orbiters.

Options 1 and 2 (and 6) seem to be the 'proper' solutions but options 3, 4, 5 and 6 would keep my wife happy as she is used to the sky plus remote!
Thanks for your advice!
Regards
Barney

totallymaxed

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Re: Infrared and Satellite box
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2009, 02:27:15 pm »
Thanks Ian,
Yes I'm in the UK. I did read that thread but it sounded very complex. I had hoped for a simple solution, but it sounds like there are lag issues with infrared. So .... now I am considering several options. :-\
Satellite box in cupboard out of sight
1. As described above. Teach linuxmce the sky commands using the usbuirt and use the orbiters to control sky via usbuirt transmitter.
(Still not sure how to send every button selection using this technique and this is the 'flaky' option I guess)
2. Dusky Sky Controller option (not available yet but seems to be the most reliable solution) uses orbiters as controls I guess.
3. Use a normal sky extender plugged into the rf connector and run the cable into my living room. Use sky ir remote to control it.

Satellite box in living room
4. Run composite and audio (about 7 metres) into cupboard to core but primarily use sky ir remote in living room.
5. Use usb capture card on my living room md and plug sky into this. Again use sky remote.
6. A combination of the above which allows both use of sky ir remote and orbiters.

Options 1 and 2 (and 6) seem to be the 'proper' solutions but options 3, 4, 5 and 6 would keep my wife happy as she is used to the sky plus remote!
Thanks for your advice!
Regards
Barney


Hi all,

Just to update you all;

We are working on a multi way approach to make adding Sky or Virgin (or indeed any other external video source available). In no particular order they are;

1. Capture/Stream - this involves using an analog capture card to capture the composite/s-video/component video signal from the source and digitise it. This is then passed to the vdr plugin called ipTV and this plugin allows any MD to pickup the stream and display it. If the source is a Sky box (Sky Digibox, Sky+ or SkyHD) then we use a Dusky interface to control it as it is reliable and very fast. If the source is a Virgin digibox or something else like a FreeSat digibox then we use IR blasting to control it. The Digiboxes are then added to the vdr EPG channel list and can be selected just like any other channel... and recorded just like any other channel too. You get know EPG data for these 'channels' though in vdr but you can use instant record, Live pause or schedule a recording manually for some time in the future.

Downsides of this approach is mainly in the picture quality and lag when capturing the analog video. Composite capture is acceptable to some people... but many find it unacceptable. S-video is somewhat better...but still not excellent. Component capture has good quality but currently the only device that provides this is the Hauppauge HDPVR and the Linux drivers for this are still very much unstable... so for now this really is not usable in a production system. Lag in capture is a problem mainly when you want to control some aspect of the Digiboxes UI... that will suffer a 2-3 sec delay and this puts many people off in a big way.

2. Control/Video Distribution - this uses the same control options as above but in this case we distribute the video output of the Digibox out to the TV/Displays attached to the MD's directly. So depending on what outputs your Digibox has - RF, Composite, Component, S-Video or HDMI and how many MD's you want to be able to distribute the video signal too you have a number of choices;

- Single TV/Screen: ie hybrid Core just take the cable strait out of the Digibox into the TV and have the MD use RS232 or IR blasting to switch to the other input or if RF another RF Channel. Now your LinuxMCE remote becomes the remote control for the Digibox.

- Multiple TV/Screens: For RF you would use an RF distribution amplifier (ie 1-4 RF inputs to one or many RF outputs) and send the video from the digibox to each screen on a different RF channel for each digibox. Again RS232 or IR control of the TV allows you to select one of your digiboxes and then have the TV controlled by LinuxMCE so that its input is automatically switched/tuned to the RF channel for that digibox. Now your LinuxMCE remote becomes the remote control for the Digibox.

- Multiple TV/Screens; Using HDMI or any other video output allows you to use say a 1-4, 1-8 or 1-16 distribution Amp to get the number of outputs you need. Then you would have either long video cables out to each TV/MD or you can use HDMI to CAT5 converters or Component to CAT5 converters to send the video signal over dedicated CAT5 cables to where you need it (at the TV/MD end you would have a CAT5 to HDMI/Component coverter) and then into the input on the TV. Again you would then use IR/RS232 to switch inputs on the TV. Another variation on this is where all the MD's are racked centrally with the Core and you use a 3-1 switcher with RS232 control and send that output out over CAT5 to the remote screen (use another CAT5 to get remote USB devices out there too ie IR receiver/Keyboard etc.

The advantage of Option 2 is that you get full picture quality at the TV... no loss at all (its as good as having the Sky/Virgin or other digibox) directly connected to the screen in question. With the Dusky combined with this you get instantaneous response to the remote when controlling the remote Sky box for example and perfect picture quality. You also get full control of the Sky boxes without limitation and the ability to watch anything you record (if the boxes are Sky+ or SkyHD that is!) anywhere you have an MD/screen. The main disadvantages are that it involves more complex cabling and it does not bring the video from the digiboxes into the system at all.

We have the basic components of this deployed with customers now and it is proving very successful. What we are currently doing is bringing all of this together with configuration options etc so that you can choose any of these approaches as you configure your Core. Once we have that work complete we will release this back to the community. I cant give any timescale for this... but it will be as soon as possible.

All the best

Andrew
« Last Edit: February 01, 2009, 04:35:48 pm by totallymaxed »
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b4rney

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Re: Infrared and Satellite box
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2009, 02:32:13 pm »
Thanks for the detailed update Andrew.
So many distribution choices! HDMI over ethernet sounds interesting ... except I'm going to need more cables.

Shame about the lag and quality issue with capturing but it might be a good choice for whole house access via vdr/mythtv with a primary viewing area using direct video distribution. This is my present preference. I get the best of both worlds.

It might be nice to have that post as a reference in the wiki.
Regards
Barney

totallymaxed

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Re: Infrared and Satellite box
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2009, 04:40:08 pm »
Thanks for the detailed update Andrew.
So many distribution choices! HDMI over ethernet sounds interesting ... except I'm going to need more cables.

Shame about the lag and quality issue with capturing but it might be a good choice for whole house access via vdr/mythtv with a primary viewing area using direct video distribution. This is my present preference. I get the best of both worlds.

It might be nice to have that post as a reference in the wiki.
Regards
Barney

By the way component over CAT5 can be achieved with a single CAT5 and then a second CAT5 for the remote USB connection from the remote screen back to the MD (if its racked). Component can give excellent picture quality.

We will update the wiki with a new page when we have the installer ready for users to download.

Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd

Read My Blog; http://ellipticalcurve.com

Contact me for Smart Home consulting advice here;
@herron on Twitter, inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com via email or PM me here.

Get a Dianemo License: http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100221#msg100221
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dianemo-Home-Automation/226019387454465

Sales & Info:
http://www.dianemo.co.uk