NTIA approved (CECBs) - Electronic program guide (EPG) - Style Used - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 04-22-2008, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Please ready this newspaper analogy to understand the problem will ALL CURRENT BOXES using PSIP mode.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beeper View Post

Think of it in the following way.
Technically the guide time listings are accurate. They don't change, they are resting in the box ready for use. What changes is the time that the box is told it is at the moment by currently tuned station PSIP time. Right or wrong, the box has to use that time as gospel.

Just like if you were looking at the guide in a newspaper. The print never changes. If someone tells you that it is 12 noon and asks you what is on a particular channel, but they lied to you, really it is 1 PM. You will tell them the wrong information as far as what event is currently on.

Secondly, if they then ask you if you could please tune to a particular event that is on at 12 noon and it is really 1 PM, you can't.

So you see any box that you buy will have the same problem using PSIP time.
Please also read reviews to understand boxes


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post #2 of 29 Old 04-22-2008, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Uses a PSIP EPG not TVGuide


Channel Information/Program Information


Channel Edit/Favorite Edit


Unique Feature/Menu Example



Video Reviews
Unboxing | Setup - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Confirmed Boxes
Dish Network DTVPal*
Review(s):
User Manual
UPC: 753960010557


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post #3 of 29 Old 04-22-2008, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Image from HDTVexpert Review
*Note: RCA DTA800B is only known box with What's on Now


Channel Information/Program Information


Channel Edit/Favorite Edit

Image from YouTube Video
All these boxes share the same menu look


Unique Feature/Menu Example


Video Reviews
RCA DTA800B: Video Demo

Confirmed Boxes
RCA DTA800B
Source: CNET Review
User Manual


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post #4 of 29 Old 04-22-2008, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Image from dingo99 Review
*Note: Color scheme may be different from example


Channel Information/Program Information


Channel Edit/Favorite Edit

All these boxes share the same menu look

Unique Feature/Menu Example

Video Reviews

Available Boxes
Channel Master CM-7000
Review(s): dingo99 Review
User Manual

Suspected similar boxes
MAG CCB7707
Source: Image in User Manual
User Manual

AVION ATB 7707
Source: Image in User Manual
User Manual


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post #5 of 29 Old 04-22-2008, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
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&
Full guide from CNET Review | Simple from Goodmind Manual
*Note: Color scheme looks identical to the example


Channel Information/Program Information

Image from HDTVexpert review
*Note: Color scheme looks identical to the example


Channel Edit/Favorite Edit

Unique Feature/Menu Example

Video Reviews

Available Boxes
GE / Jasco 22730
Review(s): CNET Review
User Manual

GE / Jasco 22729
Review(s):
User Manual

Goodmind DTA1000
Review(s):
User Manual

Goodmind DTA900
Review(s):
User Manual

Suspected similar boxes
Goodmind DTA980
Source: Exclusive Retailer Unknown (Should be similar)

Zentech DF2000
Review(s):
User Manual


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post #6 of 29 Old 04-22-2008, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Image from DrBri99 video
*Note: Color schemes might not vary


Channel Information/Program Information

Image from HDTVexpert review
*Note: Color schemes might not vary


Channel Edit/Favorite Edit

Image from User Manual

Unique Feature/Menu Example


Video Reviews
DTX9900: Channel Change
DTX9900: EPG
DTX9900: Setup
DTX9900: Menus

Available Boxes
Digital Stream DTX9900
Review(s): DrBri99 Review
User Manual made avaliable by Tarwater

DIGITAL STREAM DSP7500T
Review(s):
User Manual

DIGITAL STREAM DSP7700T*
Review(s):
User Manual

Suspected similar boxes
DIGITAL STREAM DTX9950*
DIGITAL STREAM DSP6500R
DIGITAL STREAM D2A1D20
DIGITAL STREAM D2A1D10
DIGITAL STREAM DX8700*


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post #7 of 29 Old 04-23-2008, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Image from beachbum_50 review
*Note: Color schemes might not vary


Channel Information/Program Information

Image from beachbum_50 review
*Note: Color schemes might not vary


Channel Edit/Favorite Edit

Image from beachbum_50 review
All these boxes share the same menu look


Unique Feature/Menu Example


Video Reviews
TB100MW9: Channel Change

Available Boxes
Magnavox TB100MW9
Review(s): beachbum_50 review
User Manual

Magnavox TB-100MG9*
Review(s):
User Manual

Philco TB100HH9*
Review(s):
User Manual

Suspected similar boxes
Philco TB150HH9*
User Manual


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post #8 of 29 Old 04-23-2008, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Image from satpro review
*Note: Color schemes appear to be all in black/blue


Channel Information/Program Information

Image from satpro review
*Note: Color schemes appear to be all in black/blue


Channel Edit/Favorite Edit

Image from satpro review
All these boxes share the same menu look


Unique Feature/Menu Example


Video Reviews
Tivax STB-T9: Setup review

Available Boxes
Tivax STB-T9
Review(s): satpro review
User Manual

MicroGEM MG2000
Review(s): stpinindy review
User Manual

Apex DT250*
Review(s):
User Manual

AccessHD 1010D
Review(s):
User Manual

AccessHD 1010U
Review(s):
User Manual

AccessHD 1020D
Review(s):
User Manual

AccessHD 1020U
Review(s):
User Manual

Suspected similar boxes
AMTC AT-2016
User Manual


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post #9 of 29 Old 04-23-2008, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Image from BobDiaz Review
*Note: Color schemes vary


Channel Information/Program Information

Image from BobDiaz Review
*Note: Color schemes vary


Channel Edit/Favorite Edit

All these boxes have a side menu and Now/Next EPG

Unique Feature/Menu Example


Video Reviews
Zenith DTT900: Video Review
Zenith DTT900: What's In The Box?
Insignia NS-DXA1: CC example

Available Boxes
Zenith DTT900
Review(s): CNET Review
User Manual

Insignia NS-DXA1
Review(s):
User Manual

Suspected similar boxes


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post #10 of 29 Old 05-10-2008, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Image from troydog review
*Note: Color schemes may be different


Channel Information/Program Information

Image from troydog review
*Note: Color schemes may be different


Channel Edit/Favorite Edit

Image from Artec User Manual
All these boxes share the same menu look


Unique Feature/Menu Example


Video Reviews
Artec T3A Pro: Setup review

Available Boxes
Artec T3APro
Review(s): troydog review
User Manual

Artec T3A
Review(s):
User Manual

Suspected similar boxes
Kingbox K8V8
Kingbox K8V1
Both at BHphotovideo - possibly accepts coupons
Kingbox also @ newegg - does NOT accept coupons


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post #11 of 29 Old 05-10-2008, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Will update later from user manuals

CASTi CAX-01
User Manual


DAYTEK CAX-01
User Manual


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post #12 of 29 Old 05-10-2008, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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NO EPG

Channel Information/Program Information

Images from atrac
*Note: Color schemes are probably not like above


Channel Edit/Favorite Edit


Unique Feature/Menu Example


Available Boxes
Winegard RC-DT09
Review(s): Popeetheus review
User Manual

Venture STB7766G
Review(s): atrac review
User Manual


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post #13 of 29 Old 05-10-2008, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
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NO EPG

Channel Information/Program Information

Images from Nightowl4
*Note: Color schemes are probably not like above


Channel Edit/Favorite Edit


Unique Feature/Menu Example



Available Boxes
Sansonic FT300A
Review(s): MikeBiker Review
User Manual

Sansonic FT300RT
Review(s):
User Manual

Lasonic LTA-260
Review(s):
User Manual

Gridlink GLT-200
Review(s):
User Manual

Suspected similar boxes
Lasonic LTR-260
Gridlink GLT-300


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post #14 of 29 Old 05-10-2008, 10:50 PM
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Nicely done! I think your interest in epg and controls is more important than signal pass thru, for me at least.
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post #15 of 29 Old 05-23-2008, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

freedtvshop .com/fdtv/ converters/tr40.php

This URL re-directs to their main page... The new link is:
www. freedtvshop .com/fdtv/ converters/dtvpal.php
(Take the spaces out - it's not letting me post a URL right now.)

I just ordered a pair of boxes, and was indeed quoted $14.95 for the two boxes - $2.50 each, plus $9.95 flat shipping (1 or 2 boxes).
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post #16 of 29 Old 05-27-2008, 05:30 PM
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Malouff - I've paged through the screen shots in your thread here, checking for 2 things...whichunits have an EPG screen that show multiple channels at once, and which have RF pass-through.

As far as I can tell, there is only one unit having either of these:

the RCA has a multi-listing EPG screen...

the Magnavox/Philco has RF pass-through.

That's it! And as far as I can tell from checking through a lot of the threads here on cecbs, your thread lists virtually all of the units that are actually available now...in contrast to some of the spreadsheets that list a million units, but where you can't tell which are now available.

I think we ought to have a new sticky thread that lists in its opening post what units are available and from where, and that has a SHORT spreadsheet that has ONLY the available units and their major features, plus links to the specific threads for those units AND a link to THIS thread with its screenshots...

what do you think???

OTA only. For signal strength at your location:
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TVGOS data: Sony 250 from 5.1?, LG3410a from
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, not any more.

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post #17 of 29 Old 06-06-2008, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avnstf View Post

Malouff - I've paged through the screen shots in your thread here, checking for 2 things...whichunits have an EPG screen that show multiple channels at once, and which have RF pass-through.

As far as I can tell, there is only one unit having either of these:

the RCA has a multi-listing EPG screen...

the Magnavox/Philco has RF pass-through.

That's it! And as far as I can tell from checking through a lot of the threads here on cecbs, your thread lists virtually all of the units that are actually available now...in contrast to some of the spreadsheets that list a million units, but where you can't tell which are now available.

I think we ought to have a new sticky thread that lists in its opening post what units are available and from where, and that has a SHORT spreadsheet that has ONLY the available units and their major features, plus links to the specific threads for those units AND a link to THIS thread with its screenshots...

what do you think???

Check my signature link (below):


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post #18 of 29 Old 06-06-2008, 11:45 PM
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Great stuff, malouff. I have one question (for each family of boxes). Since almost all of these boxes get data from PSIP, one channel at a time, when do they get the data and how does that affect the user. For example, with the now/next style guide on the zenith it looks like you press the <-- and --> buttons to select a different channel. Does the box (and the video/audio being shown in the background) change channels when you do this? I.E. does browsing the program guide interfere with your following the dialog for the program you are currently watching? And if it changes channels, how long does it have to wait for the data to float by?

I would imagine that channels broadcast now/next (or rather, the current three hour block) fairly often and program data further out takes longer and A/69 standard confirms this. Program information is stored in 3 hour blocks in the Event Information Table (EIT) with up to 128 EIT blocks (16 days). A/69 says that EIT-0 (current 3 hour block) has to be sent twice a second, EIT-1 (next 3 hour block) once every three seconds, and EIT-2 and EIT-3 once a minute. EIT-4 and up suggested once every minute.


Thus, if I was transmit EIT blocks every quarter second, I could transmit the minimum recommend 72 hours of programming information (EIT-0 ... EIT-16), meeting the recommend and required timing by repeateing every 14 seconds like this where a two digit number gives the EIT block number:

00 01 00 02 | 00 03 00 04 | 00 05 00 06 |
00 01 00 07 | 00 08 00 09 | 00 10 00 11 |
00 01 00 12 | 00 13 00 14 | 00 15 00 16 |
00 01 00 17 | 00 18 00 19 | 00 20 00 21 |
00 01 00 22 | 00 23 00 xx |

If I was transmitting 16 days, this would take 128 seconds so I would have to transmit EIT blocks faster to meet the 1 minute suggested repetition rate. It is recommend that at least 72 hours (24 blocks) be sent. Stations may only update the EIT blocks once per 24 hours so 1/3 of the blocks may be stale, thus sending 72 hours may only show you 48 hours in advance. If I extend this cycle at the same data rate, I get about 8 days (7 usable) sent once a minute.

Memory requirements: Each block is 970 bytes, call it 1K with overhead. 128K bytes for 16 days per virtual channel. Thus 50 channels with 4 subchannels each would be 25.6MB which is why many boxes won't store a full program guide. Since EIT blocks may not slide, to get now/next information could take 3 seconds. If one block covers 3-6PM and one covers 6-9PM, then at 5:50PM, you need EIT-0 and EIT-1 to get now/next information.

It is assumed in A/74 that the receiver will scan channels each time it is turned off. If you don't turn your box off, it can't scan for program guide information since it has no way of knowing if you are actively watching which prevents it from changing channels. Assuming your box has at least 48 hours worth of EPG memory, that you turn your box off at least one hour per day, and stations meet the minimum recommendations, you should have 24-48 hours of EPG information available at any given time. If your box has less memory, time to retrieve program information for the current channel would be:
now: 0.5 seconds
next: 3 seconds
next 3 hours: 0.5 to 3 seconds, depending on time of day and hour in question
next 12 hours: 1 minute
next 16 days (to extent available): 1 minute
If you have two dozen physical channels, it will take your box 24 minutes to scan all the channels to get program guide info when you turn it off. Assuming the box takes 1 second to acquire a channel and 3 seconds to get EIT-0 and EIT-1 on each channel, the box could first spend 96 seconds grabbing the next 3-6 hours and 45 seconds scanning for new physical channels and added/deleted virtual channels on the other physical channels before it tries to acquire the rest of the program guide info.

If you don't turn the box off each day but channel surf spending at least one minute on each channel, the box should be able to grab the data.

There is some indication that boxes that try to handle more than now/next exhibit some problems with crashing, possibly due to memory management issues.

The CECB Feature list and wiki are a bit vague about the EPG features (memory, when it is obtained, and how it is presented).
  • Current: only shows current show on current channel?
  • 24-hour: 24 hour program guide on current channel or all channels?
  • Now/Next:
    • on current channel only?
  • one channel at a time but allows showing different channels without actually channels?
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post #19 of 29 Old 06-06-2008, 11:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitis View Post

For example, with the now/next style guide on the zenith it looks like you press the <-- and --> buttons to select a different channel.  Does the box (and the video/audio being shown in the background) change channels when you do this?

No.  It doesn't change channels and you can keep watching the channel that you were on (except for having the Now/Next info cover part of the screen).

It displays Now/Next only for channels that you've visited recently enough for it to have PSIP data for them that hasn't run out yet, and only if you've visited the channel since the last time you turned the unit on.  On the other hand, if the channel is a subchannel of another or if it is one with subchannels, visiting the main channel or any subchannel on the RF frequency gets the PSIP data for all of them; for example, if you're watching channel X.n and the box was tuned to channel Y.m recently enough and wasn't turned off in the meantime, you can view Now/Next for Y.1 and for all of its subchannels while you continue to watch and hear channel X.n.

I'm pretty effing sleepy right now, so I hope that that's coherent.  Perhaps I may need to edit it in the daylight.
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post #20 of 29 Old 06-07-2008, 12:26 AM
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Last post was truncated. I have some of the text which was lost:
    • One channel at a time but allows showing different channels by switching channels?
    • now/next grid for all channels without switching?
  • 8-day: 7-8 days on current channel or all channels?
  • 7-day TVGOS: approximately 7 days on all channels
  • 14 day: 14 days on current channel or all channels?
I can deduce some of that from your screenshots, but not all.

I have included links to your sceenshots on my
Coupon Eligitble Converter Box (CECB)/DTV converter comparison
page. I will steal some of your links as well to supplement what I have. This page is still being updated but I uploaded a snapshot.
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post #21 of 29 Old 06-07-2008, 03:07 AM
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The Zenith DTT900 and RCA800B are both listed in the CECB Feature list as having Now/Next program guides but they are very different. The RCA shows a grid, as you can see from your screenshot, but forgets to show what time the next show comes on. The Zenith, as you can see from your video link, shows two programs (now/next) at a time and you can scroll through channels (but not time) without interrupting your current program. However, as you do so it may just tell you it has no program guide info for that channel unless you tune to it. Whe
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post #22 of 29 Old 06-07-2008, 10:53 AM
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I was just a little leery about this place, from the exchange in the comments section:

http://santamaria-california.olx.com...k-iid-10032124

I checked back later, and the "dtvpal.com" comment was added, although I doubt it really came from dtvpal.com. So add impersonating a company to their list of crimes, lol. Actually, I don't know who got permission to use what, but it just didn't pass the smell test with me.
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post #23 of 29 Old 06-07-2008, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

whitis I am sorry but currently I don't own a CECB yet.

Neither do I.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

Are you wanting me to identify what guide/image fits into what category?

The idea is that members who have different converters and have used them could post one message per box (or family of boxes) with information about guide behavior that you can't see from the screen capture.

Answering these questions can depend on understanding the overview of PSIP transmission in my previous post and a general understanding of algorithms which can be used to store PSIP data.
  1. Does the box show: current program only, now/next one channel at a time, now/next grid (all channels), or a multihour/multichannel grid.
  2. How many days/hours of PSIP information does the box appear to store? Take into consideration that TV stations may not transmit a full 16 days, so we can just get a minimum bound based on the highest number across all channels. Limits on how far you can scroll might be an indication.
  3. Does it store for all channels or just the current channel? Some boxes might be able to give, for example, 12 hours of information but only on the current channel and forget that data when you tune to a new channel.
  4. Is there evidence of non-volitile memory (flash/battery backed) for program guide information?
  5. Does it appear to acquire PSIP information for all channels when it is turned off for an hour?
  6. Does it appear to acquire PSIP information for all channels after having been unplugged and then left turned off for an hour (power failure recovery).
  7. Does it appear to acquire new PSIP information when you channel surf and are not using the program guide.
  8. Does it appear to acquire full available PSIP information while you are channel surfing , if you spend at least 1 minute per channel? If you spend significantly less than 1 minute per channel does it appear to be populating data if you scroll 16 days into the future?
    If you tune through a channel that sends the full 16 days in say 6 seconds, you might get the next 3-6 hours of programming plus 30 hours at some random time in the future.
  9. Does it appear to acquire PSIP information when autoscanning for new channels?
  10. What is the maximum amount of PSIP data sent by any station in the area where your are tested, if you have an indication of this from other equipment of from the station itself
  11. Does the box retain stored program guide information if unplugged for 10 seconds?
  12. Can you scroll through the program guide channels without the box tuning to another channel? I.E. can you peek at the program guide and still listen to your current program? Does the box interrupt your program and scan through one or more other channels to acquire data when you load the guide every time, only when it needs info it doesn't have, or never.
  13. If the box requires tuning to another channel momentarily to get the information, and does so with your permission, does it return you to your original channel?
  14. Does the box appear to store EIT-0 for all channels you have visited, without using program guide.
  15. Likewise for EIT-1
  16. Likewise for EIT-2
  17. Likewise for EIT-3
  18. Likewise for EIT-4+, how far out?
  19. How much detail does it give on each progam (current, next, 1-3 hours out, 3-6 hours out, and further out? I.E. is it throwing out data for programs that don't come on for a while to save space?
  20. Does the box crash occassionally? Any indication may be EPG related?
  21. Are there performance problems in the general use of the box that appear related to program guide information? If the box has a way to turn off the program guide, this can help compare.
  22. Will the box show you as much data as it appears to remember or is the user interface more limited in what it will display? Example: retaining 3-6 hours (EIT-0/EIT-1) but only showing now/next.
  23. Does the box have a function you can invoke to initiate population of program data for all channels? I.E. push a button and it scans all the channels while you take a potty break. Does it offer quick (1 minute/EIT0/EIT1, 3-6 hours data), medium (3 minutes EIT0 ... EOT3, 9-12 hours data), and full modes (1 hour, 16 days data or max supported)?
  24. If the box is left off for an extended period of time (days), does it turn itself on periodically to collect program guide information so it will be ready when you do use it?
  25. Can you select a program on the grid and view program details without changing the channel?
  26. Does it have a sleep timer that will cause it to go into standby? Some people leave the TV on all day and when they go to bed, thus the box never has a chance to load program data.
  27. Do you have knowledge of how many hours/days data the local stations transmits? When they update the info? You might have some or all of this based on using a digital TV with full program guide, by calling the station, or because you work there.
  28. Any quirks? Notable good/bad features?
  29. Summary question: Does the box opportunistically pick up as much information as it can, subject to a limit of not storing data too far into the future (but at least 3-6 hours), and retain that information? How many hours/days by how many channels (one/all)?
Many of these questions relating to scavanging are less important if a box stores at least 4 days of program info (when you turn it off daily) and thus can always display two days. You lose up to 24 hours due to the fact that a station may update its EIT table once a day and another 24 hours based on when you last turned the unit off. Thus if the station sends 72 hours and updates at noon and you turn the unit on at five minutes till, you are already getting only 48 hours and 16 hours later you are only getting 32 hours plus what could be scavanged.

This list could be used like the list of closed caption questions was used on the captioning thread. The information gives information that can be used to determine how useful the program guide will be and how intrusive it is, in the form of delays and the need to tune away from current channel to acquire data, to a particular set of viewing habbits.

I will illustrate with a hypothetical test of a Zenith style now/next converter box in a particular location.

The idea would be to unplug the unit (not merely turn off) for a few days (as many as it appears to have data) to deplete the memory so you can see when it gets populated. Note that if box doesn't have flash or a battery backup, unplugging for 10 seconds may suffice.
Then carefully experiment with the unit. If a DVR or VCR is available, set it to record output of box while experimenting. Suppose we have the following channels (zipcode 22903):
16-1, 19-1, 19-2, 27-1, 27-2, 29-1, 29-2, 29-3, 41-1, 41-2, 41-3.
Now, we should really look up on TVfool which physical channels are which since we have one company broadcasting three different networks but it turns out they are using separate frequencies. I will assume a now/next zenith type box that lets you scroll through channels without actually tuning to another channel but may tell you there is no data. I am guessing, here based on the unit doing the best that it can, storing EIT-0 and EIT-1 only for each channel. I.E. it is storing a little more info than it shows. Do not change channels except when part of the experiment to avoid acquiring extra data. Also, an unexpected result at any stage of this test could affect the assumptions in following tests; you need to know enough to adapt.
  1. Set channel to channel 16-1.
  2. Unplug unit to deplete memory
  3. Plug unit back in and immediately turn on
  4. Hope we are still on 16-1
  5. pull up program guide. Scroll through channels without tuning. Should see program listings for 16-1 only. If we have program data, this may be an indication of flash/battery backup (either of which is good but could wear out). Rest assumes we only saw 16-1. Exit program guide.
  6. CH+ to 19-1,
  7. pull up program guide. Scroll through channels without tuning. We expect to see listings for 19-1. We should see 19-2, and 19.3; if not, we have a bug (failure to store other virtual channels on same physical channel. We should also see listings for 16-1, if not we have a bug (failure to remember other physical channels). We will not see listings for 27-*, 29-*, and 41-*. If we do, the unit a second tuner for guide data (not likely), is telepathic, or we screwed up.
  8. Turn unit off for 3 minutes (but keep plugged in), then turn back on and pull up program guide. (Are we still on 19-1? This tells us if we have last channel memory as long as power is applied.)
  9. We should see now/next guide data for all channels. If not, we have a bug (failure to scan channel data when first turned off).
  10. Stay tuned to 19-1, for just over 1 hour (assume programs are less than 1 hour) with the box on so it can't scan.
  11. Pull up program guide and scroll through channels without tuning. We should still have now/next information for all channels. If not, we have a bug (failure to store EIT-0 and EIT-1 for each channel, storing ONLY the now/next shows).
  12. Stay tuned to 19-1 for just over 6 more hours. Note that this test is similar to watching a movie or a couple of consecutive shows on one channel without changing channels. Data will become depleted due to expiration in roughly 3 to 6 hours. We give it 6 in case we started at a best case time.
  13. Pull up and scroll through program guide without tuning. We expect to see no program listings for any channel but 19-1, 19-2, and 19-3. If we see more, we have a feature: storage of EIT-2 and EIT-3 and we should also check to see if it stores more than 2 and 3.
  14. Unplug unit for 10 seconds (more if non-volatile), plug back in, and leave turned off for 5 minutes. When we turn on and look at program guide, we should have now/next data for all channels. If not, we have a bug (failure to scan after power failure).
Note time in both local time and UTC when doing tests at the start of the test and after each long delay. EIT blocks start at hours divisible by 3 in UTC, not local time. Thus the time you do the test dictates how much usable data is in EIT-0 and EIT-1.

These tests require some understanding, not just following a recipe because you have to adapt the tests based on what you learn along the way.

For some, it may be helpful to use UTC and draw a chart on a piece of graph paper with virtual stations, grouped by physical channel, across
the top and time in UTC down the side in 1 hour or half hour blocks.
Group each block of three hours (starting at UTC hours divisable by three) together and write down the EIT number. Draw heavy lines at physical channel boundaries and the 3 hour boundaries. Then, when you tune each station, you can put an X in the blocks for what data the converter appears to be able to access.

A box that doesn't at least store EIT-0 and EIT-1 for all channels visited and avail itself of all legal opportunities, but only legal opportunities, to acquire that information is really substandard and the program guide will be of limited usefullness and very intrusive. That is less than a megabyte of storage and thus is likely to have no effect on the marginal cost of the unit. Thus, any box which doesn't give you 3-6 (depending on time of day) hours is pretty shoddy engineering.

If we were to give a letter grade, it might look like this before adjustment for quirks:
A+ - TV Guide Online, 14+ days, grid, details
A - 14+ days PSIP, full grid and details
station transmission may limit actual performance
B - 7+ days, all channels, grid, details
station transmission may limit actual performance
B- - 48 hours+ usable data at all times (store 96 hours)
provided you turn the unit off once a day
C+ - 24 hours+ usable data at all times (store 72), all channels,
grid, details,
C - 3-6 hours, all channels, grid, opportunistic scavanging
The least that can reasonably be expected.
D+ - now/next, grid, details, opportunist scavanging, EIT-0/EIT-1 stored
D- - now/next, storing less than EIT-0/EIT-1 for all channels
F - current only


Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

I don't think there are many places that have 50 channels with 4 subchannels
Regarding the memory look at mine and bdfox18doe posts

Well, TV fool shows that a tiny percentage of the population (0.5% or so) has 53 total channels (analog/digital) and that is roughly where I got the 50 number from. So that was used as the maximum density the airwaves seem to support. After the switch the maximum number of physical digital channels is expected to be 29. But the freed up spectrum will be auctioned off and it is possible that some of the buyers could actually be new networks or stations and estimates might be low.

Of the limited number of digital channels around here (assuming I don't pull in stations from neighboring areas), most have 2 or 3 subchannels.
29 (NBC): 3 channels
41 (PBS): 3 channels
19: 2 channels
16: 1 channels
27: 2 channels
Thus the average would appear to be 2 but that is deceiving because 19, 16, and 26 are really the same company that has only recently added CBS, ABC, and Faux. So, 29 and 41 are more indicative. So, I am going to assume 3 virtual channels (1 HDTV and 2 SDTV) iis the norm but stations might try to transmit 4 SDTV programs at certain times of the day. Actually could be worse, because you could have low refresh rate information like weather maps, stock tickers, etc. And even if something has the same show on 24 hours a day, it still takes up a fair amount of PSIP space.

Thus, I figured 4*50 was a good off the cuff upper estimate, but might not have actually been high enough. And you need to use an upper estimate, lest you confuse people with stuff like "you can store 8 days of program guide if you have 24 or fewer virtual channels and 4 days if you have 48 or fewer". You also complicate the software handling as it needs to prune far out data for some channels to make room for near future data for other channels and create a higher risk of software bugs in appliances you can't update. The simplest and most reliable way to store the data would be to store the RAW PSIP blocks in 1K blocks of memory. Pruning and packing information could slow the box down, give rise to fragmentation problems, and generally contribute to unreliability.

PSIP broadcasts today seem to be pretty substandard (72 hours recommended minimum), which also complicates real world testing a box. After the transition, there may be pressure to get the program guide up to at least a week, especially if we start seeing more DVRs.

So, I think 26MB dedicated PSIP memory is still a good estimate for a true full program guide, unless virtual channels share EIT blocks which would severely limit the quality of guide data.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

This is just my assumption/speculation.
I have been told that those boxes with a Extended EPG do tend to slow the box down and reading the forums it does seem to fit.

They should not slow the guide down if you just store 128 EIT blocks in a rotating window for each channel. It is when you try to compress the data (making assumptions that could prove invalid in the future) that you slow down the box and potentially make it unreliable by having to do lots of move operations or dynamic memory free list searches. Just dumping a handful of 1K PSIP blocks into memory each second shouldn't have much effect.

I did look at the memory discussion on the TR40 thread but saw no hard data there.
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post #24 of 29 Old 07-01-2008, 08:21 AM
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I just picked up a Zenith DTT901 (May 2008 build) at Circuit City.
I really love this box, and it seems to deal with multipath issues that I have with my attic 4221 antenna setup better than my two Digital Stream DTX9900s.

We have a local NBC station (ch. 25) here in Peoria, IL, and I emailed the technician about why there isn't an Electronic Program Guide. He replied that ch. 25 transmits an EPG. This was a month ago and I didn't have my new Zenith box yet. The Digital Stream DTX9900 boxes didn't pick up any EPG data at all, and they still don't for ch. 25.

Using my Zenith DTT901 box, I can now get the names of the current and next program on ch. 25.
I can only get this info to display by going through several steps for ch25 (All the other stations in my area, that have an EPG, show up instantly).
For ch. 25, I need to channel surf either up or down from ch. 25, then use the "Guide" button to get "now/next". Eventually, ch. 25 shows the names of the programs. I cannot get this info if I first use the "Display" key before doing the above. This TV station's EPG info seems to be intermittent, and the Zenith seems to do some "magic" to get this to appear.

Oh, one more thing I noticed after making this post.
Here in Peoria we have a station that is part of another station, but has it's own RF#. It is 39-1
This station has never shown it's call sign (WAOE-DT) on either of my Digital Stream DTX9900s.
The Zenith DTT901 shows this soon after this station is tuned.
The difference between the Digital Stream and the Zenith boxes in this regard is, the Digital Stream shows the call signs for all stations instantly when ch. surfing. The Zenith takes about a second to reveal the call signs when surfing, (like it is getting this info as a result of an update).
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post #25 of 29 Old 07-10-2008, 08:41 AM
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Correction on shipping price for two boxes from Digitalstar.com

The quick quote at the website may state $12.00.

The actual charge is $12.99 via USPS.
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post #26 of 29 Old 08-11-2008, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
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When did we get this table tag?
It would have been nice to have used for this pricing list back when I use to keep it updated.

Not only that but it automatically sorts prices
sort=1d for descending the first column
Price for 1 Store Before Coupon Price + Shipping Sales Tax
$49.94 http://www.solidsignal.com $79.99 + $9.95 shipping 6% sales tax Michigan
$48.94 http://www.freedtvshop.com $79.99 + $8.95 shipping 6.5% Sales Tax Minnesota
$42.67 http://www.summitsource.com $68.95 + $13.72 shipping ? sales tax
Default softing is ascending
Price for 1 Store Before Coupon Price + Shipping Sales Tax
$42.67 http://www.summitsource.com $68.95 + $13.72 shipping ? sales tax
$48.94 http://www.freedtvshop.com $79.99 + $8.95 shipping 6.5% Sales Tax Minnesota
$49.94 http://www.solidsignal.com $79.99 + $9.95 shipping 6% sales tax Michigan

I did apply the tables to the very old pricing lists just to see how it would look.

I am actually thinking of removing the pricing since it is no longer being updated.
Does anyone use it and want me to leave it?

I removed the tables for the pricing on 8/24/08

Maybe latter I will condense the list of boxes by putting them into a table and also possibly the pictures to clean up the individual posts.
I don't think I will after all.


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post #27 of 29 Old 01-03-2009, 09:44 AM
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Great post, guy. One thing I would add is the caption "All Channel NOW/NEXT type" for the first RCA image.

Seems it takes a long time to load the page with all the images it contains (at least for dial-up). So I recommend an edited version for the Sticky with just the EPG and banner image that appears when one changes channels (or presses the "info" button) for each box, eliminating all the special screens etc.
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post #28 of 29 Old 03-05-2009, 10:34 AM
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This thread is very helpful in giving us visuals of the EPG for many CECB's.

Does the Pal Plus display a brief description of a program, or just the name?
I think that the Channel Master does describe the program. Other CECB's like the Insignia/Zenith describe the current program which is very helpful.

I am looking to get one more CECB, one with a more extended EPG than "now and next," but ideally, I'd like one that lists a brief description of a program.

I am debating between getting the Pal Plus, Channel Master, Apex, or Digital Stream.
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post #29 of 29 Old 03-06-2009, 01:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr100watt View Post

Does the Pal Plus display a brief description of a program...?

Yes, when it's available.
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