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post #1 of 42 Old 08-23-2014, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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PVI VeCOAX MicroMod - Experiences?

Can anyone comment on their experiences with the PVI VeCOAX MicroMod?
http://www.pviusa.com/MICROMOD-Compa...ator_p_30.html

I just test mounted some TVs in my basement to set up a sports bar. I'm looking at using one of two of these... or going the HDMI matrix splitter route. Either way I've got to run Ethernet and RG6 to the sets. I already have a giant box of Cat6 and a reel of RG6 with the tools to make connectors on each end. I have to cut into the drywall regardless - use of existing cabling isn't really an issue.

What I am looking for is something that works well and does so reliably.

How is the quality of the video output? Any freezes, macroblocking, etc?

Has HDCP given you any problems?

Are you using QAM or ATSC? Why?

It hurts to pay more for one of these boxes than I paid for each of my 60" TVs, but it doesn't look like there is an easy/cheap way to do this. At least with these, I can inject the signal into my antenna feed and see it all over the house (as opposed to being limited to... say, 4 outputs before the price goes into the stratosphere).
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post #2 of 42 Old 08-23-2014, 11:58 AM
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post #3 of 42 Old 08-25-2014, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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FWIW - I did use the search function, and I did read the first thread posted there. I did not read the second. That thread did not come back in my results, but it appears to be mostly posters picking nits at each other with the final post being a 2.5 year old insertion of a PVI supplied image and specs.

I was PM'ing with Mr. Rubin in concert with my post. As a result, I'm going to try one of these out, but I'm still interested in hearing about any actual experiences. There seems to be dearth of those on the Internet.
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post #4 of 42 Old 08-25-2014, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerryH View Post
FWIW - I did use the search function, and I did read the first thread posted there. I did not read the second. That thread did not come back in my results, but it appears to be mostly posters picking nits at each other with the final post being a 2.5 year old insertion of a PVI supplied image and specs.

I was PM'ing with Mr. Rubin in concert with my post. As a result, I'm going to try one of these out, but I'm still interested in hearing about any actual experiences. There seems to be dearth of those on the Internet.
It's suspicious to me that you have to sign up to find the prices. Also that there are no other dealers.

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post #5 of 42 Old 08-25-2014, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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post #6 of 42 Old 08-27-2014, 09:20 AM
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Another similar device, from an eBay seller, but like the PVI, with few, if any, other sellers, and limited info:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/THOR-HDMI-to...item19f294892e

On the Thor web site:

http://thorbroadcast.com/sklep-205/produkt-162
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post #7 of 42 Old 08-30-2014, 08:41 AM
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just wanted to add:

I got latest QAM firmware 2.09 HW 1.4A and installed it on 3 single channel modulators

learned from Robert at PVI setting Encoder/Video/low delay> to >mode 1 (fast) or mode 2 (medium)

selecting mode 1, if the encoder in the TV is fast enough to accept it, greatly reduces the latency I saw in the remote control response: all my TV's in the house accepted mode 1 (some 10 TV's) and remote response is noticeably faster

Stay in normal mode if low delay is not needed: switch to mode 2 if mode 1 does not work etc...

this is a great modulator

Last edited by markrubin; 09-01-2014 at 04:26 AM.
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post #8 of 42 Old 07-25-2015, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
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I finally got around to setting up my sports bar area and played with my modulators more than just checking to see if they work.

I torture tested them using a concert bluray - lots of scene changes, sudden lighting changes, motion, etc.

I found that the low latency modes throw away a lot of detail for speed so I turned those off and stuck with "Normal" (I am using ATSC). There were jitter issues as well. Works well in Normal. I am still getting a random 1-2 second audio dropout every 15-30 minutes though.

Mark - where did you find the firmware to download? Did you have to request it from PVI?
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post #9 of 42 Old 07-26-2015, 02:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerryH View Post

Mark - where did you find the firmware to download? Did you have to request it from PVI?
I called them and they emailed a file: the download to the modulator is done using a USB stick

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post #10 of 42 Old 07-26-2015, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.

Did you mention before that you used a standalone tuner to snag the audio for your amp so that the audio is synced with the video? I think I remember you mentioning that, but I can't find the post.
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post #11 of 42 Old 07-26-2015, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerryH View Post
Thanks.

Did you mention before that you used a standalone tuner to snag the audio for your amp so that the audio is synced with the video? I think I remember you mentioning that, but I can't find the post.
HomeworX HW180STB is used to feed whole house audio to sync with TV's that are fed by modulator

if you have TV's with good audio, you may not need it...

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post #12 of 42 Old 08-01-2015, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I did some testing this week and thought I would provide my conclusions.

The bottom line is, unless you have a very compelling reason to use ATSC go with QAM. QAM works great with little or no issues. Of course, your mileage may very as some of this could be TV specific.

I ordered my two modulators as ATSC versions because I have 1 old set that doesn't have a QAM tuner, I thought channel changes might be smoother if every channel was of the same type (OTA and my modulated channels), and I did not think there would be an appreciable difference.

When I first set up my ATSC versions out of the box I drove them with a 1080p signal from a Blu-Ray concert DVD ... lots of motion, scene changes, camera panning, strobe lights, etc.

The manual said to set the bitrate to 16Mbit/sec, so I did. I started out with the Lowdelay on Mode 1. The TVs found the channel without issue and tuned to it. I had the original signal playing on one TV and the modulated signal playing on an identical 60" LG plasma a foot away.

The latency for mode 1 is around a second (maybe less). The concert was playing, but it looked like it had 80's music video special effects added to it... jerky motion that would slow down and then speed back up to catch up. Attempting to watch a basketball game was comical with that happening. I moved the delay to mode2 and things were better, but not fixed. So, finally I set the delay to normal. That fixed the motion issues. The latency however increased to around 3 seconds.

In this configuration (and in with the delay set to the other modes) I had random audio dropouts. So, I contacted PVI. I described the issue and also asked for updated software/firmware for ATSC as well as QAM.

The rep responded the same day... within about 2.5 to 3 hours and suggested that I set the bitrate to 14Mbps. I did. That seemed to fix the audio dropouts.

Comparing the original video to the encoded/decoded version showed what I thought was a significant quality loss. I could see a lot of compression artifacts in scenes with a lot of motion - the concert bluray was a sort of torture test for that.

PVI also provided me with updated software/firmware for both ATSC and QAM.

I first installed updated to the latest ATSC version. After doing so, I was able to increase the bitrate to 15 and then 16Mbps without the audio dropouts returning. That improved the compression artifacts, but the output still didn't really excite me.

So I installed QAM onto the other modulator... boy was that better. The manual indicates that the bitrate should be set to 19Mbps, so I did. The lowdelay mode1 worked much better with QAM. The overall video quality is much better as well - either due to the higher bitrate or superior processing in the TV for QAM. Comparing the two signals, the difference is best described as basically the difference between 1080p and 1080i.

There is more color/warmer color in the original - perhaps due to a wider color gamut. Otherwise, it's hard to see a difference - especially if you are feeding the box 1080i versus 1080p.

Note that the latest firmware includes the ability to set Lowdelay to "Manual" and then choose an incremental delay between 1 and 500. I don't think the firmware that my box came with had that option.

So... customer support is responsive, and the product works as advertised. If you need to distribute HD to a bunch of TVs, it's a workable solution that might be the right one depending on your circumstances.
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post #13 of 42 Old 10-02-2015, 07:47 AM
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Delay concern

Does the delay make it hard use menus on a dvr or bluray changer? I guess playing games though it will not work because of the delay?

How does the delay of the vecoax micromod compare to the delay of the zvpro modulators?
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post #14 of 42 Old 01-02-2017, 12:17 PM
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Recently I was able to pick up an open box VeCoax MicroMod at a steal. I haven't been able to set it up yet though because I need to use ATSC and mine came as QAM. I've e-mailed support twice and still haven't gotten a reply. Can someone please share the most recent ATSC firmware if you have it?

Also do these modulators accept HDCP protected content on the HDMI port (specifically Roku and/or DIRECTV boxes) or do I need to track down an HDMI splitter to take care of that issue?
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post #15 of 42 Old 01-03-2017, 02:53 AM
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PM me with your email and I can send you the FW that I think I still have.

Yes the HDMI input works fine with sources that have HDCP enabled.

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post #16 of 42 Old 01-03-2017, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
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PM me with your email and I can send you the FW that I think I still have.

Yes the HDMI input works fine with sources that have HDCP enabled.
Thanks Dave, I finally heard back from support with a file attachment and set of instructions (in very broken English, but they're there at least). Glad to hear HDCP isn't an issue. I was concerned about that. On a side note, has anyone tried to record the output of one of these modulators with one of the HD PVR devices or a TiVo, etc?
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post #17 of 42 Old 01-03-2017, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
Thanks Dave, I finally heard back from support with a file attachment and set of instructions (in very broken English, but they're there at least). Glad to hear HDCP isn't an issue. I was concerned about that. On a side note, has anyone tried to record the output of one of these modulators with one of the HD PVR devices or a TiVo, etc?

OK that's great to hear. Yes I did have my MicroMod integrated into a tivo system and it worked and recorded everything just fine. You do have to be aware that the newer TiVos are either/or when it comes to using them for antenna or cable, not both as with the older gen ones, the last being the Premiere 2 tuner models that could do both simultaneously. There are ways to get them to do both, but it's tricky and you're limited to there only being one RF coax input.

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I have 5 MicroMods in my HT: this allows for 5 house channels that feed every TV in the house

each MicroMod has an RF in and out, so you can put them in series: 3 modulators in series is the max otherwise you lose signal strength

really a great product and their customer service is very good
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post #19 of 42 Old 01-03-2017, 05:01 PM
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Thanks guys, I'm looking forward to getting it set up. I might have more questions once I start configuring. Do either of you know what "GOP" rate these modulators use by any chance, or is that a configuration option?

Last edited by cpalmer2k; 01-03-2017 at 05:06 PM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markrubin View Post
I have 5 MicroMods in my HT: this allows for 5 house channels that feed every TV in the house

each MicroMod has an RF in and out, so you can put them in series: 3 modulators in series is the max otherwise you lose signal strength

really a great product and their customer service is very good
What do you guys recommend using as my RF power level on the modulator? I'm mixing it with my existing antenna stations so I don't want to overload the tuner with my modulated station. The cable run is short- less than 15 feet from the modulator to the TiVo location?
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post #21 of 42 Old 01-07-2017, 03:13 AM
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What do you guys recommend using as my RF power level on the modulator? I'm mixing it with my existing antenna stations so I don't want to overload the tuner with my modulated station. The cable run is short- less than 15 feet from the modulator to the TiVo location?
default modulator output is -16 dBm: I would start with the default level and see how it works first

I feed everything through a Channel Vision 550 distribution amp which has 3 inputs: one for antenna and 2 modulators: I think it provides some isolation between inputs

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PVI VeCOAX MicroMod - Experiences?

I agree with Mark. Start at default and then see how it reacts from there. I had mine higher but I was feeding my whole house.

cpalmer , are you the same person that messaged me on TiVo Community Forum? If so, I'm not able to reply to you there. I've been banned......don't ask! PM me here if you need to ask me anything more.

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post #23 of 42 Old 01-08-2017, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
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I agree with Mark. Start at default and then see how it reacts from there. I had mine higher but I was feeding my whole house.

cpalmer , are you the same person that messaged me on TiVo Community Forum? If so, I'm not able to reply to you there. I've been banned......don't ask! PM me here if you need to ask me anything more.
Thanks for the heads up. I didn't put two and two together. I'd read many of your threads on there about these modulators and TiVos. I sent you a PM here.
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post #24 of 42 Old 01-10-2017, 06:32 PM
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So far this thing has been a major headache. It didn't come with any instructions, and the only copy I can find online appears to have been put together in 2013 and is sadly out of date. I'm still using it in QAM mode at the moment and can't figure out for the life of me how to actually set the QAM channel # of 8.8 I want to use. I've tried where it seems like it would be, but when I do a scan on my QAM TV it sees it as 1-1. No matter what I do I can't get it to change.

I'm going to flash the ATSC firmware tomorrow. I hope it is more user friendly on it than it is now. I'm seeing some of the symptoms you guys previously described on the QAM side though. The picture would often break up or blur in fast motion sequences.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
So far this thing has been a major headache. It didn't come with any instructions, and the only copy I can find online appears to have been put together in 2013 and is sadly out of date. I'm still using it in QAM mode at the moment and can't figure out for the life of me how to actually set the QAM channel # of 8.8 I want to use. I've tried where it seems like it would be, but when I do a scan on my QAM TV it sees it as 1-1. No matter what I do I can't get it to change.

I'm going to flash the ATSC firmware tomorrow. I hope it is more user friendly on it than it is now. I'm seeing some of the symptoms you guys previously described on the QAM side though. The picture would often break up or blur in fast motion sequences.
Do you have their manual titled "atsc-manual.pdf"? It's also from 2014, but has a series of 50 or more screen shots including setting the channel number.
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Do you have their manual titled "atsc-manual.pdf"? It's also from 2014, but has a series of 50 or more screen shots including setting the channel number.
No I don't have it but I sure would appreciate it if you could share though? I just got a one page handout "quick start" guide in the box. When I asked support for the manual and ATSC firmware they e-mailed me some 13 page .pdf that only has two images in the entire thing and is very vague. The online version I found is only 8 pages, so it is worse than that.
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No I don't have it but I sure would appreciate it if you could share though? I just got a one page handout "quick start" guide in the box. When I asked support for the manual and ATSC firmware they e-mailed me some 13 page .pdf that only has two images in the entire thing and is very vague. The online version I found is only 8 pages, so it is worse than that.
I sent you a private message.
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post #28 of 42 Old 01-30-2017, 02:00 PM
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OK I've finally gotten some time to play it with, and have tried to install the firmware as instructed by PVI. I put it on two USB sticks - one formatted as FAT32 and another as NTSC and it won't recognize either. When I connected it the green USB light comes on, but then it goes right back off again. When I go to update it says "Insert USB Device". Any one have any suggestions? Can it only use older USB sticks by some chance?
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post #29 of 42 Old 01-31-2017, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
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OK I've finally gotten some time to play it with, and have tried to install the firmware as instructed by PVI. I put it on two USB sticks - one formatted as FAT32 and another as NTSC and it won't recognize either. When I connected it the green USB light comes on, but then it goes right back off again. When I go to update it says "Insert USB Device". Any one have any suggestions? Can it only use older USB sticks by some chance?
I haven't actually changed the firmware, but did request and receive the QAM and ATSC versions. These brief instructions were included:

Please unzip and copy the attached file to a standard USB memory pen ( NOT a sandisk or disk drives )

THE FILE NAME ON THE ROOT OF THE PEN MUST BE update.jic - do not change it !

Then plug it into the USB Port of your MICROMOD

1) The Display will show the pen is initializing
2) Press THE LOCK / ENABLE button
3) Navigate with the down arrow to USB then click ENTER
4) Navigate to UPDATE then click ENTER and then enter and select Yes to begin the updatge
5) It will count up to 99%
6) When it is finished POWER OFF / POWER ON the unit

IT IS MOST IMPORTANT YOU TURN OFF THE MICROMOD EVERY TIME ONE UPGRADE FINISH TO LOAD
REMEMBER TO TURN IT OFF AND ON PRIOR TO ANY OTHER OPERATION

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post #30 of 42 Old 02-01-2017, 05:42 AM
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I finally figured it out. It has to be a 2gb or less USB drive made by someone other can Sandisk. I had a horrible time finding one that would work. Finally I used my wife's ancient 1gb flash drive formatted with a FAT file system and it read it right away.
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