|USB-UIRT BeyondTV Setup|
WELCOME This page outlines how to configure Snapstream's BeyondTV 4.x to use a USB-UIRT to control an external cable or satellite box.
USB-UIRT and BEYONDTV -- why?
BeyondTV is a PVR (TIVO-like) application designed to automatically record shows (using its own built-in scheduler) and also view live TV. For many BeyondTV users, this simply requires the BeyondTV software and a TV Tuner/Capture card. The Tuner card can be used to capture local television stations' broadcasts. In this setup, when BeyondTV wants to change channels, it talks directly to the Tuner/Capture card and requests that the capture card tune into a different over-the-air channel.
However, some BeyondTV users want to connect their Tuner/Capture card to an external video source, such as a Cable or Satellite Set-Top-Box. Because the external set-top-boxes are needed to receive cable or satellite channels, the BeyondTV user will connect the Cable/Sat box's video output (Composite or S-Video output) to a video input on their Tuner/Capture card. This means that the built-in tuner on the Tuner/Capture card is no longer being used to tune over-the-air broadcasts. It also means that BeyondTV no longer can simply request that the Tuner/Capture card change channels; it now must have a way to tell the external Cable/Sat set-top-box to change channels.
This is where the USB-UIRT comes in. For setups with an external Cable/Sat box, the USB-UIRT is used by BeyondTV to send Infrared 'Digits' to the set-top-box. These digits are sent in exactly the same way they are sent from the remote control that came with the set-top-box. So, for example, if the BeyondTV scheduler needs to tune to channel 30 to begin recording your favorite show, it uses the USB-UIRT to send a '3' followed by a '0' followed by a 'Enter' to the set-top-box.
SETTING UP THE HARDWARE
To Prepare BeyondTV for use with an external Satellite or Cable box, you will need to connect your hardware as follows:
1. Tuner/Capture Card with Composite and/or S-Video Video Inputs and Audio Inputs (if both Composite and S-Video types of connections are available on both your set-top-box and Tuner/Capture card, choosing S-Video may produce better picture quality)
2. Composite or S-Video cable and Stereo Audio Cables
3. USB-UIRT device to tune channels on the set-top-box
CONFIGURING THE SOFTWARE
BeyondTV software must be configured correctly to capture the appropriate input (Composite or S-Video) to obtain the video and audio signals from your set-top-box. In addition, BeyondTV must be configured with the appropriate Infrared (IR) codes to transmit to the set-top-box (via the USB-UIRT) when it needs to change channels. The following sections cover in detail the setup in BeyondTV 4.x to achieve this:
The BeyondTV Setup Wizard
When BeyondTV is first installed, it launches a Setup Wizard (shown below). The Setup Wizard may be launched at a later time by going to Start->Programs->Snapstream Media->Beyond TV->Beyond TV Setup Wizard.
Continue following the setup wizard until you arrive at the "Video Broadcast Source" screen. Here you will select whether you are connecting BeyondTV to an "External Cable Box" or a "Satellite" set-top-box:
Next, you will be asked to specify which Tuner/Capture card your set-top-box is wired to. In most cases, you will have a single Tuner/Capture card installed in your system.
Continue following the wizard until you reach the "Video Input" page. Here you will need to select the type of connection (Composite Video or S-Video) you made between your set-top-box and your Tuner/Capture card:
Click Next. You will be asked to specify what Tuning Device you will use to control the set-top-box. Choose "USB-UIRT" from the drop-down box:
Click Next. You will be saked to specify which model of set-top-box you are using. BeyondTV needs this information so that it can find the correct infrared (IR) codes to control your Cable or Satellite box. BeyondTV comes with several models, and in many cases choosing a model similar to your model (same brand) will work. If the model of set-top-box you are using (or a similar model) is available from the drop-down list, choose it and click Next.
If an appropriate set-top-box model is not available from the list, BeyondTV allows you to create a new set-top-box profile where you will be instructed to 'Learn' the Infrared codes from the remote control that came with your set-top-box. To do this, choose "Unlisted Device" from the drop-down box and click Next. BeyondTV will walk you through this traning procedure a few steps later in this wizard.
BeyondTV will now allow you to configure advanced tuning parameters on the "Advanced Tuning Settings" page. These settings affect how BeyondTV sends each Infrared 'Digit' to your set-top-box. The goal is for BeyondTV to send each digit in a similar fashion to how they are sent when you send these digits manually by pressing the buttons on your remote control. For example, when you tune channel '123' manually from your couch, you likely click the '1', '2', and '3' buttons approximately 1 second apart, holding your finger on each button about 1/2-second. Depending on the model of set-top-box, you may also be required to click 'Enter' or 'OK' on your remote after the channel digits have been pressed.
The settings available are:
Set-top-box Name: Enter a descriptive name for the set-top-box. This name will be used as the IR profile name for your settings and will be added to the list of set-top-boxes available on the "Set-top-box Model" screen of the wizard (above).
Use Enter after sending channel request: Check this box if your set-top-box requires you to press an "Enter" or "OK" button on your remote after pressing the channel digits. Some set-top-boxes require this or they will simply revert back to the channel already tuned.
Pad Channels: Check this box if your set-top-box requires that you always enter the same number of digits (usually preceded by zeroes) regardless of the channel your are tuning. If this box is checked, you will need to select the appropriate number of digits in the drop-down-box below the selection.
Pause between transmissions (milliseconds): This setting specifies how long BeyondTV should wait between each digit sent to the set-top-box before sending the next digit. It is important that enough spacing be given since most set-top-boxes expect spacing synonymous to the user lifting their finger up from the remote control between button-presses. However, if this setting is too large, the set-top-box might 'time-out' assuming the user has stopped pressing buttons altogether (this time-out is typiclly in the order or 3-4 seconds). A good starting point for this setting is 100 to 300 milliseconds.
Repeat each button press how many times: Contrary to the title, this setting does not cause the button press to repeat multiple digits to the set-top-box. Instead, this setting affects how long (the duration) a particular IR digit is sent, synonymous to how long you hold your finger on each button digit when you are tuning a channel). Most set-top boxes will ignore a button-press if it is too short. And, some set-top-boxes will start repeating a digit if the button is held too long. This will vary from box to box. A good starting point is a value of 4 or 6 here.
After you have adjusted these settings as necessary, click 'Next'. You will have an opportunity to see the effect of these settings in action a bit later in the wizard.
Training BeyondTV for an Unlisted set-top-box
If you chose "Unlisted Device" as your set-top-box model on the "Set-top-box Model" page previously in the wizard, BeyondTV will take you to the next page to begin training from your set-top-box remote. If you chose a pre-defing set-top-box model, skip the following steps and go to the "Testing the IR" section below.
BeyondTV will now begin a 'Training" process -- where it will record the IR digit codes from your set-top-box's remote control. You will need to have your set-top-box remote control handy and be near the USB-UIRT. The BeyondV software in conjunction with the USB-UIRT will act like a 'Learning Remote Control'. BeyondTV will learn each digit (1 through 9 and 0) and optionally 'Enter'.
To begin the training process, click the 'Train' button on the wizard page.
Positioning the Remote Control and USB-UIRT for Training
When training, the USB-UIRT functions as a 'Learning' remote. It uses a special infrared sensor to capture the infrared signals being emitted from your set-top-box remote. It is important that the signals recorded are as accurate as possible for best performance. The sensor is designed for short-range capture, so the remote control will need to be positioned near the USB-UIRT as follows:
Training a Digit
BeyondTV's training wizard will ask, in turn, for each digit button on the set-top-box's remote control to be pressed. For example, the training page will say "Please press and hold the 1 key". With the remote properly positioned as described above, PRESS and HOLD the '1' button on the remote until the training page says "Please release the key". Once each button is learned, it will be checked off on the training page. (Note: some cable/sat remote controls also control other A/V gear -- make sure the remote is switched to SAT/CBL mode so that it sends out the codes for your set-top-box and not another device!)
After all buttons have been trained, the page will display "Remote Configured". If at any time you need to start over, click the 'Reset' button on the page (the BeyondTV wizard does not provide a way to individually retrain a single digit). (Note: the training wizard has a bug if you click the 'Reset' button the page will display 'Remote Configured' which is incorrect. If you click the Reset button you will need to then click the 'Train' button to start training over).
Testing the IR
BeyondTV setup wizard is now ready to test the infrared control of your set-top-box. It will do this by attempting to tune your set-top-box to channels 10, 11, 22, 33 ... 99. This will verify that each digit (1 through 9 and 0) are correct in the set-top-box IR profile, and that the advanced tuning parameters (such as delay between digits, etc.) are functional.
Position the USB-UIRT so that it points toward your set-top-box in the same fashion as if you were pointing your remote control at the set-top-box. The USB-UIRT's built-in emitters are just like those in a remote control, so you do not need to position the USB-UIRT any closer than approximately 1 foot away from the set-top-box.
Click the 'Run Test' button. The BeyondTV wizard will begin tuning channels on the set-top-box. As each digit is sent to the set-top-box, the red LED on the USB-UIRT will illuminate for the duration of the digit transmission. By watching the red LED, you can get an idea of how quickly each digit is being sent, the duration of each digit and the delay between digits. If the timing of the LED is much different than the timing of your finger pressing buttons on the remote when tuning a channel, you may need to go back to the Advanced Tuning parameters page and make changes to the "Pause between Transmissions" and "Repeat each button press..." settings.
Watch the screen of a TV connected to your set-top-box or to the box's front panel display to verify that the box is properly tuning to each channel. Once you have verified that the set-top-box is being tuned correctly, click Next. Then click Next again.
Testing Audio/Video Source
The "Testing" page (shown above) allows you to verify that your audio and video cables are correctly connected between your set-top-box and your Tuner/Capture card and that your Tuner/Capture card is operating properly. When connected and working properly, you will see video and hear audio on this screen.
You can also change channels by clicking on the Up and Down triangles on the screen. Changing channels will cause BeyondTV to attempt to tune the set-top-box to the new channel. Note: there is a bug in the 'Testing' screen's channel changer -- it does not use the correct Advanced Tuning timing or padding settings you set up in the Advanced Tuning page. Therefore, the channel changing on this page may not work correctly even though channels were correctly tuned on the previous 'External Tuning Testing' page.
MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR CONFIGURATION
There are two ways to make adjustments to your BeyondTV Sat/Cable/USB-UIRT configuration. One method is to re-launch the Beyond TV Setup Wizard as described in the beginning of this document. This method must be used if you are setting up a new cable/sat box and need to go through IR Training.
If you simply want to adjust the Advanced Tuning parameters (delay between digits, padding of channel changes, etc), an easier way to make these adjustments is through the BeyondTV Web Admin page. To access this page, close the BeyondTV Viewscape (GUI) and right-click on the BeyondTV icon in the System Tray and choose "Advanced Settings":
The BeyondTV Web Admin page will appear showing the Settings page.
Click the 'Audio and Video Inputs' link. The Tuner/Capture setups for your BeyondTV installation will appear.
Click the 'Edit Settings' link next to the Tuner/Capture setup you want to change.
The "Edit a Video Source" page will appear. To see all of the options (including the advanced tuning settings) on this page, select "Show More Options" from the drop-down box.
Scrolling down the page will reveal all of the Advanced Tuning settings. After making changes, click the 'Save Changes' button at the bottom of the page. You can then test the changes you have made by starting up the BeyondTV viewscape. (Note: although this page allows you to select a different cable/satellite box model, you do not want to choose 'Unlisted Device' from this page. Doing so will simply disable IR control. Unlike choosing 'Unlisted Device' on the Setup Wizard which then causes the training wizard to appear, choosing 'Unlisted Device' on this page does not launch any training wizard).
The best place to start if you're having technical difficulties is the USB-UIRT Forum. Here you can post questions, read tips and FAQ's, and read up on solutions found by other USB-UIRT users. Also, a wealth of knowledge about HTPC (Home-Theater PC's) and IR integration can be found at the Home Theater Computers forum on AVS Forum.
I will do my best to answer your questions and offer basic product support. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.
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