Information regarding Samsung TS-160 issues. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2402 Old 10-11-2002, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I have modified the topic title regarding the 160. The rest of this post and topic is unaltered. It will remain at the top until further notice.



This afternoon I spoke with the Senior Manager for all Directv standard and high definition products for Samsung.

I provided him a list of 6 items which I felt needed immediate attention concerning the TS-160.

Namely they were:

1) Whenever you switch from DSS to OTA to a "no signal" channel the box will, from that point on not output any video or audio. Switching to any other channel (either DSS or OTA) makes no difference. It takes turning off the 160 and toggling the power to the unit before gaining access again. (I need to pull the power plug). I also shared from other folks here that the same situation occurs just channel surfing OTA.

2) Chroma (color) level is abnormally high on the component output.

3) Many have noticed (via the avsform), as well as I, that we have gotten a message that says "insert valid access card". I took the card out and re-inserted it and the problem went away. So far this problem (for me) has only occurred once. Obviously, unless this is a repeatable problem, this is the least of my concerns. But I wanted him to know about it.

4) TIVO users can not control the TS-160 because TIVO can't get the Infra-red (IR) codes to operate the TS-160.

5) Caller ID does not include name information even though I pay for that to be sent to all my phones. It only shows the number.

6) The guide gets unrequested add in channels. You set yourself up for the channels you want listed and the next day more get added that you did not specify.

I was told in no uncertain terms that ALL of these issues would be corrected in a timely manner.

When talking to him it because obvious to me that this guy understands totally the impact these issues would have on this product. He WILL have this corrected. Because of the nature about the receiver not outputting video or audio when changing channels OTA he suggested for the time being the receiver should be used primarily as a Directv receiver. But if you need to switch to OTA then be careful not to tune in a OTA channel which may not have enough signal to lock the digital channel properly. You have total control over this. For example, one station in Milwaukee only operates part time. The thing to do then is dont select that station when it is off the air. The same goes for stations far away or running low power which might not lock the signal in properly. Just avoid those stations for now.

What has been described as a "Red Push" problem is merely (in technical terms) a high chroma level problem. This will be resolved.

Caller ID with "NAME" will be added.

Access card messages, until researched, may be Directv related. It will be researched fully to avoid those messages in the future.

Channel add-ins may also be a combination of TS-160/Directv software. That will be researched and fixed as well.

Infrared codes will be shared with TIVO to allow all TIVO systems to control the TS-160.

So, now anyone reading this needs to do their part. Which is to recognize why you purchased this box in the first place and be patient to get these resolutions to you. For me, I told them I will wait til I get the fixes. That answer convinced this director of engineering to go forward with this and do so quickly. But you need to be reasonable with your time frame expectations. We are not only dealing with Samsung but Directv, TIVO, companys involved with guide info etc and phone company issues with caller id. But, for me I will stick by Samsung. The feature set is too good to ignore nor give up.

In summary, I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to talk directly with the guy who is in charge of the engineering which created the TS-160. He was attentive, concerned and responsive. I think with people like that on our side, we need to give him support by not coming up with rash decisions on our part and to stick with the reason why you got this product in the first place. It WILL be a win-win scenario.

Oh, I expect people to react to this post in a professional manner. I realize there may be some who would want to pan this product just to validate their switch to another one. Keep it positive gang.

Regards

Rees
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post #2 of 2402 Old 10-11-2002, 05:54 PM
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Judging from experience, Ill believe it when I see it. I dont know why you seem so certain that they are going to fix these issues right away. Companies yes custyomers to death all the time. Im not saying thats whats happening here, but it is certainly a possiblity.
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post #3 of 2402 Old 10-11-2002, 06:09 PM
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Rees,

Thank you for the effort you've put forth thus far. You've gone beyond the normal call in getting this type of information and sharing it with us.

I for one am very grateful as my TS160 just shipped today after being on order for a couple of weeks. I based my decision to go with this unit on early positive reaction, only to spend the past few days wondering if I'd made a huge mistake.

Based on your conversation(s) with Samsung I'm willing to work through the issues as I don't see them as fatal, merely inconvenient and possibly a bit annoying. Provided there is relatively prompt action on Samsung's part (or at least dialogue that they are working on the problems) I'll stick by them as I think this receiver has the potential to be quite good.

Thanks again for the information you've provided and I'll report back with any issues once I have the TS160 in my system.
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post #4 of 2402 Old 10-11-2002, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I forgot to add that I will do my best to keep everyone posted on any feedback I get as well. A good dialog is always the start to first defining the problem as well as repairing it.

Oh yes, if anyone has discovered any other repeatable problems concerning the TS-160 not defined above, please share them here. I was told that I can contact them at any time to add more feedback to them. He provided me not only his work number but his cell number. Now that is what I call commitment!

:) Regards :)

Rees
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post #5 of 2402 Old 10-11-2002, 07:24 PM
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Rees,

Thanks a lot of the information, I also ordered today (shipping out Monday) the Samsung TS-160 but after reading about the problems on the other threads I was about ready to cancel my order. I think I'll give the unit a shot but I was wondering how the changes could be implemented into our machines? Is the upgrades simply firmware done while being hooked up to DirecTV? I hope this isn't a stupid question but I just wasn't sure how this could be done. Like I said was going to cancel it and get the Sony SAT-HD200 but this unit looked so promising, hopefully the problems will be solved relatively quickly it'll be worth it.

HD DVD - 242
Blu-ray - 47
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post #6 of 2402 Old 10-11-2002, 07:35 PM
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Reading the laundry list that ReesR listed earlier in this thread, they all seem to be fixable by firmware upgrades, most likely sent via satellite.

The guide issues (adding channels back in) has occurred on at least one other STB and it was fixed via firmware.

The default chroma levels can probably be toned down via firmware, or we can just change our TVs color settings to account for it.

The caller ID thing is most likely fixable via s/w.

The access card issues could be D* issues, not even with the receiver.

The only thing I question may or may not be fixable via firmware is the issue where you lose video/audio depending on what channels you are tuning to. But, if Samsung can re-create the problem they can determine whats going on.

All-in-all, I think if Samsung really does help like they say they will, this box will be the closest to the "best" STB out there.

-Chris
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post #7 of 2402 Old 10-11-2002, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Brassua
............I was wondering how the changes could be implemented into our machines? Is the upgrades simply firmware done while being hooked up to DirecTV?
Yes.
DirecTV stb software upgrades are sent via the sat.

'Better Living Through Modern, Expensive, Electronic Devices'

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post #8 of 2402 Old 10-11-2002, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Brassua
I was wondering how the changes could be implemented into our machines? Is the upgrades simply firmware done while being hooked up to DirecTV?
In a word, yes. Updates can be provided uniformly either one receiver at a time or uniformly across an entire base of receivers while receiving the Directv digital stream.

Rees
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post #9 of 2402 Old 10-11-2002, 10:17 PM
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Rees, I am impressed!!! GOOD WORK! Ask him if he'd like to be my Special Guest at the AVS Special Guests forum, and if so, please e-mail me. Thanks.

"Doug Winsor" used to troll at some AV Forums as "Steve Bruzonsky"! My home theater at:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1158431
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post #10 of 2402 Old 10-12-2002, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Steve:

Thank you for your comments. I will ask him. However because Samsung considers Monday a holiday I doubt I will talk with him prior to Tuesday. He appears to me a special guy. Very low key but genuine. I don't know if he would agree but I will ask him. Thanks for asking.

Take care

Rees
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post #11 of 2402 Old 10-12-2002, 02:25 AM
 
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After having both receivers (SONY and Sammy) I would recommend sending back your Sammy's and paying the extra money for the Sony.....it really is a much better unit.....
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post #12 of 2402 Old 10-12-2002, 02:55 AM
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One cannot help but be skeptical about these claims. Perhaps all these problems will be fixed, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

After all, these STBs come from the same Samsung that cannot see how dismally their new $4000 DLP sets perform with DirecTV signals.

I certainly hope the box is fixed, especially because one of the other new boxes (I forget which) is a rebadge of the Samsung. And I certainly believe it's all fixable, but really we'll have to wait and see.

Mark

There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working. (Oh, and plasma didn't die because of logistics problems, nor does OLED ship in big boxes because it comes from Korea.)
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post #13 of 2402 Old 10-12-2002, 10:54 AM
 
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Like I say....get rid of it before 30 days and get a SONY or ZENITH....you'll
be glad you made the switch.
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post #14 of 2402 Old 10-12-2002, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Folks:

I just got an idea. Tuesday, when people come back to work at Samsung, I will give another call to the Sr Mgr and suggest to him that if he wants to take the total lead in the high def STB market that he seriously consider that he provide improved "stretch" modes. Also, to be able to control modes while in HD.

Put yourself in the thick of the development process. You would have no idea what the competition (Sony) would come out with and with the feature set Samsung came up with they most likely said to themselves we have a winner here.

Now Sony comes along as the Samsung is released and provides some pretty nice format options. People now have a decision to make. Go with the format improvements or go with SD and HD output at the same time. To me I had to have SD and HD at same time. BUT....I must admit that improvements in the stretch modes on the Samsung would be wonderful too. So, I said to myself......Self! Why didn't you suggest that when you had the opportunity?

Well, Tuesday I am going to do exactly that. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I have learned long ago that the worst somebody can say is no but often if there is demand for something the answer can easily be yes. Hence my decision to talk to them again about this idea.

My guess would be this might take longer but who knows maybe this whole process could be implemented in stages. But whatever the process is I think I made the right decision to buy the Samsung.

Good feature set + Good people who listen = Better box.

We all then would winners. Samsung and the consumer.

The ball then would go into Sony's court and the competition continues. We would then win again by forcing even better boxes. And so forth and forth.

To those nay sayers I say "keep the faith". Also, I am not saying that the Sony is a bad box. I hope everyone understands that. It's just not the box for me. If the Sony is a good match for you then I bow to you. If you look at my home theater you would see almost everything here already had the label "Sony" on it. Heck, I am even typing this on a Sony Vaio. (grin)

Let the force be with us all.

Regards,

Rees
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post #15 of 2402 Old 10-12-2002, 01:18 PM
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This forum is very helpful. I was almost ready to pull the trigger, switch off cable and get Direct TV. I currently have a T-150, and based on that experience I was going to order a 160 and eBay the 150; now I'll wait a little bit to see what happens. I will also explore the Sony product.
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post #16 of 2402 Old 10-12-2002, 01:37 PM
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Rees,

Wonderful breakthrough! I have tried so many times to talk to somebody at Samsung with in-depth knowledge and have failed miserably. I do have a request - any chances of either asking for discrete power on/off codes if they exist or asking Samsung to include it in the 160/165? In fact will it not be needed by TIVO to turn the receiver on and off?

Thank you.

Paul - with complicated setup/Pronto/and desperately looking for any of 150/151/160/165 power discretes - presently own 150 and going to buy 160 or 165
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post #17 of 2402 Old 10-12-2002, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
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paul_j_ghosh:

I was told that the codes would be officially released to TIVO. Remember, the TIVO only requires channel changing capability. Hence I doubt that TIVO would require power on and off codes. Just an educated guess on that though.

If you require power on/off codes why not purchase a learning remote? Maybe I don't understand your particular application which requires your stated need.

Rees
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post #18 of 2402 Old 10-12-2002, 02:58 PM
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Rees,

My apologies - I should elaborate. Most consumer electronic components accompanied by a remote control have a single power button. If the device is off then pressing the button turns it on and if the device is on then pressing the button turns it off. This is known as "toggle" behavior. Now imagine that there were two buttons on the remote dealing with power. One labeled ON and the other OFF. Now if the device is on then pressing the ON button will have no effect and pressing the OFF button will turn it off. If the device is off then pressing the ON button will turn it on and pressing the OFF button will have no effect. Simply put we have remote codes/commands which always have the same effect on the device regardless of its current state. This is known as "discrete" behavior. Home Theater arrangements comprising of different components manufactured by different companies can get quite cumbersome. For example, to watch HDTV the following actions may need to be taken:

1. Turn on Monitor/TV
2. Turn on audio decoder/preamp/receiver/amplifier
3. Turn on HDTV receiver - SIR-T1xx
4. Set the input on the audio decoder/preamp to HDTV
5. Set the input on Monitor/TV to component or RGB or S-video - whichever is appropriate

Sets of actions, such as those listed above, can be combined into a "macro" on programmable remotes like a Phillips Pronto. These are only possible if discrete remote codes are available for each of the desired actions.

Now suppose you want to turn the entire system off. A macro comprising of discrete power off codes for all the various components can be created. The result would be to turn off any devices which are on and have no effect on the others. For the scenario described earlier it would turn off the TV/Audio decoder/preamp and the HDTV receiver while have no effect on a VCR/DVD player/CD changer which are already off.

I hope what I have described makes sense. What I am requesting of Samsung is to provide discrete power on and off remote codes for their HDTV receivers. Several manufacturers like Rotel, Sony, Panasonic and JVC provide discrete codes for quite a few functions among their product lines. I just hope Samsung also takes the lead in this arena. There was a rumor some time ago that Samsung was protecting these codes for a Home Theater Control PC. No recent news on that front at remotecentral.com.

I know very little about TIVO since I do not own one but if it allows one to record shows tuned by the HDTV receiver does it not need to turn on the tuner if it is off and perhaps turn it off when it is done recording?

Paul.
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post #19 of 2402 Old 10-12-2002, 04:56 PM
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Another possible issue with the Samsung is being explored in a separate thread. The short of it being that Im not getting sound out of all of my a/v speakers even if Im on something that is Dolby Digital. The same exact setup except using a DVD player turns on all 6 channels, so I have to figure its the Samsung not working correctly.

Has anyone else seen this? If so, I think we need to add this to the list of things they need to fix. At that point, from me, they get the remainder of my 30 day return period before I give up on it. Caller ID without name, high default chroma levels that can be fixed are fine, but if my 600.00 digital satellite receiver with Dolby Digital cant get my receiver to output 6 channels, Im done.

-Chris
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post #20 of 2402 Old 10-12-2002, 06:44 PM
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ReesR: it's sad the product was released with all of these problems. You'd think these big companies would pick a handfull of savvy techies like many of us on this forum and pound on the box prior it going into production so problems like your laundry list can be dealt with prior to them going into production. Look at all of the chaos this is going to cause as people get disenchanted with the 160 very quickly (many not knowing about forums like this to find out the scoop). Very sad.
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post #21 of 2402 Old 10-12-2002, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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paul_j_ghosh:

Your request, while valid, is still off topic for what we are trying to accomplish on this topic. I hope you understand that if I agreed to take your personal request then others would then hit me with theirs. My suggestion would be to contact Samsung directly at the same number I did. It is 800-522-2946. I still want to keep the discussion with Samsung that which will benefit all TS-160 users.

On another issue:

I would like to get more verification about the "not getting sound out of all of my a/v speakers even if I'm on a channel that is Dolby Digital" issue." as chrisexv6 mentioned two posts above. Anyone else having this problem?

Rees
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post #22 of 2402 Old 10-13-2002, 02:26 AM
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Until it has a firewire output to record hdtv from directv to dvhs or ?? , they are wasting their time if they want me to buy one. Ill stick with my old E86 until someone can build a box that allows recording.

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post #23 of 2402 Old 10-13-2002, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Davenlr:

Just so you know the movie industry is holding Directv hostage. By contract, Directv will not approve firewire outputs from a Directv receiver simply because Directv must rely on the movie industry to provide Directv their movie content. And because the movie industry is so fearful of losing content the movie industry has made it a condition of movie availability that Directv will never allow firewire to be used.

Rees
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post #24 of 2402 Old 10-13-2002, 08:16 PM
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ReesR

I just want to give you more info on the video/audio dropout.

I have a solid 100% signal strength on all my OTA digital channels, I have 86% on one channel. It does not matter if I go from DSS to OTA or OTA to OTA for lock ups. I can however make it fail every time by putting the exact OTA digital channel number (i.e. 2-1, 2-2, 4-1, 5-1, 7-1, 7-2, 25-1 or 38-1) and that's going from DSS or OTA digital channel. If I use the channel up/dn button it's random if it will works or not. Using the back button sometimes causes lock ups. I haven't had a problem changing channels from the guide yet. One thing I did notice, if I check the signal strength on any of the digital OTA channels after a lock up all the signal strength's drop to 77%.

Samsung seemed receptive to my calls on Friday as well, but I was not as fortunate enough to talk to an engineer. They did however tell me they were unable to reproduce the problem in my last conversation with them on Friday.

Hope this helps.
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post #25 of 2402 Old 10-13-2002, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes it does. I will try it here too.

Please try this one too:

Place 160 in OTA mode. Select channel 367 by typing it in from the keyboard. See if it locks up for you.

Rees
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post #26 of 2402 Old 10-13-2002, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ReesR
Davenlr:

Just so you know the movie industry is holding Directv hostage. By contract, Directv will not approve firewire outputs from a Directv receiver simply because Directv must rely on the movie industry to provide Directv their movie content. And because the movie industry is so fearful of losing content the movie industry has made it a condition of movie availability that Directv will never allow firewire to be used.
Just to be clear, there is no public information regarding this subject from DirecTV or the MPAA. The opinion stated here is just that: an opinion.

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post #27 of 2402 Old 10-14-2002, 06:14 AM
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Doesnt going from OTA to 367 cause a change in satellites? Maybe thats the circuitry thats hanging the box up.

I will try this as well when I get home.........but my locals are on the same sat as 367 (I think) so mine may not lockup because it might not be changing sats. Sometimes I get a brief "searching for signal" message when going from certain channels to my locals, but thats all. I was getting that message a lot more with my Philips receiver, and not at all with my Hughes, but since the Sammy changes channels so much faster than the Hughes, Im happy.

BTW - either a total reboot fixed the DD issue I was having, or my digital OTA stations were having trouble broadcasting, because last night I was able to watch Dr. Doolittle on ABC complete with 5.1 and Hi-Def.

The box stays, for now.

-Chris
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post #28 of 2402 Old 10-14-2002, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ReesR
I forgot to add that I will do my best to keep everyone posted on any feedback I get as well. A good dialog is always the start to first defining the problem as well as repairing it.

Oh yes, if anyone has discovered any other repeatable problems concerning the TS-160 not defined above, please share them here. I was told that I can contact them at any time to add more feedback to them. He provided me not only his work number but his cell number. Now that is what I call commitment!

:) Regards :)
Rees: Please add an item re: a 1 1/2" shift of picture when using DVI input. There was one other person that commented on this same thing...

Thanks...

p.s. other than this one item, my TS160 is working great. Wish others were having a better experience...

but I had a magic box, so what do I know?...
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post #29 of 2402 Old 10-14-2002, 08:23 AM
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First of all, considering the reports of the initial batch of DLP sets, I'm not surprised their first attempt at a DirecTV box has its share of glitches as well.

I would recommend those that have purchased this box, especially considering the fact that the Toshiba and RCA boxes (the only other 2 coming out that will output 480i and HD at the same time) are delayed into 2003, to consider their options when deciding rather to return this box or not.

When I purchased a DirecTivo, there was a significant glitch in the hardware that reversed audio channels on digital output. Tivo admitted the problem and said they would fix it. Instead of just taking their word for it, or just returning the box, I got the vendor I bought the box from to agree to a extended return period in writing. Basically if Tivo put their money where their mouth was, the manufacturer and the retailer were off the hook. If not, they were taking a defective box back after many months of use.

Maybe this is unrealistic to expect again, but it would be worth a try. If enough people that bought the box from one retailer threatened to return the box unless this was fixed, imagine the pressure put on the manufacturer to come through on their promises.

Or, as an alternative, since we seem to have a receptive individual at Samsung, maybe they could give some kind of guarantee that you wouldn't be stuck with a defective box.

I seriously doubt the person at Samsung referenced in this thread would have the inclination to do this. They know they are going to be the low cost leader on DirecTV DVI boxes for the forseeable future, so they are holding all the cards.

BTW, rhetorical question, what is so $%$(*)&@ hard about making a decent DirecTV HD box? I'm going to have to buy this box in the next few months, and seeing that I have resisted my HD urges for years, this boils my blood.

Matt
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post #30 of 2402 Old 10-14-2002, 08:47 AM
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I am returning my Samsung 160 for many of the above reasons. I have tried several of the boxes (Sony HD100, Toshiba), and keep going back to my good old RCA box. Yes, the interface is clunky, but I still feel that the picture is the most accurate of the boxes I've tried -- no red push, right-on brightness and contrast levels (that exactly match my other DirecTV boxes).

I'm sure that the right combination of picture quality and features is out there -- maybe -- someday. Until then, the RCA box is, in my opinion, the one to beat.
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