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Test Report for Dreambox DM500 HD

Dreambox DM500 HD

The key features of the DM500 HD include the powerful 400 MHz processor as well as the Linux operating system. The 10/100 Mbit compatible Ethernet connection allows you to integrate the receiver in your home network, or to enjoy Internet connectivity. The back panel provides the DVB-S2 tuner as well as a Mini-USB interface for software updates as well as an eSata connection, allowing you to expand the capabilities of the DM500 HD to that of a PVR by connecting to an external hard drive. In addition, the Dreambox comes equipped with an HDMI as well as with an optical digital sound output. The front panel provides a smartcard reader. The compact size of the DM500 HD deserves special mention. Its dimensions of only 195 x 130 x 40 mm (WxDxH) make it particularly suitable for discreet installation in the living room. Its power consumption, too, is minimal, with a consumption of only twelve Watts during operation, and less than one Watt in standby mode.

The new Dreambox provides HDTV with razor-sharp images and brilliant colours. The option of an external hard drive makes it child’s play to record television programmes. DM500 HD supports DiSEqC 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 and USALS protocol. The Dreambox runs using Linux, the features list of the Dreambox DM500 HD are unbelievable. I have had one of these things for around a year, and I am still discovering new things I can do with it everyday. The box itself is very slim; this means there is still plenty of space left on your TV Cabinet for other electronic goodies. You can connect the box to the internet via the Ethernet port at the back of the box. This feature enables the user to record what is on the Dreambox, directly to their PC Hard-drive via the network The remote control supplied with DM500 HD is much more stylish. The remote control offers all of the general functions a remote control for a cable receiver to have. Users can also download many images from the internet, and install them on the receiver. Images are made by developers from different teams. Some well known developers of Dreambox Images are NabiloSat, Gemini, Pli. These images allow the user to enhance their experience with their Dreambox to a greater extent. Users can change skins, parental lock specific channels, create bouquets to group certain types of channels. Users can also download many plugins with certain images. There are numerous amounts of plugins for the Dreambox, and these enhance the users experience even more. The detailed, fully illustrated user manual printed in English will answer any questions you might have regarding the operation of this new DM500 HD receiver.
After the receiver has been connected to the satellite antenna system and the TV and it has been turned on for the first time, the Installation Assistant immediately appears. The receiver is equipped with international languages for communication. The next step involves setting up the local time zone and whether daylight savings time should be turned on or off. Once this is taken care of, the receiver is then matched up with the existing antenna system. European, Asian and American C and Ku-band satellites have been preprogrammed into the DM500 HD receiver with relatively up-to-date transponder data. By pushing the menu button on the remote control, the Main Menu appears with the current TV image minimized to a small window in the upper right corner of the screen. It was designed especially for high resolution TVs and is thus sharp and easy to read. The installation menu will only be needed again when looking for new channels or when new satellites need to be added; everything else was already taken care of in the initial installation. Here you will also find a variety of other options that, for example, would allow you to reset the receiver to factory settings plus among other things load one of the preprogrammed channel lists. In addition to a variety of language choices (subtitle, teletext, audio language, etc.), it is also possible to change the video output signal.

The DM500 HD supports PAL and NTSC in 1080i, 720p and 576p resolutions. There’s also an automatic mode that matches the resolution to each transmission resulting in optimal picture quality. Naturally, the receiver can also automatically recognize and take 4:3 signals and either display them with black bars on either side of the image on modern 16:9 TVs or zoom in on the image. Numerous PVR functions performed correctly during our tests no matter how hard we tried to derail the receiver with multiple recordings, timers and time shifting. The receiver did whatever we asked it to and reliably recorded all of our selected programmes. Switching between channels will take only one second. Symbol rates starting at the rate of 2.45ms/sec were easily used during our test. After each channel change an informative Info bar appears that provides information on the current channel including language selection, teletext, encryption, subtitles, etc. as well as programming information on the current and upcoming programs. Even signal strength and signal quality is displayed in the form of bar graphs. A push of the Info button displays an expanded EPG view of the current programme as long as this data is made available by the provider. In the automatic scan, the user only needs to select a desired satellite and choose between ALL, NIT, Fast, Free, TV or Radio. These choices can be set up individually for as many satellites as needed. Owners of DiSEqC motorized systems can thus select all receivable satellites for an automatic scan and sit and enjoy a DVD while the receiver takes care of the work.



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