Red Button Interactive (MHEG) browser for DVB-S cards...

Nick [D]vB

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I have found a couple of bits of software that might let DVB-S card users take a peek at the FreeSat interactive MHEG services. All this stuff is in early beta stage so don’t get too exited, but its worth a shot.

First you need the excellent DC-DVB Source:

http://www.dsp-worx.de/?n=11

DeCoder has stopped developing it now but the 0.17 beta he did for the 2006 HD trials is working fine with FreeSat, even with the H.222 tricks. It's not on the main site any more so I have uploaded a beta pack here:

http://www.sendspace.com/file/5g1y8r

As well as playing the HD streams you can also have a look at the interactive service’s MHEG objects, but DC-DVB can only dump the files that make up the pages.

To try and view them you can use McGoober’s beta MHEG engine:

http://code.google.com/p/mheg-dotnet/

http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/plugins-47/uk-digital-interactive-red-button-mhegplugin-12856/

AFAIK this is the only working MHEG engine (for windows) in existence!? Unless you count Nebula’s sadly defunct DigiTV software, but I don’t think they ever finished sat support? I tried to “force–feed” DigiTV v3.2 a transport stream through the network interface but couldn’t get it working.

http://www.digitv-hd.com/


Anyway, McGoober’s engine is very good but it’s not 100% yet, any interaction with the video streams will cause a crash so it is only able to view certain pages at the moment. As I said it’s a very early beta but even so it works with most Freeview MHEG apps I have tried. I can’t get a dish rigged up myself so I have only tested FreeSat using small transport stream samples, but hopefully it should work out there in the wild to?


Basic DC-DVB setup:

DC-DVB acts as a back-end source supplying the stream from you sat card to almost any directshow media player (works with ZoomPlayer, Media Player Classic, Windows Media Player and others) To set it up first register the filter with the register.bat file (ignore all the others)

Then run the ChannelScan program, select your sat card and tune it in, you might need to edit the xml channel list first but you can also add single transponders through the menu system.

When you are all tuned in open the properties for ITV HD in the channel menu and force the video type to H.264, you might not need to do this with some codecs / players but it can’t hurt.

Now select the codecs you want to use to decode the audio and video, Cyberlink’s decoder had scaling issues in some players but they are fixable.

CoreAVC work perfectly so grab the free trial if you have problems.

http://www.coreavc.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=41&Itemid=59

Almost any combined AC3 / Mpeg audio filter will work, don’t set a post-proc filter for the moment.

When you have configured everything as you want it you must then save a .dvb config file. You then open this magic file with the mediaplayer of your choice and DC-DVB does its thing automatically. You will notice a small TV icon in the task bar which is your remote for changing channel etc. If you get an error when you open the file check your codec config as that is normally the culprit. You should get something like this:



You can also pull up a more detailed menu for DC-DVB by opening the source properties in your mediaplayer (sadly wmp11 does seem let you do this)




MHEG Engine:

Now, if there is an MHEG interactive service running on the channel you are tuned to DC-DVB should start to dump the objects that make up the pages into the MHP sub directory. It might take a few minutes (pausing the video seems to speed it up).

If you want to try and view the interactive pages open the MHEG engine and select the DCDVB/Filter/MHP/ChannelName folder using the “Root” button, then press the text button to load the pages, this is a test I did with the Freeview ITV page:



If all is well you should be able to navigate around as if you were using a normal STB.

I have been searching for a working MHEG viewer for years, now that both FreeView DVB-T and FreeSat are using MHEG there is more incentive to finally get it working properly.

Development seems to have stalled again but I’m going to try and contact the authors and see where they’re at. If they are unable to continue the project maybe others will be able to help out?

It might be worth porting it to the MultiDec API, it would save having to fix MediaPortals issues and would make it usable with a load of other apps as well. Just a thought?


I’ll keep you posted. Now, what are you waiting for? Press your red button now! …no, not that one, that’s the off button! (about time... ;) )


Let me know how you get on,

Cheers,
Nick
 
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osborne82

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just what ive been playing with since got my sat set up lol have some sources here for dreambox needs alot of work yet but defo possible :) :) will examine this some more see if we can produce something worth while :) thanks for posting :)


cheers

osborne82
 

Nick [D]vB

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Thanks for replying 8)

If you want to have a play with it (but don't have a dvb-s card) you should be able to configure DC-DVB to accept the transport stream output from your dreambox's ethernet port.

I can't put a dish up at my new flat so I can't test much myself, But I am particularly interested to know if BBC HD has an interactive service running?

I know the engine can't display the over-layed Red/Blue button graphic on ITV HD, but if you can get a complete interactive page up from any Freesat channel that would be good start.

Before I found McGoober's engine, out of desperation I installed Debian linux to play with the "RB-Browser" MHEG engine, I think the MythTV addon uses the same sources?

If your Dreabox sources are based on the same code base then it is pretty much complete. McGoober's code is almost there now but actually implementing it fully as a plug-in of some sort will still be a lot of work.

I am going to get in touch with him soon so I'll let you know what he has to say.

Thanks,
Nick
 
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