ePVision PHD-VRX & VRX2 Owners Thread - Page 75 - AVS Forum
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post #2221 of 2316 Old 05-10-2014, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Do you have the VRX or the VRX2?
The last 1 or 2 versions have more issues with recording depending on which model you have.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #2222 of 2316 Old 05-11-2014, 09:35 AM
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I have the original VRX


My best friend is my PAL
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post #2223 of 2316 Old 05-12-2014, 03:54 PM
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You're right; it may be interesting for an engineer but from a user point of view, it's a piece of ****. Re:\ "Menu not as friendly as it could and should be, but far better than TiVo's grade school interface;"
but a "grade school" interface is exactly what one wants in a DVR for users. The DVR-PAL was great but the TIVO series 3 is even better. I cannot recommend the DVR for anyone
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post #2224 of 2316 Old 05-12-2014, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
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but a "grade school" interface is exactly what one wants in a DVR for users.
.....if you never used a DVR before and/or are clueless about consumer electronics. Who needs something telling you, if you delete recordings, doing so will make more room for more recordings. rolleyes.gif

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post #2225 of 2316 Old 05-13-2014, 09:46 AM
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.....if you never used a DVR before and/or are clueless about consumer electronics. Who needs something telling you, if you delete recordings, doing so will make more room for more recordings. rolleyes.gif[/quote]

It's harmless but everything about the PHD is user-dreadful, even if they fixed the many bugs (which they will never be able to do)
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post #2226 of 2316 Old 05-14-2014, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docemc View Post

You're right; it may be interesting for an engineer but from a user point of view, it's a piece of ****. Re:\ "Menu not as friendly as it could and should be, but far better than TiVo's grade school interface;"
but a "grade school" interface is exactly what one wants in a DVR for users. The DVR-PAL was great but the TIVO series 3 is even better. I cannot recommend the DVR for anyone

The BAD NEW about TIVO is cost $180.00 per year
The Epvision Phd Vrx does not cost any thing per year

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post #2227 of 2316 Old 05-14-2014, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Smithdoor View Post



The BAD NEW about TIVO is cost $180.00 per year


yes, but (as I discovered recently) the TIVO lifetime membership applies to the machine and is transferable. I bought a series 3 TCD652160 with lifetime membership on ebay for $196 delivered and a two year warranty from square trade for $48 It has the 160gig hard drive so I added a 1tb drive for $88. There are lots available on ebay; I recommend getting one with a larger drive

The Epvision Phd Vrx does not cost any thing per year
but it is greatly inferior to the DTV-PAL and has so many bugs, while the TIVO is even better than the PAL. I have had it for a month and I am delighted with it
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post #2228 of 2316 Old 05-15-2014, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

.....if you never used a DVR before and/or are clueless about consumer electronics. Who needs something telling you, if you delete recordings, doing so will make more room for more recordings. rolleyes.gif
WARNING: If you do this, you might be able to make better use of this device. Are you SURE? tongue.gif

It really sounds like the TiVo interface is over-simplified to the point of silliness, while many of its competitors, including the PHD-VRX, have a too-complex, confusing interface designed by nerds like me. IMO the DTVPal DVR's interface struck a good balance between the extremes of user-unfriendliness and user-silliness, although the TiVo has many more features that might be worth the silliness factor, the "NSA" factor, or the cost.
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post #2229 of 2316 Old 05-15-2014, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

WARNING: If you do this, you might be able to make better use of this device. Are you SURE? tongue.gif

It really sounds like the TiVo interface is over-simplified to the point of silliness, while many of its competitors, including the PHD-VRX, have a too-complex, confusing interface designed by nerds like me. IMO the DTVPal DVR's interface struck a good balance between the extremes of user-unfriendliness and user-silliness, although the TiVo has many more features that might be worth the silliness factor, the "NSA" factor, or the cost.

Yes; engineers (and I almost became one) traditionally designed devices from the back giving no attention to the front ie the user. A early example was the relationship between stove burners and the controls where users have expectations which were not incorporated. A more important example are the old airplane altimeters which gave the information but caused many crashes. This led to the development of "human engineering" which is now a part of academia. I recommended that the epvision people hire someone with the kind of training at http://www.hcde.washington.edu/about
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post #2230 of 2316 Old 05-15-2014, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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At least there is a manual, though I surely couldn't say that 2 years ago.
Look at these MSO's. Specifically TWC. They give you a DVR with absolutely no instructions, the exact opposite of TiVo. Then they upgrade the firmware with no warning and still no details on what was changed.

Like I said, the DVR market is the pits.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
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post #2231 of 2316 Old 05-17-2014, 01:10 PM
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I own a VRX at 243.25.43 and swap between Seagate 1T and WD 500G drive. Both are formated ext.

I am using this unit primarily as a PVR. I have about 1 or 2 shows recording each day on a weekly cycle. After about a week, the unit starts to skip recordings, By 2 weeks nothing is recording. The schedule is still there but nothing. I have set up recordings from the guide and manually (mostly manually). Sometimes I'll find 28 minutes out of an hour show in the "video" section - ie. not under recordings.

I do a "reset all", go through the setup, scan the channels, and reenter my schedule and again ... good for a week.

Anything obvious I can try? Could it be the drives? Are ones with an independent power source preferred? I am using ones that are powered through the USB. I thought this .43 release was better but the same things are happening all over again.
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post #2232 of 2316 Old 05-18-2014, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Sounds as the memory is getting corrupted. Try an older firmware version. This is the VRX, not the VRX2, correct? The versions where they attempted to merge the two tuners together in the Guide is a bust and I'll bet that is what is causing most of these problems.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #2233 of 2316 Old 05-19-2014, 05:19 PM
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Yes ... the original VRX ... this has been a recurring problem since I purchased it
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post #2234 of 2316 Old 05-20-2014, 03:25 AM - Thread Starter
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As I said, try a older firmware version.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #2235 of 2316 Old 05-20-2014, 06:50 AM
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We often have a similar problem with the original VRX, although maybe not quite as severe. We have been willing to live with it because the later firmware versions are much more stable for us (no more "pink screen" crashes). Although the schedule seems to mess up after awhile (and for us it has always done that, even with older firmware), now the unit in general is reliable enough we can at least use it.
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post #2236 of 2316 Old 05-21-2014, 02:56 PM
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Hello, to our forum fellows. I've been following this thread for about two years, but only signed up to post today.

I'm a big believer in free, universally available Over-The-Air, non-internet media, and I think they're important for a functioning democracy. As such, I have no cable subscription, but Vancouver, Canada, is near the US border and I get 7 perfect HD stations locally, and a few from across the border in Washington state. For convenience, I use a TERK amplified antenna and a 1-into-2 splitter to drive both PHD-VRX tuners, though I get almost all the channels perfectly with a simple UHF loop. I still use loops to drive the ATSC tuners on my VCRs, though they don't get a lot of work except as backup.

I get only PIPS program data, which is rarely more than a few hours, but I only use it to check for changes in the Vancouver Sun's weekly TV schedule. I like to map out my viewing for the week once a week, when the paper comes out, and check the PIPS for updates on the shows I'm planning to record.

I consider streaming video to be internet abuse! In terms of receiving content, I don't like being exposed on the internet (never did, even before the Snowden revelations) or having my viewing recorded and monitored (as even cable TV users are now being monitored by their cable boxes or cards now). It's no surprise I'll never use a captive cable recorder that can block or delete recordings, which ALL the ones provided by cable companies do; they haven't used these capabilities much yet, but we know they are there. Here in Canada, we got proof of that several years ago when "testing" of the features by Shaw Cable resulted in people missing recordings and finding others they'd made deleted. After everyone has given up their home recorders, these controls will probably be used much more aggressively.

And, in Canada, it's dang near impossible to get any non-captive PVR equipment, because the cable companies pay the stores to push their recorders and give them a kickback for cable subscriptions. It was over a year after our 2010 digital conversion before cable could match the over-the-air quality, too!

I spent nearly two years trying to find a free, uncontrolled recording system to replace my VCR stack when Canada finally went to digital broadcast, finally settling on the PHD-VRX. I should point out that I'm a Linux geek and have been programming since 1969, but have no experience with commercial cable and on-line media services.

My primary interest was to NOT lose the capabilities I'd enjoyed with VCRs

There was lots of learning, and lots of work-arounding, but on the whole I am very pleased with my PHD-VRX, purchased new through Save & Replay, the only Canadian importer. I hope I'm not upsetting anyone by mentioning a competitor, but I'm writing from another market where there ARE no other competitors. ePvision doesn't want to deal with Canadian customers, steering us to eBay when I tried. This may have changed since, but I was rebuffed when trying to order the multi-brand remote only a few months ago.

My TV is an old 32" Sharp LC-23SB23U, which I bought used for $100 (Canadian), and I am recording to a Buffalo Drivestation 2-terabyte external USB drive with 2GB DDR3 buffer. I highly recommend this; they use commodity high-speed computer memory as a buffer rather than spend a fortune on an SSD. The drive is USB 3.0 but of course works perfectly over USB 2.0, testing in at 24-25MB/sec. I sometimes get jitter at the start of a playback for a second, but it never misses a beat on recording. I can usually easily play back an HD show while recording two others, though playing with FF/RW or jumping back and forth is to be avoided, as it can sometimes crash the system. I used a few other drives with no difficulty before getting this one, formatted ext2, and found no difference between formatting with the PHD-VRX or a Linux box.

I leave it on all the time rather than bother with the standby issues. The storage requirements of HD content are a pain, as my fastest USB drives can't even play back HD .MPG files fast enough for smooth display, and permanent storage is costly (1/2 hour on a DVD, or only an hour on a double0layer DVD). The PHD-VRX can't transcode, and only records the input stream "as-is", which is why you can't transfer other input (such as computer VGA or VCR output) to digital, but you CAN dub off the PHD-VRX to VHS, with loss of quality of course. And there's no PAUSE during recording, so you can't squeeze a few more minutes out by skipping boring parts while recording. I suppose you could with digital video editing, but, even then those blanks are at least $2 each!

The PHD-VRX's analog composite output doesn't show any menus and can't alter aspect, but in this there is a secret benefit to picture quality. Recording 480P digital signals to a VHS machine usually provides black bands on the top and bottom of the screen, but the PHD-VRX output is output at full height. This means the image is stretched vertically and fills the entire screen - meaning higher vertical resolution - and the PHD-VRX or your digital TV's aspect controls then let you see it full-screen with no black bands vertically OR horizontally, just more clearly. I use this when I want to save something like a news broadcast that doesn't need HD quality, as VHS tape is cheap and I have about 400 of them lying around.

As I've never posted here before, I will talk more about my experiences soon.
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post #2237 of 2316 Old 05-21-2014, 03:15 PM
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Through a US-based friend, I obtained one of the ePvision multi-brand remotes for my PHD-VRX, knowing that most multi-brand units would not handle it and that I use it so much that the remote might likely fail. Alas, the recorder itself has not even the most basic controls on it, and ePivision refused to sell me an extra stock remote. (Or the multi-brand remote they sell, as they won't deal with furriners!)

The remote is slightly larger than that supplied with the PHD-VRX, the buttons a bit larger too, and it's MUCH more distinctive and easy to find around the home. I was able to program it to handle my Sharp TV and Zenith DVD player, but there are no VCR options. The buttons have a stiffer feel and less over-travel than the stock remote, and I like them less. I find my fingers actually getting sore from the effort after programming my viewing for a week or checking my schedules! Even using two stacked thumbs, I can't hold down the SKIP FORWARD button for continuous high-speed advance.

THE BIG PROBLEM is that the auxiliary remote has no [QUICK] button, and a smaller one is that it has no [TV] button to quickly switch tuners. There's also no [ASPECT] button, which is often needed during playback. (And for seeing the on-screen display when passing through a VCR or DVD program zoomed to HD format that clips off the on-screen display data!)

Well, there IS a button labeled [TV], but it just switches to TV commands instead of PVR ones. This prevents switching tuners when the menus can't be reached, such as in the guide or recordings screens, and makes it less convenient to quickly switch inputs, as the [INPUT] goes through all inputs EXCEPT that it only offers the two tuners when recording is in progress.

The lack of a [QUICK] button really limits many functions, as they can only be accessed through menus when the [MENU] button works. As such, you can't use many functions when you need them in another screen mode - for example, to switch aspect or check free disk space in guide, playback or recording modes. Some features - such as selection of repeat mode, which is only available during playback - are completely inaccessible without the original remote. Since I got the Sharp TV, I have some aspect control via the TV, but of course aspect control is one thing the PHD-VRX does better than ANYTHING out there. You have fine adjust in 1% increments, and can also move the image to the top or bottom of the screen if it doesn't fill the whole screen, which is often useful for comfort or avoiding reflections.

I wish I could get another of the original remotes - I'd hoped that ePivision would have some from returned dead units, but no go.
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post #2238 of 2316 Old 05-21-2014, 04:04 PM
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The PHD-VRX is much easier to use and understand if you know a bit about how it handles files, which they don't talk much about - but we geeks share our knowledge, right? You don't have to know anything about Linux to use it, but you should have installed ext2 file system handlers on your computer if it's a Windows or Mac machine. (Macintoshes using any version of OSX actually already use a Unix file system, but not ext2.)

[What follows is almost entirely my own deduction, sometimes with info inferred from tales of woe on forums, so feel free to expand on or correct me.]

Why did they choose ext2? Unlike NTFS, HPFS, ext3, ext4, or reiserfs, it is NOT journaling. The extra overhead of journaling, which keeps the drive heads moving all over the place as it records, slows the drive, and I suspect it's the main reason those others aren't fast enough to record the PHD-VRX HD streams. FAT probably would, but with a 2GB file size limit you'd get about 12 minutes in a file! If you want to move files around, learn a bit about Linux file permissions, as you may be told you don't have permission to read or write a drive, directory or file.

I don't think the PHD-VRX actually RUNS Linux - it doesn't come with the mandatory GNU Public License statement. It may use some other variant of Unix, or most probably simply assembly code that uses the TV chip interface.

=====SKIP THIS IF IT'S TOO GEEKY - but read the part after it!=====
To give full permissions to everything on a drive mounted as, say, "NEWS," you can use the command-line interface:

chmod ugoa+rwx -v -R /media/NEWS

If you don't mount the drive under /media, you probably already know enough to know how to change the command!
This sets the whole drive, all its directories and files to give read, write and execute permissions for owner, group and others in a single command. You don't really need execute permission, so you could leave out the "x" in the command, but that's pointless. Using the graphic interface to change permissions is complicated, and requires access to a root window.

I don't know how ext2 handlers on other OSes would treat the permissions.
=====START HERE AGAIN===

The PHD-VRX records everything as MPEG-2 video, and assigns a file name according to the PIPS data or channel number, appending the date and time. Oddly, they use single digits for day and month tagging, so unfortunately name-space collisions could occur; 111 could mean February 11th OR November 1st. I don't know how the unit would handle this, but of course hitting the exact same starting second, too, is a remote event.

ALL files can be reached through MEDIA PLAYER>VIDEO, and found under these names. They can be played, but NOT deleted.

In a disk file named "record," the PHD-VRX saves a lot of information about each file, so never delete this file when connected to your computer! It includes the program name (either as PIPS without the timestamps, or as you have edited it), subtitles, viewing position, time indexing and who knows what else. I've looked at the file with hex editors but not fully figured out the format. I am 93.6% sure that the viewing position is saved only when you use PAUSE or STOP before exiting the program. Using EXIT reliably fails to save correct viewing position data.

***EDIT may 28*** I simplified that too much. The info about each media-stream (.MPG) file is actually in an associated metadata (.NAV) file of the same name, and the "record" file is the link that connects the paired files.

If you copy programming to a computer, you will lose the subtitle data and not be able to jump back and forth as smoothly.

Here's why you really do need a computer: if the PHD-VRX crashes, you have a power failure or the recording doesn't complete successfully for any other reason, the "record" entries and metadata (.NAV) files will NOT be present. They are added ONLY when the recording successfully completes. Stopping a recording manually will USUALLY make a proper entry, though.

So you can't view those recordings from MEDIA PLAYER>RECORD, but you can through MEDIA PLAYER>VIDEO, without subtitles of course. And you can't delete them; they just fill up your drive needlessly. Once in a while, you'll need to clean things up, and unless you save nothing and reformat the drive, you can't do it on the PHD-VRX. You can also organize the files into directories and subdirectories, though sacrificing subtitles, viewing position and better indexing. HINT: check out all the advanced subtitle options - I use pale yellow, partially-translucent, no-background subtitles to obscure as little of the screen as possible. If that's too hard to read, try light green or add drop shadows. (Drop shadows are inconsistent, sometimes only on one line of text.)

This also seems why recorded programs and the info about them survive firmware upgrades. But the scheduling info is in the hardware, not the hard drive, and is nuked. I have tested copying all the files on a drive to a backup, formatting the drive, and copying back - everything works perfectly as long as the "record" file is preserved. Even the viewing position! (Meaning where in the file you stopped watching.) But while the drive is empty or disconnected, the scheduled recordings are still visible.

A tip: if you want to use time-shifting and also record two shows at once, set them to record as usual, but then start viewing from the VIDEO entry. The timer will not read properly once you pass the point where you started viewing, but you can still watch, FF/RW and freeze the entire program up to the point where it's still recording. CAREFUL - as this keeps the drive heads moving a LOT, make sure you have a fast drive and avoid too much jumping around in the program. Because there's no .NAV file or entry in "record," you won't be able to see closed captions this way, skip back and forth as smoothly or save the viewing position.

A caution: If you're using a hard drive to record, don't get in the habit of leaving USB sticks connected when they're not in use. If the system reboots or comes back from standby, and the hard drive doesn't get detected first, the PHD-VRX will try to record on the USB stick. That will either fail when it fills up the drive or give you a recording full of gaps. As the PHD-VRX uses only USB 2.0, I don't think there are any USB drives out there that can record fast enough for even a single recording.

By the way, if you find your setup can't keep up with two recordings and a playback, you can probably still record two programs on one drive and play back from another hard drive or USB stick (though not full HD, which USB drives can't seem to manage).
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post #2239 of 2316 Old 05-22-2014, 02:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I consider streaming video to be internet abuse! In terms of receiving content
It's the lazy way to watch 'TV'. Too much trouble erecting an antenna for the 'electronic toy' crowd. (Of course does not apply to the few areas that actually have no receivable OTA TV.) The Internet is chocked enough as it is, without all of this bandwidth hogging video, I'm not even referring to this so called 'HD'.

Excellent posts especially the previous one. I added a link to it in post 2.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #2240 of 2316 Old 05-22-2014, 06:07 AM
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Ed Bear, that was some very good insight! Thanks!
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post #2241 of 2316 Old 05-25-2014, 06:34 AM
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Uttsjs,

 

HDTV1080P24 found that going into the recording history and deleting past episodes blows the weekly reporting away. He indicated to me that you can go into "video" and delete from there. I haven't tested this, but have stopped deleting old recordings and the weekly record seems to remain functional.  I guess the next step will be to delete from "video" rather than record history and see what happens.

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post #2242 of 2316 Old 05-25-2014, 06:39 AM
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Random reboots with "Home Network" turned on. Does anyone have any ideas?  I put the unit on my network so I could stream a movie off a computer with Serviio (media server) on it.  It 1/2 worked like most things on this DVR - no audio - so I'm assuming it couldn't handle the audio codec. But the unit then started rebooting intermittently.  I turned off Home Network and the reboots stopped.

 

I didn't know if anyone else had the problem and/or if there is a combination of settings that might cause this.

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post #2243 of 2316 Old 05-25-2014, 07:27 PM
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Bkeahl: I don't think the Recording History is what you think it is, but I have not fooled around with it much. I seem to remember that, last time I upgraded my firmware on the PHD-VRX, the Recording History was NOT deleted. But it also survived switching to a clean drive! It takes so long to load with my 2TB drive that I suspect it compiles its listings by searching the drive itself.

I also had not noticed it allows deletion. I never thought that this might try to delete the program, rather than just the history entry, but since you have had problems I won't try it. But this COULD be the way to delete programs that do not have valid "record" file entries without using another computer! I await the experiments of someone who doesn't have more on his drive than he can back up until a new bunch of drives arrives next month.

BTW - I also SOMETIMES find that powering down the PHD-VRX makes my programs fail, though it does NOT show them as unchecked. I habitually check/uncheck/update all my upcoming programs as a preventive and it works - but is a royal pain, since you have to do each tuner's programs from its own tuner or the entries get scrambled. Wish I could figure out why and when the re-checking is needed.
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post #2244 of 2316 Old 05-26-2014, 05:04 AM
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What firmware release are you using? I am at 243.25.43. I was at .243.19.20 for a long time have had problems with both.


Re: remote ...have you thought about using a Logitech Harmony Remote? They are intended to be used as a universal remote but I just use it in lieu of the PHD remote (my original went on strike). Very easy set up and I seems to have all the buttons from the original.
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post #2245 of 2316 Old 05-27-2014, 04:32 PM
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Sorry, there - I was sure I'd listed it somewhere! I'm running PHD-VRX firmware 243.23.31. When I saw the letters "RC" for Release Candidate on the 243.25.43 version, I decided to wait. I have not had any "grey bar" issues, don't try to get on-line guide data (no internet connection) and don't seem to have the sound problem.

Oddly, the sound output level from the PHD-VRX's own recordings is quite low, lower than the level I get during a live broadcast. I'm using the HDMI cable to the TV and then running amplified speakers off the Sharp TV's output. Playing other media files (.AVI, .MKV, .MP4 and the like from video clips) from a hard drive or USB stick usually produces a much louder sound stream, loud enough that I have to reduce the TV volume.

Does anyone have a handle on what the 243.25.43 version does? And why the RC and non-RC versions?

EDIT: I DID list my firmware version in a long post addressing some of Videobruce's massive "list of issues." Did I forget to post that, or was it removed for some reason? I won't try again till I know if I did something to anger the Forum Gods. smile.gif
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post #2246 of 2316 Old 05-27-2014, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Bear View Post

Sorry, there - I was sure I'd listed it somewhere! I'm running PHD-VRX firmware 243.23.31. When I saw the letters "RC" for Release Candidate on the 243.25.43 version, I decided to wait. I have not had any "grey bar" issues, don't try to get on-line guide data (no internet connection) and don't seem to have the sound problem.

Oddly, the sound output level from the PHD-VRX's own recordings is quite low, lower than the level I get during a live broadcast. I'm using the HDMI cable to the TV and then running amplified speakers off the Sharp TV's output. Playing other media files (.AVI, .MKV, .MP4 and the like from video clips) from a hard drive or USB stick usually produces a much louder sound stream, loud enough that I have to reduce the TV volume.

you need to use the pass through option on audio
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post #2247 of 2316 Old 05-28-2014, 02:12 AM
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Docemc: I must admit I really don't understand how this works. I put the HDMI cable into the TV and sound comes out; it's weak when playing back from PHD-VRX recordings but not from other sources. I put a twin-RCA-to-3.5mm-stereo cable into the TV's auxilary input, and connect that to my stereo, and I still get weak sound from my stereo when playing PHD-VRX recordings but not from other sources.

Forgive me for not being able to find any documentation - there doesn't seem to be any - but despite the talk about a "pass-through bug" in some versions of the firmware, I don't know what's happening. I have the original PHD-VRX, not the VRX2, and as far as I know there is nothing addressing the issue on it. I searched the .PDF manual for "pass-thr" to no avail, and then for entries mentioning audio, and found nothing. The conversations about PHD-VRX2 and digital audio seemed to not relate to my case.

Can anyone explain?
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post #2248 of 2316 Old 05-28-2014, 03:20 AM - Thread Starter
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That is explained in post 10.
AFAIC, HDMI is not just overrated, but ti is a PITA. Use the optical out to your audio receiver, or int. amp (assuming you have a external audio setup).

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #2249 of 2316 Old 05-28-2014, 11:01 PM
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Well, I read Post #10 again - good thing to point me there, as I've been reading this forum so long that I never went back to see the major revisions with informational posts at the start.

It still doesn't apply to me, as far as I can tell. I only use stereo 2-channel. The Sharp TV takes the HDMI feed, and a pair of Edifier amplified mini-speakers (they make some crappy ones, but I'm very impressed by mine) take the feed from the audio out jacks. The volume from those is low and not affected by the PHD-VRX volume setting. Live TV and recordings not made by the PHD-VRX have much louder levels.
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post #2250 of 2316 Old 05-28-2014, 11:10 PM
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Some comments on Videobruce's massive "list of issues":
(No, not ALL of them!)

A. Add the missing component out to where it was original designed to go. Older TV's may not have HDMI inputs, newer low end TV's never have enough HDMI inputs for multiple devices. Component could solve those shortcomings. You did the R&D, adding that can't cost more than a couple of dollars at the manufacturing level.

=BEAR: That was an unimplemented component INPUT, not output! Hence, we don't get the full quality of DVD when run through the PHD-VRX - but you can just use your TV's input if it has one. The unit has no transcoding ability, and can't ouptut component video.

B. Add a front panel USB port.

=>BEAR: Get a pair of USB extention cords. I soldered up a pair from dead hubs. Run them under the PHD-VRX, or right out of your video cabinet entirely.

C. Remove the VGA input and add two HDMI inputs. VGA is old school, Using a DVI to HDMI adapter cable would allow most PC's to be connected,

==>BEAR: I strongly disagree - displaying live games or playing back file formats the PHD-VRX can't play requires this if you have no digital video card.

1a. The Guide needs to include both tuners integrated together as one Guide no matter which input you are in. It's a real problem and inconvenience to have to switch back and forth between tuners to try to schedule programming. Especially if you have overlapping recordings.

==> BEAR: This drove me nuts until I realized that you must create programs while the tuner you will record from is selected! Otherwise, channels disappear, get changed, or worse. See also his 3h.

1h. The 'reading' of program data appears to provide less listings compared to other PSIP 'Guides'. Example; Comparing to a older DTVPal on the same stations at the same time, the DTVPal (with no TV Guide data) has their listings further into the future.

=> BEAR: There's also some sort of problem, probably scroll-off, that sometimes shows me only the last line of a long program description.

3d. Add the ability to rename a manual recording when it is scheduled instead of just afterwards,

=> BEAR: See my earlier post - the extra info entries (including meta-name) are saved only when a program completes normally, saving the record in the "record" file.

3e. Remove that "Active" check box in the new "Record Schedule Timer." That is available in the schedule screen if one wants to skip recording for a week. You don't schedule a recording not to record.

=> BEAR: Nu-oh! It's great for pre-empted programs due to holiday or sports shows, when you don't want to lose your regular schedule and may want to have the tuner recording something else. And if a recording fails, you won't be able to start the recording manually because the still-active failed recording will cause a conflict.

3g. Change weekly icon to "W," change "Once" icon to "O," remove Sat & Sunday entry. I see no need for that.

=> BEAR: Nu-oh! For one thing, once the code is set it's best to not create incompatibilites. And I DO use the Sat/Sun option quite a bit, as news shows often have weekend slots other than their weeklies - and some syndicated series run Sat/Sun.

7b. Pressing 'Exit' while in Media Player will completely exit you out of MP while watching a recording. Exiting out of MP should only be permitted while in the main menu. Use of the Exit otherwise should take you back to the Main Menu,

=> BEAR: It will also lose your place in the file! But it's nice to have the option, because sometimes I find it will clear up a lockup without shutting down.

7c. Shorten the manual recording file name in Media Player by removing the seconds and changing the year to two digits. It's too hard to read with those extra unnecessary digits,

=> BEAR: Nu-OH! Because the system does not generate unique day and month combos (111 can be January 11 or November 1, for example) the seconds really help avoid 59/60ths of possible name-space collisions (trying to create two files with the same name)

7d. Include channel number, date & time to the recording entry under the new "Recordings" screen. What happens if there are more than one of the same program listed?

=> BEAR: Just move the cursor to the program you want - its underlying file name will appear above the video window, and you can use the time/date to pick. Yeah, some file names end up too long and get cut off...

7f. While playing back recordings, the right & left navigation buttons will change what you are watching to the next or previous recording without any other interaction. If pressed by mistake, you are now watching something else. This needs to be disabled, except for Photos or Music. (only relates to Recordings)

=> BEAR: This is affected by the "repeat" option, only changeable while programs are playing. I don't fully understand it.

7g. The "Video" section in MP still has the issue of not remembering where you left off when you stop playback and not remembering changed picture settings.

=> BEAR: The last viewing point is saved in the .NAV file associated through the "record" file to the .MPG program. VIDEO is intended for imported files, and they have no .NAV files, so there's nowhere to save piewing point or indexing.

7k. Change "Movie" to "Recording" in the delete confirmation box.

=> BEAR: Picky. And wrong - only a few TV shows and media from other sources are actually movies.

Tuner:
8a. Slow channel changing, especially considering this DVR does not do continuous time shifting. How can this be improved? (This may be hardware related)

=> BEAR: This is a problem with all digital tuners to some extent. Same as for captions and PSIP data - they are squeezed into gaps repeated only every few seconds.

9. There is no clock backup if there is a power outage.

=> BEAR: Amen! In Canada, we have no OTA time signal, so we have to reset the clock maually. And I've never figured out how to set the time to a particular point in a minute - important for back-to-back recordings, where more than about 10 seconds can cause you to miss series recap or preview material.

12a. There are too many 'Aspect' choices. Direct appears to be the proper setting for probably 95% of the material available without distorting the image just to fill the screen.
...
12e. 'Panoramic' disproportionately stretches the screen, mostly the extreme edges. Remove that.
12f. 'Zoom1' is Ok for proportionally expanding a 'postage stamp' image, but 'Zoom2' over stretches the image vertically & horizontally. Remove that.

=> BEAR: Nu-oh! Because many TV stations try to find "compromise" resolutions, VGA outputs can have many aspects, and some media files have incorrect or missing aspect info encoded, I find these VERY useful to get a proper view without cropping.

You Tube;
15a. Add USB support for a keyboard to make it easier to search U Tube. Trying to use the on screen keyboard gets old real quick.

=> BEAR: Have you noticed that the newer firmware releases (at least) allow you to use the 1-0 digit buttons, and the << and >> buttons will let you move through the existing text instead of deleting back to the character you want to change?

15b. The aspect control has no effect in You Tube. If you try to watch a 16x9 clip, it is squeezed down to 4x3 instead of displaying full width.
15c. U Tube can not be used when recording. Accessing U Tube will stop all recordings.

=> BEAR: YouTube does not use a compatible digital video format! This is pretty much impossible. But your TV may be able to adjust it.

18. Trying to record and use the USB speed test causes conflicts. Disallow testing while recording. The speed test also is depending on the state the device is in at the time. Sitting on a blank channel produces better results.

=> BEAR: There's no speed test option while recording or playing back on my unit, with the VRX.243.23.31 firmware. I also note that the drive is best tested after recording a show or two since booting, since many drives with large buffers will give invalid (and rediculously fast) reports.

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