PrimeDTV PHD-101 / PHD-200 / PHD-205 / PHD-205LE ATSC/QAM Tuner Official Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 844 Old 01-31-2006, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, my curiosity got the better of me today and I ordered the PHD-101. Total cost with shipping was $179.70. The unit says it does ATSC and QAM, but it also mentions here and there NTSC. It'll be interesting to see if it does NTSC or not. I also plan to open it up and I'll post pics when I get it. I'll compare it to my current LG LST-4200a and my Sylvania SRZ3000.

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post #2 of 844 Old 01-31-2006, 07:19 PM
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I received mine yesterday. The outside packaging is not very good quality and the remote is very flimsy. Performance wise, it found all 17 locals here (Minneapolis) and it seems to be equal to if not better than my LG 3510 (given very limited viewing). Right now I'm using the component outs to my Sanyo Z2. DVI will come soon when my HDMI switch arrives.
As far as I can tell it does not receive NTSC.

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post #3 of 844 Old 02-04-2006, 11:04 AM
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Anyone else try it?
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post #4 of 844 Old 02-04-2006, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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My unit should be here on Monday, so I'll have my thoughts posted then.

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post #5 of 844 Old 02-06-2006, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I got the unit today and so far it is average for a box, with things I like and things I don't like. For the OTA part, I think it is a good ATSC only tuner.

The only thing that I don't really like about it is that the autoscan has to find the channel for the unit to tune to that channel. Once it finds channels, you can then add or remove the channels from the channel list. There is a neat button, "List", that will bring up a list off all avaliable channels and you can just select the one you want. You are able to tune to a channel or a specific sub-channel.

The EPG only brings up the current channel with no guide screen for all channels. The remote seems to be the exact remote that is used with the Hisense tuner, except for different colors, etc. Channel changing speed seems to be quite quick.

For the QAM part, I am not so impressed. The first time scanning through my channels, it picked up over 320 channels. Most of those are encrypted, are my music choice or other audio only channels, and are the neighbors OnDemand movies. On this first scan, it did not pick up the 3 clear QAM channels I do get. So I think ok, maybe something is wrong so I reconnect my 4200a and it is working fine. So i rescan with the PHD box and it finds the channels this time. One quirk with the QAM side is that you cannot tune to a specific sub channel, only a main channel. This means that to listen to sub-channel 28 of my music choice channel, I have to punch in 63 (my music choice channel), then channel down 28 times to get to that channel. What a pain. This box will automatically add all the encrypted channels to the lineup, so I manually have to go back in and delete them. The 4200a would automatically not show those channels in the lineup. Another thing I don't like about the QAM tuner is that it takes forever to do a channel scan, and it doesn't save a channel list for QAM and ATSC. So for me, when I switch between cable and air, it takes forever, whereas the 4200a just switches the channel listings it is using.

All of that may seem harsh, but since it has usb, most of those problems are in the software which should be upgradable via the usb.

I mainly got it as an ATSC box for an LCD I'm planning on buying, and needed an ATSC box with DVI. I'm quite happy with the ATSC part of the box, with the one minor problem of having to have the channel in the lineup prior to being able to tune to that channel.

I'll post more thoughts as I use the box.












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post #6 of 844 Old 02-06-2006, 05:33 PM
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The tuner is the Alps TDHU2, same as my Sylvania 6900DTE OTA STB, AVER TVHD MCE A180 PCI card and some versions of the ATI AIR2PC-ATSC-PCI card.

It contains the ATI NXT2004 ATSC/QAM DECODER chip: equalizer capability -8 to +45 usec.

Unfortunately, it isn't in the same class as ATI's latest THEATER chip.
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post #7 of 844 Old 02-06-2006, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I've come across some other little quirks, but don't really affect me to much.

The first is when you use the aspect button to change the aspect of SD material to Cinema mode, and then change to an HD channel, the HD channel is streched vertically just a slight bit. By pressing aspect again, restores the HD pic to correct proportions. This only happens in the Cinema aspect, Normal, Full, and Zoom do not affect an HD picture.

The other problem is that when you select 480i output, the screen size is still set at 16:9 with no aspect control for HD programs. When hooked to an analog TV, HD pictures are shown in a 4:3 window, streched vertically. Since I wont be hooking the unit to an analog TV, this doesn't affect me.

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post #8 of 844 Old 02-07-2006, 01:56 AM
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Micro-ATX is looking better and better to me
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post #9 of 844 Old 02-07-2006, 06:05 AM
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Does the QAM tuning of the PHD-101 go all the way up to 135, or does it stop at 125 like
the Samsung SIR-T451?

So far the PHD-101 looks like a step backward from the T451 as far as usability goes. But if the QAM tuning is full range, I might get one anyway just to recover the channels that Comcast moved out of my T451's range.
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post #10 of 844 Old 02-07-2006, 06:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, it goes all the way to 135. You also have the choice of STD, IRC, and HRC for the cable band. I'm going to test out their customer support and email them about some of the problems. It seems like most all the usability flaws could be fixed via a firmware update. If so, this box could be a really good performer.

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post #11 of 844 Old 02-07-2006, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

The tuner is the Alps TDHU2, same as my Sylvania 6900DTE OTA STB, AVER TVHD MCE A180 PCI card and some versions of the ATI AIR2PC-ATSC-PCI card.

It contains the ATI NXT2004 ATSC/QAM DECODER chip: equalizer capability -8 to +45 usec.

Unfortunately, it isn't in the same class as ATI's latest THEATER chip.


Where did you find this info? Was this based on the photos that were posted in this thread earlier?
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post #12 of 844 Old 02-07-2006, 05:24 PM
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The above photos clearly show the Alps TDHU2 Tuner Module, which I immediately recognized as being same as in my Sylvania 6900DTE OTA STB.

If you Google "Alps TDHU2", you'll find that various LINUX folk have run across the same Tuner Module in the aforementioned PCI Tuner Cards,
which then leads to info re what is inside when they view the associated LINUX software driver software.

You should also find an Excel (*.xls) file: TUNER MODULES, which I posted with info I have gleaned from various websites on what
is contained in various Tuner Modules, STB's and PCI Cards.

===================================
FYI: If you are a UberGeek with a high speed connection (or you disable images), you might find the fol. website of interest.
It has photos, chip identification and selected LINUX driver code excepts for what appears to be any and all PCI Tuner Cards---WORLDWIDE:
http://www.bttv-gallery.de/
The end of the file has info on a few USB Tuners and a brief, incomplete tuner identification "decoder"....of sorts...
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post #13 of 844 Old 02-07-2006, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

The above photos clearly show the Alps TDHU2 Tuner Module, which I immediately recognized as being same as in my Sylvania 6900DTE OTA STB.

Thanks for the info...

I also had a Sylvania 6900DTE, but I'm returning it to get something with QAM capability. I was pretty happy with the Sylvania, but I kept having intermittent problems with my local OTA FOX affiliate, which was broadcasting at a relatively high UHF frequency (58). I'm going to play around with my antenna some more, but I wanted QAM as backup in case I decide to try for HD over basic cable.
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post #14 of 844 Old 02-07-2006, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for the broken picture links. I'm currently switching from MS IIS to Suse/Apache so most of my web content isn't working right now. I'll have them back up in a day or so.

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post #15 of 844 Old 02-08-2006, 08:56 AM
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I emailed epvision yesterday to ask if the PHD-101 supported NTSC in addition to ATSC and QAM. Here's their response:

"Thank you very much for your email. PHD-101 can only do digital signals, not NTSC in this moment. I apologize for that. Another model will be due on summer time should have NTSC reception capability."

Unless a great deal on one of the LG 4200a's falls into my lap, it looks like I'll wait until this new unit makes an appearance.
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post #16 of 844 Old 02-08-2006, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I hooked up the unit via an optical cable today, but found out that there is no sound via the optical port. I emailed them about that and the other glitches I found. I stated that if they cannot be fixed, I'll have to return the unit. Hopefully, I'll hear back soon.

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post #17 of 844 Old 02-08-2006, 06:52 PM
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hmm... that isn't very reassuring. I ended up ordering one today

Hopefully this isn't a problem common to all units. I see there is no coax audio out, either.
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post #18 of 844 Old 02-08-2006, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, by looking around the epboard site, it looks like they are more into the oem market, which could be a good thing. I think that it might be easier to get into contact with the actual engineers with a company like this, whereas a company like LG or Samsung, you gotta go through stupid sales reps. Since photawn got an email response in one day, hopefully I do to. I emailed the design link instead of the sales link.

As far as the optical out goes, there is defnitely a red light shining out of the port, but just no sound. That tells me that the port itself is working, but that it isn't sending out anything useful.

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post #19 of 844 Old 02-08-2006, 06:59 PM
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oryan_dunn,

on a somewhat unrelated note, have you had any luck getting a universal remote to work with the box?
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post #20 of 844 Old 02-08-2006, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I haven't even tried. I've got a learning Philips that will probably work it after I program it, but I haven't tried any of the precoded codes. I don't want to loose all my 4200a learned buttons just yet.

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post #21 of 844 Old 02-08-2006, 09:21 PM
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o_d, I hope you get the same quick response I got. Full disclosure, though: I emailed the sales link. They tend to jump on things a bit faster because it means mo' money...engineers tend to hang back a bit because it means mo' work.

Looking forward to following your evaluation...
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post #22 of 844 Old 02-08-2006, 10:00 PM
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My god, I can't believe how little there is inside of that thing! They just keep getting smaller and smaller...
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post #23 of 844 Old 02-09-2006, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oryan_dunn View Post

Well, I hooked up the unit via an optical cable today, but found out that there is no sound via the optical port. I emailed them about that and the other glitches I found. I stated that if they cannot be fixed, I'll have to return the unit. Hopefully, I'll hear back soon.

FYI: When I first plugged my Sylvania 6900DTE OTA STB into my Sony Surround Receiver, it recognized the DD5.1 signal coming in via either coax or optical input,
but I never heard anything. It would even change between DD5.1 for surround programs and DD2.0 for commercials.
Funai Service Center found something, "fixed" it and returned the unit....but still no-go.

I finally got the coax/optical output to work after replacing my old Sony with a new Pioneer Receiver.

From your profile, it appears that you are using different equipment....but the DD chips might be the same....

You should try the PHD-101 with a couple other Surround Receivers to see if there might be an underlying incompatibility problem....
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post #24 of 844 Old 02-09-2006, 05:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oryan_dunn View Post

Well, by looking around the epboard site, it looks like they are more into the oem market, which could be a good thing. I think that it might be easier to get into contact with the actual engineers with a company like this, whereas a company like LG or Samsung, you gotta go through stupid sales reps.

I know what you mean... it reminds me of Momitsu with their DVD players. The engineers had been very responsive IIRC.


I had no problems with optical audio out with the Sylvania 6900DTE and my Harmon Kardon receiver, so maybe I'm in luck.
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post #25 of 844 Old 02-09-2006, 05:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Symbios View Post

My god, I can't believe how little there is inside of that thing! They just keep getting smaller and smaller...

Thats what I thought. It looks like most of it is handled in the chip in the center. It does have 2 chips of Samsung RAM for a total of 64MB of RAM. Pretty soon, they'll probably be able to get all the processing on a chip the same size as the actual tuner.

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post #26 of 844 Old 02-09-2006, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

You should try the PHD-101 with a couple other Surround Receivers to see if there might be an underlying incompatibility problem....

I'll give that a whirl, but if that works, then I would still need to return it, since I'm not going to get a new audio receiver (although I really want one that can do dts and dplII).

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post #27 of 844 Old 02-09-2006, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nameless33 View Post

Micro-ATX is looking better and better to me

Did you mean that an HTPC is looking better for you? I've been torn between the ease-of-use STBs but there seem to be issues with them. An HTPC has issues as well but the added functionality is compelling. I've heard MCE is pretty good, relatively simple to configure/install, and has high WAF.

mike
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post #28 of 844 Old 02-09-2006, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I got an email response today. Here is my original email:

Quote:


Hi,

I have several problems with my PHD-101 that I hope can be resolved via a firmware update. Will you be releasing firmware updates for this unit? And if you are, will it be downloadable and installable by the user? It seems with the USB port that you could either download the firmware to a USB key for installation or connect the unit to a PC. I have owned a Hisense tuner that allowed firmware updates via a USB stick.

The first problem I have with my unit is there is no output over the optical output. The red light is there, but there is no sound on my receiver. I've tried both Dolby Digital and PCM options in the menu, but neither one works. My receiver is capable of receiving both formats.

The second problem is if I am tuned to an SD channel and set the aspect ratio to Cinema, when I change to and HD channel, the HD channel is stretched vertically. I need to press the aspect key once to get the HD picture back to normal. This behavior is not present if the SD picture is on Normal, Stretch, or Zoom prior to changing to an HD channel.

If these problems cannot be resolved, I will be returning the unit for a refund.

Thanks,

Ryan

and their response:
Quote:


Hi Ryan,

Thank you very much for your email and apologize for the inconvenience. You are right. Those issues for sure are firmware upgradeable. I am working with our engineers to see if we can release new firmware very quick. Please if you can wait, let me get back to you sometime next week. Either we will release new firmware in time or you can return the unit back to us.

Regards,
Support Team

ePVision.com

Well so far so good

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post #29 of 844 Old 02-09-2006, 05:17 PM
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I had the same problem as Ryan and returned the unit. It is too bad as the picture quality and the tuner seem quite good. Hopefully they will be able to fix the problems soon.
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post #30 of 844 Old 02-20-2006, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gman76 View Post

Did you mean that an HTPC is looking better for you? I've been torn between the ease-of-use STBs but there seem to be issues with them. An HTPC has issues as well but the added functionality is compelling. I've heard MCE is pretty good, relatively simple to configure/install, and has high WAF.

mike

Yeah, the new nvidia 6150 chipset microATX motherboards with integrated HTPC video, Raid 5, firewire, SATA II, Gigabit lan, built in sound, etc for ~$90 can really twist your head around. It's a two chip northbridge southbridge design with no noisy chipset fans (just heatsinks). Add a HDTV tuner card and you've got your STB, and a decent DVD player (multi-disk if you want, cheap), maybe a PVR, plus a back up computer system in case your main box develops problems. They're making it real easy.

http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p...2-FID&class=mb
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