Group Test - Linux Receiver Firmwares (Part 3)

4/23/2013 6:44:26 PM

Sif Team Enigma2 ‘JACKAL’

Distinctive to look at and many features to get your teeth into. Blind scan isn’t, alas, one of them

This comprehensive Italian image is characterized by a ‘distinctive’ default user interface. The setup procedure differs from the basic Enigma one. After specifying your display and language, a ‘start wizard’ is displayed. With Big Brotherish connotations, this asks you if you’re happy for it to “collect anonymous user statistics” for the purpose of software improvement. If you decline, installation won’t proceed until you change your mind!

Sif Team Enigma2 ‘JACKAL’

Sif Team Enigma2 ‘JACKAL’

Then it’s a matter of configuring your tuner (it automatically identifies incoming signals). An automatic or manual scan of relevant satellites is then possible, followed by network setup. After installing some updates, we were prompted to restart. Unfortunately, it didn’t pass the boot loader stage, even after a ten-minute wait. We had no option but to reinstall the firmware and no further updates were tried!

Like OpenPLi, Jackal has been optimized for HDTVs. The main menu is rather busier than usual. A ‘cloud’ option is provided for updates and the sharing of ‘crash logs’; a password and username are needed to access it. There are also various options related to conditional access matters and a menu for running scripts. Among the pre-installed plugins are the CrossEPG and Open AirPlay for streaming from Apple devices.

The ‘software manager’, which handles plugins and updates, is a modification of Enigma2’s. A neat feature is a ‘Top 10’ listing; thanks to a ranking system, you can contribute to these! Around 350 plugins (including around 120 skins and ‘picon’ sets) are listed, but there is no blind scan. Many of the plugins are also available for other Enigma2 variants, including the usual traffic jam/weather forecasters, Google players, internet radio clients and a nifty ‘LiveFootball’ plugin.

We had trouble installing some plugins, and suspect this and the aforementioned ‘update’ problem is due to a lack of memory. Our DM800HDse has a restricted amount of flash memory (64MB) compared with other Linux receivers, and the Jackal image is larger than many.

In terms of channels, EPG and recording capabilities, Jackal is identical to what we’ve already encountered. The OpenPli-style ‘recordings’ player will handle a wide range of video, music and photo formats (including ISO DVD images) as well as captured broadcasts. Odd, given the AirPlay support, is the firmware’s inability to handle M4A audio files or MP4 video clips. A nice touch is the green button’s ability to toggle through aspect ratios.


SIFTeam’s ‘Jackal’ is on the whole a well thought-out and distinctive-looking image with plenty of features. However, it’s larger than usual and is only recommended for receivers with lots of flash memory (at least 128MB).


·         Version tested: 2012-11-23 SIFTeam

·         Restore of previous settings: No

·         Blind scan: No (not installed, plugin not listed in extensions management)

·         Network browsing: Yes

·         Receivers supported: Gigablue HD800SE/ HD800UE/HD800 Solo, Mara M9, Vu+ Uno/Solo/Duo/Ultimo, Drembox DM500HD/ DM8000/DM800se/DM7020HD, Venton HDX, Clark Tech/Extrend ET4x00/ET5x00/ET6x00/ET9x00, Technomate TM-Twin/TM-2T

·         Web interface: Yes (Open Web if)

·         Video formats (video): DivX, Xvid, MOV, FLV, MPEG-1, MPEG-1, MKV (to 1080p)

·         Audio formats: MP3, MP2, WAV, FLAC

·         Image supported: GIF, JPEG, BMP, PNG

·         Cue/review will all video formats: No (Can crash receiver)

·         EPG days: DVB now/next and 7-day, CrossEPG

·         PVR: Via USB, network or HDD

·         Channel change: <2 sec

·         Reboot time: 1 min 8 sec



·         Plenty of features

·         Excellent support for non-Dreambox receivers


·         No blind scan

·         Needs more flash memory than other images

·         Easy to use: 7/10

·         Navigation: 8/10

·         Searching: 7/10

·         Performance: 8/10

·         Features: 9/10

·         Overall: 8.2/10

The winner: Dream Elite

Similarities in search times and overall usability show the heritage if Dream Multimedia’s original work across the group. The daddy of ‘em all, Enigma2, is the best for small-screens. It may lack some of the features of the firmwares that borrow so much from it, but much can added via plugins.

Open PLi seems to have lost some of the features that one time made it unique, but as a ‘general purpose’ image it works well – the excellent multimedia player is a definite boon. That SIFTeam’s distinctive-looking ‘Jackal’ is the best of the bunch in terms of overall feature-count only highlights its lack of blind-scan! It also wins hands-down when it comes down receiver compatibility. If you have one of these boxes, you owe it to yourself to give it a try – especially if there’s plenty of flash memory on tap. All four images and many more besides are free, and so it will cost you nothing to try them and settle on the one that best suits your needs.

Dream Elite is the winner

Dream Elite is the winner


That all four of our firmware contenders share so much in common helps to explain the very similar ratings. However, our winner, Dream Elite, maintains a sensible balance between usability, stability and features. Come the next firmware group test, though, the balance of power may have changed!

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