Completed Freesat Astra 1 and 2 plus Freeview (1 Viewer)


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  • March 19, 2009
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    Freesat Astra 1 and 2 + Freeview

    My aim is to have a TV/Media player that I can use for Freesat, Freeview and to watch free to air Spanish TV from Astra 1. I like the idea of watching HD transmissions and it is nice to have one remote to control everything.

    Everything is up and running and I'm generally pleased with the system. My earlier "crashing" problems are now avoided - see below.

    Basic system:
    Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard in Silverstone SUGO 2F case, AMD 4850e, 2G ram, 2 x 500G hard drives, Belkin USB wireless network,
    I originally used a Seagate 1T drive but had two failures in a couple of months. I could not use the Seagate backup/restore utility to restore to a non Seagate drive and now use Macrium Reflect free.

    Windows XP, slipstreamed up to SP3 using nLite. nLite is highly recommended for this.
    I also used nLite to install SATA drivers for the hard drives but as I don't want RAID it doesn't seem to offer any advantage and I have reverted to IDE.

    LG RZ32LZ50 32" LCD TV. It has a DVI input that turns out to be analog so I use a subD adaptor from the PC.
    The TV resolution is 1366 x 768. The easiest way to get the display adapter to output this was to run Power Strip/Display Profiles/Advanced Timing Options/Custom Resolutions/1366 x 768p (LCD)/Add new resolution.
    Uninstall Power Strip and the new resolution remains available.

    TV cards:
    Hauppauge WinTV Nova T-500 DVB-T and Nova S/S2 HD DVB-S
    Drivers installed together with the IR Remote software.
    note - the Nova S/S2 card comes with Power Cinema 5.1. This crashed every time I tried to watch BBC HD. Power Cinema 6 didn't crash but was a pain to switch between TV cards - I prefer Media Portal. Power Cinema 5/6 didn't use hardware acceleration with my setup, MP plus Power DVD 8 does.
    The DVB-S card is connected to a two LNB dish with a DAS DiSEqC combiner so I can pick up both Astra 1 and Astra 2. Mediaportal and the Hauppauge card handle the DiSEqC seamlessly.

    Mediaportal / TV server:
    Version 1.0
    Thank you to all involved with writing this and helping with the forum. I followed Paranoid Delusion's setup advice and generally found solutions to setup problems that I had in his posts.

    Key points picked up along the way -

    Updating to Mediaplayer 11 brings up a new user ASP.NET which means that the PC boots up into a password screen. To boot directly to the desktop or Mediaportal, fix with
    Start menu/run usercommands2 and unclick user passwords. Then
    Control panel/User accounts/Change the way users log on/Welcome Screen.

    Install dvbfix to allow two TV cards to be used
    note - the TV server has to be stopped (I used Task Manager) for the installation script to work. Unfortunately this has not fixed a problem I have with the computer sometimes hanging when I change channels. I will post details of this problem separately.

    Problem solved/avoided In TV-Server Configuration I had combined satellite and terrestrial channels for the duplicate sources of BBC1,2 E4, Channel 4 etc. Sometimes, due to a poor connection, the DVB-T signal was too weak to decode and when MP changed to one of these channels and happened to pick the DVB-T card the system locked up and the only way I could back out was to restart the computer. I have now changed the channel mapping so that either DVB-T OR DVB-S is used for each channel and the system no longer hangs up.

    Install Power DVD 8
    note - needed for hardware acceleration of HD decoding. My processor can just about do the job in software but with hardware decoding the PC can do other tasks in the background. I use Power DVD codecs for all TV, video and DVD options and have no problems except with some Spanish channels on Astra 1. (See below.)
    Also note that viewing HD channels crashes Mediaportal if DVB subtitles are enabled.

    Install ffdshow
    note - installed as per Paranoid Delusions guide. Several Spanish channels e.g. TV Andalicia, TV La Otra and TV Galicia were frozen with MPV/MPA or with PowerDVD codecs. They unfroze when I ran ffdshow audio decoder configuration and set MP1, MP2 to use the decoder MP3lib. These channels now work fine even though ffdshow is not set as the codec. (As with Power Strip, it is a little worrying that these pieces of software linger around when not wanted, but in this case it is useful.)

    Bleazle Wide
    Backup Tool
    Power scheduler - with S3 hack
    Conflicts manager - with present setup it only uses the fast option so some intervention is needed to resolve conflicts where a little shuffling of which card is used for which programme would fix the conflict.
    Moving Pictures - a very pretty user interface for films but the remote control video button fires up the old video utility.

    Other utilities
    Standby Tool - makes Power scheduler more reliable with my motherboard.

    MCE Buddy - excellent for archiving recorded TV programmes. It compresses .ts files produced by Mediaportal using h.264 in an avi file and these can be watched using the Mediaportal video player. However BBCHD .ts streams don't convert, so don't delete the original.

    XML TV - this provides the Radio Times download for the programme guide. It isn't comprehensive, so I use the TV EPG grabber to fill in the gaps. I take care in the TV EPG setup to select only the channels not covered by the BBC list.

    SimplyZip - for unpacking RAR files, used for some plugins and TV logos.

    Haali Media Splitter - I dont have any .mkv files or separate subtitle files so this is probably redundant.

    Zone Alarm

    AVG Free


    MP Donator
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  • March 19, 2009
    Home Country
    United Kingdom United Kingdom
    The freezing problem continued occasionally. It now seems to be fixed by a new Hauppauge driver: Nova-T-TD-Stick_3_11_27070_WHQL.
    Incidentally I'm finding Windows 7 Media Centre (build 7100) pretty stable and I like the red button and teletext support plus subtitles with HD. Unlike all earlier MS offerings that I have tried, this one worked straight away and could cope with twin DVB-T tuners in combination with a two LNB DVB-S tuner. Previously MediaPortal was the only practical solution. I wonder how much MS will charge?

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