The Official AVS Dish DTVPal DVR Topic! - AVS Forum
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Link to the most current Firmware F208:
http://www27.zippyshare.com/v/65643705/file.html






Feature Summary   Specifications   Pre Purchase Questions   Owners' Questions   Storage Expansion   Known Issues   Feature Requests   DVR Comparison Chart   Pictures

Last updated: March 15, 2010. All screen captures in the DTV PAL DVR FAQ were supplied by member RegGuheert, unless indicated otherwise.


The "DTVPal DVR" is currently on sale at Sears.com for $200. The same box is sold under the Channel Master brand for $370-$400 at Frys.com, Crutchfield and SolidSignal. These dual-tuner HDTV DVRs have no subscriptions, no fees, and no advertisements. The DTVPal DVR is the only feeless OTA DVR available for under $400.

The Dish Network DTVPal DVR is a dual-tuner HDTV DVR that supports SD and HD channels from an off-air antenna. Satellite and cable (QAM) are not supported. The DTVPal DVR allows you to watch one HD channel while you record another; it will also record two different channels while you watch a third, previously recorded show. You can use pause (up to 1hr), instant replay, and rewind on live programming. Recording capacity is 30 HD hours and 150 SD hours with a 250GB hard drive. The bundled IR remote includes buttons for 30 sec skip, 10 second replay, and supports four speeds of fast forward and reverse, slow motion, and frame-by-frame advance.

The DTVPal DVR features an electronic program guide (EPG) with up to 8-days of program information when TVGuide On Screen (TVGOS) is available. TVGOS is distributed by many CBS affiliates across the country, but is not available in all markets. You can check here to determine whether TVGuide service is currently available in your area. If TVGuide service is not available, the DTVPal's EPG will display the more limited program information -- typically 8-24 hours worth -- offered by your local broadcasters via PSIP. If TVGuide service is available, but does not have information for a particular channel, then the PSIP information (i.e. 8-24 hours) from that broadcaster is shown instead.

All recording on the DTVPal DVR is performed with VCR-like timers, created manually or set through a program guide selection. When you select a show in the program guide, you are given the option to (1) create a reminder, or (2) schedule a recording in that time slot: once, daily, weekly, or M-F. You have the same options when selecting a show with keyword search. A list of all existing timers is shown on the DVR -> Daily Schedule screen, where you can cancel, edit, or add a new timer for a single or repeating (daily, weekly, M-F) recording in a specific time slot.

The DTVPal DVR lacks many features found on subscription-based TiVo, DirecTV, and Dish Network satellite DVRs. Features absent from the product include comprehensive program information on all channels, conflict management, dual channel buffers, external storage expansion, multi-room viewing, remote scheduling via web and mobile phone, picture-in-picture, picture-in-guide, guide filters / favorites, and the ability to transfer/offload recordings. Most notably, the DTVPal DVR relies on time-based recording rather than name-based recording; it does not know when a scheduled program has changed its day, time, or duration. The DTVPal DVR lacks the ability to record only new episodes and ignore repeats.

The DTVPal DVR has RF, composite (RCA), component, and HDMI video outputs; it has analog stereo and optical (TOSLINK) audio outputs. Output via component and HDMI is selectable 480p/720p/1080i through a menu. All outputs are active simultaneously and the box will downconvert HD channels to SD through composite and coax for older televisions. There is no Firewire output, and no way to directly download recordings from the DVR.

Despite initial reports to the contrary, external drive expansion is not supported. That said, you can replace the original drive with a 1TB version, increasing capacity from 30 HD hours to 142 HD hours. Software updates to address known issues will be made available for download over the Internet using the DTVPal's ethernet connection.

The DTVPal DVR has a 90-day warranty, while the same product rebranded as the Channel Master CM-7000PAL has a one-year warranty. Both will replace defective units with a refurbished unit if you are within that warranty period. Beyond the warranty period, one must pay full price for a replacement; there are no repair options available. If this is a concern, Sears offers a two-year extended warranty for $45 at the time of purchase.


Credit for this image to Crave.


Product Manual (PDF)



Feature Summary [Back to top]

  • dual ATSC (OTA) tuners

  • program guide;

  • 8-days of program information available on most major networks when TVGOS is available; 8-24 hours (typical) of program information in areas without TVGOS

  • timer-based recording, like a VCR, but you can select a program from the guide to simplify timer setup;

  • pause and rewind liveTV on both SD and HD channels;

  • record high-definition at 100% original quality;

  • record one HD channel while you watch another HD channel on the same box;

  • record two different HD channels simultaneously, while you watch a third, previously recorded show;

  • identifies each recording with the program name and description;

  • simple commercial skipping with 30sec skip;

  • when watching a liveTV program on the current tuner, pressing record will give you the option to save the buffer
    (added with F206 firmware)

  • remembers where you left off in every recording, so you can resume watching from where you left off at any time;

  • simple search by keyword (searches available listings);

  • turn closed captions on or off on both live and recorded programs; and

  • all SD and HD outputs active simultaneously.



Technical Specifications [Back to top]


Here's an internal shot of the DTVPal DVR, courtesy of hignfy.
  • STMicroelectronics STi7109 DVR CPU w/ integrated MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC, and VC-1 decoders
  • 160MB DDR400 SDRAM (2x Elpida D5116AFTA, 2x Hynix HY5DU281622FTP-D43)
  • 16MB Spansion S99-50052 Flash IC (for system software)
  • 250GB Western Digital WD2500AAJS SATA hard drive
  • 2x MicroTune MT2131 tuners
  • 2x AMD Theater316 demodulators (218T316ZLA12GP)
  • A/V Inputs: 1x coax (split internally for both tuners)
  • A/V Outputs: HDMI, component, composite, coax; optical digital, stereo
  • 10/100Mbps Ethernet
  • 1x USB
  • Dish IR remote
  • 14.6"W x 8.8"D x 3.1"W
  • 5.0 lbs


Reviews

Product Review @ Cnet (March 2009)

Product Review @ LA Audio File (January 2009)



Known Issues [Back to top]

  1. DTVPal DVR may fail to record back-to-back programs.

    The DTVPal DVR often skips one of two programs scheduled to record when it coincides with the end of a previous recording. As an example, suppose you had one record timer set for 8-9pm and two record timers set for 9-10pm. In this scenario, one of the two 9-10pm programs would fail to record. This occurs 30-50% of the time.

    When this happens, the Daily Schedule shows the missed recording as "Skipped." Occasionally, the one event that does start will continue recording for an extended period (i.e. many hours).

    These skipped recordings only occur when two recordings follow a single recording; they don't occur when two recordings immediately follow two other recordings. Thus, you can avoid these skipped recordings by creating a "filler" timer so that two recordings always follow two other recordings. You can do this by recording the preceding program from the EPG.


  2. Timers off before and after Daylight Savings Time (DST), causing the wrong programs to record.

    Be sure to check all of your timers in the weeks leading up to Daylight Savings Time (DST) changes. All or some record timers will be off by an hour, starting two weeks before DST takes effect in March and November.

    Most DTVPal DVR users find it necessary to delete and re-create their record timers every March and November.


  3. Recording is canceled and deleted if signal is lost for more than a few seconds.

    If your off-air signal goes out for a few seconds during a recording, the DTVPal DVR cancels and deletes the recording. When this happens, the Daily Schedule shows the missed event as "Skipped." For this reason, it is very important to have a strong / stable antenna signal with the DTVPal DVR.


  4. Loss of correct time ("clock drift") Greatly minimized in F208 software!

    The DTVPal DVR may periodically lose the correct time, regardless of whether it is provided by TVGOS or set manually. This causes timers to start at the wrong time, resulting in missed or incomplete recordings.

    The TVGOS and manual clock settings appear to be overridden by incorrect times provided by some broadcasters via PSIP. Rebooting the DTVPal should reset the DVR to the correct time, but the problem may reoccur when the channel with the incorrect time is tuned again.

    Dish Network greatly minimized this problem with the F208 software released on July 9. The F208 software is a "must have" upgrade for anyone with the F206 and F207 firmware.]


  5. DTVPal DVR may get stuck in a "loading...please wait" reboot loop. Greatly minimized in F208 software!

    This is known as the "corrupt timer" issue.

    If your DTVPal DVR has the F208 software, disconnecting the antenna coax will usually halt the reboot loop. While the antenna coax is disconnected, reset the DVR to the factory defaults under Menu -> Setup -> System Setup -> Restore Factory Defaults. That will delete your timers and settings, but it will preserve your recordings and allow your DTVPal DVR to function again with the antenna connected.

    DTVPal DVR software prior to F208 was not able to recover from a reboot loop, so it is highly recommended that one update with F208 to significantly reduce the potential for hardware failure. Click here for update instructions.

    If disconnecting the coax does not halt the reboot loop, then your DTVPal DVR is likely dead. This is rare with F208, but it can still happen. In this case, there is no known solution and you'll need to seek a replacement through warranty service, assuming you purchased a Sears' extended warranty.


  6. DTVPal DVR does not display all available TVGOS information.

    In many markets, the DTVPal DVR does not display all available TVGOS information. The DTVPal DVR may only display 8-days of program information from TVGOS for 5-10 channels, with more limited PSIP information on the remaining channels. Other digital TVGOS devices display 8-days of information for 15 or more channels using the same source (CBS digital broadcast affiliate) in the same market.

    Disclaimer: TVGOS offers 8-days of information for most channels, including the main ABC/CBS/FOX/NBC network needs, but it rarely offers information for every channel and subchannel. Hence, the limited information on some stations is not necessarily the fault of the DTVPal DVR.


  7. TVGOS information may be periodically unavailable.

    Digital TVGOS is not a 24/7/365 service. It may periodically go offline for days or weeks for maintenance. When this happens, the DTVPal DVR's program guide will display the more limited information available from broadcasters (typically 12-48 hours worth).


  8. When you hit record on the current liveTV channel, the recording may take 10-120 seconds to start.

    There is often a long delay between the time that you choose to record a liveTV program and the time that it actually starts recording. This only occurs when you select the default "Record the remainder of this event" button. If you click options and choose "Record entire event," then recording begins immediately.


  9. Some channels incorrectly added and displayed in the 70s.

    This is a known issue with the channel scan feature on the DTVPal DVR. The DTVPal DVR will continuously scan for new channels, and it in some cases, it adds them at incorrect numbers in the 70s.

    To fix this problem, and display channels on the correct numbers, re-run the Setup Wizard under Setup -> System Setup -> Installation. If any channels remain in the 70s, use the DTVPal DVR's parental control feature to "lock" (hide) any channels in the 70s. If you delete these channels instead, they will likely reappear at a later date.


  10. When in standby, the DTVPal DVR may refuse to turn on.

    This appears to be a HDMI interoperability issue with some specific displays and/or A/V receivers. Members were able to resolve this issue by turning off their TV and/or briefly unplugging the HDMI cable. Members did not see this issue with component.


  11. 30sec skip occasionally jumps to end of program.

    This issue affects recordings from some digital channels more than others. It may relate to the encoding parameters used by certain affiliates.


  12. Audio/Video dropouts every 30-32 seconds on certain channels.

    The DTVPal DVR exhibits A/V dropouts every 30-32 seconds on some channels. This appears to be an incompatibility between the DTVPal DVR and the encoder and/or PSIP settings used by some broadcasters. This is not a common issue.


  13. Improper conflict message when you attempt to change the duration of a timer event

    When changing the duration of a timer event, the DTVPal DVR may display the "Conflicts with an existing event" error, even though there are no other programs scheduled that conflict.

    The solution is to delete the event and create it from scratch with the correct duration.


  14. Timers that run past the hour may show up in guide as two scheduled programs

    If you are padding end times, or a record timer is set to run past the hour (ex: 8:00-9:01), the guide may indicate that the subsequent program on the same channel is scheduled to record, even when it is not.

    For example, if you have a record timer set from 8:00-9:01pm, then the guide may indicate that the 9:00-10:00pm is scheduled to record when it is not. For an accurate list of scheduled timers, check the DTVPal's Daily Schedule.


  15. Occasional reboots may cause split recordings with an unrecorded gap in the middle

    Frequent reboots were eliminated with the F206 software, but some users still experience occasional reboots (i.e. several per month). If this occurs during a scheduled timer recording, the result is two partial recordings for the same program, with an unrecorded gap between the two. It's not clear what causes this behavior.


  16. Light sensor on some TVs may cause poor / intermittent remote response

    A number of newer LCD and plasma TVs feature "light sensor" or "day-night sensor" to adjust the TV's picture depending on ambient light conditions. When enabled, this "light sensor" or "day-night sensor" causes havoc with many STBs and DVRs using IR remotes. Disable this option in your TV settings and remote response should return to normal.



Pre Purchase Questions [Back to top]

All images were supplied by member RegGuheert.

  1. What is the difference between the Dish Network DTVPal DVR and the Channel Master CM-7000PAL?

    The Channel Master CM-7000PAL is not yet shipping, but at this time, functionality is believed to be 100% identical to the Dish Network DTVPal DVR. The only known differences re the price and the warranty; the DTVPal DVR has a MSRP of $299 with a 90-day warranty, whereas the CM-7000PAL has a MSRP of $399 with a one-year warranty.

    The Dish Network DTVPal DVR is available exclusively from Sears.com, while the Channel Master CM-7000 will be offered by other retailers such as Crutchfield and SolidSignal.


  2. I heard the DTVPal DVR suffered from reboots/lockups. Is that true?

    Dish Network eliminated the vast majority of reboots and lockups with the release of the F206 firmware on April 9. The latest firmware version is F208, released July 9.

    This updated firmware is available to existing DTVPal DVR owners through the ethernet (network) update function on the DVR; it can also be downloaded and installed from a USB thumbdrive. For more information, including update instructions, see the Owners' Questions section.

    All new shipments of the DTVPal DVRs include this firmware.


  3. How do I get guide information on the Dish DTVPal DVR?

    There's nothing you need to do, aside from entering your zip code in setup. Your guide will populate with program information automatically, although the amount of information you get will depend on whether TVGuide service is available in your area.

    The DTVPal DVR will display the program information -- typically 8-24 hours worth -- offered by individual broadcasters via PSIP. If TVGuide (TVGOS) service is available in your area, then the DTVPal DVR will display 8-days of program information for most major networks.

    For troubleshooting TVGuide, see the Owners' Questions section.


  4. Does the DTVPal DVR have a manual clock setting?

    The DTVPal DVR has both auto and manual clock settings under Setup -> System Setup -> Installation -> Set Date Time.



    You can set the time manually to override the time provided by broadcasters via PSIP, but there is no way to override the time set by TVGuide (TVGOS).


  5. Does the Dish DTVPal DVR work with cable?

    No. The DTVPal DVR will not work with any cable channels, analog or digital. The DTVPal DVR only supports digital channels from an off-air antenna.


  6. How are recorded programs displayed?

    You can choose to sort by recorded date (shown below), name, or group. In group sort, the contents within the groups are in random order.



    Each recording is listed with the information shown in the guide at the time the record timer started. If TVGOS is not available, or TVGOS does not have program information for the channel on which the recording was made, then you may see only a program title without a description.


  7. What does the program guide look like?

    The DTVPal DVR gives you three options for guide display: large text, medium text, and small text. These settings determine the number of channels and the number of hours shown on the screen.


    Guide with small text.


    Guide with medium text.

    There is no picture-in-guide. A program description is displayed, when available.

    The TVGuide logo indicates that the DTVPal DVR is receiving program information from TVGOS. If TVGOS is not available, or TVGOS does not provide information for a certain channel, you may see only the program title, depending on what is supplied by the broadcaster via PSIP.


  8. Can I remove channels from the program guide?

    You can remove and rename channels, as seen below:



    The current DTVPal DVR software does not have a favorites filter (despite what the manual suggests). You can delete channels you do not want, and those channels will no longer be shown in the guide, but channels you delete can no longer be tuned. Alternatively, you can lock selected channels with the parental controls, and these channels will be hidden until you unlock the DVR.


  9. Can one advance through the program guide a day at a time?

    Yes. While in the program guide, pressing SKIP (-->|) will move 24 hours ahead and REPLAY will move 24 hours back.

    You can also press the number keys to specify a number of hours (such as 48) and press the right arrow key to skip forward that many hours. The same thing works with the left arrow to skip back a certain number of hours.

    If you want to move to a particular channel in the guide, just enter the channel number (such as 35) and hit SELECT. With no arrow key, it will move to that channel number in the guide without going backwards or forwards in time.


  10. Are repeat episodes identified in the program guide grid? What about new episodes?

    No and no.


  11. Are episode numbers listed with the program information? What about original air dates?

    No and no.


  12. What does search look like?

    The DTVPal DVR offers a basic search function for available guide data.

    You enter a keyword through an on-screen keyboard, click Done, and then you see a list of matching programs.






  13. What about more advanced search options?

    The DTVPal DVR is limited to the search functionality shown above, although you can choose to search program titles, descriptions, or both.



    You can switch between title, description, and title+description results without re-entering the search text.


  14. How good is the digital reception on the DTVPal DVR?

    Digital reception on the DTVPal DVR is comparable to most newer TVs. At least one member found their DTVPal DVR to deliver better reception performance than the popular Samsung DTB-H260F.


  15. How does the quality of a recording compare to the live broadcast?

    Both are identical. The DTVPal DVR records the original digital bitstream from the broadcaster, as is. If the program is broadcast in high-definition with Dolby Digital 5.1, that is exactly what the DVR records. When you play a recording, the program looks and sounds just as it would live.


  16. After a recording begins, how long until I can watch it?

    Immediately. A DVR isn't like a VCR that forces you to wait until the recording is complete. With the DTVPal DVR, you can select a recording-in-progress from the recorded list and it will start from the beginning. If you want, you can skip commercials until you catch up to live.

    Some people like to record their favorite sporting events and start watching 45-60 minutes into the event; this allows them to skip the commercials until they catch up to live. If you time it right, you'll catch up to live with one or two minutes left in the game, while having avoided 45-60 minutes of commercials. The same thing can be done for other programs as well.


  17. Are both tuners buffered? Can I pause one channel, switch to a different channel, pause that, and then switch back and resume where I left off?

    No. Only the current channel is buffered. If you change channels, you lose the buffer on the previous channel.


  18. Can I skip through a recording 5-15 minutes at a time?

    No. The only supported skip function is 30sec skip.


  19. Does DTVPal DVR have a progress bar? If so, what does it look like?




  20. If I press record while watching a liveTV program, will the DTVPal DVR save the buffer to the recording?

    In the F206 software, Dish Network added the option for "Record Entire Event." This will save the entire buffer to a recording, although the recorded list screen will only list the duration of the selected event.



    When you click Options....




  21. How does one schedule a recording through the guide?

    If you hit record on a future show listed in the guide, a single, non-repeating record timer is created for that program.

    If you hit select on a future show listed in the guide, then you are given the option to create a repeating timer, as below:



    If you click Options....




  22. Can I give timers a name? I notice some channels just have a generic program description in the guide.

    You cannot name a timer so all programs recorded by that timer get a certain name. If a certain channel has a generic description like "XYZ Programming" in the guide, then that is what your recordings will say on the recorded list.

    Once a specific program is recorded, you can rename it in the recorded list.


  23. How does DTVPal DVR handle conflicts, i.e. when a new record timer conflicts with two existing record timers?



    If you have a conflict, you must open the timer screen and cancel the timer for the conflicting program(s) before you can create a recording for the new program.


  24. Does DTVPal DVR provide a record schedule, to list what upcoming programs will record?

    The DTVPal DVR lists upcoming timers, as seen below.




  25. How does the "time-based recording" used by the DTVPal DVR differ from the "name-based recording" found on TiVo and other DVRs?

    With time-based DVRs, you deal with dates and times like a VCR. With name-based DVRs, you deal only with program names.

    The DTVPal DVR (shown right) uses "time-based recording," which records by setting a single or repeating timer for a specific day at a specific time like a VCR. When you use the guide to create a recording for House on the DTVPal DVR, it creates a repeating recording for Tuesday 8-9pm on FOX. Nowhere on the DVR is this identified as a House timer; it simply records that same Tuesday 8-9pm slot regardless of whether House is showing that week, regardless of whether it is a new or old episode, and regardless of whether it is a special extended episode that runs longer than an hour. If FOX decides to show an episode of House on Wednesday, or at 9pm, then you'll miss that episode -- unless you modify your timer. If FOX decides to show a special extended length episode, such as a two-hour special on Tuesday from 8-10pm, then you'll only get the first hour -- unless you modify your timer.


    The above screens show what you get when you select a program from the guide.

    When you create a series recording for House on a name-based DVR like the TivoHD or Dish Network ViP722, it doesn't matter what time or day of the week that program is showing. If House moves from Mondays @ 8pm to Tuesdays at @ 9pm, or an episode runs an extra five minutes, the DVR doesn't miss a beat. A name-based DVR records House whenever it shows, with the correct program length for that episode, even when the day, time, and/or program length changes. To accomplish this feat, the DVR continually searches a database of upcoming programs for the name of the show, and automatically adjusts the record schedule as needed.

    A key feature of "name-based" recording is the option to record only new episodes and ignore repeats. This is made possible by comprehensive guide information with flags to distinguish between new and repeat episodes. This guide information is also used eliminate duplicate recordings -- the information for upcoming TV episodes is compared with the information for episodes already stored on the DVR. More advanced name-based DVRs like the TiVo also keep track of all programs and episodes recorded in the past month, so as not to re-record the same episode in that time, even when it was watched and deleted weeks before.


    The above screens show available record options. "First-run only" is synonymous with new episodes only.

    Modern name-based DVRs also allow you record all future programs that match a title or keyword search, regardless of the date, time, and channel. The DVR does this by continuously searching a built-in database of all upcoming programs for the text you entered using an on-screen keyboard. With this functionality, you can record the next showing of a certain movie or documentary, regardless of where and when it is shown. You can create a single recording for all future games with a particular sports team, such as all NFL games with the Dallas Cowboys, regardless of date, time, and channel. Or you can use a wildcard to create a single recording for all new episodes of Survivor* or Amazing Race*. Some DVRs even let you exclude specific words, so as to record, say, all future shows with Jennifer Aniston, except Friends.

    Conflict management is another key area where time-based DVRs fall short of name-based models. When you attempt to create a recording that conflicts with two other programs, the DTVPal DVR simply tells you that two other timers conflict -- it doesn't tell you which programs. You have to go to the timers screen and completely remove the conflicting timers before you can record the new program; you can't "skip" one instance of a manual recording. Contrast that to name-based DVRs, which list the conflicting programs and give you the option to proceed with the new recording and "skip" the conflicting show, without canceling the entire series.


    The above screens show how you manage existing recordings.

    Automatic rescheduling for conflicting programs is another difference between name-based and time-based DVRs. Time-based DVRs like the DTVPal DVR provide no means to automatically reschedule conflicting recordings; if a conflicting program is showing at a later time, you have to find and create a manual recording for it. Such is unnecessary on name-based DVRs, which record your two highest ranked programs (refer to screen above) and then automatically search for repeat airings of any lower-ranked programs that conflict. If the conflicting series episode is showing later that night, or later in the week, or even several weeks later, then a DVR like the TiVo will automatically find it and schedule a recording without any action by the user.


    The above screens show what you get when you display the record schedule.

    To summarize, name-based DVRs simplify recording so the user only has to deal with program names, without regard for dates, times, or channels. They make use of more comprehensive guide data to provide a much higher level of reliability with "set it and forget it" recording. Timer-based DVRs like the DTVPal DVR require much more maintenance to avoid missed shows, but also cost significantly less, because they have no need for comprehensive (i.e. costly) guide data. In effect, you spend your time to keep up with program and scheduling changes, rather than paying extra to have someone else do it for you.

    If a person already has modern cable/satellite DVR, and they are accustomed to name-based recording with the ability to record only new episodes and ignore repeats, then the VCR-like timers on the DTVPal can seem like a major step backward. For those that currently use VCRs and DVD recorders, the DTVPal DVR takes that functionality and significantly improves upon it with a program guide, dual-tuners, hard drive recording, pause and rewind on liveTV, and high-definition output.


  26. How does the DTVPal DVR use the guide information for recording?

    On the DTVPal DVR, the guide (a) shows you what is on TV, and (b) provides the start and end times to create the initial record or remind timer. After you create a record timer, the DTVPal DVR only uses the guide information to label recordings with the program title and description of whatever program was showing in that time slot. There is no link between the timers you create and the name of the program.

    Refer to the previous FAQ for more information.


  27. How many recordings can I schedule?

    A maximum of 40 record / remind timers are allowed.


  28. Does the DTVPal DVR offer picture-in-picture (PIP)?

    No. The DTVPal DVR cannot support PIP, because its STMicroelectronics CPU can only decode one channel at a time.


  29. Is there a native output option?

    There is no "native" setting to output all channels in their original format. Output through HDMI and component is selectable 480p / 720p / 1080i. You select one and all live and recorded content is converted to that resolution for output to display.

    Note these settings do not affect how content is saved to disk, only how it is output to display. If a program is broadcast in 720p, then it will be recorded on the DVR as 720p, regardless of what output option you select.


  30. Are all SD and HD outputs active at the same time?

    Yes, all outputs are active simultaneously. The DTVPal DVR outputs HD channels in full resolution through component and HDMI, and it downconverts HD channels to SD for output through composite.


  31. Is there any way to connect to the DTVPal DVR over a network?

    No.


  32. Can you download, transfer, or offload recordings to a computer or another storage device?

    No. With the DTVPal DVR, it is not possible to transfer or offload recordings.

    The TiVo is the only dual-tuner DVR with that high-definition transfer/offload feature.


  33. If you can't transfer or offload recordings from the DTVPal DVR, how do you archive a program?

    The most you can do is capture the analog output from the DTVPal DVR.

    You connect the DTVPal's coax or composite output (plus red and white audio cables) to a VCR or DVD recorder. You then play the recording on the DTVPal DVR and press record on your VCR or DVD recorder.


  34. Can I view videos or pictures stored on a network drive? How about a USB drive?

    No. The DTVPal DVR will not play anything except the off-air recordings stored on its internal drive.


  35. Can I record HD programming in standard definition to save disk space?

    No. The DTVPal DVR records all content as is, bit-for-bit identical to the original. There is no option to reduce quality to save space.

    To record HD as SD, the DTVPal DVR would need a dedicated encoder to re-encode the signal on the fly. That would increase cost and complexity. In a HDTV DVR, it is more cost-effective to copy (save) the digital stream to disk as it is received.

    Modern DVD recorders that record HD content as SD -- with various quality settings -- typically use a low-cost CPU with a built-in encoder. This built-in encoder takes the place of the circuitry that is needed to record and output actual HD. No DVD recorders on the market can output HD.


  36. If you don't have the option of recording HD as SD to save space, then why do the specifications claim 150 SD hours?

    Not all off-air stations are HD. Some off-air stations, as well as sub-channels for traffic and weather, use 480i and 480p.

    HD channels require 4-6 times the bandwidth of SD channels, so they take 4-6 times as much space on the DVR.


  37. Is there a disk space indicator to show how much space is left?

    Yes, the DTVPal DVR estimates the amount of HD and SD record time remaining on the My Recordings screen.

    Be aware that different channels (and even different programs on the same channel) are broadcast at different bitrates, and thereby require different amounts of space on the drive. You might be able to record 40 hours of content from one HD channel but only 30 hours from another HD channel. Sports and other live broadcasts tend to require more space than movies and episodic series.


  38. Can I add an external hard drive?

    No. The DTVPal does not support any form of external storage.


  39. Can I upgrade the built-in hard drive to increase storage capacity?

    Yes. See the Storage Expansion section for more information.


  40. The DTVPal DVR includes a card slot and smart card. What is that for?

    According to Dish Network, the smart card is for future use. It could be used to decrypt future pay or subscription video content, such as VOD or IPTV delivered using the ethernet connection. If/when Dish might take advantage of this capability is unknown.


  41. Does the DTVPal DVR include (or support) a RF remote so it can be controlled from another room?

    No. Unlike the Dish Network satellite DVRs, the DTVPal DVR does not support RF remote control signals. You'll have to use a third-party RF extender solution if you want to control the DVR within an enclosed cabinet or from another room.

    See the Owners' Questions section for suggested solutions to add RF capability.


  42. How much noise does the DTVPal DVR make?

    The majority of users have described the DTVPal DVR as silent or inaudible. Even with their ear pressed against the unit, one member could only hear a "faint sound." Comments: #1, #2, #3.


  43. How much electricity does the DTVPal DVR consume?

    AVS Member RegGuheert measured his DTVPal DVR using a Brand Power Meter Model 20-1850.

    In standby ("off"), the DTVPal DVR consumes 20-21 watts. When watching or recording HDTV, it consumes 22-23 watts. This translates into an energy cost of $1.31/mo for someone living in WA and $1.77/mo for someone living in VA.

    The internal hard drive is always spinning, and it is always reading and writing when you are watching TV. This is required to support features like pause, instant replay, and rewind on live programming. The digital signal from your broadcaster is first written to disk, then read from disk, and finally decoded by the CPU for output to your TV. This occurs for both live and recorded programming. This is how modern DVRs work.


  44. Why doesn't the internal drive spin down? Wouldn't that prolong the life of the DVR?

    Frequent power cycles and/or drive "spin downs" are perceived by manufacturers as threats to DVR longevity. Constant "spinning up" and "spinning down" causes more wear and tear on a modern drive than simply letting it run 24/7.

    For this reason, the overwhelming majority of all modern DVRs keep their internal drives running 24/7. This includes all DirecTV HR2x DVRs, most Dish Network DVRs (since the original Dishplayer), all TiVo DVRs, and all Motorola DVRs. Reliability is a key consideration for these products because most are distributed at a loss, with profits made through programming and/or other fees. The longer these products remain in use, without the need for a replacement, the more money the provider makes.

    That's not to say that "spinning down" a drive is always bad; it can potentially extend drive life if used in moderation. Scientific Atlanta DVRs running some versions of the SARA software will spin-down the internal drive for the night when no user activity is observed past 1am. There may be some merit in that. But "spinning down" the drive every time you hit the "off" button is not a feature you are likely to see on any new DVR, because that is not the best way to prolong the life of the product.


  45. Can I edit recordings on the DTVPal DVR?

    There is no means to edit recordings on the DTVPal DVR. You can use the 30s skip button to skip through commercials.


  46. Does the DTVPal DVR observe copy protection flags, such as the broadcast flag?

    No, the DTVPal DVR ignores these flags. There are no restrictions on recording and the DTVPal DVR does not impose any form of Macrovision [copy protection] on the analog outputs for live or recorded programming.

    Note if your DVD recorder mistakes certain commercial transitions for a form of Macrovision, then the DTVPal DVR is unlikely to solve that problem. That would be a software design issue with your DVD recorder.


  47. How do you use the DTVPal DVR with a DVD recorder or VCR?

    Connect the composite video (yellow RCA) and analog audio output (red and white RCAs) from the DTVPal DVR to the corresponding inputs on the DVD recorder. Switch to the appropriate input on your DVD recorder, if necessary. Play the recording on the DVR and press record on your DVD recorder.


  48. The DTVPal DVR uses the MicroTune MT2131 tuner and AMD T316 demodulator, both of which can support QAM. So why won't it work with ClearQAM channels from cable?

    Dish Network is a satellite provider, and appears to have no interest in providing any form of cable support with their software. All indications are that this product will never work with cable.


  49. How do you install firmware updates?

    Firmware updates can be (a) downloaded directly to the DVR using the built-in ethernet connection, or (b) downloaded to a computer and then installed with a USB thumbdrive. Updating the firmware will reset your settings and timers.

    To update using the ethernet connection, connect the ethernet jack on the back of the DVR to an ethernet jack on your router (assuming you have one). If you don't have a router, you can connect the DTVPal DVR directly to your DSL or cable modem to perform the update. Once connected via ethernet, you would select Setup -> Broadband -> Software Update from the menu on the DTVPal DVR.

    If the DTVPal DVR isn't connected via ethernet, you can download the firmware and copy it to a USB thumbdrive to update your DTVPal DVR. Download the F208 firmware on this page. Create a folder called "update" on your USB thumbdrive and copy the TR50_F208_0HUC00.upd file into that folder. Turn on your DTVPal DVR and insert the USB thumbdrive into the USB port on the back of the box.

    If you have any problems upon reboot after the firmware update, you should perform a "soft reset. You can perform a "soft reset" by holding down the remote 'Power ON' button until the reset starts.


  50. Can I add wireless networking to the Dish DTVPal DVR (for software updates)?

    Yes. To do that, you need a "wireless bridge." This is a wireless device that connects to the ethernet port on the DVR. It is basically an extender for your wireless network that also has one or more ethernet ports. These are commonly sold as gaming adapters for use with the consoles like the Xbox360. Examples of such products at Amazon.com include:

    Linksys WET610N ($80)
    D-Link DAP1522 ($86)
    Buffalo Technology WLI-TX4-AG300N ($92)
    Linksys WGA600N ($71)
    Apple Airport Express ($99) (used with Airport Extreme base station)

    Disclaimer: I have no experience with these products. All of these products require that you have an existing wireless network in your home. Most you would configure on your PC using the bundled software, and then move to your TV room.

    Note the DTVPal DVR does not support USB wireless adapters. USB adapters require drivers to make them work, which the DTVPal DVR does not have.


  51. What antenna should I get?

    For indoor antennas and small outdoor antennas, see the performance rankings in EV's Indoor Antenna Round-Up. For general antenna discussion, use the Official AVS Antenna Topic. To see what others are using in your area, refer to the Local HDTV Info and Reception forum.


  52. What is the warranty and return policy on the DTVPal DVR?

    The DTVPal DVR has a 90-day warranty.

    Dish Network will replace defective units if you are within the 90-day warranty period, although you must pay return shipping. After 90 days, you must pay full cost for a replacement; there are no repair options available.

    Sears offers a two-year extended warranty for $45 at the time of purchase, and that's probably a good idea if you are worried about the limited warranty and lack of repair options.

    Do not include the remote or cables with the DTVPal DVR that you return for replacement within 90 days. Dish Network only ships a replacement box, they do not ship you a replacement remote or cables.


  53. What are the alternatives to the DTVPal DVR?

    The DTVPal DVR is the only dual-tuner OTA HDTV DVR available for under $400 without recurring fees. The only alternatives for a dual-tuner OTA HDTV DVR are TivoHD and TViX 6620N.

    The TivoHD is the most reliable and functional HDTV DVR available today, and it exhibits none of the issues that cause missed / incomplete recordings on the DTVPal DVR. That added reliability and functionality does come at a price; the TivoHD costs $220 at Amazon.com, but it is a $600+ product once you add a lifetime subscription to eliminate all future fees.

    The DVICO TViX 6620N is a robust media player with more limited recording functionality. If you're looking for a product to view AVI and MKV video files on a connected hard drive, with some limited recording capability, than the TViX 6620N may be what you want. But if you are looking for a product primarily to record and watch TV, then the TViX can't compare to the DTVPal DVR in either stability or functionality. The 6620N doesn't have a grid-style program guide; it won't allow you to watch an existing recording while you record something else, nor will it allow you to watch a recording-in-progress from the beginning.

    For a full feature comparison of these products, see the HDD Recorder Comparison Chart.

    In 12/2004, Sony introduced a single-tuner HDTV DVR without a subscription, but it was discontinued less than one year later. This product -- known as the Sony DHG-HDD250/500 -- can still be found on ebay for $300-$400. As a single tuner unit, this product will not record two different channels at the same time, nor will it record one channel while you watch another. Of course, if you have another tuner in your TV, you can switch inputs and watch that while the Sony is recording. This product has issues of its own, so you should read the latest posts in its thread before considering a purchase on ebay.


  54. What about the Philips 3575/3576 and Magnavox H216 DVD recorders?

    DVD recorders with hard drives, like the Philips and Magnavox, support a few basic DVR features like pause, instant replay, liveTV buffering (Magnavox H2160 only), and chase play, but they are not comparable to standalone DVR products.

    None of these ATSC DVD recorder products will:

    1. record in high-definition;
    2. output high-definition;
    3. provide a program guide or program information;
    4. identify each recording with the program name and description;
    5. record two channels simultaneously, while you watch a third, previously recorded show;
    6. record one channel while you watch watch another (with pause/replay/30sec skip/rewind);
    7. allow you to delete specific channels (sub-channels) from the list of channels; or
    8. turn closed captions on or off on both live and recorded programs.

    Products like the DTVPal DVR and TivoHD do all of these things, plus much more that the Philips and Magnavox recorders cannot.

    For a more detailed comparison of these products, see the HDD Recorder Comparison Chart.



Owners' Questions [Back to top]

All images were supplied by member RegGuheert.

  1. What is the latest firmware / software version?

    The latest available firmware is F208, released on July 9th.

    Changes between F207 and F208

    • Improved responsiveness in menus
    • The progress bar on pause can be hidden with the cancel button.
    • Incorporates new logic to track PSIP time that significantly reduces instances of "clock drift."
    • When clock is manually set, it is no longer affected by PSIP time changes.
    • Improved navigation in program guide and some menus so that you are are now returned to your previous position after another operation.
    • Two second audio loss after resume from pause is significantly reduced.
    • Menu for "Add a New Channel" improved with the display of signal strength and virtual channel number. Signal strength is also displayed for channels not on the channel list.
    • Program guide now shows "No Information Available" in one-hour units when there is no guide data. You can set any event during the 15-day "Daily Schedule" period as long as it doesn’t directly conflict with a previous timer event.

    Changes between F201 and F207

    • Eliminates the timer scheduling issue where two back-to-back recordings occupied both tuners
    • Trick modes now have a smoother frame rate comparable to other DISH Network DVRs
    • Enhancements to skip forward / backwards functionality
    • Added option to record entire event (note: can only extend back to channel change)
    • Trick modes are now functional when 2 recordings are active
    • Improved handling of low and no signal
    • Added option to switch on/off use of TV Guide data in EPG under Menu->Preferences->Guide Display.
    • Improved support for disk full
    • Addition of a delete button in the 'DVR event' screen after a recording has finished
    • Addition of a low battery notification
    • Added mode reminder popup (means that if you take the converter box out of Satellite mode, there will be a popup on the screen telling you that you're going out of Satellite mode)

    This firmware is available to existing DTVPal DVR owners through the ethernet (network) update function on the DVR. The F208 firmware can also be downloaded and installed using a USB thumbdrive.


  2. How do you install firmware updates?

    Firmware updates can be (a) downloaded directly to the DVR using the built-in ethernet connection, or (b) downloaded to a computer and then installed with a USB thumbdrive. Updating the firmware will reset your settings and timers.

    To update using the ethernet connection, connect the ethernet jack on the back of the DVR to an ethernet jack on your router (assuming you have one). If you don't have a router, you can connect the DTVPal DVR directly to your DSL or cable modem to perform the update. Once connected via ethernet, you would select Setup -> Broadband -> Software Update from the menu on the DTVPal DVR.



    If the DTVPal DVR isn't connected via ethernet, you can download the firmware and copy it to a USB thumbdrive to update your DTVPal DVR. Download the F208 firmware on this page. Create a folder called "update" on your USB thumbdrive and copy the TR50_F208_0HUC00.upd file into that folder. Turn on your DTVPal DVR and insert the USB thumbdrive into the USB port on the back of the box.

    If you have any problems upon reboot after the firmware update, you should perform a "soft reset. You can perform a "soft reset" by holding down the remote 'Power ON' button until the reset starts.


  3. How do I connect the DTVPal DVR to my TV and surround system?

    The DTVPal DVR supports both HD and non-HD displays. It outputs full high-definition through component and HDMI, and it downconverts HD channels through coax and composite for those with older TVs.

    If you have a HDTV or a 480p EDTV:

    • Connect the DTVPal DVR to your display with component or HDMI. HDMI carries both audio and video. If you use component for video, you'll also need to connect the analog stereo outputs (red and white RCAs) to your TV for sound.

    If you don't have a HDTV or 480p EDTV:

    • Use the composite or coax output from the DTVPal DVR. For the best picture and sound on older TVs, use composite video (yellow RCA) and the analog stereo outputs (red and white RCAs).

    If you have an A/V receiver or surround system:

    • Connect the digital audio output (optical or HDMI) from the DTVPal DVR directly to your receiver or surround system. In most cases, you will only get 5.1 surround sound from the DTVPal DVR if it is connected directly to your surround system.

    Note the DTVPal DVR does not have s-video, and its component output can only be used on TVs that support 480p, 720p, or 1080i.


  4. How can I tell whether I am getting program information from TVGuide?

    TV Guide On Screen (TVGOS) program information is distributed by CBS affiliates in these markets. When you receive program information from TVGOS, TVGuide logo is displayed in the upper-right corner of the guide, with 8-days of program information for most major networks. Channels without TVGOS information display the more limited program information available via PSIP.


    Note the TVGuide logo in the upper right-hand corner.

    If you do not see a TVGuide logo, then you are only receiving the more limited information provided by each individual broadcaster using PSIP. Typically, only 24-48 hours of program information is available through PSIP.


  5. I see the TVGuide logo in my guide, but I still don't have 8-days of program information for ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC. What's wrong?

    Make sure you did not enter anything under "Alternate Zip Codes." Make sure you did not enter any zip codes from the manual. That is a common mistake some users make; you won't see TVGOS information if you enter an "Alternative Zip Code."

    TVGOS information is only downloaded at certain times during the day, so it may take six hours or more for the guide to populate with this program information. It may take several days to receive the full 8-days program information.

    Some markets are missing TVGOS program information for one or more of the "big four" networks; it is not known when this will be fixed. When TVGOS information is not available for a particular channel, the DTVPal DVR displays the more limited PSIP information from the broadcaster instead.


  6. That site says TVGOS is available in my area, but I still don't see the TVGuide logo. What's wrong?

    TVGOS information is only downloaded at certain times during the day, so it may take six hours or more before you see the TVGuide logo in your guide. In rare cases, members found it took several days to receive program information from TVGOS.

    Confirm that you entered your zip code (or the zip code for your local CBS affiliate) in setup. Never enter anything under "Alternate Zip Codes." Never enter any zip codes from the manual.

    Be aware that TVGOS is not yet a 24/7/365 service, and service may periodically go down for days or weeks at a time for maintenance.


  7. Help! I lost TVGOS (7-day program listings) and can't get it back!

    TVGOS is not yet a 24/7/365 service, and service may periodically go down for days or weeks at a time for maintenance.

    The DTVPal DVR appears to stop searching for TVGOS if it cannot find a signal after several days. If TVGOS service goes offline for maintenance in your area, then the DTVPal DVR may not reaquire the signal when service is restored. When that happens, you lose all your extended program listings.

    To force the DTVPal DVR to resume searching for the TVGOS signal, it may be necessary to reset the DTVPal DVR to the factory defaults. A factory reset will delete your settings and timers, but it will not touch your recordings. Perform a factory reset under Menu -> Setup -> System Setup -> Restore Factory Defaults.

    When re-running through setup, be sure not to enter anything under "Alternate Zip Codes." If you do, TVGOS will not work on the DTVPal DVR.


  8. Help, I did a channel scan and now many of my channels are wrongly displayed in the 70s!

    This is a known issue with the channel scan feature on the DTVPal DVR. To fix this problem, re-run the Setup Wizard under Setup -> System Setup -> Installation. If any channels remain in the 70s, use the DTVPal DVR's parental controls to "lock" (hide) any channel number in the 70s; if you delete these channels instead, they will likely reappear at a later date.


  9. How do I remove channels from the program guide?

    You can remove and rename channels under Setup -> System Setup -> Channel Setup -> Channel List.



    Keep in mind that deleted channels can no longer be tuned. If you simply want to hide a channel from the guide, without deleting it, then you can lock channels with the parental controls, and those channels remain hidden until you unlock the DVR.


  10. How do I advance through the program guide a day at a time?

    While in the program guide, press the SKIP (-->|) button to move 24 hours ahead and REPLAY button to move 24 hours back.

    You can also press the number keys to specify a number of hours (such as 48) and press the right arrow key to skip forward that many hours. The same thing works with the left arrow to skip back a certain number of hours.

    If you want to move to a particular channel in the guide, just enter the channel number (such as 35) and hit SELECT. With no arrow key, it will move to that channel number in the guide without going backwards or forwards in time.


  11. Why can't I adjust the early/late padding on a weekly timer?

    There are two types of timers on the DTVPal DVR, event timers and manual timers. You can only adjust the padding on repeating event timers. Event timers are created when you highlight a program in the guide and hit SELECT.

    To create a repeating event timer with the ability to pad start and end times:

    1. Highlight the program in the guide.
    2. Press SELECT (and not RECORD).
    3. Change the repeat to Weekly.
    4. Select Next, etc. to finish.


  12. How do I create a new record timer for a program not in the guide?

    You can manually create a single or repeating timer through the Timers menu under DVR -> Daily Schedule -> Timers. Click create.



    Once you've clicked create, you'll get the following menu:



    As with a VCR, select the channel and the type of timer, and then click "Next" to choose the start time and duration:




  13. Can I give timers a name? I notice some channels just have a generic program description in the guide.

    You cannot name a timer so all programs recorded by that timer get a certain name. If a certain channel has a generic description like "XYZ Programming" in the guide, then that is what your recordings will say on the recorded list.

    Once a specific program is recorded, you can rename it in the recorded list. From My Recordings, highlight the show and press select. On this screen, you will find Start and Edit Name buttons.


  14. How do I edit/remove a scheduled recording?

    You can edit or delete timers through the Timers menu under the DVR -> Daily Schedule -> Timers. Select the timer(s) and click delete.




  15. How do I change the remote code for the DTVPal DVR so I can control it separately from my Dish Network satellite receiver or TR40 CECB?

    You can't change the remote code on a Dish Network converter box like the TR40, so you need to change the remote address on the DTVPal DVR so it does not interfere. The remote address on the DTVPal DVR is configured just like a Dish Network satellite receiver:

    1. Open the DTVPal DVR's System Information screen by pressing the 'Sys Info' button.
    2. Press and hold the PAL button until all the function lights flash.
    3. Enter a two-digit number for the new address (02-16) and press the '#' button. [Be sure you use 02 or higher.]
    4. With the System Information screen on, press the 'Record' button.

    The PAL button will blink three times, and you should see the new remote address at the bottom of the system information screen.

    If you have a Dish Network CECB (ex: TR40), there is nothing else you need to do. If you have a Dish Network satellite receiver, then you'll need to set a different two-digit remote address (02-16) for that box.


  16. How do I program my Dish Network satellite remote to control the DTVPal DVR?

    First, change the remote address of the DTVPal DVR and Dish Network satellite receiver as described in the previous FAQ. Then do the following on your Dish satellite remote:

    1. Press and hold the AUX button until all 4 mode buttons blink.
    2. Press 3.
    3. Enter the remote address of the DTVPAL 01-15. (same number used in previous FAQ)
    4. Press the # button.

    Repeat the same thing -- except press and hold the SAT button -- to set the appropriate address for your Dish Network receiver.

    Once you've done that, you can control the Dish DTVPal DVR with your Dish satellite remote by selecting the AUX button.


  17. How do I get the DTVPal DVR working with my Logitech Harmony remote?

    Search the Harmony software for the Dish Network ViP622. That uses the same IR codes as the DTVPal DVR.


  18. Where can I get JP1 remote codes for the DTVPal DVR?

    The codes in the DISH VIP622(8910).txt work perfectly. Thanks wildwillie6.


  19. How can I extend the range of the DTVPal DVR remote?

    The Next Generation Remote Control Extender ($33 @ Amazon) will add UHF capability to the DTVPal DVR remote, extending range to >50' and eliminating the need for direct line of sight to the DVR.

    With this product, be sure to place the included IR receiver "eye" over the IR sensor on the front of the DTVPal DVR. If you have trouble locating the IR sensor, shine a flash light on the front of the box and look for the round circle.

    As per the NG Remote Control Extender manual, you may need to change battery slots to maximize range.


  20. How do I archive or backup a recording?

    With the DTVPal DVR, it is not possible to transfer or offload recordings. The TiVo is the only dual-tuner HDTV DVR with that capability.

    The only way to archive from a DTVPal DVR is to record its analog output with another device. You can connect its coax or composite output (plus red and white audio cables) to a VCR or DVD recorder. You would play the recording on the DTVPal DVR and then press record on your VCR or DVD recorder.




Storage Expansion [Back to top]

  1. Does the DTVPal support external storage?

    No. At this time, you can only increase capacity by replacing the built-in drive.

    Dish Network did add USB storage expansion to their satellite DVRs, so it is possible that they could add that feature to the DTVPal DVR with a future software update. Nothing has been promised, however.


  2. What is the largest drive I can use?

    With the F208 firmware, the Dish DTVPal DVR is confirmed to support a maximum of 1TB internal storage, or four times the capacity of the original drive.

    You must upgrade to the F206 firmware to support 1TB internal storage. Previous firmwares supported a maximum of 500GB.


  3. How much capacity do I get with a 1TB internal drive upgrade?

    Upgraded with a 1TB drive, the DTVPal DVR reports 142HD hours of capacity, as seen below:


    DTVPal DVR with 1TB drive upgrade (image by otaviewer)


  4. What does an internal drive upgrade involve?

    You just need open the case and replace the drive. No drive preparation is needed.

    System software is stored on internal flash memory, separate from the hard drive. When you install a new hard drive, the DTVPal DVR boots from flash memory and automatically formats the new drive for use during the usual "Loading Please Wait" start-up screen. When boot up is complete, the full capacity of the new drive is available. Nothing else must be done to use a new hard drive or take advantage of the extra capacity.

    Be aware that any drive upgrade will void your 90-day warranty. Dish Network does not provide technical support for upgraded DTVPal DVRs, and makes no guarantee about the reliability or operation of units with upgraded hard drives.


  5. Can I backup and restore the existing recordings to a new drive?

    At this time, there is no known way to do this.


  6. What are recommended drives for the upgrade?

    Code:
    Make     Model        Size   Part #            Noise (10=Best)
    Hitachi  Cinemastar  1000GB  HCS721010KLA332         7
    Hitachi  Cinemastar  1000GB  HCS721010KLA330         7
    Hitachi  Deskstar    1000GB  HD31000                 7*
    Hitachi  Deskstar    1000GB  HDT721010SLA360         7*
    Seagate  Pipeline     500GB  ST3500321CS             7
    Seagate  Pipeline     500GB  ST3500414CS             9
    Seagate  Pipeline    1000GB  ST31000533CS            5
    Seagate  Pipeline    1000GB  ST31000322CS            6
    WD       AV           500GB  WD5000AVJS              8
    WD       AV-GP        500GB  WD5000AVVS              9
    WD       Caviar Blue  500GB  WD5000AAJS              6*
    WD       AV-GP        750GB  WD7500AVCS              9
    WD       AV-GP        750GB  WD7500AVVS              9
    WD       AV-GP       1000GB  WD10EACS               10*
    WD       AV-GP       1000GB  WD10EADS               10*
    WD       AV-GP       1000GB  WD10EVCS               10
    WD       AV-GP       1000GB  WD10EVDS               10
    
    Drives highlighted in red are discontinued.
    
    For power/heat and subjective noise levels, 10=best and 1=worst, and 8=original drive.
    Noise ratings marked with * assume that AAM is enabled and set to 128 using
    Hddscan or Hitachi Feature Tools v2.11.  Refer to FAQ #7 below.
    
    Most of these drives are not available at retail, but can be ordered from Amazon.com, Buy.com, Provantage.com, and ZipZoomFly.com. A few are available from Newegg.com.


  7. What does the * mean next to certain drives in the table above?

    This indicates a drive that comes configured for best desktop performance, not the lowest possible noise. This can be changed with a utility, as described below.

    Hard drives from Hitachi, Maxtor, and Western Digital -- but not Seagate -- support a feature known as Automatic Acoustic Management (AAM). This configurable setting allows one to reduce seek noise at the expense of some performance. Some drives like the WD10EVVS ship with this feature enabled, while most other drives ship with it disabled to provide maximum performance on desktop computers. Since such performance is unnecessary in a DVR, it makes sense to enable AAM to reduce noise. An AAM setting of 128 will provide the quietest possible operation.

    To change the AAM setting on a drive, download and run the free Hddscan for Windows utility. This utility works under Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP SP2/SP3, and Windows Vista, and it can change the AAM value for both USB and SATA drives. To use it:

    1. Download HDDScan from http://hddscan.com.

    2. Extract (i.e. unzip) the downloaded RAR archive to give you the actual HDDScan program. To do that, double-click on the file and drag the "HDDScan3.2-release" folder to your desktop.

    3. Launch Hddscan from the "HDDScan3.2-release" folder on your desktop. If using Windows Vista, you'll want to launch Hddscan by right-clicking on HDDScan.exe and selecting "Run as Administrator."

    4. Select your new/replacement TiVo drive from the drop down list.

    5. Click the round blue "New Task" button and select Features -> IDE Features.

    6. Drag the Automatic Acoustic Management (AAM) slider all the way to the left, until it reads 128. Click Set.

    7. You're done.

    If you do not have access to Windows, then you can also change the AAM setting on your Hitachi, Maxtor, or Western Digital drive using Hitachi Feature Tool v2.11. This free utility available as a boot CD and a boot floppy. The full manual can be found here. Note Hitachi Feature Tool only works on SATA and eSATA connected drives; it does not work on USB connected drives.

    You burn the Hitachi Feature Tool image to a CD using a program like Nero or ImageBurn. You turn off your computer, connect the new DVR drive to your computer, and then boot with the Hitachi Feature Tool CD. From the Feature menu, choose Automatic Acoustic Management (AAM). Select the option to enable AAM with a user-defined value. Set the AAM value to 128 and click Ok. You're done.


  8. What are the instructions?

    You simply need to replace the old drive with the drive. Replacing the drive is simple, once the case cover is removed. Unfortunately, removing the case cover on the DTVPal DVR requires some effort.

    Instructions to remove the cover, courtesy of AVS member otaviewer in this post:
    Quote:


    - I unplugged the power
    - Removed the smart card from the front so I didn't accidentally break it
    - Removed the visible screw on the case's bottom
    - Pried off the rubber pad on the case's bottom which is closest to the green and yellow RCA jack and unscrewed the screw underneath
    - Pried off the rubber pad on the case's bottom which is diagonal from the one just pried off and unscrewed the screw underneath
    - Looked in the slots on the bottom of the case with a flashlight to see that an object could be stuck in them and bent slightly to unlatch, except for the three inner slots with green circuit board visible which can be ignored

    - I unbent four medium-thickness 1.5" (2" long measured with a ruler) cotter pins, the kind obtainable from a hardware store, to a 90 degree angle
    - Inserted one end of the cotter pin straightly into either one of the two slots closest to the back of the case, to the point where it stopped on its own
    - Carefully applied sideways pressure (relative to the case) to the cotter pin so the part of the cotter pin outside the case moved away from the case and the part of the cotter pin inside the case moved toward the other rear slot
    - At a certain point while bending the cotter pin sideways and applying slight downward pressure, the cotter pin slipped farther into the case. I let it slide in a bit more. This unhooked the latch in the slot and allowed me to remove my hand from the inserted cotter pin during the rest of the steps.
    - I repeated this with the other three slots using the other three bent cotter pins. Noted that the slots in the front only allowed me to insert the cotter pin slightly past the point where the cotter pin stopped on its own.

    - I Inserted a flathead screwdriver in between the top and the bottom of the case at the closest corner to one of the back cotter pins
    - Twisted the screwdriver at the corner to pry the top and the bottom of the case apart slightly but not enough to damage the case
    - At the same time, with my other hand, used another flathead screwdriver to unhook the closest of the two tabs on the rear of the case. That corner of the case now opened up farther
    - Removed the screwdriver from the corner of the case
    - Inserted the screwdriver slightly to the outside of the tab that the other screwdriver is in, and used it to pry apart the top and bottom of the case just to the point where the screwdriver fits in between the top and bottom of the case
    - Removed both screwdrivers, and noted that the top and bottom of the case remain somewhat separated
    - Repeated the last six steps with the other rear corner

    - I separated the top from the bottom of the case at the back of the case with my hands, without much effort, and noted that this caused the front of the case to also separate



    If you have suggestions to improve / refine these instructions, please post to the thread.


  9. If I upgrade the internal hard drive, can I later reinstall the original drive to restore any recordings on that drive?

    Yes.


  10. If I upgrade the internal hard drive, can I install the original drive in my computer to access the recordings?

    No one has found a way to access the recordings on the original drive using a computer. Dish Network uses a proprietary filesystem (DaveSystemDisk), which cannot be read under Windows, OSX, or Linux.

    You can reinstall the 250GB in the same DTVPal (or a different DTVPal DVR) and access those recordings.



Feature Requests [Back to top]

  1. Allow DVR clock to be set using an Internet time server

    To provide and maintain the correct time, allow the clock to be set over the network connection using an Internet time server (ex: time.nist.gov).


  2. Add the ability to pad manual recordings from guide by more than 5 minutes

    With the F206 firmware, it is not possible to pad the ending of timer recordings -- created from the guide -- by more than 5 minutes. Sporting events often run over, so add the ability for users to pad endings by up to 60-90 minutes on recordings created through the guide. Users must create a timer through the timer creation screen (as opposed to the guide) if they want to pad by more than 5 minutes.


  3. Implement some form of name-based recording with season passes when TVGOS is available

    When TVGOS program information is available, support name-based recording. If possible, include the ability to record only new episodes and ignore repeats. The TVGOS signal includes the information necessary to support some form of name-based recording, so take advantage of that.


  4. Add the option "Ignore repeats" to timer creation

    If a full implementation of name-based recording isn't possible, then provide a partial implementation by adding the option to automatically skip a particular timer when a repeat flag is found on the program description in that time slot. If no repeat flag is found, as common with PSIP information, then record the episode (the default behavior).

    Note the DVR would just check whatever program was showing in that time slot for a repeat flag. The program name, length, etc wouldn't matter.


  5. Buffer both tuners at the same time without the need to record

    This would allow the user to pause one channel and then switch to a second channel, pause that, and then switch back to the first channel to resume where they left off. This functionality is often used to watch two different sporting events at the same time on other DVRs.


  6. When the user presses record while watching a live TV program, save the buffer to the recording
    Added with F206 firmware!

    Currently, when you press record while watching a live TV program, the DVR only saves the program from the point that record was pressed. The DVR ignores the rest of the program that is currently in the buffer. Users are not able to rewind and then hit record to save more of the buffer to the recording, as they can on the Dish Network DP5xx/DP625 satellite DVRs.

    Change this behavior to save the total buffer to the recording. Alternatively, duplicate the behavior of the DP5xx/DP625, which is to save the buffer from the current play/pause point onward; with this implementation, the user could rewind to the start of the program and hit record to save the full program.


  7. Add some form of conflict management

    When you try to schedule a new program and a conflict exists with an existing program timer, show the conflict and give the user the option to skip (once) or replace the older timer with the new one, rather than simply telling the user about the conflict.


  8. Allow the user to name their record timers

    Many areas without access to TVGOS have stations that offer only generic program information via PSIP. Such stations simply list "XYZ Programming" for all time blocks.

    Timer recordings from these channels show up with the generic description in the recorded list, making them impossible to differentiate. To address this problem, allow the user to give timers a name that will override the generic information in the program guide.


  9. Display the dates of all recordings in My Recordings list

    Currently, the My Recordings screen does not list the dates or times for all programs recorded. At the very minimum, add a date field to the screen so a user can see when all programs were recorded, without having to select a specific program. Example here.


  10. Add option to set number of episodes to keep

    On the TiVo and Dish Network ViP622/722 satellite DVRs, users can set a program as "keep X episodes" so each new episode replaces the oldest episode after X number of episodes is reached. For example, the user could choose to "keep 1 episode" of a news program, so the current day's news always replaces the previous day's news.


  11. When groups are enabled under My Recordings -> Options -> Title Group, sort the contents of each folder by recorded date.


  12. Identify new and repeat episodes in the program guide grid (when that info is available from TVGOS)


  13. Give the option for guide downloads via ethernet for free (or a small fee)


  14. Add picture-in-guide capability


  15. Add a favorites filter for the program guide


  16. Implement support for USB external drive expansion


  17. Allow users to download recordings directly from the DVR

    A competing DVR runs a web server in the background, which users can connect to with a web browser to download recordings in MPG format. Implement comparable functionality, or allow users to copy a specific recording to a flash drive using an on-screen DVR menu.


  18. Alter the behavior of the recall button when two channels are recording

    When two channels are recording, the recall button should switch between the two. As it is now, the recall button "remembers" the last channel(s) the user tuned themselves with the remote, rather than the channel(s) the DVR tuned itself to record.


  19. Allow manual timers to be scheduled outside of a two week window


  20. Add a "native" output mode as an additional output option, to output all channels as is, without conversion to 720p or 1080i


  21. Expand parental controls

    Expand the parental controls to limit viewing to a specific time of day (such as 10pm), which can be bypassed with a passcode. Also expand parental controls to track the amount of time spent watching live and recorded programming, with the ability to set a maximum for one or both.


  22. Unofficially support internal 1TB drive upgrades (instead of 500GB max).
    Added with F206 firmware!


  23. Spin-down the internal hard drive when the DVR has been in standby (off) for 15-30 minutes after 1am.


  24. Add ability to backup and restore settings/preferences/timers to/from a USB volume (ex: thumbdrive).


Pictures [Back to top]

All images were supplied by member RegGuheert.

Be sure to see the Pre-Purchase Questions section for pictures of the guide and recorded list.









Credit for this image to navychop.


Credit for this image to rustycruiser. More unboxing photos can be found in this post.


Picture Links [Back to top]

Unboxing photos
Powered on in a dark room
Setup photos
In-use photos (pics washed out by camera flash)
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post #2 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 10:36 AM
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Just recieved my DTVPalDVR 5 minutes ago from UPS. Now everyone can start to complain about what they don't like about it.(LOL)
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post #3 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck44 View Post

What state are you in?

I'm in Cleveland, Ohio
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post #4 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 11:57 AM
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Guess I'm not first but it is here.
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post #5 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 12:03 PM
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I don't have time to play with mine the next few days--too busy. The remote is almost identical to my Dish reciever 522 except for what we already knew there's no PIP or swap function between the two tuners. I guess that's the first official complaint.
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post #6 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 12:14 PM
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Easy setup, nice picture, have 4 AAA's ready, batteries not included.
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post #7 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwnt1 View Post

Easy setup, nice picture, have 4 AAA's ready, batteries not included.

I got the 4 AAA batteries with mine. My location is beautiful but frigid Cleveland Ohio--which also describes my last girlfriend.
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post #8 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwnt1 View Post

Easy setup, nice picture, have 4 AAA's ready, batteries not included.

Does the TVGOS work in your area or is your unit using PSIP data?
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post #9 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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post #10 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 12:21 PM
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I'm no geek, just a Very old 4 Replay tv household which never even figured out how to send movies over the internet. Also Replay 5040 on a month to month for sale $100 works!!
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post #11 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 12:37 PM
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Told you I'm not up on that stuff. Got a channel guide just like I got one on my converter box. I talked to a rep at CBS local and he said something about them being responsible for channel guide info. Said he would get back to me, never heard from him again.
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post #12 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 12:54 PM
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Guide info doesn't go but a day out yet. Can't see where to delete yesterdays news after todays news records. Didn't want to do this manually. May be after I actually get something recorded. The good news is the DOW isn't down to much.
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post #13 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwnt1 View Post

Guide info doesn't go but a day out yet.

That may be as much guide as we will get with TVGOS. My Sony XBR6 TV with TVGOS just goes out 24 hours with the guide information.
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post #14 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otaguy View Post

That may be as much guide as we will get with TVGOS. My Sony XBR6 TV with TVGOS just goes out 24 hours with the guide information.

That's because it's a TV. With a DVR you're going to schedule recordings well in advance. The DTVPalDVR should go out at least a week. If it works like other DVRs with TVGOS it will take time to fully populate the listings.

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post #15 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TWinbrook46636 View Post

That's because it's a TV. With a DVR you're going to schedule recordings well in advance. The DTVPalDVR should go out at least a week. If it works like other DVRs with TVGOS it will take time to fully populate the listings.

That's cool. My TV took overnight to populate the guide with 24 hours of listings. My understanding is that the data is broadcast four times a day and the TV has to be off to receive the information - I wonder if the Pal DVR works the same way.
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post #16 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otaguy View Post

That's cool. My TV took overnight to populate the guide with 24 hours of listings. My understanding is that the data is broadcast four times a day and the TV has to be off to receive the information - I wonder if the Pal DVR works the same way.

Hopefully not since it appears the guide is functional right out of the box. With the analog TVGOS the unit has to be off 24hrs to even get a channel lineup.
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post #17 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 01:16 PM
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2 tuners - you should have the full guide (if TVGOS is in your area) in 2-6 hours . You can tell when you get a TV GUIDE logo on the EPG.

IF TVGOS is NOT in your area (or you did not set your zip code and left it all zeros) - you will be using PSIP guide information.

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

Being A Beacon of Knowledge in the darkness of FUD
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post #18 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 01:17 PM
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Please use this topic for discussion of the actual unit.

Please continue to use the previous topic for discussion of issues like orders, shipping, etc. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=972197

'Better Living Through Modern, Expensive, Electronic Devices'

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post #19 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Servicetech571 View Post

Hopefully not since it appears the guide is functional right out of the box. With the analog TVGOS the unit has to be off 24hrs to even get a channel lineup.

I kinda doubt the guide is functional right out of the box unless you get lucky and start it up right before a TVGOS info broadcast occurs. Unless it is also using PSIP somehow, but the manual has no reference to PSIP.
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post #20 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otaguy View Post

I kinda doubt the guide is functional right out of the box unless you get lucky and start it up right before a TVGOS info broadcast occurs. Unless it is also using PSIP somehow, but the manual has no reference to PSIP.

Trust me.

It will use PSIP until it downloads TVGOS (if available). And if TVGOS is not available, it will continue to use PSIP.

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

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post #21 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 01:29 PM
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TVGOS doesn't have listings for about 5 subchannels in Philly, e.g. 23-2, 65-1, 65-2, a coupla others. Does the Pal DVR fill in with PSIP for those, i.e. is the unit smart enough to synthesize information from two sources, TVGOS and PSIP?
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post #22 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otaguy View Post

I kinda doubt the guide is functional right out of the box unless you get lucky and start it up right before a TVGOS info broadcast occurs. Unless it is also using PSIP somehow, but the manual has no reference to PSIP.

From what I understand the unit uses PSIP data of TVGOS isn't available. If the information is digitally transmitter the data **might** be instant or at least as quick as PSIP data. Perhaps somebody with an actual unit can answer for sure.
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post #23 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 01:41 PM
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Day time TV isn't worth looking at. 11 channels without spanish tv, shopping or weather channels. I'm going outside. Hopefully when my girlfriend gets home this evening and we sit down after dinner I will be able to show her the 5PM news which should have recorded. The box is pretty simple. I hope I don't get carried away with everyones configuring advice and screw this thing up. Like I said about my Replay, I messed with that thing and almost got infected with WIRNS.
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post #24 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otaguy View Post

TVGOS doesn't have listings for about 5 subchannels in Philly, e.g. 23-2, 65-1, 65-2, a coupla others. Does the Pal DVR fill in with PSIP for those, i.e. is the unit smart enough to synthesize information from two sources, TVGOS and PSIP?

I don't know - what I DO know is that if a station can't be received right now - it shows "No Information available" in the EPG.

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

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post #25 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Please use this topic for discussion of the actual unit.

Please continue to use the previous topic for discussion of issues like orders, shipping, etc. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=972197

Thanks Ken for starting a new thread. Probably should have called it "owners" so people would listen to you and confine answers to how the unit is actually working.

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post #26 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooper View Post

I don't know - what I DO know is that if a station can't be received right now - it shows "No Information available" in the EPG.

OK that's the case where the Pal DVR can't get PSIP because the station can't be received. But what about the case I asked about where the station can be received but there are no listings for it in TVGOS? Does the unit say here's a station that can be received so go get the listings from PSIP and integrate that into the TVGOS listings or does the unit say gosh TVGOS is available so if there is no TVGOS listing for a particular station then too bad?
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post #27 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otaguy View Post

OK that's the case where the Pal DVR can't get PSIP because the station can't be received. But what about the case I asked about where the station can be received but there are no listings for it in TVGOS? Does the unit say here's a station that can be received so go get the listings from PSIP and integrate that into the TVGOS listings or does the unit say gosh TVGOS is available so if there is no TVGOS listing for a particular station then too bad?

I answered your question the best I could - I simply do not know if it will integrate the two, I don't think it does.

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

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post #28 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwnt1 View Post

Easy setup, nice picture, have 4 AAA's ready, batteries not included.

That sucks! On the box, it reads:

Box Contents:

DTVPal DVR
Remote Control
Batteries
RCA-type Audio/Video Cable
Coaxial Cable
User Manual
Quick Start Guide
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post #29 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 03:08 PM
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I got mine today (Fort Collins, CO) and got it hooked up. The first thing that I notice is that it has MUCH better reception than other DTV receivers I have tried. I am getting a reasonable lock on the Denver PBS station that I've never been able to get more than a second or two blip in the past. The Denver NBC station that is currently low power seems to be solid also. We'll see if this holds up, or if the atmosphere is just being extra friendly.

One of the first things I did is install a firmware update via Ethernet connection. I think it came with F201, and it updated to F202. It was an easy process.

If you configure the guide to use small text, you can get about 9 channels on the screen, with about 3 hours of data. Nice! Response is fast.

Right now, some stations, including KCNC-DT Denver (CBS), who is supposed to be the TV Guide source, show "No Information Available". Maybe this will fill in eventually.

I'm using HDMI and an additional optical connection for audio. Everything seems to work OK. I wish someone would broadcast some test patterns/color bars, the default settings look a little washed out vs. my Comcast DVR, but I'm sure I can adjust it properly.

Still learning, but very impressed so far!

Mark

P.S. Mine came with batteries for the remote.
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post #30 of 18294 Old 12-22-2008, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mbuchana View Post


One of the first things I did is install a firmware update via Ethernet connection. I think it came with F201, and it updated to F202. It was an easy process.

Wow, an update available already just as the first units shipped.

Here we go, what's the diff between F201 and F202?
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