[Aaron] tipped us off about a project over at mobilehackerz. They built something of a PVR for 1seg broadcast stations (Google translation). The 1seg broadcast standard is aimed at mobile video service and available in countries like Japan and Brazil. Their terrestrial TV signals (ISDB-T) are divided into 13 segments per channel but the HD broadcasts only use 12 of those segments. This allows the 1seg data to be broadcast in the 13th segment.
mobilehackerz wanted to record each station’s complete daily broadcast. So they picked up a bunch of USB tuner fobs and chained them together with two powered USB hubs. The video is delivered in a type of MPEG2 format so once pulled out of the air the stream can be dumped directly onto disk. It seems they’ve got some code available for this system but even with the translated page we can’t really figure out what it does. If you’re Japanese skills are strong, fill us in with a comment.
At 3000 yen (about $34) per tuner this is not the most economical PVR capture system we’ve seen. Add to that the 15 fps broadcast and we’re not sure this is of all that much use. But then again, if you have to ask “what is it for?” you’re missing the essence of the hack.