HOWTO: Sky through DVB-S card within MCE

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by nigelbb, Mar 21, 2006.

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  1. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    I have been in contact with various people on this forum regarding getting DVB-S & in particular Sky working within MCE. There are also a number of threads with discussion of DVB-S within MCE but I thought that I would start this new thread as I have made a breakthrough at the weekend. I can now confirm that running within MCE I have UK Sky TV decoding automatically & to forestall a lot of questions I will try & describe in detail the procedure here.

    I use a Technotrend TT-budget S-1500 DVB-S card with add-on CI daughter card
    http://shop.technotrend.de/shop.php...sid=e8909ae0b43b65f072a2e12cdd06e4d5&s=&id=12
    http://shop.technotrend.de/shop.php...sid=e8909ae0b43b65f072a2e12cdd06e4d5&s=&id=27


    The CAM that I use is the only one to support NDS (the Sky encryption method) it is called the T.Rex but was formerly called the Dragon. Technotrend's own software is very good & the decryption is totally transparent. Note that decryption of Sky channels requires a legitimate subscription card & there is no question of piracy here. One caveat is that it is possible that Sky will change something about their encryption that would mean that the CAM would no longer work with Sky. You need a programmer for the CAM (I have a CAS3) to load it with the Predator firmware as it will be supplied without. You can find the latest version of the Predator firmware 3.31 here http://www.satnet.ch/file/download.php or any number of other satellite sites on the Net just do a Google.

    Technotrend supply their MCE Tools that in conjunction with their BDA driver give you control of CI & DiSEqC so you can switch between up to four dishes. You can download the TT software, BDA drivers & MCE Tools from here http://www.technotrend.com/english/download/download.html When you install the tools a detailed User Guide in PDF format is installed.

    To work within MCE the Technotrend driver pretends to be a supported DVB-T (Freeview) card. You use the DVB-T Mapper application to map satellite transponder frequencies to DVB-T MUXes. You then edit the channels & add back all the encrypted channels which by default are not displayed in the EPG. Then you can change the channel order so e.g. BBC1 was channel 1, BBC2 channel 2 etc

    Technotrend's first CI implementation within MCE allowed you to select a channel on a transponder to be decrypted & then you hit the 'Decrypt' button which was OK but now they have an application that automatically decodes when it detects a programme change to an encrypted channel. For these encrypted channels you use the Technotrend provided tool & map the SIDs to the channel numbers which creates an XML file that you can edit. You can get full listings of satellite transponder frequency & SIDs for each channel at http://www.lyngsat.com/

    To get a full Sky EPG after setting up MCE as DVB-T you need to edit the registry & change the headend number to a valid one for Sky then do an EPG download & then map EPG listings to the channels. The registry key for the headend ID is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Media Center\Service\EPG but if you just do a Find on headend there is only one entry.

    DVB-S within MCE works very smoothly & decrypts transparently. It is very stable & has great picture quality when compared side by side with an MCE system with a Sky+ digibox feeding a Hauppauge WinTV PVR250 card by s-video.

    There is one outstanding problem in that unattended recordings of encrypted channels fail as the TT_CI_Autodecoder process does not kick in when the channel changes for an automatic recording. Scheduled recording while tuned to a channel that is already being decrypted works OK as of course does recording of Free To Air channels. Technotrend are evidently aware of the problem & have promised a fix.

    I bought my CAM & programmer from this German supplier they have very good prices & rapid cheap delivery by DHL http://www.dvbshop.net/ They also have a good forum that has some discussion of using the Technotrend card within MCE http://www.dvbshop.nt/forum/ I have also found one or two Dutch or German forums where DVB-S in MCE is discussed. The Germans are very keen to get this working as they of course have many FTA satellite channels plus Technotrend is a German company.

    I know that there are a couple of other MCE DVB-S experimenters on this forum so let's pool our knowledge & get Sky working within MCE in top quality.

    Perhaps this thread could be made a Sticky?
     
  2. Media-Man

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    Interesting stuff. I've just had a look at the t-rex cards as I want to have a go at this myself at home; I see 2 versions one with a 'Loadercard', one without. Does it matter which one I get?
     
  3. deksawyer

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    I don't know if this will effect you, but I heard that Sky are changing their encryption methods fairly soon.

    I don't know the full details as I don't have Sky, but read it on a few other forums....

    D.
     
  4. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    Ah well c'est la vie if the T.Rex/Dragon CAM no longer supports Sky there still remain all the FTA channels BBC1/2/3/4 ITV1/2/3/4 plus various movie & music channels.
     
  5. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    It depends how you are going to program the CAM. I use a CAS3 programmer which programs the CAM directly without the need for a loader card. http://www.hisat.com/twp/prod_detail.asp?ID=542 The CAS2 Plus evidently can program the CAM directly too http://www.hisat.com/twp/prod_detail.asp?ID=600

    An alternative programmer like the Dynamite http://www.hisat.com/twp/prod_detail.asp?ID=444 can be used to program the loader card which is then used to load the Dragon from the CAM menu

    Using a loader card is a bit more fiddly & takes longer
     
  6. Media-Man

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    Thanks - I was going to get a CAS3. Can't find it on that German site, but I've seen it in the UK for £70
     
  7. ealingblue

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    Thanks for the post. I have been thinking of trying this also. Probably a daft question but can/will this method work with the HD channels ? I'm aware that a dragon can be used successfully in a Pace 810 to view the HD feeds but haven't seen anything to say whether it will work with a PC card.
     
  8. mark.carline

    mark.carline
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    This is very very good if it works just as good as some of the existing DVBT cards

    Do you think that this may apply to the Hauppauge NOVA-S cards ?

    Surely the quality should be the same as isnt it just copying the mpeg stream to an MSDVR file ?

    You might want to let Ian Dixon know from the Media Centre podcast as he was saying its one of his main bug bears with MCE in the UK:
    http://mediacenter.thepodcastnetwork.com/
     
  9. applevenus

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    Thanks Nigel - this should definitely be a sticky.

    One piece of help you gave me was in preparing the DVB-TMapper.exe data.

    Here is the data you suggested I use as a starting point:

    This saved me a bunch of time. If I can work it out I'll make a more comprehensive .tps file which provides all UK regions and available FTA channels.

    This thread is of particular interest to people in Ireland. Although we can subscribe to SKY+ we don't get BBC3,4 or any of the ITV channels on the EPG. I initially explored all of this so that I could get BBC3 &4.
    Now I'm thinking of adding the CI to my S-1500...
     
  10. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    Not as far as I know. Sky HD uses DVB-S2 & MPEG4. I don't think that you can even buy a DVB-S2 card yet although some have been announced. The TT-budget S-1500 is plain old DVB-S & Sky SD is MPEG2.
     
  11. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    In some ways this is better as there is no way of getting TopUpTV to work within MCE. Of course there is the problem with recording encrypted channels but recording FTA works just fine. For those people who cannot receive Freeview & who want Digital TV just receiving the FTA channels through a DVB-S card is a real improvement.
    It depends. The original Nova-S was a re-badged Techotrend budget card & that will work with the Technotrend BDA drivers for FTA channels. Later Nova-S are Hauppauge design & will not work with MCE. Hauppauge do have two new satellite cards (AFAIK not currently available in the UK) the Nova-S-Plus & Nova-SE2. There are fake DVB-T drivers available for these cards & they work fine for FTA but there is no CI support.
    The quality is better than DVB-T as the bit rate on DVB-S is typically that of Freeview.
     
  12. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    Just in case you are wondering why I didn't just enter all the transponder frequencies in order from the list on Lyngsat I will explain my cunning plan.

    There are literally hundreds of channels picked up including many radio stations. It is a very awkward task to edit the channels, change the channel order & map listings to channels. While the DVB-T support in MCE will handle 40-60 channels OK when you have hundreds it takes a long time to shuffle one from the bottom of the listings to the top. So it is best to only scan those transponders that you really want to have in your EPG e.g. leave out all the Shopping etc. I also realised that it saves time if the transponders are scanned & channel numbers automatically allocated in roughly the order that you want them to appear in the EPG to save having to move them about too much.
     
  13. applevenus

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    Indeed. You are a twisty turny thing.
     
  14. WheresMyArtisan

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    This is brilliant news. Many thanks for experimenting and taking the time to report your findings. I will try doing the same for topuptv using their DVB-T card.

    A question - are the recordings UNencrypted? I have 3 MCE PCs. If I record a program on the PC with a subscriber card, can I watch the recording on another MCE PC that is just freeview only? I suspect the answer is yes, but I need to be sure this will work. I want to record loads of programmes on the desktop PC, then watch them on the lounge and bedroom PCs. If this won't work then I'd need four topuptv cards (one per tuner).

    Would you be prepared to email me a short 1 minute Sky recording as a DVR-MS file? I'll then try it in my freeview MCE PCs and report back with my findings. I'll PM my email address if you are able to do this.

    Ta muchly.
     
  15. Kramer

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    Great thread :smashin: .

    I'll update the MCE FAQ (long overdue) & add a link to this thread in the next few days.

    I run a SS2 within MCE with DiSEQc for Astra/Hotbird etc. & it works well but I'll probably have a play with this too :thumbsup: .

    :smoke:
     
  16. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    The recordings are definitely not encrypted the programme is actually unscrambled before it reaches MCE. In fact there is no mechanism within MCE for unscrambling on playback.

    Sure, send me your email address.
     
  17. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    It will be interesting to see how you get on with TopUpTV. Technotrend do claim support for all TT-budget cards (DVB-S, DVB-C, DVB-T) plus Common Interface support. I suppose that it would use the same CAM Control or ttAutoDecode to decode but of course you wouldn't need to use the DVB Mapper application.
     
  18. mark.carline

    mark.carline
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    ok here's my bit on this....

    I think that this is a major breakthrough for Media Centre in the UK but I do have my concerns. This setup needs to be much more foolproof and sky need to not necessarily support it but agree to what's been done here, so here's what I understand to be the pros / cons and food for thought around this solution:

    Cons:
    - Sky may decide at no notice to change their encryption and this solution will just stop working (alot of time/money down the pan)
    - Solution seems to be a bit complex and there needs to be a more straight forward a, b, c d guide
    - Solution only seems to be via a single DVB-S card

    Pros:
    - Too many to mention (mce integration) but are all fairly obvious (one less box under the TV!, recording programs to DVDR etc)
    - Some people (like me) may get away with a cheaper sky package (dont really watch sky movies anyway) but keep the sky plus functionality (via mce 2005 features)

    Future food for thought:
    - The setup needs to be alot more idiot proof i.e.
    -- uk supplier of cards & Cams
    -- version of drivers inc links
    -- ready made regkeys & XML files updated as and when the config changes (for each area of the uk?)
    -- complete idiots guide
    - Somebody could even setup a web site (wiki ?) for all of this in once place.
    - Support for dual DVB-S cards ??
    - Need a full list of exactly what hardware and software works with this solution

    I currently have Sky plus and also a MCE2005 setup with a one NOVA Hauppauge DVB-T card and so my MCE system is limited to freeview and single channel recording/watching. I would love to reduce my sky subscription (I dont really watch movies / sport much anyway) to a reasonable package and then perhaps order sky multiroom and use the 2nd sky card in my MCE setup.

    [email protected]
     
  19. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    To address some of mark.carline's questions.

    I am not really competent to answer the question of what Sky can do. I have just read that it is possible for them to change 'something' that will mean that the T.Rex/Dragon CAM no longer works for Sky. Whether this is true or not I have no way of knowing. I also don't know if whoever is responsible for the NDS support in the Predator firmware can fix any change. Be assured though that the Free To Air channels like BBC1/2/3/4 ITV1/2/3/4 ec will work with or without the CAM.

    Incidentally elsewhere in Europe people are not restricted to a single supplier for their satellite receiver as there is a European directive that CAMs should be available for people to use in any receiver. BSkyB have ignored this directive & the EU doesn't seem inclined to harass them over it.

    You can use multiple Technotrend DVB-S cards. MCE supports two but there are ways to use three or more. One issue would be that for encrypted channels you need a SKy card CAM & CI for each card. It is possible to set a preferred tuner for viewing &/or recording by editing the registry so one solution would be to set the tuner with card as preferred for recording so at least you could watch/record FTA channels on the other when a scrambled channel was being recorded.

    I have given a full list of hardware & software required including links in the base note.

    There are UK suppliers of cards & CAMS just do a Google.

    I too would have liked a Complete Idiots Guide & then I wouldn't have had to figure it out for myself. I may even get round to documenting this more thoroughly but in the meantime thought it valuable to others to let them know what can already be done in this area & give them a helping hand on getting this set up.
     
  20. MacBurp

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    First and most important, big thanks to nigelbb for bringing this development to the forum. I've posted links to these threads on thegreenbutton.com, and hope for some interesting comment there.

    See my post in the other thread about nailing this one down. There must be people in the Satellite/CAM world who have faced this issue, and solved it. I'm sure there is an answer for someone who will do the due diligence.

    Would you not need multiple cards if you had multiple receivers, one per receiver? I'm not a satellite user myself - I have 2 feeds from telewest, and have a separate viewing card for each box.

    Its unclear from the Technotrend site if there is a CAM slot on the card (my german is non existent). Would you need a PCMCIA-PCI card for the cam? A quick search revealed this dual PCMCIS-PCI card, that may save on PCI slots:

    http://www.lindy.com/uk/productfolder/05/51103/index.php

    This is work in progress. nigel, you've done a great job so far, its up to the community to finish this off. I hope I can help.

    regards,
    Paul
     
  21. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    Yes you would.
    There is no CAM slot on the TT-budget card. There is a separate daughter card connected by a ribbon cable. The 2nd URL in my post got mangled. It should be http://shop.technotrend.de/shop.php...sid=e8909ae0b43b65f072a2e12cdd06e4d5&s=&id=27
    That PCMIA-PCI is of no use.
     
  22. WheresMyArtisan

    WheresMyArtisan
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    One DVB-T card and CI card were ordered from DVBShop last night. Thanks for the link, a tenner less than Ebay (and DVBShop are the seller!).

    At the bottom of the CI card on their website there's a PDF document that tells you how to install it. As you said Nigel, I'm hoping that I just ignore all that complicated frequency aliasing that you have to do, but do the decrypting bits.

    I was hoping that the recording is unencrypted. As you say, this sounds very likely, as MCE isn't even aware of the encryption. I've PMed you my email address - just to be certain, if you send me a minute or two of adverts or something non-copyright then I can test the theory.

    If I can have one subscription but watch recordings anywhere in the house then I'm very happy with £8 per month.

    I just went to Currys and Comet to buy a CAM and card. Neither have a CAM in stock, and Comet haven't had one for a month. Either there's a shortage due to massive demand, some kind of worldwide CAM shortage or Top Up are giving up. I'll get one somewhere, but it's a bit concerning.

    Knowing my luck, I'll get it all running then they'll shut down a month later.

    I'll post my (hopefully) good news in a new thread next week, and pop a link into this one.
     
  23. MacBurp

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    /
    Very interesting. Understood that the card itself requires a PCI slot on motherboard (not PCIe), but what is the requirement for the daughterboard? I have only 2 x PCI on my Gigabyte motherboard (other two slots are PCIe x4 and PCIe x16), so two complete tuners with CAM would fill up all my slots.

    Is the ribbon connector a standard SCSI or IDE connection? I would not be able to have the budget card and daughter card next to each other in my set-up, so may need longer ribbon.

    best regards,
    Paul
     
  24. mark.carline

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    I had no idea of this - Typical sky !

    As one of the major UK av forums site can this community not draw attention to this fact via our MEPs ?

    Think about what other consumer electronics devices we might be able to buy if we're not locked into using Skys equipment (ie integrated TVs, 3rd party hard disk recorders etc etc).
     
  25. MacBurp

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    These threads appear to offer the best guidance on the technotrend cards - I got these from thegreenbutton.com. Unfortunately, there are in German. The google translate service doesn't work properly on these - any FMs with German out there who can translate?



    TechnoTrend Guide: http://www.mce-community.de/forum/index.php?showtopic=7746

    Hauppauge Guide: http://www.mce-community.de/forum/index.php?showtopic=10834



    + Best Tool for Free: [Tool] mce2dvbs

    http://www.mce-community.de/forum/index.php?showtopic=10503

    regards,
    Paul
     
  26. WheresMyArtisan

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    Thanks for the emailed recording Nigelbb. I can confirm that a recording from an encrypted channel will play back on a bog-standard MCE PC.

    This is great - it means that I only need one subscription for the single tuner MCE machine. This will spew discovery channel recordings onto the server, and these recordings can then be watched on any PC in the house - either through MCE or Media Player on XP.

    By the way, I looked for the TopUpTV channels last night. The channels are detected in the bog-standard channel scan, but they're hidden by default. After showing them, they pick up the programme guide perfectly - no messing about is needed at all. It even knows the TopUpTv timeslots, e.g. Discovery is only on air between 12:00 and 0:00. Perfect - hopefully this will be fairly straightforward when the bits arrive from Germany. I'll post my findings later, with a HowTo guide.

    By the way, Nigelbb - how long did your parcel from DVBShop take? I chose the cheapest "Deutsche Post" option, not DHL.
     
  27. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    The TT S-1500 CI daughter card takes up another PCI slot although the connector cable appears to be a standard IDE cable so it should be possible to locate the CI anywhere as it is only parked in the PCI slot to give access from the exterior of the PC.
     
  28. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    Just a few days as I recall when I have opted for "Deutsche Post". One week tops. With DHL it's only 2-3 days apart from the one time when the package got lost by them during a strike at their depot in Paris!
     
  29. nigelbb

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  30. applevenus

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    Another piece of setup that would be useful to understand is how to setup a Sky-like EPG.

    This useful information appeared in another thread:

    Is there a table or other reference for these numbers ? What is the function of the 'headend' and the 'strProviderID' ?

    Do I need to ensure that the postcode being used is consistent with the headend and strProviderID ? (I'm using a Manchester postcode... does it matter what headend/strProviderID I use ?)
    Is there a sequence I should follow ? 1. scan for services 2. download EPG 3. change registry settings ?

    EDIT : stupid... read the thread ....
     
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