Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blu-ray players as Home Theater Set Top Boxes

Read the story here on how your next Blu-Ray player will do just about everything *besides* playing BR discs: stream Pandora music, stream Netflix movies, play pay-per-view movies from Amazon/Vudu/Blockbuster sources, show YouTube videos, display the weather, and just about anything else you can think of...


Geek out,


Friday, January 1, 2010

New HD satellite box for Armed Forces Network (AFN)

I just signed up for the new Hi-Def satellite box, the Cisco 9865:

Cisco Video HERE

There is a Stars-n-Stripes article on it HERE. EDIT: did you catch the little blurb about not going HD until 2012? I doubt you did, either...

I'm on a waiting list, and there is no increased cost for the monthly lease. Looks like it has HDMI and Component video out.

The product manual is HERE on the Cisco website.

No word on whether my current LNB antenna will work, or if the signal gets routed through the same satellite I'm using now. And Dolby Digital Plus may be a software upgrade, and don't know if that is implemented in the current firmware. Surround sound will be via S/PDIF RCA type connector (not optical), which is fine by me, as my only optical input is taken by the PS3, but I have two open S/PDIF inputs on my Pioneer A/V receiver.

I will keep everyone posted when I get my box from the exchange.

Geek Out,

20 FEB 2010 UPDATE: The new box will **NOT** give a HD signal until 2012, when AFN switches the satellite to an HD signal. The box does have HDMI, but will only upconvert the regular SD picture to 1080 (but still be low-resolution). **Don't get the box** if you don't have to!!!!! The instructions they hand out at the Customer Service Desk do NOT work with setting up the new box for Japan/Korea (AFRTS)... only Guam (DTS Pacific), DTS Atlantic and DTS Indian Ocean areas.

Upside is:
1) upconverts to 1080 over HDMI
2) simultaneously outputs audio and video to your recording device (via composite and stereo out) at the same time as outputting over HDMI
3) Has an EGN (Electronic Guide) with all the channels and their names, from which you can select to change channels without having to input numbers.

NOTE: Right now, the unit will NOT pass through ANT IN signals (say from another video source like a cable box), through TV OUT unless the unit is powered off. Cisco says they will correct this with a future software release. There is no discussion how to upload firmware upgrades to our boxes.

I am going to post instructions in the next few hours on the settings to acquire the AFRTS Japan/Korea satellite with the new box.

Configuration Guide for the D9865 “HD” AFN Satellite Decoder Box:

This is specific for the customers in Japan and Korea including Okinawa
Plug in the unit and all video/audio cables. There is a power switch on the “BACK” of the unit (turn on).

Using the supplied remote control, do the following after hooking up satellite wire and television via cables:

{NOTE: The “preset” in the decoder for AFRTS Korea/Japan has incorrect data and will NOT work}

1) Hit the “MENU” button
2) Using arrow down button, highlight “Setup Menu”, and hit “OK”
3) “Tuning / Preset” should be highlighted, and hit “OK”
4) Using the arrow buttons and OK button to edit the following settings to match:
Modulation Type: DVB-S
Downlink: 12.647 GHz
Symbol Rate: 28 MSps
NetID: 4
LO Select: Auto
LO Freq 1: 9.75 GHz
LO Freq2: 10.6 GHz
Crossover: 11.7 GHz
LNB Power: V-NIT (or) H-NIT [You may need to try one or the other, depending on your antenna]
DisEqC: Disable
DisEqc Switch: Off

5 ) Once you set these up correctly, you should get a “LOCK”
6) On the remote, hit the GREEN button to save
7) The unit should start to automatically “Acquiring Network” and “Acquisition Success”
8) Hit “OK” to save
9) Hit “Exit” to exit the menu
10) You should either get a picture or a message stating that the particular channel requires authorization. It may take up to 24 hours for authorization to be downloaded to the satellite box.

This instruction was compiled by a local Okinawa military officer subscriber, and may have inaccuracies depending upon your satellite dish hardware, and in the event it does not work, you will have to call your satellite installer for more detailed technical help.
** AAFES does not condone nor endorse this instruction, nor responsible for charges for setting up your satellite decoder box by a professional. **

Hit the Blue Button to “ACTIVATE” and follow the prompts, for acquiring the signal.
If you get a signal LOCK, that is what you want, and then Exit.
If you go to the channels and don’t see a picture, it should say something about requiring authentication… that means you are getting the right satellite, and you just need to wait until your decoder box is authenticated back in California. Make sure you have the customer service manager IMMEDIATELY input your new box into the system at the exchange, or they may wait until the end of the shift… and you won’t get authenticated as quickly as needed.

Fun Pic of my Daihatsu Pyzar in Okinawa with Moon Discs: