TBS 6903-X Professional with Tvheadend: Success!


SatelliteGuys Pro
Original poster
May 12, 2014
So for those who saw my previous post, TBS6910SE with Tvheadend: Total failure to receive, I just wanted to say that I returned that card and got a TBS 6903-X professional instead. Preliminary results are it does work, including for DVB-S2X. Here are the settings I used in Tvheadend to receive the signal we all want on 97°W:

Delivery system: DVB-S2
Frequency (kHz): 4120000
Symbol rate (Sym/s): 34286000
Polarization: V
Modulation: 16APSK
FEC: 25/36

Nothing was changed in the Advanced or Expert Settings.

Note: Entering the FEC is a little tricky. I had to start by selecting 2/3 from the dropdown, then backspace twice so only the 2 is showing, then type the characters 5/36 and then tab or mouse to a different field. If you clear the field and start by typing the 2, it will "helpfully" select 2/3 for you, at least it did in the version of Tvheadend I have.

Also note that if you have a VERY old version of Tvheadend (more than five years old) you may need to update it. From what I have read, DVB-S2X support was not always present in the code but it has been there for some time now.

After I scanned in the mux I had the same channels that were previously available before the switch to DVB-S2X, and at least for the moment they seem to be playing clearly. I will also note that it is (and has been) possible to use ffmpeg to mix the first six discrete audio channels (three pairs) to ac3 or eac3 so you can get full surround sound, however for some reason on some commercials and sometimes with news or similar programs you will get a bad echo effect. I have never heard that on a prime time program (except during commercials) but I know most folks just use the last audio channel to get stereo and that one probably doesn't have that problem.

I should note I have a 10 foot C-band dish; I'm not sure if this would work with a smaller dish.

When the other feed on 99°W converts to DVB-S2X I will probably also connect it to that card but for now I am leaving well enough alone! :)
Well sadly that went downhill fast, LOTS of breakups and signal loss, Tvheadend reports a whole lot of errors. It is possible the dish need to be re-peaked but as of now the signal is unwatchable.
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I went out today and re-peaked the dish and I am getting a good strong signal but the problem persists. My guess is that it seems that DVB-S2X is far more susceptible to 5G(?) interference. I have never had an issue with that before, even with that same dish and LNB, but the interference I am getting now is intermittent and comes in bursts, I almost wonder if it is coming from electric meters or something. You can go without seeing a speck of interference for 20 minutes and then all of a sudden the video becomes unwatchable for a few seconds. So to me DVB-S2X seems to be not nearly as resistant to interference as DVB-S2 or DVB-S. That's about all I can tell you, the card does work with Tvheadend and receives the DVB-S2X signal but whether it is actually watchable is another question entirely (and at this point I don't think the problem is the fault of the tuner card).
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Well, my final verdict is this: The TBS6910SE card is probably going to be returned. When I made my previous post I had assumed the issue was 5G interference, although that seems strange for a couple of reasons, one being that I am in a semi-rural area and there are no towers that I'm aware of near my home, also I am in such a heavily wooded area that even UHF TV signals have trouble penetrating at this time of year, AND there is a metal-framed building on the ground below the satellite (relative to the dish). And so far I have had zero issues with 5G on any of my other cards or dishes, even with the dishes on the opposite side of the metal building. And I am getting a good strong signal from the satellite.

But also I stumbled across a thread on another forum where it seems that everyone else who has tried this card has had this exact same issue. I don't want to link to a different satellite forum, but the reports there are pretty damning. It seems to work fine with the signal from Anik F3 but that is only a DVD-S2 signal and it's not on a weird FEC, however that card is far too expensive to be using on signals that can be easily received with other less expensive cards. The bottom line is I think they need to send this card back to the engineers and maybe have them actually attempt to receive that 97°W signal with that card and figure out why it seems to be performing so poorly with DVB-S2X signals.
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Just to confirm what I wrote above, see my post at TBS5580 - Third time's the charm? which confirms that it is NOT 5G interference that is the problem, it is something about the TBS6903-X card that is wonky. And yes, I wrote TBS6910SE above when I meant to say TBS6903-X! I REALLY wish this forum would let you edit past posts after more than just a few minutes. At the very least I wish I could take the word "Success" out of the subject title because although getting it to work with Tvheadend was a success, the card itself was a big failure for receiving this particular DVB-S2X signal. As for the TBS6910SE (the subject of a previous thread), that was also returned because it did not work at all (it was probably defective).

TBS6910SE with Tvheadend: Total failure to receive

TBS5580 - Third time's the charm?