Compro VideoMata U2800F DVB-T Receiver Tested In Belgium

Others/Miscelleneous by geoffrey @ 2009-05-07

Classic analog antenna broadcastings are soon to disappear all around the world and in most cases being replaced by a digital version, in some occasions you might even run into full high definition video broadcastings. Great news for wireless receivers out there, DVB-T is an excellent way to watch quality video wherever you want, but is it really? We tested a Compro VideoMate Vista U2800F USB DVB-T receiver on Belgian grounds and the outcome is not always what you would have wished for... read on!

  • prev
  • next

VideoMate U2800F: inside the box

VideoMate U2800F: inside the box

Madshrimps (c)

Founded in 1988, Compro Technology develops and markets PC graphics and multimedia products. With our highly motivated and experienced engineers, innovation is the main focus at Compro. By combining the latest hardware and software technologies, we can provide high quality products to the rapidly evolving PC market.

Initially focused on OEM business Compro firstly introduced an own branded product in 2001, in cooperation with NVIDIA Personal Cinema was born quickly followed by launch of the VideoMate brand in 2002. 2003 brought VideoMate PCI and USB TV tuners with many exclusive features, awarded worldwide by their innovations Compro went to further extend their product range from mainstream up to the high-end. Later on the ISO 9001 certification added ensured quality products for the customers. 2005 was the great break-through for Digital TV and off course many new Compro products: complete stand alone units and hybrid TV devices.

Today we're having a look at the Compro VideoMate Vista U2800F, a hybrid analog/digital USB 2.0 TV/FM receiver stick which can provide 1080i HDTV quality television as well as DVB-T radio:

Madshrimps (c)

Key features:

  • Watch TV on laptop or desktop PC with USB 2.0 interface
  • Hybrid digital terrestrial or analog TV/FM reception
  • Worldwide analog TV (NTSC/SECAM/PAL) reception
  • Included Microsoft certified MPEG-2 encoder support TV watch/record in Windows Media Center of Vista Premium/Ultimate
  • Bundles with Microsoft certified remote control for Windows Media Center and USB IR receiver
  • All-new ComproDTV 4 software with Vista Gadget, DTV Add-In, and integrated the scheduling list from Windows Media Center.
  • All-new ComproDTV 4 supports multiple Compro TV card/box devices which allow you to install, watch, and record at the same system
  • S3 (standby)/ S4 (hibernation) mode power up scheduling
  • Support SDTV and 1080i HDTV (where available)
  • USB bus powered, no external power adaptor required
  • Timeshift and instant replay live TV
  • Advanced PIP/POP feature allows up to 5 windows watch including one playback recorded video file, 1 main and 3 sub digital TV channels watch at once
  • Video Desktop to setup the live TV screen as wallpaper mode
  • Straight-to-Disc recording to VCD and DVD discs
  • Customize Brightness, Hue, Saturation, Contrast, Sharpness, and TV/audio format in each TV channel
  • Customize channel order and my favorite list
  • Digital TV Support EPG, subtitle, Teletext (not support MHEG-5 UK Digital Teletext Service)
  • Single/Multiple still frame captures and remote snapshot
  • Support MPEG-1/2/4 in analog TV and video capture
  • Capture analog video from Composite or S-Video
  • MPEG-2 and TS record/playback in digital TV
  • Supports digital radio reception (not DAB type)
  • Certified for Windows Vista 32/64 bit

    For such a small device you get a whole lot in return, you can watch DVB-T television at HD resolution, DVB-T radio stations are also supported but in case there is no DVB-T signal you can always choose to hook up the FM antenna and listen to analog radio broadcastings as well as watching analog TV broadcasting. In Europe however there is a complete Analog Switch Off planned for 2012 and with DVB-T around I don't really see the point to purchase this product for watching analog TV via the 'ether'. Aside of this the VideoMate U2800F is also able of capturing analog composite and S-Video signals. With the hardware TV tuner comes a very complete software package: recording, customizations, EPG, subtitling, Teletext, video windowing... but more on that later.

    Here is what we found inside the box:

    Madshrimps (c)

  • Compro VideoMate Vista U2800F
  • Remote control + USB IR receiver
  • 2 USB extention cables (1 low-end + 1 high-end)
  • DVB-T antenna
  • FM antenna
  • I to F type coax converter
  • 3 in 1 video/audio input cable
  • Manual
  • Compro software + drivers
  • Ulead DVD Movie Factory 5 SE

    Madshrimps (c)

    The Compro VideoMate Vista U2800F is not much larger then most USB sticks, on one side you have the USB 2.0 port where on the other side you have the coax antenna connector. The USB port comes with a white protecting cover as you can see from the picture above. The stick itself has a good amount of ventilation holes because the device does warm up during usage; however Compro engineers ensured us that heating is no problem because the antenna connector is also used to extract heat.

    Madshrimps (c)

    On one side you'll also spot a very small connector which looks very much like a mini-USB port. In fact this is the video/audio-in port which allows the user to capture media via Composite/S-Video. Here is where the 3 in 1 video/audio input cables plugs in, good thing they made it removable.

    Madshrimps (c)

    The U2800F comes with an infrared remote control which is Vista Media Center compatible. The IR receiver is build into a second USB stick, for both IR receiver and U2800F DVB-T receiver you get USB extension cables in case you need a few cm's room to play with.

    With the boxed tools unpacked let's put it all into good use ->
    • prev
    • next
    Comment from geoffrey @ 2010/12/03
    It's been a while since this article is launched and I've been using this thing for a while now. I must say it's pretty handy to have one of these, though the software bugs are still there and are sometimes annoying cause they can ruin your recordings.

    This said, I was looking for Linux support but unfortunately there non such, Compro simply hasn't got any drivers for it. I ended up opening the device to have a look at the internals and it seems Compro is using a Trident TV Master TM6010 video decoder. On I found the following info:

    There were some efforts on developing a driver for tm5600/tm6000/tm6010 chips.
    Michel Ludwig (michel.ludwig did some development mostly focused at DVB-T of tm6000. Mauro Carvalho Chehab did some development moslty focused at analog support, and extended support for tm6010.
    There are some versions of the driver at that merged both developments.
    The driver is still at the TODO list, however its development is currently frosen. Mauro intends to return back to it, but this is not on his current top priorities.
    Those chips are very buggy and they behave badly if the driver doesn't do exactly the same thing as the original one (it starts to loose frames). The reason is unknown, but it is suspected that there is a firmware or hardware bug at those chips.
    Maybe the conversion of the driver to the new i2c approach could help to fix this issue, since this will avoid sending probing packets at i2c bus, as it is known that some i2c probe sequences can hang those chips.
    Also, on all tests we've done so far, it can't reliably read data from an i2c device. This prevents that tools like scan work, since you can't be sure if a signal lock happened. Also, driver can't even be sure if xc3028 firmware were successfully loaded on this device.
    It is important to notice that the vendor (Trident) doesn't seem to want helping with open source development. Contacts with the vendor were tried during 2007 and 2008 in order to get their help by opening docs, via Linux Foundation NDA program, without success.
    The vendor also seems to be refusing so far to help the development of a driver for their demod DRX-K line that they acquired from Micronas (as pointed at
    In brief, while we want to fix the driver issues, it is recommend to avoid buying any devices with tm5600/tm6000/tm6010 (and DRX demod) chips.

    It seems that these random crashes could be caused by a firmware runtime error, although I can not confirm this and neither did Compro at the time I asked them about it. I'd say better be warned...