The Project Entangle EX-β

The Entangle EX-β.

A couple months ago we were thrilled to assemble an Entangle platform that actually looked and felt more like a set-top box. The Entangle EX-α is a Raspberry Pi 4 mated to an HDHomerun Flex 4k. Unfortunately stock FFmpeg doesn’t enable hardware-accelerated HEVC decode, which is needed to watch ATSC 3.0 broadcasts. And while patches have been done in distros such as LibreELEC, we don’t have the time at the moment to integrate those into the Entangle code base.

So…we’ve gone back to X86 to build the Entangle EX-β.

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Send In The Clones! Cloning the Silver Sensor

The Zenith Silver Sensor.

For many years one of our favorite antennas, and our go-to antenna for on-the-road OTA, was the venerable Silver Sensor. It’s on the compact side and has an interesting reception pattern – it’s somewhat directional and rejects signals from the back, but has a rather wide reception from the front.  We had one since the early 2000s and for a time it was even mast-mounted outdoors, serving as a household main antenna for a DIRECTV TiVo HR10-250 beta unit. More recently its been on trips throughout California, Nevada and Arizona to tangle with ATSC 3.0 emissions.

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The Project Entangle EX


Project Entangle – our platform for exploring ways of obtaining and consuming media – was developed on PCs and up until now Entangle platforms have largely been laptops or NUCs. They make great development environments and have a plethora of tools often missing from embedded platforms. But even “thin and light” laptops are big and power-hungry compared to most set-top boxes, and, we’ve always kept an eye out for ways we might piece together a more compact version. And we finally took our first step in that direction with a Raspberry Pi 4 and HDHomerun Flex 4k packaged in a DeskPi Pro chassis.

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NextGen Fresno!

Three exciting events have recently occurred in the normally sleepy region of Fresno, California. First, Cocola Broadcasting brought an RF 6 ATSC 3.0 “Frankenstation” on line. With UHD content! Second Sinclair launched its emission. Third, the temperature in mid-June was unseasonably cool for a couple days (highs in 70s). With that confluence of events we just had to trek out and see what NextGen Fresno had to offer!

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ATSC 3.0, Encryption, and You

Recently there’s been a lot of chatter about ATSC 3.0 broadcasts going encrypted in the not-too-distant future. We’ve actually been hearing murmurs about this for quite a while, however what seems to have set things into a flurry is a notice from Nuvyyo (i.e. Tablo) indicating that their much-anticipated ATSC 3.0 version of Tablo is being delayed – because they need to implement A3SA. A3SA is the security architecture for handling encrypted ATSC 3.0 broadcasts. Apparently Nuvyyo learned a number of broadcasters were going to flip the encryption switch at the end of summer, and (kudos to them) elected not to release a product which wouldn’t handle those encrypted services.

(Now you actually can receive and watch an encrypted service due to the way ATSC 3.0 and common encryption works.  It won’t exactly be what you expect, but the psychedelic melange of greens and fuchsias can be quite, well, entertaining in its own right…)

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