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TV Distribution New Build - Actual Implementation

  • 16-02-2021 6:23pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 3,528 ✭✭✭


    Hi all,

    I thought I would post my experience of setting up TV distribution for a new self-build.
    It might help others in relation to the cabling but also the various options for TV/Sat boxes

    My starting equipment
    a) 40 inch Samsung (UE40ES6800) - This is a 2012 TV but has Saorview/Freesat. Most Smart apps no longer work. It was put in the living room

    b) 32 Inch LG (LK610BPUA) - This was a freebie with a Virgin Media Black Friday deal in 2018. Also has Freesat/Saorview. It is for the main bedroom

    Builder Installation
    a) 2 Coax cables from utility room to living room, sitting room and each bedroom

    b) 2 CAT 6 cables from utility room to living room, sitting room and each bedroom

    c) CCTV camera x4 with PoE cabling back to Utility Room

    Additional Purchases
    a) Satellite for UK FTA TV plus quattro LNB - 4 cables ran from dish to Utility room

    b) Aerial for Irish FTA TV - 1 cable run from external aerial to Utility room

    c) Multiswitch (5457 IG-ISKY-UST110-CUO8O) - This is fed by the 4 sat (Quattro) and 1 aerial feeds.
    There are 8 outputs of this switch that can be fed to Unicable/Legacy Sat/SkyQ devices
    It cost 50gbp on eBay (condition was as new I think) but I believe new costs much more.

    d) Panasonic GZ950B - 65 OLED inch TV for sitting room

    e) Gigablue UHD UE 4k plus 2xDVB-T2 tuner module - Enigma2 box for the sitting room

    f) ZGemma H7S - Another Enigma2 box. I bought this later as I got to hate the poor Freesat/Saorview interface of the Samsung.

    g) TP-Link AC1750 Wireless Access point - I ran a cable (PoE) from the utiiity to the roof of the upstairs hallway.
    It gives good wifi all over the house (at least 240Mb/s and likely a lot more).

    h) SANNCE 4CH 5MP POE Security Camera kit

    What the setup achieves
    a) Gigablue integrates SAT/Saorview/IPTV seamlessly (OpenVix). I also use it for media player/Plex/iPlayer
    Using Unicable, it has 8 virtual sat tuners so can record up to 8 channels from different transponders at the same time.

    b) ZGemma H7S as above integrates SAT/Saorview/IPTV seamlessly (also OpenVix). It has two sat tuners and one terrestrial

    c) The LG in the bedroom give Saorview and Freesat channels via coax. IPTV/Plex/IPlayer is via TV apps

    Thoughts

    a) Enigma2 boxes - I think these are as close to an all-in-one box as you can get. I had to play around with it a lot to get it the way I wanted it though
    It covers all of the below:
    1) Integrates SAT/Terrestrial/IPTV in one channel list with full 7 day EPG and record/rewind etc.
    2) Plex - It has a Plex client app which doesn't look great but does the job
    3) DLNA - You can share recordings over the network with any DLNA compatible device (which is all TVs)
    4) Video file playing - It will play pretty much any video file format over the network
    5) KODI - I haven't really used this much but iPlayer runs fine. Plex on Kodi was poor though
    6) Youtube - Runs well (and without ads as far as I can tell)
    7) CCTV - CCTV cameras can be viewed over the network via the boxes (and also via mobile/PC).

    b) ZGemma Vs Gigablue - Apart from a few extra crashes on the ZGemma during the setup, the experience is almost identicaly to the Gigablue.
    Remote isn't as good as the Gigablue (seems a bit less responsive and can't act as a universal remote)

    c) Panasonic OLED GZ950B - It is a beautiful TV but the app catalogue is disappointing.
    No IPTV apps and although Plex looks good, it doesn't support passthrough. No RTE, but iPlayer/ITV player apps are all good.

    d) Freesat - Although TVs with Freesat and Saorview sound good on paper, the usability is poor.
    The Samsung TV needs about 6 button presses to switch between Freesat and Saorview.
    The LG only needs one (long) button press using stored favourite channels but still not great integration.
    Also, Freesat is missing a lot of channels (Channel 4 HD, Pick, Loads of Music channels etc.) and has too many regional variations on the main list.
    You'll get a better channel list if you are willing to organise it yourself.

    e) TV Apps - Even though the LG was much cheaper than the Panasonic, the app catalogue is far more extensive with better support
    Don't buy a Panasonic if you want to rely on the apps. I would say LG>Samsung>Pansonic for apps

    f) Unicable works well but it is way overkill for what I need. I barely record one program a week. Could work well if only one coax is available

    g) Wired Vs Wireless - I think wired is overplayed given the consistency and speeds you can get over wireless now.
    The wireless access point is brilliant. I can't see any performance difference between it and wired. Less messy cables as well.
    For the main TV point, maybe consider 3/4 LAN ports to cover TV, STB, Games console, Sound System etc.

    h) Overkill - It's very aasy to overkill on the spec. Coax cables to all bedrooms were not really needed.
    A couple of the rooms ended up being laid out different to originally planned which would mean cables running across the room

    i) Alternatives - Another option would have been to distrubte the TV channels over the LAN.
    Some equipement would be needed for utility to convert the SAT/Terrestrial signals and something at the T to play them (cheap Raspberry Pi running KODI)
    This would have saved on the cost of installing coax cables but I think the equipment would have been slightly more pricey.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 619 ✭✭✭Seapoint


    Forget the messy coax, do your homework on TVHeadend on a Linux server with Qbittorrent-nox and Plex and then just install a client wherever you want it with Cat.6 or WiFi


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,528 ✭✭✭dubrov


    But it's not just TVHeadend you'd need for live TV.
    You need to buy boxes with sat and terrestrial tuners to convert the satellite/aerial signal for transmission over the network. Then add in a client to play the channels at the TV.

    I can't see that being cheaper or less messy than coax.


  • Registered Users Posts: 619 ✭✭✭Seapoint


    dubrov wrote: »
    But it's not just TVHeadend you'd need for live TV.
    You need to buy boxes with sat and terrestrial tuners to convert the satellite/aerial signal for transmission over the network. Then add in a client to play the channels at the TV.

    I can't see that being cheaper or less messy than coax.

    Boxes?

    An old i3 or i5 running Ubuntu Server with a couple of DVB tuner cards does for Tvheadend.

    My setup is simply that.

    Backend:
    Dell optiplex 755 with 120GB ssd & 4 GB ram, one TBS DVB-S2 pcie and one TBS DVB-T2 pcie. Additional 2TB for timeshift, recordings and PLEX/Qbittorrent

    This cost me less than €150 and sits in my attic, with the sat and terrestrial aerial connected. My router is in my attic also, a single lan cable goes to each viewing point.

    Frontends are agnostic i.e. main TV is AppleTV4k with TVH Client, Plex, iPlayer, All4 etc etc etc.. is this not simpler and cheaper than all of your coax and various sat tuners etc.

    I have a


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,528 ✭✭✭dubrov


    Seapoint wrote: »
    Boxes?

    An old i3 or i5 running Ubuntu Server with a couple of DVB tuner cards does for Tvheadend.

    My setup is simply that.

    Backend:
    Dell optiplex 755 with 120GB ssd & 4 GB ram, one TBS DVB-S2 pcie and one TBS DVB-T2 pcie. Additional 2TB for timeshift, recordings and PLEX/Qbittorrent

    This cost me less than €150 and sits in my attic, with the sat and terrestrial aerial connected. My router is in my attic also, a single lan cable goes to each viewing point.

    Frontends are agnostic i.e. main TV is AppleTV4k with TVH Client, Plex, iPlayer, All4 etc etc etc.. is this not simpler and cheaper than all of your coax and various sat tuners etc.

    I have a

    I'd say it's fairly similar in cost and setup complexity..
    It is a serious alternative though.

    I didn't have an old PC available for free but I guess I could have bought one second hand fairly cheaply. However, they are a bit of a false economy as the power consumption on old PCs when idle is fairly high (maybe 50W). This would would cost a fair bit over a number of years. Also the tuner cards don't look cheap.

    AppleTV4k looks about 200 euro as well but I guess there are far cheaper options that could do a similar job.
    Coax could go also straight to the TV to avoid client box costs but that has it's own issues.

    How's your setup for live sport? Does the transcoding add any delay?


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,977 ✭✭✭✭Johnboy1951


    I bought a few small and cheap Android boxes which were suitable for a JeOS operating system such as LibreElec and CoreElec.
    They were on average about €35 each.

    One is used to act as the Tvheadend server connected to a switch.
    Telestar R1 quad DVB-S tuner connected to switch, with a unicable single coax input.
    https://www.conrad.com/p/telestar-digibit-r1-sat2ip-umsetzer-sat-ip-server-944064
    or
    https://www.conrad.com/p/inverto-idl-400s-airscreen-server-sat-ip-network-tuner-1225911


    Two cheap DVB-T USB tuner sticks (~€10 each) attached to the TVH server box.

    Storage on the server is done on SD card for recordings etc.

    Everything from the media set up is available on LAN (wired and wireless), including files stored on a separate file server.

    The other small boxes are used at the TV points.
    These are capable of UHD output (although I do not have a TV capable of this presently I have tested them into a suitable monitor).

    Kodi is set up centrally so each user has the same intrface, so there is no confusion when moving from one TV to another, or when using a tablet or PC to view.

    The only coax is that fed from outside (aerial & dish) to the central media press.

    There is no transcoding involved at all, so no heavy work needs to be done by the server. The small server box is capable of providing 10 different live TV channels (mix of HD and SD) concurrently. I did not test more than that!

    All of the software used is FOSS so no monetry cost.
    The hardware is all cheap except for the cost of the quad DVB-S tuner.

    All of the Android boxes can substitute for each other, so should a problem arise there is a quick fix available.
    In fact I have at least one, if not two, unused Android boxes now, after several years with this setup.

    I also have several IP cameras integrated which can also of course be viewed on all devices.

    Full 7 day EPG on all channels and one listing, the order arranged to suit the household needs, of all channels.

    My only need presently is to get someone out to align the dish properly .... some weak channels break up during some weather events ...... as it has apparently moved a little in the last high wind event.

    The big help was to put in multiple LAN sockets in each room, so that regardless the use change over time of the room there would be a convenienty placed wired connection available.
    I do not like WiFi for live streaming although it works OK, much preferring wired connections.

    So lots of different options are available to provide multi room for all media, both live and stored.

    Most of all
    have fun! :D


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,056 ✭✭✭dam099


    dubrov wrote: »
    But it's not just TVHeadend you'd need for live TV.
    You need to buy boxes with sat and terrestrial tuners to convert the satellite/aerial signal for transmission over the network. Then add in a client to play the channels at the TV.

    I can't see that being cheaper or less messy than coax.

    With your setup you dont need much additional equipment at all. You can stream from Engima boxes directly to an IPTV app on any TVs that have them.

    All those virtual tuners on the Gigablue you arent making full use of would come in handy for that as well :)

    More discussion here.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,528 ✭✭✭dubrov


    dam099 wrote: »
    With your setup you dont need much additional equipment at all. You can stream from Engima boxes directly to an IPTV app on any TVs that have them.

    All those virtual tuners on the Gigablue you arent making full use of would come in handy for that as well :)

    More discussion here.

    True but IPTV app interfaces tend to be a poorer experience for channel surfing.
    There is no IPTV app on Panasonics and the other two TVs had FreeSat/Saorview already.

    I find Enigma2>In-built TV function>IPTV apps when it comes to the user interface.


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