Thinking about upgrading my OLD system to include TBS5922 USB tuner, any thoughts?

Discussion in 'Free To Air (FTA) Discussion' started by anik, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. anik

    anik Thread Starter Active SatelliteGuys Member

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    My old FTA receiver (Diamond 9000HD) recently died, and since I currently have a MythTV backend running on a repurposed Mac Mini (using Mythbuntu Linux as the OS, NOT OS X) and a HDHomeRun Dual that does a pretty good job of receiving and recording OTA programs, I am thinking about extending it to have FTA satellite reception capability. The problem is my satellite system is rather old (for example, the dish is an old 10' Winegard with the square pole, and the feedhorn has both C and Ku LNB's and the blue polorotor to switch polarities, etc. We're talking technology at least a decade old here, maybe more).

    So my thought was to upgrade, but there are two criteria:

    1. The Mac Mini doesn't have card slots, so I can't use any card based tuners.
    2. I am an old fart cheapskate and damn proud of it, so I'm not going out and spending money with wild abandon on this project. In other words, NO I won't buy another computer so I can use a PCI card.

    I mention #2 because when I read past threads this forum I notice that some people like to tell others how to spend their money and imply they're cheapskates if they don't use the best available. If you call me a cheapskate I'll take it as a complement and I still won't buy the most expensive part! But I might be willing to spend a few bucks extra to get significantly better quality, or to get something that won't die on me in the first year or two. Even I understand false economy.

    So here is what I am thinking of doing (though probably not until the weather gets a bit warmer - mid-January is just not the time to do this sort of thing where I live):

    - Using a TBS Technologies TBS5922 to get the satellite signals into my MythTV backend. The only thing that stops me is I cannot find a comprehensive review of this device anywhere. On the flip side I don't find any complaints, so I guess that counts for something, but I'd sure like to hear from someone who is actually using one of these, particularly if using it with Linux.
    - Getting rid of my old analog receiver that I use to move the dish (is ANYTHING still in analog anymore?), and using a DiSEqC controlled dish mover such as the GBox V3000 Satellite Position/Controller, which has a great review on your site but Sadoun seems to be out of stock on them, or maybe a VBox 7 DiSEqC Positioner which Sadoun has in stock, but which I don't see reviewed.
    - I'm also guessing it's time for a new feedhorn and would probably get a C/Ku unit like one of these for that purpose and use a 22KHz tone switch to switch between inputs. That way I don't have to deal with the polorotor anymore, plus I would imagine that LNB technology has improved quite a bit over the years.

    But before I lay out that kind of money — and that is a significant amount for me — I'd like to know if there are any flaws in this plan. The biggest thing that concerns me is the TBS5922, because I have never used something like that before. They say it is compatible with MythTV so in theory it should work, but as we all know, what manufacturers claim and the reality of the situation is often somewhat different. I'm just kind of surprised that no one has reviewed it in the hardware reviews section because I would have thought there would be an interest in something like that.

    For those that don't get why I'm interested in this, the beauty is that you can set up a MythTV backend system near where your signals come into a home or building, and then run the MythTV frontend software on any other computer on the local network (including a home theater PC that feeds your TV) and watch the received signals there. So as long as you have a connection to your local network, and assuming that your router (and switches, if any) are not ancient (and slow), you are not limited to watching TV only in the places where you have run coaxial cable. I've always found it's a lot easier to run networking cable than coax, and once the signal is converted to TCP/IP there is no further signal loss. It makes it possible to watch TV in places where that would have formerly have been impractical, plus MythTV has PVR capability built in. It just opens up a lot of interesting possibilities that did not exist heretofore.
     
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  2. updatelee

    updatelee Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member

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    I dont use myth so I'll leave that to someone else to comment on, Ive heard its great though.

    I would recommend the Prof 7500, Its 100% open source and well supported. The TBS5922 is semi closed src as some is open and alot is in a closed src binary. TBS has been reasonably good at updates but your still stuck with relying on them hoping they continue to support it. The tuner/demod used in the 5922 are all closed src, no open source reference code nor documentation anywhere to be found so I cant see it becoming open source anytime soon. Ive never used one first hand but I have heard mixed reviews of the tuner/demod, never anyone claiming its better then the stv0903/stb6100 thats for sure.

    Another thing with the 7500 is not only is it really popular in the linux devel community but alot of other cards use the same tuner/demod so even if another developer has a different card, your still benefiting from his hard work on his card, cause the 7500 uses the same kernel modules :)

    UDL
     
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  3. anik

    anik Thread Starter Active SatelliteGuys Member

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    Interesting - I had read about the Prof 7500 but had not really considered it because the page giving the specs says nothing at all about MythTV, and under System Requirements specifically says "OS: Microsoft Windows 32bit 2000/XP/Vista/Win7" and I don't run Windows. It does say that it has "Drivers for Windows XP/Vista/Win7, Linux" so I don't understand the requirement for Windows. And it also says "Support of AltDVB, DVBDream, DVBviewer, ProgDVB, MediaPortal, FastSatFinder" and MythTV is specifically missing from that list. And, there is a link to a review on their (English language) page but it is a PDF file and it's entirely in Spanish, and I don't read Spanish. It appears from the photos that they are using Windows for that review anyway, and on the last page it shows a really garbled picture in a window in some piece of software, so that certainly isn't impressive (and since I can't read the text, I don't know what that screen capture is supposed to illustrate).

    I do like the idea of open source and if I could find even one review saying that the Prof 7500 works without the necessity of running Windows, and does work with MythTV, I would consider it. In contrast the TBS5922 page says "Tested on Ubuntu, Fedora, Opensuse and other Linux distributions" and also "It’s compatible with Windows7 Media Center, MediaPortal, DVBlink, DVBDream, DVBViewer, ProgDVB, Skynet, TSreader, XBMC,MythTV,VDR and many other popular DVB softwares." MythTV is specifically mentioned here.

    Basically, I just need to know that whatever I get will work with MythTV running under Linux. Note that I am NOT a Linux geek - I don't want to have to patch or compile anything to get it to work (I don't have much luck doing that), and I'm definitely not at the level where I could look at someone else's code and figure out what needs to be changed to make it work. So to me, having the code open source is not as important as whether it will actually work (though, all else being equal, open source is the better way to go). When I see a manufacturer's page that doesn't mention Linux at all, and doesn't mention MythTV at all, I get this feeling that even if someone might be able to get it to work, unless they have documented what they had to do and put it out there in the web someplace, I'm not going to be able to figure out how to make it work — assuming it CAN be made to work.

    This response is part of the reason I asked about this now rather than waiting until spring. The Prof 7500 will be on my radar now, and I will be on the lookout for any articles indicating that it can be made to work with MythTV under Linux. I'm just not that rich that I can buy things that only might work for me. But thank you for the suggestion!
     
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  4. updatelee

    updatelee Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member

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    I cant see why it wouldnt work, as long as the kernel supports it then mythtv should have no issues with it.

    I can tell you that my Prof 7500 has never once ever been plugged into a windows computer, I use it in Linux exclusively.

    The 7500 will work out of box, if you want to take full advantage of it then I recommend you use my patch and compile new kernel modules, totally optional but will give you access to more features like blind_search so that if you ask to tune 4040 H 30000 and the actual freq is 4045 H 29750 it'll determine that the info you entered is close and calculate automagically the correct paramaters and lock the signal. It will also give you access to some more features like blindscan and spectrumscan.

    The TBS5922 will NOT work out of box, you MUST download the TBS drivers, compile and install. TBS uses precompiled libraries and will never be included in the mainline Linux kernel until they go open source which they dont seem too interested in doing. I even emailed them my open source patch to make the TBS6925 completely opensource with no precompiled libraries and they emailed me a semi rude email explaining that there was absolutely no benifit to open source and that nothing good would ever come of open sourcing the 6925. Dont get me wrong, I like their hardware, Id defn buy from TBS again, the 5925/6925 are excellent products. Its just with their mindset I'll be selective of what I buy from them.

    UDL
     
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  5. anik

    anik Thread Starter Active SatelliteGuys Member

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    So far, so good, but then you say...
    You're convincing me that I should probably just forget about this. The minute you mention the word compile, I see nothing but trouble. I can install software using the Ubuntu software center or Synaptic, and in a pinch I can even manage to install something using apt-get now and then. I've even managed to install something using dpkg once or twice. But with very rare exceptions, I've had notoriously bad luck with anything that has to be compiled.

    It's usually a combination of two things: First, the people who want you to compile something typically assume you have done it hundreds of times before so they don't give you complete, step by step instructions. Well I have not done it hundreds of times and I need to be told every single step necessary in detail. For example, if the program comes in some sort of archive file, I need to know how to uncompress the archive, including the exact options to use.

    The other thing is that on the few occasions that adequate instructions have been provided, what typically happens is that I get a whole bunch of error and warning messages and the program will not run, and I have no idea why. Sometimes it will print a message about an unmet dependency, and I have no idea what it's wanting me to do about it. Like I say, Linux people just tend to assume you should know these things, and since I did not cut my teeth on Linux when I was 10 years old, I have absolutely no idea what to do when something like that happens.

    I had assumed that because the TBS5922 claims Linux and MythTV support, that there would be some way to just install the software, perhaps by adding a repository or something. If they seriously expect users to compile software, I hope they give very detailed instructions.

    As you can imagine, I would have no idea how to apply your patch (which I assume you have posted somewhere?) and recompile. What software are you patching, anyway?

    I'm just seeing way too much potential to dig myself into a hole that I can't climb out of on this (and getting stuck with a piece of equipment that I cannot make work). I'm going to have to give this a lot more thought, but right at the moment my inclination is to just forget about it.

    Thanks for the information, it was quite eye-opening to say the least!
     
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  6. rv1pop

    rv1pop PIT MEMBER

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    I know almost nothing about linux, but have seen a lot of posts by updatelee..... And he seems like a person who would not lead you astray, and, in fact, will walk you through EVERY step, Much like stargaze and the maps for 4dtv.

    Just my thoughts, so continue the thread- it promises to be informative!

    POP
     
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  7. updatelee

    updatelee Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member

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    As long as your willing to post logs when you get yourself into trouble Im sure me and others here can help you out :)

    Remember the 7500 will work just fine out of box, just wont have blind search or spectrum scanning. If those are features you want then you can attempt the compiling of the custom kernel modules.

    UDL
     
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  8. anik

    anik Thread Starter Active SatelliteGuys Member

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    Just as an update, I found this page which describes installing and using the TBS 6925 PC Card with MythTV. But this is a card (and a much more high-end one at that) than the USB device I was looking at, and the repurposed Mac Mini I am using as a backend won't accept cards, and I am not sure if these instructions are applicable with the USB devices. There is an equivalent USB device at a similar price (the TBS 5925) but as far as I can tell the only thing you get in that card is the ability to receive 16PSK and 32PSK formats, and I don't think there are any Free-To-Air services using those formats in North America (am I wrong?), so I don't see any advantage in getting a TBS 5925 over the much less expensive TBS 5922 — am I missing something?

    I still can't find any instructions anywhere about using a Prof 7500 with MythTV, nor anything that says its supported under MythTV, so even if I were deeply concerned about open vs. closed source (and frankly, I'm not as long as it works) I would still be more inclined to get the device that actually advertises MythTV support, and the TBS products do. I don't want to buy a card JUST because it is open source and then have to depend on one or two guys to keep it updated, or have to struggle to get it to work with MythTV (and just to be clear, I ONLY care that it works with MythTV and Mythbuntu at this point - I don't care if it works with 100 other types of software; I don't plan on using any of those). It would be different if there was some issue with TBS' reputation but so far I have yet to read anything truly negative about them.

    Those USB DVB-S2 tuners are like the invisible devices as far as MythTV is concerned - if anyone has successfully used one with MythTV/Mythbuntu, they don't seem to be posting that information anywhere.
     
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  9. updatelee

    updatelee Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member

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    The 6925 (and I think 5925 but cant confirm) support 16/32psk as well as ACM/VCM where other cards dont (there is an even more expensive commercial netup card that does as well I hear)

    Have you tried Rick Caylor's site? There are lots of Linux users over there.

    You can post on the TBS forum too, they have linux sections dedicated to each card they sell.

    UDL
     
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