This leaves only one thing. That big square lump with the piece of metal on top. This is the heart of the receiver. It does everything, sorting out what stream to display, the zooms and mosaics, the user interface (including a game of Tetris!), managing the memory, programming the flash memory, responding to the remote, outputting a signal in PAL or NTSC, 50Hz/625 or 60Hz/525; or RGB, or S-video. Very impressive, no?
This device is an ALI STi5518-alike chip, which contains everything necessary to create a digital satellite receiver. Not only that, but it apparently offers an ATAPI interface to connect to low-cost DVD readers and the audio system supports MP3. In short, with the required hardware this one chip could provide a fully integrated satellite/terrestrial/DVD unit with the optional ability to play CD-Rs full of MP3s.
This device runs warm to the touch - however as you can see the heatsink isn't much more than a flat piece of metal stuck to the top, so it doesn't belt out loads of heat.
We cannot draw direct comparisons with the Digibox due to the need to handle encrypted streams, however this one device performs the job of three or four separate ICs in the Digibox (Pace 2500B). The speed difference between the two units is really quite astonishing. The Digibox always seems a little slow to respond, like it is busy doing loads of other things in the background (which may be true), while the SL65 is like one of those annoying yappy little puppies - always responsive and eager to please.
While I say we cannot draw direct comparisons, I can point out that both receivers are based upon the ST20 RISC core, and both have a crystal clocking 27MHz. I suspect that there is a lot to be gained by having more of the system on a single piece of silicon.
The tuner in most Digiboxes runs, if not "quite warm" then simply "hot". Touch the top of your Digibox, I bet the hottest part, which might be worrying hot, will be above the tuner module (you can easily tell where this is, just look for where the satellite cable plugs in).
The tuner in the SL65 runs 'cool'. I previously said that it ran warm, but I was mistaken - that warmth was coming from the rather obvious big heatsink (you can see this in the picture, the blurred thing lower centre).
It is interesting to me that the tuner is a plug-in unit. I wonder if replacement tuners can be purchased - either perhaps even more sentitive, or maybe operating on a different band?
Or, here's an idea... a UHF tuner and different firmware, it could be a DTT receiver!
We shall concentrate on the two regular satellite receivers. The 2005 model (screws at the side of the case) is based upon an STi5518 chip, and much of the stuff on-line is said to refer to this.
My receiver is the later model, 2006, version (screws at the back) is based upon an ALI chip which I assume is an STi5518 clone; sadly there are a number of changes in how this works - which appears to extend to potential incompatibility with software such as the channel editor provided by Comag - you need to visit the Silvercrest website as it goes under the Silvercrest branding, even though it is Comag equipment... Also the setup and menus are slightly different.
Number of TV programmes ? Up to 4500 programmes in total. Number of radio programmes ? Up to 4500 programmes in total. Number of user added channels 4500 'Favourite' channels Yes Channel categorisations Yes, choose from categories like 'news' or 'music' Timer facilities Yes, up to eight timed events Timer repeat Optional - daily, weekly, monthly, annually Input frequency range 950MHz - 2150MHz Actual frequency coverage 3000MHz - 13450MHz (C band to Ku band; depends on LNB) DiSEqC versions supported 1.0-1.2 USALS Supported Channels managed by? Automatic scan, or user-defined User choice of VID/AID/PID Yes User choice of FEC No, it is automatically determined On-screen display Yes, banners and menu-driven OSD multi-language Yes, several (GB, F, D, E, GR, T, etc etc) Front panel display 4×7-segment LED, plus power LED QPSK demodulation MCPC - SCPC / MP@ML Bitrates 1000 to 45000 Mbaud Supported image formats 4:3 full (pan&scan), 4:3 letterbox, 16:9 Supported broadcast standards PAL (720×576), PAL-M/NTSC (720×480) Picture zoom Choice of 2:1, 4:1, 6:1, 8:1, 12:1, 16:1 Multi-picture Up to 9 thumbnails, one 'active' at any time Picture stretch/resize blit Not supported except for 'zoom' mode; internally supported for menu resizing, 16:9 stretch, etc. Audio decoding MPEG-2 layer 1 and 2; mono mix, stereo, left, right Audio channel selection? Yes - press 'audio' key and choose from available Digital audio output SPDIF EPG Now and next; description of current programme Interactive Not supported Teletext (WST 1/1.5) Supported; large 800 page smart cache Teletext also inserted into VBI for TVs/capture Videotext services Not supported Subtitling Supported; may be switched on if required Date/time Supported; can set GMT offset in 30min units PIN/child lock Provided, specific channels may be locked Microprocessor core ALI (STi5518-alike?) FlashROM capacity 2Mb? SDRAM capacity 8Mb? JTAG Appears to be so, 6-pin interface FlashROM protect Appears to be so, jumper near Flash device On-line facilities None Modem Not supported LNB inputs 1 LNB loop-through? Yes UHF outputs Not provided UHF loop-through Not provided SCARTs 2× SCART modes CVBS / RGB / YUV Composite video output Yes S-video (Y/C) output Yes Left/right audio outputs Yes Digital audio output Yes Optical audio output Yes Upgrade via satellite Yes (from Astra 19.2°E) Upgrade via serial connection Yes You can backup firmware Yes You can backup channels Yes You can backup configuration Yes You can replace firmware :-) GUI settings editor Yes, MS Windows software is available. Startup time (from power off) About 4 seconds Startup time (from standby) About 4 seconds Power consumption (operating) 10W (from user guide) - 100/240V autoranging Power consumption (standby) 3W (from user guide) (according to user guide) Manuafacturer's website User guide: http://www.comag-ag.de/ Reality: http://www.mysilvercrest.de/
If you can help clarify or correct the information on this page, please do email me!
Number of TV programmes Max ~898 (channels 101 to 999) Number of radio programmes Max ~898 (channels 0101 to 0999) Number of user added channels 50, which are frequently 'forgotten'! 'Favourite' channels Yes, up to 50 may be assigned as favourites Channel categorisations Yes, provided by the EPG list Timer facilities Comprehensive 7-day timer by programme Timer repeat Optional, programmes may be 'series link'ed Input frequency range 950MHz - 2150MHz Actual frequency coverage 10700MHz - 12750MHz (Ku band) DiSEqC versions supported None USALS Not supported Channels managed by? EPG list provides all channels and categories User choice of VID/AID/PID No User choice of FEC Yes - 1/2 2/3 3/4 5/6 7/8 On-screen display Yes, banners and menu-driven OSD multi-language No, just English Front panel display 4 LEDs - on/stby, remote, message, online QPSK demodulation MCPC / MP@ML (?) Bitrates ~22000 and ~27500 Mbaud only Supported image formats 4:3 full (pan&scan), 4:3 letterbox, 16:9 Supported broadcast standards PAL (720×576) Picture zoom Not supported Multi-picture Not supported; unless by interactive content Picture stretch/resize blit Frequently used to make more interactive content, but no zoom facility is available to the user aside from TV aspect ratio setting. Audio decoding MPEG-2 layer 1 and 2 Audio channel selection? Only if specifically provided in interactive Digital audio output No EPG Full & complete 7-day listings of all TV channels Interactive Supported Teletext (WST 1/1.5) Not supported; teletext inserted into VBI Videotext services Supported Subtitling Supported; may be switched on if required Date/time Supported; fixed to UK time, auto BST change PIN/child lock Provided, but inactive without a viewing card The following is specific to the 2500B. The Sky specification dictates how the receiver will behave. Internals are left to the manufacturer. Microprocessor core ST20 FlashROM capacity 2Mb? SDRAM capacity 4Mb? JTAG Apparently, from some on-line reports, where? FlashROM protect No On-line facilities Dial-up including TCP/IP support Modem 33k6 (?) LNB inputs 1 LNB loop-through? No The following is specific to the 2500B. Some manufacturers added non-standard things to the design, it is alleged that Sky sulked greatly... UHF outputs 2×, including one which can output 9VDC UHF loop-through Yes SCARTs 2× SCART modes CVBS / RGB Composite video output No S-video (Y/C) output No Left/right audio outputs Yes Digital audio output No Optical audio output No Upgrade via satellite Yes - user-requested or broadcast-forced Upgrade via serial connection No You can backup firmware No You can backup channels No You can backup configuration No You can replace firmware No GUI settings editor No Startup time (from power off) About 83 seconds! [timed @ 3pm CET on 2007/03/02] ~26 seconds to initialise ~49 seconds to load the EPG channels list ~ 8 seconds until you can then change channel Startup time (from standby) Instant, as receiver does not shut down Power consumption (operating) 25W (estimate) Power consumption (standby) 25W (estimate) - receiver operates when in standby! Manuafacturer's website http://www.pace.com/, see also http://www.sky.com/