Review: Optibox Anaconda HD FTA Receiver

PopcornNMore

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 20, 2005
3,633
125
Gibsonia, PA
Introduction:
The Optibox Anaconda HD is the newest High Definition PVR Ready, Internet Enabled, FTA Digital Receiver on the market today. With a Linux Operating System this is one of the most powerful and feature packed FTA receivers ever made. DVB-S, DVB-S2 MPEG-4 ready, 10,000 channels programmable, accurate hardware-driven blind scan, Advanced PVR and PIP functions, Web Browsing, You Tube, Internet Radio*! Features HDMI and Composite connections, Dual USB 2.0 Ports.

Retail Cost
$249

Features:
  • Supports MPEG4 /MPEG2 - HD/SD and Fully DVB-S2 /DVB-S Compliant
  • WebBrowser support
  • YouTube videos
  • Intelligent Blind Scan for both SD and HD TV & Multi-Satellite Search
  • Multi-LNB Controlled by DiSEqC Control Version 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 and USALS
  • HDTV PVR Receiver ( H.264/ MPEG4 HD )
  • Embedded Linux OS
  • Time Shifting, Recording & Playback with External HDD (USB 2.0)
  • Simultaneously Records of Services and allows Watching 2 others (PIP)
  • Powerful Extended EPG supports and Event Recording
  • Dual USB 2.0 Host ports (MP3 Player & JPEG Viewer)
  • Xvid and MKV file play back supported
  • Ethernet port Supported
  • On-Screen Display with Full Color & Resolution
  • Favorite Groups
  • Powerful Service List Manager for Favorites, Lock, Skip, Move, Edit and Delete
  • Service Sorting by Alphabet, Transponder and CAS
  • User Friendly & Multi-language Supported (OSD & Menu)
  • Teletext / Subtitle Supported
  • Maximum 10,000 Services(TV & Radio) Programmable
  • Picture-in-Picture (PIP) & Multi-picture Display
  • Parental Lock / System Lock / Installation Lock
  • HDMI Video & Audio Output (576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p)
  • CVBS(composite) Video & Audio Output via RCA
  • CVBS, RGB, Video & Audio Output via TV SCART
  • Optical Output for Digital Audio(SPDIF)
  • Software & Service channel Database upgrade via USB & RS-232C port
  • 1 Smart card reader and 2 Common Interface Slots
  • 1W Stand-by Power Consumption

Includes:
  • Optibox Anaconda HD FTA Receiver
  • Remote Control and Batteries
  • 6 Ft HDMI Cable
  • Operators Manual
  • Bonus FREE 4x1 DiSEqC Switch

Technical Details:
Tuner & Channel Decoder
  • Input Connector: F-type, IEC 169-24, Female
  • Loop through out: F-type, IEC 169-24, Female
  • Frequency Range: 950MHz ~ 2150MHz
  • Input Impedance: 75?, unbalanced
  • Signal Level: -65 to -25dBm
  • LNB Power: 13/18VDC, max.400mA
  • 22KHz Tone: (22±2)KHz, (0.6±0.2)V
  • DiSEqC Control: V1.0/1.2/USALS Compatible
  • Demodulation: QPSK / 8PSK
  • Input Symbol Rate: 2 ~ 45 Ms/s(QPSK of DVB-S)
  • 2 ~ 45 Ms/s(QPSK of DVB-S2)
  • 2 ~ 35 Ms/s(8PSK of DVB-S2)
  • FEC Decoder: 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8 with
  • Constraint Length K=7(DVB-S)
  • 1/2, 3/5, 2/3, 3/4, 4/5, 5/6, 8/9 and 9/10 (DVB-S2/QPSK)
  • 3/5, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6, 8/9, 9/10(DVB-S2/8PSK)
MPEG Transport Stream A/V Decoding
  • Transport Stream: H.264(MPEG-4 part 10, MPEG-4/AVC and H26L)
  • Profile Level: MPEG-II ISO/IEC 13818-2/11172-2, MPEG-4/AVC MP@L4, MPEG-II MP@HL
  • Input Rate: Max. 80Mbit/s
  • Video Formats: 4:3 Letter Box, 4:3 PanScan, 16 : 9
  • V Resolution: 720x576i, 720x576p, 720x480i, 720x480p, 1280x720p, 1920x1080i, 1920x1080p (supports only HDMI)
  • Audio Decoding: Dolby Digital, MPEG-1 Layer 1,2 and 3
  • Audio Mode: Stereo/Joint stereo/Mono, Dolby Digital bitstream
  • Sampling Rate: 32KHz, 44.1KHz and 48KHz(According to input)
Main System
  • Main Processor: STi chipset
  • Flash-ROM : 32 Mbyte
  • SDRAM : 256 Mbytes
  • EEPROM : 256 bytes
Audio / Video & Data IN/OUT
  • TV SCART: RGB, CVBS Video, Audio L, R Output
  • RCA: Video & Audio Output
  • OPTICAL: Dolby Digital (SPDIF)
  • RS-232C: 9 pin D-SUB (Male) type, Transfer rate 115Kbps
  • USB: USB 2.0 Host Front & Rear Support. (5V DC 500 mA Max.)
  • Ethernet: RJ45 connector, 100 Mbps
Front Panel
  • Slot: 2 Common interface PCMCIA slot
  • 2 Smart Card Slot
  • 2 USB 2.0 Host port
  • Display: 4 Digit 7-Segment
  • Buttons: 3 Buttons (Standby, CH UP/DOWN)
Power Supply
  • Input Voltage: AC 100 ~ 250V, 50/60Hz
  • Type: SMPS
  • Power Consumption: Max. 30W
  • Standby Power: Max. 1W
  • Protection: Separate Internal Fuse & Lighting protection
Physical Specification
  • Size (W x H x D): 260mm X 43mm X 180mm
  • Weight (Net): 1.1 Kg
  • Operating Temp.: 0°C ~ +45°C
  • Storage Temp.: -10°C ~ +70°C

My review of the Optibox Anaconda HD FTA Receiver will continue...
 

PopcornNMore

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 20, 2005
3,633
125
Gibsonia, PA
First Impression:
My first impression upon delivery of the Optibox Anaconda HD FTA Receiver was WOW! A lot of thought went into the packaging, receiver and remote control design, manual and what would be included with the receiver.

Packaging:
The receiver's packaging looks very professional and gives a very good first impression of the quality that went into this receiver before the receiver is even removed from the box.

Receiver:
The receiver is well designed and looks "sexy" or "stylish" in an entertainment system or near your TV. This is what first caught my eye about this receiver.

Remote Control:
The remote control is also very well designed and fits very comfortably in your hand compared to other remote controls. I like how they even included small icons above the colored buttons indicating their function.

Manual:
Unlike other FTA receiver manuals the Optibox Anaconda's manual is a full 150 pages separated into three languages.

Included:
Included was not only a 4x1 DiSEqC Switch, but also a high quality HDMI cable.

My first impression grade: A+

My review of the Optibox Anaconda HD FTA Receiver will continue...
 

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PopcornNMore

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 20, 2005
3,633
125
Gibsonia, PA
Setup:
Setup was very straight forward as the menu's made it very easy without needing to refer to the manual. The receiver shipped having the latest firmware version 2.10.29 which was first released in March of 2012. It also contained all the North American satellites, although some names were not updated, but can easily be changed. Example: The SES satellites are shown as AMC.

My setup grade: A-

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PopcornNMore

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 20, 2005
3,633
125
Gibsonia, PA
Satellite Setup:
The first day I started by adding AMC 3 (KU Band SES2), Galaxy 17 (C-Band) and AMC 3 (C-Band SES2) using stationary dishes. Unlike the Openbox S9 you don't need to first select the satellites you want enabled. Instead you simply setup the satellite parameters (LNB Power, LNB Type, LNB Frequency, 22KHz and Positioner Settings if needed) and then perform a channel auto, blind or manual scan.

Blind Scan:
Once I tried my first blind scan things went quickly from WOW to being frustrated and disappointed. Each individual satellite blind scan took between 30 and 40 minutes! :eek: The blind scan is performed in two steps like old Pansat receivers. First all the transponders are scanned and then the channels are extracted. I did some online research about blind scanning and I learned that by performing two steps the blind scan is more accurate and is actually the preferred method. I have to admit although the blind scans took VERY long they were indeed VERY accurate. The scans took so long that our cat and dog decided to look out the window instead. :)

Upon performing the blind scans I ran into additional problems. When I tried to perform my second blind scan the scan immediately went to 81% and froze. Additional blind scans resulted in the same problem occurring. I had to completely power down the receiver (rear rocker switch) and reboot in order for the problem to go away until it returned again and again. :rant:

I have learned that Optibox is fully aware of the problem and a fix will be available soon. We heard this before. :)

I was told on another forum to manually set the blind scan lower and upper frequencies per below in order to reduce the time it takes to comple a scan:
C Band:
Lower 3700 Upper 4200
KU Band:
Lower:11700 Upper 12225

Doing so reduced the scans to slightly under 30 minutes each, but in my opinion this is still too long even if the scan is very accurate. I hope a firmware fix is available soon.

However, auto and manual scans worked very well.

My setup and channel scanning grade: D-

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PopcornNMore

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 20, 2005
3,633
125
Gibsonia, PA
Video Quality and Onscreen Graphics:
Despite the very slow blind scans this receiver shines when it comes to the video quality and onscreen graphics. The HD channels looked awesome and the SD channels looked very good as well. I would rate the video quality better than the Openbox S9 receiver even though the Openbox has impressive video quality as well. The onscreen graphics are better than any FTA receiver I have ever owned and I certainly have owned many. I have been a software engineer for over 25 years and I couldn't have designed the graphics better myself. I'm very impressed by the amount of work and thought that went into the onscreen graphic design of this receiver.


My video quality and onscreen graphics rating: A+

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PopcornNMore

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 20, 2005
3,633
125
Gibsonia, PA
Picture In Picture (PIP) and Multi Picture Display:
I really like the picture in picture and multi picture display features on this receiver. Plus they work flawlessly as advertised.

Picture in Picture:
The PIP box can be located in any corner of the screen by pressing the up and down buttons on the remote control. The user can then swap the channels being displayed and can even display them side by side as shown in the photos below.

Multi Picture Display:
The multi picture display displays 12 channels around a larger center display that is active. The user can then switch the video being displayed within the center by selecting any of the 12 smaller displays surrounding it. On a 16:9 HDTV display this feature looks very good.

My picture in picture and multi picture display rating: B+

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PopcornNMore

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 20, 2005
3,633
125
Gibsonia, PA
Internet Features:
Like Iceberg, I too don't really go for a receiver having extra internet features and would rather have a receiver that performed well instead. However, after using some of the internet features found on this receiver I am sure that I will be finding myself using them more often than I expected.

Setup:
Setup was a breeze. I simply plugged in the Ethernet cable into the rear Ethernet port and all the settings were automatically setup.

Internet Radio:
I loved this feature and it worked very well enabling me to choose from the various online music stations. The graphics look good and the equalizer adds to the display.

Web Browser:
I'm disappointed that the web browser (WebZeal) is not automatically available to the user. It must be downloaded and run off a USB flash drive instead. I haven’t done this yet, but plan to shortly.

YouTube:
Although I'm not a big fan of YouTube the videos played flawlessly.

Earth Touch:
Earth Touch is very much like YouTube, but displays only videos of animals. It too played flawlessly.

Internet TV +:
Adding Internet TV + was a joke, because only CNET is available and I read if you add another site you lose CNET. I'll leave this feature alone.

[MARQ][/MARQ]Weather:
Like the internet radio I also liked the weather feature. The onscreen graphics aren't too bad and it displays the weather information for your local area.

My internet features rating: C+

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PopcornNMore

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 20, 2005
3,633
125
Gibsonia, PA
PVR Recordings:
Unlike the Openbox S9 the Optibox Anaconda's timer functions worked right out of the box. I recordered some sample live and delayed programming and it seemed to work very well. Timer setup was simple and the recordings can be easily accessed by selecting the "Play List" button on the remote control. With the Optibox Anaconda you can simutaneously record up to 3 services at a time on a single MUX.



My PVR recording rating: A-

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PopcornNMore

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 20, 2005
3,633
125
Gibsonia, PA
USALS and DISEqC:
Today I setup many satellites using both USALS and DISEqC and they worked as advertised. In fact, I have never had a receiver that worked so well using USALS. When changing channels the motor moves to the exact location every time. Plus setup was very straight forward. I added 22KHz and DISEqC switches into the system and the receiver worked very well.

My USALS and DISEqC rating: A+

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PopcornNMore

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 20, 2005
3,633
125
Gibsonia, PA
Conclusion:
This Optibox Anaconda HD FTA receiver works very well, has excellent video and graphics, reliable USALS and DISEqC functions, usable timer and PVR functions and offers many additional features such as manual PID entry and Internet capabilities. I highly recommend this receiver for anyone looking to upgrade their current receiver.

Once the blind scan bugs are corrected and the time it takes to perform a blind scan are reduced this will be an excellent receiver to enjoy FTA programming.
 

Scott Greczkowski

Welcome HOME to SatelliteGuys!
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Sep 7, 2003
97,968
14,447
Newington, CT
Excellent review, and unlike Iceberg I like to have all my stuff on one box including internet video and RADIO. :)

If they can improve those issues you pointed out I may consider picking up one of these to play with!
 

PopcornNMore

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 20, 2005
3,633
125
Gibsonia, PA
Another feature I like with this receiver is the "delete all tp" feature as shown in the attached photo. One click and all transponders are deleted ready for a new blind scan. With my Openbox S9 and previous FTA receivers I clicked "delete", "yes" numerous times to delete all old transponders in memory.

As I find additional features and learn about bug fixes, etc I'll post them here.
 

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Jim S.

When someone asks you if you're a god, you say yes
Lifetime Supporter
Jan 2, 2006
5,069
506
FN11od
The extended signal strength meter was one thing I loved about my Coolsat, and really miss on the Openbox.
 

Pixl

Senior Member
Pub Member / Supporter
Feb 27, 2010
1,902
66
Traverse City, Michigan
I liked the built in editor, works well enough that you don't really need an external editor unless you were doing a large edit session. The manual pids worked well too.

Can you get SD from the av jacks and hdmi 1080i simultaneously? The Openbox can do this, the Gekko could not and was possible to get locked out.
 
Last edited:

Gordon Corbett

SatelliteGuys Family
May 27, 2009
59
0
South-Coastal Oregon
Dear POPCORN N MORE,

Have you heard whether Optibox plans to market a receiver that displays 4:2:2?

I, too, was very favorably impressed by your Optibox's graphics. They beat those of my Pansat 9200HD. I hope that future programmatic revisions break "the 81% barrier." When those revisions are announced, will you be able to install them in your new receiver?

You did a very nice job with your review.

Gordon
 
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