IP based FTA receiver? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 2016-12-17, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Question IP based FTA receiver?

Although my preference is to find IPTV streams, I simply may have no choice but to consider FTAST as well. However I am not interested in the older design of having a TV wired to a receiver. I am interested in having a FTAST receiver with IP based output. I want that IP based output to be ingested by my server running software so that I can stream it to my various devices including smart TVs, cellphones, video game consoles, etc.

Being a complete newbie, I will commit to trying to find a bunch of previously posted good discussion on here, but that just said I am hoping to learn a few things quickly so I can figure out where to start focusing. So here goes:

  • I live near Halifax, NS.
  • Looking for a few unencrypted FTA signals to supplement my two OTA I currently have.
  • Would like to mount one stationary dish; not interested in multiple dishes or motorized dishes at this point in time.
  • FTA receiver must have IP output.
  • I have some land but lots of trees so will need to understand at some point in time what my line of sight reality will be.

So can anyone give me any quick points to get me started? What options do I have for really good FTA receivers with IP output? How many clear channels could I get on one satellite from my location? What would those channels be? Can someone provide URLs to lists of satellites that are 'visible' from Halifax, NS? Anyone here in this forum already doing something very similar to what I am asking about? Any other web sites I really should be reading?

Thanks a bunch folks.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 2016-12-17, 08:10 PM
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It sounds like maybe you are wanting to do what is described in this article: The never final, always subject to revision article on how to build a Satellite TV PVR distribution system using TVHeadEnd

Most FTA receivers don't have IP output. Your real problem will be only wanting to use a single dish. If you can get one C-band (large) dish you may have a few options, but those options will open up considerably if you're willing to have more than one.

Where you aim the dish depends on what you already have access to, and what you are trying to receive. If you can't receive your CTV station in Halifax then you would find a C-band dish aimed at Anik F1 at 107°W beneficial, but if you can already receive that then the about only thing aiming a dish at that satellite would give you is CTV in the other time zones, unless you speak French, in which case there are a few more channels of interest there.

If you are trying to receive major US networks then unfortunately it seems each one is on a different satellite, and most are on C-band, although PBS and the peacock network are on Ku band, but again not on the same satellite. The available networks are pretty much spread across the satellite arc so a single fixed dish may not get you as much as you want.

The one thing I don't know is if you can see any Atlantic satellites intended for reception in Europe from your location. I sort of doubt it (most satellites have at least somewhat directional beams, so the European birds don't waste their signal aiming it at North America) but if you could you'd have many more choices.

Trees can be a big problem or not a problem at all, depending on whether anywhere on your property you have a clear view of the southern sky. You can maybe use this site to get some idea of what obstructions you might encounter for any given satellite: Satellite Finder / Dish Alignment Calculator with Google Maps | DishPointer.com

Hope this helps, at least somewhat.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 2016-12-18, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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It does help, it confirms the 'beliefs' that I have. Yes TV Headend is what I am playing with, running it on FreeBSD os server. My server is already doing lots of stuff related to media (and home security) so this machine will be perfect for TV Headend. So thanks for that URL I will read through that soon enough.

Regarding channels: I already get the local CBC and CTV in HD using OTA. I suppose I could upgrade my antenna and get Global. If someone on this forum told me I could buy a smaller sized dish, point it 'SSW' (I'm generalizing here) and get 4 more HD channels in the clear I would be cool with that. That would be a good way to please the missus, get my feet wet at a lower cost. and learn lots. If later I want more, at least I would have (hopefully) learned lots and be able to expand and get it right the 1st time.

Regarding the receiver: I should add my home is a newer home, completely finished so running cables will be tough. I am particularly interested in any Power over Ethernet (PoE) powered LNBs that are usable in my area. I am expanding on some other stuff in my house, and PoE will be key to all of that. I'll read through that thread now but if anyone has any working IP receivers setups feel free to mention it here.

Edit: That article doesn't mention using IP based receivers from what I can tell. I'm not really interested in risking trial and error with PC based cards, drivers, etc. But I'll read it through none the less.

Edit #2: This one is good reading. https://freetoairamerica.wordpress.c...north-america/

Thanks everyone.

Last edited by SignalMan; 2016-12-18 at 09:21 AM.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 2016-12-18, 06:33 PM
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You won't find a consumer STB designed to do IP over satellite. There are plenty of commercial receivers that may do something like that, but they would be in the thousands of dollars, meant for the broadcast industry. Not the consumer.

There are plenty of satellite signals to be found using IP to deliver content, some clean, some not. The issue you will find is that there is really no "standard" way of packaging prior to transport and all the various signals found may be different. Because there are so many different sources with their own proprietary implementations... Some may indeed be clean packetwise. Hit or miss. Wireshark is your friend... Look for a program called 'ipcleaner" which is a cli windows program Intended to clean up funky packaged packet payloads... but runs fine in linux under wine. You can do much more with it in a linux environment than ya can in windows anyway, since windows doesn't have the concept of a 'named pipe'. it works by cleaning up known signatures found after some wireshark inspection. So whatever it can cleanup is hard coded and as new funky signals are found, and analyzed, new patterns can be hard coded. has to be done manually by the author, as it's closed source.

Free to air satellite in general is not for the faint at heart / lazy type that just wants to sit around on one bird all day, channel surfing... Interesting Signals come and go all the time and will be scattered all over the geostationary arc. Translation, may not fit the WAF criteria ya mentioned earlier.
A 1 to 1.2m Ku band dish on a diseqc motor along with an advanced PC Based dvb-s2 tuner supported in linux would be a good starter kit.
In total you are lookin at maybe $600 (US) and up for a 'starter kit' setup like that. Toss in another $200 or so for a decent conventional Consumer STB, but not required. Then there is the issue of installation and antenna alignment/tracking. You probably won't find a competent dish installer who knows how to properly install and align a small dish with motor. Much less one willing to do so.
It wouldn't be worth their while. Meaning, it generally takes way too much testing, trial and error to 'get it right', and they won't wanna waste their time on something like that. Too much risk of 'callbacks' for them. So you'd have to be willing to learn how to install / align correctly yourself.
Which, depending on your own skill set may take hours, days, weeks, even months to 'get it right'.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 2016-12-19, 03:49 AM
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majortom, I don't think the OP is talking about what you're talking about. The problem is that there are several FTA-related things that have IP in the name yet mean completely different things. You're talking about receiving IP streams from the satellites and decoding them, but I don't think that's what he's talking about. I believe he wants to receive normal FTA satellite signals and then stream them over a local IP network to various devices in his home. This can be done using a server running something like TVHeadEnd, or it could conceivably be done using SAT>IP (see the link he posted in his Edit #2) if you can find the equipment. In either case, the signals from the satellite are standard digital channels such as those that can be received with a STB.

I didn't really completely understand your second paragraph but if I am reading it right, the gist is that there are data streams on the satellites that may contain TV programs, but there's no standardization of the formats used so you have to try to figure out how the programs are being packaged. That is probably way too much work for many potential viewers, given that there's so much up there already that doesn't require such effort, but also I suspect you have to be somewhat of a minor genius to figure out how to extract the programs from the channel stream. If it's actually worth doing (by which I mean, if there's actually anything in those streams worth watching that doesn't appear on the regular digital channels) then somebody ought to either write a guide with examples showing how it's done, or better yet create a video explaining the process, but I think even with that all but the most dedicated satellite enthusiasts would find it too much bother. But maybe I am wrong about that, but anyway I don't think that's what the OP was asking about.

Also, I disagree somewhat with your statement that "Free to air satellite in general is not for the faint at heart / lazy type that just wants to sit around on one bird all day, channel surfing... Interesting Signals come and go all the time and will be scattered all over the geostationary arc." There are plenty of channels up there that have been there for years , and while they do come and go and sometimes change satellites or frequencies, if you use software such as TVHeadEnd and frontend software such as Kodi then it is entirely possible to sit around all day channel surfing. Things don't come and go that often that one day you'll have plenty of channels to view and the next day none, unless maybe we get hit with a massive solar flare or something that knocks out entire satellites. As for the WAF, it depends a lot on how willing the "W" is to learn how to operate a remote control. And also, you might spend $600 if you go out and buy everything new, but as cheap as receivers are nowadays, and as many used dishes as there are that people would just love to have taken out of their yards, it's possible to start out spending quite a bit less than that. If the OP goes with a backend/frontend model like TVHeadEnd and Kodi then the initial costs will be higher but so will the WAF. But if he goes with used dish and cheap receiver, even if he buys a new LNB there's a good chance he can get by for quite a bit less than $600, but the remote control will probably be harder to decipher (so, lower WAF). Remember, he doesn't want a moveable dish.

You probably didn't mean it this way but you're sort of making this hobby sound difficult and expensive, and I know from experience it doesn't necessarily have to be either, at least not until you set up a TVHeadEnd server with tuner card(s) and then start buying or building HTPC's to connect to your TV's. Aiming the dish may be the hardest part for many newbies, but he doesn't necessarily need an installer. When I got my first C-band dish I hired an installer and he did a horrible job of tracking the arc; I got an old book from the library on home satellite TV and was able to do a much better job than he had done (stations on the ends of the arc went from very sparkly to crystal clear). But the OP doesn't even want the dish to move, so that makes it much easier if he can just manage to find the satellite in the first place; then all he has to do is peak the dish by moving it in small increments and watching the signal strength. Not that having an installer for your very first dish is a bad idea, but if I were to hire one (assuming one could be found) I'd watch what he does and take notes, if I were the OP.

Last edited by terrestrial; 2016-12-19 at 04:20 AM.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 2016-12-19, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
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"I believe he wants to receive normal FTA satellite signals and then stream them over a local IP network to various devices in his home. This can be done using a server running something like TVHeadEnd, or it could conceivably be done using SAT>IP......"

Correct. I intend on using both SAT>IP and TVHeadEnd. Getting IP streams from FTA (and possible IPTV) and then 'packaging' them up (using TVHeadEnd) into new streams that my various devices will use.

I'll keep looking and if I find anything I'll let you folks know.

But lets pretend I change my mind. What about my other ask: How many channels could I get on one satellite viewing from Halifax? Where is a good place for me to go reading?

Thanks again everyone.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 2016-12-19, 05:25 AM
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His post is in the Satellite TV section, not the computer section.
You won't find 'that' in a consumer STB either. You 'can' find some STBs with IPTV like apps in them that play streams from the internet,
but that is nothing more than what your dumb 'Smart TV' or DVD player does today, why bother?

To me, IP TV is the reception of IP based streams received via Satellite.
Some day when you figure out what it is you want to do, maybe post in the correct section of the forum.

terrestrial, I would be extremely hesitant to recommend a newbie to use someone else's used garbage.
The numbers I used for a suitable 'starter kit' system are based on actual prices with shipping for new equipment from
reputable businesses. Not some Chinese ebay seller or amazon store with Zero recourse / warranty or after the sale support.
Which in my mind should be extremely important for a newbie.

'Advanced' PC based tuner - $260 with US shipping
1m dish, just the dish, etc no LNB / electronics - $215 with US shipping
diseqc motor, capable of moving up to a 1.2m dish (made in Italy, not china) - $165 w/ US shipping.

So, your already up to $650 US. and ya still haven't even run any coax, grounding, chosen an LNBF or even shipped to Canada yet.
Typically can expect to add more to ship something to Canada. No one in their right mind would say that FTA satellite
isn't an expensive hobby Then as I said, you do have to put some value on your own time. Since like I said, you will not find a competent
installer willing to put the time in to installing and aligning the system correctly.
Even after after all of that effort you are still limited to Ku Band and all of it's rain fade glory!
Having said that, I do think Ku Band would have plenty to keep someone looking for IP based streams busy.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 2016-12-19, 10:42 AM
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majortom, his post is in the correct section, he IS talking about "Free to Air Satellite Television", which is what he wants to receive and to distribute throughout his home using IP. Apparently you aren't aware this is possible now, but it most certainly is. The "computer section" would be far less relevant. I'm sorry if your mind is stuck in the world of set top boxes feeding single TV sets, but that world is starting to change. Why feed your FTA signals to only a single receiver when you can feed them to your entire home using your existing local network?

Your comment, "Some day when you figure out what it is you want to do, maybe post in the correct section of the forum" is rude, condescending, and WRONG.

And just because you may feel that there's a certain "right" way to do things doesn't mean it's right for everyone. Some people don't have that much money to spend, that doesn't mean they can't participate in this hobby. And if it's a hobby, why would you put a monetary value on your time? Isn't the whole point of a hobby to spend time doing something you enjoy? If I have to spend hours fiddling with a dish, I don't ever think "I wish I could afford to just pay somebody to come in and do this", because I am learning about MY system. I know what makes it tick and when something suddenly goes wrong, I know how to fix it. Sure he could pay a guy to come in and do an install, but then if a windstorm or the remnants of an Atlantic hurricane ever turned the dish a little, he'd have no idea how to find the satellite again.

Nobody is saying the Chinese crap is good but unfortunately nearly all consumer electronics are made in China nowadays, and even brand name stuff sometimes fails after a year or two. Personally I'd rather spend 15 or 20 bucks on a cheap throwaway receiver which the understanding that it may not last very long than some $100+ receiver that may last forever (though it probably won't) but that will be obsolete when the satellite uplinkers start using some new format. For example a few years back I spent two or three hundred (don't recall exactly) on a DVB-S2 receiver that several people had recommended. Not only did it fail after a year or two with a blown power supply capacitor, but I found out that its blind scan wouldn't work for anything above QPSK. If I wanted to add an 8PSK mux it was a very manual process, and of course it had no idea about 16APSK. I would have been a lot happier with a much cheaper receiver, not only is there a good chance it would have lasted longer before failing but if it had failed I could have just bought a new one at the same price. If more expensive receivers could be guaranteed to work better and be more reliable that would be one thing, but sadly they aren't.

That said you do have to be careful what you buy. A lot of the very cheap receivers are missing necessary features such as AC3 (Dolby) support, without which you won't get sound on many channels. But there are less expensive receivers with AC3 support built in. So I am not advocating just going out and finding the cheapest receiver out there, it's still necessary to do some research.

So you listed as examples:

'Advanced' PC based tuner - $260 with US shipping - on eBay Canada, searching for "TBS DVB-S2" I see cards starting at $86.87 for a TBS8922 single tuner card, and $240.58 for a TBS6985 quad tuner model. Maybe those aren't "advanced" enough for you, but for the OP who only wants a single dish pointing at a single satellite, a single tuner card (or dual tuner if he plans to use a dual output LNB) would be adequate. If it were me I'd go for the quad tuner model because once you get bitten by the bug you're going to want another dish someday, but he doesn't NEED to spend that much money.

1m dish, just the dish, etc no LNB / electronics - $215 with US shipping - well this basically depends on whether there were ever any services similar to Primestar in Canada, where people might still have old dishes in their yard for the taking if you talk to the owner nicely. Those old Primestar dishes were better than anything sold today, especially the 1.2 meter round ones made by Channel Master which will pick up just about anything on Ku with almost no rain fade. Of course a C-band dish would be even better and around if you just drive around and look for them, and knock on doors or leave a note expressing interest, a lot of times the owner will just give it to you to get it out of their yard (especially if there's a female living in the house! I don't know why some women find C-band dishes so unattractive, but when they want them gone they REALLY seem to want them gone!). I've never paid for a Ku dish (my first was rescued from a dumpster!) and except for my first one, when I had no clue what I was doing, the most I've ever paid for a C-band dish is 20 bucks and that was for a really good quality Channel Master. It may well be that quality used dishes are priced higher in Atlantic Canada, particularly since the salt air doesn't treat steel very well, and maybe C-band never caught on there in the first place, so I can't say for certain what he'd wind up paying. Anyway, even if he winds up buying a dish off of eBay Canada it might be cheaper than that, with the caveat that if he has to pay for shipping that could drive the price up significantly.

diseqc motor, capable of moving up to a 1.2m dish (made in Italy, not china) - $165 w/ US shipping. - Once again, in case you missed it the first several times, he doesn't want a moveable dish. So the cost for this is ZERO because he doesn't want one!

I'm not saying your recommendations are wrong for someone who has money to burn and just wants to pay someone to install something and get on with life. But then when the technology changes, and that guy has retired or moved away, what will you do? It is far better to learn how to install a dish yourself than to get in the habit of just paying top dollar to have it done. It's also a lot more fun, at least for some of us.

Last edited by terrestrial; 2016-12-19 at 11:48 AM.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 2016-12-19, 11:05 AM
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"But lets pretend I change my mind. What about my other ask: How many channels could I get on one satellite viewing from Halifax? Where is a good place for me to go reading?"

I would suggest you go to Satellites - North & South America and/or North & South America - LyngSat to see what services are on various satellites. The higher the degree number the closer they will be to your western horizon, the highest degree numbers might even be below the horizon for you. When you find a satellite of interest go to Satellite Finder / Dish Alignment Calculator with Google Maps | DishPointer.com and zoom into your yard and it will show you the angle toward that satellite and give you an idea of any obstructions you might encounter.

Note that all such charts may not be completely accurate. People often don't report things like major TV networks because if you talk about them in the wrong places the uplinker may take notice and encrypt their feed, as happened with a group of channels on an Alaska mux several years ago.

There's a US-based satellite forum at Free To Air (FTA) Discussion | SatelliteGuys.US and after you have participated there a while you may get offered access to their private forum, where people do talk about the feeds they aren't so willing to discuss in an open forum.

Google is your friend, if you search for "Free To Air" and stick with Canadian and American sites and pages you'll probably learn a lot. "C-band" is another good search term if you plan to get a big dish. Just be aware that European sites won't help you much because what they call "Free To Air" in very different (and arguably much better) than what we have here.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 2016-12-19, 06:28 PM
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I am not going to waste my time reading through the books you just wrote.
I don't think you'll ever get the point, case closed.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 2016-12-20, 12:34 AM
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majortom, you're not fooling anyone. You read every word just to see if there was something I said that you could prove wrong, but you're not man enough to apologize for your rude and insulting behavior toward another user. I've seen your posts in other forums and this seems to be the way you operate; you attack some new user or someone you think is too inexperienced to know you're giving questionable advice, and then when you are called out on it you make some dismissive reply and act as though you're in the right. There is no reason you should ever insult another user but you do, and I've never seen you apologize. And in this case your responses pretty much totally ignored what the OP actually wrote, and instead you decided to push your personal choices as though they are the right choices for everyone.

So yeah, case closed.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 2016-12-20, 07:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks a bunch terrestrial, lots of good points there. I've got some homework to do. My guess is good quality SAT>IP based FTA receivers will be popularly made for North America market in short time. Let's hope.
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