Sony VGX-XL3 - Page 22 - AVS Forum
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post #631 of 3885 Old 03-04-2008, 07:24 AM
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Jim, while a separate subject from the caching issue you described (which has mystified a number of us, although I have previously experimentally proven that at least on the XL3 the use or non-use of caching doesn't affect performance), read my posts about disk indexing as it pertains to your root issue. In short, on multi-drive installations the disk activity appears to be primarilly driven by disk indexing as opposed to disk spindown - at least on an XP machine (I have not experienced this problem on the XL3, but Tech has).
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post #632 of 3885 Old 03-04-2008, 08:21 AM
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Hi Jeff - yes I read your not on indexing. My experience is that an indexing pass (appears to) occurs immdiately after a boot - causing a host of disk activity. However, I haven't seen the storm you describe on any of my Vista systems (including the XL302).

In this case its definitely not a disk usage problem (whether indexing or something else). Its definitely the disk spooling down at the slightest hint of inactivity - I can hear the tell-tale spin down and final clunk as it turns off. I don't think its actually causing any sort of problem. But it just seems unnecessary.
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post #633 of 3885 Old 03-05-2008, 06:05 AM
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Jim, is it possible that your disk spooldown is just a coincidence?

A little-understood part of the ATAPI protocol is that disk management is on a per-drive basis. Say you've got timeout set to ten minutes. Vista applies that setting to all drives, but within the IDE controller, each drive has its own setting (which because Vista is the means by which it is set just happens to be ten minutes across the board). So if drive C: hasn't been used for 9 minutes and 50 seconds, ten seconds later it's going to spool down even though drive D: was accessed a minute ago. In fact, you could wind up with the paradoxical situation that drive C: spools up and a moment later drive D: spools down. Another situation that I've encountered personally is drive C: spools down, twenty minutes later drive D: spools down, and then drive C: spools up; to an observer, it sounds like a drive powered down and then mysteriously kicked right back up again, but in actuality it's just a coincidence.

In practice it's a bit more complicated with caches and indices and RAIDs and dynamic volumes, but the upshot is that one disk can spooldown independently of another. Just a thought.

A drive can also incorporate its own spooldown policy in firmware that overrides the controller, but in practice I've only seen that implemented in optical and external Firewire drives, never an internal hard drive, so that would seem to be an unlikely candidate.
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post #634 of 3885 Old 03-11-2008, 11:28 AM
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Hi Gents,
I'm new to the board, and I've got a quick question. The power supply in the XL3 has one unused lead coming from it and it's not SATA and doesn't appear to be MOLEX. Any idea what this power lead is for?
I only ask because I'm adding an additional drive and found I needed to buy a Y cable for power to the new SATA drive, but this dangling connector doesn't look like anything I recognize.
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post #635 of 3885 Old 03-11-2008, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donno View Post

Hi Gents,
I'm new to the board, and I've got a quick question. The power supply in the XL3 has one unused lead coming from it and it's not SATA and doesn't appear to be MOLEX. Any idea what this power lead is for?
I only ask because I'm adding an additional drive and found I needed to buy a Y cable for power to the new SATA drive, but this dangling connector doesn't look like anything I recognize.

It's a add-on board connector. I believe there is actually more than one, if you check the video card I think you'll find something similar connected there as well to supplement the power provided through the PCI bus. I am sure that the XL3 uses an off-the-shelf power supply, so it's not like the connectors are specified for exactly the components of the XL3. Without knowing a lot more, I would not use that extra connector for anything because I don't know what current it can provide.

The capacity of the SATA connector is identical to an IDE molex connector, and that is quite high - many times more than is typically used by modern hard drives - so splitting one additional drive off the SATA connector is harmless.
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post #636 of 3885 Old 03-17-2008, 04:18 PM
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I have repeatedly observed how much cable companies hate CableCards. That is certainly true in my area, where CableVision makes even obtaining a CableCard an insufferable experience and charges a full service call for someone to come out to "install" one, even though it is I who actually did the installation.

Now comes a notice in my mailbox from CableVision that they are changing Animania, Equator, Family Room, Filmfest, Gallery, Gameplay, HDNews, Kung Fu, Monsters, Rave, Rush, Treasure, Ultra, WorldCinema, and WorldSport to some special kind of status - exactly what they don't explain - and thereby requiring a decoder box. That's over half of my non-premium HD lineup (i.e. the channels you get by paying for "HD" as opposed to Cinemax, HBO, etc.).

Now, let's be clear on this: they're not making them part of some "premium" package. I don't need to change my service plan to "gold" or whatever the next level is (they can't do that in New Jersey anyway without the okay of the Board of Public Utilities). My monthly bill doesn't go up - although they don't say a cable box will cost the same as a CableCard once the "free introductory period" is up. But I won't be able to use a CableCard device to watch any of these channels, and my bill is NOT going down to compensate for the loss of these channels if I don't get a STB.

This is absolutely a move to drive out CableCard customers and undermine (and render essentially moot) FCC's ruling. Yes, we'll rent you a CableCard, hooray for interoperability, but too bad you won't be able to watch the stuff our loyal DVR rental customers watch. This is exactly the same B.S. Ma Bell pulled for years on customers who went out and bought a non-Western Electric phone in the 1970s.

I filed a Form 2000 with the FCC, not only because of what I believe is a violation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, but also for deceptive marketing tactics; the notice I received doesn't simply announce that CableCard will cease to work on those channels, it then goes on to list all the great reasons I should have gotten a STB and not bothered with CableCard in the first place.

That's not just illegal - it's obnoxious!
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post #637 of 3885 Old 03-21-2008, 07:00 AM
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New Problem:
I noticed that when playing music through the media center that if you use the Screen Saver Visualistions that the system pauses (Audio stops and Screen goes Black) for about 3 seconds and then the visualizer starts and the music resumes. What is that? That never happened with WMC 2005.
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post #638 of 3885 Old 03-21-2008, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenCollins View Post

New Problem:
I noticed that when playing music through the media center that if you use the Screen Saver Visualistions that the system pauses (Audio stops and Screen goes Black) for about 3 seconds and then the visualizer starts and the music resumes. What is that? That never happened with WMC 2005.

Sorry D.C., I just checked and on my system there was a one-second delay for visualizations to kick in the very first time I activated the feature, but the music started right up. I had never used visualizations under VMC before. Subsequently, both the music and visualization start instantly. EDIT: any possibility that your hard drive is set for a very short timeout? Three seconds would be about right for the drive to spin up and read the next song and visualization files.

I just bought Logitech's new mini-keyboard made for Media Center (and, interestingly enough, PS3); see attached. I really like it at first blush, it turns itself off when you close the lid, has a switch that changes it from being a regular keyboard and trackpad into a duplicate of most of the M/S remote's functions (and if you hold down Control it temporarily toggles between the two), replaceable Li-ion battery pack, and a color scheme that nicely matches the XL3. But pricey at $135. It came with its own USB dongle, but I'm using it in conjunction with a Kensington micro Bluetooth adapter that essentially disappears inside a USB port - it's not much bigger than a penny - so there's no dongle sticking out and it's essentially like your computer came with Bluetooth built-in (check out the photo: its tiny size is a big plus, but the downside is there's no little "synch" button to press, so you have to have it search for a device within Control Panel...which means you'll need some other device connected in the first place when you first intall it).

The whole thing fits in the palm of your hand and seems really well thought out; I'll post a full review next week.

Tech:your Digital Cable Tuner product code 30-day grace period has expired by now...are you still able to record digital cable?
LL
LL
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post #639 of 3885 Old 03-22-2008, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjeffb View Post


I just bought Logitech's new mini-keyboard made for Media Center (and, interestingly enough, PS3); see attached. I really like it at first blush, it turns itself off when you close the lid, has a switch that changes it from being a regular keyboard and trackpad into a duplicate of most of the M/S remote's functions (and if you hold down Control it temporarily toggles between the two), replaceable Li-ion battery pack, and a color scheme that nicely matches the XL3. But pricey at $135.

WoW! That is One Sweet Keyboard. It puts the Vaio Keyboard to shame. I definatley have to get one! Awesome!

As for that visualization thing...Here's what happens. I go to "Music" and select an album and play it. So the first song is playing. Then I hit "Visualize" and the vaio just kinda goes into a blank state for maybe 2-4 seconds. Then the Visualization screen comes uo and the music resumes. It's almost like the Video Card is "Overloaded" since it has to handle both moving graphics and sound. But, on the other hand I should check to see it if it's a HD Timeout problem.
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post #640 of 3885 Old 03-22-2008, 03:03 PM
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RE: HD Timeout
Just where do I find the control for this?
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post #641 of 3885 Old 03-23-2008, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenCollins View Post

RE: HD Timeout
Just where do I find the control for this?

Right-click desktop, personalize, screen saver, change power settings, change plan settings (under whatever setting is highlighted), change advanced power settings, hard drive, power off hard drive after.

But after reading your latest reply, I'm skeptical that this will fix the problem because the drive must already be spooled up when you select the visualization. I was assuming that you were getting the delay between songs, so the disk had powered down for the first track but had not yet spooled back up for the next track.

Nonetheless, it's always good to know what that drive setting is!
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post #642 of 3885 Old 03-25-2008, 07:17 AM
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The problem doesn't occur between tracks. Once the visualization starts it stays on throughout the whole album. It only happens when I start it. No big deal...it just bugs me to think that a small thing like that would choke up the machine.
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post #643 of 3885 Old 03-28-2008, 12:25 PM
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I wonder if this Hotfix would resolve the visualization issue.

http://support.microsoft.com/KB/943470

From MS Support:
SYMPTOMS
Consider the following scenario:
On a Windows Vista-based computer, you are running a Media Center Markup Language (MCML)-based application.
You switch to another application. Therefore, the MCML-based application is in the backstack.
The ApplicationContext.ReturnToApplication method is called.
In this scenario, you do not return to the original instance of the MCML-based application as expected. Instead, a new instance of the MCML-based application is started. Therefore, the application consumes extra resources when you restart it. If the application consumes lots of extra resources, this issue may affect system performance.
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post #644 of 3885 Old 03-30-2008, 08:43 PM
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See post #638 above for photos.

PROS:
1. Perfect size and form factor for an HDPC. It simply could not be improved upon.

2. Touchpad works well (no scroll capability though, but see below). It is almost impossible to do a left-click on the touchpad as it is an actual pushbutton hard-click, not a tap, and that throws the cursor off every time. It does work fine in D-pad mode, and there's a separate dedicated left-click button on the left side of the keyboard.

3. Keys surprisingly responsive and easy to type. Thumb typing better than any mini-keyboard I've ever seen.

4. Rechargeable battery life excellent. Add-on software even tells you when it needs charging (but see caveat below).

5. Excellent Bluetooth range. Also, top marks to the Kensington micro adapter, range just as good as a dongle five times bigger.

6. The need to have to slide a switch to change between "media center" and "keyboard" functions could have been a huge problem, but is cleverly addressed by being able to toggle beween them by pressing Function. For example, say you're moving the cursor around a web page and you want to scroll for a moment; there's no scroll ring like on the full-size DiNovos. But if you press Function, the trackpad momentarilly becomes a D-pad (the backlighting even changes), and when you're finished and release Function, it reverts back to trackpad behavior.

7. Dedicated Windows, Media Center, and common transport keys.

CONS:

1. Dedicated Windows, Media Center, and common transport keys.

These take up a huge chunk of the available real estate. As a result, there are no "F" keys and boy do I miss Alt-F4, the one combo that always shuts a program down. I could remap them except...

2. Horrible, in fact worse-than-useless software. This has always been Logitech's weak link, their terrible software. At least it doesn't crash the XL3, as I've seen Logitech drivers ruin good machines.

For example, there's a dedicated PC Sleep button. What's that for? I mean, the remote control already has one even if for some reason you decide it's a good idea to hibernate a machine that should be recording shows. Well, you can remap it, but oddly only to those functions that Vista already allows you to configure a power button to anyway (sleep, off, hibernate). So I couldn't map it to, say, Alt-F4, which would be genuinely useful. And only a handful of keys can be mapped at all; having a dedicated "Start Media Center" button (bottom right of keyboard) is nice but not a huge time-saver; but its location lends itself to being a right-click. In lieu of it already being a dedicated right-click button, the next best thing would be if I could reprogram it to do so. However, it's not on the list of buttons eligible for remapping.

The only thing the software does that you couldn't do with Control Panel anyway is the battery monitor indicator, which is neat but not worth the install. I recommend you don't bother with the CD. Besides, do you really need to read 13 pages of legal disclaimers to install a damned mouse driver?

3. As I alluded to, difficult right-click: there isn't one, and you have to hit a key/button combo, and you can't map anything else to it. Logitech should take a hint from Wacom and their tablet pen buttons and allow the user to reassign any button to any function.

4. D-pad somewhat finnicky, but that might just be mine: the down-arrow sometimes has to be hit several times to work. All the other directionals work perfectly.

5. No charging cradle. This really surprised me, as the mini's full-size brother comes with one and this unit practically cries out for a cradle. There's nothing wrong with the AC adapter (it's the same adapter as used with other Logitech mice and keyboards, but it plugs directly in instead of via cradle) but it would have made a much more professional package if you had a cradle to just drop the unit into.

6. Backlights go out too fast, and/or can't be programmed for delay. This will no doubt become less of an issue as I become more familiar with the key layout. For example, when you press or hold a Control key, the backlight stays on. That's welcome, but confusing, because the right key - and ONLY the right key - has a little icon of a [back]light, but in fact you can use either key to activate the backlight. Of course, you then have to find the Function key in the first place - better would have been to backlit the Function keys at all times the cover is open, or even an small LED dot - just something to say "push here and I'll light the keyboard up."

7. No IR capability to control monitor and audio equipment. Okay, that may be a bit much to ask, but the stock Microsoft remote (but not the Sony!) has at least some basic capability in that area.

Verdict: I've gone through two bum XL3 keyboards so I may have a different perspective, but for me it was worth it. Logitech has perhaps tried to do too much here; dedicated, non-reprogrammable buttons that attempt to eliminate the need for the regular remote control but that is just not possible - you still need the remote to watch TV for things like changing channels and skipping commercials, and frankly even if every button on the remote was replicated nobody is going to pick up a keyboard, open a lid, slide a toggle switch, skip a commercial, slide the switch back, and close the lid when they could just zap the remote. It would have been better if Logitech had kept the DiNovo mini a bit more conventional regarding its keys and buttons. A really decent remapping utility might help, but I don't know if a third-party utility would detect and remap the special extra hardcoded buttons on the mini.

That being said, the form factor can't be beat, not just for the Wow factor but simple practicality. I'm thinking about slapping some velcro on the bottom of the DiNovo mini and the remote control and hiding them both under the overhang of my coffee table. Sweet!
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post #645 of 3885 Old 04-01-2008, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjeffb View Post

4. D-pad somewhat finnicky, but that might just be mine: the down-arrow sometimes has to be hit several times to work. All the other directionals work perfectly.

A disturbing fact: My diNovo Mini also has an unreliable down arrow. I hope this isn't a basic
product defect.

On the plus side I got it working perfectly with Linux via a quirky usbhid module parameter.
Details at the url I can't post in a clickable form at the web site home.att.net
and file on that site ~Tom.Horsley/mini.html
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post #646 of 3885 Old 04-01-2008, 07:34 PM
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>My diNovo Mini also has an unreliable down arrow. I hope this isn't a basic
product defect.

Crap and double-crap, that definitely throws some cold water on the hots I have for this little keyboard. I can get a reliable down arrow by tapping at around the 7:30 position, but that's decidedly unencouraging. D.C., maybe you shouldn't buy one from someplace you can't easily return it to (like your local CompUSA ;-)

Tom, I notice you're a member of a thread specific to this keyboard, you might want to mention this fact - and that you're not the only one experiencing it - over there. Tell 'em the XL3 guys said hi.

BTW your problems with posting links is deliberate because you are still tagged as a New Member. I checked the FAQ and I didn't see the exact rules on that, but the Admin will lift those restrictions on you if you post some replies over the next few weeks.
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post #647 of 3885 Old 04-01-2008, 08:47 PM
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>I wonder if this Hotfix would resolve the visualization issue.

D.C.:

Back on 9/14/07, RangerX reported an observation about long delays when cranking up a .wmv file, which no one else reported duplicating. Maybe same root cause as your visualization, maybe not, but suspicious. I don't recall if he found a fix.
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post #648 of 3885 Old 04-02-2008, 03:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjeffb View Post

>My diNovo Mini also has an unreliable down arrow. I hope this isn't a basic
product defect.

Crap and double-crap, that definitely throws some cold water on the hots I have for this little keyboard. I can get a reliable down arrow by tapping at around the 7:30 position, but that's decidedly unencouraging.

Hey, thanks for the 7:30 hint, that works for me as well. I guess that explains why moving
another direction, then trying down again sometimes works - it makes me shift
my finger position. I guess I have enough posts now, I'll put a clickable version
of my URL here:

http://home.att.net/~Tom.Horsley/mini.html
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post #649 of 3885 Old 04-02-2008, 08:34 AM
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>My diNovo Mini also has an unreliable down arrow...I got it working perfectly with Linux

Huh? Do you mean you can get the keyboard working under Linux, or do you mean that the D-pad down arrow (the topic of the previous sentence) works perfectly under Linux? Because that would mean a software issue, not a hardware flaw, and thus presumably something fixable by a patch.
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post #650 of 3885 Old 04-02-2008, 10:30 AM
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No, the down arrow has the same problem everywhere. The keyboard part mostly worked
in Linux out of the box (with the down arrow problem), but to get the touchpad to act like
a mouse in Linux, I needed the special usbhid driver option.

The down arrow does seem like a hardware problem - when I was doing the kernel level
USB event traces on Linux, no USB events were showing up at all when the down arrow
didn't work.
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post #651 of 3885 Old 04-06-2008, 07:09 PM
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HELP!! VGX XL3

I just bought a vgx xl3 and I'm having some serious problems setuping the cablecard. I've gone over the setup process a dozen times and one time I was receiveing a signal but then it just went away and now I'm back to square one. Also I can't seem to get a sound when I play dvds. What am I missing here.
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post #652 of 3885 Old 04-06-2008, 09:43 PM
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>What am I missing here.

What you are missing, Dwardo, is details. What exactly does work, what does not, what drivers you have installed (video, audio, and digital cable tuner in particular), who your cable provider is, how you tried installing it, how much of the 650+ posts in this thread you've already reviewed for solutions already posted, etc. etc. Can't help you fix it if you don't tell us what's wrong. Needless to say, if you have not gone through this entire thread to see if the solution has already been posted, do that first.

General update on the DiNovo: an issue that just came with my Kensington Bluetooth is that it will not work outside of Windows (or, with a nod to Tom H., some other supported O/S). I had to restore my XL3 backup and found that I was dead in the water in DOS, Acronis, and BIOS without plugging in a different keyboard. This is NOT a problem with the DiNovo itself and should not be an issue if you use the Bluetooth adapter that came with the keyboard. Also, in fairness to Kensington, I suppose this problem will happen with any Bluetooth adapter that doesn't have a "connect" button (and therefore relies on the O/S to make it work). Not a showstopper - I plugged in another keyboard, restored the backup, and of course had to set up the Logitech from scratch (but this time I'll make a new backup with the Kensington already installed - and with the Logitech software NOT installed!).
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post #653 of 3885 Old 04-07-2008, 06:51 AM
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I receive my sound to tV through HDMI.
I received the little icon that tells me to download a new audio codec. After I did this no sound. Went to options for sound, checked everything. Looks ok. Sound on boot, etc, but not with DVD or TV in media center.
Thought maybe it did not load right, downloaded Alcatel software again and still no sound. Talked with Sony, told me to format and start from scratch. Stil the same, but think I seen a flash the second time downloaded about double codec. Anyway called Sony, said they would send someone out, they called me back two days later and left message to call them to talk to tech. Problem could be solved over the phone.
I haven't called back as yet.
When go to watch tV, I get the message: codec error files needed to play this audio file are not installed or not working correctly.
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post #654 of 3885 Old 04-07-2008, 07:34 AM
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>Thought maybe it did not load right, downloaded Alcatel software again and still no sound.

Rusty, sorry to hear that - several of us have gotten screwed by D/L "updates." I've turned automatic updating off and set to manual just for this reason. The 5/15/07 SigmaTel/Intel driver is still posted on Sony Support - I presume you tried reinstalling it?

One other thing - somebody noted long ago in this thread that installing a new audio driver reset some setting and it had to be manually reset (in Control Panel?). Don't remember what it was but worth a look if you're down in the meantime anyway. I installed the 5/07 driver when I (momentarilly) upgraded to Ultimate and it worked fine.
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post #655 of 3885 Old 04-07-2008, 07:36 AM
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There was chatter a while back about whether or not the XL3 was going to support Blu-Ray 2.0. I see that Sony just posted a WinDVD upgrade for BRD-J ("Java") - isn't that another name for 2.0? Anybody actually own a BRD 2.0 title to try out?
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post #656 of 3885 Old 04-08-2008, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Rusty Bull View Post

I receive my sound to tV through HDMI.
I received the little icon that tells me to download a new audio codec. After I did this no sound. Went to options for sound, checked everything. Looks ok. Sound on boot, etc, but not with DVD or TV in media center.
Thought maybe it did not load right, downloaded Alcatel software again and still no sound. Talked with Sony, told me to format and start from scratch. Stil the same, but think I seen a flash the second time downloaded about double codec. Anyway called Sony, said they would send someone out, they called me back two days later and left message to call them to talk to tech. Problem could be solved over the phone.
I haven't called back as yet.
When go to watch tV, I get the message: codec error files needed to play this audio file are not installed or not working correctly.

I ran into the same problems (although somewhat different) What I ended up doing was to to Uninstall the Sigma Tel Audio drivers altogether. Then I re-booted and Windows "Searched" for the audio driver. It downloaded and installed the "Microsoft Digital Sound Driver". Since then I rarely if ever get a problem with sound playback on the vaio.
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post #657 of 3885 Old 04-08-2008, 02:49 PM
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Where is techieg?

Guess we musta pissed him off or something. I haven't seen a post here by him in ages.

Or Maybe...He busy watching "Gillian's Island" reruns!
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post #658 of 3885 Old 04-08-2008, 03:11 PM
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Anyone hear of this?
Posted at Tgb:
-------------------------------------------------------------
I have also added 4GB "ReadyBoost" memory inside.
I really helps. My drives are quieter and actually sleep.
ReadyBoost Can be attached to any USB port.
There at least 6 Internal USB on the MB.
-------------------------------------------------------------
I presume that he's talking about USB flash drives, but he doesn't explain how to go about configuring them. Go Figure...

"When I'm drivin in my car, and that man come on the radio
He's telling me more and more about some usless information
S'posed to fire my imagination, I can't get no, ah no no ah no"
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post #659 of 3885 Old 04-09-2008, 07:13 AM
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>I presume that he's talking about USB flash drives

ReadyBoost is one of two RAM-based swapfile alternatives supported under certain versions of Vista. The other, which I have yet to see anybody actually offer for sale, is RapidResume, a hard drive with a very large special cache that stores most of the Vista image. Both concepts require special RAM, but in the case of ReadyBoost, the requirements are somewhat most pedestrian: it must be very fast and, according to an interview with the Microsoft product manager here it must pass certain tests of consistent speed across the entire capacity. It doesn't have to be a flashdrive; Compact Flash and Secure Digital, at least, are supported. It must also be formatted FAT32, limiting it to 4GB. The cache itself uses a non-NTFS encryption scheme so if someone steals the device they can't read its contents. According to the Microsoft Knowledge Base article here when you first plug in a RAM device, Vista automatically checks it for its ability to be used and displays a message asking if you want to use it for that purpose. I've plugged any number of RAM devices into the XL3, including a 2GB CD, and never seen that message so I guess they weren't fast enough. Notice that the KB article comes with a disclaimer "Some product features are only available in certain editions of Windows Vista and may require advanced or additional hardware," which would seem to indicate that ReadyBoost is not supported by all versions of Vista; but bafflingly, when you click on the link, ReadyBoost is NOT one of the features listed as being specific to particular versions.
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post #660 of 3885 Old 04-09-2008, 08:50 AM
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>I presume that he's talking about USB flash drives

rjeffb:That's great research and very imformative. But the question remains... Just where are these USB ports on the motherboard? Usually they are just headers not the same as a usb port that is found on the exterior of the cpu case. Or... are there standard usb ports on the motherboard inside the case? Hmm...I have no diagram of the motherboard and I'm really not up to pulling the Vaio out of it's slot in my entertainment console just to go on a "Wild Goose Chase".
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