Streaming video from a Dreambox to an iPad with Dreambox LIVE

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.

Make sure to check out the demo video on Youtube and visit the author’s web site for more information about Dreambox LIVE.

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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.

7 thoughts on “Streaming video from a Dreambox to an iPad with Dreambox LIVE

  1. Thank you for the heads up. This app works extremely well on my iPad 2, however it skips the HD channels in the list so I cannot test them.
    If decoding of the TS is done in software and thereby CPU I can understand it might not be fast enough for HD, but the GPU in the iPad 2 is supposed to be 9 times faster than iPad 1. Hopefully this will be used in the future.
    Streaming over internet via transcoding middle station would be awesome too.
    Thumbs up!

  2. I have a network with ip from 192.168.1.1 – 254 and I connect it with an other wireless that starts 192.168.20.1.
    my dreambox is at 192.168.20.100 but from the first network that I have my wireless (192.168.1.1 – 254) I cannot connect my ipad to my dreambox. any help?

  3. Dreambox Live would be a great app apart from the audio sync issues.

    I tried it when it first came out on the iPad 1 and I’ve just revisited it on the iPad 2. Despite the increased performance of the iPad 2, the app still suffers an awful audio sync loss.

    It seems to fair better on my iPhone 4S but on the iPad 2, I can change channel with the audio in sync and literally watch the lipsync start to delay so the speech is not in time with lips after just seconds of viewing.

    Such a shame because without that problem, it would be a great app.

  4. Does anyone know why the sky F1 channel wont stream to ipad…we can watch on tv but not on ipad, its the only channel we cant see at all and its not the HD channel either..is it blocked or something

  5. Can anyone tell how i can use this app away from my house please? I tried using the Dreambox IP on my ipad from my office in the hope of testing for when i travel. Tell me that IP not found. I’m sure it works or else no use in people buying the app. If i can see Dreambox on my TV, why use it on ipad? I wanted this app to be able to stream my dreambox away from my house. It could be im doing something wrong with my settings. Or maybe not. Any help is very much appreciated.

    Cheers guys.
    JC

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