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Thread: Internal PAL tuner gets a sound upgrade!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Internal PAL tuner gets a sound upgrade!

    All.

    Some of you might be aware that I have been hard at work doing more hardware modifications for Series 1 TiVo's and have said that shortly I would be making public some news.

    That day has come - if not a little later in the day than expected as I wanted the parts in my hand before going public and the couriers took their time....sigh

    Anyway, with that little hiccup aside I am pleased to announce that after almost three months of research and co-operation with both "Thompson TiVo" in New Zealand and Keith Wilkinson in Australia, and finding stocks of the new parts at a reasonable price, that the method of obtaining stereo sound from an internally fitted PAL tuner module with an add-on stereo decoder board sitting on top of the tuner module as you have known it for the last 18 months is officially superseeded.

    From this point on, any PAL tuner installs that I do (and I'm still doing on average three a week) will have what I am now calling the "Mark 2" stereo decoder fitted. This new way of obtaining stereo sound involves NO add-on stereo decoder board, but instead a complete replacement of the 3430G Micronas sound processor chip on the motherboard for a 3410D version. This is the same chip used in the UK Thomson model TiVo. Now that I am using both the same tuner as fitted to the UK TiVo and now the same sound processor that means there is not a lot of difference between a stock UK TiVo and a modified USA TiVo apart from the SCART connectors.

    The benefits of a "Mark 2" decoder over the older (and what I am now calling the "Mark 1") decoder are as follows:

    * Mono transmissions get detected and switch to a true mono output in under 2 seconds
    * Poor signal areas now hold stereo better, and fall back to a true mono if necessary
    * No interference from an internal “Airnet” wireless card as some people experienced
    * It is more stable than the “Mark 1” in stereo separation and performance
    * It has the ability to decode more stereo sound standards in other parts of the world
    * NICAM stereo for New Zealand will (hopefully) one day soon be available^
    * It looks more elegant. In fact it is hard to see that the board has even been modded!
    * The "2nd Audio input" modification for two independent A/V inputs is still possible with the 3410D chip just like before

    ^ The 3410D does support NICAM stereo but there is a software conflict issue preventing this from being supported at present. For the time being the sound output is being decoded as mono from the 3410D and software testing is being carried out. It is recommended for anyone in NZ contemplating their options to consider a “Mark 2” decoder modification and when the issue is resolved a simple software upgrade will enable stereo decoding of NICAM transmissions at a later date. This applies only to New Zealand TiVo owners as Australian stereo sound decoding is NOT affected.

    To enable this modification to function correctly a modified version of "palmod_config" is required. At present this is NOT INCLUDED on any OzTiVo image release but will have to be manually installed otherwise some weird sound effects will be heard. This modified palmod is Thompson's handy work and he has done a fine job incorporating the 3410D functions and also written into the module a logging function so that you can actually see in the kernel log what the decoder is doing. In fact his modified palmod can also be used on stock unmodified motherboards and will auto detect the type of Micronas chip fitted and switch accordingly. The software upgrade procedure along with the updated "how-to" document that encompasses all methods of obtaining sound from the internal tuner (ie mono, "Mark 1" stereo and "Mark 2" stereo) and a section on upgrading from either mono or "Mark 1" stereo to "Mark 2" stereo is available on Minnie here:
    http://minnie.tuhs.org/twiki/bin/vie...erModALPSHowTo

    While being able to deliver a more elegant and technically superior way of handling audio from the internal PAL tuner I've also been able to keep the cost of conversion to the same price as the older method. I also acknowledge that the new "Mark 2" may not be attractive to the D.I.Y. hobbyist due to the high level of soldering required which is why I am still offering "Mark 1" stereo decoders if you so desire to fit one of those yourself. All prices and an actual photo of a "Mark 2" modified board is available on my website here:
    http://www.members.westnet.com.au/ki...tivo/index.htm

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank Keith and Thompson for their software support as without them this would not be possible. I'd also like to thank all of the beta testers and especially Ron Davis who can confirm that proper mono resolution of TEN-Capital in Canberra is indeed a reality as this fact alone haunted me from day one of the original decoder. I'd also like to thank the half a dozen or so people who had faith in me and took me up on the offer for getting their TiVo's fitted with the new "Mark 2" decoder while I had their TiVo's in for PAL tuner fitting - all of which I am sure are happy with the result, or at least I presume so as I have not heard anything otherwise!

    I always promised in the original stereo decoder document that a better solution would one day be available and anyone who knows me well enough knows I like to keep promises. Enjoy

    Kind regards
    Darren King
    Darren King
    OzTiVo Repairs and Modifications
    If your TiVo requires repairs or modifications
    then visit: http://kingey1971.wix.com/tivorepairs

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Melbourne, VIC
    Posts
    10

    Outstanding

    Outstanding job as always Darren.
    Regards, Martin.

    Modded - TivoHD 160 (1TB) HNP

    Had...
    Defunct - S1 Tivo, 120Gb, Turbonet card, FOXTEL Digital Cable, UEC STB
    Defunct - S1 Tivo, 40Gb, Turbonet card, Analogue FTA, NEC VCR

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    New Zealand
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    Nicam

    Has there been any progress on the provision of NICAM decoding for NZ Tivo users?

  4. #4
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    Not being in a NICAM country myself the answer is "no" from this end, but I'm not the software guy anyway so I cannot 100% answer this question, sorry.
    Darren King
    OzTiVo Repairs and Modifications
    If your TiVo requires repairs or modifications
    then visit: http://kingey1971.wix.com/tivorepairs

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Location
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    Quote Originally Posted by Islander
    Has there been any progress on the provision of NICAM decoding for NZ Tivo users?
    The (Mark 2) stereo modification did look promising for a while, however getting NICAM to work via the US mainboard does not look like it will be solved in the short term. There is a brief wiki on the subject of Stereo support in New Zealand.

    Technically it's a Catch-22 situation... the MSP3410D is capable of decoding NICAM only when it is run as a I2S master, but we are having to run it as an I2S slave in order to get it working on the US mainboard. Flicking the MSP3410D between modes (slave/master) can be done via software, but it is not clear if the chip on the other side of the I2S bus can be configured via software.

    The fact that the drivers running on the v3.0 software will recognise the MSP3410D and set it up as the I2S master suggests that the other component is not software adjustable. I guess what I am saying is that the software versions after v2.5.5 recognise the UK hardware and setup the MSP as an I2S master (which is why the v3.0 software will run on the UK hardware), otherwise it sets it up as a I2S slave - which implies that the chip on the other side of the bus is not configured via software (ie on the US board it is set, in firmware, as a master).

    If you are technically minded and wish to dig around in datasheets and software internals and verify this then you are likely to need a FakeI2C package.

    [I wonder who actually read this far ]

  6. #6
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    [I wonder who actually read this far ]
    I do. Thanks mate for the detailed response.

    All I can suggest to those that *may* want to see stereo eventuate one day is to get it done and just be happy with mono for now with just a simple software upgrade later for stereo if it happens. A lot easier (and cheaper shipping wise) to do it all the first time than to get the board returned for secondary modifications later..... but that's just my opinion of course.
    Darren King
    OzTiVo Repairs and Modifications
    If your TiVo requires repairs or modifications
    then visit: http://kingey1971.wix.com/tivorepairs

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    I read the entire post thomson I'm a geek

    Hrm.. sounds tricky.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2005
    Location
    New Zealand
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    Musings

    Thanks for the reply(s).
    I assume that the I2S device the MSP chip is connected to is the Tivo ASIC and the US ASIC is a different version to the UK one.
    Assuming this to be the case I also assume that any detailed info on the functioning of the ASIC is not available hence the problem.
    I am not very conversant with the operation of the I2S bus but wonder if it would be possible to make a slave to slave converter to interface between the two master devices ie. a pic or similar processor?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Islander
    Thanks for the reply(s).
    I assume that the I2S device the MSP chip is connected to is the Tivo ASIC and the US ASIC is a different version to the UK one. Assuming this to be the case I also assume that any detailed info on the functioning of the ASIC is not available hence the problem.
    I have not had a look, but it would be a reasonable assumption that it is the ASIC chip on the other side of the bus... the only problem is that I think the markings on the ASIC chip seems very similar between the UK and US models... so it might not be the case...
    eg:
    UK: TMS1 REV A ASIC-00001-000 0036WX016
    US: TMS1 REV A ASIC-00001-000 9919KX001

    Your slave-to-slave idea might be possible... although I am not sure how the timing channel would be affected by this. The following is a short run-down on what I2S is, and where to find the datasheet:

    I2S = Inter-IC Sound
    Source: Audiotools.com
    A high speed serial bus standard for use with digital audio and/or video communications developed by Philips in 1986 and based around their I2C chip-to-chip communication standard (aka 12S), were it differs from most such serial systems is that high resolution clocking signal is sent alongside the data itself to ensure synchronisation and reduce or eliminate problems such as Jitter. It was originally designed for on board communications between electronic parts as can be seen from the name and is used as such on everything from high end digital televisions to mobile phones, but has more recently been seen used on high end audio as an external interconnect standard in the form of I2S Enhanced. Basically an IS2 bus consists of 3 signal paths, one has 2 channels of audio or video data multiplexed onto it using TDM, the second channel has clock info and the third is a word select line. Get more info from Philips here (PDF file).


    If you wish to go down a completely different track you might want to try a F15a board (Tomek found this)... you are likely to need the 38.9MHz version - price is somewhere around the NZ$40 mark. It's Polish, so contact, payment and shipping could be a hassle... I was in Poland a year back and still have some money was going to look into this before the whole MSP3410D swapout became viable. (FYI: banks here will neither provide nor purchase Zloty so I need to use it somewhere )

  10. #10
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    Apr 2005
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    New Zealand
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    More Thoughts

    This may be a wild idea.....but
    Why not install a MSP 3410D on a daughter board, connect to the same conns as the mk1 stereo mod and command the new chip form the Tivo I2C bus. This would get around the I2S problem but present decoded NICAM to the inputs of the Tivo MSP chip.
    I realise that this is not exactly a perfect solution but it would give the required result.
    Any thoughts?

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