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FAQ: Should I Buy A Cable Box?

ste

TK Veteran
UPDATE NOTE JUNE 2020: This is an old thread and some of it is no longer relevant but i'll leave it here anyway incase it helps some of you.

Ladies and gentlemen, with what's been going on with satellite over the last couple of months, a lot of people are considering the option of buying a cable zgemma box (or another brand). In this thread, i'm concentrating mainly on the zgemma range but a lot of what I say will be relevant to other branded cable boxes also. I have set up a fair few zgemma boxes over the last couple of years for family and friends but by no means consider myself an expert and i'm only sharing my own experiences and opinions so feel free to add to this thread if i've missed anything or correct me if I am talking rubbish.

Remember, this thread is for info / help related to buying a zgemma cable box. It IS NOT for help with adding IPTV to boxes or help with adding lines or help flashing boxes as these aren't really the topic.

Ok, so let's begin answering those common questions.......

Q: I have a H2.s / Star 2-S / V8S etc. - will I be able to get cable on this?
A: No - these are satellite (DVB-S2) boxes - for cable, you will need a cable box with a DVB-C tuner in it... the zgemma H2.H, H5.3TC / H5.2TC and a few others in the zgemma range have this.

Q: Can I download something from plugins that will allow me to get cable?
A: No - you can only get cable with a DVB-C tuner

Q: Can I plug something into my box to allow it to pick up cable
A: Yes - you can buy a USB DVB-C tuner although from experience, these don't perform well in some boxes and then there's compatibility issues. For the price difference, it's much better to just buy a dedicated box with a cable (DVB-C) tuner built into it.

Q: Can I change the DVB-S2 (satellite tuner) in my box for a DVB-C (cable tuner)?
A: This all depends on the box and you'd need to investigate if this was possible - what I can tell you though is that some of the later H2.S zgemma models which have a pluggable tuner can be modified and the second satellite tuner changed for a cable one (if you can get your hands on a replacement cable tuner) ... this is as simple as stripping the box down and removing the board, un-soldering / removing the satellite tuner and fitting the replacement cable tuner and re-soldering it back in then re-flash with the H2.H firmware.

Q: Can I watch one cable channel whilst recording another on a cable box?
A: This depends how many cable tuners the box has - the H2.H for example only has 1 cable tuner so you can only record the channel you're watching. There may be instances when you can watch another channel that's on the same frequency but generally as a rule, we say you can only really record the channel you're watching with the H2.H

Q: Are there any cable boxes out there that will allow me to watch 1 cable channel whilst viewing another?
A: Yes - there's lots on the market but as I am focusing on the zgemma range, I'd like to recommend the new H3.2TC / H5.2TC models - the H5.2TC being the more powerful of the 2. This box has a twin hybrid tuner in it so you can record 1 cable channel whilst watching another cable channel... this box only requires 1 feed into the back of the box.

Q: I have previously had cable in my house or there is a feed in there from a previous owner - will this still work?
A: Generally, VM don't disconnect lines these days when people cancel their services or move out so there's a good chance the cable is still live. The best way of checking is by borrowing a cable VM box or router from a neighbour / friend / family member to test it.

Q: I have set up my box but i'm only getting channels 1-5 and not all freeview channels - is there something wrong?
A: No - on cable, only the SD versions of 1-5 are freeview and you'll need a line on the box for all the other channels.

Q: I have a cable feed from my wall going into the router / tv box at the moment - how do I connect the zgemma to cable?
A: You will need to split the feed using a good branded splitter - VM use Tratec / Technetix 5-1000mhz splitters but you can buy Labgear 5-2400mhz ones from Screwfix etc. that also work just fine. Stay away from cheap unbranded ones or with names on that nobody has ever heard of like "Electrosmart" and rubbish like that.

Q: I have connected up my cable but i'm getting a lot of pixellation / screen going fuzzy.
A: Pixellation is usually down to the signal - only use a quality splitter as mentioned above and quality cables. STAY AWAY from cheap pre-made mass produced cables ... a really good cable is Webro WF100 and you can pick it up cheap - you can even buy this cable already made up with proper compression F connections on them and although you're buying them pre-made, they're not mass produced and you know it's a quality brand and a quality product that's highly unlikely to fail.

Q: I have set it all up and it's getting a picture but it's pixellating / giving me a fuzzy picture - I have used quality cables and splitters so I can't understand why.
A: This could be a number of things - first, I'd check you have set the correct area id for your region and possibly try a couple of other local ones.
You can check your cables incase there's any stray wire from the sleeve touching the copper core.
You can check your signal levels on the box - people recommend Konig powered splitters for adjusting signal level.

A few other pointers:

*It's also worth checking that you don't have more than 1 splitter on the same circuit / cable - especially at different frequencies as this can cause pixellation too.
*Also, try and use the shortest length possible for the job - the longer the cable run, the weaker the signal strength becomes.
*Also try and use all the same type of cable / connections - remember that the quality of picture is only as good as the quality of gear used and the quality of workmanship.

Q: Where do I screw my VM feed into?
A: The VM feed goes into the RF input - make sure you buy an adapter for this purpose which screws onto the end of the F connector then the RF side is just a push fitting.



These are available from eBay HERE
And they also sell them in Maplin, B&Q and Screwfix but in Screwfix I think you can only buy them in packs of 10.

Q: What image / firmware is best for my box?
A: There's no right answer to this and it all depends on personal preference... for ease of install on the zgemma boxes, I like using Wooshbuild - it's so simple to flash, my 9 year old could probably do it.

Q: Do I have to pay for firmware?
A: No, it's available freely via this site but i'm sure the maker of the firmware wouldn't mind a small donation if you'd like to.

Q: Will my current S*y line (gift) clear the cable channels?
A: There are some providers who offer lines that will clear both S*y and VM channels but usually, you'll need a different line (gift) for each one but feel free to check with your provider first.

Q: How do I get a cable line (gift)?
A: You ask in the thread entitled "Recommend a good cable pay server - " which is in this part of the forum > CLICK ME!!!
NOTE: If you live in the ROI, lines are different for you so make sure you specify.

Q: Is it the same to set up the lines with mgcamd / cccam
A: Yes, it runs the same protocols and lines go in same folders.

Q: I'm setting up my cable box but I don't know my net id?
A: There's plenty of lists about for VM network ID's - here's a couple of ways to obtain yours;

NET ID THREAD (Courtesy of cactikid)

GROG's NET ID MAP

You can also find the network ID by checking your original box if you have it still or a friend / neighbour / relative who lives close by.


Q: Is there any way I can test my cable without hooking up any equipment to it?
A: Possibly - try measuring the voltage... i'm no sparky :)

Q: I'm setting up my box, i'm in tuner configuration, what do I need to do?
A: Every single box i've set up, i've simply added the network ID for my region and hit green to save - I have never changed any other setting in this part and I've never had a problem.

Q: Can I get the same numbering system as S*y
A: I think this would be impossible as there isn't as many channels on cable.

Q: Can I get a firmware that looks like genuine S*y / VM
A: Yes - all firmware allows this - it's just different skins.

Q: Do I get full 7 day EPG?
A: I have found that for cable, you don't get the full 7 days for the EPG - Once it gets past day 5, the program listings start to dwindle so i'd say a FULL 5 day EPG is more accurate.

Q: Will VM know i'm using their line?
A: They will not be able to tell you have a zgemma box connected to their feed although as with any device connected to the internet, it will show as one of your connected network devices but you can easily change the name of the box to "Freesat Receiver" etc.

Q: Is cable likely to end any time soon with these boxes?
A: That's the million dollar question - there's no answer to this i'm afraid as you never know what's around the corner. Consider this though, if you took out the same television package with VM as what you get for a month via the zgemma box, within a couple of months, it's paid for itself then anything past this is a bonus.

Q: Can I make my own cables?
A: Sure - buy a length of cable first... you can get a 10m length of Webro WF100 on eBay for about 6 quid HERE then you can buy a set which consists of wire stripper, compression fitting pliers and 15 compression fittings HERE then you can make your cables as long or as short as you need them.

Q: Are all channels still available on these boxes?
A: UPDATED JUNE 2020 - No, a lot of channels have now been removed with the possibility that the remainder will soon go too.

Q: I have VM broadband but never had VM TV. Would a box still work if I split the signal to the router having never had the TV services?
A: Yes, it would.

Q: I have a VM connection downstairs but I want my zgemma upstairs - how would I do this?
A: You will need a VM connection in the room you want the box in - the best way would be to use a Technetix splitter in the brown box outside, run a length of cable from the brown box into the room you want the box in then when it enters the room, put a box on the wall so it's like a genuine VM install - like THIS ... remember that you will still need an internet connection to the box so homeplugs / wi-fi or ethernet (best option) would need to be installed.

Q: Do I need VM internet?
A: No - any internet will do but remember you still need a live VM box on your wall.

Q: Will splitting the feed lower my internet speed?
A: No, it wont have any bearing on this.

Q: Where can I buy one of these boxes?
A: Lots of places but I must suggest our site sponsor zgemma.co.uk



I hope this helps some of you out there one way or another :)
 
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elephantman

Registered
Hi Thank u for this as I am currently looking to buy a zgemma find it very useful. I just have 2 questions that I'm hoping u can answer.
1. When using a splitter which is connected to the feed coming into the house which wires and connections are then used to connect to the zgemma and router.
2. A bit more technical. I used to have vm tv about 10 years ago and have a feed coming into the house. If I got the zgemma and f connectar would this work with using my etherent connection from my router which is located on the other side of the room
 

ste

TK Veteran
Hi Thank u for this as I am currently looking to buy a zgemma find it very useful. I just have 2 questions that I'm hoping u can answer.
1. When using a splitter which is connected to the feed coming into the house which wires and connections are then used to connect to the zgemma and router.
2. A bit more technical. I used to have vm tv about 10 years ago and have a feed coming into the house. If I got the zgemma and f connectar would this work with using my etherent connection from my router which is located on the other side of the room

Question 1 already answered above - I've even give links to the cable and connections etc. :)

Question 2 - you need to split the feed going into the back of the router - unplug the main cable feed going into the router, add the splitter to it then add 2 cables to the splitter - 1 to go back into router then the extra one into the zgemma. Don't forget the box will still need an internet feed via ethernet cable.
 

elephantman

Registered
Hi
Thank you for ur reply ste. In regards to question 2. I currently have a old cable line that used to be connected to a old vm box. I currently have broadband with vm however the feed is coming in from round the side of the house. So 2 feeds coming in. What I need to know is would the old cable tv line work.
 

elephantman

Registered
I know. Need to get the zgemma first. If not I've got vermin coming round to see if they can move the router to where the old cable tv feed is. Think I should just get the box then deal with what I have to.
Thanks for all your help
 

ste

TK Veteran
Hi
Thank you for ur reply ste. In regards to question 2. I currently have a old cable line that used to be connected to a old vm box. I currently have broadband with vm however the feed is coming in from round the side of the house. So 2 feeds coming in. What I need to know is would the old cable tv line work.

Unless you've cut the wire then it will still work :)
 

elephantman

Registered
The reason why I ask is about 6 year back a vm engineer did say that there was some disturbance coming from the house so not sure if it's "live and active" or not. I've still got the wire coming in so it's not been cut off
 

ste

TK Veteran
Disturbance? ... wasn't a poltergeist was it :grin:

If the cable is still in place and it hasn't been cut (outside of the house) then you should be fine - if there is an issue with power levels, you can sort that out with additional equipment.
 

elephantman

Registered
Thanks. If they were to cut it would they also remove the wire coming into the house.
The broadband is still with them and comes from the same main brown box outside the house
 

ste

TK Veteran
They wouldn't remove anything from the inside but nor would they cut the wire (physically) from the outside. The easiest way to check if it's still live is to move your router to this connection and see if it works.
 

elephantman

Registered
Just connected the wire to the router and I'm getting no WiFi. They must have cut it then. Looked outside and there are a few loose wires hanging out.
Thanks for all your help though
 

elephantman

Registered
Just connected the wire to the router and I'm getting no WiFi. They must have cut it then. Looked outside and there are a few loose wires hanging out.
Thanks for all your help though
 

elephantman

Registered
Just connected the wire to the router and I'm getting no WiFi. They must have cut it then. Looked outside and there are a few loose wires hanging out.
Thanks for all your help though
 

Doran754

Registered
Great thread, lots of useful information. In regards to changing the name, which section is that found under. Can't find it anywhere in setup. Also do you plan on doing an IPTV thread? Thanks.
 

ste

TK Veteran
Great thread, lots of useful information. In regards to changing the name, which section is that found under. Can't find it anywhere in setup. Also do you plan on doing an IPTV thread? Thanks.

Menu > setup > network > mounts I believe it is then change host name ... it's been a few weeks since I last done it.

I know nothing about IPTV really apart from it's not very good :grin:
 

Doran754

Registered
I found out my uncle is paying some site for all the 3 o clocks ppv etc, he let me use his account. I can't figure out a way to get it on my tv though without connecting my laptop and going on the site. There's lots of decent ones on the iptv player but the one I needed isn't there. Will change the name now! Thanks mate.
 

ste

TK Veteran
No problem - I have motorised satellite so never miss a 3pm game or anything else for that matter :)

Let me know how you get on.
 
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