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  1. 1. FEATURE Receiver + Network The Network Connection – a jack with multiple uses Thomas Haring More and more manufactur- ers are now fitting their PVR receivers with not only the standard USB 2.0 jack but also a network interface, whether it’s wired or wireless. The reasons for this are actually quite obvi- ous: if you’ve ever tried to link components via USB 2.0 that are more than 10 – 15 meters apart, you would already know that you are approaching the limits of its capabilities. FTP access on a Topfield receiver via an Internet connection Manufacturers are run- ning into customers that have work. While USB connections put into service without any erly configured, you can access their receiver’s set up in the require the use of additional problems. your hard drive from anywhere living room but have their PC’s drivers and programs in order to in the world. installed somewhere else such transfer recordings, this neces- And let’s not forget that a net- as in an office on the second sity all but disappears with a work connection also gives you This can be very practical if floor. Incorporating network network connection thanks to access to the great wide outside you happen to be away on busi- technology actually saves man- standardized protocols such as world; that is, if your Internet ness sitting in a hotel room and ufacturers quite a bit of extra FTP; every usable tool can be connection and router are prop- want to confirm that your pro- grammed timer recordings all happened as planned. But it also offers totally new possibili- ties such as the legal exchange of video recordings. This would allow, for example, relatives in the USA to directly access native-language recorded pro- grams from a receiver’s hard drive and easily transfer them via the Internet. All you need is someone on the other end to set up and take care of a receiver and arrange for an Internet connection. While many manufacturers slowly but surely are recogniz- ing the advantages of a network connection, others are quite a few steps ahead. In addition to FTP, the Internet works primar- ily with the HTTP protocol; why not give the receiver its own web server? The possibilities that would then be opened would be fas- cinating: imagine you are work- ing with your PC and it suddenly dawns on you that you forgot to set the recording of your favor- ite TV program. Normally you would have to get up and walk to the living room and start the recording on your receiver man- ually. But if you happen to own Direct Internet reception of a satellite receiver via the web interface of the receiver a receiver with a network inter- 18 TELE-satellite & Broadband — 10-1 1/2007 — www.TELE-satellite.com
  2. 2. www.TELE-satellite.com — 10-1 1/2007 — TELE-satellite & Broadband 19
  3. 3. and existing recordings can be the unit. Before you go on vaca- deleted, moved, renamed or tion, connect your receiver to a copied to the PC. small video camera and position it, for example, in the vicinity Other manufacturers take it of your front door. While you a step further and offer the full are away, you can at any time control of your unit through the check to see if everything at use of a virtual remote control home is still as it should be and that is blended in to the screen. that no one decided to break in In other words, you can control while you were gone. and activate all of the func- tions of your box as if you were The more control possibilities standing directly in front of it. your receiver has, the more important security tends to Even here you have to think become. No doubt you wouldn’t ahead. You might be thinking be all too happy if someone to yourself that these features decided to access your digital might not really be necessary receiver without your permis- since walking from your office sion and inflicted damage such to the living room occasion- as deleting your recordings or ally might not be a bad thing. your channel/favorites lists. But to be able to control your receiver from your hotel room For this reason, most manu- while on vacation, that’s where facturers did not forget about these features would really your security and offer pass- A video stream, for example, from a satellite receiver is received via come in handy. word access to your FTP and the Internet using a Slingbox HTTP connections. Of course, With such a receiver, you this feature can be deactivated face that offers the required model of the unit, nearly every would be able to control and if you’re dealing with nothing functions, you could then stay function is made available utilize it from any point in the more than your own internal in your seat and access your to you. The basic functions world. One of the larger set- network at home. receiver’s control center from are the same in almost every top-box manufacturers was your web browser. model: you can start and stop especially brilliant and included The third interesting possibil- Depending on the make and recordings, timers can be set alarm and security functions in ity with a network connection 20 TELE-satellite & Broadband — 10-1 1/2007 — www.TELE-satellite.com
  4. 4. and imagine this situation: you report on the Slingbox, a device are on vacation somewhere in that can take any signal source the Caribbean but still don’t and distribute it as an IPTV want to miss the eight o’clock stream in your local network or news from home. Unless you’re over the Internet. Thanks to from the USA, the chances of the included IR transmitter, all finding this on some channel on of your other electronic devices the hotel TV are slim to none. such as your TV, VCR, DVD player, satellite receiver, etc., So why not grab your laptop, can be activated and controlled establish an Internet connec- from a distance. tion and watch that news pro- gram live via the Internet? All The fourth and (for hobby- you need to make this happen ists) most interesting applica- is a set-top-box with a net- tion would be the accessing of work interface and audio/video data through the set-top-box streaming capabilities plus a via the Internet. While most of hotel with a high-speed Inter- the larger manufacturers use net connection. In conjunction this practical feature for soft- with the FTP and HTTP services ware and channel list updates, of your box, you can not only there are some that have taken The receiver displays weather data acquired via the Internet control your receiver from afar, this a step further to make their but also view audio and video receiver just a bit more inter- has to do with streaming ser- is becoming more and more from your receiver. esting. The fun begins with vices. This all belongs under popular thanks to the higher some small gadgets that can, the heading IPTV, something bandwidth Internet connections If these possibilities sound for example, display current you may have been hearing that are now readily available. intriguing to you but you happen weather data or inform you of more and more about over the Unfortunately, these extra ser- to have a box without a network newly arrived e-mails. It can last several years. vices are still somewhat expen- interface, have no fear, there go as far as providing access sive and watching TV on your PC are other ways for you to con- to the Internet so that you can Besides Internet and tele- isn’t really all that much fun. struct your own IPTV system. download a variety of useful phone services, every Internet programs such as MP3 players, provider with a reasonable rep- But think about the worldwide Elsewhere in this issue of picture viewers, etc., directly to utation also offers IPTV. This applications of this technology TELE-satellite we provided a your set top box. www.TELE-satellite.com — 10-1 1/2007 — TELE-satellite & Broadband 21