Does MCE support DVB-S ?

WheresMyArtisan

Active Member
I think the answer is yes - kind of.

I believe Hauppauge have made a driver for their DVB-S card that somehow fools Media Center into thinking it's a normal TV card.

However - here's the bad news - Media Center does not support any kind of card reader. So you'll only get the free DVB-S channels (god and shopping justabout sums it up I think).

What's needed is for the TV card companies to get their driver to do the decrypting, so that media centre isn't even aware that it's encrypted. When/whether this happens is another matter.

I suspect that the likes of Sky and NTL won't ever want to have anything to do with this PC TV carry on. They're a bit scared of hackers.
 
actually you can use a 3rd party program to decrypt the channels/card reader, but you have to fire this up each time you start media center..
 

nigelbb

Distinguished Member
Both Hauppauge & Technotrend have drivers for DVB-S cards that support MCE by pretending to be a DVB-T card. I have both but my preference is for Technotrend as all their budget cards are supported & there is a CI reader available. The only Hauppauge supported are the Nova-SE2 & Nova-S-Plus which are more expensive & have no CI option.

Without any CAM you can receive all the Free To Air channels which is all the BBC & ITV plus a number of other decent ones. Just pull the viewing card out of your digibox to see what is available.

There is a CAM that supports NDS (the Sky encryption method) this is the T.Rex (formerly Dragon). This works brilliantly with the TT-budget S-1500 for which you can buy an extra CI module that you plug the CAM into. Technotrend's own software is very good & the decryption is totally transparent. The one caveat with the Dragon CAM is that as I understand it Sky may change something that could render it useless as a CAM for NDS but it has been working perfectly for the last 8 months or so. The other thing is that you need to pop the Sky card into a digibox every 6-8 weeks to get it re-enabled over the air.

All the FTA channels work fine within MCE. TT have apparently included transparent support for CI in the latest version of the driver but I haven't had a chance to test it yet. If it does this well then I shall be delighted as the picture quality within MCE is much better with direct capture of the DVB-S signal than with analogue capture from the digibox.

At present I have a HTPC hooked up to the projector in the cinema room & when we want to watch something like a movie or sport on Sky then I use the TT media center software & take the Sky card out of the digibox & pop it into the Dragon CAM in the HTPC.
 

weebroonieuk

Standard Member
nigel im interested in where you have learned this stuff is there similar forums to this or guides for getting it , id like to subscribe to some sky channels but i dont want there sky+ as i much prefer my own dvr

what id like is something like the sky epg with reminders of when a program is starting or options to record etc

or basically sky without its box working nicely with mce 2005
 

paulpenny

Active Member
nigelbb said:
Both Hauppauge & Technotrend have drivers for DVB-S cards that support MCE by pretending to be a DVB-T card. I have both but my preference is for Technotrend as all their budget cards are supported & there is a CI reader available. The only Hauppauge supported are the Nova-SE2 & Nova-S-Plus which are more expensive & have no CI option.

Without any CAM you can receive all the Free To Air channels which is all the BBC & ITV plus a number of other decent ones. Just pull the viewing card out of your digibox to see what is available.

There is a CAM that supports NDS (the Sky encryption method) this is the T.Rex (formerly Dragon). This works brilliantly with the TT-budget S-1500 for which you can buy an extra CI module that you plug the CAM into. Technotrend's own software is very good & the decryption is totally transparent. The one caveat with the Dragon CAM is that as I understand it Sky may change something that could render it useless as a CAM for NDS but it has been working perfectly for the last 8 months or so. The other thing is that you need to pop the Sky card into a digibox every 6-8 weeks to get it re-enabled over the air.

All the FTA channels work fine within MCE. TT have apparently included transparent support for CI in the latest version of the driver but I haven't had a chance to test it yet. If it does this well then I shall be delighted as the picture quality within MCE is much better with direct capture of the DVB-S signal than with analogue capture from the digibox.

At present I have a HTPC hooked up to the projector in the cinema room & when we want to watch something like a movie or sport on Sky then I use the TT media center software & take the Sky card out of the digibox & pop it into the Dragon CAM in the HTPC.

Nigel

The technotrend website is saying that their drivers now support their CI properly in MCE (update at 16 Feb) Is this something you have tried? or does it still require you to set it running manually?

Paul
 

nigelbb

Distinguished Member
paulpenny said:
The technotrend website is saying that their drivers now support their CI properly in MCE (update at 16 Feb) Is this something you have tried? or does it still require you to set it running manually?
I finally had a chance to check out the new version yesterday. I couldn't get the automatic decoding to work. I did however get the decryption to work using the CAM Control application & manually selecting the Service ID (SID) of the particular channel & then clicking on the 'Decrypt' button. So with my FTV card I was able to watch C4, Five & Sky Three within MCE however without the automatic decryption it is of course unsuitable for unattended recordings. It may be pilot error on my part as I have found postings on a Dutch & German web site where people do have this working. I shall be doing some more experimentation as I am now seems so close to success.

One issue that I did encounter that isn't related to decryption is that when MCE has a DVB-T tuner (or as in this case a fake one) then it does opportunistic channel scans. This is what causes some people to have problems with channels disappearing. I scanned & found hundreds of channels then selected the ones that I wanted to have in the EPG & finally shuffled around the order in the EPG so channel 1 was BBC1 & channel 2 was BBC 2 etc. I left it running on a FTA channel overnight. However this morning it appears to have done another channel scan & wiped out all the changes that I had made to the EPG.
 

nigelbb

Distinguished Member
weebroonieuk said:
nigel im interested in where you have learned this stuff
I have been mucking about with satellite TV for over 10 years with PC TV/video capture for about 5 years & MCE for a few years (I was a beta tester for MCE 2004 & MCE 2005). So mainly self taught. There is no one site that has MCE DVB-S information (maybe I should start one:) but you will find info scattered about on the following sites http://www.thegreenbutton.com
http://www.hauppauge.co.uk/board/
http://www.shspvr.com
http://www.xpmediacentre.com.au
http://www.dvbshop.net/forum/modules.php?name=Forums
plus the newsgroups
microsoft.public.windows.mediacenter
microsoft.public.uk.windows.mediacenter
 

paulpenny

Active Member
nigelbb said:
I finally had a chance to check out the new version yesterday. I couldn't get the automatic decoding to work. I did however get the decryption to work using the CAM Control application & manually selecting the Service ID (SID) of the particular channel & then clicking on the 'Decrypt' button. So with my FTV card I was able to watch C4, Five & Sky Three within MCE however without the automatic decryption it is of course unsuitable for unattended recordings. It may be pilot error on my part as I have found postings on a Dutch & German web site where people do have this working. I shall be doing some more experimentation as I am now seems so close to success.

One issue that I did encounter that isn't related to decryption is that when MCE has a DVB-T tuner (or as in this case a fake one) then it does opportunistic channel scans. This is what causes some people to have problems with channels disappearing. I scanned & found hundreds of channels then selected the ones that I wanted to have in the EPG & finally shuffled around the order in the EPG so channel 1 was BBC1 & channel 2 was BBC 2 etc. I left it running on a FTA channel overnight. However this morning it appears to have done another channel scan & wiped out all the changes that I had made to the EPG.

Thanks for that Nigel.

I have my MCE set up with two hybrid DVB-T tuners and that is all working fine. I am reluctant to fiddle with things as they are for fear of screwing it all up. But I would also like to see what Sky is like through MCE. The obvious first step is to hook a sky box up which I do have (it used to feed my tivo) but I don't know whether it's worth the effort if the PQ is going to be ropey.

The DVB-S route would be great but I need it to work reliably in MCE - something that sounds a little way off still.

I had a go at getting my Dragon cam working with Sky, but fell at the first hurdle. I have a Humax receiver which is hooked up to hotbird and Astra 19.2 but couldn't work out how to change the settings to get is on to the Sky Digital platform. I got as far as swapping out the cables but couldn't get it to scan the right satellite so I gave up for now. I will just take it as read that it would work if I knew what I was doing :)

Do let us know if you get the decryption working automatically in MCE.

Regards

Paul
 

nigelbb

Distinguished Member
paulpenny said:
I had a go at getting my Dragon cam working with Sky, but fell at the first hurdle. I have a Humax receiver which is hooked up to hotbird and Astra 19.2 but couldn't work out how to change the settings to get is on to the Sky Digital platform. I got as far as swapping out the cables but couldn't get it to scan the right satellite so I gave up for now. I will just take it as read that it would work if I knew what I was doing :)
Sky Digital is on Astra 2A/2B/2D & Eurobird at 28.2E. Astra at 19.2E is where old Sky analogue was broadcast from.
 

Whitey1977

Active Member
Nigel,

With your set-up do you receive the MTV channels? MTV UK is fine but all the other MTV channels on that transponder don't decrypt with my set-up (FireDTV and My Theatre). I have no problems with any other channel.

Thanks

Whitey

PS thanks for being the tester for the TT software on these forums. When you finally get a working solution you're happy with, I will get the hardware myself for Sky in MCE.
 

paulpenny

Active Member
nigelbb said:
Sky Digital is on Astra 2A/2B/2D & Eurobird at 28.2E. Astra at 19.2E is where old Sky analogue was broadcast from.

Sorry. I obviously didn't explain that very well. My Humax is hooked up to the dish which points at hotbird/astra 19.2E. One cable runs from the dish to the Humax and I can receive channels from either satellite. I have a seperate dish for Sky Digital on 28.2E with a quad lnb feeding a sky plus box and two other digiboxes.

I wanted to try the dragon cam to see if I could get sky on the humax, so I swapped out the cable from the hotbird/astra 19.2 dish and replaced it with a cable from the SKy Digital dish. I then needed to setup the humax to receive the channels from 28.2E and that's where I fell down. I couldn't work out what parameters I needed to set in order to find the channels. It doesn't really matter, but it would have been fun just to see it working!

You saidthat you have SKy working well in the Technotrend software. Does that give you any sort of programming guide? I had wondered about getting an external usb DVB-S box with CI and then just recording to MyVideos folder in a format that MCE will playback. Not a particularly elegant solution but potentially workeable. I really only use Sky + for recording films and football so if there is some sort of scheduling available it might be worth a go.

Paul
 

nigelbb

Distinguished Member
paulpenny said:
You saidthat you have SKy working well in the Technotrend software. Does that give you any sort of programming guide? I had wondered about getting an external usb DVB-S box with CI and then just recording to MyVideos folder in a format that MCE will playback. Not a particularly elegant solution but potentially workeable. I really only use Sky + for recording films and football so if there is some sort of scheduling available it might be worth a go.
There is no EPG but there is scheduling like a VCR. It should be possible to integrate the TT MCE application with Digiguide as it is possible to set that up to run external programs.
 

anoraknophobe

Standard Member
I realise that this thread has moved on somewhat from the original post, but you seem to be very clued up on this Nigel so it may be useful. :) . I've been looking into this for ages (and trying to understand it all is the biggest challenge!) as I want to make MCE the hub of my home entertainment, but I can only get Sky, not freeview. Hence I've been aware of Dragon Cams etc. but it all seems quite complicated, and that you'd need quite a bit of knowledge to attempt this type of thing. Sky+ may be my only real alternative, however, I cam across the following the other day on the "hexus.net" website, as being a news item on 1st March.

"AVerMedia launch TV Tuner for Satellite users
AVerMedia Technologies Inc, leading global TV Tuner manufacturer has today announced the launch of the new 'DVB-S Pro' PCI card. The new card allows users to access free-to-air worldwide digital satellite programmes as well as listen to radio on their PC. "


The trouble is, I can't find any more info on this at all, even on the Avermedia web site. Does anyone else know anything about it at all, i.e. cost, features, etc? If I can use something like this with MCE which will at least let me record FTA programs, then thats better than nothing. Incidentally, further down the press release, it did say that if was certified for use with MCE.

Cheers
 

nigelbb

Distinguished Member
Never mind about the AverMedia card both Hauppauge & Technotrend already have FTA DVB-S cards working in MCE by pretending to be a DVB-T card. My preference is for the Technotrend budget cards as their own TV viewing application is very fast, smooth & stable plus the TT-S1500 card can have an optional CI widget to plug your CAM into. Technotrend are also working hard on getting CI support working under MCE. It's not quite there yet for Sky as it requires manual intervention so isn't suitable for scheduling recordings.

Bottom line is that you can get FTA DVB-S within MCE today without waiting for Avermedia to ship their new card.
 

anoraknophobe

Standard Member
Nigel,

thanks. By pretending to be a DVB-T card, does this 'trickery' mean that It's difficult/awkward to set up, or is it v. simple? I got the impression from the Avermedia release that it was all v. easy and designed for use with MCE.

Neil
 

nigelbb

Distinguished Member
neilwatson68 said:
Nigel,

thanks. By pretending to be a DVB-T card, does this 'trickery' mean that It's difficult/awkward to set up, or is it v. simple? I got the impression from the Avermedia release that it was all v. easy and designed for use with MCE.

Neil
Both the Hauppauge & Technotrend drivers come with an application that maps DVB-T frequencies to the actual DVB-S transponders. They have pre-defined listings for Hotbird 13E & Astra 19.2E but not for Astra 28.2 where Sky Digital resides. It's pretty easy to set up. When I have finished setting all this stuff up I will try & get around to writing it all up & putting it on a web page somewhere.

One issue is that when you scan for channels on DVB-S you will find hundreds rather than the few dozen on DVB-T & MCE obviously isn't designed to handle hundreds of channels for DVB-T so it can be a bit tedious editing & deleting unwanted ones & mapping others correctly to the EPG.

I am sure that Avermedia will have to implement their fake DVB-T driver in just the same way whenever they start shipping the actual product.
 

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