Poor Quality Picture with my new Magnavox MDR533H - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 47 Old 02-07-2013, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I'm a newbie and have searched the forum but couldn't find an answer that I hope you can answer. I bought a Magnavox DVD/DVR Mod. 533H and IF it's defective I need to bring it back to the store before my deadline in a few days.

OK, The problem: I have a Visio 50" Plasma with a crystal clear picture, so clear it's scary when I can see every hair and blemish on someones face! Lol. I had Directv and now free TV with an OTA antenna which is much clearer than my old satellite.

I installed it just as the manual said and completed the initial set up and even recorded a couple programs. When I hook it up the picture looks like it did years ago before digital and pixally and only receive only 4,5 out of 15. I first used the HDMI, then AV, and still a bad picture. I called tech support twice and they can't help. So it is disconnected now and the antenna is connected straight to the TV...with an excellent picture. It's like it takes away from the signal strength when I hook up the DVR.

Thanks in advance for any help,

Tony
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post #2 of 47 Old 02-07-2013, 09:50 AM
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Here's the advice I've given via PM already for ref.

 

If you've got the antenna coax in the ANT IN connector on top and coax from the ANT OUT to the TV, and the Mag is plugged into power continuously (not on a switched power strip), the Mag should be slightly amplifying the signal for a "better" pic than without the Mag.

 

You should also have connected a line output from the Mag to the plasma to see menus, Mag channels, recorded titles, etc., and you indicated you did that.

 

Plasma TVs are not good for analog channels, but with your antenna, all your channels should be digital. So, you should have done an Auto Channel Preset > Antenna and the Mag should have found excellent-quality channels on DTV 2-69.

 

Finally, if you've "tweaked" the plasma TV for max. pic quality thru the Mag when viewed thru your TV's line input, you've done all YOU can do to make the Mag work properly.

 

If still not good, then it IS time to return it as "defective."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Yes, the HDM is one cable that can be used to see internal Mag stuff. However, you MUST press the HDMI button on the remote thru its FOUR formats: 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p to "activate" the HDMI circuit.

 

Tweaking means going into the TV "picture" menus and adjusting them so both antenna and Mag picture are the best they can be. That can be a "Standard" setting or a "Custom" setting where you adjust brightness, contrast, etc. (any other special settings unique to your TV) to see if any help get the best quality pic possible.

 

The Mag should be showing a pretty "decent" pic without too much tweaking, so if your pic does not look good to you, the Mag may be defective

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post #3 of 47 Old 02-07-2013, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you Wajo, I really appreciate all your help. Nothing so far has worked so I thought I would post in hope someone might see something I overlooked before I send it back. smile.gif
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post #4 of 47 Old 02-07-2013, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Valkster View Post

Nothing so far has worked so I thought I would post in hope someone might see something I overlooked before I send it back.
If you are OTA, then most of your main HD channels will have SD sub-channels. Go exploring and tune-in a bunch of the SD sub-channels through your HDTV's tuner and see how they look. Your TV's OSD will tell you the resolution of the signal so you can confirm you are watching 480i. If the OTA SD channels look like what you are seeing from the magnavox then the magnavox may not be defective and it's just a case of SD looking like crap on your display.

- kelson h

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post #5 of 47 Old 02-07-2013, 11:26 AM
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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.

I'm part of an older generation that was "brainwashed" into wanting a physical copy (VHS, then DVD) of every movie or TV show we liked. Back in the VCR (and early DVD) days there were no media players, home video servers, downloads, tablets or phones. You made a permanent recording on removable media, or bought the studio release (if there was one). After all these years, going full-tilt HDTV would mean giving up our accumulated collections and weaning ourselves off the "home library" mentality. Rather than do that, we train ourselves to accept the not-great viewing experience of SD videos on large flatscreens, and keep plugging along with our DVD/HDD recorders: we're too far gone to stop now. But those with no compelling interest in making DVDs are cheating themselves of viewing pleasure by opting for a Magnavox instead of a true HDTV solution like TiVO, rental PVR or PC-PVR. The Magnavox is a nice DVD/HDD recorder. I own two myself, but in 2013 its the last buffalo of a dying herd: a great niche product, not a perfect solution for everyone.

To paraphrase Kelson, "life is too short for unnecessary compromises."
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post #6 of 47 Old 02-07-2013, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

If you are OTA, then most of your main HD channels will have SD sub-channels. Go exploring and tune-in a bunch of the SD sub-channels through your HDTV's tuner and see how they look. Your TV's OSD will tell you the resolution of the signal so you can confirm you are watching 480i. If the OTA SD channels look like what you are seeing from the magnavox then the magnavox may not be defective and it's just a case of SD looking like crap on your display.


Well, I don't have a bunch of SD channels, 5 or so! Lol But I do see what you're talking about now. It's not as bad as I was comparing 480i on the Mag and on TV. The pic on the TV was better but not bad. I had talked to tech support before I found this forum and they told me I could not have both HDMI hooked up and ANT out but they were wrong. After trying all I knew ( which ain't much) and read the manual, I hooked it up and that helped alot. I do find I seem to lose my signal strength since I hooked up the Mag but was informed it actually should increase it. I don't know but I lost 5 channels when I hooked it. confused.gif I think I need to look for a real good antenna for a rual area with lots of trees and mountains.

Thanks smile.gif
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post #7 of 47 Old 02-07-2013, 09:15 PM
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Well, I don't have a bunch of SD channels, 5 or so! Lol But I do see what you're talking about now. It's not as bad as I was comparing 480i on the Mag and on TV. The pic on the TV was better but not bad. I had talked to tech support before I found this forum and they told me I could not have both HDMI hooked up and ANT out but they were wrong. After trying all I knew ( which ain't much) and read the manual, I hooked it up and that helped alot. I do find I seem to lose my signal strength since I hooked up the Mag but was informed it actually should increase it. I don't know but I lost 5 channels when I hooked it. confused.gif I think I need to look for a real good antenna for a rual area with lots of trees and mountains.

Thanks smile.gif

If you've run a digital/analog antenna channel scan with the Magnavox you should gain channels and sub-channels, not lose them. Your HD channels and sub-channels will be SD with the Magnavox but the Magnavox will "pass through" HD signals to your TV through the screw-on coax cable connection. Of course, viewing the Magnavox output is through other connections-as you've observed.

If you tell us your zipcode we'll be able to tell you what you should be getting.

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post #8 of 47 Old 02-08-2013, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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If you've run a digital/analog antenna channel scan with the Magnavox you should gain channels and sub-channels, not lose them. Your HD channels and sub-channels will be SD with the Magnavox but the Magnavox will "pass through" HD signals to your TV through the screw-on coax cable connection. Of course, viewing the Magnavox output is through other connections-as you've observed.

If you tell us your zipcode we'll be able to tell you what you should be getting.

I must not have it connected properly or either it's defective. Yes I've been to Antennaweb and fcc.gov site. They say I should receive 13 total channels but 15-17 is normal. I do think my 40+ year old Channel Master probably needs to be replaced especially after all the storms and some missing elements. OK, it's raining now and I'm receiving 7 channels from antenna (dvr off) and with dvr on, 4.

Here's my set-up:

OTA Antenna to Mag ANT in> Mag ANT out to TV ANT in>HDMI from Mag to TV. If you see that's wrong please let me know.

Thanks
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post #9 of 47 Old 02-08-2013, 08:06 AM
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In a normally operating Mag, the pic on the TV should be slightly amplfied and possibly slightly BETTER than if the coax was direct to the TV. If you unplug power from a normally operating Mag, the pic on the TV should look terrible,  losing ~30dB in signal strength.

 

Unplug the power cord on your Mag while viewing live TV thru the coax (using the TV's tuner only) and see what the pic looks like. I suspect the amp>filter>amp circuit in your Mag is defective?

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post #10 of 47 Old 02-08-2013, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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In a normally operating Mag, the pic on the TV should be slightly amplfied and possibly slightly BETTER than if the coax was direct to the TV. If you unplug power from a normally operating Mag, the pic on the TV should look terrible,  losing ~30dB in signal strength.

Unplug the power cord on your Mag while viewing live TV thru the coax (using the TV's tuner only) and see what the pic looks like. I suspect the amp>filter>amp circuit in your Mag is defective?

OK, I done as you suggested and as I unplugged the Mag the picture did freeze and pixal for about 15 seconds and then came back on and the picture was the same. I have been getting 29.1, 29.2, and 29.3 on the TV and after I reprogram the Mag it doesn't pick up those channels but goes on to L1,L2 and L3. confused.gif
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post #11 of 47 Old 02-08-2013, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkster View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo View Post

In a normally operating Mag, the pic on the TV should be slightly amplfied and possibly slightly BETTER than if the coax was direct to the TV. If you unplug power from a normally operating Mag, the pic on the TV should look terrible,  losing ~30dB in signal strength.

Unplug the power cord on your Mag while viewing live TV thru the coax (using the TV's tuner only) and see what the pic looks like. I suspect the amp>filter>amp circuit in your Mag is defective?

OK, I done as you suggested and as I unplugged the Mag the picture did freeze and pixal for about 15 seconds and then came back on and the picture was the same. I have been getting 29.1, 29.2, and 29.3 on the TV and after I reprogram the Mag it doesn't pick up those channels but goes on to L1,L2 and L3. confused.gif

 

Bingo!

 

Your amp'd video input circuit is definitely defective!

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post #12 of 47 Old 02-08-2013, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Great, now I can stop with this craziness! Lol. I am not really into making dvd recordings although it would be nice ocassionally. The only thing I miss about Directv is their dvr which was sweet. I mostly just want to be able to record some occasionally and now my wife is working nights and missing her "Idol'. biggrin.gif

If I could find a used Direct or Dish Dvr, would that work with antenna? I guess I could always hook my old vcr back up...if they still make tapes and use a converter box to make it digital.

Any and all suggestions without FEES will be appreciated!

Thanks for all the help! smile.gif
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post #13 of 47 Old 02-08-2013, 10:09 PM
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Any and all suggestions without FEES will be appreciated!

Thanks for all the help! smile.gif

Well, so what about an HDMI HiDef recorder? Just for info, check the MTV-7000 "D" or the "Mini":

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1353038/recorder-with-hdmi-inputs-yes-it-exists/60#post_22599122
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post #14 of 47 Old 02-08-2013, 10:25 PM
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Any and all suggestions without FEES will be appreciated!
There are several OTA HD-DVR solutions without recurring monthly fees, but HD-DVR's cost a lot more than a magnavox DVD recorder and I get the impression that besides no fees you want cheap.

Ain't gonna happen.

Your best bet is to return the defective magnavox and get another one. It is not unheard of for someone to get a bad unit the first time around.

- kelson h

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post #15 of 47 Old 02-09-2013, 05:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, so what about an HDMI HiDef recorder? Just for info, check the MTV-7000 "D" or the "Mini":

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1353038/recorder-with-hdmi-inputs-yes-it-exists/60#post_22599122

That is nice, but a wee bit expensive! smile.gif
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post #16 of 47 Old 02-09-2013, 05:33 AM - Thread Starter
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There are several OTA HD-DVR solutions without recurring monthly fees, but HD-DVR's cost a lot more than a magnavox DVD recorder and I get the impression that besides no fees you want cheap.

Ain't gonna happen.

Your best bet is to return the defective magnavox and get another one. It is not unheard of for someone to get a bad unit the first time around.

Kelson you read me right....I want cheap and the magnavox prices are just right! Lol. I just want a simple recording device and an not expecting to record and watch in HD. As I said earlier that an old vcr would be fine. I do however want a crystal clear picture when watching tv live. I have both a magnavox vcr and a mag. dvd recorder, both analog. That's why I asked earlier about a Dish dvr I found on CL for $75, but probably couldn't use it because of the smart card?

Anyway, I'm begining to wonder if my Mag. is defective or not. This morning I turned on the tv on nbc, always great strength and in HD, there was no signal. I hit my HDMI (set-up for Mag) button, turned on the Mag. and not only was there a picture it looked pretty decent. Everyone here said it would actually improve my signal strength and it did! To be sure I turned off the mag. and went to tv ...samething, no picture. So I really must be doing something wrong!! confused.gif
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post #17 of 47 Old 02-09-2013, 07:03 AM
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Anyway, I'm begining to wonder if my Mag. is defective or not. This morning I turned on the tv on nbc, always great strength and in HD, there was no signal. I hit my HDMI (set-up for Mag) button, turned on the Mag. and not only was there a picture it looked pretty decent. Everyone here said it would actually improve my signal strength and it did! To be sure I turned off the mag. and went to tv ...samething, no picture. So I really must be doing something wrong!! 

 

Houston, we have a problem!

 

I told you early on to make sure you've pressed the HDMI button to "activate" the HDMI circuit. Is this the 1st time you've pressed that button?

 

Also, please be careful in explaining all the actions you're taking. In this case, it's important to know what input on the TV you had selected when you saw nothing after first turning the TV on.

 

Then, you pressed the HDMI button on the Mag remote, THEN you turned the Mag on? The HDMI button should have no effect if the Mag wasn't on. All this while on which TV input?

 

Basically, did you switch TV inputs during all this, or did you just turn TV on, press HDMI button on Mag remote, then turn Mag on?

 

Also, do you have HDMI "fun-Link" on or off in the General Setting > HDMI > fun-Link (HDMI CEC) menu..

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This morning I turned on the tv on nbc, always great strength and in HD, there was no signal. I hit my HDMI (set-up for Mag) button, turned on the Mag. and not only was there a picture it looked pretty decent. Everyone here said it would actually improve my signal strength and it did! To be sure I turned off the mag. and went to tv ...samething, no picture. So I really must be doing something wrong!! confused.gif

I guess you left your TV without any OTA signal, so you will need a splitter to feed both your Maggy and the TV tuners or just use the internal Magnavox 'pass-through'. Also I'm assuming that the 'HDMI button' is on your telly remote.
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post #19 of 47 Old 02-09-2013, 12:01 PM
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Anyway, I'm begining to wonder if my Mag. is defective or not. This morning I turned on the tv on nbc, always great strength and in HD, there was no signal. I hit my HDMI (set-up for Mag) button, turned on the Mag. and not only was there a picture it looked pretty decent.
Do you still have your antenna running through the magnavox to your TV? wajo already indicated the powered splitter in the pass-through circuit appears to be dead -- if you have the magnavox plugged into a live electrical outlet and it cannot pass an RF signal through to the TV, that is just another nail in the coffin. It looks like the unit is defective.

- kelson h

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post #20 of 47 Old 02-10-2013, 05:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Houston, we have a problem!

I told you early on to make sure you've pressed the HDMI button to "activate" the HDMI circuit. Is this the 1st time you've pressed that button?

Also, please be careful in explaining all the actions you're taking. In this case, it's important to know what input on the TV you had selected when you saw nothing after first turning the TV on.

Then, you pressed the HDMI button on the Mag remote, THEN you turned the Mag on? The HDMI button should have no effect if the Mag wasn't on. All this while on which TV input?

Basically, did you switch TV inputs during all this, or did you just turn TV on, press HDMI button on Mag remote, then turn Mag on?

Also, do you have HDMI "fun-Link" on or off in the General Setting > HDMI > fun-Link (HDMI CEC) menu..

1) No, not the first time but the only way since I chose HDMI1, not componet, av, etc

2) The TV input

3) Ok, There is no HDMI button on the Mag remote, but I do hit the HDMI button on the TV remote and hit power button on Mag remote.

4) the "fun link" is off

Thanks
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post #21 of 47 Old 02-10-2013, 06:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo View Post

Houston, we have a problem!

I told you early on to make sure you've pressed the HDMI button to "activate" the HDMI circuit. Is this the 1st time you've pressed that button?

Also, please be careful in explaining all the actions you're taking. In this case, it's important to know what input on the TV you had selected when you saw nothing after first turning the TV on.

Then, you pressed the HDMI button on the Mag remote, THEN you turned the Mag on? The HDMI button should have no effect if the Mag wasn't on. All this while on which TV input?

Basically, did you switch TV inputs during all this, or did you just turn TV on, press HDMI button on Mag remote, then turn Mag on?

Also, do you have HDMI "fun-Link" on or off in the General Setting > HDMI > fun-Link (HDMI CEC) menu..

1) No, not the first time but the only way since I chose HDMI1, not componet, av, etc

2) The TV input

3) Ok, There is no HDMI button on the Mag remote, but I do hit the HDMI button on the TV remote and hit power button on Mag remote.

4) the "fun link" is off

 

The 53x HDMI button is in 2nd row, just under the Open/Close button. Press it to go thru the 4 HDMI formats. It'll skip any format your TV isn't capable of.

 

 

   

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post #22 of 47 Old 02-10-2013, 06:44 AM - Thread Starter
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The 53x HDMI button is in 2nd row, just under the Open/Close button. Press it to go thru the 4 HDMI formats. It'll skip any format your TV isn't capable of.



   

Thanks, I feel like an idiot- guess I need to read the instructions a little better! eek.gif
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post #23 of 47 Old 02-10-2013, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
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wajo thanks....Duh! I guess I better read some more!
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post #24 of 47 Old 02-18-2013, 01:21 PM
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Maybe I'm missing something, but Valkster, even if/when you get the maggie working perfectly, it's still going to record everything in SD. Why not get a cheap PC based tuner like the HD HomeRun and use your PC as a DVR. Works great for me. Once you get it set up, it's far simpler than a DVD recorder and you get full HD, unlimited storage, yada, yada, yada. It's also very simple to operate with a regular IR remote. If you already have a PC, then it's a pretty cheap solution.

I can understand the desire for some folks to continue using DVD recorders, but as soon as you stipulate that you want HD, then you really need to look at other options.
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post #25 of 47 Old 02-18-2013, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Maybe I'm missing something, but Valkster, even if/when you get the maggie working perfectly, it's still going to record everything in SD. Why not get a cheap PC based tuner like the HD HomeRun and use your PC as a DVR. Works great for me. Once you get it set up, it's far simpler than a DVD recorder and you get full HD, unlimited storage, yada, yada, yada. It's also very simple to operate with a regular IR remote. If you already have a PC, then it's a pretty cheap solution.

I can understand the desire for some folks to continue using DVD recorders, but as soon as you stipulate that you want HD, then you really need to look at other options.

That would be an excellent option but unfortunatly I don't have wired internet like cable, dsl. Yes that would be cheap also, thanks for the suggestion. I am considering a Channelmaster DVR that has for the most part great reviews. With the Mag. I do like the option of recording on dvd if I want but it's not a top priority such as HD.

Thanks smile.gif
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post #26 of 47 Old 02-18-2013, 04:33 PM
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....With the Mag. I do like the option of recording on dvd if I want but it's not a top priority such as HD.
You could do like many of us do, record basically everything to your HD DVR and only copy in realtime to your DVDR things you want to keep. You could get by with a cheap ~$100 DVD only DVDR or for maximum flexibility copy everything to the HDD of a model like the 533H and then burn a DVDs worth at a time. The advantage of the later is you can further edit things and add chapters and if your burn fails for any reason just do another lossless HS burn. Then after you have a finalized DVD delete the programs from the HDD.
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post #27 of 47 Old 02-18-2013, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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You could do like many of us do, record basically everything to your HD DVR and only copy in realtime to your DVDR things you want to keep. You could get by with a cheap ~$100 DVD only DVDR or for maximum flexibility copy everything to the HDD of a model like the 533H and then burn a DVDs worth at a time. The advantage of the later is you can further edit things and add chapters and if your burn fails for any reason just do another lossless HS burn. Then after you have a finalized DVD delete the programs from the HDD.

That is true and I record to the HDD always and haven't even made a DVD yet. Do you have the 533H?
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post #28 of 47 Old 02-18-2013, 05:48 PM
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....Do you have the 533H?
No I have mostly older Panasonics(with and without HDDs) but my daughter has a 2160a Magnavox which works quite well for her even though I don't believe she's ever burnt a DVD, I did while testing it out.
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post #29 of 47 Old 02-18-2013, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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No I have mostly older Panasonics(with and without HDDs) but my daughter has a 2160a Magnavox which works quite well for her even though I don't believe she's ever burnt a DVD, I did while testing it out.

I really like all the features and the picture is decent but my major complaint is it's not HD like Channelmaster, Tivo and of course all the Sat. and cable dvrs. I guess I've been spoiled to satellite dvrs, but I sure don't miss the bill! Lol smile.gif
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post #30 of 47 Old 02-19-2013, 04:17 AM
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OK, I done as you suggested and as I unplugged the Mag the picture did freeze and pixal for about 15 seconds and then came back on and the picture was the same. I have been getting 29.1, 29.2, and 29.3 on the TV and after I reprogram the Mag it doesn't pick up those channels but goes on to L1,L2 and L3.
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Anyway, I'm begining to wonder if my Mag. is defective or not. This morning I turned on the tv on nbc, always great strength and in HD, there was no signal. I hit my HDMI (set-up for Mag) button, turned on the Mag. and not only was there a picture it looked pretty decent. Everyone here said it would actually improve my signal strength and it did! To be sure I turned off the mag. and went to tv ...samething, no picture. So I really must be doing something wrong!! confused.gif

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