MobiDTV Dual USB DTT Tuner

I ordered the MobiDTV Dual DTT USB 2.0 stick on eBay from UK and in less than I week I have it. Less than €30 including P&P

UPDATE The MobiDTV stick has proved unreliable and the supplier is gone. Do not purchase

package 

Sealed Rigid plastic pack contains CD, install guide, remote, USB stick (with regular TV socket) and vertical aerial

Most TV is horizontal so the aerial rod works better on side of a metal object.

The supplied software has the MPEG2 and MPEG4 codecs, so will do Saorview HD. It will NOT do "freeview HD", only standard "freeview". The menu has two sources, DVB-T and DVB-T2, this is 1st and 2nd tuners, not DVB-T and DVB-T2, it has DVB-T only so no UK HD.


On An AMD Athlon 64 3700+ running XP SP3 and ATI X1600 graphics

The "stick" installed perfect. Even the HD loop on RTE NL is perfect (clipped on a 1600 x 1200 screen). Good EPG also. Nearly 4 years old

Processor usage

HD test loop is 100% CPU

Sd programs about 40% CPU

So you need a fairly good Graphics card and CPU. Most Notebooks won't do HD.

All using supplied software.

update 1:

Now running on a 1920x 1080 @ 50fps progressive (19" CRT, yes really!). De-interlacing looks good.

Having correct refresh rate reduces CPU to 15% SD, 24% HD!

The PIP works perfect (Picture in Picture) the fact it's dual tuner will be good when second Mux starts inside next 6 months.

Update 2: Gamer Laptop:

MSI Laptop, ATI HD5870 Graphics, Windows 7 64 bit, Core i5, 1920x1080@60Hz screen. Purchased August 2010

Installed and works perfect. Not quite as perfect HD as CRT running at 50Hz refresh due to frame rate conversion.

Update 3 Compaq-HP "mini" Semi Netbook

Atom 1.6GHz CPU, 11" 1366 x 768 screen, Nvidia Ion GPU HD 

XP Home. Purchased October 2010

RTE  NL test loop  is very good  with TV3e in PIP on DTT stick

stick

Update 9th November 2010: XP pro SP3, 8 year old Inspiron 8200 Laptop

Specification

P4 Mobile 1.8GHz CPU (almost a desktop CPU), 1G RAM (originally 512M), GeForce 4 440 Go 32M RAM Graphics adaptor with PAL/S-video, VGA and internal UXGA ultrasharp 1600 x1200 LCD, only USB 1.1 x2 built in so using 2x USB 2.0 ports via PCMCIA adaptor
Sold by Dell as "desktop replacement" in April 2002 for about €2,500

The install was perfect, USB device worked when I fixed my usb.inf which was in wrong place:

The application uses 1% to 20% CPU during channel search

It uses 40% to 80% for SD TV.

It uses about 180 RAM while running showing SD and 300Mbyte on HD. Extra RAM used peaked at about 420M at one stage.

Best results are NOT full screen but resize to 576 line high window
for SD. The Inspiron 8200 can do the SD TV fine if you don't try and do
anything else!

The Inspiron 8200 is not able to play the HD test loop. The codec does work, but almost all frames dropped, only very static scenes render. It's likely the limitation is a mix of CPU, bandwidth to Graphics card and Graphics card HW acceleration. Either a faster CPU OR better Graphics is required. Most Atom powered mobos are not going to work without a very good graphic card. Most integrated Intel Graphics will not be able unless they have Nvidia Ion GPU.

mobi-epg 

EPG has video in window. Rescaled to 50% for web page. 

Traditional Teletext, but not MHEG5 Interactive Text is supported

teletext

Aerials:

Comparing €2 rabbit ears indoor and 10 Element outdoor aerial

Rabbit Ear Outdoor Yagi
Analogue almost unwatchable Perfect like DVD
Digital stick Perceptible Artefacts on some content Perfect like DVD/BD


Dscf1802

(Photograph, not screen capture)

When searching channels leave LCN blank to number all sequentially, or "tick" to have Radio channels in the 200s and channel numbers assigned by RTE NL.

 

Image1

And the Irish Stations found:

Image2

At the end the channels can be copied to the 2nd Tuner

Image3

On most (all?) Laptop screens and PC monitors change the Application Display settings to "de-interlace" for better quality (more CPU %) and on most select HW Acceleration

Image7

ProgDVB does work with it, but only on higher spec PCs/Laptops.

Third party Applications

It's a BDA driver, and it does run in ProgDVB, DVBdream and DVBviewer (all paid versions), though you need 3rd party codecs such as Core AVC (not free). FFDshow /VLC are far to slow for viewing.

Windows 7 Media Center.

Starter edition and Home Basic doesn't have Media Center (Thanks Karsini), all other Windows 7 should be fine. The "wizard" was simple and everything worked on 1st attempt. Even MHEG5 Interactive text. 

Windows Media Center EPG from DVB info

win7epg


MHEG5 based RTE text

win7mheg5-1s

Plus: Full EPG, MHEG5, Pause Live TV, seek Live TV, smooth glossy interface suitable for a Remote Control (MS sell one).

Cons: Uses more CPU than Total Media thus needs higher spec laptop. Even when you exit MC, the tuners can't be used in another application (record scheduling?), but removal and re-insertion of the USB stick allows an other application (i.e. Total Media 3.5) to use the Tuners.

LINUX

It's not currently supported on Linux.

see

If the mentioned card/stick has any caveats, don't buy. Install DVBapps then check the mentioned card/stick *.fw file is in your firmware directory
already.. It's a pain to build one as its kernel version specific.

Unless the file for the device is automatically there when you install dvbapps, don't consider buying the card/stick if ls /dev/dvb has no results after you add the card/usb stick, then it won't work.

Conclusions

UPDATE: The MobiDTV stick has proved unreliable and the supplier is gone. Do not purchase

The Total Media Application is also no longer supported.

The MobiDTV Dual DTT stick and supplied Total Media 3.5 Application is a run CD, plug in and go flawless solution for PC/Laptop Irish HD TV. You need a high spec, but that is true for any consumer tuner module. A Set-box or TV set uses dedicated DSP Hardware and video buses to the SCART DAC and HDMI interface to achieve perfect performance with the CPU only used for GUI and control. "Out of the box" it just works with only run CD and channel scanned needed as a minimum setup. You may want to change the default Display settings.

There is no MHEG5 interactive, but the stick uses a BDA driver so an alternate application could be used.

Pause Live TV works perfectly. It takes a second or so to change channel (faster on higher spec computers).

The Remote is limited but does work. The "window" on the "stick" for IR remote receive is not obvious.

As with all of these the supplied aerial isn't very good compared to a regular UHF indoor aerial, especially in Horizontal polarised reception area. The stick takes a regular aerial plug (belling lee). In most areas a loft or roof top aerial is recommend, but that applies to all TV reception devices.

Specification

Contents

  • Dual tuner USB 2.0 DVB-T stick
  • Mini-Remote control
  • Mini magnet base UHF whip. works best on metal surface and in Horizontal Polarised areas , sticking out sideways.
  • CD and instruction leaflet
  • Total Media 3.5 SW (link)  to watch, record, edit video, make DVDs, DVD playback.(on Driver CD)

Hardware

DVB-T: 6MHz, 7MHz, 8MHz Channels. Any two channels simultaneously

VHF: 174MHz ... 230MHz

UHF: 470 ... 858MHz

Tuner: Fitipower FC0012

Demodulator: AFA9035/9033

USB 2.0: AFA 9035

Requirements

(These would apply really to H.264 DTT using any device):

Windows XP S2 (XP SP3 recommended) 32bit/64bit: 1G RAM recommended. 768M minimum 

Vista / Windows 7 32bit/64bit: 2G RAM recommended, 1.5G minimum

HD needs suitable graphics card.

Best quality is with a 1920 x1080i (25fps, 50Hz fields) graphics card and suitable external screen

Next best is 1920 x1080p 50Hz/ 50fps via de-interlacing

Native 60Hz refresh is noticeably poorer on SD and HD as the frame rate has to be converted and source de-interlaced.

See here for program content in Ireland (Click Saorview link)