[mythtv-users] controlling a dishnetwork receiver

Michael T. Dean mtdean at thirdcontact.com
Thu Jul 22 23:52:49 EDT 2004

Chris Petersen wrote:

> Ok, so I just got off the phone with a Dish rep, who tells me that for 
> $45/month (same price I pay for analog cable), I can get two 
> dual-tuner receivers (not dvr) and all of the channels I'm looking for 
> (basically, their "120" package).

Yeah.  I got Dish for a similar reason.  For less than I would pay for 
the local channels over cable (no reception at my house, and there's not 
enough on "cable" channels to get anything more), I could get the local 
channels through Dish.  And, with their superstation package, I've got 
WB in the Eastern, Mountain, and Pacific timezones--which really helps 
with scheduling.  Now, if only I could get the FCC to stop prohibiting 
me from getting NBC/CBS/ABC/Fox from other timezones... :)

> ...
> So I'm looking for a known-good schematic.  Searching the mythtv-users 
> archives and lirc.org brings up some info, but I was hoping for some 
> real-world schematics for an amplified circuit like the one listed at 
> http://www.lirc.org/transmitters.html

The one at that location is not amplified, but 
http://www.lirc.org/improved_transmitter.html is.  It uses a (big) cap 
to store energy from the serial port so as to prevent a huge drain all 
at once.

> -- unfortunately, this amplified/clean one is only theoretical,

Actually, I'm pretty sure many people are using them.  I will be.  (If I 
can ever get Ken--my electronics guy :)--to finish mine up.  That's what 
this weekend's Myth demo is all about, though!)  I do recommend starting 
with the simple transmitter--it's much easier to debug (i.e. get your 
LIRC software and remote definitions working, then try upgrading to a 
much-easier-to-miswire circuit).

> and I'd rather not blow out my serial port

I've been using the "simple transmitter" ( 
http://www.lirc.org/transmitters.html ) for quite some time on an 
integrated-into-the-motherboard serial port without any problems (and it 
never misses a channel change :).  Ken (who designs, builds, and writes 
software for embedded circuits) told me that that warning looks like 
more of a CYA than a real concern (and, I believe himk, for what that's 
worth).  If you hook it up properly, you shouldn't have problems.  
(Although, I'm not saying *I* guarantee that you won't have problems...  

> (especially since it doesn't list which serial pins to connect the 
> power wires to) by hooking up the wrong wires or getting a 
> cap/transistor of the wrong value.

Actually, it does.  You hook it to the signal ground (GND - pin 5) and 
data terminal ready (DTR - pin 4) pins. ( See 
http://www.infonewsindia.com/pinout/Index.html#3 (Sections 3, 4, and 5) ).

>    (I guess I don't need a "receive" circuit, since my Lola remote has 
> been working wonderfully)

That's what I thought, but if you want your transmitter to control 
devices other than the Dish receiver (i.e. A/V receiver, TV, DVD player, 
etc.), you'll probably have to create your own remote configuration 
files.  The only device I have that worked with a downloaded lircd.conf 
was the Dish receiver (and that's a Dish 49xx--I haven't seen anything 
claiming to work with the Dish 3xx series).

> And after searching the mythtv-users archives some more, I see that I 
> should also check which version of the receiver I'll be getting.

Any recent one should have IR capability built-in.

>   Do any of them have plain serial port controls?

To the best of my knowledge, none of the Dish receivers do.  It seems 
that Dish wants you to buy their DishPlayers instead of hooking to your 
own...  Then, for $5.99/mo you can have 1/10 the capabilities of Myth.

>   Also, has anyone had experience with these dual-tuner receivers?  Do 
> they have two IR inputs or something?

According to the product brochure ( 
), TV1 operates with an IR remote and TV2 operates with a UHF remote.  
Now, a circuit diagram for a UHF remote transmitter will be much more 
difficult to find...  (Let alone finding a way to make it work with LIRC. ;)

Also, I did a bit of research into getting a dual-tuner receiver (to get 
the benefit of two receivers without the $4.99/mo receiver charge) and 
found out
    a) you have to keep it plugged in to a working phone jack or they 
charge you the $4.99/mo receiver charge (not good if you only have a 
cell phone),
    b) the dual-tuner receivers have one S-Video out and one composite 
out--you can't do dual S-Video,
    c) they do not have digital audio output (my Dish 4922 has digital 
optical out, but even the 301 single-tuner receiver doesn't have digital 
audio out--only the DishPlayer PVR's and HD receivers have digital audio 
out anymore), and
    d) they are currently only available to special people (i.e. not 
available to current subscribers, only to new subscribers) because Dish 
doesn't have enough of the hardware on hand (of course, that won't be a 
problem for you).

Therefore, for me (with only a cell phone), the dual-tuner receiver 
would cost the same as getting two single-tuner receivers, and the two 
receivers would give me two S-Video outputs, two IR receivers (i.e. not 
having to find a way around the RF only "blue" tuner on the dual-tuner), 
and an option to purchase right away.  (Of course, I'm delaying, anyway, 
because I don't "need" a second receiver.  That may change when the next 
season starts up, though.)

> And hopefully, once I have all of this info, I can either get Jarod to 
> add it to his guide, or put it into the wiki (which is REALLY slow, btw).

I highly recommend checking out 
for info on setting up two instances of LIRC.  You'll have one for your 
Lola (in my case it's the ATI Remote Wonder, but same drivers), and one 
(called ledxmit) for your Dish transmitter.  I tried about 10 other 
approaches (because I didn't like the one recommended at that site) 
before I figured out that's pretty much the only way to get it to work 
(need two daemon processes, each with its own device, each having been 
compiled for the appropriate driver--LIRC definitely needs to be 
modularized better...).



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