Mutant 4k, Amiko Viper E2 boxes and the EPG – Electronic Programme Guide
Receivers can fall into 3 categories:
- General Purpose FTA free-to-air – makers firmware
- Purpose Made eg. Fransat, Sky, Polsat….
- E2 ( Enigma2) / Linux (open Source software)
Most FTA receivers for example Technomates 5402HD comes with its own firmware ie. what the user sees when they operate the menu for tuning etc. So the quality of the box is a combination of the hardware and the firmware. Some, like the Technomate have been very successful and others can be very awkward and lack the useful features that make it good and maintainable. The software system is ‘closed’ and nothing can be added and is rarely updated.
E2 receivers add enormous flexibility to the free to air type box, by the E2 – third party, open source software, user operating system. No matter what hardware is in your receiver, with E2 the User interface will look the same. This is a huge advantage especially when updating the receiver , the customer will already be familiar with the menu system and will not have to learn a new system . E2 is constantly updated by the many programmers adding to its ‘core’ functions. In recent times the number of add-ons ( software plug-ins that perform a single extra function ) has multiplied vastly.
About 10 years ago, the software started to get ‘interesting’, with enthusiasts contributing to the features in the software. At first the hardware and the software was frankly unusable. Since then it has become much more reliable and is now suitable for installers like myself to create a reliable system for the enthusiast. On to the basic box, you first choose your preferred ‘image’. This is the operating system which the user can use to set up the box, like iPab or VIX4E2 or Open Vix.
There can be hundreds of settings available in the average E2 image system. Many not shown at all in the typical FTA box like the Amiko HD for instance . Fine settings to suit individual tvs are possible. Control of Motorised dishes in a Technomate 5402 for example would normally have lat/long settings with just one decimal place, the linux boxes normally use two.
In general I would recommend using the Open Vix ‘image’ for German and most FTA installations, the Vix online forum is good for answers if you get stuck. Find Open Vix at www.openvix.co.uk
Its basic format is fine for normal use and comes with the most important plugin ( my opinion ) the cross EPG programme guide all ready to go. For German / UK channels on a single box, which is a common request, the Vix programme guide follows the Sky layout shown above. Most customers are familiar with this and appreciate how easy it makes it to make recordings and play back. This is the ONLY way to get a full 7 day EPG for BOTH German and UK channels on a single receiver.
Another worthy image is iPab. This is great for beginners with a particularly good set of clear instructions and easy steps to set up, even a self check feature built in.