The Vu+ (pronounced VuPlus), is a series of Linux-powered DVB satellite, terrestrial digital television receivers (set-top box), produced by Korean multimedia brand Ceru Company Ltd. (a subsidiary of Marusys Co., Ltd.).

History and description

All currently Vu+ hardware set-top boxes are MIPS-powered and uses Enigma2 image based software as firmware.

Its firmware is officially user-upgradable, since it is a Linux-based computer, as opposed to third-party "patching" of alternate receivers. Firmware is based on Enigma 2, which was originally designed for Dreambox by Dream Multimedia. All units support Conax conditional access (CA) system, with software-emulated conditional-access modules (CAMs) available for many alternate CA systems. The built-in Ethernet interface allows networked computers to access the recordings on the internal hard disks and stream live picture from the tuners. It also enables the receiver to store digital copies of DVB MPEG transport streams on networked filesystems or broadcast the streams as IPTV to VideoLAN and XBMC Media Center clients. Unlike many PC based PVR systems that use free-to-air type of DVB receiver cards, the built-in conditional access allows receiving and storing encrypted content.

In the beginning of September in 2011, Dream Multimedia obtained a temporary injunction against the Satco Europe GmbH company for using their "Enigma 2" name in an advertising flyer to promote the Linux operating system installed on the Vu+ set-top-boxes, as "Enigma"(2) is a registered trademark name of Dream Multimedia GmbH.[2]

Models

Vu+UltimoUnoSoloSolo2Solo SESolo SE V2Solo 4KDuoDuo2Zero
ProductionDiscontinuedAnnouncedDiscontinuedAnnouncedDiscontinuedAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableDiscontinuedAvailableAvailable
Life cycle2011 - 20132016 Oct.2011 - 20142016 Nov.2010 - 20132012-2014-2015-2015-2010 - 20132012-2014-
SoCBCM7413BCM7444SBCM7413BCM7252SBCM7325BCM7356BCM7429BCM7429BCM7376BCM7335BCM7424BCM7362
CPU typeMIPSARMMIPSARMMIPSMIPSMIPSMIPSARMMIPSMIPSMIPS
CPU (MHz)2x4004x15002x4002x1700333*2x13002x13002x13002x15004002x1300742
RAM (MiB)5123GB5122GB25610241024102420483842048512
Flash (MiB)10244GB1284GB12825625651240961281024256
Flash typeNANDeMMCNANDeMMCNANDNANDNANDNANDeMMCNANDNANDNAND
Default OSEnigma2Enigma2Enigma2Enigma2Enigma2Enigma2Enigma2Enigma2Enigma2Enigma2
DVB3 ×P&P(S2/C/T)2xP&P Dual FBC DVB-S2 or DVB-C + 1xP&P Dual DVB-S2 or Dual DVB-C/T21×P&P(S2/C/T)1xP&P Dual FBC DVB-S2 or DVB-C1×S22×S21xS2/C/T/T21xS2/C/T/T22×S2 + 1×P&P(S2/C/T)2×S22×P&P(S2/C/T)1×S2
HDTVYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
UHDTVNo4KNo4KNoNoNoNo4KNoNoNo
3D TVYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
PiPYesYesNoYes/HDYesYesYesYesYes/HDNo
Common Interface222121111220
Smart card222112112221
USB3 x 2.02x3.0 + 1x2.03 x 2.02 x 3.02 x 2.03 x 2.02 x 2.02 x 2.02x3.0 + 1x2.03 x 2.03 x 2.02 x 2.0
RS 232YesYesYesYesYesYesYes***Yes***YesYesYesYes
LAN (Mbit/s)1001000 + WIFI N/AC 2.5/5 + BT 4.01001000100100010010010001001000 + WIFI-N100
HDD2.5/3.5"2.5/3.5"2.5/3.5"No2.5"NoNo2.5" Detachable3.5"2.5/3.5"No
ATASATA IISATA IINoSATA IIINoNoSATA IIISATA IISATA IIINo
eSATAYesYesNoNoYesYesNoYesYesNo
SCART1No1No11NoNoNo21No
HDMI1.42.0 OUT/IN1.42.01.41.41.41.42.01.41.41.4
Displaygraphical VFDLCD (4.0")VFDNoVFDStatus LEDStatus LEDLCD (3.5")VFDLCD/VFDStatus LED
LNB pass-thruYesYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Other connectors1 x YPrPb1 x YPrPb1 x YPrPb1 x YPrPbRemote IR
Dimensions, WxHxD (mm)380 x 60 x 290380 x 70 x 278340 x 60 x 272280 x 50 x 200280 x 50 x 200211 x 45 x 185211 x 45 x 185315 x 65 x 255380 x 60 x 280380 x 60 x 290160 x 30 x 145
  • Note that Vu+ Uno and Vu+ Ultimo have a dual core processor BCM7413.
  • * in most cases Solo is underclocked to 220.67MHz[3]
  • *** in Solo SE standard 9-pin D-sub connector is changed to 6-pin RJ11

Triple tuner

  • Vu+ Ultimo (1 fixed DVB-S/S2 tuner and 2 x p&p DVB-S2 or DVB-T/C tuners)
  • Vu+ Solo 4K (2 fixed DVB-S/S2 tuner and 1 x p&p DVB-S2 or DVB-T/C tuners)

Twin tuner

  • Vu+ Solo2 (2 x fixed DVB-S/S2 tuners)
  • Vu+ Duo (2 x fixed DVB-S/S2 tuners)
  • Vu+ Duo2 (2 x p&p DVB-S2 or DVB-T/C tuners)
  • Vu+ Uno Twin (1 p&p DVB-S2 Twin tuner)

Single Tuner

  • Vu+ Solo (1 fixed DVB-S/S2 tuner)
  • Vu+ Solo SE (1 p&p DVB-S2 or DVB-T/C tuner)
  • Vu+ Solo SE v2 (1 p&p DVB-S2 or DVB-T/C tuner)
  • Vu+ Uno (1 p&p DVB-S2 or DVB-T/C tuner)
  • Vu+ Zero (1 fixed DVB-S/S2 tuner)

XBMC4STB project by Vu+

In September 2011, at "Vu+ Day", in Amsterdam, it was publicly announced that the generation of Vu+ DVB satellite receivers to be released publicly in the end of 2012 would be ARM-powered and use XBMC Media Center (now renamed to Kodi Entertainment System) software for its main GUI, a OpenEmbedded-based development-project that they call "XBMC4STB" (XBMC for Set-Top-Boxes), with beta releases of both the software and new hardware said to be made available to XBMC developers before they will be release to the public.[4]

However it took two more years before a native source port of XBMC was available on the newer Vu+ (VuPlus) based set-top box models SoloSe, Solo2, and Duo2, all of which are MIPS instead ARM based. XBMC will not be made available for older Vu+ set-top boxes due to hardware limitations with missing OpenGL graphics acceleration.[5][6]

Open Black Hole

"Open Black Hole" is an open source project for making unofficial third-party OpenPLi based images for newer Vu+ set-top boxes. Using the XBMC4STB software fork of Kodi/XBMC from Vu+, the images are designed as a hybrid integration between Kodi/XBMC media center software and Dreambox's Enigma2 PVR software scripts, forked from OpenPLi (based on OpenEmbedded Linux operating system for embedded systems), it is as such also fully compatible with PLi plugins and coding infrastructure. The project was first announced on the 25th of May 2015 and is maintained by the Black Hole Team, a team of independent developers of long popular community driven firmware images for Vu+-based set top-boxes, however these Open Black Hole project images is completely separate from the original Black Hole image for Vu+.[7][8]

PrismCube by Marusys

Another set-top box hardware, also using the XBMC4STB software fork of Kodi/XBMC, is the PrismCube set-top box, which is also produced by Vu+'s parent company, Marusys. Unlike Vu+, PrismCube is an ARM-architecture based DVB-S2 Twin-Tuner high-definition DVR/PVR that is only running native XBMC as its main media center GUI interface on-top of Linux for embedded systems.[9][2] Released in October 2013, the first hardware model is marketed as PrismCube Ruby in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, under different brand names such as Kasys, AB IPBox, and Openbox.[2]

The firmware image of PrismCube Ruby is based on OpenEmbedded-Linux, and uses Marusys's own PVR backend software that integrated itself into XBMC's GUI, so currently the PVR front-end GUI functions and features on PrismCube are not part of native XBMC core code, though they use the same skin texture elements to achieve some what similar look and feel interface, a ported fork which Marusys calls "XBMC4STB" (XBMC for Set-Top-Boxes), which is the same name that Vu+ have given to their XBMC port.[2][2][2] Third-party firmware images for PrismCube Ruby are also being developed by the Black Hole Team, a team of independent developers of long popular community driven firmware images for Vu+-based satellite receivers.[2][2]