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Pls recommend hardware for remote fallback tuner setup

remote tuner dvb-t dvb-t2 remote fallback tuner

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#1 pli-marc

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Posted 8 September 2020 - 14:23

Hi,

I'm looking for two hardware recommendations. I'm currently using VuPlus
devices with OpenPLI firmware. This combination is doing 95% of what I
want, so I'm very happy. However, I'm about to buy new hardware to
install in a different place, and I wonder if I should get what already
works for me, or if I can reach 100% with different hardware.

Currently I have one "fat" tuner box in the center, and several lightweight
viewer devices around it. The viewers are connected over ethernet only
(no antenna cables).

To view live-TV I use the enigma2 remote fallback tuner function, for
recorded TV and I use a samba share that I auto-mount during boot, to add
timers I use the remote timer plugin, and for my movie library I use a
read-only samba share.

Live-TV in my case means DVB-S and DVB-T (probably switching to DVB-T2 in
the next few years). My "fat" box is currently a Vu Solo4K and I use
the built-in FBC tuner with a unicable LNB to get up to 8 arbitrary
channels simultanously, which is plenty enough. For DVB-T however, I can
plug only one dual DVB-T/T2 card, which guarantees me two arbitrary
channels. I often run into this limitation and get a black screen
because "no tuner available" on the fat box. This happens mostly when
I am recording in the background, or when someone forgot to turn off a
viewer device somewhere in the house.

 

If you think there are better ways to make this work over ethernet, please

let me know.

 

 

Question 1 - Tuner box:

Basically I need more DVB-T/T2 tuners in a device that also handles one
FBC DVB-S at the same time. I understand that DVB-T/T2 is not compatible
with the FBC concept because the various frequency slots are filled by
physically separate emitters. The wildly different signal strengths
on the channels require filter/AGC adjustments to properly single out
one channel. Therefore I must have an individual tuner for each frequency
that I want to view simultanously, and the best cards that I can buy
give me two tuners in one slot. Correct?

 

Can you recommend a box that I can use instead of the Solo4K to get
FBC DVB-S, plus TWO (or THREE) slots capable of driving the dual
DVB-T/T2 cards? That would give me 4 (or 6) tuners, which should be
enough. It also needs to have a good gigabit ethernet chip to stream
it out, and an internal 2.5" SATA to fit an SSD for recordings.


Question 2 - Viewer box:

Currently I use Vu Zero4K for this purpose. There exists a variant
with integrated DVB-T/T2 tuner, which I have installed in the few places
that are near an antenna outlet. This is how I tried to remedy the
"no tuner available" problems as good as I could. My main problem

with the Zero4K is that it supports only very few codecs. It is ok to

view live-TV and many modern .mkv and .mp4 files. However, it does
not support the older files in my movie library which may be .avi, .xvid,

etc.

I think this is actually a licensing problem, and the broadcom (?) SoC
is capable of decoding those other formats, but it has been disabled
in the driver. I believe there are kernel/driver patches for other
devices where the limitation was introduced after the fact, but to
my knowledge no such patch exists for the Zero4K. Correct?

I like the fact that the Zero4K is small and not very expensive, and
that I can opt to get it with DVB-T/T2 tuner. But none of that is a
hard requirement. Can you recommend me another box that is better
suited to my kind of usage?


Thanks, and be reminded that I want to keep using OpenPLi on all the
hardware that you recommend. I'm not afraid of compiling a custom
image if that helps with the codec problem.

Marc



Re: Pls recommend hardware for remote fallback tuner setup #2 WanWizard

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Posted 8 September 2020 - 14:55

Q1: Afaik, such hardware doesn't exist. Closest is the 3-slot VU+ Ultimo 4K I think.

 

Q2: For the fallback tuner, any box will suffice.

 

As for the codec support, there are two seperate issues:

  • the codecs that are supported in hardware (for which the vendor must indeed have a license to make those available)
  • the codecs that are supported in software (which use gstreamer on Broadcom and ffmpeg on HiSilion, and which converts them to a format supported in hardware)

The first one we can't do antthing about, but afaik VU+ has only dropped some older codecs, like VP8.

 

The second one may be fixed if the required codec exists and someone with knowledge of gstreamer could be found. The ffmpeg solution is developed by HiSilicon, so if something is not supported, they will have to address that.

 

Please note that avi, mkv, etc are NOT codecs, they are container formats. It is what is in those containers that requires a codec.


Currently in use: VU+Duo 4K (2xFBC S2), Amiko Viper T2C (T2+fallback), Octagon SF8008 (S2+T2), Zgemma H9.2H (T2+fallback)

Many answers to your question can be found in our new and improved wiki.

note: I do not provide support via PM !

 


Re: Pls recommend hardware for remote fallback tuner setup #3 pli-marc

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Posted 8 September 2020 - 16:46

Please note that avi, mkv, etc are NOT codecs, they are container formats. It is what is in those containers that requires a codec.

 

Yes, sorry for not making the distinction.  My current setup plays h264 h265 mp4 and

probably the older mpeg1/2 too.  It does not play the typical "desktop" formats from last decade.

The Zero (without 4K) does play them, but it has no HEVC, no variant with DVB-T/T2 tuner,

only 100mbit ethernet, and any "movie-length" stream with 6+ GB size is too heavy for it to

reproduce without stutter.  That's probably a CPU problem, the good old Duo2 is smooth.

 

Can you recommend hardware for the viewer that solves the codec problems, even when

it has no tuner at all, or tuner(s) that I dont use?  It would be nice if I can keep using my Vu

remotes.



Re: Pls recommend hardware for remote fallback tuner setup #4 WanWizard

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Posted 8 September 2020 - 19:03

I have no problem with the Zero in combination with the fallback tuner, it was my main "fallback streaming" box for years. I suspect it is more of a network issue.

 

The fallback stream is also in a format that can be processed directly by the hardware, so apart from handing the incoming packets, not much CPU is involved.

 

I don't think you'll find anything that plays "anything". In the end, it is an STB, not a media streamer. You might be better of buying on of those.


Currently in use: VU+Duo 4K (2xFBC S2), Amiko Viper T2C (T2+fallback), Octagon SF8008 (S2+T2), Zgemma H9.2H (T2+fallback)

Many answers to your question can be found in our new and improved wiki.

note: I do not provide support via PM !

 


Re: Pls recommend hardware for remote fallback tuner setup #5 pli-marc

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Posted 8 September 2020 - 23:44

I have no problem with the Zero in combination with the fallback tuner, it was my main "fallback streaming" box for years. I suspect it is more of a network issue.

 

The fallback stream is also in a format that can be processed directly by the hardware, so apart from handing the incoming packets, not much CPU is involved.

 

I don't think you'll find anything that plays "anything". In the end, it is an STB, not a media streamer. You might be better of buying on of those.

 

My gripes with the Zero are that it doesn't have DVB-T/T2 option, doesn't support HEVC and

it has not enough CPU to receive and decode a heavy 6-10 GB h264 movie over SMB

(=not a satellite stream, but rather a movie that has been encoded for desktops).

 

My problem with the Zero4K is that it doesn't decode my dated 240p - 720p movies from

last decade.

 

Which box works better as media streamer for me?   Note that it still needs to have STB

functionality in OpenPLi, because the main purpose is not to play from the movie library.

The main purpose is to view live TV over the remote fallback tuner, to browse the EPG

to program timers with the remote timer plugin, and to view recorded programs from the

"centralized" movie folder which is imported over SMB.

 

Maybe I am asking a stupid question here.  It's just that I didn't expect that a media player

can also be an STB.  I only knew of STBs that can be media players too, and the Vu

series used to be one of the best of them (after the original Dreambox).  Do all media

players support all STB features, provided that an OpenPLi firmware exists for them?


Edited by pli-marc, 8 September 2020 - 23:46.


Re: Pls recommend hardware for remote fallback tuner setup #6 WanWizard

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Posted 9 September 2020 - 00:14

I connect everything over NFS, its more stable when it comes to throughput than CIFS (SMB), and as said, never had any issue with playing a recording or streaming.

 

I don't have T/T2 in every room as well, I currently have an Ocagon SF8008, an Amiko Viper T2/C and an Zgemma H9.2H in the locations that do.  And all use the fallback to my VU+ Duo 4K for sat channels. with the SF and the H9 using wireless.

 

As to your old media, use VLC or tools like mediainfo so determine what codecs are actually needed, without that information it is all guesswork.

 

Media players tend to run on android, and most don't do any STB functions. Some like the Maxytec have dual boot and an Andoid image available, but I've never tried it. Some also use Kodi on the STB, but it's not available for all STB's, and as I have never used that too, I can't comment on what it can or can't play.


Currently in use: VU+Duo 4K (2xFBC S2), Amiko Viper T2C (T2+fallback), Octagon SF8008 (S2+T2), Zgemma H9.2H (T2+fallback)

Many answers to your question can be found in our new and improved wiki.

note: I do not provide support via PM !

 


Re: Pls recommend hardware for remote fallback tuner setup #7 WanWizard

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Posted 9 September 2020 - 00:20

p.s. As for network mounts: the PHY of an STB is embedded in the SoC, and is very basic in terms of functionality, and this is reflected in the drivers.

 

One of the biggest problems is the lack of scatter/gather functionality. This means the driver needs blocks of consecutive memory the size of the connection blocksize, and it will fail (drropped data) if it can no longer allocate these blocks.

 

So it can happen that even if you have enough free memory left, it can't allocate these blocks anymore. The longer the box is on, and the more network traffic you have, the bigger this problem becomes. So be careful defining large rsize and wsize values on the mount, you might want to play with that (as by default these values are negotiated between server and client, and can go up to 64Kb or more).


Currently in use: VU+Duo 4K (2xFBC S2), Amiko Viper T2C (T2+fallback), Octagon SF8008 (S2+T2), Zgemma H9.2H (T2+fallback)

Many answers to your question can be found in our new and improved wiki.

note: I do not provide support via PM !

 


Re: Pls recommend hardware for remote fallback tuner setup #8 pli-marc

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 01:07

Codec issue on Zero4K:

 



As to your old media, use VLC or tools like mediainfo so determine what codecs are actually needed, without that information it is all guesswork.

 

I appreciate your input.  I scanned a portion of the library and found that in fact

only the h264 and hevc files play well.  The rest doesn't.  Here's an excerpt of

the non-working codecs used (as per ffmpeg):





48 mpeg4 (Advanced Simple Profile) (XVID / 0x44495658) NOT OK

9 mpeg4 (Simple Profile) (mp4v / 0x7634706D) NOT OK

6 mpeg4 (Simple Profile) (XVID / 0x44495658) NOT OK

5 mpeg4 (DX50 / 0x30355844) NOT OK

4 mpeg4 (Simple Profile) (DIVX / 0x58564944) NOT OK

1 mpeg4 (Simple Profile) (xvid / 0x64697678) NOT OK

1 mpeg4 (Simple Profile) (DX50 / 0x30355844) NOT OK



7 mpeg1video NOT OK

2 msmpeg4v3 (DIV3 / 0x33564944) NOT OK

1 vp6f NOT OK

(sorry for messy alignment, the online editor insists on compressing the spaces)

 

The numbers in front reflect the ratio of files present in the test sample, so my problem

is the mpeg series of codecs, in particular mpeg4.  I also have files where audio doesn't

work because of codec issues, but I haven't made a survey for that.

 

Most (all?) of these older files used to work on the Zero.

 

In other words, I'm looking for an upated-hardware Zero, like the Zero4K, but without

the newly introduced limitations of the Zero4K.  Does that exist?

 

I suppose the bigger boxes are better in this regard, but I hestitate to buy a set of

them only to find out that those reject my library too.

 

 

Heavy (big) file issue on Zero:

 

About your suggestion with rsize/wsize for the "heavy" file issue (different from codec

issue).  This is interesting, I had thought that bigger was better.  For many files the

stutter is very predictable.  There are a few ones which play more or less OK if I

don't touch anything, but as soon as I cause an overlay to be drawn or jump to a

different position then it goes downhill until I stop.  I'll make some experiments with

your memory fragmentation suggestion.



Re: Pls recommend hardware for remote fallback tuner setup #9 WanWizard

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 11:26

None of these formats have anything to do with the hardware.

 

The hardware (the SoC) can only play a few media formats, mainly related to DVB. And where the SoC can play other formats, the vendor might not have the license for it (VU+ for example dropped vp8 support in their latest drivers because of this).

 

All other formats are processed by gstreamer (for Broadcom SoCs) or ffmpeg (for HiSilicon SoCs), which will convert it to an acceptable format, and feed them into the SoC using the DVBmediasink.

 

The challenge we have is that gstreamer is very complex, and we don't have people with the correct skills in the team to deal with many of these issues. We really need someone with the correct skillset for this.

 

Also, not all gstreamer formats are installed by default (for flash space considerations) so it could well be that your formats require a gstreamer driver to be installed first.


Currently in use: VU+Duo 4K (2xFBC S2), Amiko Viper T2C (T2+fallback), Octagon SF8008 (S2+T2), Zgemma H9.2H (T2+fallback)

Many answers to your question can be found in our new and improved wiki.

note: I do not provide support via PM !

 






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