- Nov 17, 2003
The Coolsat 8000 is the newest receiver from Coolsat. Now I’ve worked with a 4000 & 5000 so I was excited to see the 8000 which claims it can do HD both from DVB and OTA. I didn’t know exactly what was expected since this is a brand new receiver and has been on the market for a couple weeks.
When I got the box from GoSatellite I was excited to get it open and test it out. On the back of the box is a OTA input, satellite input, loop out, one set of A/V cables, one set of component outputs, S-Video, AC-3 and a HDMI output. I hooked up my OTA antenna cable and a cable form the T90 dish which has a few satellites in it.
Turned the box on and was greeted with an option for auto scan or manual scan. When I select auto scan, it is going to scan OTA. Apparently the original boxes they forgot a minor thing and that is the software for the DVB portion. I think the newest batch has this built in. Well I figured lets scan the OTA and see what happens. Since all my digital channels are UHF, I only need the UHF band. If you have digital channels on 2-13 you’ll need to do 2 scans, one for UHF and one for VHF. I set the low and high for UHF and set it to 1000k steps and hit OK. The box started scanning and in a few minutes, I had my local channels. I noticed they labeled them as 1XXX, 1 just because, the next 2 the actual channel and the last for -1, -2 etc. I was able to sort them how I wanted them to and had a EPG right away. So I was happy but the fact I had no DVB I wasn’t happy.
So I found some software that will work. EDIT 2/5/07 19:15 There is a factory software that will work with both DVB and OTA and is 100% legal. Before this, I had third party software that didn't get anything it shoudln't have but was third party. I have downloaded the new factory software in the box. I have posted a zip file at the end of the post for those in the same boat. So now I really get to see what this can do.
Turned the box on and saw something a little better. I had options for Dish, Auto Scan and Manual scan options for satellite or OTA. Decided lets see if this box can truly decode HD signals. So I whipped the dish over to AMC3 to see if I could get the HD channel. Set up the parameters for my LNB and selected the PBS HD transponder and selected manual scan. There is a lot of options to pick if I want free or free & scrambled but I had the HD channel ready and hit scan. Scanned it in right away. Now here is where I was really surprised. Not only did the HD channel come in just like any other channel, but the box will output AC-3 without a decoder. Through my TV speakers using the A/V cables was audio for PBS HD. I thought it was a fluke so I scanned the other main transponder of PBS channels. All of those came in without an issue and audio came through the speakers. Now I was real happy because I don’t need the external audio and better yet, I can record PBS now with audio
I was able to select the picture output to be 16:9, 4:3 letterbox or 4:3. I left it at 16:9 for now because most of the channels being SD will fill the screen anyways
So I decided to get the G10 stuff. This was rather easy as all I had to do is set up the dish parameters and away we went. Changed a couple transponders and had all the G10 stuff. On the 5000 if I deleted a transponder, I also deleted the channels. Not on the 8000. Even better, if I go into the manual scan and override the info (frequency, polarity, symbol rate) it will scan the channel in but not save it in the transponder list which is nice for quick entry if you know about a feed. Just be on the satellite and enter the info. The Spanish channels that are AC-3 also have audio now.
I scanned all the satellites that I have set up on the T90 dish which is 72,74,79,85,89,91,97,103,119 & 123. 119 had just audio as I scan only the H side. The auto scan option works really well as I can select all the satellites I want to scan and it will scan one, then go to the next. The box will not get 4:2:2 feeds but will get 4:2:0 SD & HD feeds with no issues (I was VERY happy to see a whole bunch of HD feeds that I normally couldn’t see with my other boxes but the 8000 brings them in right away). The channel list can be sorted easily by network, which is another way to sort by satellite so it puts them in order of the way the satellite list is set up. There are 32 spots for satellites which between KU & DBS was fine for me. If you have C-Band there may be an issue. When you select a channel, in the right corner there is a few icons. The icons are locked, scrambled, Dolby, and what kind of channel is it. So its kinda neat to see 1080i and HD on it. I also saw 720p HD for those. Most of the channels say 480 and SD. One drawback (and it has to do with the software, hopefully the factory software fixes this) is when it logs the channel, it logs them as what channel they are in the mux. So when I scan ONN, it shows channel 1. But when I scan G10, it shows the 1st channel in both muxes as channel 1. So when I was done, the list was really weird. It said
1 Service 1 (ONN)
1 SNG (KWTO)
1 CH1 (the scrambled channel on 12114)
etc. If I sort it by network, it does sort it by satellite so all the SBS6 channels are grouped together and the G10 stuff is too. So I really can’t just hit “1" on the remote as it will go to the 1st one in the list, which for me will be AMC6. If I hit “OK” it brings up the channel list and I can scan through the channels. If I hit info it will show in the corner the satellite parameters and the PIDS. This even does it with the OTA channels. I can also move, delete, rename and make them favorites off this channel list. No need to go through more menus to do this. Press OK and there is your options.
I decided to hook it up to the motor to see if the motor functions are working like they should. Took the 5000 and moved it to my true south of IA6 and reset the motor. Hooked up the 8000 and set up my satellites in order from 72-148. Set up IA6 and set my USALS. Dish didn’t move, which was good as I am at 93.0W. Set up G3 next door and the dish flawlessly moved to the sweet spot with no issues. The signal quality meter seems to be a little better than the 5000. The 5000 needs a 63 for threshold and maxes at 82-85. This one will lock on a signal with a 43 quality (I had a feed that was low quality but locked) and max is 99. When I was on AMC3, the numbers were everything from 99 on the really strong transponders and the PBS stuff was around 85.So the meter seems to be a little more lifelike than the 5000. Went through and set up all satellites with USALS. All of them except for the DBS were bang on. I have the DBS set up as an offset so of course it wouldn’t be right. I did work with Diseqc 1.2 but the weird thing is it doesn’t say East or West when you move. There’s just arrows so I didn’t know which way was which. Now that may sound goofy but the way my setup is, the motor is right outside where I am on the north side of the house facing up the roof. So if I hit right arrow, I would think the dish moves East. But if you have it set up different, right arrow might be west for you (depending on which way you are facing). Rest assured, right arrow means East and left arrow means West. I set up all the free channels on the satellites with no issues. When I set the auto scan, it will scan one satellite then move to the next and scan that but it won't start scanning until the motor stops. The neat feature with the 8000 and a motor is if you go through the channel list, the motor wont move until you hit “OK” (the 5000 starts moving as soon as you get to a channel on a different satellite). The receiver will work with a motor & diseqc but there is a trick. The only options are none, diseqc, motor (Diseqc 1.2) and USALS. You have to set up Diseqc first then go and select motor. I was using a 22k so this really isn’t an issue but I wondered how when I hooked the box back to the fixed dish it knew what diseqc to pick even though it said “motor”. Scrolled through to diseqc and it still said “4" from earlier.
The satellite list is customizable. They list pretty much every satellite spot out there so I went through and deleted all the C-Band and satellites I can’t see form my location. The one bummer is the software uses ancient names for satellites. Satellites like Telsar 4, GE2, and in some cases, it lists multiple satellites in it. You can easily change the names which I started doing. But all the satellite spots are there so if you go by that, it’s even easier. The transponder list can be easily edited and new transponders added if you want them in there permanently. If you don’t want them in the list, remember you can use the manual scan option to add channels but not transponders. I did notice that right now there is no blind scan, but hopefully that comes with the new upgrade. But with the 5000 super fast scan, I can scan with that and input it into the 8000.
On the OTA side after loading the new software, I did notice some quirks. It did label them as their channel but all subchannels are the same as the main. SO here in Minneapolis, we have 5 PBS subchannels (17-1 through 17-5). The new software says 17 five times. I also lost my EPG on the OTA channels.
One thing that is nice is the remote doesn’t clash with any of my other remotes, so I can have the 5000 & 8000 next to each other.
Some of the features on the receiver are
* Enable to decode QPSK satellite and ATSC terrestrial transmissions.
* HDTV, SDTV display support.
* Teletext close caption.
* Video : HDMI, S-Video, Ypbpr, Composite
* Audio : AC3, SPDIF (Optical)
* Aspect ratio adjustment 4:3 (16/9 crop), 4:3 (16/9 letterbox), 16:9 (4/3 pillar box).
* Output format 1080i, 720P, 480
* User friendly OSD and operation.
* Multiple channel edit options with a favorite list.
* S/W upgrade through RS-232
* Parental Guide and rating control.
* DiSEqC 1.0 & or DiSEqC 1.2
From my standpoint, when I originally got the box and not having DVB option, I thought “oh this isn’t good” but once I got the DVB software in it, this is where the box starts to shine.
Some of the features I really like are
-OTA HD built into the box. I no longer need 2 boxes to do both (big in my book)
-The box outputs 4:2:0 HD. This is a HUGE feature for me as I didn’t want to use my computer to get HD programming.
-The box outputs AC-3 through the speakers in my TV and I can record to my DVD recorder or hard drive again with no extra equipment.
-If I don’t feel like adding transponders to the list, just use the manual scan and it will scan it in
-multiple satellite scan. If you have a motor, it wont start the new satellite until its there.
-beefy remote and it doesn’t clash with my other remotes.
-the box works with a motor. I know this sounds goofy but I’ve worked with too many boxes that do not play well with a motor. This one moves a motor and is bang on with USALS.
Couple of the drawbacks. Hopefully all of these can be addressed with a software upgrade.
-no blind scan. I have a box that does so I can work around that
-the channel list and the labeling of most of the channels “channel 1". I know the software that I downloaded is more designed for stuff we don’t talk about here so I have a feeling that is why. I noticed when I scanned the DBS satellites, it logs the channel as their normal channel and not in numerical. Hopefully the software fix comes soon
-the satellite list having old names. It just seems weird when they labeled the satellites they used old names. I can edit the names so that fixes that
All and all, I was really worried about the box acting on the claims that we have read. Once I got the software in it to get DVB (and like I say, rumor is the new shipments have it built in) the box really started to shine. I use to get grumbly when I’d find a feed only to see green screen because its in HD. Now I can just flip on the 8000 and it’s there. I did hook it up to my C-Band dish and I did get a couple free HD channels listed (like Outdoor Network) and PBS HD comes in great.
I want to personally thank www.gosatellite.com for selling this box and getting it out to me very quickly. I was suppose to get it on a Monday but got it 3 days earlier on a Friday. If you want a box that can do OTA HD and DVB HD, the Coolsat 8000 does it all.
edit: added the zip file for factory software upgrade. This has all the info for the box to get DVB