Connecting an old ntl box running ancient (by cable standards) software to a modern Virgin Media network. Whilst Virgin Media is the sucessor to ntl there are a few possible roadblocks to this;
- VM no longer broadcast their channels in MPEG2 with the exception of a few off air slates and radio channels.
- The DVB-SI that VM broadcast may not be consistent with what the software is expecting
- The STB itself may be looking for something that VM are no longer transmitting
Getting the box to boot was a struggle itself, just connecting it to a cable feed is not enough since the box will get stuck on the starting up screen, I left it overnight and the box was still trying to start up
Forcing a boot (holding Up+Down and letting go once LDR appears on the display) wouldn’t work either
What worked in the end was to power up the STB will the cable feed disconnected, this will cause the box to display NIT on the front panel LED display. Connecting the coax feed, the box will then proceed to the start up screen and after around 5 minutes a channel will be displayed.
Well the box managed to load something, lets see what we get…
The main EPG, showing the many channels or streams Virgin broadcast
What’s disappointing is nothing can be tuned, you can select a channel but nothing will play, not even radio channels. Potentially this could be the NetID mismatch causing this , since the STB originated from a different area of the network.
Looks like software update streams for the various tivo box models currently in use with Virgin Media.
To breakdown what works and not
- Channels Numbers exist but its not the order that Virgin use, the STB seems to place them consecutively in the EPG, i.e starts at 1 and goes up to 350
- There are issues selecting channels over 255 in the guide, trying to select a channel number over 255 causes the box to pull a channel from the top section of the EPG, i.e selecting channel 260 causes channel 5 to get selected instead.
- Only now and next information is loaded, no further schedule information is available
- Subject search does not function
- Channel genres do not work, selecting Entertainment or Sports shows no channels.
- Various hidden streams and channels appear in the guide
- Changing channels using the + and -, the list is out of order and the STB seems to jump between different channels.
- Program reminders work and can be set
Maybe changing the Net ID will at least allow the radio channels to be opened
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