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Old 05-02-2016, 10:13 PM
EnterNoEscape's Avatar
EnterNoEscape EnterNoEscape is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 2,583
BM1000-HDMI (HDMI Encoder) Review

This device was brought up in this thread. I figured I should start a new thread to review it.

When I opened the box, one thing I checked immediately was that the power cord voltage matched the unit voltage of 12v. One commenter discovered he got the wrong power cord and had all kinds of issues with the unit dropping out. I like that the enclosure is made of decent quality aluminum. Throughout testing the box didn’t even get warm. Everything was easy to understand and hooked up without any issues. I assume my STB uses HDCP and it was not an obstacle to being able to stream.

The default IP address is which thankfully can be changed. It would have been even nicer if there was a way to auto-discover the device, but I guess we can’t have everything. Once in the web interface I was a little disappointed to see that the video capture rate tops out at 30fps (this can be worked around, see below). Also, when you change any “main stream” (video encoding) settings, the device needs to be rebooted which takes at least 20-40 seconds (it seems to depend on what you changed). The latest firmware (4.0) was already installed.

The default video quality is ok for 1080i encoded to 1080p 30fps, and it gets better when you bump the bitrate up to 12000. The default of cbr is good with 1080i and that bitrate. However, I think the biggest impact comes from using a vbr stream and playing around with the video quantizers. I set qmin to 1 and qmax to 51. The result is when the picture isn’t moving much it’s very sharp and when there is a lot of action it gets a little softer. If you make these values too narrow and aggressive, the picture can get jumpy, so you need to find a balance or if the defaults are good enough for you, leave it alone. I settled on key frame 30, qmin 3, qmax 32. My wife couldn’t decide which one looked better when watching a both as a live feed side-by-side, so that’s a very good sign.

I was very skeptical about how well the deinterlace filter would perform. It’s better than I expected, so I think I’m ok with using it full time. I noticed on a few commercials that it seemed to forget the content was interlaced, but I didn’t see this happen once on actual show content. Tickers at 1080i to me look about the same as they do when using an average quality deinterlacer; acceptable unless you can’t stop looking for flaws.

720p content upscaled to 1080i by the STB looks ok until there’s fast motion. Then things get far too blurry; it could be the STB, I don’t have much experience on this one. My first STB was rented because I was buying an HD-PVR. Note that on normal TV such as sitcoms, this doesn’t seem to be an issue, but when watching baseball for example, it’s very distracting. I think this might have to do with the shows source content framerate. Also 720p content straight from the STB upscaled by the encoder to 1080p looks noticeably worse than just encoding it at 720p. Since 720p is normally 60fps, tickers have a little bit of flutter as they are scaled to 30fps. If you watch a lot of sports, I don’t think this will make you happy. I understand that you can find encoders similar to this one that can positively do 60fps, but they are a little pricier (this limitation can be worked around, see below).

1080i downscaled to 720p by the STB, then captured at 720p 30fps looks just as bad as it does on the HD-PVR when it’s doing it at 60fps. There’s nothing good to say about this configuration. 1080i downscaled by the encoder to 720p 30fps is only marginally better.

Beyond the encoders trueness to the source material in sharpness and clarity. The colors are a little washed out with the defaults, but maybe not enough for everyone to notice. Fortunately everything you should need is available in the web interface. MythTV has a whole page on these tuning devices and recommends: brightness 37, contrast 60, hue 50 and saturation 30. I found those in direct comparison to the source content produced a picture that was a little too bright. I ended up using 45, 50, 50 and 45. As demonstrated, your mileage will vary.

I was able to load this capture device up in OpenDCT using the new Generic HTTP Capture Device I just added last week and will be available in the next beta. I was very excited that it worked instantly with absolutely no surprises! Playback on the HD300 and HD200 went without issue. The android miniclient using ijkplayer (ExoPlayer didn't want to work at all for me) really doesn’t like the 12mb/s bitrate. I had to cut that down to 6mb/s, just to be able to play anything back. I then had to cut it down to 3mb/s so it would stop stuttering constantly. Even then every so often it stutters probably because it’s getting ahead of the stream. Interestingly enough 3mb/s was more than enough to be watchable. There’s no reason not to just use the raw consumer for this one since it creates perfectly useable TS files.

You’ll noticed on the web interface a feature called HDMI OSD display. It would be a neat way to display messages, but I couldn’t figure out how to clear the message once it was there. The only way I could get rid of it was to reset the configuration. Providing blank input didn’t make it go away. Good thing we’re looking at this from a video recording perspective.

I hope this helps anyone unsure if this is the right capture device for them.

Update: I read the rest of the MythTV information for this and it looks like the chip itself can handle 60fps just fine, just not on both streams at the same time. I'll need to test this a little more since this is a big find, but maybe this will be good for sports too.

For 60 fps the Main stream:
http://YourEncoderIP/set_codec?type=hdmi&input_fps=60 Followed by an encoder reboot
or .....
For the 60 fps Secondary stream:
http://YourEncoderIP/set_codec?type=...t&input_fps=60 Followed by an encoder reboot
To reboot the encoder you can use the following web API -- http://YourEncoderIP/reboot -- or use the normal web menus
Resolution changing aware tuning script for BM1000-HDMI ONLY
General guidance on how to configure this kind of capture device
SageTV v9 Server: ASRock Z97 Extreme4, Intel i7-4790K @ 4.4Ghz, 32GB RAM, 6x 3TB 7200rpm HD, 2x 5TB 7200rpm HD, 2x 6TB 7200rpm HD, 4x 256GB SSD, 4x 500GB SSD, unRAID Pro 6.7.2 (Dual Parity + SSD Cache).
Capture: 1x Ceton InfiniTV 4 (ClearQAM), 2x Ceton InfiniTV 6, 1x BM1000-HDMI, 1x BM3500-HDMI.

Clients: 1x HD300 (Living Room), 1x HD200 (Master Bedroom).
Software: OpenDCT :: WMC Live TV Tuner :: Schedules Direct EPG

Last edited by EnterNoEscape; 12-30-2016 at 03:34 PM. Reason: Updated information about 60fps content.
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