SkyTec HD BlackBox, Nerine and Jobi
Linux-TV.com has had the opportunity to look at three receivers from SkyTec HD. The receivers has been provided by the Danish SkyTec retailer Tektronic. We are reviewing 2 straight satellite television receivers SkyTec HD Jobi / Nerine and a twin tuner with pluggable tuners called SkyTec HD BlackBox.
The SkyTec HD brand was established back in 2011 og SkyTec now sells to over 50 countries.
Primarily we are testing the receivers with the stock firmware (Fortis Receiver firmware) but in addition these receivers also give you the option of using Enigma 2 based firmware.
Please note that the review score is for the most advance of the three the SkyTec HD Blackbox.
Specs, connections and design
SkyTec HD Jobi
The Jobi receiver is the small compact receiver which uses an external 12 volt power supply.
On the front we find a 4 digit display for channel numbers, a standby button and buttons for channel changing. A light indikator shows whether the receiver is on or in standby mode.
The rear of the compact SkyTec HD Jobi is tightly packed with connections and it is also here that we find the internal card reader and a CI port.
- LNB in
- LNB loop through
- RS-232 port
- LAN port
- 1 x USB port
- HDMI out
- AV out (analogue video and audio needs an adapter cable)
- IR link
- Optical digital audio out
- 12 v power
You can connect an external USB hard drive so you can record television directly on the receiver.
If you wish it is possible to hide the receiver perhaps behind your flat screen TV if there is room there. It is also possible to add an external IR receiver so you can it even if the receiver is not visible. Do notice that this is addons you have to buy separate.
Other addons available for the Jobi are: WLAN USB, USB hub and Mini keyboard.
SkyTec HD Nerine
On the somewhat larger Nerine receiver we find room for an eight character alphanumeric display. In the center of the receiver we also find standby and channel changing buttons.
Behind the front plate the Nerine provides 2 internal card readers and 2 CI slots and a USB port.
- LNB in
- LNB loop through
- Analogue audio and video out – composite
- 1 x Scart
- 2 x USB (+1 on the front)
- RS 232 port
- HDMI out
- Optical digital audio out
As with the Jobi the Nerine model offers PVR functionality by connecting a USB hard drive.
Addons available for the Nerine include: WLAN USB, USB hub and Mini keyboard.
SkyTec HD BlackBox
Of the 3 receivers we are reviewing the Blackbox has the most elegant and high end looking design. On the front there is a 12 character alphanumeric display, 5 buttons for controlling: standby, channel and volume. So much can be controlled without the remote.
The high end model Blackbox also brings you twin tuner capabilities and these are even of the pluggable type so you can change from satellite into cable or terrestrial tuners or make you own mix. There is DVB-T2 terrestrial support on this receiver which is good to see. DVB-T2 is used in Great Britain, Scandinavia and other countries around Europe.
The Blackbox receiver provides you with 2 internal card readers and 2 CI Slots. Does your Pay TV provider require you to use CI+ for watching pay tv then that is not a problem. There is software available both with or without CI+ support.
- Tuner 1 in/loop through
- Tuner 2 in/loop through
- Analogue audio and video out – composite
- 2 x Scart
- Optical audio out
- Component video out
- 2 x USB
- RS 232 port
The Blackbox is the only of the 3 SkyTec receivers to offer internal PVR option. You can install a internal 2.5″ SATA hard drive but if you wish it is also possible to use the PVR capabilities of the receiver via external USB or eSata.
Addons available for the Blackbox include: DVB-S2/T2/C pluggable tumer modules, WLAN USB, USB hub and Mini keyboard
All receivers use less than 1 W in powersaving standby which is activated by pressing the standby button twice.
The initial setup is very similar to other receivers we have review. First you select menu language there are a lot of options available not only English, German etc. Sometimes everything might not be translated though. After this you just need to ok the network settings, setup your timezone and do a channel search
When receiving satellite television the most important thing to setup is your DiSEqC settings if your receive tv from more than one satellite position. All SkyTec receivers reviewed here supports DiSEqC 1.0, 1.1 and motorized.
After we had made our DiSEqC settings the receivers found the available channels with fairly good speed. You can select only to search for tv and or FTA channels which is practical when you do not have a Pay TV subscription. The receiver also offers a Blind scan option
We also had the oppertunity of testing DVB-T/DVB-T2 on the BlackBox receiver which work just fine. There is support for 5 v for active DVB-T antennas.
DVB-C is also something we have tried. A channel search found all our DVB-C channels but we would have liked to see an option to do a Network search which only scans the active frequencies.
The screen resolutions offered are 576i > 576p > 720p > 1080i > 1080p they can be set either directly from the remote or via the menus.
Installing an internal PVR on the BlackBox receiver is pretty straight forward.
If you feel the graphical user interface looks familiar then that is no surprise. SkyTec are Fortis based receivers so they come with the Fortis based firmware.
There are 2 different menu options. One for the basic menus and a more icon based main menu. The latter is more image based. Perhaps it can seem a bit odd to have 2 different layouts but it actually works rather well.
Under the UI settings you can select which menu look you prefer as default.
The menus are pretty logical organized even though these receivers offer lots of options.
You can organize your channels via the Channel list manager. Here you can also sort your channels by an impressive number of parameters.
On the Blackbox receiver you can mix channels regardless of different tuner sources and that is great. It is also possible to make a favorite list with mixed signal types.
It is also possible to get a more simple channel list by hitting the arrow buttons up and down.
The picture quality on the SkyTec receivers are great better than some Enigma2 based receivers. The receivers are by no means the fastest to be ready after a cold boot but that is not that bad.
The remote for the the Jobi is very compact just like the receiver. The remote for the Nerine and Blackbox receivers is very big perhaps too big for some.
There are direct buttons for almost everything and the big remote is great for people with big fingers. The big rtemote makes a click sound when you press buttons which some may not like.
If you wish to edit channels on your PC that is also possible by using the software PolarEditOctagon10X8
Firmware updating is possible directly on the receiver via the Net or via USB. On the Nerine receiver we were prompted to install an new version and it went smooth.
The EPG information can be shown either as a time line or for a single channel at a time. The latter is the easier to navigate if your are looking some days into the future. Should we have a request it would be that the EPG used all space on the screen.
Picture in Picture
All 3 SkyTec receivers offer Picture in Picture mode. On the Jobi and Nerine you are limited to channels from the same transponder as the one you are watching while you on the twin tuner Blackbox can choose more freely. You can select between picture in picture with one of these in a small window or you can choose side by side. All is easily controlled via dedicated buttons on the remote which is great.
HD / SD pip mode works fine while HD /HD sometimes may have some judder.
An additional option is channel mosaic windows with an overview of many channels.
Teletext works fine and with great speed.
All 3 receivers are fanless so no noise so the only noise you will hear is if you installed a internal hard drive on the Blackbox.
As we have noted previously all 3 SkyTec receivers have PVR capabilities. On the Jobi and Nerine you have to connect an external USB storage device while you on the BlackBox also have the option of an internal PVR.
Do notice that we had to set the SATA to internal in the recording options for the internal hard drive to be found so you cannot do both eSata and internal Sata at the same time.
When you are watching the same channel that you are recording there is a flashing red R icon on the screen. We would have like to be able to disable this but we did not find such a feature.
The receiver has auto time shift enabled so it will store up to hours of what you have already seen. You can disable this in the menu if you want and it is also possible to adjust how long it should save in timeshift mode.
That is done in the recording options menu where you can control other things as well like setting up extra recording time before and after a timer recording.
You can of course setup recordings from the EPG but it only seems possible for programs which have not yet started. You also setup timer recordings manually or just hit the record button for instant recording.
With its 2 tuners you have most PVR options on the BlackBox receiver in the case you wish to recording one thing and watch another thing at the same time. We cloud record 3 things at once on the Blackbox. On the 1 tuner receivers Jobi and Nerine you are limited to things on the same transponder while recording.
Fast forward and Rewind is shown with arrows. The more arrows the faster you go ahead or back. If you keep the arrow keys on the remote pressed you can jump fast to a certain point in a longer recording. Intervals can be set from 10 seconds up to 10 minutes. There is also a bookmark option.
The receivers ask if you want to resume playback from a previous position if you want to pick up from where you last stop playback of a recording.
Recordings are saved with EPG information and the list of recordings are easily accessed via the remote.
Recordings on an external drive are possible to view or edit on a computer at least non CI+ recordings.
Recordings on the BlackBox internal PVR can be accessed by entering the ip adress of the receiver on your windows pc. Then 2 folders called root and storage are shown. Recordings are located in the subfolder HDD/Recordings inside the storage folder.
Recordings are saved in ts format.
Multimedia and network functions
All 3 SkyTec receivers offer a range of multimedia options which makes the receivers more than a reagular set top box. You can playback music, video and look at pictures either locally or via DLNA networking.
The receivers can act both as a mediaserver or client. A range of formats are supported but do not expect them to play all formats.
Watch tv from your SkyTec receiver on your iPad or iPhone
It is possible to stream tv from all 3 SkyTec receivers to your iPhone or iPad. You simply download the app called AIR TIVI+. Also this app can control your receiver so you do not need the physical remote.You have to be on the same WLAN network to use the app so it is not possible if you are out of the house. Streaming of SD channels works fine while HD tv seems to be problematic on our iPad at least.
The AIR TIVI+ did not find our receiver so we had to put in the receiver ip adress after that was done there were no issues.
The remote control part of the app looks great and works just fine.
There are as of yet still no Android version of the app sadly.
YouTube, Webbrowser and Internet radio
YouTube is working on the SkyTec receivers and you even can download videos. Even more options are available in the Internet-tv plugins, some may work better than others.
Should you want to browse the web that is possible. The web browser (WebZeal) is available on the receivers but it is very slow.
Internet Radio is yet another option. Here you quickly are able to listen to webbased radiostations and you also check the weather if you want.
Enigma2 on the SkyTec receivers
Should you not be satisfied with the stock firmware you do have the option of installing Enigma2 based firmware on the receivers. You can find a guide here
We have only briefly tested Enigma on the Jobi. It did work but we did see a green error screen reboot. If Enigma2 is a must we would choose a real Enigma2 receiver instead.
Do note that the AirTivi app will only work with the stock firmware and not Enigma2.
The 3 SkyTec receivers we have reviewed all are interesting receivers. In general they all work pretty good and offer lots of options. Even the small Jobi receiver can stream tv to iPad or iPhone so you are getting a full range of options even on the less expensive model.
The High End receiver BlackBox offers more flexibility with its pluggable twin tuners. Every signal type (satellite, cable or terrestrial) is supported if you put in the right tuner module. The BlackBox even automatically detects if you change tuners and offer you to do a channel search which is a nice touch.
The receivers are very easy to use maybe more so than Enigma2 based receivers and they are very stable. We did not see any crashes while using the stock firmware during our review.
Our review score is based on the SkyTec BlackBox.
Linux-TV.com thanks Tektronik.dk for providing the receivers for this review.