Starting from scratch: building a multi-TV system around the Humax Foxsat HDR 500GB

Yohan G

Standard Member
Hi all,

I am a newcomer who just registered but I have been reading quite intensively a lot of the contributions around the Humax Foxsat HDR 500GB.

The last time I bought any AV equipment is over 10 years ago; so coming to this forum was a "back to the future" experience. I have been reading and searching the forum extensively but as I didn't know what Freesat was about when I started three weeks ago, please forgive any stupid questions. I want to build a system from scratch, so I want to make sure I have got it right.

SITUATION: To please wife & kids we will have 4 TVs in the house. I have a quattro universal LNB to tune into Astra 19.2 (TNTSat) and Astra 28.5 (Freesat). To stop the pain of having to collect the DVDs and put them in the right boxes after the kids watch them and carry them all around the house, I would like to put in a NAS. I also would like to start recording a programme in one room and then continue to watch it in another room. And of course everything has to be iPad and iMac compatible to please the younger generation.

THE DESIGN I AM THINKING ABOUT (please do not slaughter me!)
- I install 4 Humax Foxsats HDR 500GB, one in each room
- I replace the firmware with Raydon's Media & File Server Bundle
- For the TNTsat channels I work with a combination of Humax TNTsat HD 5000 (for the projector) and viaccess decoders slotted into the TVs
- I buy TVs that hopefully can stream the TS files from the Foxsats (so I can watch in one room what has been recorded in another room) and at the same time stream the movies from the NAS
- If that does not work I connect a Western Digital Multimedia Player or a Jailbroken Apple TV on the LAN in front of the TV

THE QUESTIONS
- Would such set-up make sense?
- Will the 4 Humax Foxsats be mutually distinguishable on a single LAN (I read something about having to reset the IPs)?
- Does Raydon's Media & File Server Bundle still work with multiple Foxsats on a single LAN?
- I guess it would be very cumbersome to watch astra 19,2 from the Foxsat as I would have to arrange channels manually? Hence is it indeed better to go for separate pre-tuned boxes for the TNTsat channels?
- I believe to understand that the Foxsat cannot play the content on the NAS or on the other Foxsats. However it appears that the Humax TNTsat HD 5000 can do this. Anybody any experience by any chance?
- How do the Sony Bravia and Loewe perform in playing the TS streams? I read this may have been difficult with earlier versions of the Media & File Server Bundle...
- If the TV sets do not play the TS streams well, does it make sense to front them with a Western Digital Multimedia Player or a Jailbroken Apple TV? What media player works best with the Media & File Server Bundle and would also support a NAS?
- If I want to move recorded programs from the Freesats to the NAS, are there any specific requirements for the NAS?
- And finally, would the Echostar HDS-600RS SlingLoaded Freesat+not do the same thing as the upgraded Foxsat?

I would like to thank anybody in advance for any help.
 

logiciel

Moderator
I didn't know what Freesat was about
I have a quattro universal LNB to tune into Astra 19.2 (TNTSat) and Astra 28.5 (Freesat)
To summarise: FS is an Electronic Programme Guide in which some broadcasters of free channels at 28E pay to be included, and which can be received on a limited number of machines and TVs: Products - freesat. The machines can be made to receive from other satellites but it's not what they're meant for, and separate receivers might be better for that purpose.
Others will tell you all about the extra things that you can do with the machines and especially wih the Humax, but first we come to that LNB.:confused: A quattro is normally used in conjunction with a multiswitch to distribute the signal from a single group of satellites to a number of receivers each of which can receive a separate channel. So, is that what yours is, and if so how does it receive from two satellite groups?
 
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Yohan G

Standard Member
I am a novice in this and I am not sure what it all means, but my sat installer in France is installing a Johansson 9989A modulator (he calls it a "commutateur"), with 16 connections and with 8 coaxes running from the Bigsat Multisat dish to the modulator. The head is called a "quatro FRAC". Apparently there would be two of them. I pray it works because I have no clue on this aspect of the installation. Thank you for your answer on the single / separate receiver question.
 
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MPD1

Standard Member
- Will the 4 Humax Foxsats be mutually distinguishable on a single LAN (I read something about having to reset the IPs)?
- Does Raydon's Media & File Server Bundle still work with multiple Foxsats on a single LAN?
- How do the Sony Bravia and Loewe perform in playing the TS streams? I read this may have been difficult with earlier versions of the Media & File Server Bundle...
From experience (I have 2 Foxsats on a network)
Multiple Foxsats are distinguishable on a LAN. Each can be given its own IP address using DHCP and unique name using the setup options in the Media & File Server Bundle.
The Sony Bravia I have is really quite bad at streaming anything from anywhere. It will not see the Humax boxes with either available media server and will not play TS files from any media server. When I got some HD video to stream from WMP 12 on a Windows 7 laptop the picture quality was atrocious. My Samsung LE40C750 will stream very well any source.

http://www.avforums.com/forums/free...sing-media-file-server-bundle-foxsat-hdr.html

This thread shows some of the troubles others have had with various Sony Bravia models.
 

logiciel

Moderator
a Johansson 9989A modulator (he calls it a "commutateur"), with 16 connections and with 8 coaxes running from the Bigsat Multisat dish to the modulator. The head is called a "quatro FRAC". Apparently there would be two of them.
That's the answer to my question - and it makes me the complete novice!
The commutateur is, literally, the switch, or to be more precise the multiswitch in my post.
It would normally have 4 co-ax cables from a single quattro LNB on the dish.
Yours has eight, from two such LNBs, one for 19E one for 28E.
I haven't come across anything like this before, but it should work exactly the way you want it.:thumbsup:
 

Partridge

Novice Member
- I guess it would be very cumbersome to watch astra 19,2 from the Foxsat as I would have to arrange channels manually? Hence is it indeed better to go for separate pre-tuned boxes for the TNTsat channels?
It is possible to watch Astra 19.2 on the Foxsat - you have to scan the transponders once and that's it. Additionally it is also then possible to use the channel editor package of the custom firmware to kid the Foxsat that these channels are actually Freesat channels... which then enables scheduled recording of these channels, and you don't have to change on the Foxsat between "freesat" and "non-freesat" mode in order to flip between Astra 28.2E and 19.2E channels. That said, you don't get an EPG in either case when viewing non-28.2E channels on the Foxsat.

So it's a trade-off I would say:

  • If you primarily watch freesat channels on Astra 28.2E plus the odd 19.2 channel, then the Foxsat enables you to do all this with one box only (and the niceties of the freesat epg, series recording, accurate recording of freesat channels etc.)
  • If you will primarily watch 19.2 channels, then the Foxsat will be a bit cumbersome as it's not really fit for purpose.
I should mention that you can also receive all the freesat channels on 28.2 with a generic receiver (incl. HD), but only the branded freesat receivers give you the freesat epg.
- I believe to understand that the Foxsat cannot play the content on the NAS or on the other Foxsats. However it appears that the Humax TNTsat HD 5000 can do this. Anybody any experience by any chance?
No experience with the TNTsat I'm afraid. The Foxsat indeed cannot play back NAS content out of the box (the necessary modules are not compiled into the linux kernel which the box uses as operating system). While this may be possible in future, the Humax AV application itself can only play back TS (Mpeg transport stream) files, which means that without conversion you won't play able to play back other formats like .mov, .flv, .mpg, .vob and whatever else you might have in your collection -> better to buy cheap media streamers as clients for your NAS.
 

paulburke

Active Member
I have a quick question for the OP!

Do you really need TNTSat, can you not get all the French channels you need through an normal aerial with TNT (freeview) TV. Any new TV will come equipped with TNT receiver, or you can get a TNT box for around 20€, HD ones slightly more. List of channels available here.
 

Yohan G

Standard Member
The Sony Bravia I have is really quite bad at streaming anything from anywhere. It will not see the Humax boxes with either available media server and will not play TS files from any media server. When I got some HD video to stream from WMP 12 on a Windows 7 laptop the picture quality was atrocious. My Samsung LE40C750 will stream very well any source.

http://www.avforums.com/forums/free...sing-media-file-server-bundle-foxsat-hdr.html

This thread shows some of the troubles others have had with various Sony Bravia models.
Thank you. After going through the Sony thread, is it fair to say that the best solution is probably the put a media player between the Humax and the Sony Bravia? I will buy a new Bravia so I will play around with it next week and let you know whether Sony have upgraded their software...
 

Yohan G

Standard Member
It is possible to watch Astra 19.2 on the Foxsat - you have to scan the transponders once and that's it. Additionally it is also then possible to use the channel editor package of the custom firmware to kid the Foxsat that these channels are actually Freesat channels... which then enables scheduled recording of these channels, and you don't have to change on the Foxsat between "freesat" and "non-freesat" mode in order to flip between Astra 28.2E and 19.2E channels.
Thank you for your answer. I read somewhere that if they change the channels on the 19.2 that you then would have to manually reorganise the Humax and that this may be a lot work as there are quite a few channels. Is this correct?
 

Yohan G

Standard Member
-> better to buy cheap media streamers as clients for your NAS.
If the Sony Bravia has problems reading the Humax TS files, then what would be a proven working media streamer for both the Humax boxes and a Lacie Network Space 2? I was thinking about the Lacie as a NAS as it seems to have good reviews and is NTFS. I read somewhere on this forum that NTFS is superior to FAT32 because one does not have the 4 GB limit. So now the challenge is to find a media streamer that works well with the Lacie and the Humaxes. Alternatively I guess I could also transfer all my recordings from the Humaxes to the NAS and actually play them from the NAS rather than from the Humaxes... It is a question about having a system approach with multiple locations of storage (Humaxes and NAS) or just one (NAS) I assume... In any case, a media streamer that works both with the Humax and the NTFS Lacie would give me maximum flexibility. Does anybody have any views or recommendations?
 

Yohan G

Standard Member
Do you really need TNTSat, can you not get all the French channels you need through an normal aerial with TNT (freeview) TV.
That is what I was planning to do until the aerial installer told me the reception was too weak. Everybody always talks about the poor infrastructure in the UK versus the great infrastructure in France, but when it comes to internet and digital broadcast my personal experience is that it is the reverse. Admittedly I am quite a narrow sample. We had internet at very low speeds but now we have been without internet for 7 weeks and counting. So clearly the only thing I can count on for TV seems to be satellite.
 

kevkbuk

Distinguished Member
Don't forget you'll abe unable to stream HD recordings to the other Foxsats...

If you can live without the extra features a Freesat box gives (eg series linking, red button, auto updating channels and ondemand services) then a generic satellite receiver would be better suited to how you want to use it.

Open linux based receivers such as the Dreambox or VU+ models would enable you to record direct to NAS, and playback recordings and stream other media/dvds/music etc from the NAS. They have a web interface for streaming live TV and viewing/epg and setting up recordings etc via PC. If you can live without the Freesat features such a receiver would be all you need for all your requirements.
 

paulburke

Active Member
That is what I was planning to do until the aerial installer told me the reception was too weak. Everybody always talks about the poor infrastructure in the UK versus the great infrastructure in France, but when it comes to internet and digital broadcast my personal experience is that it is the reverse. Admittedly I am quite a narrow sample. We had internet at very low speeds but now we have been without internet for 7 weeks and counting. So clearly the only thing I can count on for TV seems to be satellite.
Are you able to receive any French TV through your aerial. The whole of France is now digital (same as Freeview in UK) so if you can get the TNT TV through your aerial now then you have it!
 

logiciel

Moderator
Or ask the neighbours - they'd know even better than the installer.
 

Yohan G

Standard Member
Or ask the neighbours - they'd know even better than the installer.
The switch-over in France has been problematic as the transmitters can be far away in less populated areas. We are 45 km away from the closest transmitter. Out of interest I checked the difference with the UK. This is the transmitter map for the south coast.http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/broadcast/guidance/tech-guidance/816898/meridian_v2.2.pdf. Our French situation equates to having a transmitter in Crawley that covers the entire coast from Portsmouth to Hastings.

In the past with analogue you would get a "grainy" image certain days, with digital it is all or nothing, so you get "no signal" on certain days if you are too far away from the transmitter. Amongst others the coastal areas on slopes towards the sea and far away from the inland transmitters suffer in France. It is a well discussed topic on the French forums like this one and it has also been covered in the press. For people who had an aerial before the switch-over, they just live with it that when it rains heavily they cannot watch television. However, it is hard to get an aerial installer to install an aerial if he knows it will not work on occasions. Brittany seems particularly affected by reception issues since the switch-over.
 
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Yohan G

Standard Member
Don't forget you'll abe unable to stream HD recordings to the other Foxsats...

If you can live without the extra features a Freesat box gives (eg series linking, red button, auto updating channels and ondemand services) then a generic satellite receiver would be better suited to how you want to use it.

Open linux based receivers such as the Dreambox or VU+ models would enable you to record direct to NAS, and playback recordings and stream other media/dvds/music etc from the NAS. They have a web interface for streaming live TV and viewing/epg and setting up recordings etc via PC. If you can live without the Freesat features such a receiver would be all you need for all your requirements.
I looked intensively at Dreambox but it very much scared me. The debate on the Dreambox forums completely bypassed me; the media & file server upgrade on the Humax seems more realistic to novices like me. In addition I would like the additional Freesat features. I guess I will have to do something about the French IP address for those to work. Does someone know whether it is sufficient to mask it or do you need a UK mirror server?
 

logiciel

Moderator
Thanks for the information about French digital terrestrial.
Freeview here comes from as far as in your example and is fine - but there's nothing between us and the transmitter.:)
Much as I admire what people do with their FS machines I find that more daunting than the principle behind DBs.
I don't really see the need for either though, and just use three or four "generic" satellite machines.
 

Yohan G

Standard Member
Much as I admire what people do with their FS machines I find that more daunting than the principle behind DBs.
I don't really see the need for either though, and just use three or four "generic" satellite machines.
So if I have it right you would endorse the decision to have separate boxes for the TNTsat and Freesat? This is what I plan to do... Yes it costs a little more but I believe I will save it back by avoiding re-programming channels all the time. At the same time the media & file server bundle seems appealing to get some degree of interoperability...

I believe the most important decision will be the media player. It would have to be able to stream the Humax TS files as well as the movies on a rather differently configured NAS such as a NTFS Lacie Network Space 2. This way I would assume my system becomes "TV set agnostic". Next to each TV I have two/three boxes: A TNTsat Humax (or TNT programmed Viaccess card decoder slotted into the TV), a Freesat Humax and a Media Player. The Media Player allows me to stream the content from the Humaxes located at the other TV sets, the hard drives in the Sony/Loewe TVs, as well as from the NAS. But what media player to select?
 
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logiciel

Moderator
I wouldn't have Freesat at all - for the free channels at 28E I'd use one or more of my generic receivers, and that would also receive from up to another three satellite groups.
If the Freesat EPG and the clever things you can do with their machines are important, then the choice would be for two separate machines.
 

Yohan G

Standard Member
Thank you for your answer. For the UK channels I like the Humax solution. However, for the french TNT Sat channels I could go for another solution. You mention the Dreambox machines can be set up to record to the NAS. When I look at their internet site they do not mention it. Is it easy to get the Dreambox to record to the NAS (for SD)? What type Dreambox should one go for?
 
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kevkbuk

Distinguished Member
You mention the Dreambox machines can be set up to record to the NAS. When I look at their internet site they do not mention it. Is it easy to get the Dreambox to record to the NAS (for SD)? What type Dreambox should one go for?
It is a function of the software they run (Enigma 2) rather than the receivers themselves. All Dreamboxes support it, and most other popular open source linux Enigma based boxes will also. It is very easy, there is a network browser in the system menu that shows all shares on the network, you select one and enter a username and password if applicable and enable the share to act like a HDD. Once done you then use the record button on the remote to record or use the EPG on channels that offer one.

DM800SE is the go to model for single tuner HD, if you want twin tuners there is the DM8000. If you want to save money and only need SD have a look at DM500. 800SE and 500 clones are mature and stable but I've no experiencw with 8000 clones.
 

benbow

Standard Member
I see that you live in France and I also live in Brittany. I used Free.fr for a few years and have now switched to Orange. With my internet subscription I have free world wide free telephone calls and TV via the internet with a box supplied by them (a one off payment of €49).
My equipment is 2 x Humax boxes, 1 x Synology 110j, a Philips blue ray surround sound player, a self build pc with windows 7 and Ubuntu Ultimate Edition.
I hope that this is of help to you.
Brian
 

jlearmonth

Novice Member
My current setup is a Sony Bravia + Foxsat.
I also have a Linux server.

I have tried many applications but the current one is ps3mediaserver running on the Linux server.
The Sony is very picky about what video formats it will play. But ps3mediaserver transcodes them and the raw ts file from the Foxsat play via DLNA.
Unfortunately I have to copy them from the Foxsat to the Linux server drive.

The icing on the cake would have been to play them from the Samba drive directly.
However ps3mediaserver sees the directories but core dumps on reading them. Not got to the bottom of this yet.
See post
http://www.avforums.com/forums/freesat/1662834-shared-file-system-foxsat.html

Hope this helps ...
JL
 
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