Oct 27 2008

Bodging The Night Away

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 9:24 pm

We went out today to try and buy a few AV cables for the inlaws. They recently bought a new TV, and moved the old plasma screen into the kitchen downstairs. Ideally, I wanted a fully pinned up SCART cable, so the satellite receiver could output RGB to the new TV, a SCART to 3 RCA (Composite Video, Left & Right Audio) lead, and finally a SCART gender bender.

SCART Gender Bender

The last item was needed as the wireless Audio/Video sender has custom leads plugged into it, with only a SCART plug at the other end. As the old plasma screen has no scart socket, a gender bender would have meant I could have eventually gone from the modified 3.5mm plug at the AV wireless receiver end to 3 RCA. (Unfortunately the 3.5mm three channel plug was not of a standard length, meaning my existing lead did not carry video correctly, as the spacing between connections was non-standard). The shop we went to did not have a gender bender, nor anything with a female SCART socket involved. Back to the drawing board… In the end I looked up the pin outs for a scart plug, refreshed my mind as to which was + and which was ground on RCA (phono) plugs, and soldered/bodged a new lead.
Unfortunately I have a nagging suspicion that the extra wall the signal will now have to travel through (the old, old TV in the kitchen was sat in a cupboard away from the wall) means the quality won’t be great.

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Oct 15 2008

AA Enabled DVD Players

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 7:23 pm

At some point, I would like to find a good quality, but cheap, upscaling DVD player. With our 1080p screen, it sometimes seems a shame to not try and utilize the full resolution (upscaling players tend to give better results than relying on the TV’s scaler). Although the PC is already connected to one HDMI port (via a DVI<>HDMI lead), our TV luckily has two such sockets, so for now I won’t be needing an HDMI switch. Of course, if Hotbird ever carries a serious amount of HD channels, we may want to upgrade our satellite receiver, in which case it will be time to shop around.
(Yes I understand that upscaling may not be the same process as AA with graphics cards, but it was a shorter post title that way 🙂 )

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Oct 15 2008

BBC Prime Not Working

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 6:33 pm

I have noticed a lot of traffic in the past few days has arrived from people googling BBC Prime Not Working, or a similar phrase. Just in case people don’t understand why this has occurred, I thought I would post a quick update.
If you currently pay a reputable supplier for a satellite subscription, you need to contact them and have your account and card checked. If you happen to have bought a receiver that had some codes pre-installed, then some channels that are subscription based (that you are supposed to pay for) will have been decoded. Similarly, if you update your satellite receiver with key codes from the internet, then certain channels will work once the new keys are in place. However, BBC Prime (on HotBird) have switched to a newer incarnation of the ViaAccess encryption algorithm, which has not been cracked by the people that publish codes. There is another BBC Prime channel broadcast on Hotbird, but that has been inaccessible ever since I discovered. It was useful for the EPG information present though.
I’ve just checked some other channels, and it looks as though the HBO channels have either been moved or taken off-air in Hotbird. I’ll post an update if the new scan in progress discovers a new position for these movie channels.

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Oct 15 2008

New Channel Found

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 3:36 am

I was updating the list of working channels in our favourites list on the satellite receiver, and noticed that Zone Club was not only working (as in not encrypted with a method our recvr. couldn’t cope with), but also has the original (normally English) soundtrack available. So far, it seems to be very similar to the BBC Entertainment channel that Irina likes, though as I write this post, an episode of Jerry Springer is playing. Not too sure if that is a good or bad thing to be honest. Anyway, once the bad weather clears and the reported signal quality improves once more, I am going to rescan all the TPs and see if there are any new additions worth of note.

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Jun 11 2008

Movies And Hot Water Have Returned

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 3:56 pm

Today is a good day, at least so far…

I had the stitches removed from where the dentist had removed a tooth, and there were no needles or pliers involved this time, so I was a happy bunny.
Upon returning home, I noticed an update was available from the Alsat forum that enabled our satellite receiver to display the movie channels. After feeding the kittens, I went to wash my hands, and amazingly our hot water has been turned back on again; after two weeks of cold showers, I am really looking forward to a nice long relaxing rinse 🙂

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Jun 10 2008

BBC Entertainment Working Again

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 2:22 am

After uploading an update for our Openbox X-800 satellite receiver, I have found the BBC Entertainment channel is once again working. Combined with the BBC Prime (which has been getting worse and worse recently for endlessly repeating the same decades old series), BBC Lifestyle and BBC Knowledge means we once again have a wide variety of UK based programs to watch. BBC CBeebies means if we have any Polish or English speaking children around, we have something other than American cartoons to offer them.
Although the channels appear to be broadcast for the Polish on the Hotbird satellites, the second audio channel is the original English soundtrack, so other than the adverts, there are no translation issues 🙂 I don’t know how long these channels will last, but it is good to see some new channels (other than the ubiquitous Italian TV shopping and Arabic adult phone lines) coming along still, especially after Multivision stopped broadcasting all their movie channels on Hotbird.

If you have an Openbox satellite receiver, in the x800 range, and have your dish pointed at the Hotbird satellites, you may want to download my file which has all the English (and non-English but still of interest) channels predefined in various ‘favourite’ groups. Click here to download the file. If you don’t already have the software, the Alsat Forum has it available in this POBEdit thread. (Also, I’ve gone through and made any channels that are strictly adult in nature locked, so should you have young children who have access to your remote control, you can set the Lock feature to ON and not worry about them seeing anything unsuitable.)

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Jan 22 2008

Happy Birthday & FINALLY Satellite TV Is Restored

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 5:52 am

Losha’s 18th birthday is today, so a B_I_G c nomrazh denya to him.

Coincidentally, he bought round a new satellite receiver for us. We originally though the dish on the roof had been knocked off course, then a sat. guy thought the LNB itself was knackered, but it now appears the STB was broken.

Anyway more details later on, as I’m now out to join Losha and his parents for a celebratory meal…

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Sep 13 2007

Hamster Night Time Crash

Category: In The MediaChrisM @ 6:07 am

As you may already know, I’m a big fan of the BBC TV Motoring show Top Gear (see here for a few previous posts). Although BBC World does eventually broadcast a cut down version of the show via our satellite receiver, it does not feature the (mainly British) guests, and often cuts other funny sections. Luckily most of the shows are downloadable from the net, and so before we had ADSL, ChrisD would normally grab them for me.
Anyway, Richard Hammond (subject of a few posts last year when he had a 300mph+ crash in a jet ‘car’) has had another accident, though nothing like as serious this time. The show was recording the three presenters taking part in an endurance race over at Silverstone, when the car (which Richard was driving at the time) was crashed into by another vehicle. By the sound of the BBC news article, some media outlets are overplaying the seriousness of the crash, as the presenter seems fine, and even the car itself was repairable quite quickly.

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Jul 23 2007

BBC Reports On Gloucesterhire Flooding

Category: In The Media,Personal,Videos,WeatherChrisM @ 9:03 pm

Glos Gloucestershire Cheltenham Gloucester Evesham Tewksbury Flood Floods Flooding

Gordon Brown was interviewed in Gloucestershire, regarding the government’s response to the flooding afflicting the country, and Glos. in particular.
This was then followed a reporter in Tewksbury describing how life was right now for its citizens, with serious commentary; the people playing in the water in the background did not help to add any gravity to his words however 😉

You can also find a BBC text report on the situation here.

Hmm, it looks like the audio is out of sync slightly there, I will have to return to my old method of ripping the video from our satellite receiver, apologies.
Anyway, with more rain forecast, I hope everyone will be ok over there.

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Jul 03 2007

Got To Love That HDMI Quality

Category: Friends,Kazakhstan,PersonalChrisM @ 2:02 am

From the income generated from this blog and my other sites, I spent a little money on items from e-bay, e-buyer and a few other online stores. As most of them to not deliver to Kazakhstan (and as our postal service out here is still a little hit and miss), I had them delivered to AlexC’s house. One of the most eagerly awaited goodies was a 10 metre DVI>HDMI lead. We can now watch videos from the PC, on the TV, at the full 1920×1080 resolution, without any of the interference that using component caused.
Although the vast majority of my files are at much lower resolutions, viewing digital photos (I’ll hopefully be posting some of Alex’s a little later) is a lot better now, as we can really see the fine detail without having to zoom in.
Anyway, with that lead, and a proper null modem cable to connect to the satellite receiver (I had to bodge one together previously, which looked a little ugly, and was about 10cm to short to use since we bought the TV stand), the room is starting to look a little tidier 🙂 I can now also upload new firmwares to the satellite box when ever needed, so more channels are available day to day 🙂

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