Author Topic: Freesat (UK) questions relating to multiple tuners, multiplexes, dishes, etc  (Read 3676 times)

purps

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I am seriously considering moving to freesat at my new place (I'm in the UK).

1. Does freesat still have multiplexes like with freeview? If so, how many? Can one tuner handle all the viewing/recording of all the channels on a given multiplex? (I will be using myth).

2. What DVB-S2 card is best to use? I am currently on 1004, will be using myth, don't mind if it's PCI or PCIe. Less keen on USB, but fine with it if it's known to be working.

3. Once I understand the above, the next question is how many tuners, and how does that impact which dish I choose? Currently I use 4 tuners for freeview, but I think I could probably get away with 2, I record so much crap that I never ever watch.

Cheers,
Matt.
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toppot

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I am seriously considering moving to freesat at my new place (I'm in the UK).

1. Does freesat still have multiplexes like with freeview? If so, how many? Can one tuner handle all the viewing/recording of all the channels on a given multiplex? (I will be using myth).

2. What DVB-S2 card is best to use? I am currently on 1004, will be using myth, don't mind if it's PCI or PCIe. Less keen on USB, but fine with it if it's known to be working.

3. Once I understand the above, the next question is how many tuners, and how does that impact which dish I choose? Currently I use 4 tuners for freeview, but I think I could probably get away with 2, I record so much crap that I never ever watch.

Cheers,
Matt.


Hi Matt,

1. Yes multiplexes similar to DVB-T. The number of frequencies (called "transponders" in sat lingo) are much higher though. One tuner can provide the full stream to Myth, that can then record whichever MUX needed, including several.
Please look at http://www.lyngsat.com/28east.html or http://en.kingofsat.net/pos-28.2E.php
There you can see the transponders, and the channels on each. Most carry 6-10 free channels, but some are probably not interesting to record simultaneously - like Channel 5 region 1, 3, 4, and 5

2. Can not really guide you there, since I am using virtual Core (actually 8.10), thus my tuners are USB - and a struggle on 8.10, meaning I will be upgrading to 10.04 where they should work fine. Just ensure you buy DVB-S2 tuners, where both DVB-S and DVB-S2 is supported in 10.04. (bet 10 beers that Andrew http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?action=profile;u=38882 can tell you, although 10.10 could vary in HW support compared to 10.04)

3. Like I mentioned above, you would need more tuners for sat... The dish can be whatever, but the microwave head (the LNB) need to be for enough tuners. I would recommend a "quad" LNB (not a Quattro, since these requires a special switch), or if you are ambitious an "Octo" LNB for 4 resp. 8 tuners. The price between single, dual and quad LNBs are very small... And I am quite sure you can find PCI(e) cards with 2 tuners quite cheap.

If you want premium channels (SKY) then this is also possible (and legal), but policies here states that this should not be discussed - I actually disagree with these policies, but can easily understand them, since the step to implement viewing paid TV legally is actually a (very small) bit more complicated then the steps needed to watch the same channels illegally...

You could also consider a slightly larger dish, with 2 (or more) heads (LNBs) for receiving many channels from across the continent - I personally scored tremendous with the wife when I tuned to "Abu Dhabi Sports" to find live broadcast from World Championships in endurance horse riding (which is her passion, mine is sat tv ;-) that wasn't aired in any "normal" tv station..

-TOP
« Last Edit: January 07, 2012, 05:07:32 pm by toppot »

posde

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Hello toppot,

thanks for your detailed explanation. I'd like to add/change one thing though: I would suggest to DO get a Quattro LNB and add a Multiswitch to it. That way, you can easily add more DVB-S2 receivers as you go along. Just get a bigger multiswitch.

Schmich

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I agree with Posde. Make sure it's a Quattro and not a Quad. Quattro has 4 outputs horizontal low and high, vertical low and high. Connect that to a multiswitch and any receiver can watch anything from that satellite, don't need anymore LNBs. What's also nice is that you can add an antenna feed into the multiswitch so you have just one cable carrying the DVB-T and DVB-S (which then you have to split/filter to each receiver).

As for having several LNBs (including several Quattro's if you want more than one satellite) you can get a curved dish. I have a Wavefrontier T90 (it looks strange as the beam bounces twice, and I think therefore is mirrored) but I'm sure there are other products.

I had this all working with 8.10 but when I installed 10.04 over it I forgot how to configure it all in MythTV. I'm quite the amateur :P But I'll try to do a nice write-up once I figure it all out again (for others and myself next time I install!)

purps

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Thank you for the replies gentlemen, very helpful indeed.

1. OK, so I understand now that there even more MUXs to contend with when dealing with satellite.

2. Hopefully Andrew will stumble across this thread and let me know his opinion on cards.

3. I appreciate the advantage of a quattro/multiswitch approach. However, am I right in saying that the little oval sky minidish (which I intend on thieving from my current abode) isn't suitable for this? You need a circular one? Plus, will you not see additional losses by running the signal through another box? My motherboard only has x2 PCI slots and x2 PCIe slots available, so I'm assuming I can only install a maximum x4 dual tuners in my core; I would have thought I'd be safe with an OCTO, unless there's something I'm missing?

I will never have DVB-T at the new place as it will be a PITA (I noticed that all the aerials are on very tall masts, and there isn't one currently on the property), and I have no interest in sky or any paid services. I watch too much tele as it is :-)

Cheers,
Matt.
1004 RC :: looking good :: upgraded 01/04/2013
my setup :: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Purps

posde

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Multiswitch has nothing to do with dish format. A quad LNB has a multiswitch built in, afaik, compared to the quattro, which provides the feeds to the external multiswitch, as Schmich pointed out.

I am using, with 1004, and not out of the box, 2x Dual DVB-S2 cards with a PCIx1 connector. Unfortunately, my stupid dish installer installed a single LNB to point to the Astra 28.2, and a quattro only to Astra 19.2. So the 19.2 goes into the multiswitch, the single LNB to 28.2 goes directly into one of the four DVB-S2 connectors.

PCIx1 fits into PCIx1,x2,x4,x8 or x16.

purps

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My understanding was that the quattro LNB itself didn't like the little oval sky minidishes. This is all very new to me, but I wouldn't have thought that a quad/octo LNB would need a multiswitch? I thought they were literally just separate, individual feeds?

I am going to attempt to install a new LNB in my existing dish. Unfortunately, as I'm moving house, I will have to realign it; hopefully that won't be beyond my abilities.

Currently looking at this one, there are Linux drivers are available and reports of success with myth .24 http://www.tbsdtv.com/english/product/6981.html

Open to any other suggestions!

Cheers,
Matt.
1004 RC :: looking good :: upgraded 01/04/2013
my setup :: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Purps

posde

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If you get one, make sure to get a return policy.

purps

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Really? That bad?
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toppot

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Hello toppot,

thanks for your detailed explanation. I'd like to add/change one thing though: I would suggest to DO get a Quattro LNB and add a Multiswitch to it. That way, you can easily add more DVB-S2 receivers as you go along. Just get a bigger multiswitch.

For a future proof system you are of course right - you can actually actually cascade multiswitches, meaning adding switches rather than replacing.. But for a sat newbie lets keep the learning curve a bit flatter  :P  - Even if Matt actually seems (from other problems he has solved via the forum) to be quite a good learner..

-TOP

posde

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Really? That bad?

It is not about that bad, it is about driver support. Sometime the same device receives a new chip which renders the original working driver useless.

toppot

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My understanding was that the quattro LNB itself didn't like the little oval sky minidishes. This is all very new to me, but I wouldn't have thought that a quad/octo LNB would need a multiswitch? I thought they were literally just separate, individual feeds?

I am going to attempt to install a new LNB in my existing dish. Unfortunately, as I'm moving house, I will have to realign it; hopefully that won't be beyond my abilities.

Cheers,
Matt.

You are spot on that a single/dual/quad/octo LNB can be fed directly in to the tuner without a switch!.... And works fine with any dish type.
BUT: Switching is being done none the less. The LNB has a smaller frequency span than the feed it is tuning to, hence the tuner can make the LNB switch between base tuning frequencies (via 22Khz signal: LO 9.75 GHz, HI 10.6 Ghz). For most of the feeds in Europe it is actually also necessary to select the polarization of the sat feed, i.e. horizontal or vertical (elsewhere there is also right and left handed circular and other ways), meaning another "switching" done by the tuner via selecting either 13 or 18 Volts to the LNB.

That is why all relevant LNBs are called "universal LNBs"

External switches comes in to play when you desire more than one sat "position" - DiSEqC switches that select between LNBs, or if you uses Quattro LNBs (one multiswitch per Quattro LNB in principle) that then transform the selection from the tuner (HI/LO and H/V) to just one of the 4 (not so universal) LNBs all sitting in the same casing - called a Quattro LNB.

I stand by my recommendation: If you just want Freesat buy a quad or octo LNB. Feed just one cable directly to a sat box. Align the dish to 28.2 East. Now put the cable in to a input on a PC tuner card, and get that working. Later add more cables from LNB to tuner inputs.

Regarding aligning the dish - see this link: http://www.dishpointer.com/

-TOP

toppot

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Multiswitch has nothing to do with dish format. A quad LNB has a multiswitch built in, afaik, compared to the quattro, which provides the feeds to the external multiswitch, as Schmich pointed out.

I am using, with 1004, and not out of the box, 2x Dual DVB-S2 cards with a PCIx1 connector.

What was not OOB? What cards?


Unfortunately, my stupid dish installer installed a single LNB to point to the Astra 28.2, and a quattro only to Astra 19.2. So the 19.2 goes into the multiswitch, the single LNB to 28.2 goes directly into one of the four DVB-S2 connectors.


Why not spend the 3 minutes to revert this?? And then tweek Myth to use 3 tuners for 28.2 and only 1 for 19.2??

-TOP

posde

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toppot,

I prefer the 19.2 astra ;) and MythTV will not be seen in this house hold outside of a lab install.

It is okay, it was just stupid by the installer. I rarely need more than my three 19.2 lines, but it would have made life a bit nicer to have only a 9.8 multiswitch and have the cables go from LNB to multiswitch, and multiswitch to receiver cards, instead of having to have a special setup for the 28.2 cable which goes directly into one input. I now need to make sure that the cards are loaded in the correct order. Doable, but not nice.

As for OOB, the Dual DVB-S2 card does not work out of the box with the kernel that comes with 1004. I needed the ngene driver set from the linuxtv mercurial repo. And I can't remember which one was the right one. Alzheimer disease, I guess :/

purps

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For a future proof system you are of course right - you can actually actually cascade multiswitches, meaning adding switches rather than replacing.. But for a sat newbie lets keep the learning curve a bit flatter  :P  - Even if Matt actually seems (from other problems he has solved via the forum) to be quite a good learner..

Thank you for your judgement of my skill and learning abilities, having read a few of my other posts. I am not interested in the "easy" solution; I am interested in the "best" solution, even if it happens to be the hardest to understand for my tiny, inferior brain.

It is not about that bad, it is about driver support. Sometime the same device receives a new chip which renders the original working driver useless.

OK I will bear that in mind. I haven't read anything about this, but will keep an eye out.

External switches comes in to play when you desire more than one sat "position" - DiSEqC switches that select between LNBs, or if you uses Quattro LNBs (one multiswitch per Quattro LNB in principle) that then transform the selection from the tuner (HI/LO and H/V) to just one of the 4 (not so universal) LNBs all sitting in the same casing - called a Quattro LNB.

I stand by my recommendation: If you just want Freesat buy a quad or octo LNB. Feed just one cable directly to a sat box. Align the dish to 28.2 East. Now put the cable in to a input on a PC tuner card, and get that working. Later add more cables from LNB to tuner inputs.

Regarding aligning the dish - see this link: http://www.dishpointer.com/

I don't want the fact that I am using a sky minidish to become the main factor in all of this - if using a quattro/multiswitch is the superior solution in terms of quality, dropouts, whatever, then I would be happy to buy a new dish as well. I will only ever be looking at Astra 2D et al, which is all the freesat channels right? That's all I am interested in. From what I have read, the quattro/multiswitch approach is for people who want more than 8 tuners (i.e. in flats, apartment blocks, etc)... unless I am missing a subtle reason as to why it would be better?

Thanks for the dish pointer link, although my concern was specifically centred around "fine-tuning". Whilst I am sure I would be able to get the dish pointed more or less roughly in the right direction, I wasn't sure how to get it spot-bollock. Is it a simple case of plugging a feed into an old sky box or similar, looking at the signal strength, and saying "up a bit, left a bit"?

Cheers for all the help so far everybody, I have found it most useful,
Matt.
1004 RC :: looking good :: upgraded 01/04/2013
my setup :: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Purps