Neusat HD 9000 Receiver Review

K

kestep

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 19, 2006
70
0
Zebulon, NC
This is my first review and my second receiver. My first receiver is a Fortec Star Classic Lifetime NA.

My goal was simple: I wanted PBS-HD. I took a chance on the Neusat HD when the prices on ebay dropped below $150.

Overview
The Neusat HD 9000 is an FTA receiver with support for MPEG-2 HD. While PBS-HD is the only full-time FTA HD channel, there are a number of feeds in HD. To start, let me say that this receiver DOES NOT SUPPORT 4:2:2.

Appearance
The receiver is black with metallic trim and a blue vacuum fluorescent Display on the front panel. It looks very nice side-by-side with most home theater equipment.

Connectivity
The rear panel contains connectors for the LNB input and passthrough, component and composite video out with RCA audio out, S-Video out with RCA audio out, HDMI out, and an SPDIF Digital Sound (optical) audio output. There is also an TV Out for viewing via channel 3 or 4, and a serial port for firmware upgrades. There is no power switch.

Setup
Setup was straightforward. I connected my QPH-031 LNB (using one linear and one circular output) through two ports of a 4-port DiSEqc switch to my SG-2100 motor and then connected the motor to the receiver. I connected the receiver to my television via HDMI. At initial power on, you choose your language, time zone, and location. The system asks if you want to automatically find channels. Since I had not done any configuration regarding the motor or LNB I choose not to do so. I guess this option is primarily useful for fixed dish systems.

Now staring at a blank screen, I hit the menu key and chose Installation, then Dish Settings. You choose the satellite to set up and then use the right arrow key to change to the right side of the screen where the parameters are. You can set the Motor, DiSEqc, LNB settings, choose TPs, etc.

Motor setup can be done via DiSEqc or USALS. I choose USALS and it worked well. Motor control in general works, but there are some strange behaviors. Moving from one satellite to another often occured in several discrete motions instead of one continuous motion. Even with this behavior the receiver reliably and repeatedly hit the selected satellites. The discrete motion issue does not occur with my Fortec.

Video Output
The unit supports video output formats of 1080i, 720p, 480p, and 480i. The default output format is 1080i, so if you are not feeding it to an HD device, you can press the STEP button on the remote to change the format to the next one down (1080i > 720p > 480p > 480i). True 16:9 widescreen is supported. However, SD content is stretched unless you go to User Settings and set the ratio to 4:3. The system does not automatically adjust based on SD vs HD content.

The on-screen display (menus) on my 42" LCD TV look very nice. The same menus on the 19" CRT TV that I occasionally use outside at the dish were more difficult to read due to the small size of the font.

Picture quality for standard definition (SD) was comparable to my Fortec. The picture quality on PBS-HD is excellent. It is as good or better than the local OTA PBS feed. There are still some noticeable compression artifacts, especially in scenes with lots of motion, but all in all, the HD picture quality is very good.

Audio Output
The Neusat decodes AC-3 Audio. Decoded audio is available via the RCA outputs, and through HDMI. There is also an SPDIF Optical output.

Remote
The remote control is basic and works well after the initial learning curve.

Blind Scan
I'm still experimenting with the blind scan function. At times it does appear to work, but there are issues. When I blind scan a satellite it does appear to find channels on TPs that are not in the list, but does not seem to save those TPs in the TP list! The channel list apparently contains the info so that the channel can be received, but it seems odd that they would not be saved in the TP list.

Sometimes, when attempting to blind scan, the scan will hang. The receiver doesn't hang, as you can stop the scan and navigate back through the menu structure. I do not know if there is a particular cause for the hang, such as a 4:2:2 feed or some other factor.

I tried deleting all TPs except one on a single satellite and then doing a blind scan, but noticed on another screen that there still appears to be a list of TPs coming from somewhere!

A blind scan of AMC1 took 8 minutes and found 32 TV channels and 2 radio channels. A subsequent scan found a feed listed as AMC1/21C NBC FEED that was not previously found.

A blind scan of G26 would not complete.

Manually entering and scanning a TP has not caused any issues (with the exception of PBS HD, noted below).

Some users have reported very long blind scan times.

The receiver features the ability to select multiple satellites, and then scan them. It moves the motor from position to position and then scans. I suspect the same issues appear with the blind scan in this mode. I have not tested this feature.

Outstanding Issues
I purchased this receiver for the PBS-HD feed. I was disappointed that out of the box the receiver would not add PBS-HD when the correct transponder was scanned, even though the TP showed good quality. I tried reloading factory defaults and reloading the factory firmware to no avail. In desperation I loaded some "non-factory firmware" and amazingly PBS-HD was recognized and added. For the record, this firmware had been rendered unusable for its original purpose by a well known satellite provider. This firmware works fine for FTA use.

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT condone hacking or the use of hacked firmware. I only tried the 'non-factory' firmware to be able to receive a completely LEGITIMATE free-to-air channel that the hardware and factory firmware should have supported out of the box.

When scanning one of more TPs, the signal meter does not display any signal strength on the first TP! The lack of a meter indication does not indicate a lack of signal. This must be a bug, as it does display subsequent TP's signal strength without issue.

When scanning a TP that you have already scanned before, the system creates duplicate channel entries.

I have found no way to add a satellite, or modify an exisiting one. This is a MAJOR issue as the current list is missing some satellites of interest. Again, I have contacted Neusat by email with no answer as of this writing. Based on posts regarding other receivers, I am curious if satellites can be added via external programs like Channel Master. I will have to investigate...

Contrary to one of my previous posts, it appears that the receiver can hang on 4:2:2 feeds.

The manual isn't very useful, but then again, what manual is now days?

Although I was able to get a Neusat Tech on the phone regarding the firmware issues, I don't really expect that you will get much support from Neusat. The only firmware is the original release from April 2007.

Summary
If you are looking for an FTA receiver that supports MPEG-2 HD, has blind scan, and supports 4:2:2, you will want to look elsewhere. The Neusat HD-9000 does NOT support 4:2:2, the blind scan seems to have serious issues, and just getting the single full-time free-to-air PBS-HD required "hacked" firmware!

On the plus side, it supports USALS with good motor control, picture quality on SD and PBS-HD is very good, and it was CHEAP.

If you simply want PBS-HD plus the occasional feed in 4:2:0 HD (assuming you know where to look and don't need to blind scan), and if you don't mind having to use 'non-factory' firmware, and if you can find it really cheap as I did... well that's a lot of "ifs"...

For now, my Neusat will be showing PBS-HD, and I'll keep my Fortec for everthing else. I'm hoping to see a new FACTORY firmware release that fixes the PBS-HD issue as well as the broken blind scan...but I'm not holding my breath.

Below are a few pictures of the unit and some screen shots of various features. There are a couple of shots of PBS-HD, but they don't do justice to the actual image.
 

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gabshere

gabshere

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 20, 2006
3,720
21
Rison , Arkansas
do you know if channel master will work with it ?? editing the channel list maybe a way to add tp ( or channel) without revising the filmware. just a thought.
 
K

Kb Cool

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 31, 2005
1,442
1
Mesa, AZ
Wouldn't it be nice if the programmers could somehow sell cards to go into cam slots to get some of these channels that are up there in true HD. TNTHD,HDNET,NGCHD,CNNHD just to name a few.
But i'm sure DISH,DIRECT and CABLE would cry "FOUL".
 
K

kestep

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 19, 2006
70
0
Zebulon, NC
Wouldn't it be nice if the programmers could somehow sell cards to go into cam slots to get some of these channels that are up there in true HD. TNTHD,HDNET,NGCHD,CNNHD just to name a few.
But i'm sure DISH,DIRECT and CABLE would cry "FOUL".

My unit has locations for CAM slots under the right cover where the USB connector is, but I didn't think the unit actually accepts cards.

I'll have to check to see if there is actually a slot behind the cover.
 
K

kestep

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 19, 2006
70
0
Zebulon, NC
do you know if channel master will work with it ?? editing the channel list maybe a way to add tp ( or channel) without revising the filmware. just a thought.

I haven't tried Channel Master yet, but the CM website lists Neusat generically.

I can already manually add TPs with both factory and non-factory firmware. It simply did not find PBD-HD when scanning the TP with the factory firmware. I'm not really familiar with CM yet, so I'll be interested to see how it works (and how well it works with the Neusat).
 
K

Kb Cool

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 31, 2005
1,442
1
Mesa, AZ
My unit has locations for CAM slots under the right cover where the USB connector is, but I didn't think the unit actually accepts cards.

I'll have to check to see if there is actually a slot behind the cover.



Most likely it just like mine with no cam slot. I think they're used mostly in europe for pay tv.
 
K

kestep

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 19, 2006
70
0
Zebulon, NC
do you know if channel master will work with it ?? editing the channel list maybe a way to add tp ( or channel) without revising the filmware. just a thought.

Channel Master mentions Neusat "generically" as in you can edit the data, but there is no direct STB upload or download of channel or sat data. The forums contained a few inquiries, but the developer hasn't gained anything useful from the folks at Neusat.

The Neusat HD has a loader, but it does not appear that it can transfer channel lists either direction. Basically it looks like it can only send firmware to the receiver.
 
stogie5150

stogie5150

Crazed Cajun Rebel
Jan 7, 2007
3,820
46
Slidell,LA
Santa-stogie got me one for Christmas, and mine has the EXACT same issues as above. I,too, went and got a other-than-factory firmware and it fixed everything that it did for the OP.:up It is next to useless with the factory firmware. A scan of AMC 3 found three (3) channels. After the update it found the same number that my Coolsat 5000 found, 26 IIRC.

A couple points:

1) A 4:2:2 feed WILL make it hang on blindscan. Which makes it useless for finding feeds, because if you are blindscanning, you want to find EVERYTHING!
I know it was a 4:2:2 feed because I looked at the freq when it locked up the scan and after when I scanned the freq with my Coolsat 5000 it logged in the 4:2:2 channels.
2) Its SSSSSSSSSLLLLLOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW. A blindscan took at least 30 minutes. :(


But I'll tell you this. HD looks absolutely STUNNING through this box. STUNNING. Better than my PC. Better than my Directv box EVER did. On that alone it gets a :up:up:up from me on a 5 :up scale. :)
Especially since I got it for less than 100.00 SHIPPED. Screaming Deal. :up
 
K

kestep

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 19, 2006
70
0
Zebulon, NC
Stogie, that $100 is a sweet deal!

1) A 4:2:2 feed WILL make it hang on blindscan. Which makes it useless for finding feeds, because if you are blindscanning, you want to find EVERYTHING!
I know it was a 4:2:2 feed because I looked at the freq when it locked up the scan and after when I scanned the freq with my Coolsat 5000 it logged in the 4:2:2 channels.

That explains my earlier issue with it hanging on blind scans of AMC1. For some reason I didn't put 2 and 2 together.

But I'll tell you this. HD looks absolutely STUNNING through this box. STUNNING. Better than my PC. Better than my Directv box EVER did. On that alone it gets a :up:up:up from me on a 5 :up scale. :)
Especially since I got it for less than 100.00 SHIPPED. Screaming Deal. :up

I agree. The PQ for PBS HD looks wonderful. I haven't tried for any 4:2:0 HD feeds yet.

If you can overlook its many issues, it works well as a dedicated, cheap HD receiver. I'm still sticking with my Fortec Lifetime Classic NA for more general purpose experimentation until we see an FTA HD box with all the features. Not holding my breath for it, though :rolleyes:
 
stogie5150

stogie5150

Crazed Cajun Rebel
Jan 7, 2007
3,820
46
Slidell,LA
Well, tonight I almost smashed it with a hammer. It WOULD NOT blind scan G11 Ku. I scanned it and found 2 TWO channels. I Blindscanned it with my CS 5000 and it found a whole passel of channels.....the Neusat didn't even find the scrambled mux that is always on G-11. :mad:

There was an HD feed there tonight on 12099V, the Neusat would NOT scan the TP! The coolsat said it was there, but damned if the Neusat would find it, blind scan, manual scan made no difference.

I was a MAD little Cajun boy tonight, lemme tell ya! I ended up using my PC to watch the feed, which wasn't nearly as good, but at least I got to watch it.

My review got changed from :up:up:up to :up with a :mad:.



:D
 
stogie5150

stogie5150

Crazed Cajun Rebel
Jan 7, 2007
3,820
46
Slidell,LA
Just an update...I am pleased to report since my last post it has not missed a feed. I've gotten where I just blindscan the satellite with my Coolsat 5000, the take the TP info and put it in the Neusat. Its been great, hasn't failed to display a HD feed yet.

If you want a HD box, and you get it cheap enough, I recommend it. :up

I certainly wouldn't go over 150.00 for one, shipped. I paid less than 100.00 for mine, I think I was just in the right place at the right time, because they are selling for more on fleabay now. :)
 
M

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
299
49
Mankato, MN
well mine was suppose to come today (also paid less then 100 bucks) and got the dreaded news from UPS

"signature required on delivery" :mad:

I live alone (well me and my dish farm) so I have to reroute it to my moms who lives nearby..really wanted to play with it this weekend but I guess I have to wait :(
 
M

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
299
49
Mankato, MN
Hey quick question though

Does it support Diseqc 1.1 or just 1.0 & 1.2? I might hook this in the computer room but have a 8x1 multiswitch for that room. If it doesnt support Diseqc 1.1 I have to swap it out to a ecoda 22k and 2 4x1 diseqc switches
 
stogie5150

stogie5150

Crazed Cajun Rebel
Jan 7, 2007
3,820
46
Slidell,LA
Hey quick question though

Does it support Diseqc 1.1 or just 1.0 & 1.2? I might hook this in the computer room but have a 8x1 multiswitch for that room. If it doesnt support Diseqc 1.1 I have to swap it out to a ecoda 22k and 2 4x1 diseqc switches


On page 12 of my manual it says:

"All of our receivers are disecq 1.0 and 1.2 compatible"

So according to the manual, no. But tomorrow morning after she-who-must-be-obeyed gets up, I'll fire it up and check in the menus for ya.:)
 
PopcornNMore

PopcornNMore

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 20, 2005
3,635
128
Gibsonia, PA
I noticed some of these Neusat 9000 HD receivers selling today for only $75 on EBay. At this price I might just pick one up.

My Coolsat 7100 also hangs when it finds a 4:2:2 feed while blind scanning.
 
M

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
299
49
Mankato, MN
interesting...I remember having one and it did have some quirks but did work on HD channels
not MPEG4 but did MPEG2 just fine
 

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