Review: Azbox Elite HD FTA Receiver

stogie5150

stogie5150

Thread Starter
Crazed Cajun Rebel
Jan 7, 2007
3,822
49
Slidell,LA
I am going to do this review in parts, and explain to the best of my ability each part. This post is just a summary for you folks with short attention spans (like I have!):)

Intro:
I've been checking into this receiver for awhile, and finally decided to pull the trigger. This one is, in my opinion, a game changer. Other than the lack of blind scan, this is the most complete FTA receiver I have ever used. This Receiver will do all these formats: DVB 4:2:0 and 4:2:2 HD and SD, AND DVB-S2 4:2:0 and 4:2:2 SD and HD. There are a couple of DVB-S2 feeds that it won't lock, one of them is the CW's on AMC 6 C-Band...but I haven't found many more that it wont lock and display.

Like I said, this can do it all. Almost. Complete complement of connections on the back, HDMI,component, SCART, 2 USB ports, IF in and loop out, standard connections, with the exception of the ethernet port. That one is very important, as you will see in the following posts.

First off....this receiver's menu is different. And not at all easy, at first. You get a HOME button on the remote (its the blue one in the middle of the remote) That allows you to access the usual functions of the receiver. This is what it looks like.

towatchtv.jpg


In order, here we go....first option is the TV. This is where we go to ,Duh, watch TV. :)

Second, is the Youtube link. This is where the ethernet pays off. I just ran a wire from my wireless router to the azbox, and I am online. so I can do stuff like this. Totally searchable, but since you have to use the remote to enter search strings, its kind of slow. A USB keyboard plugin is supposed to be coming. Here's what it looks like:

Youtubemain.jpg


And this is a youtube video playing.

youtubewatchingvideo.jpg


Oh, and BTW, press the OK button on the remote while it plays, and your youtube video is full screen. :eek::up

Number Three, is the plugin screen. this is where the eye-patch gang will install their hackware, although I am sure some legit uses, like the USB keyboard I alluded to above, could be installed here.
plugindetail.jpg


Fourth is the Movie player. Put a file on a USB stick, and this dang thing will play it. I have tried most formats so far, and it hasn't missed a beat, as long as the file was error free. There's a list a mile long of the formats it will play, and I believe it. It is supposed to be able to network with your computer also to play files on it, but since I am network-ignorant, I have not been able to make it work. Navigating is simple. Highlight and push the OK button on what you want, and watch it go.



videoplayerselection.jpg


Fifth is a Music player. Same idea.

audioplayerdetail.jpg


Sixth is Photo viewer, same idea.
photoviewerdetail.jpg


Seventh is the file manager, sorry no pic, but it isn't substantially different from the rest of the menus. Point and click the OK button.

Eighth is the FTP client. This is only available if the firmware is updated, as I did. I havent used it yet, so I can't tell you how it works. Of if it even works.

FTPdetail.jpg


Ninth is the RSS reader. Point and click. I haven't used it, truth is I have no need for it so I haven't messed with it.

RSSreaderdetail.jpg


Tenth is the web browser. This seems like a good idea on the surface, but sites today are so loaded with Flash and stuff, very few sites really display correctly. To Wit:

browser.jpg


Number 11 is the meat of the story. This is where the magic happens. Select option 11 and you see these options:

First up is the General Info menu, self explanatory:

softwareupdatemenu.jpg


Yes, you can select a firmware here, and the Azbox will download and update it. Automatically.


Second, is the Language/time menu ( sorry for the blurry pic.) Standard stuff here.
timelanguagemenu.jpg



Third, Timer menu. Haven't used it, but here it is.

timersetupmenu.jpg


Fourth, Internet setup. If you use DHCP its all automatically set for you. I have blacked out my IP and stuff, obviously. But under those black blocks are all sorts of numbers and periods that mean stuff. To someone. Not me, I just want it to work.

internetsetupmenu.jpg



Fifth, Storage menu. whatever you have, it'll tell you about it here. This is a Linux box, so if you format here, it wont play on your windows machine later. But FAT 32 will work fine without format.

storagedetailmenu.jpg


Sixth is audio/video setup. Simple. I don't know why mine is set on PAL, I need to check that....LOL

audiovideosetup.jpg


Seventh, Scan. this is where you scan for your channels, enter setup info, etc. More on this later. This is just info.

satellitescanmenu.jpg


I skipped Parental Control, self explanatory. Next is the reset menu.

resetmenu.jpg


Last is the GOGO menu, which is setup for Europeans to get their channel lists and such. Not so much for us, as far as I know...

automatedchannelupdate.jpg


Okay, here's how to scan a Transponder and display video. This will be 4:2:2 NBC feed from AMC 1. Because I haven't figured out the channel editor my satellite selections are limited, so what you see will be AMC 4, but rest assured, its on AMC 1.

First up, set the satellite Parameters, switch setting, LO, etc.

satellitesetup.jpg


Then, go to add TP/Sat and enter the TP info:

entering422.jpg


Then back out and scan it:

scanning422.jpg


After its scanned, It'll ask you to save.

422scanned.jpg


Then, you MUST press the blue HOME button and select TV to see what you have just scanned.

And you will then see this if you press the OK button, choose the channel and press OK.

422choosechannel.jpg


...and in pops the video.

422finishedproduct.jpg



Final thoughts:


This thing is amazing. I am continually finding things it can do. Just this morning I figured out that it can sort channels by satellite, I hadn't figured that out before. It switches fine, no issues there. I do not use a motor, so I am unable to comment on motor operation, sorry fellers.

The PVR works, but is currently limited by software to 20Mbits data rate. Anything higher than that, it will not work with. The developers swear that that limitation is going to be removed, but I wouldn't count on it.

The channel editor works great, but it MUST be matched with the proper firmware, firmwares 2880 and newer MUST be used with the 2880 editor, NOT the old editor. You can also go to this website http://satellites-xml.eu/ , make a custom satellite list, save it in XML format, and the Azbox editor will convert it to a format that the Azbox can understand. An easy way to create any kind of list you want to. Tip of the hat to Linuxman for discovering this method. BE AWARE you MUST have ethernet in use to send/receive channel lists to and from the Azbox this works regardless of firmware, but again let me stress that you MUST use the correct editor for the firmware you are using.

The Azbox developers are promising Blind Scan will be incorporated, but I would not hold my breath. As it stands right now, its better than any receiver I have ever used. Hands down. That said, if you are a newbie, do NOT start with this box! This is NOT plug n play!

Let me add too, it gets quite hot in operation. I suggest a laptop cooler on top, I did it for mine, and it runs MUCH cooler.

Any questions, fire away!

Staff note by Iceberg.....some info was updated per stogie's request to note some corrected features.

Box shots:
 

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Scott Greczkowski

Scott Greczkowski

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If it had Blind scan I would have one in a heartbeat. :)
 
Anole

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
13
L.A., Calif.
spoiler alert:

Can you let the man finish, please?

Stogie - great lookin' report.
Anxious for the next installment! - :up
 
Scott Greczkowski

Scott Greczkowski

Welcome HOME to SatelliteGuys!
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Where did you get it? And how much? :)

It looks AMAZING!
 
gabshere

gabshere

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 20, 2006
3,720
21
Rison , Arkansas
Great post Stogie, glad you took the time and placed it all here for us to look at
just box it up and send it to me and i will help you with the channel editor problem :D
 
phlatwound

phlatwound

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Dec 25, 2007
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Thanks Stogie, for taking the time and effort required to post this review, very well done. :up

Are you running this box as a slave to another FTA receiver now?

Also, is there any way to connect it to the internet via a wireless router?

If not directly, could it be "slaved" (via ethernet cable) to the internet by connecting it to a laptop that had a wireless connection? :confused:
 
A

anik

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 28, 2004
356
1
U.S.A.
But will it record programs?

If this was mentioned above I'm not seeing it, so I'll ask - will this record programs to a hard drive so your can watch them at a more convenient hour? If so, does the hard drive need to be connected to the USB port, or will it save to a network storage device? And, how many timers are there that you can set to record upcoming shows (hint: Eight is NOT enough!)?

Also, assuming that it does have recording capability, what would be really nice (though probably incredibly difficult) would be to somehow be able to scrape the TitanTV listings for the stations you can receive and automatically save episodes of certain programs. I do realize there are many considerations here, from the fact that TitanTV really isn't set up to allow that to happen easily, to the fact that you might need to make sure that a dish is pointed in the correct direction prior to recording. I'm not holding my breath for that, just saying it would be nice. :)

Great review, definitely waiting for the next installment!
 
G

gillham

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 14, 2008
599
0
Morgan Hill, CA
Also, is there any way to connect it to the internet via a wireless router?

If not directly, could it be "slaved" (via ethernet cable) to the internet by connecting it to a laptop that had a wireless connection? :confused:

You can use a "wireless gaming adapter" or similar device designed to let you hook your game console's ethernet to wireless. Not a usb wireless adapter, but an ethernet to wireless bridge. Dlink DWL-G820 is an example.

You can also enable "Internet Connection Sharing" under Windows (&Mac) to share the wireless connection with the wired. Much less convenient than getting a wired/wireless bridge, but the price is right if you already have a laptop near the TV.
 
phlatwound

phlatwound

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Dec 25, 2007
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You can use a "wireless gaming adapter" or similar device designed to let you hook your game console's ethernet to wireless. Not a usb wireless adapter, but an ethernet to wireless bridge. Dlink DWL-G820 is an example.

You can also enable "Internet Connection Sharing" under Windows (&Mac) to share the wireless connection with the wired. Much less convenient than getting a wired/wireless bridge, but the price is right if you already have a laptop near the TV.

Thanks gillham, that is something that I have wondered about for quite sometime, not just this recent example of hooking the Azbox to a wirelessly connected laptop, but going wireless laptop--->ethernet cable--->laptop. I'll check that info out. :)
 
stogie5150

stogie5150

Thread Starter
Crazed Cajun Rebel
Jan 7, 2007
3,822
49
Slidell,LA
If this was mentioned above I'm not seeing it, so I'll ask - will this record programs to a hard drive so your can watch them at a more convenient hour? If so, does the hard drive need to be connected to the USB port, or will it save to a network storage device?

It has two USB ports for hard drives. And it DOES connect to a network, but since I am network ignorant, I cannot answer that question fully, because I just don't know. I plan to get a hard drive soon,to try the recording, and will report back.

And, how many timers are there that you can set to record upcoming shows (hint: Eight is NOT enough!)?

Don't know. Haven't checked.

Also, assuming that it does have recording capability, what would be really nice (though probably incredibly difficult) would be to somehow be able to scrape the TitanTV listings for the stations you can receive and automatically save episodes of certain programs. I do realize there are many considerations here, from the fact that TitanTV really isn't set up to allow that to happen easily, to the fact that you might need to make sure that a dish is pointed in the correct direction prior to recording. I'm not holding my breath for that, just saying it would be nice.

There is reportedly an ATSC tuner module coming for the azbox, but I do not know if it will use OTA guide data or not. My guess is not. Nor will we ever get integrated guide info for FTA. Its just too fluid. IMO we will just have to deal with what we have. :cool:
 
digiblur

digiblur

SatelliteGuys Master
Jun 8, 2005
14,190
4
Louisiana
No need to block out your IP's if you are on a router ;)

Awesome box! Curious about the formats you can throw at it on the video stream and network streaming. Wonder if it will play 1080i MPEG4 w/ DTS ;)
 
Anole

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
13
L.A., Calif.
IMO we will just have to deal with what we have. :cool:
Well, IMO the cup is well more than half full!
The box already outclasses the competition.
Where might it go next?

I look forward to more of your reports, but I'm already impressed and interested.
Over the last couple of years, the clay feet of all the other HD receivers have been revealed.
If other manufacturers or US dealers want to get into this market, they should take note of how high the bar now is.


BTW, I liked your presentation above.
Maybe we should get you to do a run-through like it for how to set up some of the more popular receivers.
Things like motor setup, switch setup, add a satellite, add a transponder, and the various sorts of scans.
Would be great newbie fodder, and ease old timers into using alternate receivers.
 
pro96

pro96

You Member, Member ?
Supporting Founder
Jul 18, 2005
6,463
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OC
Like the boss here asked earlier, how much for the damage and where was it purchased from??
 
pro96

pro96

You Member, Member ?
Supporting Founder
Jul 18, 2005
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OC
hehe, thanks for the PM Anole. Didn't see that the OP revised the post earlier at the bottom.
 

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