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Home > Exhibitions > Cable & Satellite Mediacast 2003, Part 3

Cable & Satellite Mediacast 2003, Part 3

Third part of the Sergei Ogurtsov's reportage. New interesting devices for dish installers. I'll be back! More pictures

Show: Day Two (21st of May, 2003)

See also Other parts:

Okay, today I am going to write about something more positive.

First of all, we d have to admit that a break-through happens only when somebody is able to find bright and simple solutions. Check out the two following items.


When I saw that device first time, I thought: Hey! That company sells souvenirs compasses! Bit later, I have noticed that is isn t just a compass. It is a device that helps to install a satellite dish. Installing a satellite dish for dummies . What do you have to do to install a fixed dish? You need to find an azimuth and elevation for a satellite. With that device it is as simple as ever. First, you need to look into a special table (enclosed), and find your city and satellite that you want to watch. Then, it is easy to see a special corresponding number. Rotate the globe of the compass until that number (-40 ... +40) is against the arrow. Then, stick the device on top of the LNB, like shown on picture:


Then, you just need to rotate the dish until the pointer is against the required satellite name. Simple!

After that, all you have to do is adjust the dish vertically (elevation), until there is signal. Alternatively, you can look for an elevation degree in a table enclosed, and adjust the dish according to the scale. But that is only good if your dish have elevation scale (or you own an inclinometer), and your pole is true vertical.

By the way, the sphere of this device has some air on top of a liquid. That helps to check out whether your pole is vertical.

Anyway, with this device almost anybody can install a dish up to 90-120 cm. For bigger dishes - it is also possible, but more effort will be needed, as more precise alignment is needed.

And, here s the star of the exhibition: the LENS satellite antenna.


It is made of EPS (polystyrene?). On touch, it is like polyfoam, but more rigid.

And the main idea is that it isn t necessary to reflect a satellite signal to gather it (and, therefore, amplify). It is possible to build a lens, that will be doing the same. And that had happened! Impressive?

The benefit of such a solution is that it allows to install at up to 8 LNBFs without any problem. There is almost no loss of signal for satellites plus minus 12 degrees from the central satellite! Cool!

Besides, possibly it will be legally to install it on your balcony without any special permission (where needed) as is ISN T a satellite dish, it is satellite LENS. Have you seen any laws about restriction of installations of satellite LENSES?

There is only one disadvantage: this 80 cm lens works like 75 cm dish, and costs around 400 USD (350 Euro). Bloody expensive! So, at this moment it will be more like an satellite extravaganza for real fan of everything new. It isn t for mass (mainstream) user. But, still, I love the concept. Maybe it gets a bit cheaper soon.

OK, let s take a look at the SCM stand. If you don t know it is a company that produces almost all the CAMs at the market, also they supply the SCM chip, without that chip it has been impossible to build a receiver with Common Interface slots until recently. (See more about new CAM Watch chip below!) So, that has been a monopoly, really. There was only one alternative producer of CAMs Aston (France), they produced SECA/MediaGuard-compatible AstonCrypt CAM. All the CAMs like Viaccess, Cryptoworks, Irdeto, Nagravision, Conax, etc - all are produced by SCM only.

CAMs 1

So, what s new at the SCM stand? As you can see at the next picture - there are three new red-colored CAMs, all for Irdeto. Older Irdeto CAMs are blue and white (top of the picture). The new Red Irdeto will come in three versions. One will be for consumer market, instead of current blue/white one. The only difference is that OTA (Over The Air upload) of new versions of software will be supported. Just like on Red Viaccess CAMs now. Another Red Irdeto is intended for professional uses. The difference is that it is capable of processing four channels at once, so four channels can be decrypted, it is important in some professional applications. And the third Red Irdeto isn t really a CAM - it is a POD. It is intended for US cable market, there is version of Irdeto used in North America.

One more interesting item at their stand in the WorldCAM module. Somebody may think that it is reply to the Magic CAM and SkyCrypt CAM. No, of course, it is not. It is a module for the companies that produce receivers with Common Interface, and for broadcasters wanting to check out compatibility with given receiver. It will be so much easier to test the compatibility with such a CAM, that will be sold with some software for that application.

Next, to the Marmitek stand. It is always good to see something so stable, that there is no need to change. As you may know, the radio frequency extenders for IR-remotes are often called pyramids , as that was the design of a first model, one that Marmitek offers. No wonder, that they have 20:1 model at their stand always.

Also, there are new designs presented. It looks, in Taiwan they have some interesting designers just see two following pictures of new modern IR-extenders.

IR extenders IR extenders 2

And, I saw again the new Chameleon universal remote.

Chameleon remote

It is the only universal remote that comes pre-programmed, able to learn new commands either learning IR from another remote, of new commands for new devices can be downloaded from Internet and even OVER THE PHONE. (This remote has a microphone for that.) More than that - it isn t a LCD remote, it is softer for a touch, and it can illuminate with blue colour (glowing starts as soon as you take it into hand). Also, only the buttons active in particular mode are illuminated. Top-of-the-end remote, far better than those Maranz and Philips remotes I saw selling at high street for up to 600 dollars! This remote it is possible to buy for as low as 129 Euro. Not a cheap one, but it is worth it.

As for the LNBFs - I always look for a better one. So far, I am happy with my Euston Premium LNBF, which has the phase noise normalized, for optimal digital reception.


However, I have good reception of the Thor satellite only at night time, at day I can get only some channels. That s why I stopped at a Innovatec stand where they claimed that they have really best LNBF, with 0.3dB noise figure. No, I don t believe these figures. First of all, that was important for the analog reception, for digital reception these noise figures don t matter at all. Secondly, it is possible to make a sticker with NF of 0.01dB, right? The REAL reception is all that matters. So I am going to install that LNBF on my offset dish as soon as I am home. If I can get the Thor channels at day-time - then this LNBF well worth it s money (substantially higher than average). I will let know to all interested parties.

To finish with LNBFs, there is one more LNB to be reviewed. There were some two-satellite LNBFs at the market. (Actually, two LNBFs and a DiSEqC switch in one box). They allow to watch Astra and HotBird in Central Europe (where the signal on these satellites is about equal and very strong.)

Three-way LNBF

But three LNBFs in one? Well, it is for US market, according to what is written on the dish. But I was told that there are only two satellites covering USA with Direc-TV. I don t care, it is up to Americans if they really up to installing this three-way beauty. ))

The NEC corporation is presenting the new CPU for the new receivers, called the EMMA2.


Probably, it is most powerful at the market, as it is the only one that allows to show two pictures of two different digital channels simultaneously, on one screen. So, it allows to build a receiver with two tuners and PIP (picture in picture) function. This solution isn t a cheap one, and so far only three manufacturers had used it.


First, it is South-African UEI, who made a set-top-box for the Multichoice South Africa broadcaster. Secondly, it is Galaxis (box on top of the picture). And, finally, it is a Topfield TF-5000 PVR receiver.

Unfortunately, the Galaxis didn t have a stand, and UEI receiver s developers were absent, too, so I could talk only to the TOPFIELD people.


In fact, they already produce the best in the world PVR receiver, TOPFIELD TF-4000 PVR (also known as MediaCOM MCI-710, Technosat PVR-100, etc) But the 5000 is going to be even better. Also, two tuners, HDD up to 200 Gig, and also PIP (picture in picture - it will be possible to watch big picture of one channel plus insert of a channel from another satellite, just like on a expensive TVs with PIP), as well as the USB port to copy the recorded files to the PC for easy burning onto a CD-R or DVD-R. Also, the new chipset should be faster.

As good friends (and official dealers) of the Topfield company, we are due to receive pre-production sample of the PVR-5000 for testing. We are going to fully review it, and publish the results exclusively on SATMANIA.COM. We are due to get a sample today or tomorrow, so stay tuned!

That's it.

In next issue I am going to tell more about the new Korean companies offers, another receiver with Linux open source software, and about the grey scene - the receivers and CAMs that many people love, but most broadcasters hate I ve got a lot to tell, probably there will be two more issues. See you again!

Sergei Ogourtsov, SAT.COM.RU

Posted by: Zuhos

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