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Copyright. Tempus Fugit Satellite Publications.
Coship CDVB 3188C.
The COSHIP CDVB 3188C is a digital Free To Air (FTA) receiver. It is a receiver with a remarkable difference and what a difference indeed.
How is it different? It can Auto Search very quickly in minutes, not hours, days etc a whole satellite WITHOUT the need to enter any data whatsoever.
He’s talking rubbish I hear you cry, but I can assure you I most certainly am not.
If you are a CAMs and Cards man then this receiver is not for you.
The nearly perfect Dxing receiver has arrived.
Where so many manufacturers have made so many excuses for not producing a decent Dxing receiver; "To expensive to manufacture", "The technology is not there yet and won’t be for some foreseeable future", " Be to complex to manufacture" to "There will be no call for it", etc, etc.
Well at last it has been done by a Chinese Company from Shenzhen, and believe it or not for under £100 retail. $138 US Dollars to be precise, around £90 Sterling.
I ordered mine from a US based company called Sadoun Satellite Sales of Columbus, Ohio. (This dealer will not give you a warranty outside of the US, see my recommended dealer at the beginning of this write-up) The 5 day postage cost me $80 US Dollars, nearly as much as the receiver, but the receiver arrived at my house some 36 hours after leaving Ohio. At the moment they are not sold in the UK.
Taking the receiver out of its excellent transit packaging it looks remarkably normal. Just the usual silver coloured box with a few buttons on the front.
So what makes this receiver so very different to any other? It is its capability of being able to search a given frequency range of the KU Band or C Band spectrum, both horizontally and vertically, or a set of parameters of your choosing without the prior entry of any transponder data whatsoever. Just that, and it will find all active transponders with their associated channels, both radio and TV. It will also send these channels to your TV set as good as a receiver costing four times as much.
I set the receiver up at first to what I thought would be its ultimate test, and that was to search the 13 East slot (Hotbirds) from 10.700GHz to 12.750GHz in both Horizontal and Vertical Planes.
Before I talk about the results a little about the receiver itself.
The first thing I noticed on the rear is the lack of Scart sockets. There are just four phono sockets, 1 video out (CVBS to TV), Audio Left and Right, and an accessory voltage socket 0/12 volt switch, but sitting beside this cluster of four is an S-VHS socket.
The 0/12 volt switching facility comes in handy for switching those electronically controlled antenna switches. Useful when using both C Band and KU Band signal sources.
Also obvious by its complete absence is a UHF loop through, so if you rely solely on UHF for your receiver to TV link up, you will have to purchase a device to carry out this function.
However the Coship CDVB 3188 C does have an IF loop through, so that another receiver can be added.
The mains lead input is clearly marked as functioning from 100 Volts to 240 Volts at either 50/60 Hertz AC. The maximum power consumption of this receiver is rated at under 30 Watts. Power consumption is therefore minimal to that of the Echostar 3000/3600 series.
One sad point with this receiver it has only DISEqC 1 installed, so you will need another add on box if you wish the receiver to move your dish.
Very usefully on the rear is an on off AC main switch. This is pretty vital for nearly all digital receivers as so many of them do "Lock" every so often, and the only way to get them going again is to switch the receiver off and then back on again.
Last and certainly not least there is an RS 232 port. This port can be used for upgrading the software via a computer, or you can connect a similar receiver to the point by cable and transfer data between receivers.
Turning the receiver so that the face can be viewed you will see 6 buttons. From these buttons the receiver can be completely controlled without the need of the remote control unit (RCU). Also on the right hand side there is a flip up cover under which are CAM socket openings, not used in this receiver.
After connecting the IF lead (lead from LNB) and connecting up the Audio Visual (AV) leads to your TV, amplifier or scart switching unit, the receiver can be safely switched on.
On switching the receiver on and whilst in use, a signal lock lamp indicates the presence of "signal lock", there is also a signal strength indicator, a remote sensor lamp that flashes as the receiver receives commands from the RCU, and finally a four digit display that both indicates the status of the receiver and also the switched channel number.
The remote control unit is pretty dull affair, not really ergonomically designed but is highly functional with some 27 buttons for you to press.
To get things going, switch the receiver to working from standby and then depress the Menu Button. The screen lights up with "System Main Menu".
The first item on the list is Antenna setting. On pressing the OK Button, (Which is below the four "arrow buttons", instead of being on a sensible remote, in the middle of the four arrow buttons) you get two options. "Install Antenna", which allows you to set the system to the LNB you are using and use the receiver in the conventional sense by adding the transponder data manually. The second choice is "Blind Scan Antenna".
Blind scan antenna is the gateway to the magic of this receiver, this allows you to set the receiver to search any set of parameters you wish to enter in either 4MHz steps, or even below 4Mhz steps.
The next item on the System Main Menu is "Transponder Setting". Here as with other receivers you can add a TP, Delete a TP, Modify a TP, and search an individual TP. Transponders can only be added when they are active. It is just a case of entering the frequency and polarity; suddenly the Symbol Rate pops up in the SR window.
Moving down to the next, "Channel Setting", at this position you can Edit, Add a new channel, delete, Move or Lock your settings, and finally annotate favourite settings.
Next is "System Setting". Here you can set your chosen language as well as set the System Lock. Unfortunately the only language available on the one I tried was English.
Moving on down there is Password Setting, if and when you require it.
Below that is "Factory Default" That magic position where you can so easily loose all your hard found gains. However I can see this being used quite often by the avid Dxer.
Last but not least is the term Accessory. Oddly this does nothing as the accessory switch can be set elsewhere in the menu during set up.
Really not very much different to many other receivers, but this menu is self-explanatory and is very simple to use.
I have briefly covered searching earlier on, I will now expand upon it.
The receiver will search in three ways.
The first is searching the pre-programmed TPs that are set in the receiver software at the time of buying. As this receiver has come to me via the USA I could not find a satellite to test this upon.
The second is a "Blind Search" which searches every 4Mhz without the need to enter any data whatsoever.
The third is a comprehensive search with a gap of less than 4 Mhz. Surprisingly this does work very well and a search in this mode often produces more TPs than when in the 4MHz mode.
A real first exists in the second and third modes of auto searching and that is you can rush the search over the parts of the frequency spectrum on a satellite that are not used, just by simply pressing the OK button and releasing when appropriate.
I will use W 1 as an example at 10 East as it appears to be a "Feed" favourite. W1 uses 10.950GHz H & V to 11.200GHz and 11.450GHz to 11.700 GHz H & V, so by pressing the OK button you can scoot it through the 11.200GHz to 11.450GHz portions when the receiver is searching the Horizontal and Vertical Plane. Thus reducing search time when looking for those active feeds. Likewise the non used gap between 11.700GHz & 12.500GHz both H & V.
Now lets get down to finding those channels
After setting the receiver up, I moved my dish using my Echostar AD 3000 IP Viaccess to the Hotbirds at 13 East. I switched on the Coship and pressed menu, the cursor fell on "Antenna Setting", depressed OK, arrowed down to "Blind Search", and pressed OK, here I was given a choice of either User Sat C band, or User Sat-Ku. Being I wanted the receiver to search Hotbird I chose the KU setting by moving the arrow down to it. After pressing OK the receiver gives you an option setting window.
Here you set the search parameters. I set the full parameters for Hotbird; search from 10.700GHz to 12.750GHz in both Vertical and Horizontal Polar ranges. Pressed OK and the search began.
OK the receiver took 66 minutes (1Hr and 6 Minutes) to search the complete set of Hotbirds but it returned 86 Transponders, carrying 760 TV channels and 614 Radio Channels. All without wearing my fingers to the bone on an RCU.
I next searched Turksat 1C at 42 East. To us in the UK with a 1.2 metre antenna we can only see the vertical Transponders. The receiver searched Turksat !c complete in less than 10 Minutes. It returned 14 TPs active 23 TV channels and 23 Radio Channels. The reason for searching this bird was because here you can find some rather odd symbol rates in use.
Whilst talking about Symbol Rates (SR), the manufacturer claims a symbol rate error of only .15 of a percent when reporting searched parameters. These results are far better than those attained by both the Nokia and the RSD/New Wave receivers. The receiver handles symbol rates between 2.000 an 45.000Mbits.
Later when searching Telstar 12 at 15 West I discovered that the receiver will see symbol rates below 2.000Mbits but will not download them. Also whilst searching W 2 at 16 east I discovered that the receiver will record the presence of data channels, even though they do not have a TV/Radio component.
Once a Satellite has been downloaded, the received data can be analysed in two different ways. The ones of interest to the DXer are the TP lists, where the Frequency, SR, and Polarity are shown, but sadly not the Forward Error Correction (FEC). The TP list can be accessed via the TP part of the menu. Many receivers now are setting the FEC at Auto.
I don’t think this will upset the serious DXer because he gets a feel from experience of the correct SR. Anyway most have another receiver where the data can be transferred to discover the correct SR.
FECs covered by the receiver are ½, 2/3, ¾, 5/6, and 7/8.
To find out the parameters of a downloaded channel, simply call up the channel you wish to query and press the "Info" button on the RCU. Here displayed are the Frequency, SR, Polarity, Two Audio PIDs, Video PID, PCR (Clock) PID and if Teletext is present , the TeleText PID and the Channel Name.
The receiver is very easy to set up from the black and white users manual. Although Chinese interpretation of English is present throughout, the User Manual is well laid out and easy to understand.
This receiver is less complicated in its operation than the now ancient in satellite terms, Nokias with DVB 2000 installed. It must be remembered that when the Nokia 9200, 9500, and 9600 came on the market, they were rendered pretty useless very quickly by the advent of multitudes of channels. If it had not been for a very clever German computer programmer and his writing of the DVB 2000 software for this series of Nokias, most would have been in the dustbin or on Museum shelves. Sadly the Nokias in their Auto Search form are no longer made. Their search capability without a computer is however limited to a very narrow bandwidth compared with this receiver.
The RSD ODMs 300 and 302 again no longer made, but the 302 metamorphosed into the New Wave 9000. The Coship as a Dxing receiver knocks this into a cocked hat.
I can hear the purists shouting the Nokias will give you this and that, but where this receiver is coming from, is that it here today. Also spare a thought just how good it could be tomorrow.
So Far I have eulogised over this receiver as a craggy old DXer might. One might ask is "What good is this to the FTA entertainment watcher?"
It is quite simple. If the FTA entertainment user goes to the satellites where the entertainment is, he can download everything that is active without referring to magazines, websites etc. He will not only pick up the things that are ongoing, but also anything that has freshly arrived recently. If the user sets up a regular check system, then they will always be up to date.
Now everything has been set up correctly and channels downloaded, how does the receiver behave?
The video level and colour saturation are very good indeed and I feel the audio is also of a reasonably high standard. Channel change is about 1 second.
Should we say once more that what you get for your money is truly a bargain to say the very least.
I have aired the pros up to now and a few of the shortcomings.
At present the capacity of the receiver is only 2000 channels (radio and TV combined) With today’s channel loading that is not very much storage at all.
Another limiting factor is that the receiver is only capable of storing 18 Satellites. No FEC reading, auto only. The threshold is not as good as that of the Nokias.
To summarise I would say that this receiver does virtually what every DXer has dreamed of for ages, and it does it without a computer or any other hardware.
Coship has attained what others called "unattainable".
As a first it is truly brilliant. A no frills thrill.
All we need now is this technology incorporated with the Dream Box, add 4.2.2 and huge capacity hard disk and we would all be in satellite UTOPIA.
System System Capabilities Fully DVB-S compliant
Tuner Input Connector 2 x F – Type Female
Input Level -65~ .25dBm
Symbol Rate 2 ~ 45Ms/s
FEC decoder Rate ½ 2/3 ¾ 5/6 7/8
Reed Solomon (204, 188, 8)
LNB Power 13/18V/Off, 400mA: Current overload
Tone Switch 22KHz
DISEqC control Version 1.0 compatible
Video Decoder MPEG-2 Main Profile @ Main Level:
Impedance 75 Ohms
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 16:9
Output Level 1.0Vp-p
Audio Decoder MPEG-1 layer 1, 11
Impedance 600 Ohms
Power Supply Input Voltage 100-240V ~ 50/60Hz
Nominal Power 30W Max
Safety Insulation Resistance More than 10M:, at 500Vdc
Ambient conditions of 28jA2% & 70%RH
Withstand Voltage 1/p to0/p:3kV91 min)
General Dimensions 360 x 65 x 275mm
End of Specs.