Subject: Manhattan Plaza ST 100 with the 70
software downloaded. A report by Roy Carman.
Copyright. This report is the property of Tempus Fugit Publications.
Test Date 19 to 23 October 2005.
Surrey Hills, SE England.
Dish, 1.2 meter Channel Master. Genesis Mk 3 Twin Universal Low Noise Bloc (LNB).
The IF feed to the receiver is distributed through an active Eurostar 8 way splitter.
Sat FT125 Cable from LNB to Splitter then FT 100 cable from splitter to the various receivers.
The dish is moved with an Echostar AD 3600IP Viaccess receiver. Therefore DiSEqC was not tested.
The Receiver. (In test situation)
I received the original Manhattan Plaza ST 100 for testing purposes on Friday 24 September 2004 morning.
It has taken 13 months and many software writing hours, to turn this receiver into the receiver
that it should have been 13 months ago. Why oh why do manufacturers and the Company selling this
receiver sell equipment that takes so many software updates to turn their wares into usable objects.
Do they not understand the maxim, “First impressions count”?
The receiver has not changed in its appearance.
The receiver rear has two Scart sockets, one marked TV the other marked VCR. The TV Scart socket
is SVHS compatible. Also available are a full set of phono sockets, (Video and stereo audio),
SVHS socket, and also Digital Sound output in the form of a phono socket. A 12 volt accessory phono
sockets makes up the 5 phono's that can be seen.
It is USALs and DiSEqC 1.3 compatible and will handle up to 40 satellites using a DiSEqC motorised system.
In the better than normally written handbook (but still needs some improvement) it states that the receiver
will function between 2000 and 45000Bits. I have found that it exceeds expectations here and will work,
by my experience down to at 1500bits per second easily and probably beyond.
Also on the rear are IF loop through facilities and UHF loop through. The receiver can be set to work on
most of the Worlds TV systems via the UHF link.
Finally there is an RS 232 socket (Bit Rate : 115,200 baud connector: 9 pin D-sub type) for updating the
receiver software via null modem cable from a computer, or for connecting another receiver of type
to transfer data between receivers.
On the front left of the receiver as you face it there are three buttons, Standby, TV/Radio, and menu.
Then going right is the Digital LED display. (This receiver has a clock that actually works properly).
Then a multi switch that allows channel up and down, volume up and down, and in the middle the "OK"
switch to confirm your entry.
The physical dimensions are, Width 300 mm, Height 67mm, Depth 240 mm. The receiver is extremely light
and arrives with you in good packaging. Well at least from the dealer who sent this to me.
Current consumption is reported to be a maximum of 30 watts maximum and the input
voltage is 100--240 Volts AC, 50/60 Hz~.
Also this receiver can be upgraded over the air from the Hotbird Satellites at 13 East, or of course
with a computer that has access to the Internet. None of the previous blind search receivers could
be upgraded over the air.
Operation and function.
The receiver is now as fast as the Fortec receivers, slightly slower in search, but this is made up by
the rapid download of found transponders.
There are only two types of channel download possible. They are Channel Search and Advanced Search
(Blind Search). The odd thing is that when in Advanced Search the receiver searches the Vertical
polarity first and not the Horizontal, as all of the other blind search receivers so do.
This is so improved to the first time I tested this type of receiver that there is very little to write
about it, other than praise.
The first search is ALL. This will search the designated frequency band in the symbol rates from 1000 bits
to 45000 bits. However the receiver in this mode will only find SR below 2000 if there is a clear 8 MHz
either side of the active frequency. If there is another transponder functioning within the 8 MHz then it
will be missed. ALL search is carried out in 8 MHz steps. The search is only slightly slower than the Fortec,
but I feel it is more accurate in that it misses less than the competition, but once the search part
is over, the transponder download is very fast, so making up any difference in search times.
One thing really in its favour is that it downloads Data transponders as fast as it download feeds
and regular programming, whereas many of the competitors, especially the Fortec, take ages to
download data transponders.
The second search is, 2000 to 4000 bits. This is only required if your are searching a satellite that
has many transponders with the symbol rates between 2000 and 4000 bits, such as Turksat 1C at 42 East,
and the cohabiting bird at 42 East, Eurasiasat. This really ensures that you miss nothing.
The big change here is that the 2000 to 4000 bits scan is now a search in 4 MHz stages instead of
8 MHz as it was before. This search will also record symbol rates as high as 5700 bits.
To complete the thoroughness of the receiver is the search band from ? to 2000 bits. I have
found symbol rates as low as 1000 * with this search. Again the search is in 4 MHz steps and
therefore takes a while longer to search.
* 12.632GHz V 1000 ¾ on SESAT at 36 degrees East, 11.617GHz H 1257 7/8 on NSS 7 at 22 degrees West,
as well as several others.
In all this has become a thorough and reasonably swift search engine.
The receiver still starts its search in the Vertical plain.
Search parameters can be set starting at any desired frequency and of course ending at any desired frequency.
The receiver has a "World" data base of satellites that are transmitting that is right up to date.
Now that the appetite has been whetted I shall describe the set up of this clever little receiver.
On taking the receiver from its primary packaging you will find it is accompanied by an easy to
understand manual, which really needs to be updated to link with the new software. But that is
being slightly picky on my part.
The remote control is of a medium size and easy to use even with one hand if the needs be.
Insert the accompanying batteries into the Remote Control Unit (RCU).
After attaching the necessary leads to make this receiver function then it is time to switch on.
This has got to be one of the easiest receivers to set up.
After the Manhattan logo, a Menu page appears.
Here the user selects their language. 15 Choices of language are available, they are mainly European.
They are English, Deutsch, Francais, Italiano, Espanol, Portuguese, Turkish, Arabic, Farsi, Russian,
Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Nederlands, Greek.
Transparency of the on screen data can be adjusted to the users' choice.
The information display that comes on when you have downloaded some satellite channels can also be adjusted.
As a feed hunter it is useful to put this to “On” instead of one of the timed options.
This allows the data to stay on screen whilst going through the channels. When you are channel surfing you
can get rid of the on screen display by simply pressing OK on the RCU.
I still cannot see the point of the screen saver, but it is there if desired.
Once the user has set the required criteria on this menu, move down to Store and press OK.
The receiver then changes to the next page of the menu.
The second menu page allows the setting up of you receiver to your television.
If your television is multi standard then leave the TV standard at Auto.
Choose the screen format of your TV and also the way that you have connected to the TV be it RGB or Composite.
Choose the UHF channel if considered necessary and then cursor down to Store and press OK on the remote control.
Set up the receiver clock and date. Cursor down to store and press OK on the RCU. Important to set the clock
especially if the user is going to use the Timer facility.
The next page of the menu allows the user to set their preference for the type of LNB and dish in use.
Again confirm the setting by using the store position.
The screen now changes to Hotbird. If you are not on Hotbird then simply press Exit on the RCU.
The system menu then appears. This page of the menu covers the three pages already viewed during set up,
plus two more items. They are Event Timer and Master reset.
The Event Timer permits up to 20 actions within a year! But do remember to get your events in date order.
Master Reset does exactly as it states, this restores the receiver to the condition as at the last software update.
If you do not wish to use this menu page at this time, the simply move the menu to the next stage
by using the right arrow, the receiver will then change to the page below.
By now the Antenna Setting would have been chosen during set up. But obviously you can
change the setting if so required.
Next are the two types of search. This is where the menu has been “cleaned” up most since
the first one received.
Channel Search allows the receiver to search the channels that are set when the software
is downloaded, also it will allow a re-search of channels that the user has manually
added to the data base since the last Master reset.
Next on the list is Advance Search. This is this receivers crowning glory, Blind Search.
(Blind Search..the ability to search a given frequency spectrum and download the active
transponders that are found.)
Gone are the many search criteria on the original receiver, and their going is most welcome
as so many search modes made this receiver a real trial for any beginner. Now it is so much simpler.
The first time that you press OK whilst the cursor is over Advance search, the following screen appears.
Firstly the LNB can be selected, very useful if both C Band and KU band are in use.
The satellite is set at Intelsat 701 at 180 East, by using the left or right arrow on
the RCU, move the satellite list to the satellite you wish to search. As the user searches
through it is apparent that the satellite list is up to date. Often when other types of receiver
are updated this list is forgotten, yet it is one of the most crucial points.
Once the satellite has been selected, the choice of Search Mode can be made. This has been
reduced to three choices, ALL, FTA (Free to Air), and ALL+D (All channels plus any data channels
that will download.)
Next is Scan freq. By choosing ALL, the receiver will search the whole of the KU Band; that is
from 10700 MHz to 12750 MHz. Right side arrow too User def (defined), allows the user to enter
their own search parameters.
Symbol Rate throws up the three options that I have mentioned previously they are, ALL, 999 to
45000 bits, 2000 to 4000 bits, and 999 to 2000 bits.
Next the user can enter the search parameters starting at any desired frequency and finishing at
another if the “User def “options was chosen in the “Scan freq” option.
Next the choice is given to search either polarity or both. A small point here is that the Polarity
at the start is displayed as V/H, but when you go to choose a single polarity, they are in fact
opposite to that which is written. The left arrow on the RCU gives Horizontal and the right arrow
Vertical. Obviously the software writer having set the software to search the vertical plain first
entered V/H but forgot about the individual search.
Next is Positioner, this need to be set before proceeding. The default is none, the other options
are DiSEqC 1.2 and DiSEqC USALs. This setting is obviously set to the type of antenna positioning being used.
Finally the Start button, activated by moving the cursor onto the word Start and depressing OK on the RCU.
The receiver will now begin a search.
After a search the receiver will default back to next screen.
A thumbnail of the received picture will appear in the bottom right hand corner of the screen
if the channel is FTA, if not then the thumbnail does not appear.
To view the channels press Exit on the RCU.
Channel change is achieved by the Up and Down arrows. To call up a list of channels press the OK button.
You can search through this list by ten at a time by using the Page arrows on the RCU.
To choose a channel simply move the cursor over the desired channel and press OK.
The third menu is the Edit
This is simple and easy to use. The only odd thing that renders a mention is the need to Store.
Any Edit that is carried out must be Stored to take effect, but the user needs to press the exit button,
after making changes, on the RCU before the cursor can be positioned at the store position.
The last part of the menu is the Games.
Why oh why do we have to suffer this great loss storage space with these futile, infantile games?
They must take up memory space so reducing the channel memory of the receiver. Channel memory is
paramount especially in the European region of the Clarke Belt. This receiver can be filled by
just downloading Eutelsat Hotbirds at 13 East, Astra Series 1 craft at 19.2 East, Astra Series 2
Craft and Eurobird 1 in the 28.2 and 28.5 East slot!!!!!!!!
In the handbook, which I must say is better written than most, it states up to 5000 channels (Radio + TV),
the receivers I have tested before have not achieved that but this new 70 software increases the channel
locations to 8000.
Under test conditions and blind searching Eutelsat Hotbirds at 13 degrees East, the busiest satellite in
the European sector of the Clarke Belt, the Manhattan searched the whole of the KU band in 10 minutes 20 seconds,
it then took a further 6 minutes dead, to download the 92 transponders found. The receiver returned 1340
TV channels and 422 Radio Channels.
I also ran the Fortec Lifetime + Ultra at the same time, the Fortec took 10 minutes 33 seconds to
search the whole of Hotbird and a further 10 minutes 24 seconds to download the channels found,
1309 TV and 422 Radio Channels.
The Manhattan beat the Fortec Lifetime + Ultra by a clear 4 minutes.
I also ran a test on Eutelsat W 2 at 16 degrees East. This is a mixed satellite of Feeds, Data
and programming. The Fortec took just 5 minutes and 27 seconds to search W 2 between 10950
and 11750 MHz, both V and H, but because of the 3 Data transponders, 11635 V 17578 5/6, 11660 V 17578 5/6
and 11693 V 2569 ½, took a staggering 9 minutes 15 seconds to download; a total time of 14 minutes 42 seconds.
Whereas the Manhattan took 8 minutes 10 seconds to search the same parameters, but downloaded the
found transponders in 1 minute 21 seconds; a total time of 9 minutes 31 seconds. Again the Manhattan
wins by a full 4 minutes.
I must qualify a fact here and that is the use of the “illegal” software for the Fortec receiver,
otherwise the Fortec would need to search from 10700 to 11750 MHz. I did not include the inputting
of data in the timings, but again I must say that the Manhattan was easier to prepare for search than the Fortec.
I must repeat the observation, “Why did it take 6 software updates to make this receiver the
excellent one that it is after the 70 software update”. The receiver SHOULD have been in this
state when it first reached the market place 13 months ago. Why wasn’t it?
But looking beyond the first thirteen months, this Manhattan is a superb little receiver and I firmly
believe that this receiver very much has the edge over the Fortecstar receivers.
It is very thorough in searching and is virtually “absolute” when the more refined searches are used.
It will do as it says on the box. It will search from 999 bits to 45000 bits. I have yet to find
another receiver with that capability.
The threshold of the receiver is on par with its competitors.
It is simple to set up and very easy to use, however, the handbook now needs updating so that a true
beginner can start his feed hunting hobby using this receiver.
The only Transponder that “freezes” this receiver is on Express AM 1 at 40 East.
This is a Data transponder 11667 V 28000 ¾. This raise the point that an A.C. main switch would be
useful for those reboot moments.
The Video could be a little sharper, (but see below for massive impovements in picture
quality from Series 72 software onwards)
but the audio is impressive for the small price paid.
But it is far superior to others because when the Manhattan searches and downloads, part of the
downloaded information supplies the Forward Error Correction (FEC) and it is the only
blind search receiver to do that.
This software is also available in the 200, 300, 250, 500, and 550 versions of the Manhattan receivers.
For the first time I have got to say “Well done Eurosat”, at least you listen to criticism and do
something about it.