Freesat HD box and Media Player

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by Geppo, Mar 10, 2013.

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  1. Geppo

    Geppo
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    Hi,
    I'm looking for a Freesat HD box that can also play media content (AVI, MKV, etc.) from an external storage source, either via USB, Ethernet or WiFi, I don't care.

    All I could find is the Humax Freesat+ HDR-1000S, but it's quite expensive and it has a lot of features (internal HDD, recording, YouView, iPlayer, etc.) that I would never use anyway.

    I'm looking for something simple and reasonably priced like a Sagemcom DSI86 or the Manhattan Plaza HD-S, but that can play media content from an external device.

    I can't believe it doesn't exist: I must be looking in the wrong places.
    Any help appreciated.
     
  2. REPASSAC

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    If you are looking for a Media Player then you will not find it on a PVR - What you can have is a DLNA client which plays videos from a complient DLNA server. A PVR uses a PVR chipset which has the necessary support for TV encodings. Some of the formats you mention are just containers and can contain anything in fact several anythings.
     
  3. logiciel

    logiciel
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    Freesat is the EPG, and its machines are meant for receiving that and watching its channels - not much else.
    One of the many generic satellite machines might be a better option for you.
     
  4. Geppo

    Geppo
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    Thank you for the replies

    @REPASSAC: I'm not looking for a Personal Video Recorder (PVR). In fact I don't need the Recording function at all. I'm just looking for a simple Freesat HD box that can play Videos from an external source: I found many Freeview HD boxes with this functionality, so I assume there are some Freesat HD boxes that have it.

    @logiciel: I have used the Freesat word just because it's the standard name used to advertise satellite boxes in the UK. Happy to consider generic satellite machines: do you have any suggestion?
     
  5. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson
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    The problem isn't finding a box with usb playback, the problem is the limited range of video formats they support. There are lots of stand alone media players with much wider support for video files.

    The WD TV live box always seems to get good reviews.

    Western Digital Europe Online Store - Home Entertainment
     
  6. logiciel

    logiciel
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    If it is it shouldn't be;). Freesat is the copyright name of a company of which the sole purpose is to provide, on a small range of machines which they authorise, an EPG for those free channels of which the broadcasters choose to pay to be included in it.
    There are many makes of machines that will receive any and all satellite channels, with or without an EPG, and will also do the kind of thing you're looking for. Others will tell you which they use and how good they are..
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  7. caldirun

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    2 boxes may be the solution, A WDTVLive for media playback and a Freesat HD box for ?
     
  8. nowster

    nowster
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    Not copyright (note spelling) but a trademark.
     
  9. logiciel

    logiciel
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    ""freesat" is a registered trade mark and the "freesat" logo is a trademark of Freesat (UK) Ltd"
    Intellectual property right might have been more accurate.;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  10. Geppo

    Geppo
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    Thank you logiciel.
    Actually changing my search to generic "satellite receiver hd" rather than FreeSat opened a whole new world of choices and there are indeed boxes that can play many video formats including MPEG4, DivX etc.

    Any recommendation on a particular one from this forum would be useful.
     
  11. logiciel

    logiciel
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    That's OK, good to hear it, and
    :)
     
  12. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson
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    If you want to play back 1080p50/60 content then the chances of any of them being AVC/H264 Level 4.2 compliant is very slim.
     
  13. Geppo

    Geppo
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    Most of my videos are 640p, some of them 720p, so that's not an issue.

    Any recommendation?
     
  14. zekepliskin

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    Buy or build a HTPC which can have a satellite tuner card of some kind added easily. I don't have one with a satellite tuner, but my little Revo R3610 running XBMC will play almost everything up to and including 1080p25 content, probably 1080p50/60 as well though I don't have videos of that format to test. Anything but Hi10p stuff which uses a non-standard H.264 iteration and is mostly used for anime. Handles 1080i50 content from the Foxsat HDR almost as well as the box itself does.
     
  15. andy83

    andy83
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    Another idea -

    Get a Raspberry Pi (about 30 quid), install Raspbmc (Google it!) on it and it will play anything you throw at it via DLNA, or just from a share on the server. XBMC, which is what is actually handling the media on the Pi, also gives you access to lots of other services and is a great way to organise your media library.

    Then just buy a cheap generic HD receiver (don't get a Bush or Grundig). The Bush Freesat HD box that I bought when they first came out (120 quid :eek:) is without doubt the worst piece of electronic equipment I have ever bought in my life.

    It's two boxes - but cheap. :smashin:
     
  16. zekepliskin

    zekepliskin
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    Andy got the right idea - trust me, it's still best to have a separate set top box for recording TV. We're getting close to having a total convergence device in the form of a tiny PC which does everything, but we're not there yet, and you don't want to entrust recording TV to a PC just yet...
     
  17. REPASSAC

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    I rather think that a HTPC would work out to be an expensive solution over time. Especially on overall power consumption. Getting it to wake up to record and setting up an accurate record would be a challenge.
     
  18. Geppo

    Geppo
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    Thank you zekepliskin, but I have no intention of recording TV, I just want to play videos out of my NAS and since I need to buy a Satellite box I was hoping to get two birds with one stone.

    @andy84. I've checked the Rasperry Pi with Raspbmc and it does look very cool. It doesn't solve my requirement though for two reason:

    1) two devices instead of one: I'm trying to reduce the jungle of cables I have in the living room and this is going in the opposite direction

    2) there would be no remote control, which for me is essential. Ok, I'm sure somebody somewhere in the world has connected a remote control to the Rasperry Pi, but the whole thing is starting to get a bit too geeky for me :)

    Basically what I'm looking for is something like the below. I've just found too many of them and I was looking for some recommendations from this forum:
    Amazon.com: Traxis Dbs6000hd Mpeg-4 Free to Air Satellite Receiver for Hdtv: Electronics
     
  19. kevkbuk

    kevkbuk
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    Get yourself a linux based generic sat receiver such as a VU+ solo or DM800SE clone and you'll be able to playback video from the NAS and also record to it should you wish. You can also control it by web interface on PCs/phone/tablets and watch live TV this way too. Saying that, I have a Foxsat HDR for Freesat, a Raspberry Pi running XBMC and a DM800SE. :D
     
  20. logiciel

    logiciel
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    One of kevkbuk's suggestions, or many others, would be as good, or more probably better.
     
  21. zekepliskin

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    If you're going to buy a Satellite box anyway, you're going to have a few extra cables trailing to and from it. Better to have a slightly bigger official Freesat box that can record/timeshift live TV if you need it rather than not having it and later needing it surely? Those are going to be a better bet than a US model that may not be able to tune from 28.2/28.5 satellites and even if they do are highly unlikely to support the Freesat EPG by default.

    A dedicated Freesat box is still going to trump a HTPC with a dual tuner PCI Express Satellite card in it... those things are few and far between and apparently still buggy, I remember reading reviews of a Blackgate or Blackstar model from Amazon UK and they all said that.

    With HDMI it's not like it has to be in the same room, you could throw it in the same room as the NAS and run a 15m cable to your TV from it, longer if you use long cables with signal boosters between them.
     
  22. zekepliskin

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    Depends on the HTPC.

    I paid all of £109 including P&P for my excellent condition used HTPC which can run a full OS comfortably etc, it was fairly easy to add an IR dongle and the power consumption is somewhere between 10 to 15 watts meaning it uses less than your average set top box and leaving it on all the time costs next to nothing. Mine has two hard drives connected via 3.5" enclosures (2TB via eSATA, 1.5TB via USB2) which spin down after 15 minutes for power saving reasons. The Foxsat HDR it sits next to under the TV is a very quiet box, but the HTPC with only one of it's hard drives spun up is quieter.

    Setting up recordings on a HTPC with some kind of tuner card is still an "early adopter" technology really - it's not mature and polished enough for mass market adoption. It is possible but when you can pick up say a cheap Sagemcom dual tuner Freesat PVR for around £30 rather than just a PCI Express dual tuner satellite card for much more than that the logical choice is the set top box. PCs aren't quite ready to converge with PVRs yet, as much as I'd like that, in the same way that games consoles can do media centre functionality but it's VERY basic - DLNA sharing from a Windows PC to my Xbox 360 and choosing any one of my 100+ 1080p MKV videos results in stuttering unwatchable playback and the iPlayer/4OD/Netflix etc streaming is passable but hardly a killer app.
     
  23. andy83

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    Geppo - I have a Raspberry Pi stuck to the back of my TV powered by two TV USB slots (via a Y cable to give it enough juice). I also have an ethernet cable plugged in to the switch behind the TV but this could be eliminated by using the excellent Edimax Wireless N adapter which works out of the box. In either case, the wiring is minimal and it all stays right behind the TV.

    All this is controlled automatically (using HDMI CEC) via the TV remote, so it's even more simple - it just appears to be part of the TV itself! It depends on your TV whether this will work - it needs to support CEC over HDMI which virtually all modern TVs do nowadays. Again this just "works" - no technical knowledge required.

    Failing that you can control it via a downloadable App on your Android (or Apple) smartphone.

    Not sure whether anyone has had any success with a USB satellite tuner for Freesat plugged in (just to keep this on topic!) but you could always use it to watch live TV via iPlayer - a downloadable plugin for XBMC which is running on there.

    I know it's not for everyone, but it is a discrete, low-powered, green solution to add a media centre to a TV. And it impresses your mates :smashin:
     
  24. zekepliskin

    zekepliskin
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    Hey Andy, I have a universal remote and all of my boxes can be controlled by that, but I'm looking into doing paid media centre solutions for people and the advantage of HDMI-CEC could be huge for the ones who are attached to their original TV remote and wouldn't prefer a more powerful universal model. Seems pretty complex to set up though - any tips and links to places which provide quality information on the process?

    The iPlayer plugin on XBMC is by far my favourite version - it's not as pretty as some but it's wickedly fast and will play 720p HD stuff with no problems. There is a bug which can cause it to crash though, but it only affects those who have "Adjust display refresh rate to match video" set and there's an easy way round it.

    So true about an XBMC powered media centre - it runs rings around just about everything else out there. Every time I show what it can do (library functions, Navi-X, YouTube plugin, visualisations, customisability etc) it drops jaws. That's why I will recommend them at every turn: takes so much hassle out of playing media files of all kinds.
     

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