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Is a High Definition feed throughout the house possible ?

Discussion in 'TVs' started by rags, Dec 26, 2004.

  1. rags

    rags
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    I have been offered a cracking deal on three small Sony LCD TV's none of which has a DVI or HDMI input. Whether I buy or not depends on the advice I receive here.

    Basically these LCD's will for the bedrooms upstairs. I currently have SKY+ in my living room connected directly to the main telly. The SKY+ signal is also sent to an RF amplifier in the loft which then sends the signal to all the bedrooms.

    Now when SKY HD comes out I know that only TV's with a HDCP compliant input will work with it. However would it be possible to send the HD signal around the house as I am currently doing with SKY+ ? If so will this require a new amplifier in the loft (I assume this will require a different amplifier to my current RF one) and / or new cabling ? If it is possible then I would like my bedroom TV's to be HDTV compliant - but would I still need them to have a compatible DVI/HDMI input ?

    If not then I might as well go ahead and buy whats currently been offered to me. By implication this would mean that you should only bother getting a HDMI/DVI (HDCP compliant) TV for you main room where you HD SKY box will reside and the rest of the TV's in your house are irrelevant unless you get multiple SKY boxes. Is my thinking correct ?

    Thanks
     
  2. beeblebrox12

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    You won't be able to use RF amplifiers to distribute HDTV signal. The idea behind HDCP is to prevent any way that an HD signal can be distributed to an unauthorised device, and broadcasting through RF will be at the top of the "forbidden" list.
     
  3. JayX

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    i'd have put broadcasting thru a decent socket at a higher priority, as i don't think you'd even get a HD signal via RF would you? altho tbh, with sky i don't see any real need to do it, except for pubs streaming the feed from a normal license.
     
  4. Rob20

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    I thought a signal could only be sent via hdmi cable? :confused:
     
  5. rags

    rags
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    Rob if thats the case then there is about zero chance I am going to buy 100m plus of HDMI cable to do the job. That would cost £££'s
     
  6. bizarrefish

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    Isnt wireless streaming a possibility? I heard that the USB connector on the SKY+160 could be used to beam its content to another tv with another small receiver at the other end connected to the slave tv. This could obviously be encrypted so that only the receiver box could decode the content. Just a thought.

    I am in the same boat as you in that I have a distribution box in the loft and will be interested to see how they do things. However I also know that SKY HDTV will be very expensive for the first couple of years so can wait a little while.

    Cheers

    Richard
     
  7. sheggsl

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    You can pass HD signals via RF wire provided the wire has enough bandwidth, however unless your TVs have an HD tuner which is most unlikely, you will need an STB to decode the signal, and according to rumours from Sky, a compatible STB will only have HDMI outputs, hence either way, I think you are stuffed
     
  8. Stephen Neal

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    Whilst not a solution for Sky, it is possible to stream MPEG2 TS streams from Euro1080 (now HD1) around the house via 10base100 Ethernet (not sure if 11g or 11a are up to 20Mbs sustained so WiFi might not be a go-er)

    This obviously requires a PC or some device that will stream MPEG2 for each HD TV around the house, and a PC with a DVB-S tuner connected to a main dish.

    Only a solution for HD1 though - I suspect the easiest way of streaming HD Sky around the house will be not to stream at all, but put a receiver in each room...
     
  9. Master Rahl

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    That is how I do it. I have a MythTV server and client boxes. You can plug your external receiver into a card with component input (or in your case, HDMI). An infrared transmitter hooks up to the USB and is taped to your external receiver. This allows the computer to switch channels.

    Setup the MythTV server, a MythTV client, and boom. You have HDTV throughout your house. I do it on WiFi (g) too!

    I also have a regular HD TV card for over the air stuff for local channels. It is distributed through the house the same way.
     
  10. beeblebrox12

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    What "component input" card? Where from? How much?
    Do you have this setup running?
     
  11. Stephen Neal

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    Presumably the HDMI/Component input from a set top box is uncompressed HD - so the PC or capture card has to do real-time HD MPEG2 encoding. That must be quite a task for a consumer level card - or are you using a professional solution. I can't imagine it is cheap...

    In the US, presumably, a Firewire output from a set-top box is available (to feed a DVHS VCR or similar), and this carries an un-encrypted MPEG2 stream from the set-top box. If this were fed into a PC it would allow streaming without re-compression. However the lack of security of Firewire as an interconnect for compressed MPEG2 stuff means it is unlikely to be used in Europe. HDMI (encrypted but uncompressed) is likely to be used for display connection, with PVRs being integrated not separate from the receiver?
     
  12. Master Rahl

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    HDTV is broadcasted in MPEG2. No encoding necessary. The MythTV box just write the mpeg2 stream on the hard drive and sends it to the client boxes as it is required. The client is responsible of decoding it. You need a sturdy computer for that.

    Hmm, is HDMI video completely uncompressed? Not even mpg2? That must be like what, 150 Mb stream then...
     
  13. Master Rahl

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    Oh. You'll have to wait a bit for a component input card. But when one hits the market, that is how you can do it. It works fine for standard definition TV though, using s-video input. Right now you're limited to getting the video into the computer. The way around this is Firewire of course, for the time being.

    What I have at home is as follows: In the basement where the phone PBX is, cable modem, wireless access point, etc., I have a MythTV server. This server has 2 WinTV PVR 250 cards, and 2 Nexus-S satellite cards. The two WinTV cards are hooked up to two digital cable receivers, with an infrared transmitter taped over the receiver's IR thingy. This allows the MythTV server to change the external box's channels.

    I have 5 MythTV clients. One for myself, one for the living room, one for the parents' bedroom, one for the brother, and one for the sister. The client is basically a "dumb" computer. Reasonably fast, but cheap, with a video card with DVI out.

    On the two HD TVs we have, I have fast computers. The display is set at 1920x1080. Only one HD TV can view high definition material at once, because the server in the basement just can't support more at the moment.

    Basically, it works like this. Person 1 wants to watch some SD TV (say my brother). He uses his remote connected to the computer (ATI Remote) and picks a channel, say a cable channel. The computer requests it from the server, and the server picks the first available cable box and tunes it, records the data to disk, and passes it to the client. The client can pause, rewind, fast forward, etc., everything a PVR can do. Of course, it is done on the server.

    Person 2 can watch at the same time, of course, because all it does is request more material from a second card.

    Of course, if 4 people are watching (max: 2 people can do satellite and 2 people can do cable), the 5th is out of luck, or have to resort to what one of the other people are watching.

    It works really neat.

    HD is more expensive to write to disk. Because no encoding or decoding is needed on the server, just a really fast RAID array, HD is manageable. I use the Nexus-S cards for satellite TV. The two cards are hooked up to four satellites.

    Am I making sense?


    My next step is to get a 802.11a WAP and do all of this wirelessly.
     
  14. Stephen Neal

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    Yep - HDMI is uncompressed video and very high data rate. I don't think it uses chroma subsampling, so will be full bandwith RGB or YCrCb (1920x1080x25x32 is around 1.6Gbps - higher if you encode in "real-time" and don't exploit horizontal and vertical blanking?)

    Component analogue or RGB capture cards are pretty rare at SD levels (The Sweetspot is the only low-cost one I know of - and doesn't have any on-board MPEG2 compression) The bulk of analogue capture systems are based on composite/s-video solutions - with the quality losses that are inherent in this way.

    I have seen no HD analogue component or HDMI capture cards (with or without MPEG2 compression) on the consumer market - the processing power and A/D converters required for component analogue is not insignificant. The processing power required for real-time HD MPEG2 encoding isn't insignificant.

    There are HD-SDI capture solutions for high-end post HD production PC solutions - but these are serious bucks (and HD-SDI is more suited to capture than HDMI as I understand it)

    The Nexus-S and other DVB-S solutions, as well as Firewire HD interconnects in the US, will be much easier to cope with as HD sources because they are just sources of existing MPEG2 HD material pre-encoded by the broadcasters.

    Whether there is ever a large enough market for HD analogue component capture (or HDMI for that) I don't know - certainly there aren't any "low cost" solutions that I have seen yet.
     
  15. beeblebrox12

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    The only HDTV sat channel that can be currently received via satellite and DVB card in North America is PBS-HDTV on the AMC3 sat. Are you saying you can pass any other HDTV signal to the PC server? How?
     
  16. Master Rahl

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    DishNetwork has several HD channels. I have a VOOM sub, my parents have a DishNet. I got VOOM only for the HD. Currently, my VOOM does not go through any of this and it is with my TV.

    The HD I get on Myth comes from DishNetwork. All you need to do is pass the signal through a CAM emulation and it will be decrypted. We have a subscription with DishNetwork so I am entitled to receiving the signal in any way I want.

    I'm currently experimenting with FireWire, VOOM, and DishNet. Assuming VOOM gets a few more channels, or DishNet's HD improves a bit, I'm planning on getting rid of one will be using Firewire for all my TV needs. The idea is to have two cable boxes and two satellite boxes and that all four are connected to the computer via Firewire, with IR thingies on them. :)
     
  17. Stephen Neal

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    Aha - so the DISH HD stuff is broadcast using DVB-S satellite modulation, and you have a PC based reception system, with CAM simulation, that allows you to connect a legitimate DISHNetwork viewing card to each PC and receive Dish stuff as if you were using a conventional Dish receiver?

    Does the software do stuff like EPG ok - or is it just basic video and audio?

    Interesting that Dish use DVB-S - do they use the same DVB MPEG2 data streams as well as DVB-S modulation?

    That is a neat system - and would be possible in the UK for Euro1080/HD1 reception. However it isn't likely to be possible for Sky HD unless something major happens.

    Sky use a proprietary encryption system for their SD service (Videoguard) - this was reverse engineered to allow a similar solution to that you are using a while back (legitimate subscription and viewing card, but connected to a PC with CAM emulation, not a Sky receiver) However Sky replaced their viewing cards with more sophisticated ones (I believe the data between card and receiver is now itself encrypted) - and this solution no longer works. I suspect that Sky will use the launch of HD to introduce even stronger encryption and more levels of rights management (at the moment they have just Macrovision on/off, coupled with Sky + PVR record inhibit flags for some SD material)

    This will mean that for most people the only solution for multi-room HD viewing of Sky content will be multiple Sky receivers? Whether this is true of potential BBC HD broadcasts I don't know - though I suspect Hollywood will be wary of any "un-protected" HD broadcast of their content (though this is currently the case in the US with Firewire outputs from STBs)
     
  18. Master Rahl

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    Yes.

    The EPG is sent on a special channel. While I can tune to the channel, the data is meaningless to me. The EPG I use I get from the Internet. The MythTV server has a MySQL running and once a day it will update the database with the latest channel information, program information, icons, pictures, graphics, descriptions, ratings. The works. MythTV sends this EPG information from MySQL along to the client computer and superimposes it on the picture.

    MythTV: http://www.mythtv.org/modules.php?name=MythFeatures

    EPG: http://mythtv.sourceforge.net/mc/blueosdone.png and http://mythtv.sourceforge.net/mc/epg.png and http://mythtv.sourceforge.net/mc/epg-info.png and http://mythtv.sourceforge.net/mc/epgvideo.png

    Program Finder: http://mythtv.sourceforge.net/mc/mpf1.png and http://mythtv.sourceforge.net/mc/mpf2.png and http://mythtv.sourceforge.net/mc/mpf3.png and http://mythtv.sourceforge.net/mc/mpf4.png

    It is really amazing what you can do when you use your own SQL database with all the information and have a computer as a front end.

    All satellites use DVB-S. DVB-S is Digital Video Broadcast - Satellite. It doesn't matter which provider you tune into. The exception is DirecTV. DirecTV doesn't even use proper MPG2.

    Possibly. The issue is basically to get the video into the computer and then send it out. Instead of buying 4 HD receivers, you can buy 2 if you know only 2 people will ever watch concurrently.

    The easiest is to take the video itself and bring it into the computer. Something like component input or DVI input. The problem is that the capture cards are not really available, and those that are are not intended for personal use. They're expensive. This may change though. Another problem here is the digital rights crap. But there will be ways to circumvent that.

    Another way of getting the data into the computer is FireWire. I'm working on this now.

    The last way is a satellite card with a CAM. I don't know if the Nexus-S's CAM adapter supports Videoguard. Does it? Instead of having to buy receivers, you may just have to buy a the DVB cards and enough access cards from Sky.
     
  19. Master Rahl

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    Motorola dct6208

    Here is the back picture. This is a really nice digital cable receiver.

    [​IMG]


    HAHAHAHA. Why bundle HDCP if you can circumvent it?
     
  20. beeblebrox12

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    Master Rahl,

    To my knowledge, there are two things that make watching HDTV from Dish Network via DVB-S card impossible:

    1. Dish switched all of their HDTV channels to 8PSK modulation almost a year ago. No DVB-S card can even tune in to physically receive this signal. A few people have experimented with home made devices, but there never was and probably never will be any commercially available DVB-S card that does 8PSK.

    2. Dish switched the encryption of all their HDTV channels to Nagra2 some time ago. No decoding - either software emulation or through an external legitimate CAM is possible right now. Even if you had a non-existing DVB-S 8PSK card you still wouldn't be able to see anything HD.

    You are either watching only SD channels from Dish on your PC, or you are way ahead of every other sat enthusiast in NA.
     
  21. Master Rahl

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    But Nimiq2 still have QPSK. For the time being, I'm limited to that. Like I said, I'm experimenting with the Firewire / USB solution.

    This is a pain. Nagra2 is a big problem. Nimiq2 is now both Nagra and Nagra2, but they, like Dish, are swapping cards out. It is only time before Nagra is shut down completely. Hopefully by then I will have a solution.


    Possible solutions:

    - Get the audio/video data through Firewire, or USB, or component + optical (audio).

    - Get the audio/video through a satellite card that supports 8PSK that accepts a Nagra2 card.


    I would prefer to go with the latter solution. It is only time before someone comes out with a card like that. The caveat is that it must accept a card. I doubt Nagra2 will ever be reverse engineered (much like DigiCipher II).



    Fact of the matter is, I *want* to distribute HDTV throughout my house via Myth. I have paid for the rights to access certain channels, and I will access them in any way I can and in a manner which I enjoy. I'm not distributing or rebroadcasting stuff online, so don't punish me.

    I'm also looking into buying channels from the wholesalers, complete with distribution rights. I will need a big C band dish. It is actually quite cheap. My idea is to cover my town in a wireless network and sell TV on a per channel basis using Myth. I will pay the wholesalers, and I will resell the channels. This way I can avoid the digital rights crap. It will be a bit of an investment, but I have money and I'm currently fiddling with the idea.

    I'll post a separate thread with it, and you can give feedback. :)
     
  22. Stephen Neal

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    NDS have not released a Videoguard CAM for DVB-S broadcasts for Sky UK. There IS a Videoguard CAM in existence for DVB-C (digital cable) but it is not compatible with the Videoguard variant used for DVB-S by Sky Digital in the UK.

    Sky Italia is currently simulcrypting in Videoguard and another standard (which supports a CI interfaced CAM) - but they are swapping out non-Videoguard receivers with the intention of switching to Videoguard only, and they are not making Videoguard CAMs for use with CI receivers - all Videoguard CAMS are hardwired into the receivers.

    This is part of Sky/NDSs tight security - and understandable as pretty much all CI CAM based systems are hacked wide open in Europe as I understand it.

    In the UK it IS possible to get decrypted MPEG2 data out of 1st generation Pace Sky Digiboxes (there is an expansion socket at the back that presents an 8 bit parallel MPEG2 stream AIUI) - but this is only a solution for the real hardware enthusiast, and is non-trivial to implement.

    The UK Sky EPG is broadcast in three ways in the UK. There is Now+Next info
    using the DVB standard - and this is received by FTA receivers as well as Sky boxes.

    There is also the full-screen "TV Guide" - which broadcasts full information for the next week of programmes (including a paragraph or two of programme info) across all channels in the EPG. This is broadcast on a dedicated transponder, which requires the receiver to re-tune to this transponder, so you can't watch/listen to TV whilst consulting this.

    There is a third EPG system called "Search and Scan" - which carries listings for all channels (but programme name and start/stop times only - no detailed info) for about 8 hours or so. This data is carried on all transponders I believe (and I think it is cached in the receiver) - allowing you to consult basic listings for the next few hours whilst still watching a selected TV channel.

    The latter two systems - "TV Guide" and "Search and Scan" are proprietary, but not currently encrypted. They use a token based system to compress the information - but this has been reverse engineered by UK enthusiasts.

    The advantage of these systems over SQL and downloaded EPGs (as Windows MCE, Digiguide etc.) is that they support dynamic updating. The BBC update their EPG data based on their transmission schedule computer - which usually means that Sky + PVRs - which base their recording start/stop on the over-the-air EPG - start and stop recording shows at the beginning and end of the show, even if they start early/late and/or under or over run.

    (One guy has basically reverse engineered a first generation Pace box to allow it to emulate Sky +)
     
  23. Master Rahl

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    Just tell the SQL server to update every 30 minutes or 15 minutes. :)
     
  24. Stephen Neal

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    I don't think the UK internet sites are updated dynamically by the broadcasters transmission areas - unlike the Sky EPG - so that won't work over here...
     

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