Author Topic: UK DVB and SKY TV  (Read 2526 times)

jayzee

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UK DVB and SKY TV
« on: October 01, 2007, 06:49:45 pm »
Hi,

I am a uk user of linuxmce and want to get a good range of tv channels setup on my system. I have got setup up my core/hybryd and 4 MDs after quite a few problems.

my inital plan was to have 2 pvr150's to allow me to input my skyplus box and also a secondary normal sky box - hopefully allowing 2 different users 2 watch 2 different programs on sky. I also wanted to make use of a dvb cart I have, a Nova T500.

totallymaxed you mention "we have Core's with 3 x T500 twin tuner cards which here in the UK means we can cover all the UK MUX's without any restrictions to live viewing/recording"

when it says without restrictions how do you mean, I sort of understand that each t500 has 2 tuners, 3 cards each with 2 tuners is 6 tuners all together - it sounds like it is  then suggested that with 3 x t500 you can pretty much have as many people watching as many different channels as you like (well as many as network and core power can handle) is this the case?

I am also wondering how to get the channels guides setup uk for UK channels, both DVB and satalite  I have read a few posts about how zap2it has now finished and schedules direct is now used - can this be used in the UK or do I have to use a different service? I am especially confused over how to get the SKY listings working- justcan't get my head around howthis will work.

was also wondering about HD broadcasts, are they planned in the UK and if so does anyone know when they will be implemented

 on the nova t500 I have setup I do get channels but with out any planner which is why i am asking about this in the uk. Currently I am experiencing a time delay between changing channel in DVB, will having the planner setup correctly sort this out or is it a problem with a badly aligned ariel or just "thats how long it take to change channel"


I am also understanding that with the nova t500 I will be able to watch 2 different channels in 2 different rooms, currently I can only get one running on one MD, if I try and start a second MD,  mythtv comes up with a message about how all the inputs are currently in use and you can only watched recorded programs - am I missing somehting here becaus surely i have the other tuner still to use.

I also have setup a pvr150 to input my sky with, which works fine on the core/hybryd, but if I try the chnnel on an MD I just get a blank screen, then If I leave it for 10 mins by the time I come back the channel has started, I don;t understand where the delay is coming from, the picture and sound appear straight away on the core/hybryd?

thanks in advance on any info anyone can provide especially those from the uk and sorry about all the seperate questions, totallymaxed you seem to know what you are doing when it comes to mythtv in the UK would it be possible to elaborate just a little.


matt
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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2007, 10:19:21 pm »
Hi,

I am a uk user of linuxmce and want to get a good range of tv channels setup on my system. I have got setup up my core/hybryd and 4 MDs after quite a few problems.

my inital plan was to have 2 pvr150's to allow me to input my skyplus box and also a secondary normal sky box - hopefully allowing 2 different users 2 watch 2 different programs on sky. I also wanted to make use of a dvb cart I have, a Nova T500.

totallymaxed you mention "we have Core's with 3 x T500 twin tuner cards which here in the UK means we can cover all the UK MUX's without any restrictions to live viewing/recording"

when it says without restrictions how do you mean, I sort of understand that each t500 has 2 tuners, 3 cards each with 2 tuners is 6 tuners all together - it sounds like it is  then suggested that with 3 x t500 you can pretty much have as many people watching as many different channels as you like (well as many as network and core power can handle) is this the case?

I am also wondering how to get the channels guides setup uk for UK channels, both DVB and satalite  I have read a few posts about how zap2it has now finished and schedules direct is now used - can this be used in the UK or do I have to use a different service? I am especially confused over how to get the SKY listings working- justcan't get my head around howthis will work.

was also wondering about HD broadcasts, are they planned in the UK and if so does anyone know when they will be implemented

 on the nova t500 I have setup I do get channels but with out any planner which is why i am asking about this in the uk. Currently I am experiencing a time delay between changing channel in DVB, will having the planner setup correctly sort this out or is it a problem with a badly aligned ariel or just "thats how long it take to change channel"


I am also understanding that with the nova t500 I will be able to watch 2 different channels in 2 different rooms, currently I can only get one running on one MD, if I try and start a second MD,  mythtv comes up with a message about how all the inputs are currently in use and you can only watched recorded programs - am I missing somehting here becaus surely i have the other tuner still to use.

I also have setup a pvr150 to input my sky with, which works fine on the core/hybryd, but if I try the chnnel on an MD I just get a blank screen, then If I leave it for 10 mins by the time I come back the channel has started, I don;t understand where the delay is coming from, the picture and sound appear straight away on the core/hybryd?

thanks in advance on any info anyone can provide especially those from the uk and sorry about all the seperate questions, totallymaxed you seem to know what you are doing when it comes to mythtv in the UK would it be possible to elaborate just a little.


matt

Hi Matt,

I'll try and answer some of the questions you put above;

I don't really have that much experience with Myth I have to say - we looked at Myth when deciding which PVR software we felt had the best fit for the UK/Europe. We chose VDR over Myth as we felt it fitted our needs better (I'm not knocking Myth at all)

We use VDR not MythTV for the TV side of LMCE. In Core's with 3xT500's installed that gives us six tuners. Currently here in the UK DVB-T (or Freeview as its known in the UK) is broadcast nationally on 6 frequencies, with each frequency carrying one MUX (Multiplex of digital channels) alongside the old analog channels. Each DVB-T Mux carries a mix of digital TV & radio channels. This mean in most parts of the UK you can relaibly receive about 60-70 digitial DVB-T TV channels plus 30+ radio channels. With VDR and 6 DVB-T tuners we can therefore receive all the MUX's concurrently. The clever part is that VDr allows us to extract any of the channels from the MUX that a given tuner is tuned to ie I might be watching BBC1 in the lounge live while the kids are watch BBC2 in the kitchen. BBC1 & BBC2 are broadcast on the same MUX but using a single tuner on one of the T500's VDR allows me to watch or record those two channels or any of the others on that MUX all at the same time :-)

That means I can have any mix of recordings and live viewing happening anywhere in the house. As I write this my home Core/Hybrid is recording 6 different channels at 9pm and there are 3 live streams being watched and one recording from yesterday being streamed.

The EPG data we use is the data broadcast with the UK DVB-T freeview service.

We are working on the Analog TV in aspect of VDR now so that we can capture analog sources and then stream them digitally around the home like we do with VDR's digital channels. So it wold mean that Sky/Virgin Media or other analog TV sources can be treated like 'digital' channels (using lmce's ability to IR blast or serially control those external STB's for channel selection etc).

The service/product we are building around lmce is targeted at the UK/Europe and is aimed at the non technical user. Our product will be a professionally installed system with ongoing service provision. Although some of our service/product will not be made available to the open source lmce community much of it will be including the VDR integration.

Regards

Andrew
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jayzee

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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2007, 01:36:39 am »
thanks for the very helpful reply,

I now understand how the mux thing with the 3 DVB tuners works and thats really cool, sounds like it gives you endless flexibility over what you watch and record + when + where, just a pitty we don't get more channels on freeview although it doesn't sound as though the freeview system will be capable of handling as many channels as sky/virgin can provide at least until analogue tv is switched off - i read somewhere.

it seems that to obtain the same power with all the channels possible on sky/cable  would be quite difficult without alot of equipment and high monthly costs. looks like a combination of  a couple of pvr 150's and 2 or 3 t500 is the way to go to have plenty of flexibilty with all the channels we can get in the uk both through freeview and sky/cable.

There are probably going to be times when more than 2 channels are needed to be watched/recored over sky/cable that aren't available on freeview but I think it going to be a matter of seeing how it goes and expanding in the futures if needs be.



Im interested to hear you are planning to provide a service/product using linuxmce, that was exactly my thought when I happened across linuxmce and watched the video about a month ago. are you going for something along the lines of the fiire stuff?

There don't seem to be many people in the uk interesed in this project yet, but as soon as I could see what it was capable of I knew after my winmce  experience and wanting a way to not only be able to view tv/sky in any room but to access my mp3s and movies as well that this was the direction to go in.

I am enjoying the project of building my setup and find it funny when friends see what I am doing and look at me in disbelief at what is currently possible, I am pretty sure that when I have it all up and working as I want they will all want one too.

currently there is nowhere for them to buy from and I can't really see the average user getting it setup and maintained without help so as it sounds like you are proposing, this sort of thing would have to be professionaly installed and maintained for people.


You talk about using vdr instead of mythtv, is this because mythtv isn't capable of the same flexibility with the 3 x t500 you explained? are there other advantages of using it?
I have seen the package mentioned in other posts but have initialy gone with mythtv as its already built in but am wondering if for UK situations vdr would be better,

am going away to do some more research on all this, thanks again for the reply.

matt
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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2007, 07:25:44 am »
thanks for the very helpful reply,

I now understand how the mux thing with the 3 DVB tuners works and thats really cool, sounds like it gives you endless flexibility over what you watch and record + when + where, just a pitty we don't get more channels on freeview although it doesn't sound as though the freeview system will be capable of handling as many channels as sky/virgin can provide at least until analogue tv is switched off - i read somewhere.

it seems that to obtain the same power with all the channels possible on sky/cable  would be quite difficult without alot of equipment and high monthly costs. looks like a combination of  a couple of pvr 150's and 2 or 3 t500 is the way to go to have plenty of flexibilty with all the channels we can get in the uk both through freeview and sky/cable.

There are probably going to be times when more than 2 channels are needed to be watched/recored over sky/cable that aren't available on freeview but I think it going to be a matter of seeing how it goes and expanding in the futures if needs be.



Im interested to hear you are planning to provide a service/product using linuxmce, that was exactly my thought when I happened across linuxmce and watched the video about a month ago. are you going for something along the lines of the fiire stuff?

There don't seem to be many people in the uk interesed in this project yet, but as soon as I could see what it was capable of I knew after my winmce  experience and wanting a way to not only be able to view tv/sky in any room but to access my mp3s and movies as well that this was the direction to go in.

I am enjoying the project of building my setup and find it funny when friends see what I am doing and look at me in disbelief at what is currently possible, I am pretty sure that when I have it all up and working as I want they will all want one too.

currently there is nowhere for them to buy from and I can't really see the average user getting it setup and maintained without help so as it sounds like you are proposing, this sort of thing would have to be professionaly installed and maintained for people.


You talk about using vdr instead of mythtv, is this because mythtv isn't capable of the same flexibility with the 3 x t500 you explained? are there other advantages of using it?
I have seen the package mentioned in other posts but have initialy gone with mythtv as its already built in but am wondering if for UK situations vdr would be better,

am going away to do some more research on all this, thanks again for the reply.

matt

Hi Matt,

Myth currently can't handle multiple channels from a single MUX as VDR can. See this page;

http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/Record_multiple_channels_from_one_multiplex

VDR was designed around the Linux Kernels DVB support and is tightly coupled to its abilities and exploits those effectively. Whereas Myth was primarilly developed around analog TV and laterly the way US Digital TV is broadcast (which is a very different system to DVB).

VDR is also a small lightweight application that uses resources very efficiently and works very reliably over long periods. Even with 10 concurrent recordings and 2-3 live streams being handled processor load is typically below 25% at the Core overall.

Andrew
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Hagen

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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2007, 08:56:09 am »
Hi Andrew
Now that sounds very nice, do you know if that system would do any good for DVB-S, I don't know how different the two are.
Hmmm, I guess I'll have to find out.

I'll see about getting a DVB-S card and start from there (I have abandoned ground based signals totally in the house)

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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2007, 09:58:57 am »
Hi Andrew
Now that sounds very nice, do you know if that system would do any good for DVB-S, I don't know how different the two are.
Hmmm, I guess I'll have to find out.

I'll see about getting a DVB-S card and start from there (I have abandoned ground based signals totally in the house)


VDR was designed to work with anything that is DVB compliant... so DVB-S, DVB-C & DVB-T are all well supported. In Germany, where VDR originates from, I would say that DVB-S is what most people are using in fact.

Andrew
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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2007, 10:09:05 am »
Great news, now to find a way to change Myth to VDR

Stingly

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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2007, 11:46:31 am »
This is really interesting! As a UK user I'm soon to be trying to get something like this sorted out in my set up. Can you change LMCE to use VDR instead of MythTV then? How do you do that?

jayzee

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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2007, 12:00:24 pm »
Hi Andrew thanks for the link  :)

so it defintely sounds as though for the UK and freeview, vdr is the way to go,
I assume it handles standard analog channels like mythtv through an analog card aswell though?

It also seems to be very efficient from your figures - do you think throwing in analogue channels into the mix will have a bad impact on this?

I have so far been impressed with the quality of the picture I am getting through freeview using a nova t500 and it currently is better than the picture i get from my sky + box using a gold plated s-vid cable into a pvr150 although I have not tried playing with this yet.

if you could get all the possible channels in the uk all over freeview that would make this setup perfect, but it looks like to keep the other half happy the sky channels will be needed

you mention releasing to the forum your vdr integration, it sounds as though you are currently working on this - but I was wondering if it is a hard job to get linuxmce and vdr to play together or does mythtv get upset?

Matt
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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2007, 01:09:24 pm »
Hi Andrew thanks for the link  :)

so it defintely sounds as though for the UK and freeview, vdr is the way to go,
I assume it handles standard analog channels like mythtv through an analog card aswell though?

It also seems to be very efficient from your figures - do you think throwing in analogue channels into the mix will have a bad impact on this?

I have so far been impressed with the quality of the picture I am getting through freeview using a nova t500 and it currently is better than the picture i get from my sky + box using a gold plated s-vid cable into a pvr150 although I have not tried playing with this yet.

if you could get all the possible channels in the uk all over freeview that would make this setup perfect, but it looks like to keep the other half happy the sky channels will be needed

you mention releasing to the forum your vdr integration, it sounds as though you are currently working on this - but I was wondering if it is a hard job to get linuxmce and vdr to play together or does mythtv get upset?

Matt


Hi Matt,

Yes VDR has the ability to take analog signals in using a plugin and a card with analog in (pvr-150 is a good choice for this). As the card is doing all the work of grabbing the analog picture and outputs a digital stream there is not much additional overhead at all. I agree the picture quality is very good over freeview (and if you view it through VGA/HDMI etc gives it a whole different dimension to the way most people experience TV... in fact many people have assumed its HD!!) and as its digital its totally predictable... until the signal falls below a certain point then it just disappears. But upto that point there is no quality loss. This is typical of digital signals.

Yes we are working on vdr integration and we have it working but there are still some issues that we are fixing and working through. You basically have a choice of either VDR or MythTV and you can choose that in Web Admin for your core. It might be possible to have MythTV running on a specific MD as well (I can't see why that would not work in principal) but we are not working on that at present. Running them both in parallel would not seem to make much sense... but hey if someone wanted to I guess they could figure the issues out.

Our plans are to complete the integration work and then make this available minus the custom UI and one or two features that are specific to our UK paid service. This would then give you UI1 support (we are testing this version now) and a little later UI2. We will then maintain and update our code so that the open source features improve over time. We are still working through the details of how we do this but its a given that we will. As to timescales... well you know how elastic they can be ;-) ... but I would imagine that we will have a version available in early to mid Nov 2007.

Regards

Andrew
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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2007, 01:12:39 pm »
This is really interesting! As a UK user I'm soon to be trying to get something like this sorted out in my set up. Can you change LMCE to use VDR instead of MythTV then? How do you do that?

Hi,

Yes you can... but currently in 0704 this just breaks as its still based on very old Pluto code which has not been updated in ages... and did not really work properly even when it was 'shiny' and new ;-)

See my other posts in this thread to understand what we're doing... if you have more question fire them at me ;-)
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jayzee

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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2007, 01:29:17 am »
I can definitely understand how hard it is to put exact times scales on these sort of projects.  :)

After more reading around the forum it seams that for us in the uk vdr is defintely the way to go, common consensus seems to suggest it is a lot better for freeview and there seem to plenty of people wanting to get vdr running

It is really good to hear you are going to release this back to the community and after reading previous posts you have made it seems you have been working on this for a while so starting from scratch on this seems pointless and a wait of a month or so is not to bad at all although I am pretty addicted to UI2 with alpha blending, is this going to be a long way off?

When this is released to us all will it be just handled by one of those updates like linuxmce asked me if it could do a week or so ago?

I am also interested to read that the people who are developing linucmce want to make developing the GUI easier so people can customize and make use of more exciting eyecandy features, this sounds a cool feature but it is quite a way off from what I can make out although linucmce being merged with kde sounds promising and may make this process quicker than I first thought.



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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2007, 07:37:51 am »
I can definitely understand how hard it is to put exact times scales on these sort of projects.  :)

After more reading around the forum it seams that for us in the uk vdr is defintely the way to go, common consensus seems to suggest it is a lot better for freeview and there seem to plenty of people wanting to get vdr running

It is really good to hear you are going to release this back to the community and after reading previous posts you have made it seems you have been working on this for a while so starting from scratch on this seems pointless and a wait of a month or so is not to bad at all although I am pretty addicted to UI2 with alpha blending, is this going to be a long way off?

When this is released to us all will it be just handled by one of those updates like linuxmce asked me if it could do a week or so ago?

I am also interested to read that the people who are developing linucmce want to make developing the GUI easier so people can customize and make use of more exciting eyecandy features, this sounds a cool feature but it is quite a way off from what I can make out although linucmce being merged with kde sounds promising and may make this process quicker than I first thought.

Well we definitely see vdr as a better 'fit' for our needs here in Europe becuase of its total focus on the DVB standard - which in many ways is what GSM is to mobile phones. The other reason we believe vdr is the right choice is that its much smaller leaner application that Myth and its very stable so it works well as a 'component' of the total lmce system.

I don't really have any more details on when we will be ready to release our code. It will be released through the standard lmce updates mechanism though. UI2 is a bit more complex...but we're working on it. As to UI enhancements... well if lmce gains a simple skinning mechnism then we will support it.

All the best

Andrew
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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2007, 03:42:53 pm »
Totallymaxed - are there any other considerations as to whether your vdr work will apply and all functionality work other than the input being DVB? Australia uses DVB-T (and DVB-S) for free-to-air TV and I am really keen to know whether this will work here, too...

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Re: UK DVB and SKY TV
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2007, 09:34:17 pm »
Totallymaxed - are there any other considerations as to whether your vdr work will apply and all functionality work other than the input being DVB? Australia uses DVB-T (and DVB-S) for free-to-air TV and I am really keen to know whether this will work here, too...

Hi Colin,

I think VDR is a good fit for Australia or anywhere where DVB is the adopted standard for Digital TV. Yes what we are working on will definitely work in Australia :-)
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd
United Kingdom

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