General VU+ Receiver Discussion - Vu+ Zero4k Tested for You !!! | vuplus-images.co.uk

General VU+ Receiver Discussion Vu+ Zero4k Tested for You !!!

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#1
Vu+ Zero4k Tested for You !!!

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“The True UHD Zapper”

Vu+ announced the Zero 4K at the Anga Cable and Satellite fair in May 2017, so naturally people have been wondering what it is like, and if is a good entry point into the 4K satellite market.

So let’s take a look and find out.

Hardware:
1.5 GHz ARM Dual-Core Processor
4GB Flash (eMMC)
2GB DDR4 DRAM
LAN (10/100 MBit/s)
1x Single DVB-S2X Multistream tuner (Single DVB-C version also available)
HDMI 2.0
HDR10/HLG support
1x Common-Interface
1x Smartcard-Reader (Xcrypt)
1x USB 2.0
S/PDIF audio output optical (digital)
DiSEqC 1.0/1.1/1.2, USALS
External 12V power supply
Power Switch
Fanless Silent Operation

Software:
Advanced Linux Operating System
Media Player
Downloadable Plug-Ins supported
HbbTV
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

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Inside the box:
I am testing a pre-production model here, therefore the contents of the final retail models may differ slightly.

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

Vu+ Zero 4K Satellite Receiver
Remote Control (new model)
2x AA Battery’s
High Speed HDMI cable
IR Sensor
Power Supply unit
Mains Power cable

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Appearance:
The Zero 4K is a small cube shaped box (the dimensions are (W x D x H): 140mm x 115mm x 50mm). The box is basic looking, it has a 2 tone gloss black and matt black finish, in a diagonal design, it looks good, the Vu+ logo on the front, has the power led behind it, so the logo glows when the box is powered on..

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At the rear we find the connections available on the Zero 4K:

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1x Single Fixed DVB-S2X Multistream tuner or 1x Single Fixed Cable Tuner
1x USB 2.0 port
LAN (10/100 MBit/s) Port
S/PDIF audio output optical (digital)
1 x HDMI 2.0 port
RS232 / IR Sensor port
External 12V power supply connector
Power switch

The Zero 4K has an HDMI 2.0 port which is HDR10/HLG compatible.


Inside the Zero 4K:
Looking inside the Zero 4K, at the rear left, is the single DVB-S2X tuner (or DVB-C tuner if you purchased that model instead). The tuners are fixed, so you cannot swap between them. The large black heatsink you can see on the right covers the Broadcom BCM 72604 1.5 GHz dual core 7000 DMIPS ARM v7 CPU, the card slot and CI slot are on the left and they are inserted from the rear, as you can see, there is no space for an internal hdd in the Zero 4K.

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Getting started:
I connected my Zero 4K up to my motorised dish. I also connected up the HDMI cable to my TV, plugged an Ethernet cable from my router (there is no built in Wi-Fi on the Zero 4K), and then I connected the power supply.

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 down the Zero 4K, pulled out my favourite usb stick, and loaded on the Black Hole 3.0.5 image for the Vu+ Zero 4K.

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 the usb 2.0 port at the rear and then power the box on at the rear, the Vu+ logo on the front panel will start to flash in a slow (almost like it’s breathing) sequence, and when finished, it flash on and off to let you know that flashing is complete.

At this point you can power off the box and remove the usb stick.

It is a very quick and simple process and it doesn’t take long to reflash this box.

On first boot after flashing, you will be greeted with the setup wizard, just follow the simple onscreen instructions to setup your new Zero 4K.

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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 over 2000 services on 13°E in under 10 minutes.

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

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With the channel scan done, I then added the EPG, I personally used CrossEPG

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The Zero 4K from a cold boot gives me a picture on my screen less than 30 seconds (time will vary depending on how many plugins, skins, plugins etc. are installed) and an enigma2 restart takes only 10 - 15 seconds (it is faster to boot and restart than the Ultimo4K, which I believe is due to it only being a single tuner box).

As already said there is no room for an internal hdd in the Zero 4K, however you can use a network hdd if you have a NAS setup (or another Vu+ box that has a hdd installed), using the Network & Mount points feature in most images.

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However there is also a port on the bottom of the Zero 4K, which I believe is for the “PLUG” docking station that Vu+ intend to release soon.

plug connector edit.jpg

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The “PLUG” docking station, will sit under the Zero 4K, and plug into the bottom of it, turning “The True UHD Zapper” into a fully-fledged PVR.

The Zero 4K is a Smart Box, which means you can install plugins on it, and it also supports HbbTV, and you can use IPTV channels in your bouquets, just like if you were watching Satellite or Cable tv.


Ultra HD:
The Zero 4K will output tv pictures at many different resolutions, so you do not need to have an Ultra HD tv to use this receiver, in-fact viewing 4K UHD channels on a 1080p tv makes you wonder if you even need a 4K tv as the picture is bright and clear even when downscaled.

However if you do have a 4K tv then you can set the Zero 4K to output at 2160p and this will do all the upscaling for you, obviously SD content does not look as good as HD and UHD, but it doesn’t do a bad job of the upscaling (probably a lot better than some of the cheaper 4K tv’s can manage on their own).

My TV is a 2015 model and therefore it does not support HLG. Due to this I do not get as sharp or clear a picture as I do in 1080p mode. I believe this issue will be resolved with a driver update, there was a similar issue with my TV when the Solo 4K was released. In 1080p mode, the picture is as sharp and clear as on any of the other Vu+ 4K receivers.

If you have some HDR content on your NAS drive it will also play that back too.


DVB-S2X Multistream Tuner:

The Zero 4K comes with single DVB-S2X tuner which also supports Multistream. This is the only box currently from Vu+ that supports DVB-S2X or Multistream (aka MIS). I am not going to go into what this means here, but I can assure you that it is working just fine. There is (at the time of writing this review) as bug in the displayed signal level from the DVB-S2X tuner, which seems to add approx. 35% signal to level displayed. This means on a transponder that you would usually see around 70% signal, will show as 100%, and therefore a lower signal level that is usually around 35% will show as 70% signal. This is just a cosmetic issue, that I’m sure will be resolved soon, with a driver update.


HbbTV:
The Zero 4K also supports HbbTV, just tune to a channel that provides the service (Vox Music on Hotbird 13°E for example) and press the red button, the Zero 4K will then use your internet connection to connect to Vox Music’s on-demand services.


IPTV:
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As mentioned earlier, the Zero 4K gives you the option to use IPTV either from plugins, or directly from your channel list (bouquets), when using IPTV from the bouquets, it is just like watching TV directly from the Satellite or Cable tuners.


Kodi:
The Zero 4K (as with all Vu+ 4K receivers), supports Kodi, which means you have access to a huge array of multimedia addons, video, movie, music and radio streaming from the internet.


Blindscan:
The Zero 4K has Blindscan support. This at the time of writing this review, is working, however it is not perfect. A manual scan usually will find more services, than the Blindscan does on the same satellite. I am sure this will be fixed with a driver update in the future.


Conclusion:
The Zero 4K is a budget Ultra HD set top box and it certainly packs a punch. It has some features currently not even found on the flagship Ultimo 4K box.

Vu+ claim that the Zero 4K is “The True UHD Zapper” and to be honest, I think it is. I don’t see any other 4K set top box on the market that even comes close to the spec or performance of the Zero 4K for the same money.

It will produce some stunning pictures, and also has HDR10/HLG support.

The box has plenty of processing power, good flash space and plenty of ram.

For the money it has all the features you would expect and more, it is a budget receiver that punches well above its weight.

It is ideal for use in any room and as it comes with the IR sensor in the box, you could even hide it behind the TV if space is limited and when the “PLUG” docking station is released, it will become a fully-fledged PVR, making it great for the back room or bedroom.

So should you buy the Zero 4K ? Well only you can decide that. If you are just moving into the 4K era, then it’s certainly worth a look, however if you are a Satellite enthusiast and require both DVB-S2 and DVB-C connections, then you would probably be better off looking at the Solo 4K or the Ultimo 4K instead, as these will offer more flexibility.

Having a fixed single tuner, does limit things a little, also it only has 1 usb port, so that means if you do want to add another tuner, you will also need to use a usb hub, I have tested this with the Vu+ Turbo tuner, and a usb stick, and I can confirm it worked just fine, but I can’t comment on how well all usb hub’s and usb tuners will work.

It does also have those few cosmetic issue’s that I mentioned earlier, but hopefully it won’t take Vu+ too long to get ontop of those.

If you don’t have a 4K tv yet, but are looking for a new Satellite Receiver, then the Zero 4K should not be overlooked, it will give you those UHD broadcasts and downscale them so that you can watch them on your current tv, and this is something it does very well, the Astra and Hotbird UHD demo’s look stunning even on a 1080p tv set.


Review written by Ev0, BlackHole Team.
 
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