Poor Quality Picture with my new Magnavox MDR533H - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 47 Old 02-19-2013, 05:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ken.F View Post


Are you using any kind of signal amplifier (other than the one built into the Magnavox)? If so, your signal might be too strong.

Ken I have fixed those problems since those posts. No I'm not running an amp and think I just need to raise the height of the antenna or get another to strengthen my signal. There are known channels that sometimes I get depending on weather conditions I guess. I normally get more than antennaweb calls for.

My picture looks good now but just not HD of which I'm used to seeing. Thanks for the help! smile.gif
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post #32 of 47 Old 06-17-2014, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post
Every few months a new wave of people "discovers" the Magnavox and thinks it will be their inexpensive path to DVR nirvana, bypassing a TiVO. It isn't quite that simple, however. Many here tend to promote DVD/HDD recorders, particularly the Magnavox line, as if they were a Swiss Army Knife device that will satisfy all comers. This was problematic in the past but has become increasingly confusing today, with virtually every "newbie" already being addicted to 50" screens and true HDTV (or worse, trying desperately to get away from the now-unavoidable cable decoder boxes). These people are inevitably disappointed by DVD/HDD recorders.

A DVD/HDD recorder is completely optimized for only one scenario: you get your signal off-air, are still using an old CRT television between 19"-32", and you are very interested in making DVDs for your personal collection. That is the situation the ten-year-old DVD/HDD spec was designed to serve. Not huge flat screens, not subscribers to cable/satellite, not power users. If you have a large screen, have grown used to 720/1080, and can't handle "downshifting" your visual expectations to the old standard-def resolution of 480, do yourself a huge favor and don't waste time with a DVD/HDD recorder. This goes double if you have cable/satellite: don't even THINK about it. Accept the fact that in USA, for true HDTV recording, you need either a TiVO, a PC-based recorder, or the rental PVR offered by your cable/satellite service. HDTV recording costs money, end of story, there is no bargain or shortcut like we had back in the standard-def days.

You CAN be happy with a DVD/HDD recorder in today's HDTV environment, but only if you are willing to compromise and the compromises are worth it to you personally. You need to either regress back to SD completely, watching everything thru the DVD recorder so you never confront the difference between SD and HDTV, or you need to be able to tolerate switching between live HDTV and recordings in SD. This is much easier if your flat screen is no larger than 32", once you hit 42" and 50" DVD-spec home recordings start to look unacceptably poor. It helps to be an off-air antenna user: cable and satellite signals make notably worse sources for DVD-grade recording. Satellite requires a decoder box, and cable at this point all but requires it if you want to use a Magnavox recorder without losing whats left of your mind. Cable companies have gone to all-out war against the Magnavox internal cable tuner: you need the patience of a saint, the brains of Stephen Hawking and the income of a pauper to make the incompatibilities tolerable.

The primary purpose of a DVD/HDD recorder is to make DVDs for your home library. The HDD/PVR capability is a distant, secondary bonus: workable for off-air broadcasts, but a bad joke when used with cable or satellite. A Magnavox can make a decent, bargain PVR for antenna users, but is a mixed bag of inconvenience and aggravation for cable/satellite subscribers: if you don't have an obsession with making DVDs of your favorite movies/shows, the compromises of DVD/HDD are pointless. Cable HDTV works best with TiVO, the cableco PVR, or a PC recorder with CableCard. Satellite is even more closed and proprietary: the only practical recorder is their subscription PVR.

.................."
glad i found this thread - was looking at the magnavox line and this saved me some headaches

anyone got any recommendations for a good PC based recorder system or software? - tks in advance
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post #33 of 47 Old 06-17-2014, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by larryccf View Post
glad i found this thread - was looking at the magnavox line and this saved me some headaches

anyone got any recommendations for a good PC based recorder system or software? - tks in advance
All modern solutions record/playback in HiDef and there are a lot of choices out there.

Are you OTA or cable.
Do you want to watch and delete or also archive to disk or HDD.
Are you willing to spend between $100 - $700 -- depending on how good you want to get.
Do you want care-free and dependable or are you OK with something cheap that will require near constant attention and work "a lot of the time".

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post #34 of 47 Old 06-17-2014, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post
All modern solutions record/playback in HiDef and there are a lot of choices out there.

Are you OTA or cable.
Do you want to watch and delete or also archive to disk or HDD.
Are you willing to spend between $100 - $700 -- depending on how good you want to get.
Do you want care-free and dependable or are you OK with something cheap that will require near constant attention and work "a lot of the time".
I'm comcast cable, and would like to archive as well

would like to keep it under $300 and i would assume, as most would, want it care-free and dependable
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post #35 of 47 Old 06-17-2014, 01:52 PM
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I'm comcast cable, and would like to archive as well

would like to keep it under $300 and i would assume, as most would, want it care-free and dependable
Easiest choice is to rent their DVR.

Otherwise, you will need a cable card device. As a stand-alone, your only choice is TiVo ($700). As a HTPC you will need to purchase a Ceton or Silicon Dust cable card tuner (has 3 tuners) -- you must use Windows Media Center as your DVR software which is free with Win-7 or extra cost with Win-8 and is no longer supported. This is a fairly cheap option if you already have a Win-7 PC you can re-purpose to the task. If you have to acquire or build from scratch it could run you $400 on up.

With either choice, you will only be able to archive content that is not copy-protected by Comcast.

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post #36 of 47 Old 06-17-2014, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post
Easiest choice is to rent their DVR.

.........
i'd found the silicon dust option, and was looking at hauppauge as well - but to be frank, i think you hit it on the head. Comcast offered me their HD DVR for $10/month (iirc 75 hour capability) - that offer is good for the first 12 months, but while i've got Windows 7 & the media center, considering the headaches to get true HD recording, it's the least effort and lowest cost.

Appreciate the responses Kelson, many thanks
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post #37 of 47 Old 06-17-2014, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post
Easiest choice is to rent their DVR.

.........
i'd found the silicon dust option, and was looking at hauppauge as well - but to be frank, i think you hit it on the head. Comcast offered me their HD DVR for $10/month (iirc 75 hour capability) - that offer is good for the first 12 months, but considering the headaches to get true HD recording and still not being able to archive most of what i want to, going with their DVR looks to be the least effort and lowest cost.

Appreciate the responses Kelson, many thanks
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post #38 of 47 Old 06-18-2014, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by larryccf View Post
i'd found the silicon dust option, and was looking at hauppauge as well - but to be frank, i think you hit it on the head. Comcast offered me their HD DVR for $10/month (iirc 75 hour capability) - that offer is good for the first 12 months, but considering the headaches to get true HD recording and still not being able to archive most of what i want to, going with their DVR looks to be the least effort and lowest cost.

Appreciate the responses Kelson, many thanks
When Comcast eventually jacks that up to $25 or $30, you should really give WMC a try. It's no headache at all. It's no more difficult to setup than a printer, IMO, and works far better than the cable company's DVR. Why do you think you can't archive everything?

Hauppauge cable card tuners are also made by Silicon Dust. So you're essentially just choosing the number of tuners you want, 2 or 3 with SD/Hauppauge, 4 or 6 with Ceton. I'm saving at least $40/month with my Ceton based system on 5 TVs and have a recording capacity of about 500 hours and get DVR and live TV on every screen in and out of my home (TVs, tablets, phones, computers, you name it).
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post #39 of 47 Old 06-18-2014, 07:03 AM
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yeah but my thinking was or is that in that 12 month period, my knowledge or literacy in this would increase plus who knows what will come out in the interim.

one basic question that will probably reveal my "fred flintstone" literacy on computers and DVR hardware, with the cablecard from comcast, do you do away with the comcast settop HD box with the Ceton setup?
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post #40 of 47 Old 06-18-2014, 08:42 AM
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one basic question that will probably reveal my "fred flintstone" literacy on computers and DVR hardware, with the cablecard from comcast, do you do away with the comcast settop HD box with the Ceton setup?
Yes, any cable card tuner based setup (Ceton, Silicon Dust, Hauppauge, Samsung, Tivo) does away with all Comcast settop boxes and DVRs. That's the primary reason I do it, to get rid of all cable company boxes and associated fees. I don't know what Comcast normally charges, but my cable company charges $13 for DVR service plus $7 for each DVR or cable box. If you have 2 or more DVRs, they charge a $20 DVR sevice fee. Contrast that with a single $2 cable card fee, the only fee I have with my Ceton service (besides my programming package of course).

Are you sure Comcast is only charging you $10 for DVR service and your DVR box? My guess is there's an additional charge somewhere for the box. If not, that's a very good deal.
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post #41 of 47 Old 06-18-2014, 08:43 AM
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yeah but my thinking was or is that in that 12 month period, my knowledge or literacy in this would increase plus who knows what will come out in the interim.
Unfortunately, for cable, probably nothing new and nothing "cheap". With the push to full encryption, clear QAM is dead and cable is a closed system. TiVo is the only stand-alone that supports cable card. It works very well and is the gold-standard for 3rd party DVR's but you pay a premium price. HTPC with a cable card tuner is the second choice however only WMC has the approved DRM to work with cable card PC tuners. While WMC also works very well (I have used it), MS pulled the plug on it and stopped development and support even before Win-8 was released. It is an extra cost option for Win-8 and probably won't be offered for Win-9. While you can always get it as part of Win-7, the heart of the software is the guide data which is currently supplied free by MS. Once MS pulls the plug on the guide data feed it is lights out for WMC. While the HTPC DVR option has a great future for OTA, it does not have a promising future for cable. As I noted above, if you already have a Win-7 PC that can be re-purposed, WMC is currently a cheap cable card option to get into and enjoy now, while it lasts.

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with the cablecard from comcast, do you do away with the comcast settop HD box with the Ceton setup?
Yes, the cable card device is a multi-tuner substitute for the rented HD STB.

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post #42 of 47 Old 06-18-2014, 08:49 AM
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.........

Are you sure Comcast is only charging you $10 for DVR service and your DVR box? My guess is there's an additional charge somewhere for the box. If not, that's a very good deal.
Yeah, the CSR said it was normally $15.95 but he'd give me an "introductory" offer of $9.95 monthly for the first 12 months

tks for the info
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post #43 of 47 Old 06-18-2014, 08:51 AM
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Unfortunately, for cable, probably nothing new and nothing "cheap". With the push to full encryption, clear QAM is dead and cable is a closed system. TiVo is the only stand-alone that supports cable card. It works very well and is the gold-standard for 3rd party DVR's but you pay a premium price. HTPC with a cable card tuner is the second choice however only WMC has the approved DRM to work with cable card PC tuners. While WMC also works very well (I have used it), MS pulled the plug on it and stopped development and support even before Win-8 was released. It is an extra cost option for Win-8 and probably won't be offered for Win-9. While you can always get it as part of Win-7, the heart of the software is the guide data which is currently supplied free by MS. Once MS pulls the plug on the guide data feed it is lights out for WMC. While the HTPC DVR option has a great future for OTA, it does not have a promising future for cable. As I noted above, if you already have a Win-7 PC that can be re-purposed, WMC is currently a cheap cable card option to get into and enjoy now, while it lasts.

Yes, the cable card device is a multi-tuner substitute for the rented HD STB.
Kelson, are you saying that even if i did go with the ceton (or other card based pc system), once microsoft kills the guide data feed from WMC, it will no longer allow the ceton to function as a PC based DVR?

If so, i'm assuming microsoft has announced plans to kill the guide data feed at some point in the future or are you just projecting that it will because WMC became an option on windows 8?

jeez, just as i get a little more interested in it (the Ceton InfiniTV 6 ETH), the landscape becomes more "iffy".But i'd have to assume Ceton (and the others) would have to come up with a replacement for WMC, otherwise their business model is dead in the water

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post #44 of 47 Old 06-18-2014, 01:00 PM
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Kelson, are you saying that even if i did go with the ceton (or other card based pc system), once microsoft kills the guide data feed from WMC, it will no longer allow the ceton to function as a PC based DVR?

If so, i'm assuming microsoft has announced plans to kill the guide data feed at some point in the future or are you just projecting that it will because WMC became an option on windows 8?

jeez, just as i get a little more interested in it (the Ceton InfiniTV 6 ETH), the landscape becomes more "iffy".But i'd have to assume Ceton (and the others) would have to come up with a replacement for WMC, otherwise their business model is dead in the water
Microsoft stopped development on WMC years ago and disbanded the project team. They made it an extra cost option on Win-8 because they said the user base on Win-7 was minimal -- hence the end of its development. When you look at their history, MS is not shy about introducing slick new products and quickly killing them without fanfare if they are a bust. In my opinion it is reasonable to assume the death bell is tolling for WMC. I speculate that if Win-9 is released without a WMC option, the guide data will be gone in two years -- purely my speculation. I think there will be guide data for years to come, but not long term.

Even without guide data you could still schedule manual recordings with WMC but you will have to keep track of what is recorded and when because there would be no guide data to title the recording.

You would think a replacement would be on the horizon, but so far nothing is in the wind. Perhaps when the time gets closer. We can only hope.

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post #45 of 47 Old 06-18-2014, 01:14 PM
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..Once MS pulls the plug on the guide data feed it is lights out for WMC. While the HTPC DVR option has a great future for OTA, it does not have a promising future for cable.
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Kelson, are you saying that even if i did go with the ceton (or other card based pc system), once microsoft kills the guide data feed from WMC, it will no longer allow the ceton to function as a PC based DVR?

If so, i'm assuming microsoft has announced plans to kill the guide data feed at some point in the future or are you just projecting that it will because WMC became an option on windows 8?
It's not quite as dire as it seems. We've lost guide data now and then due to technical difficulties over the years. And 3rd party guide data providers integrate with WMC and work just fine in those cases. Users in the UK use 3rd party guides a lot with WMC. Even if these 3rd parties end up charging a small fee, that would keep WMC alive for years to come. Win 8.1 support doesn't end until 2023, so I wouldn't expect the guide to be turned off before then. We'll all probably have cloud DVRs or video streaming chips embedded in our brains by then. I've never had any one tv service that long anyway. Even if all my stuff stops working tomorrow, it's paid for itself already and has saved me $40/month, every month.

Here's the last thing Microsoft had to say publicly about guide data three months ago, at which time they actually fixed a problem with it:

"We understand that there are still many dedicated media center users, and there are currently no plans to shut down EPG.
...
Thanks for continuing to use Media Center. We will do our best to keep it up and running for you."

Take those kinds of promises with a grain of salt of course, but it sounds encouraging to me.

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post #46 of 47 Old 06-18-2014, 02:52 PM
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It's not quite as dire as it seems. We've lost guide data now and then due to technical difficulties over the years. And 3rd party guide data providers integrate with WMC and work just fine in those cases.
Not trying to sound dire, although I realize it may have come off like that. I am not aware of any 3rd party guide providers in the US for WMC. That would be welcome news. Can you elaborate.

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post #47 of 47 Old 06-18-2014, 03:42 PM
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Not trying to sound dire, although I realize it may have come off like that. I am not aware of any 3rd party guide providers in the US for WMC. That would be welcome news. Can you elaborate.
I think Big Screen EPG works in the US.

Edit: Big Screen EPG still needs a data source to work. Maybe from Schedules Direct?

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