I’ve been looking for a solution to stream recorded or live video from my Dreambox DM800 sat/cable receiver to my iPad for a while. I was able to stream recorded video using an uPnP server on the Dreambox and an uPnP client on the iPad, but the iPad app involved was somewhat limited.
A few days ago, I stumbled upon an iPad app named “Dreambox LIVE”.
Dreambox LIVE is an app for streaming live or recorded video content to an iPad, iPhone 4 or iPod touch from any Enigma2-powered set-top box over a home network.
I’ve been testing the app on iOS 4.3 on my 1st gen iPad. I’m on a 802.11n WiFi network at home, which is recommended by the author. Here’s a quick review with pros/cons about the app.
- Snappy and nicely polished, intuitive user interface
- Universal app, works on the iPhone 4, iPad and 4th generation iPod touch
- Plays live and recorded standard definition (SD) video
- Ability to change channels
- Ability to change audio stream in a channel on the fly
- Multiple quality settings to reduce battery drain
- Setting the app up is breeze, you basically need to know the IP address or DNS name of your Enigma2-powered Dreambox (Enigma1 will be supported in a future version)
- Shows EPG info for the current and the next scheduled progam for the current channel
- Support for subtitles
- App could be more stable, it crashed on me a few times
- When scrolling anywhere in the app, video and audio stutters. This also happens whenever a mail arrives in the background.
Sometimes, video and audio is not in sync.Fixed!
- No support for HD-content, I only get a static image on HD-channels and HD-recordings (audio is working though). Seems to be hardware related.
- Fixed in v1.3: Interlacing is visible at times and I’m not sure if the app or whatever it uses for video playback is trying to compensate. I’d certainly hope for improved de-interlacing/decombing support if the iPad’s processor is capable of doing this. For some reason, interlacing is only visible in recordings, not in live TV mode.
- Fixed in v1.3: I’d rather have the app start up in a passive mode so it won’t switch the channel and won’t start streaming the moment I open it. It’s kinda annoying when someone else is watching TV and opening the app switches the channel to the last active channel in the app.
I don’t list battery drain or 4-6 seconds zapping delays when switching channels (at least on a DM800 non-SE) as cons because that’s to be expected. A multi-channel EPG could reduce the need for zapping a great deal though.
Feature whish list
Even though the app is doing pretty well, there’s always room for improvement:
- Show the saved EPG descriptions for recorded video just like the EPG info in live stream mode
- Bookmark support: ask to continue playback at the previous position for recorded video
- Don’t show any bouquets if only one bouquet is available
- A multi-channel EPG just like the Dreambox Cool TV Guide plugin would be great, and it would be even better if I could program timers from this EPG just by double-tapping a segment, couch potato style!
Dreambox LIVE is available for $7.99 or €5,99 in the iTunes store which may seem a lot compared to all those $0.99 (cr)apps :-). But mind you, it’s a very fair price considered the amount of work that has been put into this app and the somewhat limited market potential it has.
It’s going to be interesting how the app performs on iPad 2. Some CPU/GPU performance related issues might just disappear, I’m looking forward to try HD on an iPad 2.