Venton Unibox HD1 Review
8 char alphanumeric display
Venton UNiBOX HD1 is a Linux based single tuner DVB-S2 satellite receiver which is PVR Ready which promises fast controls. Linux-TV.com brings you a review.
There is a lot of competition on the Linux set top box market. Venton out of Germany is another fairly new player in this market. Venton has 3 receivers on the market right now. The single tuner HD1, Twin Tuner HD2 and Triple Tuner HD3. In this review we take a closer look at the single tuner receiver which is also PVR ready. The product for this review was provided by the distributor of the Venton products MultiKom-DeltaSat.
Design and Connectivity
Inside the Venton UNiBOX HD1 we find a 400 MHz MIPS processor , 512MB NAND Flash and 512MB DDR SDRAM which is very decent amount wise.
The design is in classic black with a rounded shiny front. It is the cheapest receiver in the Venton HD series so of course the design and material is not high end still not bad looking at all.
On the front we have a standby button and in the center inside a silver circle buttons for basic control of the receiver.
Is is very positive that we have a 8 character alphanumeric display on the front as it is always great to be able to read the channel name and not just a number or nothing at all.
Behind the front panel we find 1 built in card reader and a CI slot for a common access module and beside these a front mounted USB connection. A per usual the built in card reader requires use of softcam software.
On the rear of the Venton Unibox HD1 we find:
- DVB-S2 tuner input
- DVB-S2 tuner loop through
- Optical audio out
- 2 x USB
- RS-232 port
- Power connector for the external power supply
There is no component video output but that is probably not connectivity that is missed by that many these days.
There is an internal fan in the receiver as you can see on the rear. It can be disabled inside the menu but it does not make that much noise.
Batteries are of course included along with a power supply and a user guide in English and German.
Venton Unibox HD1 Remote Control
The remote control provided by Venton is a good one with a logical button layout. Perhaps some miss a dedicated record button, the red button is used for this purpose and that is some way away from the other PVR buttons.
Using the OpenAAF Image the record button is located as a long press on the stop button.
The feel of the remote is not all plastic as there is a rubber feel to the back of the remote.
Installation / Choosing an image
UNiBOX HD1 is a Enigma 2 based receiver but of course the Enigma brand is not used. Of course a stock firmware image is included when purchased but most will probably go for a third party image and there are multiple choices for the HD1.
The Egami Image is a extended version of the stock image with multiboot option. Included is HDMI-CEC Support – BLIND SCAN Support – Videoenhacement Plugin – Web Interface – MyTube Player – FAN Setup – OSD 3D Setup – OSD Position setup – Cross EPG – Weather Plugin – ZDF Mediathek – WebMedia
My personal favorite is the openAAF team Image, which includes the best from other Teams like OpenPli and OpenVix.
Installing an Image is pretty straight forward:
- Download the Image online and place the venton-hdx folder in the root of a USB key
- Rename he venton-hdx folder into venton-hd1
- Turn off the power on the back of the receiver
- Put the USB key in the connector on the back and turn on the receiver
- The Image on the USB key is now flashed automatically
If your are used to Enigma based images, first time installation of the lnb etc. is the same as usual.
The user experience with this receiver has been very good. The Venton Unibox HD1 feels fast both in general use and channel zapping. I measure the boot time at 72 seconds, which is not the fastest I have tried but still pretty fast.
The menus and general use is familiar to those of you with Enigma 2 experience. Of course the look of menu and general interface depends on the Skin you install.
Top image is the stock image and below the OpenAAF. The stock image skin is pretty good but I do prefer the DMConcinnity-HD skin of the OpenAAF image.
The Picture quality of the UNiBOX HD1 is like the other receivers I have reviewed, personally I do tend to prefer using the Autoresolution plugin for optimal output.
3D OSD is also supported.
Here a sample of the Cool TV Guide which is included in the OpenAAF Image.
PVR – Recording tv on the Venton Unibox HD1
UNiBOX HD1 is PVR ready and offer you the choice of installing a 2,5″ hard drive which enable you to pause live tv, record satellite tv or satellite radio for that matter.
Installing a hard drive internally is pretty straight forward. Of course remember to disconnect the receiver from the mains before doing this.
After installing the hard drive you should now have a entry inside System / HDD in the receiver menu where you can initialize the hard drive. Your drive also may need to be mounted as a drive in the menu.
Since the UNiBOX HD1 is a single tuner box you are somewhat limited when it comes to recording one thing and watching something else. It is possible but only if both channels are located on the same transponder.
Using the OpenAAF image you can get into the list of your recordings using the Home button.
Multimedia and networking
When connected to your home network the Venton Unibox HD1 makes it possible for you to mount a network drive, play music and video. Mediaplayer software is included but you can of course add many more advanced player plugins.
The picture above is from the MediaCenter Plugin which is included in the OpenAAF image.
You can access the receiver through a webinterface or FTP. On my Windows 7 PC I also had access to the HD1 inside the network neighborhood under the name INI-3000.
Unibox HD1 on your smartphone
UniBox HD1 Technical Specifications Click here
|Venton UniBox||UniBox HD1|
|DVB||1 x DVB-S2/C/T2|
|Host USB||3 x 2.0|
|HDD||1 x 2,5|
Verdict Venton Unibox HD1 Review
The Venton Unibox HD1 is a great single tuner Linux receiver which stands up against the competition in this price range. The UNiBOX HD1 has a good amount of ram, feels fast and I also like the 8 character display on the front of the box.
The stock image included works pretty but I do prefer the third party image from OpenAAF. There were some remote control button inconsistencies initially but most things seems to have been fixed.
I only experienced on lock up which was using the third party Egami Image when I started a recording. This was in an early version of the Egami software mind you and not one I saw on other Images I have tried.