Tuner upgrades

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by romanpj, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. romanpj

    romanpj New Member

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    Dec 23, 2003
    UK
    I've recently been having a poke around OzTivo and some of the other places where people have managed to get Tivo working. One of the things that caught my eye was the tuner conversion they do to get a working PAL setup. I'm always in awe of how inventive people can be. I did play with the idea of replacing the existing analogue tuner with a digital one and did a bit of digging around tuner specs and pinouts. However, on further thought, I realised that the outputs from the tuner package probably needs decoding by additional circuitry before we'd get a useable data stream so thats that idea out the window.

    I haven't been able to get a clear explanation of all the pinouts on the tuner packages but mostly they seem to be 5v lines for power, lines for channel switching and signal output. Which is broadly what a set-top box is about (power input, channel control and output to TV). Anyone got a detailed spec for the Alps tuner we have?

    Looking at these Freeview boxes:-

    www.inest.co.uk/products/Tevion_Freeview_Scart_Adapter.asp
    www.willentrading.co.uk/vision/freeview/bush-dfta1001-freeview-adaptor-ultra-compact-p-333.html?osCsid=6pi1qt1t4hchmit48pa9327pf
    www.securitydirect.co.uk/acatalog/Scart_Freeview_Box_Compact.html

    made me realise that the decoding electronics can be quite compact with modest power requirements. So what I'm visualising is removing the existing analogue tuner and being able to replace it with a compact tuner and decoder that can then be connected into the Tivo motherboard (with wires so we don't have to worry too much about dimensions). If its done right the Tivo would be able to switch channels directly (not via infra-red) and the decoded output would be fed directly onto the motherboard. And with a bit of luck it would pick-up its power off the motherboard too.

    Perhaps Tvonics could be persuaded to produce a simplified version of the guts of their MFR-300. Preferably it would have a simplified firmware as the EPG would be redundant and given where it would be installed I think simple and reliable would be best.

    Ah well, I can but dream :rolleyes:

    Paul
     
  2. romanpj

    romanpj New Member

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    Dec 23, 2003
    UK
    Anyone got a detailed spec for the Alps tuner we have?

    Thanks

    Paul
     
  3. AMc

    AMc Active Member

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    Mar 22, 2002
    East of England
    IIRC someone modded their Tivo to build in a Freeview tuner connected in the conventional way but all in one box - Mikerr perhaps?
    My now deceased Wharfedale freeview box had a very compact motherboard which would have been easy enough to jack into the big Tivo box and connect through the SCART and RF ports but I don't need the space enough to worry.
    Of course native DTT recording would be better quality but that goes beyond my thoughts on modding the S1!
     
  4. romanpj

    romanpj New Member

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    Dec 23, 2003
    UK
    Is this the one your thinking of:-

    http://www.tivoland.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=238&sid=8af567cea01083fb178f968dd853032e

    This is what got me thinking along those lines. For me its not so much the space but rather having a neat, elegant solution. If it was built-in there'd shorter paths, fewer connections and a neater setup under the TV :) And a straight forward tuner/decoder package would be better then some of the flakey set-top boxes we currently have to endure especially as we don't need the Freeview EPG.
     
  5. AMc

    AMc Active Member

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    Mar 22, 2002
    East of England
    That was the one, I didn't remember it having only RF output.

    My Wharfedale DV832BN(2) bit the dust a couple of days ago. It has been very reliable, channel changing failed an incredibly small number of times in almost 3 years continuous operation. It's also crucially supported by Tivo remote codes.

    I opened the Wharfedale case to determine if it could be revived, there was one very popped power capacitor and not much else visibly wrong. I'd bought the Argos 3 year warranty for £5 on my box when I bought it so it's been returned for a refund rather than attempt a motherboard repair. The Freeview guts were much slimmer than I would have expected and would (at a glance) slot into the top of the Tivo case. As the mainboard was fed AC directly (no chunky PSU) then you could probably wire straight off the Tivo AC input. Power consumption is 11W.

    The biggest hassle would be desoldering the SCART connectors on the Tivo motherboard and RF sockets without killing the Tivo (beyond my humble skills). Based on that Tivoland project it might be less messy to connect the sockets through the back plate then use super short SCART and RF leads to connect up? At least that was you'd have a fall back if the Freeview guts died or you switched to cable or sat.

    If you used the Wharfedale as a donor Freeview box you could attach its front display into the casing and be able to see what channel it was on as well as being able to simply use the front blaster on Tivo to change channels on the Freeview again without hacking the Tivo hardware, just the case. If you wanted you could also mount the power and channel buttons so you had a way to reset without rebooting Tivo.

    It occurs to me that you'd want to retain the Freeview IR sensor so you could rescan channels as the Digital Switchover takes place - it would be upsetting to hardwire everything then discover you couldn't retune!

    I've ordered a replacement Wharfedale LPDV832HDMI from SuperFi (awaiting stock) but my only Tivo is too precious to be hacked about like this
    http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/page/moreinfo.cfm/Product_ID/5012

    The last lifetime Tivo that went on eBay was £48 + £25 for the Freeview - If I had the time AND the money I might be tempted...
     
  6. terryeden

    terryeden TiVo, Tivum, Tiva,

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    Nov 2, 2002
    Surrey
  7. romanpj

    romanpj New Member

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    Dec 23, 2003
    UK
    I could but being the obsessive I am I'd rather have a nice integrated solution. :)

    Also all these Freeview boxes carry a load of junk that we Tivo owners don't need (eg. EPG - we've got a much better one :D ) and I think a simpler firmware in the Freeview decoder would mean a more reliable operation.

    Paul
     
  8. romanpj

    romanpj New Member

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    Dec 23, 2003
    UK
    @ AMc

    What I may do is cannibalise one of the compact Freeview boxes mentioned in my original post and mount it by its SCART socket in the space over the AUX socket. Then use some of the ideas from that page I pointed to to manage it. But I still think it should be possible to construct a simple tuner/decoder package that can interface with the Tivo motherboard directly.

    Anyone got a service manual for the Tivo???
    Anyone know the pin-outs for the tuner (Alps TMDG2-805A)???

    Paul
     
  9. AMc

    AMc Active Member

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    Mar 22, 2002
    East of England
    @romanpj sounds like an interesting project.

    Some stuff I would want to watch for.
    You need a reliable freeview decoder - you'd be gutted to hack up your case to discover loads of failed changes etc.
    You need channel change codes in Tivo (or a hacked Tivo to load your own codes)
    Lots of those SCART adapter Freeview boxes have massive 'wall wart' AC/DC power supplies so ideally you'd want one that could take power from one of the Tivo PSU standard lines if you were looking for neatness.
    You need a method of powering the freeview box off/on (micro switch on the back of the Tivo case perhaps?)
    You need a method to blast IR from Tivo to the Freeview adapter and to rescan channels.

    As far as signal path is concerned adding a cable between the Freeview TV out and Tivo AUX in actually adds a link, but I wouldn't dangle one of those SCART adapter boxes directly off my Tivo so it probably would make any difference.

    Returning to your idea of replacing the tuner module - my quick peek in the Wharfedale did reveal a Phillips branded tuner unit not disimilar in package size to the Tivo one [EDIT relooking at that Tivoland thread the Tivo tuner is MUCH larger!]. Assuming that type of box actually did the decoding to analogue video then I guess you could perhaps theoretically get it to work. Of course then you'd need a Tivo line up that had Freeview channels on the internal tuner, so even after all that moding you might be stuffed by the ancient Series 1 software...

    If you do put a freeview box into your Tivo I'd love to see pictures and 'how to' info - good luck!
     

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