An honest opinion on DVBLink TVSource from DVBLogic

This is my honest opinion on DVBLink TVSource from DVBLogic.

In basic terms, DVBLink and DVBLink TVSource is software that can be used on NAS, PC, Mac and Raspberry Pi platforms that will enable you to enjoy your favorite Satellite (DVB-S/S2), Cable (DVB-C and QAM), Terrestrial (DVB-T/T2 and ATSC), IPTV and Analog channels and recordings within your home network and on the go.

In the case of Australia, this would mainly be used for Terrestrial DVB-T broadcast FTA (Free To Air). Of course you need applicable hardware to be able to interface the software to the broadcast. Will discuss more on that soon.

For background I should mention the recording of DVB broadcast television using a computer is not exactly new to me. I once played a little with Mythtv, and ran a Mythtv backend. However, it never took in the household as it never passed the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). I also some years later used some USB tuners on a Macintosh with EyeTV. Over the last year or more I have dabbled with TvHeadEnd and quite liked it, but I wanted to run a product that could run on Windows if possible and be used on a Desktop computer that could do other things as well.

Eventually I got wind of DVBLink TVSource from DVBLogic. I do not remember how I found out about the software, but I did and that started the idea of perhaps it could do what I wanted.

First thing I worked out is that generic USB tuners won’t work with it. You know the cheap ebay Realtek clone ones (read more about that here). So I thought perhaps I will invest in a nice dual tuner PCIe version, as the computer I planned to use it on that available slots (came to the conclusion that a safe purchase would be DNTV Dual Hybrid 7164 PCIe DVB-T Card.

My DVB-T card arrived, and I was certainly impressed. Terrestrial DVB-T cards have certainly improved over the years. If you want to see more pictures of my card you can check them out here.

DVBLink Server is free and DVBLink TVSource can used for 20 days under a trial license to evaluate. So I installed both and installed the hardware drivers for my DVB-T card. To my surprise at the time the card was visible and configurable (considering I hadn’t had any hardware compatible at this point – it was a win).

Now I would be able to scan for the TV Channels, so that was my next step. Sure enough with a bit of work I was able to achieve this too.

After this had to wait for the EIT guide data got populated, and once that was done I was able to browse the web interface that shows up and coming shows on each of the channels.

This is also where you can program it and pick what you’d like to be recorded. The web interface is quite responsive and does a good job at doing what it is designed to do.

I found that it was also handy you could see at a glance on the Monitoring web page if the tuners are Idle or in use.

You can play back recordings from the web interface to other devices, however this would incur a cost on CPU power, as transcoding will occur. I personally don’t mind using VLC to play back the files directly from the machine itself, otherwise you can install XBMC/Kodi somewhere and configure the PVR addon for the product. This works really well from my experience. The PVR addon allows you to watch the Live TV and/or recordings. These are streamed over the network.

Live TV and Recordings can also be accessed using VLC using a special formed URL.

TV Recordings:

http://192.168.n.n:8100/mobile/?command=get_recordedtv_m3u

TV Channels:

http://192.168.n.n:8100/mobile/?command=get_playlist_m3u

You can check out the DVBLogic/DVBLink wiki page for more details on the above feature.

The DVBLink TVSource also broadcasts itself over UPnP/DLNA procotol too.

All in all I am quite happy with the product, and when my trial license expired I set about becoming a registered one. I hope to join the forums and contribute some feedback that might help make the product even better.

This post is NOT sponsored by DVBLogic, it is my own opinion based on my own usage of the product.