cable TV on the PC or laptop computer • tuner with extremely low

TEST REPORT
DVB-C PC Card
DVB-C on the
PC – Thanks
to TBS
•at long last: cable TV on the PC or
laptop computer
•tuner with extremely low threshold
•works with many TV applications
thanks to BDA drivers
•CI available for subscription TV
62 TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine — 01-02/2013 — www.TELE-audiovision.com
www.TELE-audiovision.com — 01-02/2013 — TELE-audiovision International — 全球发行量最大的数字电视杂志
63
TEST REPORT
DVB-C PC Card
Now you can receive cable TV
on your PC or laptop computer
The TBS 6618 is a PCI-e
card with tuner and CI slot
for CAMs. The TBS 5680 is
an external USB tuner which
also features a CI slot and
which is part of the QBox
product family. Both devices
share a rather unique characteristic: They are designed
for DVB-C, which stands for
digital television distributed
via cable networks.
A number or TBS (also
known as Tenow) products have been presented
in TELE-satellite in recent
months and we even ran a
company report in TELE-satellite 02-03/2011. The TBS
product portfolio comprises
all types of PC receivers,
such as PC cards with DVBS/S2 and DVB-T/T2 tuners
like the ones we introduced
in TELE-satellite 10-11/2011.
Among them is the famous
TBS 6984 with no less than
four tuners. It was with
great pleasure that TELEsatellite gave its ‘Innovation
Award’ to this extraordinary
product.
TBS is now launching two
more PC receivers that can
be used to process DVBC signals on the PC. Many
manufacturers turn their
cold shoulder to DVB-C as
far as PC cards are concerned, and you have to
look long and hard to find
suitable products at all. But
not everybody has access to
satellite television and the
range of digital terrestrial
channels is nothing to write
home about in most regions.
Each of the two DVB-C PC
receivers arrived at our test
center in a neat black cardboard box, complete with a
driver CD-ROM, an F-adapter and a remote control. The
TBS 6618 comes with an
additional IR receiver with
standard phone jack. The
01-02/2013
TBS 6618 & TBS 5680
Excellent hardware for watching DVB-C
with an extremely sensitive tuner.
www.TELE-audiovision.com/13/01/tenow
64 TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine — 01-02/2013 — www.TELE-audiovision.com
TBS 5680 USB box has the
IR receiver already built into
its box and hence does not
require an external unit. Instead, we found a USB cable
and an external power supply unit in the cardboard box
of the TBS 5680.
We started out with the
TBS 6618 which we connected to our test center PC.
The LGA 775 board we use
provided an available PCI-e
1.0 slot. Since all TBS PCI-e
cards are compatible with all
versions, it does not make
a difference which slot you
use. Any will do, no matter
whether 1x, 4x, 8x or 16x.
Slotting in the card was
easy peasy – its measurements fully comply with
industry standards and so
it fit into the existing slot
space nicely. The TBS 6618
draws its entire power from
the PCI-e interface, which
means no more cables have
to be attached.
For all its Windows-based
TV cards TBS uses so-called
BDA drivers. BDA is short
for ‘Broadcast Driver Architecture’ and has become the
Microsoft standard for ATSC
and DVB/ISDB video cards.
The interface is fully documented and therefore allows
both hardware manufacturers and software developers
to supply suitable drivers for
their products. What’s more,
programmers of TV applications are able to make sure
their software is compatible
with different TV cards. TBS
customers, in turn, can use
their cards with all stand-
1
2
4
ard TV applications such as
DVBViewer or ProgDVB, to
give just two examples.
In order to put the TBS
6618 and TBS 5680 to their
paces we tried them out with
a number of different software suites. We had a go
with the TBS 6618 first.
Windows Media Center
(WMC) has never gained
much ground and we only
know a handful of people in
Europe who use that software. In our opinion, two
crucial limitations are to
blame for that:
• Windows Media Center
3
5
from Microsoft is practically
the only TV software not allowing installation of SoftCAM plugins. The obvious
result is that pay TV reception is simply not possible.
You’re left with watching
what is available free-to-air.
• WMC tries so hard to
create a pleasant user experience it misses out on configuration options to make
the software work with a
broad range of hardware
products. Users are guided
through strictly defined installation routines and cannot even freely edit their
channel lists.
Those restrictions aside,
WMC is a very capable and
user-friendly software product than can easily turn any
conventional PC into a multimedia box that cannot only
present TV channels but play
back more or less all media
files. It sports an intuitive
user-interface and since it
comes as part and parcel
of any Windows7 operating system you don’t have
to worry about troublesome
installation. Ask any Linux
user with VDR and XBMC
and they will tell you that life
is not always so easy.
The first time you launch
WMC you’re greeted by the
installation wizard. In case
you interrupt that process
or if WMC was already used
before the installation of the
7
TBS 6618 all you need to do
is call up TV Configuration
under Settings.
On our test PC WMC detected the TBS 6618 DVB-C
card right away (as well as
a DVB-S2 card that occu-
pied another PCI-e slot) and
had us select one of the two
available cards to configure
and pair with WMC.
Even users without previous experience need not
worry: WMC automatically
downloads
channel
lists
from the Internet that correspond to the actual location.
This way the channel search
that follows is completed
much faster.
In our first go, however,
we had no such luck and
WMC could not find a single channel. Apparently, no
transponders were detected
for our particular post code.
Of course we did not give
up so easily and entered the
post code of a major town
nearby, instead of our local
code. This did the trick and
8
it seemed WMC was able to
download transponder data
from the Internet. Even
though, you need a lot of
patience for the channel
search that took some 20
minutes in our case.
To be fair, we cannot
blame the TBS 6618 for the
rather lame performance.
With DVB-C each provider
uses their own transponder
matrix, which means that for
a complete channel search
all channels of the standardised transponder table have
to scanned with all possible
parameters: QAM4, QAM8,
QAM16, QAM32, QAM64,
QAM128, QAM256, and differing symbol rates such as
6100, 6875 or 6900.
Nonetheless,
chances
are the available channels
are not found after all, because some cable providers do not use frequencies
that conform to the industry
standard. This is why many
TV applications come with a
stupefying search mode that
tries out all possible modulations and symbol rates one
after the other for each and
every frequency. One notable exception is ProgDVB,
and we’ll deal with that software a little later.
ProgDVB
7. Easiest channel scan, even
our cable provider was preconfigured!
8. Lots of functionalities in
an easy to use interface –
ProgDVB matured over its 10
years of existence
9. Just a software blind scan,
but still pretty good, in case
no pre-defined frequency list
is available.
10. CAM’s are recognized
and supported, thanks to the
integraded CI interfacecurrent
version is a limited OEM one.
9
6
10
DVBDream
1. Many optional modules may be selected
2. Though the TBS tuners are shipped with a remote, they don’t
require remote configuration in the TV application, since the
remote buttons are mapped as regular keyboard keys – very
clever!
3. DVBDream features so many modules, one is in doubt, which
to select…
4. Configuration goes on: what CODECs should be used? A little
technical insight is an advantage here.
5. Finally we can enjoy TV with a very clean user interface.
6. Sadly, most of the available buttons refer to the full version of
DVBDream and you only gets this message box, stating that the
current version is a limited OEM one.
66 TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine — 01-02/2013 — www.TELE-audiovision.com
www.TELE-audiovision.com — 01-02/2013 — TELE-audiovision International — 全球发行量最大的数字电视杂志
67
At the end of the second
search run WMC once again
had not found any channels.
This was a clear indication
that Microsoft had the US
market in mind when implementing DVB-C.
We tried to find the frequency table on our PC –
yet, to no avail. We looked
for it with Windows Explorer
and even with the Registry
Editor and could not find
anything. Our usual method
of last resort is an Internet search, and this finally
brought some light into the
matter: WMC has all transponder data embedded in
DLLs, which means there is
no way you can edit these
data.
So once again we sifted
cards are installed during
the installation process.
Next, we had to tackle the
DVBLink configuration. The
manual that is supplied with
the software gives very detailed instructions and you
should definitely make a
point of giving it a read. The
way DVBLink works follows
a certain logic that is not so
easy to understand without
some background information.
For software configuration you need to launch a
dedicated application called
DVBLink Configuration. You
need to select TVSource as
source before you can proceed. In the Devices tab you
then activate the TBS 6618
before moving to the Hea-
dends tab in order to select
an appropriate transponder
list.
The list on offer is quite
huge in comparison with
other TV applications we
tested, even though for our
cable provider (TV Cabo) we
could not find an entry. However, we quickly discovered
the transponder list directory and simply created a new
file for TV Cabo.
This is a self-explanatory
procedure and we found it
surprising that the new file
is automatically added to the
list of available entries. This
way we could start a channel search right away, without having to re-launch the
software. The search was
very swift, which is hardly
surprising since the transponder list only featured
correct parameters which
simply had to be scanned.
Back in the main menu
of the DVBLink Configuration application we then had
to set up the server in the
lower tab. To the left you
can see all found TV and radio channels, which can be
copied into the list to the
right. All entries in that list
are then made available by
the server.
We think this clever layout
deserves special praise as
it allows selecting individual
channels and filtering out
through the manufacturer’s
website and finally discovered the DVBLink software,
which addresses TV cards
directly through their BDA
drivers and provides all received streams to other clients by way of virtual satellite TV cards. This is a neat
detour around WMC’s insufficient support of TV cards.
While it took us some time
to figure out how this set-up
works we simply didn’t want
to do without this added
functionality.
The first step involved installation of DVBLink. For
our test we selected the
DVBLink Server and DVBLink
TVSource components. A total of eight drivers for virtual
68 TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine — 01-02/2013 — www.TELE-audiovision.com
pay TV channels or those
with unsuitable content.
Next, we had to visit WMC
again in order to reconfigure it. This time it detected
four new satellite cards, all
of which carried the name
‘DVBLink Tuner’. The next
step involved selecting any
of the available satellites,
followed by choosing a universal LNB. Given the fact
we’re talking about DVB-C
here, we felt this was a decidedly awkward configuration process and you can imagine our surprise when the
signal quality of the selected
satellite was finally indicated
with 100%.
It was only with the help of
the DVBLink manual that we
figured out that no additional
channel search needs to be
performed at this stage. Instead, we had to turn to the
Extras menu of WMC, launch
the DVBLink plugin and sync
the channel list. Lo and behold: At long last WMC rewarded our efforts with a list
of DVB-C channels!
Whether or not so much
time and effort is worth your
while is not for us to decide. One thing is for sure,
however: WMC looks simply
stunning and once fully set
up all members of your family will get the knack of it after only a short time. For us,
some of the high points are
8
1
2
3
4
automatic time-shifting and
the recording function, both
of which seemed to appear
out of nowhere just when
we needed it. That’s what
we call a perfect interface
between man and machine,
and at that point all our configuration troubles seemed
like vague memories of a
distant past.
Unfortunately,
DVBLink
stubbornly refused to identify any CAM we threw at it,
which is why we could not
check whether or not it is
generally possible to watch
subscription TV with WMC in
combination with DVBLink.
Another downer with this
solution is the fact that
DVBLink does not come free.
TBS customers receive a
10% discount off the regular
price and the DVBLink software can be evaluated for a
period of 20 days before you
need to purchase a licence
key.
The second software candidate we looked at was
DVBDream, which is shipped
by TBS as an OEM version
on CD-ROM together with
the PC cards. During installation and when the application is launched for the first
time new users are confronted with a multitude of
parameters that need to be
adjusted.
Some of them are ambiguous and so our strategy con-
sisted of clicking OK whenever possible. That turned
out to be a worthwhile idea
since it led us to the channel search quickly and efficiently.
DVBDream comes with
a pre-defined transponder
list, but it was of no use to
us since our cable provider
mainly uses a symbol rate
of 6875, while all pre-set
transponders were set at
a symbol rate of 6900. We
then tried a manual search
at 690 MHz – the frequency
of a free-to-air transponder
– and the software was able
to identify all 14 channels
right away.
Inspired by this easy win
we added the transponder
to the transponder list and
initiated another search with
network mode activated. We
expected DVBDream to read
out the network information
table that is transmitted on
the newly added transponder and to use that data to
detect all remaining transponders and channels as
well. Albeit, this didn’t seem
to work and the number of
new channels remained at
zero.
We approached our cable operator and inquired
whether correct NIT information
was
transmitted
at all, but as the test with
TSReader (further down in
the report) later showed
Windows Media Center
9
10
6
1. Installing the driver is straight forward…
2. After finishing the driver installation without a reboot, the Device Manager lists TBS 6618 as a BDA tuner.
3. Even the start screen of Windows Media Center looks impressive.
4. The user is guided smoothly through all configuration steps.
5. First attempt at configuring the DVB-C card and start a channel scan.
6. But at the end, no channels were found!
7. In a second attempt we chose the post code of the nearest big city and
this time we could chose from different cable TV providers.
8. We did another channel scan, which again took almost 15 minutes to
complete, only to find out that no channels were found. What was wrong?
WMC does not support DVB-C outside the USA properly, so DVBLink fills
the niche and provides a virtual DVB-S card for WMC.
9. Drivers for the virtual card are installed automatically.
10. The DVBLink server needs to be configured. This software does not
only make WMC work with DVB-C cards. It actually can do much more
and acts like a streaming server for many different devices or applications.
11. DVBLink provides many pre-defined frequency lists for DVB-C.
12. The channel scan worked immediately.
13. Despite wanting to configure our DVB-C device, we had to tell WMC
that a DVB-S tuner is to be configured. Strange.
14. All four virtual DVBLink tuners appear.
15. Because we are actually using DVB-C, it does not matter what satellite
is chosen.
13
14
11
5
7
15
12
70 TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine — 01-02/2013 — www.TELE-audiovision.com
www.TELE-audiovision.com — 01-02/2013 — TELE-audiovision International — 全球发行量最大的数字电视杂志
71
16
Windows Media Center
16. DVBLink recommends that
the Universal LNB is selected.
17. And we have signal!
18. DVBLink installs a plug-in
in WMC’s Extras menu.
19. This is used to synchronize
the channels.
20. Finally we can relax and
enjoy some TV
21. All functionalities you
would expect from a media
center are of course available.
17
21
18
22
19
23
20
24
72 TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine — 01-02/2013 — www.TELE-audiovision.com
22. The timeline lets you go
back and forth in the time shift
– we never experienced a more
comfortable time shift implementation.
23. DVBLink runs in trial mode
for 20 days, then you must
purchase it. Through TBS you
get a 10% discount.
24. Because DVBLink didn’t
include frequencies for our
cable operator, we just created
a new text file with the right
frequencies. The structure of
the file is easy to understand,
so this was no big deal.
1
only DVBDream is to blame
for that flaw.
This left us with only one
way out to add all channels
to the channel list: Start a
manual search for every
known transponder. While
this worked out fine in the
end we believe it definitely
should not be the way to go.
In its OEM version DVBDream comes with extremely reduced functionality.
What’s worse, all buttons
with inactive functions are
still displayed and every
time you click on one of
these an alert window pops
up informing you that the
function you’re looking for is
not available. In addition, an
earlier test in TELE-satellite
10-11/2011 already demonstrated that the DVBDream
software is really made for
DVB-S/S2 and therefore is
not an ideal match for DVBC.
Being a professional manufacturer of PC cards, TBS
has its own TV software in
store as well. It is called TBSViewer and is essentially a
customised version of DVBViewer with tailor-made appearance. Plus, it will only
work with TBS cards.
The
user
interface
sports a pleasant layout
and the channel list is
displayed as soon as
the cursor approaches the right window
frame – this makes
for a channel selection that is both
convincingly simple and genuinely
elegant. The PiP
(picture-in-picture) function
available
in
this version is another great
feature that allows watching
two channels of the same
transponder at the same
time.
While the pre-set channel
list clearly has satellite TV in
mind the channel search will
also accept DVB-C modulations without further ado.
For the first time in our test
we seem to have reached
common ground: Umpteen
different DVB-C transponders are offered, divided up
according to countries or
modulation types. What’s
more, new lists can easily be
added manually. Then again,
network search and blind
scan mode are not available.
While the TBSViewer software was not included on the
CD-ROM that was shipped
with the TBS 6618, it was
available with the TBS 5680.
This product also came
with the TBSVHID tool that
is required for the remote
control, as well as a PDF file
with an electronic manual.
Even if you buy a TBS card
that does not come with all
5
2
6
the software you’re looking
for you can always find the
missing pieces for download
from the TBS website.
As mentioned above, TBSViewer is an OEM version of
DVBViewer, which is why we
gave the original DVBViewer
application a try as well. It is
evident right from the start
that this software suite is a
well-developed, sophisticated and thought-through solution. All installed TV cards
showed up in the hardware
options immediately and
3
7
4
8
TBSViewer
1. TBSViewer allows an easy
selection of the desired card,
in case you have more than
one installed.
2. Many pre-defined frequency lists – these allow for
a very quick channel scan,
as all tuning parameters are
known.
74 TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine — 01-02/2013 — www.TELE-audiovision.com
3. Scaning all transponders
4. Listing all found channels
5. Nice and simple interface.
6. Many functions like a full
EPG are available in this free
software.
7. CAM’s are recognized.
8. Amazing for a free TV application: even PiP and EPG can
be used
www.TELE-audiovision.com — 01-02/2013 — TELE-audiovision International — 全球发行量最大的数字电视杂志
75
4
1
TSReader
1. TSReader fully supports
both DVB-C tuners from TBS.
2. Channels can be viewed
through streaming to VLC.
3. All details of the transport
steam can be analyzed.
4. This transponder features
12 channels!
5. In this chart one can see the
signal drop, when our artificial
attenuation was activated.
The tuner of the TBS 6618 was
amazingly able to regain a
lock after under one second!
6. Naturally the pictures is full
of artefacts – no other DVB-C
tuner was ever able to get a
lock on such a poor signal, not
even our meters
2
3
without any additional configuration requirements.
We particularly liked that
channel lists can be grouped
and linked to a corresponding TV card in case more
than one card is connected.
Obviously,
DVBViewer
works very similar to TBSViewer, but a great deal of
additional functions such as
a streaming option or distributing the currently received signal to other clients
in the home network provide great value for money
if you opt for the DVBViewer
software that must be purchased.
We found that the software met all our expectations: No matter whether
it’s EPG, teletext, time-shift
viewing or recording, everything performed up to
standard. The one thing that
could use some improvement was the pre-defined
transponder lists, which are
rather limited. While this is
a problem that can easily
be solved, it still tests your
patience as you need to perform a search across the
entire frequency range and
with all modulation types
and symbol rates to make
sure you don’t miss a single channel. This may easily
take 10 to 20 minutes, but
at least all channels of our
cable provider were suc-
76 TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine — 01-02/2013 — www.TELE-audiovision.com
cessfully identified during
our test.
One of the most popular
TV applications is ProgDVB,
which is available in two
versions: free and professional. We only looked at
the free version and what
we found speaks volumes.
On the market since 2002,
ProgDVB is something like
a classic and it’s no surprise
after ten years of continuous
development that this software seems to have more
features and functions than
you will ever need. But this
is only one side of the coin.
What contributes hugely
to the enormous popularity of ProgDVB is that it allows developers to program
plugins. While it is true
that DVBViewer also offers
that option, it is only with
ProgDVB that programmers
are not faced with any restriction whatsoever, which
means that SoftCAM plugins
can be installed and used
as well. This in turn allows
watching encrypted channels in connection with a
valid smartcard. The free
version in itself offers a host
of functions, and ProgDVB
Pro adds premium features
such as picture-in-picture,
mosaic screen, recording
and streaming.
Here again detecting and
integrating the two DVB-C
tuners was as easy as A-BC, and of all tested applications only ProgDVB provided
useful transponder lists by
default. We even found a
dedicated list for TV Cabo,
our cable provider in Portugal. This meant the channel search was done with
in a breeze, just the way it
5
6
should be!
ProgDVB even offers blind
scan, although this is without hardware support. To
circumvent that limitation
ProgDVB scans the entire
frequency range in pre-defined steps (2 MHz by default), which takes forever
(we’re not talking minutes
here but hours) but in the
end delivers a result. Those
of you who haven’t already
done so should definitely
have a look at the ProgDVB
software.
Strictly speaking, TSReader is not software for
watching TV but a highperformance
professional
application for analysing
transport streams. In TELEsatellite 06-07/2012 we already presented TSReader
and its creator Rod Hewitt.
Thanks to the BDA DVB-C
profile setting up TSReader
was successful in the very
first go. This software required that reception parameters of the selected
transponder(s) must be entered manually, but once
that is accomplished you
are immediately presented
with all transponder stream
details. We found that truly
impressive!
Rather than for watching
TV we used this application
to have an in-depth look at
the reception capabilities of
both the TBS 6618 and the
TBS 5680. Beginning with
the TBS 6618 we reduced the
signal level from 55 dBµV to
32 dBµV dBµV. Conventional
DVB-C receivers will look in
wonder at such a weak signal and will not be able to
produce a usable picture at
all. Your TV screen will stay
blank and the receiver in all
probability will not even be
in a position to get a signal
lock.
Out
reference
meter
shows a BER value of <10e-8 when the signal has its
original level of 55 dBµV and
consequently identifies all
channels of the transponders flawlessly. Once the reception level is reduced to
32 dBµV, however, our reference meter cannot lock the
signal any longer and hence
cannot give out a BER value
either.
Given the above, we could
hardly believe our eyes when
the TBS 6618 nonetheless
managed to get a signal lock
and was even able to whizz
up a picture on our screen
at times. We obviously could
not expect faultless video
but we were surprised that
some picture artefacts appeared at all, which is impressive proof of the tuner’s
capabilities.
Next, we checked whether
both models would allow recording an entire transponder. Since it is a single tuner,
the TBS 5680 happily recorded all data, even though
it is connected through a
USB 2.0 interface with its
inherent data rate restrictions.
We finally looked at the
NIT and were in for quite a
surprise: All transponders
used by our cable provider
transmitted the relevant reception parameters, which
means it is indeed possible
to perform a successful network search. Why none of
the software solutions we
tested was in a position to
also put this information to
practical use is beyond us.
Now that we had checked
out the TBS 6618 with all TV
channels available to us it
was time to turn to the TBS
5680 as well.
Basically, this is an external USB version of the TBS
6618 that will find users in
the laptop computer com-
www.TELE-audiovision.com — 01-02/2013 — TELE-audiovision International — 全球发行量最大的数字电视杂志
77
1
only prompted an alert message telling us the receiver
in use is not CI+ certified
and therefore will not work
with CI+ CAMs. Fair enough!
We tested all channels
mentioned before in the
course of this report with
the USB box as well and no
matter how hard we looked,
there was no difference at
all. While this generally is a
very good outcome we were
nonetheless surprised because in theory the transfer
rate via USB 2.0 is inferior to
PCI-e. That is why we used
TSReader to record an entire transport stream (as de-
2
TBS 5680
scribed above) to find out if
the TBS 5680 really is that
fast.
It turned out that the USB
box can indeed keep up with
its PCI-e counterpart, irrespective of theoretical USB
limitations. So the message
1. The CD for the TBS 5680 comes with an automatic installer and
includes a manual and TBSViewer. Buyers of the TBS 6618 can
still download everything from the TBS website at www.tbsdtv.
com.
2. Despite the USB-2.0 connection, we could stream the whole
Transport Stream without a drop. No worries if you want to use
your laptop to watch DVB-C.
munity, for example, since
it offers the only solution for
watching DVB-C on such a
mobile device. If you look at
the TBS product range there
is a similar model in store
which is called TBS USBC TV STICK, but it comes
without a CA slot and thus
cannot be used for the many
encrypted cable channels.
All the more reason for us to
get truly excited about the
TBS 5680, as it makes your
life so much easier. Simply
insert a CA module with a
valid smartcard and off you
go.
We tried several modules
and the TBS 5680 seemed to
be happy with all except one:
It was the CI+ CAM which
we can send out to all those
interested laptop PC users
out there is: Don’t worry
about USB 2.0 restricting
the performance of your external TV box – you’ll never
notice it!
What we did notice in the
course of our test, however,
is that the TBS 5680’s tuner does not have as low a
threshold as the TBS 6618
that performs almost miraculously in that regard.
Something odd we also
found out: When testing
TSReader on a PC with the
TBS 6618 and on a laptop
computer with the TBS 5680
using the same channel
started at exactly the same
time via VLC the output of
the TBS 6618 lagged one
second behind that of the
TBS 5680 – for no apparent
reason.
The table below provides a
concise overview of our experiences with all tested TV
applications (Table 1).
Admittedly, since our previous test of TBS cards we
had totally forgotten how to
integrate the remote control
into the workflow.
Initially, we were wondering why none of the TV applications we tested could
be operated with a remote
control and why a remote
was not even offered in the
configuration options. The
CD ROM that is shipped with
the TBS 6618 did not include
a relevant driver either...
It took us a while until we
remembered that TBS offer
their own in-house tool for
the remote control and when
we checked their website we
WMC with
DVBLink
DVB Dream
(OEM version)
TBSViewer
ProgDVB
(free version)
DVBViewer
(Pro version)
Channel
switching
+
+
+
+
+
Ease-of-use
+++
-
+
+
+
-
Functions
+
-
+
++
++
+++
Restricted
OEM version,
aggressive drive
for selling the full
version
OEM version
of DVBViewer,
different skin
Comments
Only works with
TBS cards
Best free TV
software for TBS
cards
TSReader
(Pro version)
CI / CAM support
yes (*)
yes
yes
yes
yes (*)
yes (*)
OEM/free version
no
yes – with many
restrictions
yes
yes
yes
yes
Full version
(for purchase)
yes
yes
-
yes
yes
yes
78 TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine — 01-02/2013 — www.TELE-audiovision.com
recommendation that today’s generation of TV cards
should always be as independent as possible from
proprietary software.
The DVB-C PC cards tested in this report are shining
examples of that strategy.
TBS clearly focuses on topquality hardware and faultless drivers, while leaving
the choice of TV software to
end-users.
That does not mean, however, that those simply looking for an easy tool to watch
DVB-C are left in the dark.
They should opt for the TBSViewer which will provide
just the functions and features they require.
Our test has demonstrated that both the TBS 6618
and the TBS 5680 are excellent DVB-C receivers that
will integrate well with any
TV application that runs under Windows. Both of them
are characterised by topnotch hardware components
and extremely low-threshold tuners.
On the software side TBSViewer is fine for simply
watching TV, but if you intend to exploit all capabilities of the TBS cards to the
full and to get the most out
of DVB-C there’s no way
around purchasing professional software.
TBS has complemented its
product range with DVB-C
tuner with CI slot for PCI-e
and USB.
In our eyes, TBS has
rightfully become a reference manufacturer for DVBS/S2, DVB-C and DVB-T/T2
cards at this stage. Keep up
the good work!
More about this company
www.TELE-audiovision.com/11/03/tenow
Plugins can be Lots of functions, Professional
added and used
easy to use
application for
without limitation
stream analysis
Integrated
Lots of functions,
streaming
Extensive
including streaming
functions
streaming
functions
■ Table 1. * did not work in our test – CI or CAM not identified
quickly discovered the tbsvhid_v1.0.0.8.zip archive for
downloading. Unfortunately,
this handy solution is listed
neither for the TBS 6618 nor
the TBS 5680.
After
installation
TBSVHID can be launched on
the PC and it really works
wonders: The buttons of a
remote control are visualised as keyboard keys and
since TV applications invariably are operated with keyboards you will never have
to face any compatibility issues. Major TV applications
such as WMC, DVBViewer,
TBSViewer, DVBDream or
ProgDVB come already fully
pre-configured.
If need be, you can also
conveniently set up the system to work with other software as well. Quite frankly,
we do not know of any manufacturer with a similarly
clever system integration of
the remote control.
If you own an a laptop
computer and would like to
use that device for watching DVB-C at home, the TBS
5680 is the solution you’ve
been looking for. The fact
that the USB box comes with
an external power supply
unit is not a problem at all,
as DVB-C can only be used
stationary anyway – contrary to DVB-T.
For desktop computers we
recommend the TBS 6618,
which is a sturdy PC card
that also comes with a CI
slot. Thanks to BDA drivers you don’t need an engineering degree to turn your
desktop PC into a Windowsbased multimedia center.
TBS lends proof to our
Expert Opinion
+
TBS 5680
great DVB-C receiver for USB
simple installation
BDA drivers for compatibility with most current TV applications
great TBSViewer application included
good remote with clever integration
Vitor Martins Augusto
TELE-audiovision
Test Center
Portugal
–
None
+
TBS 6618
great DVB-C receiver for PCI-e
simple installation
BDA drivers make the TBS 6618 compatible with most current
TV applications
great TBSViewer application included
good remote with clever integration
extremely sensitive tuner
–
some applications are missing on the included CD and must
be downloaded from the TBS website
TECHNICAL
DATA
Manufacturer
Tenow International Ltd, Unit C-8A, Shennan Garden Building
High-Tech Park, Shenzhen, CHINA
Phone
+86-755-26501345 or 26501201
Emailsales@tbsdtv.com
Websitewww.tbsdtv.com
Function
PCI-E card / USB 2.0 Box for DVB-C,
compatible with most current TV applications
TBS6618
TBS5680
Fully compliant with DVB-C
and ITU J83 A/C Specifications
Fully compliant with DVB-C
and ITU J83 A/C Specifications
Receiving Frequency:
47~862 MHz Tuning Range
Receiving Frequency:
47~862 MHz Tuning Range
Input level: -65~-10dBm
Input level: -65~-10dBm
16QAM, 32QAM, 64QAM, 128QAM and
256QAM Support
16QAM,32QAM, 64QAM, 128QAM and
256QAM Support
Symbol Rate: 0.87 to 9Mbaud
Symbol Rate: 0.87 to 9Mbaud
Single CI Slot
Single CI Slot
Standard Profile TV Card Size:
130x83mm (Length x Height)
TV Box Size: 103x88x22mm
(Length x Width x Height)
TV Card Weight: 80 Gram
TV Box Weight: 165 Gram
Package Gift Box Size: 205x140x50mm
(Length x Width x Height)
Package Gift Box Size: 210x175x55mm
(Length x Width x Height)
System Requirements:
System Requirements:
Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 or Linux
Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
DirectX9.0 or later Version
DirectX9.0 or later Version
Available PCI-E x1, x4, x8 or x16 slot
Available USB Port
Cable TV connection
Cable TV connection
For HDTV:
For HDTV:
Dual core CPU
Dual core CPU
1GB RAM or Above
1GB RAM or Above
Graphic Card with at Least 64MB RAM
Graphic Card with at Least 64MB RAM
Package Content:
Package Content:
1 x TBS6618 PCIe
DVB-C TV Tuner CI Card
1 x TBS5680 USB
DVB-C TV Tuner CI Box
1 x remote control
1 x remote control
1 x IR receiver
1 x USB Cable
1 x Software CD
1 x Software CD
www.TELE-audiovision.com — 01-02/2013 — TELE-audiovision International — 全球发行量最大的数字电视杂志
79