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New Toy

I got my Hauppauge Nexus DVB-S card a few days ago, which explains why I haven’t been more active here! It has lived up to my expectations.

Having this card in North America is like being a fish out of water. DVB is the European standard for direct-to-home (DTH) satellite broadcasts. The American market is dominated by packaged providers like DirecTV and Dish Network. Still, there is a world of Free-To-Air channels to be had. I would love to see many more!

The card needed a little tweaking to be happy here, as it came set up for PAL format. A registry tweak here and a obscure checkbox in the software there and I was all set. The only issue now is getting Linux TV to run the card.

FTA channels are scattered all across the sky, a fact which would ordinarily require a garden of satellite dishes. Fortunately, an innovative dish exists to solve this problem. Called a toroidal dish, it can focus simultaneously on a 40 degree arc of sky, allowing reception of up to sixteen satellites! This amazing dish measures just 90cm, allowing for installation everywhere (the FCC rules trump any zoning or neighborhood covenants).

I’m just testing things out now, but I forsee DTH satellite services to be the ticket to information freedom. Now more than ever, there are compelling reasons for alternative media channels. One day, you could kill off the bloated packages cable and satellite companies force you to buy and get only the channels you care about. Each would be beamed to your home directly from the programmer’s satellite transponder. No middleman!

The industry doesn’t much like that idea, since padding its numbers helps boost advertising revenue. I’m hoping that DVB gets disruptive enough in this country that change becomes inevitable. I’m taking the first step.

(P.S., if anyone knows anyone at Microspace, I’d love to take a tour of their facilities.)