Tag Archives: Mediahighway

A look at the Nokia 9850T

The Nokia Mediamaster 9850T was one of the first ONdigital receivers released to the market, alongside the Philips and Pace models, and one of the first digital terrestrial receiver that Nokia had made.

Like other ONdigital boxes, the 9850T uses SECA Media-highway for its middleware, alongside the MediaGuard conditional access system. The box also has a PCMCIA slot for future digital interfaces, likely to enable upgrades. The front panel design is similar to the other models of the time, all boxes had a Power, Select, Menu and directional buttons to allow basic control of the receiver without a remote, and a 4 digit display which would show the channel number and the time in standby

Front View

Rear View

Lifting the Lid

Tuner Block

The tuner is implemented on a separate module away from the mainboard, it seems the board is based off the 9800/9700 satellite receiver, and when it came to adapting the design for the 9850T, Nokia added the DVB-T tuner module as a separate module. This module is soldered in and cannot be removed.

Motorola MC92314 Datasheet

The modem is also a separate component, connected what looks like an internal RS232 port, to the left you can see spaces reserved for the satellite tuner modules

Shot of the CPU and MPEG2 decoder, cannot find any other chips unless they are on the underside, so I assume this also contains the decoder.

Texas Instruments TMS320AV7110

From looking at the datasheet below, the CPU of the box is based on an ARM design and runs at 40.5MHz

Datasheet

Sony CXA20920 – AV encoder

Front panel display

Another shot of the main CPU and MPEG2 decoder, the Flash and RAM chips can be seen to the left side

The modem module itself

Size Comparison

Vs Pace Di4000

Vs Pace 2500S5

Conclusion

As this was one of the first DDT receivers on the market, the box seems to be quite primitive compared to the later Freeview receivers with its lack of a full EPG and more importantly 8K tuner support, however in the ONdigital era the Nokia was considered to be the more reliable and supported box (The Sony and Toshiba models did not get MHEG support) and there are reports of the 9850T being able to lock onto weaker signals better than its Philips or Pace counterpart.

The addition of the digital audio connecter would have been the main distinction from the other ONdigital boxes besides the Sony, since they were the only models to feature this.

Nokia would later go on to continue creating DTT receivers for the Freeview service, with models like the 221T or the 121T, which had an unorthodox and unique design compared to the traditional 9850T. Unfortunately Nokia exited the Freeview market after 2005, along with its satellite receivers and focused on mobile phones before Microsoft purchases their handset division. It’s not known it Nokia will reenter the set top box market.

ONdigital

Switch On….

ONdigital was the first Digital Terrestrial platform in the world, and was to be a subscription service to compete with Sky analogue. Sadly it wasn’t to last as ONdigital entered administration in April 2002. The boxes themselves continued to work with the FTA Freeview service until 2011 when the transmissions were broadcast using 8K FFT, which the ONdigital boxes did not support.

The ONdigital guide software was developed using Canal+ Mediahighway middleware, alongside the NHEG5 virtual machine for digital text services. Mediaguard was used for the conditional access system.

Now & Next

ONdigital

Appers when you change channels, it cannon be called up by a button on the remote, you would use the Info button for now & next

The red dot means no signal

Ondigital channel list

Pressing OK brings up a channel list, that can be used to jump to certain channels

Ondigital Info

Pressing info gives a now and next view on what’s currently being broadcast, you can select different channels but can only see now & next.

Main Menu

Ondigital Main Menu

The main menu

Setting the Timer

ONDigital timer

ONdigital lacked an EPG, it had only now & next and that was it. If you wanted to record a programme in the future you had to manually set it. ONdigital did provide a monthly magazine that gave TV listings for all of their channels which could be used to track the TV listings.

Its worth mentioning that Teletext, BBC, ntl, and ONview (ONdigital) offered MHEG service that broadcasted a TV guide, but this could not be used to set a reminder.

Favourite Channels

Favourite channels worked differently comparted to Sky or cable, you could mark as many channels as you wanted as a favorite, symbolized by a heart icon. However when the favorite channels settings was on, the Chan+ and Chan- would only scroll through favorite channels list only.

ONdigital favourite channels

Whilst we are here, might as well look at the ONdigital era channel list, it seems the original owner never bothered to rescan the box after Freeview launched, and did not rescan it either after ONdigital rebranded to ITV Digital.

Parental Lock

ONdigital parental lock

Not much to see since I don’t know the smartcard PIN, but from memory you can lock certain channels.

Viewing Preferences

ONdigital viewing preferences
ONdigital box settings
ONdigital tv video settings
ONdigital modem settings

Getting Started

ONdigital getting started
ONdigital channel list
ONdigital channel list
ONdigital add channels

ONdigital Updates

ONdigital updates
ONdigital smartcard

Smart Card data, shows when the current entitlements expire. it appears this card was in use until the demise of ITV Digital

ONdigital postbox

The postbox, designed to receive broadcast messages, this was never used

Technical Information

Ondigital technical information
ONdigital signal strength

Signal strength, you have to manually enter the channel number to find out

ONdigital signal strength
Ondigital Nokia

Information relating to the manufacturer, software version and hardware revision

ONdigital technical information

Hidden information menu, not much to do except to view certain debug information

Guide: ONMail

ONMail

Pressing the guide button brings up this menu

ONMail

ONmail was ONdigital’s email service that could be access through the set top box, using a remote and a receiver that plugs into the serial port on the ONdigital box.

ONMail

A PIN is required to access the service, since the PIN number on the card is unknown, we are unable to progress past this point.

ONMail

Not that we’d get any further, the servers were shut off shortly after ONdigital entered administration.

ONMail
ONMail
ONMail