How to choose the right receiver

How to choose the right receiverRecently, increasingly faced with the question "how to choose the receiver?". Along with the fall in prices for Full HD TVs, the “High Definition” format is becoming more affordable. Today a lot of satellite HD receivers have appeared on the market, which, at a price, have already come close to the cost of the most functional SD receivers. The latest AIB606 fast processor, inexpensive, powerful and functional, contributed a lot to this. It is not surprising that this year many manufacturers decided to release fresh models of receivers based on this chip.


This article will consider one of them, namely Alma S-2200. The receiver is positioned as relatively cheap by the standards of DVB-S2 receivers. However, it is not so simple. In addition to the fact that Alma L-2200 provides the highest quality HDTV reception, additional possibilities deconstruct the frame of regular TV viewing.


We begin the review with the appearance of the receiver box. Of the interesting things on it, in addition to the image of the receiver itself and the proud inscription Full HD, there is a short list of supported multimedia formats - with such broad support, the receiver can make a healthy competition for an HD media player.I will say right away that not all the capabilities of the receiver are advertised on the box, they will be discussed below. Separately, it is worth mentioning the now fashionable stamp on the economical power consumption of not more than 1 watt in standby mode. Apparently for the sake of this very environmental friendliness, the receiver by default does not display a watch in standby mode. Fortunately, the option to turn them on is in the menu.


Receiver package



Options at the receiver, alas, as budget as its price. Actually there is only the receiver itself and the remote, for some reason, RCA cables lie, leaving out the features for this receiver is useless. HDMI cable but comes bundled, so it will be your next purchase. There were no instructions in the box either. The receiver is quite new and there is still very little information about it on the Internet. Instructions for the receiver can be downloaded from the official website Including in Russian.



The Alma S-2200 is not the smallest HD receiver available, but compact enough. Appearance classic for satellite receiver: simple, strict, black. A deceptively large glass hides under itself only a small four-digit indicator that displays the time in the attendant, or the number of the received channel in the operating mode.Under the flip lid are located the card reader and the control buttons “MENU”, “EXIT”, the arrow keys with “OK” in the center. The minimum set to control the receiver without the remote. The power button is located under the scoreboard.


Back panel

On the rear panel there is a power switch, next to it there are 4 RCA connectors, including the output 0 / 12V. Analog video signal will have to be received only from the SCART connector. Instead of a video output, a coaxial S / PDIF optical output for surround sound systems is hidden under the usual yellow RCA connector. RF modulator, unfortunately, no. For the budget model, this is especially annoying. Fans of connecting in parallel on the high frequency also an old TV in the kitchen, instead of the antenna cable, it will be necessary to lay a low-end cord to the second TV. But HDMI, LAN and USB connectors in place. Do not forget about the RS232 port. Tuner (HF receiver) Alma S-2200 is equipped with a loop output.


Remote control

Remote receiver convenient and easy, large buttons. In addition to the usual control keys for the satellite receiver, there are a few that deserve mention. The V-FORMAT key changes the resolution of the video image displayed on the TV.Media player control buttons in the bottom row, in addition to the standard RECORD, PLAY, STOP, have buttons for accelerating and slowing down video playback, including reverse playback. With their help, "rewind" video.

Contact the remote control with the receiver is not too good, if you step aside, the control is difficult to implement. Typical for budget receivers situation.



To organize the work of the receiver, a closed version of Linux is used. The receiver turns on for a long time, but it works well in the future, switching channels without delays. The tested firmware version has extended functionality, including, contains an emulator. After updating the software, the CONAX card reader becomes universal, while also maintaining stable operation with conditional access systems IRDETO, VIACCESS and DRE. Russian subtitles and an electronic guide are also supported.


Interface Alma S-2200



The main menu of the Alma S-2200 looks gorgeous on a large Full HD TV. Everything would be fine if it were not spoiled by unprofessional russification, as a result of which, instead of clear inscriptions, we got silly cuts. However, to understand his organization this did not stop.For a person, at least a little familiar with satellite TV, the operation of the receiver will be intuitive, even without instructions. Of. I will note the shortcomings, not quite correct organization of the menu. Some options would be more logical to move to another category. So, for example: “favorite lists” options from the “System settings” tab would be more sensible to place in the Edit menu of the channel list, and the Recording Timer should be located in the corresponding Record menu, and not in the same “System settings”.


The menu is divided into 6 categories, the most important of them: editing the channel list, setting up (installing) the antenna - by the way, the receiver works fine with the DiSEqC switches of all protocols. It has output 0/128 for controlling an additional switch controlled by voltage 0 / 12V. Also, the receiver works great with a motor suspension using the U5ALS and DiSEqC 1.2 protocol.

The next item in the System Settings menu is dedicated to various options: setting the time, image, etc. and here is the entrance to the emulator. You must enter the TV System category and press the red button on the remote, which is also the pause button. If the emulator is not active, enter 0000 before pressing the red button.


The item called Settings (although it would be better to call it Tools, in the English version of Tools) contains additional functions of the receiver, as well as software update options: via LAN, or USB connectors. Classic firmware using a computer and a null modem cable, via the RS-232 port is also possible. This method is useful in case of an error during the update process, when the receiver is not loading and you cannot enter the menu. The upgrade process itself will be discussed in detail later.


In the Network settings category, in addition to the actual IP address settings, there is a cardsharing settings menu. You can edit the settings by pressing the same red pause button on the remote. If kartsharing settings are not available, you can activate them with a combination of 0000. Let me remind you that all this applies to the firmware version 1.15B4.


In addition to the ability to run home sharing, the presence of an Ethernet port in the receiver allows you to view videos posted on the popular Internet resource YouTube. This option works without complaints, as well as reading RSS news, and weather forecast. For a receiver for such a small amount of money, this is a fairly wide range of Internet services.


Built-in media player



In the receiver, the media player function is programmatically implemented, which is located in the Tools category. If the receiver does not have a connected media in the USB connector, the function is not active. Speaking of media, the receiver perfectly reads flash drives and USB HDD with FAT32 and NTFS file systems. NTFS support is especially noteworthy in that it allows you to write files onto a storage medium larger than 4 gigabytes. For HD formats, this will have to be very handy, since the video in the MKV container can often exceed 30 gigabytes in size. In addition to MKV, it claims support for AVI, MPG, MOV, MP3, MP4, TS, VOB, including JPEG, BMP image viewing. With such an omnivore, the receiver can easily replace a hardware media player, it can be viewed by the navigator player. Cyrillic is displayed correctly. Files are sorted into 4 categories, namely: Music, Photo, Video and Own records. Switch between them by pressing the 0 key on the remote control.


Recording programs from the satellite is carried out in the TS format (transport stream). Alma S-200 has 8 independent timer presets, so you can program to record TV shows automatically at any time.Strangely enough, the timer control menu is in the System category - Setting the timer, instead of being located in the Record menu. Small, but annoying flaw.


Firmware and computer work



There are several ways to upgrade software: through the RS232 port, via USB, over a local network or the Internet. The list of changes in firmware for the ALI chip from version to version is usually quite large. In our case, the most recent was used. Please note that the name of the firmware of the receiver has keywords. If the name contains the word “sopach” - this is the official firmware with the support of smart cards only with the CONAX encoding. If the name of the firmware has the word “mcas” - this is firmware with support for smart cards of various encodings (multicas). If the name of the firmware has the word "eti" - this firmware supports EMU and all network extensions.

For firmware using a computer through the COM port, you need the ALI360X-upgrade-tool program. The program must specify the firmware file (extracted from the archive), as well as

used COM port. It is also recommended to check the Include Bootloader option.

To edit the list of channels using a computer, there is an editor - AliEditor. The translation into English is not completely completed. Often instead of letters in the editor, squares are visible. The editor can only work on the serial port.On the network can not work. But it is possible to save the entire flash memory of the receiver (with the abs extension) to the USB flash drive and then make changes to the editor. The editor is very simple. All the necessary minimum in it is. Yet it is more than nothing.



Firmware with U5B is a simpler and more convenient way. It is recommended to use it. The firmware file is placed in the root folder of the USB-stick. In the receiver menu, select the appropriate type of update. It is located in the Settings category (Tools). It is recommended to specify the type of update (all codes + firmware).



The receiver has an Ethernet port with which you can connect the receiver to the local network. Port settings are in the Settings - Network Settings tab. The IP address, network mask, gateway, DIMS can be configured manually (static) or obtained via DHCP from a network router. Software updates can be performed using both HTTP and no FTP protocol. In the receiver's menu there are respectively two tabs - “Network Update” and “Ftp Update”. Neither method has any advantages or disadvantages. You can use any. And any of the servers can be located in the local network, and the Internet. In the connection settings with the server, you can specify both password-free access and password access.There is no real server with firmware in the Internet. Therefore, all this will have to customize yourself.

The receiver made a very nice impression. Good image quality, reliable reception, fast and stable operation, the ability to view coded channels in combination with Internet capabilities and extensive multimedia features that allow you to use the device not only for satellite reception, but also as a good media player - rich functionality at a budget price. The existing software shortcomings will eventually be corrected, along with the release of new firmware, and besides some inconvenience problems in work are not created.

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