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alan_m
Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:07 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 18 Oct 2006 Posts: 3492
ChunkyBloke wrote:
There were a few sellers on eBay selling brand new ET 8500 though a quick (and not very thorough) scan didn't show and specifically configured for terrestrial only.


I believe that Extrend was bought out by another company and although still trading under that name the boxes from a few years ago are no longer being manufactured. It should be noted that this is also true for many other manufacturers who are now producing the next generation of 4K TV boxes (which still work with SD and HD broadcasts). In general the mid to top range boxes have a much better specification than the mid to top end boxes of a few years ago. Faster processors, more RAM more flash memory etc. for your money.

When looking for a box don't overlook the 4K UHD boxes even though you may never use the 4K functionality.

DO NOT buy an old box without the necessary tuners. Even when the boxes were current finding a extra/different tuner a few months after purchase of a box was difficult.

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alan_m
Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:13 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 18 Oct 2006 Posts: 3492
alan_m wrote:

I would also change from a traditional LNB to the latest technology which are supported by many of the lastest boxes allowing many more simultaneous channls to be received/recorded by a single tuner module. Google FBC tuners and unicable LNB.


A fairly good introduction can be found at (read the whole thread)
https://www.world-of-satellite.com/showthread.php?59981-Guide-to-using-Unicable

You may have to register first to read the forum thread

Forum rules
https://www.world-of-satellite.com/Forum-rules/

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DaveHill
Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:17 pm Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 15 Dec 2005 Posts: 85 Location: Bedford
alan_m wrote:
Be aware that the Zgemma are cloned boxes and therefore are not supported by OpenVix which is the image most people in this thread are using. The version of Openvix they may come with will have been hacked and the start-up screen indicates that it is supported however if you ask any questions about this box or the image on the Openvix forums your post will immediately be blocked. It’s one of the T&C/rules that you sign up to when registering with the forum.

See rule 19
https://www.world-of-satellite.com/Forum-rules/

The Zgemma boxes are supported by other images but from my limited experience testing other images OpenVix is possibly the more user friendly.
If you are making your purchasing decisions based on what has been written about the image (software) in this thread bear this in mind. You will not find any OpenVix updates for a Zgemma box on the OpenVix site.

They appear to be supported now: http://www.openvix.co.uk/index.php/downloads/zgemma-images/

Dave

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Darucla
Posted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 6:39 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 06 Jun 2007 Posts: 1543
I recently bought a Zgemma, and it definitely runs VIX now (came preinstalled by WOS), It's very much quicker than my Miraclebox, but is massively slowed down if making two or three recordings and downloading another to the PC. Doesn't interfere with TV activities, just the speed of download.
Mine has twin T2 plus single S2 tuner, which works well for me. Great value.
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JBD
Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:10 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 09 Sep 2006 Posts: 17 Location: Wigan
I've been quietly watching this thread for a year or so, but generally decide that the Toppy is still doing a very good job (in SD). However, it's just decided to hang and wipe all my recordings yet again (no idea why, and I never have any success in recovering them). Like most in the threat I like the look of the VU+ models, but the Zegmma seem to be more pocket friendly. Spec wise the VU+ Uno 4K and the Zgemma H7C seem all but identical, but the VU+ is £110 more. I assume I'm missing the catch -can anyone tell me what it is?!

Cheers,

Jon

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alan_m
Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:21 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 18 Oct 2006 Posts: 3492
JBD wrote:
I've been quietly watching this thread for a year or so, but generally decide that the Toppy is still doing a very good job (in SD). However, it's just decided to hang and wipe all my recordings yet again (no idea why, and I never have any success in recovering them). Like most in the threat I like the look of the VU+ models, but the Zegmma seem to be more pocket friendly. Spec wise the VU+ Uno 4K and the Zgemma H7C seem all but identical, but the VU+ is £110 more. I assume I'm missing the catch -can anyone tell me what it is?!

Cheers,

Jon


Day to day use probably no catch.

The VU has a 2.4 "TFT LCD Display – MiniTV front panel whilst the Zgemma has a basic 4 digit 7 segment LED type front panel. You may regard a Mini TV as a gimmick.

For satellite use the VU has or can support FBC Tuners. With the latest generation of LNBs fitted to the dish this is the same has having 8 tuners being connected via a single cable from the dish.
The Zgemma doesn’t seem to support this. This is no benefit if you are going to use the box for terrestrial TV (Freeview).

The VU has hardware transcoding rather than software. Transcoding is basically is changing the resolution of the image for onward transmission to, say, a mobile phone. My box claims hardware transcoding which doesn’t appear to work that well. I don’t bother changing the image resolution when I want to see a live or recorded program streamed to my phone or computer.

Although I'm not fully keeping up to date with the newer boxes as my purchases from a few years back still work well some of the regular contributors to the OpenVix forum rate the Zgemma H7C highly for its price, performance and its remote. These regular contributors seem to have a large number of the new boxes as they are often responsible for the builds and debugging of the OpenVix software for the various different boxes.

Don’t forget when purchasing these boxes you (or get WOS to do it for free) are effectively replacing any software that the manufacturer puts on the boxes with something like the OpenVix image so both boxes will effectively look and operate the same (software wise).

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JBD
Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:21 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 09 Sep 2006 Posts: 17 Location: Wigan
Thanks for the reply - just what I was after. I can live without the mini display, so it's looking like the Zgemma.
Cheers
Jon

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alan_m
Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:36 am Reply with quote
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JBD wrote:
Thanks for the reply - just what I was after. I can live without the mini display, so it's looking like the Zgemma.
Cheers
Jon


Don't forget that the base price doesn't include a hard disk. If fitting the drive internally both boxes possibly require a 2.5" drive and maybe limited to a low height drive. Drives upto 2G are low height whilst 3 and 4+ G drives may be double the height and may not physically fit within the case. Check before ordering a large hard drive. As with a Toppy, the hard drive doesn't need to be a high performace.

The boxes will probably come with the necessary hard drive cables.

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jimi
Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:27 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 29 Mar 2006 Posts: 168
If you do get one, let us know how you get on with it, please

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ccs
Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:47 pm Reply with quote
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I've been using openvix/freeview for 4 years now, never regretted it for one minute.

I can throw recordings at it without any issues (4 tuners) so Wimbledon/cricket/tour de france and all the extras to avoid the bbc's bizarre scheduling strategy was a piece of cake.

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JBD
Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:28 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 09 Sep 2006 Posts: 17 Location: Wigan
Thanks for the comments. I've placed an order (having hummed and hawed about HDD size and lack of CRID). I'll report back when I have it set-up...

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alan_m
Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:45 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 18 Oct 2006 Posts: 3492
JBD wrote:
Thanks for the comments. I've placed an order (having hummed and hawed about HDD size and lack of CRID). I'll report back when I have it set-up...


A few things/reminders that may help

There is a wizard to help configure your box that will automatically start when you first power up your box.

Once you have your box working go to
Menu -> Setup -> System -> Customise -.
Configure "setup Mode" to Expert as it will give you more menu options.

Use AutoBouquet Maker
Menu -> Setup -> Tuners and Scanning -> AutoBoquetMaker - Providers
to setup and scan your TV region for Freeview

If making a favourites list its easier on your computer using the inbuilt Web Interface (Webif) . If you have put the box on your home network first find its IP address Menu -> Information -> Network -> IP
Now type this IP into the address bar of your browser and you should see the WEbif for the box. Somewhere in there should be a Bouquet Editor.

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YorkshireJumbo
Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:40 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 16 Sep 2005 Posts: 761
I'm in the process of trying to find a replacement for my YouView box as it's decided to get flakey. I still use the Toppy for SD as the MyStuff UI is so much better than anything I've seen elsewhere. I back it up daily, so even a crash isn't too painful apart from the time required to copy everything back on.

I'm half-toying with the idea of just getting a more recent YV box secondhand, but I'm still stuck with all the foibles of that UI - though at least I know how to use it! But then I'm stuck with recordings that I can't access except via the box. BTW does anyone know of any way to extract recording of it except by playing them?

But I'm seriously considering a Linux box, even though it's been 30 years since I was a Sybase DBA on a Unix box. I'm happy to tinker with new tech and I like the flexibility, which were the same reasons why I bought the Toppy 14 years ago. I like the idea of the Web Interface and the fact that recordings are accessible elsewhere. I've read most of the last few pages of this thread, so have a few ideas about boxes, but going to the WoS site is quite intimidating! Not knowing exactly what you're looking for is offputting. There are UHD boxes from £89 up to £409, and I've no real idea how to choose between them.

So please can someone let me know what features are crucial, what are nice to have and which are not really needed. I've got no access to satellite, so will be looking at Freeview, which I guess will limit my choices slightly. I realise that YMMV, but any guidance would be appreciated

TIA 👍

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ccs
Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:10 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 30 Oct 2007 Posts: 2582
Boxes with only freeview terrestrial tuners are difficult to find at the moment.

Ideally you want one with plug and play tuners so you can buy/configure them as you want. Most other features are common to all boxes.

Some tuners are now described as "twin" tuners which means effectively 2 tuners in a single slot.

A lot have built in tuners, nearly always satellite, so the choice becomes limited.

You can get usb dvb-t2 tuners (I use one).

Most of the HD channels I watch are on the same mux, bbc1, bbc2, itv, ch4 so you could record all these at the same time with one tuner.

I've got 4 tuners, and they do all get used on rare occasions, usually because of pre and post padding when the overlap of concurrent recordings becomes exaggerated.

I've had my box for over 4 years and found it easy to use.

You don't need to be a unix expert to use one, but a little knowledge would help.

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JBD
Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:52 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 09 Sep 2006 Posts: 17 Location: Wigan
jimi wrote:
If you do get one, let us know how you get on with it, please


Thanks for the advice given here; it's taken (much) longer than I'd hoped but I've set up the Zgemma. I'm still on a learning curve, but at the moment I'm reasonably happy.

I fell at the first hurdle as the Toppy had a loop through - not so the Zgemma. 1 splitter later and I have 2 tuners.

alan_m's comments were really useful, as was EMJB's guide (better than the openvix manual in fact!)

As others have commented it's made me appreciate just how very, very good mystuff was/is and the power of CRID. Nonetheless, I can now avoid the talktalk PVR and set powerful timers to record in HD. The Webif interface is a boon and it generally seems a good bit snappier to respond compared to the toppy.

I've still got to suss picons (I managed to get ~50% of the channels to have logos) and learn some sort-cuts (for example I stumbled across using 1,4,6 and 3,6,9 to skip though a recording yesterday!)

So on balance I'm happy, but would be even happier with a HD mystuff.....

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