Adding a Hard Disc for recording from your satellite or ip box

For satellite receivers having an internal HDD drive, there aren’t too many problems, the SATA drives 2.5 inch or 3.5 inch seem to be all happy with  just about any receiver I’ve ever encountered. 

With the external drives however there are a few combinations that don’t work.

In general if your receiver is for a specific service, Fransat, TNT, Skylink, Busatcom, Nova, OTE, choose the WD 500Gb option below

The Thomson Skylink, Fransat and TNT boxes: Either avoid this make if you need a recording box or try the WD elements type, don’t go above 500Gb and format the drive with the Verbatim utility program below before fitting it.  If you still cannot get it to function, buy the external power pack kit and SATA drive, so it is powered  by a separate 12 volt source.

Technisat S2 ( Technistar S2)  this will ONLY work with the WD elements  500 drive , the Samsung, Toshiba and others won’t even spin up !  Follow the instructions for the Thomson above.

Strong Fransat or TNT   Some more recent receivers will work with any drive, early ones again stick with the WD elements drive and no more than 500Gb

Why do some receivers not work properly?  The receivers have USB   2.0 sockets which will only supply 500mA current via the USB power line  to the drive. 99.9% of HDD drives on sale today, are USB 3.0. This is compatible in most  ways but not in power consumption. If you read the manufacturers spec , which is difficult to find, a USB 3.0 drive can take up to a 900mA surge on switch on, to get the motor spinning. Most receivers limit the current so the drives never actually start up.

NAS drives for Multi-room Recording

If you have a central network connected drive, you can share recordings. By that I mean make a recording on the receiver in the main lounge downstairs and watch it from the receiver upstairs in the bedroom. 

basic layout dish with 3 cables to rooms and NAS drive

I’ve used the Buffalo NAS network drive with 2Tb HDD fitted, to do this and it works well,  together with the excellent Technisat S6 receivers

Buffalo NAS drive

You might already have a network drive connected for your home office work to act as file server, this might work, you would be wise to check that the speed is ok for video though, heavy file transfer may slow down the transfer when video is being recorded or played back causing problems. Also is the drive accessible from the web?  By creating a folder with permissions set correctly, you can avoid access from outside. 

Buffalo provide a free software, the NAS navigator, which you can use to set things up correctly and check where files are. 

If like me you  already have a mass of media on your computer, you can make this available on the NAS drive, either just on the home network or the wider web for use on your mobile devices.

Problem Networks

NAS drives create a great system but certain network configurations do not work . If you have a slow network or SkyQ network or any which rely on WiFi, it just won’t work reliably.  You will need a hard wired Cat6 home network which has Gigabit connection speed. 

Cat 5 can handle 10 to 100Mbs, but if its old cable or the ends are not correctly terminated ( eg . leaving a significant gap at the plug end, with no screening or untwisting the wire pairs ) then the speed will dip.

My own home network has Cat5 std cables, the system does work but can be a little unstable when going from rec to play modes, until its settled down, but is then quite ok.  So do test your network speed and correct any faults, before buying a NAS drive.

Technisat Receivers

Technisat are not the only receivers that will work with NAS drives but they do have the  connectivity built in to do it simply. 

The S6 which is their basic single tuner model would be fine for

  • German Channels from Astra 1
  • French Channels using a Fransat module from Eutelsat 5w
  • Tivu (Italian) Channels using a Tivu module  from Eutelsat 13e
  • English (+ India and Pakistan) from Astra 2
  • Any other FTA free to air channels
  • Multi-sat FTA eg Eutelsat, Astra1,2, Hotbird for French German UK and Italian FTA

for more multisat details see All Europe page

for more detailed channel lists see the King of Sat website

WD Western Digital EXTERNAL USB 500Gb Drive. This works for most of the French receivers for Fransat and TNT, also the Skylink  receivers for Czech and Slovak channels.

these have a  low current requirement 

WD Western Digital EXTERNAL USB 1Tb Drive for Amiko, Technomate and Technisat ( not S2)  receivers

WD Western Digital INTERNAL SATA 500Gb Drive for   Technomate 5501 and Technisat isio receivers 

Seagate INTERNAL  SATA 1Tb Drive for UHD 4k models like Mutant 4k, Zgemma 4k , Technisat ISIO 4k  2.5 inch fitting

This has a large 128Mb cache for high speed transfer

Seagate INTERNAL  SATA 2Tb Drive for UHD 4k models like Mutant 4k, Zgemma 4k , Technisat ISIO 4k   2.5 inch fitting

This has a large 128Mb cache for high speed transfer2

If you cannot get a USB drive  to work properly, consider this option which uses a SATA drive and has an external power supply. This is not then dependent on the USB supplying current for the drive and should work perfectly. With the French and Czech receivers – stick with the 500Gb size.

VERBATIM formatting utility for PC

Use this on any new drive from a computer store or Amazon, format it for your satellite receiver in FAT32 format. 

If you try most PC drives straight onto a receiver, it will either not recognise it at all, or give error messages. Note: with TNT receivers you first format with the utility to get the TNT box to recognise the drive and then format it again connected to  the TNT box.

GuiFormat – formatting utility for PC

If you use Windows 10 and try to Format a Seagate 1Tb you may encounter problems.  It shows up on a PC but when trying to use it on a satellite box, no USB device is found.  Similarly the Verbatim utility fails to see the drive.  Download the latest version of the GuiFormat tool and it usually lets you format the  drive perfectly. Use this on any new drive from a computer store or Amazon, format it for your satellite receiver in FAT32 format.