Technomate TM
0501ws21 technomate S5
£119
6/12/04
3:36 pm
Page 50
020 8509 2440
w w w. t e c h n o ma t e . c o m
Technomate TM-1500 CI+
TECHNOMATE HAS JOINED THE BLIND SEARCH GANG WITH A NEW RANGE OF
RECEIVERS, BUT IT ISN’T FOLLOWING THE PACK, AS ALEX LANE DISCOVERS
>
There are few manufacturers who
put out new brands of receiver as
often as Technomate. Although it
doesn’t seem like a long time since the TM5500 range, this is the first in an entirely new
batch of Technomates boasting new software
and features. The rate at which new models
are released can be confusing, but it does
mean they’re always up to date.
The most significant new feature is Blind
Search, but you’ll also find Auto Navigation,
which enables several satellites to be searched
at once, a multi-channel display, and
Technomate’s unique DiSEqC movement display, which isn’t essential but shows attention
to detail.
The receiver is smart and compact, with a
porthole-style window over the four-digit LED
display, and only basic controls for power and
channel change on the front. To the right is a
drop-down flap covering the Multicrypt card
reader and common interface slot. Multicrypt
is one of the current crop of read-anything
conditional access softwares that make it far
Auto-Navigation can scan
several satellites automatically
50
WHAT SATELLITE & DIGITAL TV January 2005
easier to operate a pirate card with several different types of encryption on board.
The remote control is an interesting
design. It is large and has good chunky keys,
but the central grouping of menu, channel
and volume control keys are slightly difficult
to get at because they’re recessed.
Setup & searching
The installation menus allow you to set up and
save as many active satellites as you like, from a
very comprehensive list. You’ve got a choice of C
and Ku-band LNB types, and DiSEqC switching
for up to four LNBs. The manual claims this
receiver supports DiSEqC 1.1 switching for up to
16 LNBs, but with only one level of control, that’s
not possible.
You can jump straight to searching for
channels from Satellite Setup menu, but
motorised users will need to set up movement limits, and find the satellites manually if
they’ve only got a dumb DiSEqC 1.2 motor.
There are coarse and fine movement settings,
and USALS users have only to set their move-
Eight favourites lists and powerful
channel-sorting features
Set up to eight timers from
the EPG
ment limits before they start hunting channels. You can pick which transponder you use
for satellite-hunting, and there’s also an
onscreen movement display where you can
fine-tune any positions you’re not happy
about, while watching TV.
To find channels, you’ve got a choice
between the very quick Auto Navigation,
which uses a traditional list of transponder frequencies, or Blind Search, which searches for
any active frequencies at the position. You’ve
got the usual choice of just looking for TV
channels, and you can just look for TV channels (ignoring radio and data channels).
There’s also Network Search to use information transmitted by associated bouquets.
The Blind Search option isn’t one to choose
if you want to get a quick start, because even
in Fast mode it can take two hours to scan the
whole Ku-band, and in Detail mode you can
expect it to take seven hours. You can halve
this by selecting either horizontal or vertical
polarisation, but that’s still a very long time.
The trade-off is ultimately worth it because
Multi-picture mode lets you
monitor several channels
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TEST REPORT
’The sound is passed
perfectly by the digital
audio output, and
supports AC-3 encoding
for Dolby Digital channels‘
RATING
BUILD
SETUP
SEARCHING
NAVIGATION
PERFORMANCE
FEATURES
VALUE
the TM-1500CI+ finds channels ignored by
many other receivers.
Finally, you can narrow down a search in
the traditional way by programming in a frequency, and by using PIDs if you need to.
any extra programme information. There’s an
onscreen info banner which shows signal
strength, channel name, satellite, encryption,
frequency, time, and has optional PID figures
and programme information display.
Navigation
Performance
You’ve got capacity for 5,000 channels, which
should be enough for even the most tenacious channel-scanner with a big dish, and the
sorting options are very powerful. Pressing
‘OK’ reveals a channel list screen where you
can sort channels by satellite, then by encryption (either all, free or by individual encryption
types) and finally into alphabetical or
transponder order. The current channel is
shown in a corner with its frequency below,
and you can browse without having to
change channels.
There are also eight favourites lists which
have generic names by default, but you can
change them to your needs, and view them
instantly with the remote’s ‘Fav’ button. You
can rename channels and edit PIDs, move
them around the master list, delete channels,
or set the channel up/down buttons to skip
them if you’re just surfing through.
The EPG theoretically supports a full sevenday EPG, though it just shows two hours of
programming for six channels at present, with
a thumbnail view of the selected channel, and
The picture quality of the TM-1500CI+ is nothing
to be ashamed of – even after testing a hi-def
receiver! Pictures are stable, with rich colours,
even in composite video mode – and you can
adjust the colour balance to suit. The tuner
seems fairly resilient with low-quality signals, so
you shouldn’t be troubled by digital artefacts.
The sound is passed perfectly by the digital
audio output, and supports AC-3 encoding for
Dolby Digital channels. The analogue stereo
outputs are very clean, but audio quality really
depends upon the channel you watch.
Modulated UHF
loopthrough
Composite
video output
Features
Eight event timers can be set via the EPG, and
any channel can be assigned a PIN lock. The
channel list (and transponder database) can also
be edited on a PC using the software available
on www.technomate.com.
OVERALL
FEATURES
Receiver: Technomate TM-1500 CI+
Price: £119
No LNB inputs: 1
Very fast generally;
LNB loopthrough: Yes
Easy setup
DiSEqC: 1.0, 1.2 USALS
No channels: 5,000
Blind search may
No satellites: 53
be too slow
Selectable FEC: Yes
for some
Symbol rate range:
2000-45000
CAM: Multicrypt
Common interface: 1
Teletext: Built-in & VBI reinserted
EPG support: DVB 7-day
Timer: Eight-event, 1 year
UHF modulator tuning: Channels 21-69
Expansion bus: Serial
Software upgrade: PC
AV outputs: 2 RGB Scarts, composite video out,
stereo audio out, coaxial digital audio out
Supplier: Technomate, 328 Hoe Street, London
E17 9PX
Tel: 020 8509 2440
Web: www.technomate.com
Verdict
THE OPPOSITION
The blind search is efficient but slow, and, overall, the TM-1500CI+ is a polished receiver at a
competitive price Manhattan Plaza ST-200
TV Scart supports RGB
and composite video
Serial port for upgrading software
and editing channel lists
82%
+
-
A speedy blind search
receiver with DiSEqC 1.2 and
USALS, plus twin common
interface and optional Irdeto CAM
Echostar DSB-880
A speedy, compact receiver
with twin common interface
and built-in Viaccess CAM. Latest version has full
DiSEqC 1.2 and USALS controls, but not blind search
ICE FC3000CI
Stereo audio
output
Coaxial digital
audio output
VCR loopthrough Scart supports
RGB and composite video
LNB input rated to 400mA
for DiSEqC motors
Good value receiver with
twin common interface and
full DiSEqC/USALS motor control, plus lots of other
useful features
WHAT SATELLITE & DIGITAL TV January 2005
51
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