“Sheer Ensemble of Performance and Originality” Well the world has been a strange place this year, and everything has been very quiet in the satellite world. This year there was no Vu+ stand at the Anga Cable and Satellite fair, and there has been nothing seen or heard from Vu+ at all, that is until September when suddenly the internet woke up to the news of a new receiver, called the Duo4K SE. Well we have managed to get our hands on the new Duo4K SE so let’s take a look to see what’s new. Hardware: 1.5GHz ARM Quad-Core 20,000 DMIPS ARM v7 Processor 4096 MB Flash (eMMC) 3072 MB DDR3 DRAM Gigabit LAN (10/100/1000 MBit/s) 2x Advanced Pluggable FBC DVB-S2X / DVB-C V2 (FBC) or DVB-T2/C MTSIF Dual Tuner 3,5" TFT LCD Display - MiniTV 1x HDMI 2.0 out (with HDR10/HLG support) 1x HDMI 2.0 in Wlan: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/ac 2.4 / 5 GHz integrated Bluetooth 4.1 integrated for e.g. Bluetooth soundbars, headphones or Vu+ Bluetooth remote control 2x Common-Interface 1x Smartcard-Reader (Xcrypt) 1x USB 2.0 (Front) 2x USB 3.0 (Rear) S/PDIF audio output optical (digital) HD PIP (Picture in Picture) Quad PIP (Quad Picture in Picture) DiSEqC 1.0/1.1/1.2, USALS Transcoding Internal 2.5” Hdd Support External 12V power supply Power Switch Fanless Silent Operation Software: Advanced Linux Operating System Media Player Downloadable Plug-Ins supported HbbTV EPG supported Unlimited channel lists for TV / Radio Automatic & Manual Service Scan Supported Multiple LNB control (DiSEqC) supported OSD in many languages Skin change supported As you can see, it’s certainly not lacking in features. Inside the box: I am testing a pre-production model here, therefore the box that mine arrived in may be different from the final retail models, as you will see in the pictures below, mine arrived with DVB-S2X and DVB-T2/C MTSIF tuners installed.. On opening the box up, you find the following inside: Vu+ Duo4K SE Satellite Receiver Easy Setup Guide Remote Control (the new style Universal type that is supplied with the Duo4K and Ultimo4K) 2x AA Battery’s High Speed HDMI cable Detachable 2.5” HDD tray Power Supply unit Mains Power cable Appearance: The Duo4K SE is the same size as the Duo4K and Solo4K, the dimensions are (W x D x H): 310 mm x 255 mm x 68 mm. The front panel is clean with a few soft touch buttons for Power, Channel Up / Down and Volume Up / Down, with bright white glowing to the left of the 3.5” LCD display, and there is a USB 2.0 connection on the right-hand side along with 1 card slots and 2 CI slots hidden behind the flap. At the rear we find the connections available on the Duo4K SE: 2x Advanced Pluggable FBC tuner slots 2x USB 3.0 port Gigabit LAN (10/100/1000 MBit/s) Port S/PDIF audio output optical (digital) 1x HDMI 2.0 in 1x HDMI 2.0 out RS232 / IR Sensor port External 12V power supply connector Power switch The Duo4K SE’ HDMI 2.0 port is HDR10/HLG compatible. Inside the Duo4K SE: Looking inside the Duo4K SE, at the rear right, are the 2 advanced pluggable FBC tuner slots, which offer the following possible tuner configurations: One FBC tuner supports 8 demodulators. Two slots make it 16 demodulators in total. Slot A : FBC DVB-S2X, FBC-C V2 and Dual T2/C (MTISF) Tuner Slot B : FBC DVB-S2X, FBC-C V2 and Dual T2.C (MTISF) Tuner The large black heatsink you can see near the centre covers the Broadcom BCM 7444S 1.5 GHz Quad Core ARM v7 CPU (this is actually the same CPU used in the Ultimo4K), then at the front right is the card reader and 2 CI slots. The mount for the internal hdd is at the rear left, and fits into the detachable 2.5” hdd tray. The Duo4K SE uses an external power pack, which helps to keep temperatures down, and therefore there is no need for an internal fan. Getting started: I connected my Duo4K SE up to my motorised dish. I also connected the included HDMI cable to my TV, connected an Ethernet cable from my router, (the Duo4K SE also has internal Wi-Fi which will worth with either 2.4ghz or 5ghz networks), however I used the Ethernet as I had a connection where my Duo4K SE lives, and then I connected the power supply. With all the connections done, I flicked the switch on the rear and powered on the box for the first time. First Power up and Flashing: Before I did anything else, I let the receiver boot up, to make sure it was all working ok. Once booted and I was happy, I then proceeded to shut down the Duo4K SE, pulled out my favourite usb stick, and loaded on the OpenBH image for the Vu+ Duo4K SE. If this is your first Vu+ receiver, you will be pleased to know, that installing an image onto any of the Vu+ receivers is a very simple process. Simply grab a usb stick, format it in fat32 with your pc, download the BlackHole or OpenBH image from www.vuplus-commuinity.net (other images are available from different teams) and extract the zip file contents to the root of your newly formatted usb stick. Once this is done, plug the usb stick into the usb 2.0 port at the front and then power the box on at the rear, (it is recommended that you remove any usb sticks that are connected to the rear, before you reflash the box) the front panel LCD will tell you to press the power button on the front, if you wish to update. It will let you know that the Duo4K SE is updating, and will tell you when flashing is complete. When flashing is complete, you can remove the usb stick and power the box off and back on again. It is a quick and simple process and it doesn’t take long to reflash this box. On first boot after flashing, you will be greeted with the setup wizard, just follow the simple onscreen instructions to setup your new Duo4K SE. Time to Play: So first of all I decided to do a channel scan, which didn’t take very long at all, I scanned over 1800 services on 13°E in under 10 minutes. If you would rather not wait, you can grab a channel list from the OpenBH feeds, or choose one of the many available on the internet. With the channel scan done, I then added the EPG, I personally used CrossEPG The Duo4K SE from a cold boot gives me a picture on my screen less than 35 seconds (time will vary depending on how many plugins, skins, plugins etc. are installed) and an enigma2 restart takes only 12 seconds. As already said, there is room for an internal 2.5” hdd in the Duo4K SE, however you can use a network hdd if you have a NAS setup (or another Vu+ box that has a hdd installed), using the Network & Mount points feature in most images. The Duo4K SE is a Smart Box, which means you can install plugins on it, and it also supports HbbTV, and you can use IPTV channels in your bouquets, just like if you were watching Satellite or Cable tv. 4K Ultra HD: The Duo4K SE will output tv pictures at many different resolutions, so you do not need to have a 4K / Ultra HD tv to use this receiver, in-fact viewing 4K UHD channels on a 1080p tv makes you wonder if you even need a 4K tv as the picture is bright and clear even when downscaled. However if you do have a 4K tv then you can set the Duo4K SE to output at 2160p and this will do all the upscaling for you, obviously SD content does not look as good as HD and UHD, but it doesn’t do a bad job of the upscaling (probably a lot better than some 4K tv’s can manage on their own). On my TV, compared to the Ultimo4K there is no difference in picture quality and if you have some HDR10/HLG content on your hdd or NAS it will also play that back too. Advanced Pluggable FBC Tuners: The Duo4K SE comes with swappable tuners, FBC stands for Full Band Capture. These new FBC tuners, will allow you to tune into 8 different frequencies per tuner (2 in the Dual DVB-T/T2/C MTSIF tuner), which means that you effectively have up to 16 tuners inside your Duo4K SE (if you use both tuner slots). To get the maximum from the DVB-S2X FBC tuners you will need to use a Unicable II LNB, this means you can choose to view / record 8 different frequencies per tuner, however using a conventional lnb as found on most current satellite dishes around the world, it is still possible to tune to 8 different tv channels, but there are some limitations to which frequency’s you can tune at the same time. With the Duo4K SE, you can watch content from whichever broadcast standard you wish all from one box, without having to use external usb tuners. 3.5” TFT LCD Display / MiniTv: The Duo4K SE has a nice 3.5” TFT display on the front panel, this is a nice size, as it has plenty of space, to display Channel name, Program name, start / end times, progress bar and also the current time. It can also be configured to show a channel Picon and again, due to its size, this is actually useful. Alternatively, you can use the 3.5” display as a MiniTv, and it will show the current program on the display, or if you use the PiP (picture in picture) feature, you can have a different channel on the MiniTv display to that on the TV screen. However, if you don’t want the TV on, then you can still listen to the TV channel, using a pair of Bluetooth headphones or a Bluetooth Soundbar. Bluetooth: The Duo4K SE, features Bluetooth 4.1, this can be used to connect to a Bluetooth Soundbar, or to a pair of Bluetooth headphones, which as mentioned above, is useful if you are using the front display as a MiniTv, it can also be used with the Vu+ Bluetooth Remote Control (available separately). Simultaneous CI descrambling: The Duo4K SE boasts simultaneous descrambling of 2 Ci modules, this means it can descramble 2 streams at the same time. Quad PiP: With Quad PiP (Quad Picture in Picture) you can view 4 different channels, on the screen at the same time. A nice feature, especially when there are sports events on such as Football, Tennis or Formula 1, where you usually have options to watch different matches, or different camera angles. Wi-Fi: The Duo4K SE has built in Wireless Lan, and it supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. HDMI-In: A nice feature that Vu+ has added here. This will give you the option to plug another media player device into the Duo4K SE and it means you only need the 1 HDMI connection to your TV. This may not work with all devices, due to HDCP 2.2 copy protection. HbbTV: The Duo4K SE also supports HbbTV, just tune to a channel that provides the service (Das Erste on Astra 19.2°E for example) and press the red button, the Duo4K SE will then use your internet connection to connect to the Das Erste on-demand services. IPTV: As mentioned earlier, the Duo4K SE gives you the option to use IPTV either from plugins, or directly from your channel list (bouquets), when using IPTV from the bouquets, it is just like watching TV directly from the Satellite, Cable or Terrestrial tuners. Kodi: The Duo4K SE (as with most recent Vu+ models), supports Kodi, which means you have access to a huge array of multimedia addons, video, movie, music and radio streaming from the internet. Conclusion: The Duo4K SE is the latest set top box from Vu+, the Duo4K was only released 2 years ago and has already been discontinued. Looking at the specs alone, the Duo4k SE would actually appear to be a downgrade. The CPU is an older and slower spec than the Duo4K had, however in the real world the Duo4K never hit it’s advertised clock speed of 2.1 GHz, and instead ran at a lower 1.9 GHz, maybe this is why Vu+ removed the Duo4K from the market, or maybe it was Broadcom that were at fault and couldn’t provide the advertised specs reliably (we will never know unfortunately). That said in day to day usage I can’t actually notice any real difference between he Duo4K and Duo4K SE speed. The chipset may be the same between the Ultimo4K and the Duo4K SE however the kernel is updated in the Duo4K SE and due to the different layout of the main board it does run a little bit cooler than the Ultimo4K. The Duo4K SE produces stunning UHD pictures and with HDR10/HLG support too, it also produces great HD pictures and even the up scaled SD picture is a lot better than some tv’s can manage on their own. The Duo4K SE is not a cheap receiver, and it is not that small either, but it is not aimed at the regular user. This machine is aimed at those users, that demand more than just a Satellite or Cable receiver, it is aimed at the users, that want the best of both worlds, be it satellite, satellite and cable, cable only or cable and terrestrial, this box can do it all and it packs the most of the features that enthusiast demand too. You will not be disappointed with the picture quality, and if you are a keen satellite enthusiast, looking to move up to 4K, but with a reasonable budget, then this is could be the machine for you. The FBC DVB-S2X tuners support the DVB-S2X standard and works with the MIS (multistream transponders). Should you buy the Duo4K SE? Well I cannot decide that for you. If you are a Satellite Enthusiast and require both DVB-S2X and DVB-C or DVB-T/T2 connections, then this will give you the flexibility that you require with up to 16 demodulators available, and on top of this, you can also add extra usb tuners if you require them. If you already own a Vu+ Ultimo4K or Duo4K then no, there is no real reason to buy this box (unless you simply must have the latest receiver on the market), however if you are looking to upgrade from an older receiver and looking for a top spec 4K receiver then you won’t go far wrong with the Duo4K SE. Review written by Ev0, BlackHole Team.