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General VU+ Receiver Discussion Vu+ SoloSE Review By Black Hole Team

Discussion in 'VU+ News & General Discussion' started by Ten Below, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. Ten Below

    Ten Below Staff Member Admin

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    [​IMG]
    ?Stylishly Exceptional?

    Ever since Vu+ Announced the SoloSE at the Anga Cable and Satellite fair earlier this year, there has been a lot of questions about this receiver.

    Well now it?s here.

    So is it any good or just another budget receiver? Let?s take a look.

    Features:

    The SoloSE has a great set of features for such a small and compact receiver, and at the moment it is the fastest and most powerful budget box available.

    Hardware: ​​

    • Powerful Dual Core 1.3Ghz cpu
    • 1x Pluggable Tuner (DVB-S2, DVB-C / T, DVB-C/T/T2)
    • 256MB Nand Flash / 1GB DRAM
    • Dolby Digital Plus & DTS Supported
    • 1 x Smartcard-Reader (Xcrypt)
    • 1x Common Interface Slot
    • 2 x USB 2.0 Ports
    • 10/100 Mbit Ethernet Port
    • S/PDIF audio output optical (digital)
    • 1 x HDMI 1.4 video / audio output (digital)
    • Full HD 1080p Output
    • 1 x RCA video output (analog)
    • 2 x Audio output (L/R) RCA (analog)
    • 1 x eSata connection
    • HD PIP (Picture in Picture)
    • Blindscan
    • DiSEqC 1.0/1.1/1.2, USALS
    • External 12V power supply
    • Power Switch
    • Fanless Silent Operation








    Software:​​

    • Linux Operating System
    • Media Player
    • Downloadable Plug-Ins supported
    • HbbTv
    • Transcoding
    • EPG supported
    • Unlimited channel lists for TV / Radio
    • Automatic & Manual Service Scan Supported
    • Multiple LNB control (DiSEqC) supported
    • OSD in many languages
    • Skin change supported









    As you can see, it?s certainly not lacking in features for a low cost STB.

    Inside the box:

    I am testing a pre-production model here, therefore the box that mine arrived in my well be different from the final retail models. Mine arrived in a cardboard box, with a sleeve around it, on the front is the picture as show at the top of this review and on the rear, it simply lists the connections on the rear panel, and the features of the SoloSE as shown below.

    On opening the box up, you find the following inside:​​


    • Vu+ SoloSE Satellite Receiver
    • Quick Start instruction manual
    • Remote Control (the same popular Universal type that is supplied with or models in the Vu+ range and will come in either Black or White, depending which colour SoloSE you choose)
    • 2x AAA Battery?s
    • Hdmi 1.4 cable
    • RF Loopthrough cable
    • Power Supply unit
    • Mains Power cable









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    Appearance:

    The SoloSE is just a small plastic box. The front panel is basic with only 1 touch button and the IR sensor to see. It would not look out of place in a bedroom, spare room or if you don?t need a big flashy all singing all dancing box for the living room then it would be ideal as you can choose from either Black or White you can decide which would match your furniture the best. For me it?s Black all the way, however my wife say?s the White is very nice. If you can?t decide you could easily hide this away behind the TV if you wanted as the dimensions are (W x D x H): 211 mm x 185 mm x 40 mm (not sure why you would want to though) and thanks to the IR Sensor port it makes this even easier.

    [​IMG]

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    The plastic case (well more of a top cover) is a bit of a change from the normal metal cases that Vu+ produce, however it seems to be a good quality plastic that they have used, and as the SoloSE uses an external 12v power supply unit, there is no need for it to be made of metal as it doesn?t get hot (warm but not hot).

    [​IMG]

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    At the rear we find the connections available on the SoloSE:

    [​IMG] ​​


    • 1x Plug & Play Tuner (DVB-S2, DVB-C / T, DVB-C/T/T2)
    • 2 x Usb 2.0 ports
    • 10/100 Mbit Ethernet port
    • S/PDIF audio output optical (digital)
    • 1 x HDMI 1.4 video / audio output (digital)
    • 1 x RCA video output (analog)
    • 2 x Audio output (L / R) RCA (analog)
    • 1x eSata Connector
    • 1x IR Sensor / RS232 port
    • External 12V power supply connector
    • power switch









    Now lets look inside the SoloSE,, at the rear right, is the single pluggable tuner, (the dvb-S/S2 tuner that was supplied with my SoloSE, is a brand new tuner, not seen in any previous Vu+ Models, however the older Single Tuners do also work in the SoloSE) , in the centre, is the Broadcom bcm 7429 1.3 GHz dual core cpu, protected with new design passive heatsink not seen before in any of the previous Vu+ models, then to the left the block that houses the card readers and CI slot. There is no room for an internal hdd in the SoloSE and therefore you will not find any Sata or power connectors inside.

    [​IMG]

    Getting started:

    I connected my SoloSE up to my motorised dish. I also connected up the HDMI cable to my TV, connected an Ethernet cable from my router (there are many Usb Wi-Fi dongles that will work just fine with the SoloSE if you would rather use Wi-Fi), and then I connected the power lead.

    With all the connections done, I flicked the switch on the rear and powered on the box for the first time.


    First Power up and Flashing:

    Before I did anything else, I let the receiver boot up, to make sure it was all working ok. Once booted and I was happy, I then proceeded to shut the SoloSE down, pulled out my favourite Usb stick, and loaded on the Black Hole 2.1.1 image for the Vu+ SoloSE.

    If this is your first Vu+ receiver, you will be pleased to know, that installing an image onto any of the Vu+ receivers is a very simple process. Simply grab a Usb stick, format it in fat32 with your pc, download the BlackHole image from www.vuplus-commuinity.net (other images are available from different teams) and extract the zip file contents to the root of your newly formatted Usb stick. Once this is done, plug the Usb stick into 1 of the rear Usb ports and then power the box on.

    The SoloSE will do the rest and once flashing is complete it will flash the power button on and off, to let you know that it has completed. So you simply power the box off again, and remove the Usb stick, and then power the SoloSE back on again.

    It?s a very quick and simple process and typically around 1 minute to reflash.

    On first boot after flashing, you will be greeted with the setup wizard, just follow the simple onscreen instructions to setup your new SoloSE.

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    Time to Play:

    So first of all I decided to do a channel scan, which didn?t take very long at all, I scanned 985 services on 28.2?E in about 10 minutes.

    [​IMG]

    If you would rather not wait, you can grab a channel list from the BH addon?s server, or choose one of the many available on the internet.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With the channel scan done, I then added the EPG, I personally used CrossEPG, and with the SoloSE, you can download all of the epg packages for all your favourite providers in 1 go (XEPGDB) due to the powerful cpu, and the masses of memory the box has.

    [​IMG]

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    The SoloSE from a cold boot gives me a picture on my screen less than 38 seconds (time will vary depending on how many plugins, skins, plugins etc are installed) which is truly outstanding.

    As already said there is no room for an internal hdd in the SoloSE, however you can connect an external Sata hdd, by plugging it into the port on the rear. If you do not want to plug in an external Sata hdd, you can always use a network hdd if you have a NAS setup, using the Network & Mountpoints feature in most images (this feature needs a driver update from Vu+ at the time of writing this review).

    [​IMG]

    So far we have only tried a few of the features that are available, but we know that the SoloSE is not just another low cost receiver, it is also a "Smart Box?, which means you can browse the internet with it, stream IPTV channels, and it also supports HbbTV.


    Opera Browser:

    The SoloSE has the ability to browse the Internet with the integrated Opera browser. In the Green Panel (green button), activate the Opera browser and enter the URL you want to view using the remote control.
    Navigation can be directed to local lan address?s such your NAS drive, or to the internet such as www.vuplus-community.net without leaving the comfort of your sofa.

    [​IMG]

    The arrows on your remote control will allow you to move the cursor to the middle button of your browser or just use the OK button (the ok button replaces your left mouse button). At any time you can call the virtual keyboard (yellow button) if you want to enter data in a field of the displayed page or to Exit to return to our page.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    HbbTV:

    The SoloSE also supports HbbTV (another first for a budget receiver), just tune to a channel that provides the service (ZDF HD on Astra 1 19.2?E for example) and press the red button, the SoloSE will then use your internet connection to connect to ZDF?s ondemand services.
    [​IMG]
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    Blindscan:

    Another great feature of the SoloSE, is the Blindscan function, this is more for enthusiasts and advanced users that like to scan the S**?s for all the channels they can find. The Blindscan plugin will ask you to select which satellite you want to Blindscan, and then the SoloSE will do the rest. It?s a great feature especially when looking for feeds, or scanning those satellites where channels move around frequently.

    [​IMG]

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    Transcoding:

    If you press the green button, and scroll though the plugins in the menu, you will find the Transcoding Setup, just press ok to select this plugin and then enable it.

    [​IMG]

    Once enabled, you can use the Transcoding function, grab your smartphone, tablet or pc, in the web browser enter the ip address of your SoloSE, once logged in you will be able to access your channel list. Find the channel you want, and at the end of the column will be 2 monitor icons. Simply click the 2nd (outside of the 2) icon, and transcoding will start (at time of writing this review, a driver update from Vu+ is required for this feature to work).

    Conclusion:

    I do feel that Vu+ have missed a trick with the pluggable tuner, they already produce a Twin dvb-S/S2 tuner, however this tuner will not fit in the SoloSE which is a bit of a shame, as with a twin tuner this receiver would be truly blow all the budget receivers out of the water.

    I would also have liked to see a Gigabit Ethernet port instead of the standard 10/100 Mb?s port.

    However when all is said and done, not everyone wants or needs twin tuners and the lack of a Gigabit Ethernet port is not the end of the world.

    Over all I have to say there is nothing on the market that is as powerful, fast, or feature packed for the price as the SoloSE. It really is great value for money if performance, features and reliability are what you are after. It really is ?The High Performance HD Zapper? that it is claimed to be, channel zapping is fast, smooth and seamless.



    Review written by Ev0, BlackHole Team.​​
     

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