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Television Standards Converters, Modulators etc Standards converters, modulators anything else for providing signals to vintage televisions.

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Old 3rd Jul 2021, 5:29 pm   #1
MartinMarris
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Default Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

I'm a bit confused. I want to drive my Aurora with a 625 line RF signal to feed my 405 line set.

On the market, I find all sorts of Freeview/iPlayer boxes but none of them seem to have a modulator. So to feed the Aurora, you would have to do:

Freeview/iPlayer Set Top Box => Digital (or perhaps Analogue Composite) Signal To RF Modulator => Aurora.

Three units to chain together. Is that right?

I am asking because presumably, during the analogue to digital switchover, there must have been hundreds of thousands of Freeview boxes sold that had a modulator so that people could continue using their 625-line RF sets. Or did they all connect using SCART or similar?

(But presumably none of them had iPlayer, or any kind of Internet connectivity for that matter, because that was still several years in the future.)
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Old 3rd Jul 2021, 6:01 pm   #2
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

You feed the Aurora with composite video and audio from a Freeview box Scart socket. You can buy Scart/RCA adaptors for a pound or two, or make up your own from an old Scart lead.

Streaming boxes are more difficult because many don't have analogue outputs. The first and second generation Raspberry Pi s had composite video outputs and could run the Kodi open source media centre.

It isn't clear why you think a UHF modulator is relevant to any of this.
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Old 3rd Jul 2021, 6:04 pm   #3
MartinMarris
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

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Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
It isn't clear why you think a UHF modulator is relevant to any of this.
You're right, it's not!

After all, the Aurora has RCA analogue inputs.

Sorry, what I meant to say is that STBs nowadays may not have analogue (SCART or RCA) outputs. But presumably some still do. (Edited to add: Have now found several.)

So, apparently, no problem.
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Old 3rd Jul 2021, 6:09 pm   #4
Simon Gittins
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

The original Freeview boxes with modulators were used for older 625 line sets that didn't have a SCART socket.
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Old 3rd Jul 2021, 6:17 pm   #5
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

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Originally Posted by Simon Gittins View Post
The original Freeview boxes with modulators were used for older 625 line sets that didn't have a SCART socket.
What I can't find (yet) is a Freeview box that explicitly states it supports iPlayer. I find a lot of STBs that boast "wifi" without really explaining what the wifi is for. The big market seems to be in Freeview boxes that include a PVR, but it's iPlayer support (and ideally support for other streaming services) that I am looking for. I'm not really interested in recording TV on a hard disk, I just want to stream from library-style services such as iPlayer.

FWIW the same issue pertains when shopping for TVs in the UK, it is surprisingly hard, even when a TV is advertised as "Smart", to figure out which streaming services it supports, either out of the box or through a "store" app download.
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Old 3rd Jul 2021, 6:20 pm   #6
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

Freeview boxes with Scarts were sold in huge numbers 10-15 years ago and are easy to find in charity shops, flea markets etc., or just dumped outside for the binmen. I'm sure a forum member could supply you if you have trouble finding something suitable.

Lots of Freeview PVRs have iPlayer support, but you're right, most of the ones currently on the market don't have analogue interfaces. You can buy HDMI->composite converters for a few quid.
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Old 3rd Jul 2021, 6:39 pm   #7
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

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Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
Lots of Freeview PVRs have iPlayer support, but you're right, most of the ones currently on the market don't have analogue interfaces. You can buy HDMI->composite converters for a few quid.
You've put your finger on exactly the issue I was having. So if you want iPlayer or other streaming services, you probably do end up with a three-unit chain, with the Aurora as the third unit in the chain. I just did not explain it too well and got confused with the (non-applicable) modulator issue.
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Old 5th Jul 2021, 2:36 pm   #8
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

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The first and second generation Raspberry Pi s had composite video outputs...
I believe they still do, but not in the original convenient form of a dedicated single pole yellow RCA-out jack. Later ones have the stereo audio-out and composite video-out combined in one four pole jack.

Even the Pi Zero has composite video out, but no actual composite video output connector by default. It can be picked up with a flying soldered lead from a couple of the PCB pads.

However, as there is no official Linux equivalent of the Windows iplayer_downloads software, it might be limited to the streamed (web browser) mode of iplayer.
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Old 5th Jul 2021, 3:25 pm   #9
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

Get_iplayer runs on Linux (or it did) though I don't know if it's in the standard Pi repository. Kodi contains a reasonably good official addon for iPlayer.

The RCA composite socket was only on the first generation Pi s. The others use an AV jack socket.

I didn't know the current Zeroes had composite hidden away somewhere.
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Old 5th Jul 2021, 5:21 pm   #10
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

I just double checked - both the Raspberry Pi Zero (original) and Raspberry Pi Zero W have two plated through holes / pads surrounded by a white rectangle and slightly misleadingly marked 'TV' - that is the composite output on a Pi Zero / Zero W.

However.. The Pi Zero lacks the 'analogue' part of the audio output circuitry that was on earlier Pis so if you want audio as well, which is highly likely, you have to add some circuitry back on. For an easy life it might make better sense to seek out a Pi 1 which already has composite video and analogue audio-out on separate connectors.

Edited: Looking around, it seems only the original A and B models with 2 * USB sockets had the separate composite out and audio out connectors.

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Old 5th Jul 2021, 8:57 pm   #11
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

I do own a Pi B 2, and it definitely doesn't have the RCA composite socket.
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Old 17th Jul 2021, 6:06 pm   #12
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

I have a spare pi b that has a yellow composite out socket. You can have it cheaply if you’re interested. PM me.
I wonder if it has the ‘legs’ to play video very well though. They’re pretty low spec.
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Old 18th Jul 2021, 9:09 am   #13
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

The Humax HD Fox T2 and HDR Fox T2 have HDMI, SCART and composite phono outputs, and the SCART is configurable as RGB or Composite. Until last year they supported iPlayer using the standard firmware, but if you want iPlayer now you have to install custom firmware.

These are both widely available secondhand; I would buy the HDR as it comes with a hard disk (500 GB or 1 TB) onto which you could record a stack of old films etc to watch on your old TVs.

Last edited by PaulE27; 18th Jul 2021 at 9:23 am.
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Old 18th Jul 2021, 9:17 am   #14
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

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Originally Posted by terrybull View Post
I have a spare pi b that has a yellow composite out socket. You can have it cheaply if you’re interested. PM me.
I wonder if it has the ‘legs’ to play video very well though. They’re pretty low spec.
They will play unencrypted video including iPlayer streams, but not streams which use DRM encryption. The DRM decoding is done in software on a Pi, resulting in unwatchably stuttery video. This applies to All4 and ITV Hub amongst other things.
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Old 5th Aug 2021, 4:41 pm   #15
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

Hi Martin

Back to first principles. You need an internet connection to register and watch Catch Up TV services.

Should you have a laptop, then subject to the device you have, you can use either the HDMI output fed into a HDMI to composite converter then to the Aurora or use the VGA socket. In the case of the VGA, you will need to make up a small circuit to bridge the 3 colours, as shown on the web. This will produce a composite video suitable for the Aurora. The sound will be from the earphone or audio out jack.

Alternative 1:

Subject to your internet provider, there should be a set top box available to view the 150 odd channels now available and this will also have the BBC and Commercial TV catch up services plus possibly more.

In the case of Fibre to cabinet FTTC, the one I have, the set top box has a Scart output. My service also includes a PVR which is very useful as not all programmes are available on catch up.

Fibre to Home FTTH, is another matter. Here only a HDMI output will be provided to enable 4k video to be watched and you will need an HDMI converter.

Alternative 2:

Purchase a ROKO Express or similar and plug this into a HDMI converter and off you go. Simples!

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Old 5th Aug 2021, 4:54 pm   #16
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

The Beeb has an awful track record of withdrawing iPlayer support from various streaming boxes though. They stopped supporting several common Roku and Now TV boxes a couple of years ago and have never provided a plausible explanation.
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Old 5th Aug 2021, 8:06 pm   #17
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

I am pleased to say that the ROKU I've used for some years has had no problems with iPlayer. You Tube did withdraw ROKU support for 7 days over royalty but soon changed their minds. Current ROKU and other streamers specifically state support for iPlayer and Commercial TV Catch Up plus much more.

As for bundled TV/internet providers, should the new boss of BBC decide to withdraw software support or feeds to their set top boxes, just wait for the next copy of Private Eye "taking the Michael" and normal service will soon be resumed.

Off topic, BBC Radio, sorry Sounds, do not stream Radio 2 via iPlayer which is a nuisance or it was until I no longer recognised the DJ's or music!

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Old 5th Aug 2021, 11:17 pm   #18
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

Argos sell the Humax 1800T and FVR-5000T DVB-T2 recorders that still have composite outs, both suppporting iPlayer, though they are over 100.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 4:50 pm   #19
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

But unfortunately not You Tube anymore! That was provided originally as well. Whatever the problem was it didn't get resolved in 7 days

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Old 6th Aug 2021, 4:54 pm   #20
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Default Re: Freeview/iPlayer With Modulator

YouTube broke on the 1800T (and lots of other devices) when YT made encrypted connections mandatory.

IPlayer broke on older Roku devices with composite outputs because the BBC wouldn't pay their contractors to continue to support them. Of course, they didn't explain it quite like that.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/help/q...-nowtv-closure
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