Prismcube Ruby – XBMC Satellite Receiver
Read our full review below.
Prismcube Ruby introduction
The Prismcube Ruby is made by the Korean manufacture Marusys which also makes the Vu+ receivers.
The Prismcube Ruby is sold in Europe by Ab-Com under the name AB IPBox Prismcube Ruby. In the Middle East the same receiver is sold under the name PRISMCUBE KASYS by KASYS International we have also seen an Openbox branded version.
The Prismcube is not an Enigma2 based receiver like most of the ones we review here at Linux-TV.com. It is the first to come with XBMC. XBMC Media Center is an award-winning free and open source cross-platform software media player and entertainment hub for digital media. So the Prismcube is something new representing XBMC4STB an entirely new platform and it will be interesting to see if it can compete with Enigma2.
The Prismcube Ruby is a satellite tv only receiver with twin fixed DVB-S2 tuners. The hardware is pretty basic which also is reflected in the price. We are not talking high end here.
- CPU: PNX8496-1250DMIPS
- 4Gb * 8bit (Only 512mb of Ram available)
- Easy option to fit Internal SATA HDD 2.5
- 1 card reader (needs softcam software to be functional)
- 1 CI slot
- Front display (12 Digit VFD)
- WiFI built in
Prismcube Ruby design and connections
The box design is a bit different and does not look bad. The design requires the receiver to be on the top if you got several things stacked though. On the VFD the current channel name is shown.
As the price indicates no high end materials have really gone into the design. It feels very plastic and light weight.
Hidden behind the front flap we find 1 card reader and 1 CI slot. Again some may want more but for the price this is alright. We have seen reports stating that the Prismcube should have Conax card support out of the box in the internal card reader but our Conax card was not recognized.
We did expect to find a USB on the front as well but that is sadly not the case.
- 2 x LNB inputs
- Composite video and analogue audio out
- Optical digital audio out
- Serial RS-232 port
- Ethernet (not gigabit speed)
- 1 x USB port
- Power connector (12 v)
Nothing fancy here but the basics are are covered. We do miss a power switch and just the 1 USB port is pretty poor these days.
The fan is pretty quiet we have heard a lot worse you can set it to different speeds.
We measure 0,3W power usage in deep standby and 22,5 W in use with active PVR installed.
- Power Supply
- Remote with batteries included
- 1 x HDMI cable
- Setup guide in English/German
- Fitting for internal PVR
The Prismcube Ruby Remote
On one side we find the regular keys and on the back we have a keyboard. Obviously this indicates that this box is for more than just for watching regular TV. The remote looks a bit like the Vu+ Ultimo remote though there are less buttons on this one. The dedicated numeric buttons have been removed on the front but you can hit the numlock key and get number function on the front buttons.
The keys on the QWERTY side are locked by default so you must first press the unlock button to use this side.
We are not 100% happy with the remote it is pretty directional sensitive. You have to be pointing directly at the receiver and range is not great. Also some may experience some Plasma TV interference on the remote signals.
Installing a hard drive is easy
We have to say installing a hard drive into the Prismcube Ruby is as easy as it gets. No need to take the complete cover off there is simply a cover in the bottom of the receiver for a 2.5″ SATA hard drive. It is simply a matter of putting a fitting on your hard drive and the slide the drive into the connectors and close the cover again.
When you install the hard drive it will be formatted on the first boot. Hard drive is formatted to FAT32 with default partitions for media and PVR, seemingly no options to resize or allocate space as of yet.
Installation and Image support
As the receiver is pretty much brand new there are not many options.
Black Hole have since our review released firmware for the Prismcube. See more here
.The firmware our receiver came with was very old 1.0.3 but updating via the Internet is easy. You can also update via USB and get the updates from http://update.prismcube.com/updatefile/ruby_v1.xxx.xxx/
The latest firmware at the time of our review (1.2.0) improved Zapping speed – Faster loading of XBMC Libraries – Faster switching into xbmc mode.
The Installation works pretty good on this receiver. It is not exactly like Enigma2 but that is not a negative we think.
Apart from setting up the basics like language, audio and video you are also prompted to optimize screen interface size.
At this stage you are stuck in an endless loop if you do not press the back button when you have been through all the steps which seems a bit silly.
If you have trouble figuring something out about the receiver and the interface the Prismcube Ruby comes with a pretty good Help section with pictures and explanation which is great to see.
All the basic DiSEqC protocols and USALS are supported and a wide range of satellites are available in the setup. Full Unicable support does not seem ready yet and there are no blindscan or pid search options.
The XBMC interface handles the setup screens pretty well and feels pretty logical especially if you have used XBMC before of course.
XBMC on the Prismcube
There are 2 XBMC’s on the Prismcube Ruby. There are actually two seperate GUI menus a DVB mode and a XBMC mode. You start the receiver in DVB XBMC mode and can switch to regular XBMC mode via the remote.
The general speed inside menus are ok and seems to be improved in the latest firmware.
Full channel list can be activated via the OK button or you can use arrow right for a simple channel list.
You can edit the channel list and add channels to your favorite list directly on the receiver or you can download a editor for use on your Windows PC.
The Windows software PVR Manager from Openbox works after you have entered the box ip and 0000 as pin.
EPG is by default shown as a grid but there is also an option to view single channel EPG and even more options. EPG works for Astra 19,2 East but we have not really found addons to enable EPG from 28,2 east or external EPG importing in general yet.
There is EPG channel grabbing option but we did not have much success with this on 0.8 West channels
There is also some work to be done in the audio and subtitles sections. With formware version 1.2.0 several more languages are now available in the DVB XBMC mode.
Picon files seem to be located in /usr/share/xbmc/addons/script.mbox/resources/channellogo. Some German channels seem to Picons preinstalled.
Skinning the interface inside the DVB mode seems to be a no go at the moment. We have read reports of users trying and experiencing crashing but we have seen screenshots of new BH skin in the works so it is being worked on.
We have mainly concentrated on the receiver part of things in this review but Media playback inside XBMC works pretty well. We did notice that we could not get output in 24p playback mode though which is disappointing everything is outputted at 50Hz which may turn off XBMC hardcore users.
XBMC users will of course enjoy the media library with cover art and the ability to extend the XBMC software via plugins. DTS Audio was passed through to over AV-Receiver but also hearable when we only used the tv speakers.
The booting speed of the Prismcube Ruby is not super fast. It takes around 85 seconds to get to live tv and graphical user interface.
Picture quality, zapping speed
We cannot complain about the picture quality of the Prismcube. Channel zapping is not bad at all but we have seen faster.
Though they advertise it we could not see any Hbb-TV, Webbrowser or YouTube support at this time so that must be coming later on.
You can access a very simple web interface on your computer via http://yourboxip:9000/index.html the interface has links for streaming tv from your box.
Recording up to two channels is possible recording and timeshift works smoothless. You can activate Timeshift to be automatic or not and set the buffer size.
While recording 2 things at once you can watch a third channel if it is on the same transponder as you are recording from. You can not record more than 2 channels at the same time if you try you get a message that it is not possible.
Recordings are saved in the Archive menu in chronological order and with a preview image. Sadly it is not possible to watch an active recording before it is finished hopefully this could changed in the future.
You can set up recording timers from the EPG or manually hit rec button. You can fast forward og rewind with up to x32 speed but only on your own recordings, media playback in general does not offer fast forward or rewind only jumping or entering specific jump time number is possible.
We noticed that subtitles on recordings seem to have timing issues so subtitles is not only an issue with live tv. Should supposedly be fixed.
You can FTP into the receiver to download recordings. Default user: root pass: 0000
AB IPBox Prismcube Ruby Review Conclusion
If you are ready for something new and are a fan of XBMC already then the Prismcube Ruby might be just for you. It is the first receiver released that combines satellite tv with the XBMC Media software and does it pretty well already in many areas. There is still some work to be done with the software though including subtitles.
We do like the XBMC interface better than the default Enigma2, but of course Enigma2 can be skinned to be better too. The Prismcube is no match for say the Vu+ Duo2 on the hardware specs and it sometimes show. We do not see any Gigabit Ethernet but as we stated earlier the price does reflect this.
The Prismcube Ruby is first generation XBMC hardware we do expect to see 1 GHZ dual core and 5000 dmips CPU hardware coming later on so you may want to hang on for this and for the software to be more established and look what happens on the third party developer side of things.