My new Magnavox MDR515H - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-02-2011, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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After some great feedback from you forum members, i bit the bullet and shelled out the cash for a new 515. It arrived today.

After running around looking for long enough S-video, RCA and HDMI cables, i got everything hooked up. One thing that i thought would be cool was running the monitor out from my AVR (Denon 3312) to the 515 so i could record XBOX gameplay and other sources. No luck, unfortunately, because the Denon only has HDMI and Component output

I let the channel-finder do it's job for about an hour, then returned to find the dreaded error : "Your device does not support HDCP, please disconnect the HDMI cable and use component cables". I was not happy, but i have heard that sometimes AVRs confuse the HDCP handshaking and cause problems. Reluctantly, i searched my cable-bin until i found some component cables and hooked them up. Still the same error - this time with the HDMI cable disconnected I tried unplugging the 515's power and waiting a few minutes... no help. Then i realized the message was actually coming from the cable box (Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD). So i unplugged the cable box power. It just rebooted, now i get "Copy Protection : The DVI/HDMI output is blocked" message. Never seen that one before... and i'm not even viewing the HDMI output, i'm viewing the coax signal passing through to the 515.

Can anyone comment on whether this is expected or not? It seems i cannot tune (and therefore cannot record) directly from the coax.

I see that i can enter the DVR menu on my cablebox and actually start a 'Copy to VCR" session and that displays content through the 515. Then i can hit the Hard Drive button, hit Record.... and as far as i know, it's currently recording.

The 16:9 format looks like stretched 4:3 content - so i'm going to have to figure out where to change that setting. The quality looks pretty good for SD, but i'm still worried about what i'm going to get when i have to run the 3-hour mode on my DVDs to fit my 3hr sporting events.

Anyway.. just wanted to share my experience so far and thank everyone again for the info that helped me pick out the 515. I still might return it if DVD recording quality isn't up to snuff, especially since i can't get the tuner working. But i'm keeping my fingers crossed because this seems like the only way i can save any of my $65 PPVs before i have to swap my aging cable boxes.

Thanks,
Joe


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post #2 of 12 Old 12-02-2011, 01:17 PM
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1. Connect the Mag 1st on the coax, as shown and described in Sketch 3 here. and do an Auto Channel Preset > Cable (Analog/Digital) as described in this help file.

2. For 16:9 WS, set Video > TV Aspect for "16:9 Wide."

3. Check this help file for info on getting 16:9 Wide from a SA box, incl. converters you'll prob. need for preserving WS.

4. See TIP #2 and TIP #7 here (and the others) for info on HDCP, HDMI, etc. for your SA box.


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post #3 of 12 Old 12-02-2011, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo View Post

1. Connect the Mag 1st on the coax, as shown and described in Sketch 3 here. and do an Auto Channel Preset > Cable (Analog/Digital) as described in this help file.

ah, yes... that helps the 515 is now tuning. still have to re-run the channel finder tho. i guess going before the cablebox means i won't ever be able to direct-record my premium channels like HBO? i was hoping some magic would happen between the stb and the 515 tuner that would allow the 515 to tune the premium channels... but the more i think about it, the more ridiculous that sounds.

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2. For 16:9 WS, set Video > TV Aspect for "16:9 Wide."

3. Check this help file for info on getting 16:9 Wide from a SA box, incl. converters you'll prob. need for preserving WS.

4. See TIP #2 and TIP #7 here (and the others) for info on HDCP, HDMI, etc. for your SA box.

Great links, thanks... I had found the 16:9 setting in the 515 menus, but i still feel like the widescreen content is getting stretched. Maybe it's my imagination. Or maybe i my cablebox settings need adjusting. I don't see any stb settings specific to the vcr-output (s-video).

I'm trying my first record-to-hard drive with a long PayPerView event i bought last month. It's something like 4 hours. I'll have to do some reading about editing before trying to transfer it to disk. I suppose i'll go with 2 disks at 2hrs each in this case. I see there is a 'One Title Dubbing" option. Will that, by any chance, prompt you to 'insert next blank disk' if you select a title that does not fit on a single disk? I figure that's a long shot, just curious. It doesn't say in the manual but maybe it's covered in your helper posts. I suppose editing the title to break cleanly into 2 different disks is kind of important anyway.

Thanks,
Joe


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post #4 of 12 Old 12-02-2011, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowpolyjoe View Post

ah, yes... that helps the 515 is now tuning. still have to re-run the channel finder tho. i guess going before the cablebox means i won't ever be able to direct-record my premium channels like HBO? i was hoping some magic would happen between the stb and the 515 tuner that would allow the 515 to tune the premium channels... but the more i think about it, the more ridiculous that sounds.

Several people have reported they regularly record PPV since they're paid for in their regular sub. price, but I suppose those have to be tuned by the box since they're on "special" cableco channels the Mag can't remap to its own channel(s)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowpolyjoe View Post

Great links, thanks... I had found the 16:9 setting in the 515 menus, but i still feel like the widescreen content is getting stretched. Maybe it's my imagination. Or maybe i my cablebox settings need adjusting. I don't see any stb settings specific to the vcr-output (s-video).

I believe you'll need one of the converters listed in the #3 link I gave. You can see what appears from the box thru your Mag when set on Video > TV Aspect > 16:9 Wide. If it's letter boxed, you'll need one of the converters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowpolyjoe View Post

I'm trying my first record-to-hard drive with a long PayPerView event i bought last month. It's something like 4 hours. I'll have to do some reading about editing before trying to transfer it to disk. I suppose i'll go with 2 disks at 2hrs each in this case. I see there is a 'One Title Dubbing" option. Will that, by any chance, prompt you to 'insert next blank disk' if you select a title that does not fit on a single disk? I figure that's a long shot, just curious. It doesn't say in the manual but maybe it's covered in your helper posts. I suppose editing the title to break cleanly into 2 different disks is kind of important anyway.

Don't use the "Dubbing" option you see when you click OK on a HDD Title. Instead, use this procedure where you'll have more control over what rec mode you want the dubbed titles in and can see if the menu allows HIGH (High-Speed Dub or HSD), which is the most desired dub rec mode.

For shows longer than 2:10:00 (the limit for HSD of 2-hr-SP titles), you can edit out unnecessary stuff like comm. and half-time of football games, for example. Here's a help file on 3 methods for recording football for eventual dubbing to DVD(s).

Here's a help file on HSD and other rec/dub methods, how much can fit on a disc, etc.

Here's the help file on Editing.

For a 4-hour PPV recording with no commercials or other stuff you can edit out, the quality might be excellent enouigh that a copy to the Mag in 4-hr EP rec mode *might* work... doubtful tho, very dependent on original quality. For getting "good" quality, you prob. will have to split the show into 2 pieces with no editing, each not exceeding 2:10:00 or less (2:08:00 or less just to be safe?), copy to Mag in 2-hr-SP, then HSD to 2 discs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowpolyjoe View Post

One thing that i thought would be cool was running the monitor out from my AVR (Denon 3312) to the 515 so i could record XBOX gameplay and other sources. No luck, unfortunately, because the Denon only has HDMI and Component output

The first two converters I linked to above in #3 are for converting STB HDMI or Component RGB output to Composite YWR or S-Video. They *MIGHT* work for your Xbox/game purposes but YMMV? You'll prob. need one of them sooner or later anyway. Here's a direct link to those converters.


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post #5 of 12 Old 12-03-2011, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again wajo

This morning I finalized a disk and tried playing it through my xbox. To my surprise, the content was letterboxed in the middle of the HDTV display with no stretching. When playing it through the 515 it had top-and-bottom bars and was stretched horizontally, so i I thought the stretching got burned into the signal. Not sure if it's the 515, my AVR or my TV that was forcing the 515 playback to stretch, but i'm glad it's not the disk itself.

This is a good thing since an eternally stretched signal is useless to me. Also just found the 'display mode' setting on the xbox dvd control panel so i can zoom in.

Bad news is, the picture quality is borderline for me. I'm running a big plasma HDTV. When the picture is letterboxed in the middle of the screen, the quality looks ok but i have 5" borders around the edge. They are very dark black so it's almost acceptable. If i zoom the signal, the picture quality is noticably poor. This was an SP recording, which is the best quality mode i'll ever be using.

So frustrating that there are really no other options for saving my content. I ordered a firewire cable to make absolutely sure the set-top-box firewire port is disabled. If it's opened and i can record a firewire stream to a computer, i'll probably return the 515 due to the picture quality. If it is disabled (the most likely case) i have a tough decision to make. My buddies were telling me to just download bootleg HD copies of my PPV's and forget trying to save my legally purchased copies. It's so sad to think that is probably the best option from a pq standpoint All these HDCP hurdles do nothing but thwart the efforts of law abiding citizens from backing up their $65 purchases... the torrents are still posted regardless.

Thanks for the help so far,
Joe


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post #6 of 12 Old 12-03-2011, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh, but the way, i'm using cheap, old DVD media. I don't even remember the brand - it has a solid white top with a small star on the inner clear plastic ring. It might have been Comp-USA value brand, i don't remember.

I have some TDK DVD+R media which i will try next. That is also very old.

Does the media (and it's age) impact the picture quality or just the reliability / storage duration of the program?

Thanks,
Joe


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post #7 of 12 Old 12-03-2011, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowpolyjoe View Post

Oh, but the way, i'm using cheap, old DVD media. I don't even remember the brand - it has a solid white top with a small star on the inner clear plastic ring. It might have been Comp-USA value brand, i don't remember.

I have some TDK DVD+R media which i will try next. That is also very old.

Does the media (and it's age) impact the picture quality or just the reliability / storage duration of the program?

The media shouldn't make a PQ diff.

ASSUMING you set the Mag TV Aspect menu to "16:9 Wide," your letter boxing is coming from your STB/DVR and you'd need a HDMI ir Component converter I linked to several times to be able to send pure 16:9 WS thru composite Yellow or S-Video cable to the Mag.

If you don't want a permanent 16:9 WS image in your Mag recordings of true 16:9 WS digital programs, you should return it and look into other options... it'll make an excellent refurb for someone else.


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post #8 of 12 Old 12-03-2011, 11:02 AM
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Another option is to dump cable and get satellite. Dish and DirecTV both output widescreen over S-video or composite, resulting in very good PQ, rivaling commercial DVD, especially from HD sources.


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post #9 of 12 Old 12-03-2011, 11:04 AM
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Like Wajo said, you need a component or HDMI to S-video converter to avoid the postage stamp recordings. It won't be HD but it will be better than zooming a small picture to fit your screen.
Cheap converters are <$50 at several places which I'm sure Wajo linked for you.
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-09-2011, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Bad news - it seems running my cable coax into the 515 and then into my STB disables my OnDemand services through Cablevision.

I noticed OnDemand wasn't working the last few weeks. I thought it was because my cable box is really old and flaking out. This morning i exchanged the box. Same problem. I called Cablevision, went through some debugging with no luck. The tech said he would escalate the issue and they would call me back. I got off the phone and realized the OnDemand stopped working around the time i switched the routing of my coax to enable the Mag to tune cable stations. So i switched it back and rebooted my STB. OnDemand is working now.

Kind of sad

Oh well. Recording realtime cable wasn't a high priority for my 515 usage, but it's just another hassle in the world of trying to save content i've legally paid for. I recently tried Firewire but i can't find drivers for my Win7 x64 machine. And it looks rather complicated and time consuming.

Just figured i'd post this in case anyone else notices their OnDemand stops working they'll know that the 515 might be the culprit.

Take care,
Joe


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post #11 of 12 Old 12-09-2011, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowpolyjoe View Post

Bad news - it seems running my cable coax into the 515 and then into my STB disables my OnDemand services through Cablevision.

I noticed OnDemand wasn't working the last few weeks. I thought it was because my cable box is really old and flaking out. This morning i exchanged the box. Same problem. I called Cablevision, went through some debugging with no luck. The tech said he would escalate the issue and they would call me back. I got off the phone and realized the OnDemand stopped working around the time i switched the routing of my coax to enable the Mag to tune cable stations. So i switched it back and rebooted my STB. OnDemand is working now.

Kind of sad

Oh well. Recording realtime cable wasn't a high priority for my 515 usage, but it's just another hassle in the world of trying to save content i've legally paid for. I recently tried Firewire but i can't find drivers for my Win7 x64 machine. And it looks rather complicated and time consuming.

Just figured i'd post this in case anyone else notices their OnDemand stops working they'll know that the 515 might be the culprit.

OnDemand isn't working now cuz the 515's coax circuit is NOT bidirectional so it's blocking the "order process" back to the cableco.

All you need is a bidirectional 2-way splitter. Run one output coax to the box and one to the 515... problem solved!


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post #12 of 12 Old 12-09-2011, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Great to know wajo, thanks.

I might have a splitter laying around... i'll have to check. Not a big deal as long as my OnDemand is working again Very nice to know exactly what the problem was tho.

Thanks,
Joe


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