4k TVs are becoming more popular, most of the big TV stores are making good offers so what is available in the Satellite world, to receive these broadcasts. I recently installed one of the new range of Ultra HD receivers from Mutant, the model HD51 and I am suitably impressed.
At the moment the 4k broadcasts are only on the Sky platform, but sooner or later , like HD did in the 90s , UHD will become the standard. For now there are real, tangible advantages to having a 4k receiver for your everyday German broadcasts. The processing power required for 4k makes the box work like lightning on HD !
The Mutant is one of many E2 type receivers ( Enigma 2 ) . Which basically means whichever hardware you run the E2 software ( or “image” ) on, it will look the same to the user. A big advantage since manufacturers have their own ideas and changing receivers means re-learning how to operate the box. Not so with E2 receivers, once your favourite E2 image is loaded, the menu will look just like your previous box, happy customers – already familiar with the product – much less likely to run into problems.
There has been a trend , when the E2 designers upgrade things, to tend further toward the big well known platforms like Sky and Virgin, in the way they make the box work. This is very evident in the grid of the “planner” or timer as we used to call it. Vix4E2 and OpenVix images in particular look remarkably like Sky’s own planner page, even to the colours used and options to record, when you click. IIt’s a it cheeky maybe, but as most customers will be somewhat familiar with Sky operation, it certainly makes it easier for me, when explaining how to operate their new box.
During installation, of which there are 2 parts A. loading E2 and B. loading the Channels and Favourites, I was very impressed by the speed of transfer and the speed at which the box rebooted. A Mutant 1500 ( reviewed on this site earlier ) takes a good couple of minutes to fully load the operating system onto, what is basically a linux computer with a satellite ‘head’ end. The HD51 takes just 12 seconds to complete boot up and show a channel, despite the complexity, it makes it as fast and in some cases faster than most simple satellite boxes, even my favourite, the Amiko HDse series, takes about 20 seconds to show itself fully working , from power up.
E2 is the ultimate flexible system, since it has an enormous number of developers of “plug ins” each with its own functions, for instance the epg ( electronic programme guide ) plugin ( cross-epg ). There are no other receivers which can show a seven day epg on both the German AND the Uk channels. If you’ve ever tried to load Astra 1 (German channels ) on a Freesat box, it can be done but, not with the epg and not with the friendly operating system, it has to revert to a much more basic system. Similarly a standard receiver like the Amiko will show a full 7 day epg on the German channels, but only the simple NOW and NEXT programme on the UK channels, this is because of the difference between the methods used in UK and Germany , to assemble the epg. It used to also be the case for French channels but sadly in 2016, the changes in their system stopped anyone with a non-French box accessing their channels at all. So far no E2 box has the necessary ci+ capability to read the Fransat or TNT cards.
The recording disc I used was a Seagate 1 Tb sata , it performed faultlessly on the default settings. The HDD sits in a frame inside the HD51 and makes a very neat arrangement. You can optionally use a USB connected drive, if you wish to take the recording elsewhere to play back, eg on a computer. The HD51 has USB 2 and USB 3 standard connectors so, no drive is excluded because of current limits on USB 3 drives, which sometimes happens on other receivers, notably some of the French TNT boxes.
One other, often overlooked part of satellite systems of any complexity, which gets overlooked, is backup and restore. The Mutant has this facility and will automatically take a new backup if you change any part of the channel list or system. This takes a lot of work off me, should anything go wrong. Last year, a young visitor , aged 5, managed to delete most of the channels on one of my installations. It would have been a 150 mile round trip and a good 3 hours channel tuning and sorting, to repair it manually. The restore system did it all in seconds with the customer guided over the phone.
So I thoroughly recommend the new Mutant HD51, it is well made and lightning fast in operation. The pictures from the Normal channels, Das Erste HD and ZDF HD for example are “upscaled” to a higher res for your new UHD tv and look stunning. I especially recommend it for users wanting both UK and German on one box – an excellent solution.