AZBox Blind Scan Feature (1 Viewer)

AcWxRadar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
One of the biggest features that we as AZBox owners miss (or wish we had) is the Blind Scan capabilities.

I have recently read a note that this feature is being developed or at least being attempted. If it is successful, this will be wonderful news!

No specifics were released, so I cannot say if this means new firmware only or new hardware that can be installed within an existing box or if it is a new STB such as the AZBox Elite/Premium "PLUS" model.

I am anxious to see what they come up with.

RADAR
 

Lak7

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Feb 28, 2008
5,451
7
Near Chicago, Illinois
Copy / Paste from AZBox Forum, user "OpenSat"...
=====================
Well... Elite and Premium we will release a Blind Scan by SW.
At premium + will be available Blind Scan by SW and by HW.

(this we are closing to finish development stage we are only tunning it for Elite and premium models)
-------------------------------------
Prmeium + will do it by HW! it means will be faster, but Elite and premium will do some like SW blind scan!
-------------------------------------
This is not related with sigma.
Actually we have code done, just optimizating it becuase takes too long!
=====================

User "OpenSat" did not give any dates, but another user mentioned that the "Premium +"
would be available January 2010.
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
I wonder, how blind scan in software could not be related to the Sigma processor? :) Best guess is, its too slow no matter how you optimize it. They may have added a blind scan circuitry to the "+" model PCB, or plan to use newer DVB-S2 tuners with more advanced chipsets.

It remains to be seen, if current Sigma proc is capable to handle 2 HD streams in parallel from 2 tuners. It looks clear however, there will be no 2 DVB-S2 tuner solution for current models. So far the devs also sharply limited network speed in firmware, since the chipset & bus hardware become unstable or overheated at standard network speeds required to write HD or even SD stream to a share drive.
 

Lak7

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Feb 28, 2008
5,451
7
Near Chicago, Illinois
They may have added a blind scan circuitry to the "+" model PCB, or plan to use newer DVB-S2 tuners with more advanced chipsets.
Both. It's been said they will remove the RF circuit from PCB and use a different tuner.

All my info comes from the AZBox.com Forum.
 

wildboys

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 14, 2004
328
0
If the blind scan is implemented, will it be DVB-S2 blind scan too or just DVB-S?
It sure would be nice Iceberg.I kinda doubt they
will add the blindscan feature because they have
been saying it would be added when the box first came
out 5 or 6 months ago.
 

knowmiddlename

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 5, 2009
201
0
Northern California, USA
Copy / Paste from AZBox Forum, user "OpenSat"...
=====================
Well... Elite and Premium we will release a Blind Scan by SW.
At premium + will be available Blind Scan by SW and by HW.

Does anyone know what hardware blindscan is? I thought blindscan is completely based on software because the operation instructions are written to memory. :confused:
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
knowmiddlename

You can look at it from a PC prospective. A graphics card processor performs a narrow set of highly repetitive pixel parameter calculations required to show changing images on screen. Due to specialized design and instructions set it works very fast, unloading the main processor to coup with other various tasks, which are not so repetitive. An STB is also PC like, it has main processor, memory, peripheral devices like tuners, requiring drivers to work under that STB's OS.

Similar to a Graphics Card chip, sat tuner and demodulator chipsets do their job with TV channel data that is coming from the sky, which is really just endless sequence of digits. Newer demods have higher feature integration, and usually incorporate blindscan circuitry. They are controlled by an integrated into the demod microprocessor, so work fast. But blindscan will work only if its instructions are supported in the tuner driver and current STB firmware, including its interface that a user sees on screen. Older demods didn't have blindscan circuitry integrated, so it was added on PCBs of some receivers, and still require firmware support. If there is no dedicated circuitry, then a firmware developer can try instructing the main proc to do the blindscan job among other tasks its doing all the time. Of course, it will be slooooow that way, since the blindscan algorithm may not necessarily be a simple fixed frequency step loop, but can be quite elaborate. Some receivers have blindscan circuitry added on the main board, but don't have it on a 3d party add-on board, or don't have such extra feature of the add-on board supported by the STB's firmware.

Why? One of the reasons may be that people providing firmware "support" to STB importers (coders ;)), aren't the same people who developed its factory firmware, and simply don't know how to add and optimize blindscan algorithms (i.e. not qualified), and they're paid to do other things first. :)
 
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knowmiddlename

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 5, 2009
201
0
Northern California, USA
knowmiddlename
...since all TV channels that are coming from the sky are really just endless sequence of digits. Newer demods have higher feature integration, and usually incorporate blindscan circuitry. But this feature will work only if supported in current firmware version.

So what you are saying is the bitstream is always present and available in the newer turners, for use by the microprocessor, which results in faster blindscans. Is this correct?
 

pedrogarcia

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 27, 2008
630
1
Kalamazoo / Limassol
The AZ box was originally designed for the European market where a blindscan feature is virtually not used. Most serious FTA / DXers have or share spec analysers exactly the opposite to the US.
Now that The US have AZ boxes, if the ?P (thanks for that gem Smith P :)) needs a HW upgrade I am sure it will wait for the next AZ model. If the ?P is up to the job and SW via firmware can flash the bios it may happen.
I hope I am wrong but I think it is too bigger deal to produce S and S2 blindscan for the existing models for a relatively small market.
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
knowmiddlename

What I'm saying is that newer STB Frontends have blindscan circuitry integrated and controlled by their own microprocessor instead of being controlled by the STB's remotely located and busy main processor. Blindscan routing uses efficient adaptive search technique, and the circuitry is designed to execute it fast. To work, the blindscan instructions must be called from the tuner's driver, and supported in the STB's firmware, so you can see these options on screen. Compare it to a 3d party "coders" SW solution only to realize, its far from perfect. :)

The attached pics show that a Sat STB device frontend is comprised of Tuner, Demodulator and TS Stream Decoder. Newer demods like STMicro STV0903 have blindscan loop integrated, and older like Connexant CX24116 don't. Firmware coders still have to know and be motivated to tell the STB how to use these integrated capabilities. Sometimes they add frequently requested features to STB's User Interface to show the end user "work in progress" for marketing reasons, despite they know it can't be satisfactory done by current hardware, and no extra code is included to support these moniker features. It allows to sell a lot more under developed units playing on consumer's future expectations. ;) Which turns to be a good thing for some startups like OpenSat, allowing to earn enough money to hire some coders and gradually improve firmware. They are still dependent on the actual STB manufacturer for required hardware upgrades.
 

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  • CX24116 Demodulator Diagram.jpg
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pedrogarcia

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 27, 2008
630
1
Kalamazoo / Limassol
knowmiddlename

Sometimes they add frequently requested features to STB's User Interface to show the end user "work in progress" for marketing reasons, despite they know it can't be satisfactory done by current hardware, and no extra code is included to support these moniker features. It allows to sell a lot more under developed units playing on consumer's future expectations. ;) Which turns to be a good thing for some startups like OpenSat, allowing to earn enough money to hire some coders and gradually improve firmware. They are still dependent on the actual STB manufacturer for required hardware upgrades.


Absolutely and it is not fraudulent marketing because an unsatisfactory software solution can be achieved but the scan might take some hours to perform.
Of course the AZ HD Premium and HD Elite both have CX24116 demods.
 

Smith P.

On Vacation
Oct 4, 2003
8,907
1
Bay Area, CA
The AZ box was originally designed for the European market where a blindscan feature is virtually not used. Most serious FTA / DXers have or share spectrum analyzers exactly the opposite to the US.
...

My attempts to fill the gap between EU and US by offer cheaper spectrum analyzer - BLSA doesn't show actual interest from ppl here.

I guess most of them - couch potatoes/addicted to TV only.:):p
 

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