Alien NA WebTV 4.40 now available

1. Cleans the EU block of dead streams.
2. Adds 2 Netherlands channels to EU block by request.
3. Adds 8 channels from a Russian service.
4. Adds new channel to the EU channels with English TV/Movies block.

Please note that all EU channels do work, but streaming speeds and network issues can degrade quality, especially for Eastern EU origin channels.

To upgrade:
1. Log onto the Alien_NA private FTP on your Alien/Alien2.
2. Go to the “WebTV” folder, navigate to “WebTV v4.40″ folder and download “webtv_usr.xml” to your attached HDD or flash drive. Be sure to note where you stored it and ensure there was not a previous copy in that location as it can cause a load error.
3. Exit from FTP and go to WebTV. Press the folder button on remote, select the “webtv_usr.xml” you just downloaded. Your IPTV channels are now installed.

Changes to Alien NA VOD, new programs

The Alien NA Video On Demand layout was changed this morning. The idea is to prepare for some additions and to get our first run series in one block. All the first run series are now between VOD4 – VOD10.

Today there is a new movie and a new show premiering, plus almost all of the series shows have been updated. There is a ton of new material to watch!

Check out the Alien NA VOD schedule which is linked on the Alien NA Web Portal in Opera.

Enjoy!

Inside Amiko Alien2 / Spark 7162 STB

For those who do not want to take the cover off their Alien2, here is a look at the insides. It is a Fulan designed 7162. Unlike what a ROBber here or there might try and claim, all 7162′s run this same exact hardware at the same speed and configuration. In Europe a 3rd DVB-C/T tuner is available. This has absolutely no function in North America since we do not have any DVB-C cable or DVB-T OTA. We figured that we should leave the worthless 3rd tuner out. It keeps the cost a little lower plus it is one less thing to produce heat or cause a failure.

These are often referred to as Spark 7111 (Alien) and Spark 7162 (Alien2). Spark is from the operating system and the number is the STi chip used.

All models (single, twin and triple) have dedicated mainboards for their line since tuners and demod chips are onboard.

The only real differences in hardware with 7162 STB’s is cosmetic. These can be fitted with different front panels with different switch layouts. They don’t even need or all have the fancy display like Alien2.

The significant differences between the different brands are in support and service. Before going with Amiko in late 2011 we investigated several different companies with similar hardware offerings. Karmacom was the only one that could deliver support for the NA market, does substantial development of their 7111/7162′s in house and stands behind them. They are also the only ones that have NA Spark Online images and have firmware improvements and fixes for NA in their STB’s only.

Here is a brief explanation of the hardware layout:

The big board on the left is the heavy duty power supply. It is bigger than most internal STB power supplies since it delivers 500mA max to both tuners (and the DVB-C/T in Europe) plus the STi7162 requires a bit more power than the less capable STB’s.

To the lower right is the cardreader. There is a second one below it. These largely have no use in North America but come standard.

Above the readers you will notice 2 square chips on the mainboard. These are the demod chips. Above them are the twin DVB-S2 tuners. The third tuner would go to the left of them in Europe.

The vertical board is where Ethernet and the rear USB are attached.

The processor is quite sizeable for a STB and is below the big silver heatsink and retainer clip.

[Image: inside1.jpg]

[Image: inside2.jpg]

Alien NA Plugin Pack 07132012 (Alien/Alien2)

An updated plugin pack is now available on the private FTP. This contains:

E2 Upgrade – Allows you to install an Enigma2 image from within Spark, no need to use front panel loading procedure.

Android RCU – This is the server plugin needed to use the Android remote control application. You can download the Android Remote Control apk to install on your phone or tablet here: http://www.amikoalienusa.com/?page_id=118

Update2Remote – This allows you to load Spark remote control codes into Enigma2 images that do not have support for the Alien/Spark RCU. All images provided by us already have Alien RCU support.

Calculate – Standard plugin from Spark. Exactly what the name says.

As with all software, use at your own risk!

To install:

1. Download naplugin07132012.zip from the NA_Plugins folder on the private FTP.
2. Plug in your flash or HDD to your computer and unzip the package.
3. Copy the /plugin/ folder and contents to the root of your flash or HDD.
4. Plug drive into Alien/Alien. It will prompt you to update the plugins. When done your STB will reboot.
5. It will again ask you to update plugins. This is because any time there is a /plugin/ folder on the drive Alien looks for it

automatically. Delete or rename this folder to prevent being prompted with each boot.
6. Plugins are accessed by going to MENU > PLUG IN. If you are using the Android remote control application, make sure SparkRCUSrv is running. If it is off (red stop symbol) highlight it and press ok. It should now run with every bootup.

How to change satellite orbital locations for USALS in Alien/Alien2

WARNING: THIS PROCEDURE IS NOT HARD TO DO, BUT IF YOU MESS IT UP YOU CAN CORRUPT YOUR SATELLITE DATA OR DRIVE YOUR MOTOR CRAZY. DO AT YOUR OWN RISK.

——————————————————
Jim S. at the Forum discovered that satellite positions 55-64+ (125W – 139W) allow you to change the satellite location with the remote control on the satellite setup screens. If you just need one or two custom positions that is the easier and faster way to do it using a satellite you do not need.
—————————————————–
The first thing to do is ensure you have applied the sat/channel import-export fix as detailed here: http://www.amikoalienusa.com/?p=509 This applies to Alien2 only, original Alien is fine as-is.

Import/Export your satellite data
1. Plug a USB flash drive into your Alien/Alien2.

2. Go to MENU > SYSTEM > UPGRADE > DATABASE TRANSFORMER.

3. Press RED key (output) on remote to output the sat/channel data.

4. To load data back to the A1/A2 do the above except use GREEN key to load.

The Output
Unless you told it otherwise, there will be 5 XML files in the root of your flash drive. The one we want to work with is “sat.xml”. You can use an XML editor which tends to lay out XML nicely if you have a good one, or you can use the windows notepad program to edit the file.

Back up your backup
You should make a copy of all 5 XML files and put them on a safe place on your computer. This way if you corrupt something or ever loose your sat/channel data you have a good backup to start from.

Understanding and working with sat.xml
If you are not familiar with how spark indexes and references things between XML files you probably should not tamper with anything but the USALS position. Transponder and channel data all have reference numbers to the satellite data and if altered incorrectly you will corrupt your data.

Below is the XML from original Alien for the first two satellites in the Alien NA list. Alien2 XML is similar and the modification is the same.

Code:
<sat sat_key="1" name="SPARE_1" longitude="-1100" sat_type="S2" tuner_type_idex="1" lnb="High Band(10600)" k22="ON" v12="OFF" diseqc1.0="OFF" diseqc1.1="OFF" power="13/18" motor="OFF" UserFreq="5150">

<sat sat_key="2" name="30W Hisp 1C/E" longitude="-300" sat_type="S2" tuner_type_idex="1" lnb="Uni.(9750/10600)" k22="AUTO" v12="OFF" diseqc1.0="OFF" diseqc1.1="OFF" power="13/18" motor="OFF" UserFreq="5150">

sat_key= is the index number, or order you see the list in. If you wanted to alter satellite #40 you would look for sat_key=”40″

name= is obvious, this is the display name of the satellite in your A1/A2.

Between those two you can ensure you are altering the correct satellite data.

The data you want to work with is longitude=

In the above example, satellite #1 is the spare at the top of the list and it is coded for 110.0W, longitude=”-1100″ The second satellite is 30.0W, longitude=”-0300″.

The – symbol tells A1/A2 that this is a Western arc satellite, not East as used for EU and Asia. The numbering system is fairly simple to figure out, here are some examples:

-0150 = 15W
-0300 = 30W
-0450 = 45W
-0555 = 55.5W
-1010 = 101.0W
-1100 = 110.0W

To change the first satellite from 110W to 45W, alter the code from:
Code:
<sat sat_key="1" name="SPARE_1" longitude="-1100" sat_type="S2" tuner_type_idex="1" lnb="High Band(10600)" k22="ON" v12="OFF" diseqc1.0="OFF" diseqc1.1="OFF" power="13/18" motor="OFF" UserFreq="5150">

To:

Code:
<sat sat_key="1" name="SPARE_1" longitude="-0450" sat_type="S2" tuner_type_idex="1" lnb="High Band(10600)" k22="ON" v12="OFF" diseqc1.0="OFF" diseqc1.1="OFF" power="13/18" motor="OFF" UserFreq="5150">

Updating your STB
When done, save your sat.xml back with the other 4 xml files you dumped from A1/A2 onto the flash drive

1. Plug the USB flash drive into your Alien/Alien2.

2. Go to MENU > SYSTEM > UPGRADE > DATABASE TRANSFORMER.

3. Press GREEN key (load) on remote to output the sat/channel data.

Problems
If you get an XML load error when trying to load your modifications it means you either messed up the code or you don’t have all 5 XML’s on the drive.

If you load the data but nothing changes you probably did not save your work or you accidentally did the red key (output) when you were supposed to use green key (load) to upload your data. If you did this, you overwrote what was on your flash drive with your original A1/A2 list.

NA Alien2 fix for sat-channels import issue

There is now a fix for this issue on the Alien NA Alien2 private FTP. This solves the problem where you could export your satellites/channels but received an error when trying to load them back in.

The fix is located in the /satfix/ folder. Complete instructions are bundled in the ZIP package. It is very easy to do.

Alien2′s shipping 7/13/2012 or later have this applied in the image.

If you have any issues or cannot get it from the FTP for some reason, contact:

USA: http://help.fridgefta.info
Canada: http://www.jalanelectronics.ca

Be sure to include your customer information (purchase name) for faster assistance.

Alien2 new firmware delay

Good news and bad news. The bad news is that the Alien2 firmware we were expecting early this week is not ready. Karmacom has been testing it and found some issues that need to be addressed before release. We have to wait a bit longer.

The good news is that we are working with the best. Karmacom is not going to just release a file for the sake of putting something out there, or like we have seen with other brands, put out firmware that fixes one thing and breaks 10 more. We are very lucky to work with Karmacom, they actually test this stuff, where some of the other distributors of Spark receivers would just let it go.

The other good news is that while we have been waiting some really cool new features have been implemented just for North America. You’ll see them rolled out in both Alien1 and Alien2 with the next firmware release for each.

Please continue to be patient, everyone wants to get the next release done as good as possible and with the least amount of problems for you guys.

Alien NA WebTV v4.31 now available

Alien NA WebTV v4.31 primarily adds channels for Latin America and Brasil. There are also fixes for some EU block channels, a new NA channel and a new layout.

- Adds channels for Argentina, Dominican Republic, Honduras and Venezuela. Each Latin America channel has the origin country in its name.

- Adds channels for Brasil.

- Renames Alien NA Mexico block to Latin America.

- Adds Alien NA Brasil block.

- Adds one USA English channel to news block.

- EU block channel updates: updated stream for X-music (ADULT) and updates Top40 with the replacement 105 Music channel from the same provider.

- The very last channel starting with this WebTV version contains the WebTV version number for those who are not sure what version file they are running. If activated this channel will display a HD test pattern from the Amiko NA server to confirm you have a connection and working internet.

Upgrade instructions:
1. Log onto the Alien_NA private FTP on your Alien/Alien2.
2. Go to the “WebTV” folder, navigate to “WebTV v4.31″ folder and download “webtv_usr.xml” to your attached HDD or flash drive. Be sure to note where you stored it and ensure there was not a previous copy in that location as it can cause a load error.
3. Exit from FTP and go to WebTV. Press the folder button on remote, select the “webtv_usr.xml” you just downloaded. Your IPTV channels are now installed.

NA Alien2 special upgrade instructions

The first upgrade for Alien2 is going to be a bit goofy, not just for us but for all A2’s. Spark identified some issues that could be improved in the Alien2 boot code and a special version of Spark 1.2.51 has been made that will upgrade the boot for all units. Upgrading the boot is not an everyday procedure so this should only apply this one time. Normally there will just be a North America version of any upgrade on Spark Online to install.

Karmacom and I have determined that we cannot make a North America version of the special boot file, so everyone will need to use the existing one on Spark Online. This is going to disable some of our online functions. Most of your settings like satellites and channels will remain unaffected. I’ve made server side changes here so that VOD, WebTV and the FTP will still run.

*** The boot upgrade version may affect a few NA HDTV’s as it uses 50/60Hz (PAL/NTSC) auto detect and does not have the manual 60Hz modes. If after the upgrade your TV gives a compatibility message, use the VORMAT BUTTON to switch to 480 mode. The NTSC modes should be back on Monday in the 1.2.52 software. ***

On Monday 7/9 Spark 1.2.52 will be released and there will be a version labeled North America available on Spark Online. BEFORE doing the upcoming 1.2.52 upgrade, you need to do the boot upgrade.

You can do this now, or you can wait until 1.2.52 North America is available and do both at once.

For those new to Alien/Alien2 here is what you need to do:

1. MENU > SPARK > UPGRADE SOFTWARE.
2. Make sure the spark_1.2.51 E2 Boot Upgrade is highlighted as shown below and press the RED key on the remote. Your Alien2 will download the update, install it and then reboot itself. This takes awhile so be patient.
3. When the 1.2.52 version is available you will see two copies: one labeled Europe, the other North America. Follow this same procedure using the North America version and all functions should be restored.

[Image: IMG_20120706_084246.jpg]

Alien NA VOD updated 7/4

Most of the regular new run series on Alien NA VOD have been updated this morning. The only surprise seems to be that NASA has went back to SD for TWAN on VOD4.

A brief overview for all the new Alien2 people:

The Alien NA VOD is part of the WebTV system. It is channels 1-15. VOD is changed server side so even if you don’t have our latest WebTV file your VOD will still update.

To see what is on VOD go to Opera browser. It will load the Alien NA web portal and there is a link to the VOD schedule.

After some discussion about when to update it was decided to aim for Saturdays. Usually the new run shows have all put out an episode by then. Updates were delayed a couple weeks due to the Alien2 arrival but in the future most updates will be Saturdays.

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