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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Configuring MediaPortal for Freeview NZ [Quick Guide]

This article is intended to provide computer-savvy enthusiasts with the information required to set up and configure a Mediaportal installation which is capable of receiving and displaying the freeview Digital Terrestrial or Satellite service in New Zealand.

While this document will not go into depth on all portions of the setup, it will provide links to other resources on the web where excellent step-by-step guides have been created.

PREREQUISITES

- One of the following operating systems (Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or greater, Windows Media Centre Edition with Roll-Up 2, Windows Vista 32 or 64 bit). Windows XP 64 bit is NOT supported.

A full list of MediaPortal system requirements is available at
http://wiki.team-mediaportal.com/MediaPortalRequirements

- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (or MySQL. This guide will only cover Microsoft SQL Server). Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition is free. Download Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition from [http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=65212] or [http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/sql/]

- Microsoft .NET Framework 2
[Download Here]

- Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86)
[Download Here]

Hardware Requirements

To work with Freeview, your PC must have a TV Tuner. The TV tuner must be capable of receiving a signal from a satellite dish, or be a Terrestrial Digital capable receiver. For New Zealand this means the TV tuner must be a DVB-T (for Terrestrial Digital), or DVB-S (for the Satellite service) compliant card.

A Windows Media Center compatible remote control is also a good idea.

Mediaportal Requirements


1. MediaPortal [http://www.team-mediaportal.com/download.html] Download the latest "Stable Release" Listed.

2. Mediaportal TV Server [http://tvengine3.team-mediaportal.com/] You will be redirected to a forum where the most recent revision can be downloaded by entering the newest thread and locating the DOWNLOAD link.

3. Mediaportal SVN [http://svn.team-mediaportal.com/ ]You will be redirected to a forum where the most recent revision can be downloaded by entering the newest thread and locating the DOWNLOAD link.

The LATM AAC Audio Codec required for New Zealand is included in the MediaPortal SVN.

The Video Codec


To be able to decode the New Zealand FTA Freeview service, you will require a compatible codec to decode the MPEG4 video stream.

Freeview New Zealand encodes video with an MPEG4 h.264 codec. Two recommended codecs for this purpose are:

- CoreAVC [http://www.coreavc.com/]
This is a commercial decoder which is compatible with Mediaportal. Purchase the codec from the site, or if you have no quarms with piracy then locate on your favourite Bitorrent site.

- Cyberlink Codec [http://www.cyberlink.com/]
Recent versions of Cyberlink PowerDVD include a compatible h.264 codec. Purchase and install PowerDVD to obtain the codec or check out your favourite Bittorrent site.

We have never had any success using the opensource ffdshow libavcodec h.264 codec. Your results may vary.

INSTALLATION

Install Mediaportal, then the MediaPortal SVN, followed by the TV-Server. When installing the TV Server ensure that you select the option to install the MediaPortal plugin when it is offerred to you.

Use the following guides if you are having any issues with the installation. Generally the process is quite straight-forward but I have included additional information on configuring the TV Server as the setup of an SQL Database will be required!

MediaPortal Installation
http://wiki.team-mediaportal.com/FirstTimeInstall

MediaPortal SVN Installation
http://wiki.team-mediaportal.com/UserGuides/SVN-nighly-builds

TV Server Installation
http://wiki.team-mediaportal.com/TV-Engine_0.3/

Finally, install Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. Ensure that you choose the authentication mode labelled "Mixed Mode" and that you specify a sa login and password. Ensure you record the logon credentials as you will be required to enter them later.

Full Guide:
http://wiki.team-mediaportal.com/TV-Engine_0.3/install-SQL-Server

Supplementary: TV Server SQL Configuration (Microsoft SQL Server)

In SQL Server 2005 Surface Area Configuration select "Surface Area Configuration for Services and Connections"

Under Remote Connections enable "Local and Remote Connections" and ensure "Using both TCP/IP and named pipes." is selected.

Ensure the Windows Service called "SQL Server Browser" is set to automatic.

Detailed guide is available at
http://wiki.team-mediaportal.com/TV-Engine_0.3/config-SQL-Server

Configuring the TV Server for the first time

Once all the required components are installed you will need to configure the TV Server to talk to the Microsoft SQL Database.

Run setuptv.exe from the start menu under 'TVServer'

Select 'Microsoft SQL Server 2005'

The section labelled "Database Location" is prefilled and is generally correct.

Enter the username and password in the "Database Login" fields. You should have recorded the password when we set up Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express.

NOTE: The username should be 'sa'

Click "Test" and you will receive a confirmation that everything has worked.

COMPLETION

The next task is to setup and scan for digital channels. This is beyond the scope of this guide but an excellent tutorial by cranz on the complete configuration of MediaPortal is available at [http://cranznz.googlepages.com/]

The section specific to scanning for channels and ensuring the TV configuration is set up correctly is available at [http://cranznz.googlepages.com/configuringmediaportal]

REFERENCES AND LINKS

Team MediaPortal

http://www.team-mediaportal.com/

FreeviewHD TV-Server and MediaPortal Guide [cranz]
http://cranznz.googlepages.com/