HD Satellite TV Metabox HD Combo CI At TELE-satellite we’re always delighted when companies wander off the beaten track and introduce products that have not been available in the marketplace before. The Metabox HD Combo CI of Korean manufacturer Meta multimedia is such an innovation. As the Combo in its model name suggests, this box brings together two different reception modes: DVB-S/DVB-S2 and DVB-T.
And this is also why the back panel features a terrestrial antenna jack complete with loop-through output next to the usual IF input and output for satellite signals.
Added to that are two scart euro connectors, a total of six RCA jacks for composite video, stereo audio and YUV, as well as an optical digital audio output. The HDMI interface that is also located on the back panel makes sure digital video and audio are transmitted free of loss.
There is also an interface labelled E-SATA. It had not been activated on our test unit, but Meta multimedia is working on activating this function, which will then convert HD Combo CI into a full PVR.
Software updates and new channel lists can be loaded into the memory the contemporary way by simply plugging in a USB stick with the required file son the front panel. Speaking of the front panel, it features an easy-to-read VFD display as well as eight buttons for operating the receiver without using the remote control.
An unimposing flap on the right side of the front panel hides two CI slots and the USB interface for updates.
Of course the receiver comes with a remote control which sits pleasantly in your hand and boasts clearly labelled buttons which can be reached quite easily and have a nice feel to them.
Turn on the HD Satellite TV Metabox HD Combo CI for the first time and it quickly will ask you to select your desired OSD language. English, German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Italian and Farsi are available. Once the receiver knows how to communicate with you it swiftly moves you to the main menu which cannot be left until a channel scan has been performed.
At this point we also have to say that we cannot praise Meta-multimedia highly enough for devising such a great looking and easy to use on-screen menu layout. From both an optical and an ergonomic al point of view it is right up with the best and allows setting up the receiver in a self-explanatory way.
In the Installation sub-menu we first have to decide which of the two tuners has to be configured. Choosing DVB-S/DVB-S2 a list of 57 pre-stored satellites is made available, and the Metabox has no issues with addressing more then one satellite positions as it features DiSEqC 1.0 for up to four stationary LNBs and DiSEqC 1.2 and/or 1.2 (USALS) for rotating antennas. The only protocol missing is DiSEqC 1.1, which means owners of large multi-feed antennas are left in the rain for the time being.
There are pre-programmed settings for several types of LNBs which means almost any reception equipment will be set up and working with this box in next to no time. Should you require more exotic frequency settings you can always enter these manually.
Beginners will be particularly impressed with this receiver’s automatic DiSEqC detection feature. Using it, all you have to do is mark the required satellite positions on the list and let the box look for the appropriate DiSEqC settings based on the pre stored transponder list.
Both satellite and transponder data can be edited in a dedicated submenu at any time and without a lot of hassle. Contrary to many other manufacturers Meta multimedia offers a cleverly designed solution for that even below the surface, when you go into more detail.
The Metabox boasts a 10,000 channel memory which can be filled using either an automatic or a manual signal scan. Owners of dishes with a DiSEqC motor installed will particularly appreciate that up to ten satellite dish positions can be marked before the actual scan begins. This is a feature that can save a lot of time if you have a rotating dish.
Our scan on a 90 transponder satellite took a little over six minutes, which does not break any Olympic record but compares favourably to many competing receivers.
Looking for digital terrestrial channels requires even less patience and expertise. Simply choose whether you want to perform an automatic or a manual scan and that’s it. An automatic scan will check the UHF frequency band that has been defined prior to starting the scan. If the attached terrestrial antenna has a built-in amplifier the receiver can be set to provide a 5-Volt power supply directly over the signal cable.
In order to organise the usual chaos that prevails after an initial scan the Metabox HD Combo CI Satellite tv offers a whole range of sorting and editing functions, such as sorting the channels according to alphabet, satellite, transponder, encryption system, child lock or S-ID.
To make sure all channels you watch frequently can be found at the touch of a button at a later stage, you should move them to one of five favourite lists which can be freely defined by the user. User preferences are dealt with in the second major menu item. It is here that you can instruct the box to set the cur-rent time based on information from DVB-S or DVB-T data streams, and you can set up to eight timer entries with the option of timer actions being repeated daily.
The HDMI interface of the Metabox can provide video signals in 576p, 720p and 1080i using the PAL colour system, while the scart euro connectors can be set to deliver RGB, CVBS or S-Video signals.
Once all initial settings are made and the channel list is filled with all the offerings of digital satellite receiver and terrestrial Dish television and radio, you’re free to leave the main menu so that the receiver switches to the first channel on the list.
Whenever a new channel appears on screen a clearly arranged info bar is inserted on the bottom of the screen.It presents information on the cur-rent program as well as status icons referring to teletext,subtitles,encryption, Dolby Digital audio, child lock or HD contents, among other things.
If you press the Info button for a second time extended EPG information on the current program is made available, if this is transmitted by the channel satellite tv provider.
While we’re at it, the EPG of the Metabox stands out with its clever design and great functionality.You can either call up details for each single channel or an overview of five channel sat a time. If you press the OK button the channel list is displayed as expected, but even here Meta multimedia has gone beyond the conventional and offers a virtual keyboard which pops up when you press the green button on the remote. Simply key in the name of a channel you’re looking for and the box will call up this particular channel if it’s in the overall channel list. Of course you can also temporarily sort channels according to various parameters so that you will easily find what ever you’re looking for.
The time it takes the HD Satellite TV Metabox HD Combo CI to switch from one channel to the next is a little more than one second, which we feel is fine. It’s only when switching to HD channels that the box may take a moment or two before moving on.
Usability of the Metabox HD Combo CI is brilliant with all the features already mentioned above. But there are even more nice little amenities that add up to move this receiver right to the best of the pack: NVOD support, language and subtitle selection or multi-picture mode for displaying up to 16 channels at the same time.
Meta multimedia ships its HD Receiver with a low threshold tuner which will lock and process signals with a C/N as low as 5 db. SCPC compatibility for DVB-S is specifiedfor1~45Ms/s, but our tests could not quite confirm this. Even though, every SCPC signal with 1.6 Ms/s or above will work, which in itself is more than your average satellite box is capable of.
Center Austria Software updates are available at regular intervals as the manufacturer is striving to constantly improve its products. Updates can be installed over the air if your satellite dish points to ASTRA 19.2° East or by using a USB stick.