Philips 3576H dropping one channel only - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-04-2017, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Philips 3576H dropping one channel only

My Philips DVDR3576H has, until now, worked perfectly for 9 years. New problem is that one channel (but not others) will switch to black and white about 1 minute after switching to that channel. It will stay black and white for 10 seconds or so, and then go to blue screen, or it will go to black and say that it is scanning for that channel. But it never returns to that channel and I can’t change to any of the good channels but have to just turn the whole unit off.

On the basis of info from this website I tried the following things, with no success.

1. Added 12db of attenuation to the RF cable between the OTA antenna and the antenna input on the recorder just in case this problem was caused by the local transmitter for that station increasing their power level and the tuner went “off the cliff”.
2. Tried different cables.
3. Unplugged unit for eight hours.
4. I can TEMPORARILY fix the problem by toggling the DTV/TV button on the remote (as did at least one other person on this forum). But temporary is not good enough. The problem just reappears again after less than one minute. One person on this forum reported that a Philips engineer told him that this problem is a hardware problem (and thus presumably not fixable).

If it is a hardware problem then I would think that it would have shown up right away, when the unit was new, not 9 years later.

This forum somewhere states that no OTA users had this problem. So I guess that I am the first one.

Is there any solution to this problem (or even a specific diagnosis)?

(I would not like to have to buy the Magnavox MDR865 with its too-tiny-to-be-usable remote and the fact that it uses only DVD-R and DVD-RW discs (since I have loads of blank DVD+R and DVD+RW discs).

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post #2 of 9 Old 07-10-2017, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Sparkles2 View Post
This forum somewhere states that no OTA users had this problem. So I guess that I am the first one.
This forum has lots of people who worship the Phillips/Magnavox recorders as a gift from the gods: frank discussion of questionable design errors and glaring engineering flaws is frowned upon (to say the least). Getting truly useful answers on some points can be difficult.

A prime example is tuner issues. These machines have been afflicted since day one by a ridiculously dysfunctional "passive" tuner that is prone to having a meltdown if a broadcaster randomly decides to employ one of several deviations from standard ATSC spec permitted by the FCC. These deviations almost never disturb the tuners built into our televisions, but the Phillips/Magnavox recorders will sometimes react as if they just got run over by a cement truck. When this happens, they either lose that channel, the channel becomes unstable, the channel goes out and takes many others with it, or you can view the channel thru the unit but timer recordings come out blank.

Last week here in NYC, for the umpteenth time, many owners of these recorders lost their signal lock on the local FOX and MyTV affiliates, which triggered a loss of most other channels as well. These two broadcasters tend to make technical decisions together: about once a year, they manage to completely brick a sizable number of Phillips/Magnavox recorders in the area. Complaints to the stations are not taken seriously, as the ONLY tuners affected are those in these recorders (approx. .001 percent of viewers).

Two or three workarounds sometimes succeed in restoring the balky channels. The most reliable trick is to find out what the "actual" channel number is, and manually add it to your channel memory (i.e., in NYC Fox channel 5 is actually channel 44.1, using a broadcast technique casually known as channel spoofing). I've recently heard from over a dozen friends/family who did this, and then all their other channels magically re-appeared without needing to perform a tedious setup/re-scan. Unfortunately the MyTV9 channel still seems lost on both virtual and actual frequencies, so we'll just need to wait and see how that shakes out. Also the "actual channel" trick doesn't always work perfectly: sometimes it will default to a lower-quality, letterboxed backup channel during timer mode.

I got tired of dealing with this issue for my parents, and decided a set-and-forget cure was to connect an old external tuner box (that we all bought back in 2008 during the digital TV transition). This old box reliably tunes the "difficult" channels, so I have it connected to their Magnavox line inputs and I set their timer programs to "line" for those channels (bypassing the built-in tuner altogether). This is practical if you have only one or two problem broadcasters in your area: it sure beats trying to outwit or force the cranky Phillips/Magnavox tuner (which remains usable for most other channels).

Of course, it is also possible your Phillips 3576 is simply beginning to fail because its nine years old (most dvd recorders start getting wonky around their 7th birthday). If you can't get it to re-scan your OTA channels even after you manually enter the problem frequency, try the external tuner trick. If you don't still have an old ATSC CECB adapter box lying around, buy a new $28 Mediasonic Homeworx from Amazon and use that as an outboard tuner (it can also double as a secondary full-HDTV recorder if you plug in a USB hard drive).

Last edited by CitiBear; 07-10-2017 at 08:25 AM.
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-10-2017, 02:48 PM
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Per CitiBear's 2nd pgh I'd 'eventually' try a manual update/rescan of that channel if it'll do it, a total channel update, a total channel rescan, and a complete reset/setup in that order. I've had weirdness with my DTV tuners where this did the trick, broadcaster PSIP games what they are.

My ol' Hughes DirecTV/HDTV tuner simply despises one channel - it tunes fine with a strong signal reading but the video has these horizontal pixellation blocks (?) somewhat similar to what we see when there's signal issues (all my other tuners work fine); and no audio breakup that is typical to occur first with signal issues [now why didn't they design the audio to take precedence over the video?! - at least I could still here the dialogue when the image breaks up].
Another channel it would cause the TV (HD CRT) to freak out and shut off; the tuner output is set at 1080i fixed output, unless somehow their 720p was slipping by or transiently (my TV don't like no 720p). But I finally tried it a week ago and it worked fine. At one time this station (local ION) had some weird subs with three suffix digits (ex: 68.120) that would list out on another tuner of mine but it would shut down if I tried to tune one.

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post #4 of 9 Old 07-16-2017, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Diagnosis Complete

Thank you CitiBear VERY much for this information. It is always a delight to interact with someone who knows a lot about what he is talking about.

After trying your solutions, and those of Floydage, I have concluded that the cause of my problem is very likely a defect in the tuner of my Philips DVDR3576H and not any problem with the station that is sending the signal. I think this because I also have a Magnavox H2160MW9A recorder that I also bought 9 years ago as a backup to the Philips, and I do not have the drop-out problem with that station on the Magnavox. This conclusion depends on the assumption that the Funai tuners are the same in both machines.
SideNote: Incidentally, I have a whole list of products that were well designed
and worked well, but have been discontinued with no replacement, or replaced
with an inferior product. Why oh why does this happen? For example, why is
the Magnavox MDR865 incapable of high-speed dubbing? Do you have to be
a genius to know that high-speed dubbing is a good thing? Why does the 865
require the more expensive DVD-RW and DVD-R discs (instead of the
DVD+RW and DVD+R)? Why can’t they make it more like the Philips
DVDR3576H or the Magnavox H2160MW9A (both of which support the
Plus format) since they are making these machines under license from Philips
and Philips supports the Plus format?
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-16-2017, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for the bad formatting in the last half of the previous message. I don't know why that happened, and I had not yet discovered the existence of the post testing forum.
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-17-2017, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparkles2 View Post
why is the Magnavox MDR865 incapable of high-speed dubbing? Do you have to be a genius to know that high-speed dubbing is a good thing?
Funai is keenly aware of the market for their recorders and how people actually use them. Research has likely shown Funai that 90% of Magnavox buyers never burn a dvd: they primarily buy the thing to use as a "poor man's TiVO" for off-air hard drive recording. Dropping the HS dubbing feature probably shaves a couple bucks from their parts costs, also HSD is incompatible with their new "true high def" HDD recording feature (which always needs to be re-encoded to burn a dvd).

Quote:
Why does the 865 require the more expensive DVD-RW and DVD-R discs (instead of the DVD+RW and DVD+R)? Why can’t they make it more like the Philips DVDR3576H or the Magnavox H2160MW9A (both of which support the Plus format) since they are making these machines under license from Philips and Philips supports the Plus format?
There shouldn't be a significant price difference between -R and +R media unless your local retailer is ridiculously overstocked with +R and is steeply discounting it to move it off the shelves.

The arrangement between Funai and Phillips has always been somewhat unclear, and key elements of it have shifted over the years. When new Magnavox models abruptly switched from the Phillips +VR recording format to the more common -R Video format a couple years ago, people were stunned. No particular explanation was offered, so all we can do is surmise it somehow saves on production costs. Worldwide, DVD recorders nowadays are essentially a dead product few people buy anymore- Funai might also be making an educated guess that media availability may narrow towards -R in future as dvd burning becomes more and more obsolete.
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-25-2017, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Eye Opener + DVD Price + etc.

Your comment that “Research has likely shown Funai that 90% of Magnavox buyers never burn a dvd . . .” was a real eye-opener for me since I have made many hundreds of DVDs over the past 9 years.
You also said: “There shouldn't be a significant price difference between -R and +R media”
I use mainly RWs. A 30-pack of Verbatim DVD+RW is $11.51 on Amazon.
A 30-pack of DVD-RW is $20.47

A good (but scary) tip you gave was: “Worldwide, DVD recorders nowadays are essentially a dead product few people buy anymore”.
I don’t know why this should be true since more and more people are fed up with paying for Tivo (and for cable generally, by the way) and I can’t imagine time-shifting and commercial pass-through declining in popularity.
At any rate, I guess I better buy a wheelbarrow full of these recorders to last me for the rest of my life before they too join the long list of good stuff that has been discontinued.
Thanks for your comments.
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-27-2017, 05:12 PM
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I don’t know why this should be true since more and more people are fed up with paying for Tivo (and for cable generally, by the way) and I can’t imagine time-shifting and commercial pass-through declining in popularity.
A 4-tuner TiVo OTA can be had for ~$300 on sale. There is no subscription costs for the OTA recorders.

As for cable: more and more people are finding that once they drop cable they lose the bundle price they had and watch their Internet price go way up. Then add in the subscription prices for the streaming services they need to make up for the channels they lost (but the family demands). Combine the two and their monthly savings are minor compared to the major loss of convenience they got with an integrated cable package.

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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post #9 of 9 Old 07-27-2017, 05:21 PM
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I've burned thousands of DVDs in my DVD/HDD recorders since 2006, but people like you and me are a tiny minority. Nobody archives anything anymore: they feel there's no point in the era of NetFlix and Amazon Prime. If I were younger, and came of age in the iPhone era instead of the VHS era, I would probably feel the same way. Those whose early exposure to technology included streaming and smartphones cannot fathom what us "dinosaurs" get out of personally recording our own movies and shows, laboriously burning them to shiny discs (mention audio CDs, and they'll back away from you while speed-dialing 911). With a laptop connected to HDMI, Kindle Fire, or an iPhone/Galaxy in hand, the media world is your oyster: why clutter your life and waste your time making personal recordings? So disc is dead, R.I.P. We'll be lucky if Verbatim keeps mfrg blanks beyond 2020.

The USA video recording market was heavily distorted by our behemoth, engulf-and-devour cable conglomerates gaining a stranglehold on TV signals after our ATSC conversion debacle destroyed off-air reception capability for most households. Recording cable conveniently, reliably, and in high quality requires the PVR supplied by the cableco or their stepchild TiVO- period. Independent DVD/HDD recorders were always a trainwreck of compromises and workarounds that only the dedicated archivist (or utter cheapskate) had the patience to endure. They barely sold during the analog broadcast era prior to 2007, after the DTV switchover (and ten successive variations of incompatible "digital cable") sales tanked completely. NetFlix streaming wasn't the final nail in the coffin: it was the granite headstone.

In the larger global market, DVD/HDD recorders were more popular for a longer time. Cable service doesn't exist, digital broadcasting was underway years earlier (and it included a comprehensive, "free" timer/program guide signal).. The only option to off-air reception was heavily-regulated satellite service. So all recorders could use the same tuner design, with built-in satellite decoders an upscale option. But even this larger market eroded with the rise of big flat-panel HDTVs and streaming. Homes and esp apartments outside North America are smaller, people were much less inclined to hold onto outdated SD recorders. Mfrs responded with full-featured TiVO-like HDD-only recorders that run full HDTV quality, so thats what everyone else in the world now uses (if they bother with DVRs at all). BluRay recorders were a blink-and-you-missed-it development: a footnote no one will remember five years hence.

Most people will opt for convenience over fussing with gadgets and blank media, even if they have to pay a monthly fee for it. The loud chorus of "anti-fee" posters on various forums like AVS do not represent the mass market: the majority is perfectly happy to shell out monthly for NetFlix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, TiVO, and/or cable/satellite-supplied PVRs. Tell any random person how much money you save by using a Magnavox, and they'll laugh in your face: the world has moved on.

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