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Is DVB-S2 encrypted?

dodge586

Established Member
Not quite sure of the right forum for this...

I've done some googling and not found a definitive answer, seems to be much confusion and things also seem to change.

I currently have a black gold DVB-T2 tuner but I recently saw the picture on my friends freesat box was much better - I know they transmit proper 1080p whereas freeview is a bit lower and without 5.1 sound.

The nice thing about my current setup is that I can record my programs in WMC and move them about/watch them anywhere on any device I like because everything T2 is unencrypted - including the HD content.

I can't seem to find out what the situation is for freesat - seemingly the stream is unencrypted but a flag is sent telling the box to apply DRM.

If I were to buy a dvb-s2 tuner such as the blackgold would this mitigate the issue? It does not carry the freesat certification and I presume this is one of the reasons why...

It also seems to depend to some extend on the channel you are watching as to whether the DRM flag is sent.

Can anyone with an S2 card confirm what the limitations are in relation to recording and storing content?

Thanks
 

Stiggy

Distinguished Member
No, the 'free-to-air' DVB-S2 streams are not encrypted.

Very occasionally there is a 'protected' flag in the MS Guide data which stops recorded on WMC material being copied between PCs, but I can't remember the last time I saw it.

Recording 'freesat' DVB-S2 is as easy as 'Freeview' DVB-T2 in Media Center.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
I have dual DVB-T tuners and a single DVB-S2 tuner on Windows7 Media Centre.

AIUI The Freesat EPG is encrypted so can't be read by any device without a licence from the constortium.

For my purposes this doesn't matter as the Media Centre on Windows7 EPG covers all the free to view channels I want to watch. You don't get the Freesat listings or channel numbering (by default) but you do get series links and descriptions depending on the channel and you can reorder the channels (if you're bothered) just like DVB-T isn't quite Freeview.

On my DVB-S2 card I record from BBC1HD, BBCHD, Channel4HD and ITVHD. Everything I've tried is recordable on W7MC and I use a couple of xbox360 as media extenders which can also play anything recorded including HD material.

I have burnt SD material to DVD from within W7MC but haven't needed to do it often enough to really look into it or see what happens with HD - I could try if you care.

I also have a PS3 on the network which can access the DNLA server on the PC & play recordings made using the DVB-T tuners (SD Freeview) but IIRC it can't play back HD recordings (which on my system are all S2).
I can't play back any of the recordings made on the media PC (DVB-S, S2 or T) on the XP machine I use in the office.

IIRC the format for Media Centre on Windows7 is .WTV and isn't backwards compatible, though it may be on Vista An update is available for Windows Vista to enable Windows Media Player to recognize .wtv files as Recorded TV files. I do remember reading that this format change messed up 3rd party extenders so I guess it may apply?

My suspicion is you'll be able to do the same things with DVB-S2 recordings as you can with DVB-T2 but I don't have a T2 to check.
If you can be specific about platforms and what you hope to do with your recordings I'm sure we can help you work out what you can do.
 

dodge586

Established Member
Ah cool that sounds promising.

I would be interested to know of your HD .wtv recordings rather than accessing the content via an extender whether they are playable on a seperate PC as a file - if so that would indicate no DRM is occuring.

Primarily I'm going to be recording from BBC, C4, ITV channels (the HD versions) and some things I like to archive and store indefinetly on various PCs - I'm fine to keep them in the .wtv container. I did read some infomation that implied C4 HD was transmited by Sky and came encrypted - I assume that's not the case at all then.

Thanks
 

dodge586

Established Member
No, the 'free-to-air' DVB-S2 streams are not encrypted.

Very occasionally there is a 'protected' flag in the MS Guide data which stops recorded on WMC material being copied between PCs, but I can't remember the last time I saw it.

Recording 'freesat' DVB-S2 is as easy as 'Freeview' DVB-T2 in Media Center.

Do you know which channels are classed 'free to air'? or which are not if that's easier?
 

nick8571

Established Member
AIUI The Freesat EPG is encrypted so can't be read by any device without a licence from the constortium.
You can grab the contents of the Freesat EPG using EPG Collector, and export it as an XML file or inject it directly into the WMC EPG. MediaPortal can also find and use the Freesat EPG information (details in robbo100's setup guide).

Do you know which channels are classed 'free to air'? or which are not if that's easier?
Here you go :)
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I currently have a black gold DVB-T2 tuner but I recently saw the picture on my friends freesat box was much better - I know they transmit proper 1080p whereas freeview is a bit lower and without 5.1 sound.

Small correction, Freeview HD (DVB-T2) does have 5.1 surround sound.
 

dodge586

Established Member
Small correction, Freeview HD (DVB-T2) does have 5.1 surround sound.

hmmm I had heard this too but I've yet to find a progam broadcasting or something is a miss in my setup, which is essentially 7MC over HDMI into my amp... I only ever get Linear PCM.

I just assumed it wasn't being broadcast rather than a config issue.
 

Mr_Fantastic

Established Member
hmmm I had heard this too but I've yet to find a progam broadcasting or something is a miss in my setup, which is essentially 7MC over HDMI into my amp... I only ever get Linear PCM.

I just assumed it wasn't being broadcast rather than a config issue.
Doesn't Freeview HD use AAC audio for 5.1 rather than the more common AC3 5.1 which requires quite a bit more bandwidth? Maybe that is what is causing the problems, your amp probably cannot decode AAC unless it has already been decoded by you htpc which might be where the PCM comes into it.

Admittedly, I'm not really all up on amps, I only have an old AC3/DTS 5.1 optical/coaxial setup.
 

tony_park

Established Member
Ah cool that sounds promising.

I would be interested to know of your HD .wtv recordings rather than accessing the content via an extender whether they are playable on a seperate PC as a file - if so that would indicate no DRM is occuring.

Primarily I'm going to be recording from BBC, C4, ITV channels (the HD versions) and some things I like to archive and store indefinetly on various PCs - I'm fine to keep them in the .wtv container. I did read some infomation that implied C4 HD was transmited by Sky and came encrypted - I assume that's not the case at all then.

Thanks

So long as your other pcs have either windows 7 or vista with tv pack installed, you can play the files directly.

C4HD was encrypted at one point, and is now FTV.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
The "Five" group were encrypted (but were free on Sky boxes with expired cards) until recently but were moved to a new transponder recently and are now free to everyone.

Channel4HD recently moved back from being DVB-S2 encoded to DVB-S to allow 4seven to broadcast from the same transponder. That makes it available on a wider range of cards but if you're seriously looking at this then you probably want a S2 card for all the channels inc. HD.

I've had a play. I have Windows7 on the recording PC. I have regular Vista on my laptop which can't play back the .wtv files. I can use Windows Explorer on the W7 PC to convert .wtv to .dvr-ms files for SD Freeview which play back on my Vista laptop through Media Centre.
The same files show up playable in Media Player on this XP machine but play back without video. Could be any number of reasons for that, this PC is ancient :)
If I try and convert a few seconds of Channel4HD I just recorded (C4racing) then Windows7 tells me the file can't be converted.

So it looks to me like if you're on Windows7 then you'll be fine, if you've got TV pack on Vista you'll be OK, anything older than that and you won't be. And of course Microsoft are messing about in Windows8 and only some versions will have Media Centre and the codecs required to playback video.

I have 2 DVB-T tuners (Peak) and 1 DVB-S2 (Hauppauge Nova HD) - that allows me to record everything I currently need to in HD as there really isn't all that much around IMHO.

It's worth mentioning that the DVB-S implementation is a bit higher maintenance than DVB-T. Where DVB-T changes are few and far between and are usually picked up automagically sometimes a mainstream DVB-S channel will move transponder without any notice and you have to go and manually rescan the correct frequencies to get it back. You also get overlaps between the default channel numbers for both platforms that require a bit of work to swap around into a sensible order.
 
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Stiggy

Distinguished Member
The "Five" group were encrypted (but were free on Sky boxes with expired cards) until recently but were moved to a new transponder recently and are now free to everyone.
Be careful, we are talking about two different things here.

DVB-S streams can be encrypted e.g. by Sky and require a subscription.

What the OP is talking about is the files being recorded by an HTPC being marked as 'protected' and therefore not able to be transferred to another PC or burned to disk.
 

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