HDTV Satellite Receiver Dizipia DS4H-9160 It might not have the most catchy name, but the Dizipia DS4H-9160 from Korean manufacturer Receiver Dizipia makes an imposing statement with its size and looks. The sleek black metal-cased hd receiver is bigger than most at 43cm wide, 28cm deep and 6cm high and the sturdy metal case means it’s quite heavy too. The shiny front panel contains a nice and clear channel information display.
The remote is also larger than usual, measuring 24x5cm. This can be programmed to operate a Satellite Dish in addition to the HD Receiver, and this was quick and easy to set up for my TV from the codes in the back of the manual. For once I had no need to be trawling the internet for additional codes to make this work! The remote is clearly laid out, and the keys have a definite click when they are pressed, but at the same time don’t need too much pressure to make the connection as many of these type do. Complementing the assuring click of each button, the STB or TV button lights up when a button is pressed.
The front panel’s other notable feature is an unusual grid of little red lights. At first glance they look like they are just indicators, but they are in fact little buttons, and through these most of the receiver’s most important functions can be controlled. The front panel is rounded off with two CI slots and a USB port under the right-hand flap.
At the back we have just about all the connection options we could need. The antenna input for each of the two tuners has a corresponding loop-through output, and the first tuner can be looped in to the second if only one antenna feed is available. A little loop-through cable is included in the box to do just this. HDMI and S/PDIF are available for digital video and audio along with the more traditional two Scarts, component and composite video and RCA stereo audio. There’s another USB connector here as well as RS232 and even an Ethernet port, although there is no information in the manual to explain how this is used.
Connecting the HDTV Satellite Receiver is made easy by some helpful clear diagrams in the manual. Each of the connectors is pictured and the options for each explained. One important point that can cause confusion is made clear: if only one antenna is used in conjunction with the loop-through cable, switching channels while recording is limited to the channels on the same transponder only. The two LNB inputs can also be set to different satellites, so two independent fixed dishes are also an option, this too would limit what can be watched and recorded at the same time.
The first time we switch on, we go straight to the installation wizard where the local time, time zone and preferred languages are. There are limited language options here for the on-screen menus and messages just English, German and Russian are available. Strangely, the list of languages for audio and subtitle defaults are different. The choice here is between English, German or French.
Then it’s off to the channel search screen where our chosen satellites are set up and searched for the first time. Motorised DiSEqC and USALS are supported. It’s a simple job of telling the satellite receivers it’s location by latitude and longitude so that it can calculate the positions of the satellites you wish to receive.
The list of satellites pre-programmed into the receiver is very impressive – there are around 170 of them! I’d challenge you to find one that’ snot already there, but in case there is or a new satellite appears in the sky in the future, satellites can be edited, added and removed as needed. The transponder frequencies for the satellites appear to be nicely up-to-date too.
Scanning for channels them selves is nice and fast with a full scan over ASTRA 2 taking just eight minutes. Once the channels are in memory, a good selection of functions are present to allow further editing and sorting.
The full channel list is accessed by simply hitting the “OK” key when watching TV. This list can be quickly sorted into alphabetical order, by scrambled/FTA status, or left in its original state of sorting by channel number. A nice touch is the zoom function, where the channel list can be switched between filling the whole screen or just a part of the left-hand side, so that the TV picture can be seen at the same time.
All of the editing and organization functions are accessed from here too which is easier than having to go to a dedicated editing menu. Channels can be moved up and down the list as required. As many favourites lists can be set up as required, and adding to and editing them is easy to do.
For those with children, two options exist for parental control – the traditional password approach or the ability to completely hide certain channels until the password is entered. In addition to this, you can limit the viewable channels to a single favourites list or set an amount of time before the receiver switches itself off – to stop the kids sit-ting in front of the TV all day!
A final option exists to limit the allowed programmes by their age rating, although this depends completely on the broadcaster transmitting the correct age classification information.
Hard drive functions
As HD broadcasts use a lot of data and high speed data transfer is essential, an SATA interface is used in the Dish satellite Television instead of the traditional IDE. Our test model was unfortunately supplied without an drive installed internally, so this at least gave me an excuse to fully test connecting a hard drive to the USB ports.
I was not very confident ,but even a fairly old USB drive connected to the rear USB port proved me wrong by working almost faultlessly, including recording HD channels. There were however a few times where the picture became a little jerky as you’d expect. But even watching an HD channel and recording another onto the USB drive was possible, if not 100% perfect.
External drives use a stand-ard FAT32 file system ,so backup and retrieval to a computer is simple and straight-forward. The file manager on the receiver will be easy to navigate for anyone used to using computers, with the familiar structure of files and folders and even the to go back to the parent directory.
An automatic delete function can be used to delete the oldest recordings when space runs out. With this kind of system, the unwanted loss of an important recording is always a worry. Thankfully there is a helpful option to protect individual recordings so that they are not deleted accidentally or by the auto-delete function. Parental control of recordings is also supplied via password protection.
Time shifting is also available for live TV. A simple press of the pause button is all that is needed, after this the usual rewind and fast-forward controls become available. A welcome extra function divides the recorded programme into segments like chapters of a DVD, making navigation much easier than having to wind through a long time shifted programme . The standard amount of programed that is temporarily recorded defaults to 30 minutes, but this can be changed in the settings up to a maximum of two hours.
A source of disappointment might be the lack of any editing functions. It’s always helpful to have even some basic edit controls to take out commercials in a recording and it’s a pity there is no pro-vision to do anything like this. As a sports fan, I also missed a slow-motion playback option which I often use.
Navigating around satellites, channels and the receiver’s menus is fairly easy, although perhaps not quite as intuitive as some other hd receivers we’ve seen. For example, even after quite a lot of time using the receiver I am confused by there being a back button that doesn’t actually move the menus back to the last level! The “menu” key doesn’t do this either as I might have expected. Instead the exit button does this, at least sometimes at other times it does what it says and exits the menu system completely.
Picture quality is a big issue for HD Receiver Dizipia DS4H-9160 and thank-fully the HD quality out from the Dizipia lives up to expectations. Standard definition pictures are also up scaled when viewing in a HD resolution and this too adds a little extra quality to the picture when compared with RGB Scart.
There’s a very helpful dedicated button on the remote to quickly switch resolution. Added to this is an idea taken from the world of computers. After the resolution is changed, a box appears on screen for you to confirm that you can see the picture. The default is “no”, so if you end up with an un watch able image, just press the OK button and it reverts to the previous resolution. Both progressive and interlaced modes are available, ranging from 480 to 1080 scan lines.
Widescreen broadcasts are commonplace these days and it’s good to see that all options here are catered for. For viewing widescreen broadcasts on a 4:3 screen, letterbox and pan/scan modes are avail-able. In reverse, a 4:3 broad-cast on a 16:9 screen can be untouched with black bars at the sides, or zoomed as required. There’s even a special button on the remote for this too, to switch between 16:9 and 4:3 mode.
I had difficulty making the EPG work, most likely because it requires an internal hard drive to store its data on. Assuming it will work prop-erly in a production model, it contains all the usual functions we’d need and expect. Programmes in the future can be set to record, or just to be watched. Like the channel list, the blue button can be used to zoom the EPG display between the full screen or just a part of it. Programmes set to be recorded can have a parental control put on them at reservation time. Traditional timer-mode recording is also available.
Everyday channel surfing is fast, and thanks to the good widescreen implementation, mostly painless. Once sorted into the desired order, or into favourites lists, navigating around the channels is easy. The “back” key finally finds a use here, a quick press takes us back to the last channel viewed. Inbuilt Teletext is available, and dedicated buttons on the remote give access to subtitles and additional audio tracks.
There’s a novel feature for users of Pay TV Systems. As usual, if a scrambled programme recorded, a valid card is needed to be used to watch the recording at a later date. However, there’s a special “descrambling” function. At a preset time of your choosing, for example while you are asleep, the receiver will get to work on the recorded file and remove the encryption. A valid viewing one card is still needed to descramble the pictures of course.
As there are two USB ports, it’s easy to have one connected to a hard drive as I had to, plus still access other USB devices from the other. MP3 audio files can be played, and pictures look great on a large HD screen.
This is a competent receiver with lots of connection options and powerful capabilities. After using it for a while however, it does start to feel like it’s a sports car with a speed limiter in the engine, that the software inside isn’t as fully developed as it could be. Navigating the menus sometimes feels a little tiring as they do not feel as intuitive as those on some of the other PVRs available.
HDTV Satellite Receiver Dizipia DS4H-9160 On the plus side however, good picture performance, ease of picture size and shape adjustment with dedicated buttons and CI slots, for an everyday PVR it should do the job just fine.