Viacast/Vistar 2000

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Iceberg

Thread Starter
The No Pain Train
Supporting Founder
You’ve probably seen them on EBay. A Free-to-Air receiver for 59.95 shipped? Is it too good to be true? Well, I’ll answer that for you. When I first got into FTA, I wanted it for the audio channels on ExpressVu & Dish Network. I knew they were unencrypted, and I really wanted it for the radio stations that are on ExpressVu. So I didn’t need anything elaborate, and picked one of these up.


The Viacast or Vistar 2000 (they go by a couple different names) is a real basic receiver. On the back, there is an satellite in, an antenna in (for an over the air antenna), rf out and one set of audio video outputs. The one thing I noticed right away was this receiver had a S-Video output. My Pansat 1500 doesnt even have a S-Video out and that cost me 3 times as much! You can program up to 10 different entries. One transponder is one entry. This is one of the limitations of the receiver, and I found right away after expanding my setup I had to decide what programs to keep.

Programming it is a little tricky if you don’t read the instructions. The instruction booklet is not included, but can be downloaded from the seller’s website. The one thing I must stress is, if you don’t read any other part of the manual, read on how to program it. I read it and still screwed it up.
To program the Viacast, 2 of the numbers you type in have to have three zeros added to them. This is what kept screwing me up.

I will use the following as an example: 12000 frequency, vertical polarity and symbol rate of 9.000.

In the system setup screen, this is what you would see:
Record number is the channel # (0,1,2,etc)
LNB LO Frequency
LNB Power is polarity
Down Link Frequency is the frequency
Symbol Rate
0/12 mode
DISEqC (allows you to hook up 4 different dishes)

So in our example above you would program it as such

0 (1, 2, etc)
10750000 (make sure to add 3 zeros...C-Band would be 5150000, DBS 11250000)
14 (Vertical Polarity..18 is Horizontal)
12000000 (again, add 3 zeros)
9000
0
Off (if you have 2 dishes and a switch, change this to LNB1, LNB2, etc)
press “OK” and it will scan all entries and log all channels it finds. You will know it is locked on a channel, as there is a yellow light on the unit to let you know the channel is “locked”. Pressing “Info” will give you the channel name, signal strength and signal quality.

Some of the features of the unit are
-3 separate favorites lists
-receiver combines audio & video channels in one list
-S-Video output
-Compact size
-change PIDs easily (guide then right arrow)
-when new channels are added on a transponder, it automatically adds them

Some of the drawbacks of the unit
-Can’t rename or delete individual channels
-All channels on a transponder are logged, whether scrambled or not
-10 entries. One Transponder is an entry, making it fill up fast
-Each transponder’s channels are easy to see (entry 3's channels start with 3...3001, 3002, etc)

The Viacast is a good receiver for the following
-Audio channels on ExpressVu & Dish Network
-second receiver
-single satellite (IA5, G10, etc) reception.

So if you are looking for a simple unit, this would be great to get into Free-to-Air. But if you want to motorize your dish or scan for new frequencies, there are much better options.
 

Cascade

Goose.
Supporting Founder
Cheers Ice,
I heard some company in Europe has a flash to enable some more features such as scanning, renaming etc but won't release it to the public.

For a backup, or a receiver for The Tube it sounds pretty good.
 

ken2400

SatelliteGuys Pro
Good review Iceberg! I have to say if this company would send a FAQ or put one on there site it would have saved me hours of learning. I am very thankfull you have one since it helped me get mine working on the DISH/DTV birds.

I will say they did ship it fast.

Ken
 

Iceberg

Thread Starter
The No Pain Train
Supporting Founder
yep. They do ship it fast

I had no problem doing the review. If you have any oddball points I didnt add, feel free to :)
 

Iceberg

Thread Starter
The No Pain Train
Supporting Founder
Added a feature to the Viacast list above that I like.

When a new channel is added to the Transponder, it automatically adds it (as long as you go to the TP)

I went to 1001 (which is G10 11799 V 26660) and all of a sudden it said "updating program information" and 1005 showed up as a live fox feed. It was color bars and the time. When 11 Central hit, it was the national fox feed. No audio thoguh :(
 

ken2400

SatelliteGuys Pro
I would not call this oddball BUT when you go looking for a sat the Viacast 2000 will program the channel list fast so if you hit if for like one or two seconds and did not note the yellow lock light you might see the channel name when in the info screen.

Just found G 10R last night and it did this.

Ken

Iceberg said:
Added a feature to the Viacast list above that I like.

When a new channel is added to the Transponder, it automatically adds it (as long as you go to the TP)

I went to 1001 (which is G10 11799 V 26660) and all of a sudden it said "updating program information" and 1005 showed up as a live fox feed. It was color bars and the time. When 11 Central hit, it was the national fox feed. No audio thoguh :(
 

CharredPC

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Hey Iceberg, ever get any luck with more than 10 transponders in that thing? European firmware, or whatnot? Seems like a pretty horrible limitation, but it looks like I can pick up one of these REAL cheap. Considering it for a G10-only setup for the bedroom (attatched to my old .6dB lnb on the 76cm dish, after I get the 120cm on the motor). I suppose G10R doesn't have a TON of transponders....
 

Iceberg

Thread Starter
The No Pain Train
Supporting Founder
10 is the max

But G10 only has really 5 TP's
11799 main
11719 tube
12114 fox/upn
11985 cbs
12103 kwto

I use to have it maxed using 3 dishes :)
 
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