Recommended FTA/OTA/IPTV/PVR box - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-04, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Recommended FTA/OTA/IPTV/PVR box

Hello,

I am currently watching TV OTA and legally via IPTV on my Playbook.

I want to simplify my life and get everything via one box. My ideal box will be easy to use, quiet and hassle free, allow me to watch FTA (stationary, mostly 97.0 W), OTA, IPTV (legal channels only) and support PVR so that I can record TV via USB2 to an external hard drive. Internet radio, playback of recorded TV off a USB stick, Android/XBMC and other features would be a plus.

The satellite dish will be Ku band (C band is too large), needs to be stationary and probably roof mounted.

Specifically, I want to watch:
- International news: Al Jazeera English, Russia Today, CCTV English
- PBS HD
- FTA Sports channels
- FTA Movie channels
- Spanish language channels (Satmex 6 or 8)

Dishes/Frequencies:
(* = Preferred)
- AMC 9 - 83.0 W - Retro TV Network + 4 other stations (is this Ku or C band?)
- Galaxy 17 - 91.0 W - ABC News One
- Galaxy 3C - 95.0 W - CCTV Channels
- *Galaxy 19 - 97.0 W - Most channels including Al Jazeera English, RT
- *AMC 18 - 105.0 W - NASA TV (probably C band only)
- *Satmex 6, 8 - 113.0 W, 116.8 W - Mexican channels (C or Ku band?)
- *AMC 21 - 124.9 W - PBS HD

IPTV:
- NASA TV
- Chinese channels and pre-recorded Chinese shows (for my wife)
- Various free Canadian, American and International stations including the Comedy Network (The Daily Show), National Geographic Channel and a few others I have seen

I have seen a few boxes that support some of the above.

Sonicview HD 8000 - FTA, OTA and PVR - no IPTV support and not recommended according to the DH FAQ

D***Wave i8001HD - FTA, IPTV and PVR - no OTA support, highly suspicious and generally frowned upon by Digitalhome members

Captiveworks 4000 HD - FTA, OTA, IPTV, PVR - expensive, seems to be discontinued
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-04, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott8915 View Post
The satellite dish will be Ku band (C band is too large), needs to be stationary and probably roof mounted.

Dishes/Frequencies:
(* = Preferred)
- AMC 9 - 83.0 W - Retro TV Network + 4 other stations (is this Ku or C band?)
- Galaxy 17 - 91.0 W - ABC News One
- Galaxy 3C - 95.0 W - CCTV Channels
- *Galaxy 19 - 97.0 W - Most channels including Al Jazeera English, RT
- *AMC 18 - 105.0 W - NASA TV (probably C band only)
- *Satmex 6, 8 - 113.0 W, 116.8 W - Mexican channels (C or Ku band?)
- *AMC 21 - 124.9 W - PBS HD
A stationary dish that will capture 8 orbital slots, from 125 to 91? Good luck on that.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-04, 06:46 PM
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You can look around for what's called a toroidal Ku dish antenna. There was one floating around someplace that can cover a 40 degree arc on 6 LNBs (presumably each LNB would be positioned for a specific satellite) . I don't know how well it works having never used one. But they've been around for a while. I don't think Drsat sells them but they may know where you can find one.
here is an extreme example found with google so ya know what to look for.

DB8E/VHF Yagi rotor FM Bandstop ap-8700 preamp 8way split LG lcd.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-04, 07:31 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Calgary - Shaw phone/internet, OTA attic / Pigeon Lake - CCI Wireless, VoIP.ms, OTA, FTA, LTSS
Posts: 810
Where are you located?

You will really need to check Dishpointer and/or Satbeams to see what will work for you at your location.

If far enough south, you may be able to get Satmex satellites but they really don't hit much of Canada.

For the other selection of birds you have listed, one approach is a single Ku motorized dish, or two fixed dishes - 1 covering 83 to 97 - which would still be a stretch from most locations, and a second just for 125W.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-04, 08:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majortom View Post
You can look around for what's called a toroidal Ku dish antenna. There was one floating around someplace that can cover a 40 degree arc on 6 LNBs (presumably each LNB would be positioned for a specific satellite) . I don't know how well it works having never used one. But they've been around for a while. I don't think Drsat sells them but they may know where you can find one.
here is an extreme example found with google so ya know what to look for.
I bet that dish is big, heavy, expensive and probably requires expert installation.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-04, 09:54 PM
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big, maybe. heavy, probably not. It was just an extreme example to demonstrate the concept.

DB8E/VHF Yagi rotor FM Bandstop ap-8700 preamp 8way split LG lcd.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-05, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
 
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I am located in Ottawa with a clear view in all directions.

My satellite preferences are 97.0 W and 124.9 W. Getting at least one of the Satmex (113.0 or 116.8) satellites (if they are in the Ku band) is my next order of priority. The others are extra.

Any suggestions as to boxes which would solve my FTA/OTA/IPTV/PVR requirements?
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-05, 11:26 AM
 
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Location: Calgary - Shaw phone/internet, OTA attic / Pigeon Lake - CCI Wireless, VoIP.ms, OTA, FTA, LTSS
Posts: 810
I don't believe the single box you are looking for exists. I suspect you will end up with some combination of hardware/software that meets your needs.

The older pirate FTA boxes that included OTA tuners are not longer made and can be hard to find. Some of the current "Media Box FTA Receivers" claim they have ATSC tuners "coming in the future".

I personally believe that the best method of recording OTA over the long term (or until we lose OTA to other spectrum demands) is with the HDHomeRun as your tuner, then your choice of computer based recording software.

The Coolsat 8100 I have works quite well for tuning OTA, but can't download any kind of guide, and can't remember the date/time so the PVR function isn't worth much. Recording works OK if I have a flash drive plugged in when something I want to record comes on screen.

For the satellites you want to aim at from Ottawa I would grab a couple of StarChoice dishes off of Kijiji to experiment with. 3 fixed mount StarChoice 60e's would hit most of what you want.

Also, consider that things are changing for what is/will be available - some of the regular programming on 83W might not be around much longer.

Last edited by envirogeek; 2013-08-05 at 11:30 AM. Reason: Clarity
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-05, 05:18 PM
 
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I agree with what most of envirogeek says about boxes. Ott8915, you are expecting too much from one box; you won't find a single box like that. Any box that does OTA is old and won't be suitable for FTA. As for a dish, a brand new FTA 39" dish can be bought for about $70 (LNB and motor extra). Don't mess around with old pay satellite dishes for FTA. There is enough challenge for a new user getting FTA working correctly without the pain of using a dish that is too small.

Sony TV, Clearstream [email protected]' high, CM-7777 30 dB preamp in 3-channel universe; 1.2-metre Ku dish 72W to 125W.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-05, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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cyberham and envirogeek, thank you for the great information.

As cyberham stated, it is probably too much to ask for an OTA PVR box that also does FTA. HD Home Run is interesting but I'm not keen on having a PC running all the time (I have a laptop which gets hot after a while).

Do you know of any FTA box that also supports (free, legal) IPTV, PVR and maybe some internet radio, android (XBMC) or other features?
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-06, 08:18 AM
 
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You're still asking too much, especially if you don't want to use a PC.

Sony TV, Clearstream [email protected]' high, CM-7777 30 dB preamp in 3-channel universe; 1.2-metre Ku dish 72W to 125W.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-06, 10:23 AM
 
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This is encouraging. My experience in this field is to wait until an advertised product that is "coming" is physically available for retail sale and has been used and reported on by some. Confirm features you want exist and work. Generally it is not a good idea to be a first-adopter in this field.

Sony TV, Clearstream [email protected]' high, CM-7777 30 dB preamp in 3-channel universe; 1.2-metre Ku dish 72W to 125W.
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-06, 10:38 AM
 
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It may depend on its quality. Also, a 1-metre dish would be more attractive. Minimum to buy least expensive 1m dish plus motor is about $135, but if getting a better motor and better dish that could increase to $220. So $250 may not seem so bad since a motor does add complications and isn't as nice as a fixed dish. For a non-hobbyist but somebody who just wants to watch several satellites, this idea would be the way to go, if it works well.

Sony TV, Clearstream [email protected]' high, CM-7777 30 dB preamp in 3-channel universe; 1.2-metre Ku dish 72W to 125W.
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-06, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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DrSat, that is great news!

I did see the AzBox MiniMe on your website, via the forum sponsor link and view your sponsored review, but I hadn't realized it would cover most of my requirements. Would the FTA connect to the Ant In input and OTA to the LOOP input?

I also see that Az Canada may support Android on it, providing XBMC support (additional legal content options) but that may not be for a while. Have you received any update on that area, especially as the MiniMe has half the RAM of the Me box?

The other box I am aware of, which does not support OTA but fits the other primary requirements (FTA/IPTV/PVR/Internet Radio), is:

D***Wave OTT Hybrid


I am wary of that company due to negative reviews of them in the past on DH.ca. I will admit I have tested the unit above at a local store and it seems easy to use and feature complete.

I am also interested in finding a reasonably sized dish that could support Ku and C band. Other than 105 and Satmex 6/8, I have not investigated the C band for interesting stations. Which other satellites are most popular? I will not be using a rotor to search for feeds.

Last edited by DrSat; 2013-11-14 at 12:53 PM. Reason: No non-sponsor retail links
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 2013-08-07, 04:47 PM
 
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All good points of view. NB -- comment made about some channels may change over time. Apparently Luken has declared BK -- so stay tuned.
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