ePVision PHD-VRX & VRX2 Owners Thread - Page 81 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #2401 of 2415 Old 02-03-2015, 05:12 PM
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To Aleron...I'm not hooking it up to my PC..the tuner is being hooked directly into my TV right beside it. What I was meaning was I didn't want to put the tuner all the way down on the other end of the house is all. And THANK GOD I even thought of even plugging it into the pc as the darn thing wouldn't display anything on any input no matter what I did until it saw the PC or whatever magic happened. I actually had to hit my AUTO button twice to get it to sync properly. I'd had never been able to get the thing to work if it weren't for the PC I don't think.

Bruce--when I first tried connecting the unit to my TV I originally tried to use an adapter I had bought for my PS4 that was called HDFURY2 Gamer. It has HDMI on one end and componet on the other. Works great for the PS4 showing 1080i so I thought I'd be set that way. The first time I booted up it showed "booting" then displayed 720p which I thought well, TV won't do that but ok maybe the adapter will kick in but nothing but a black screen. So, I just tried hooking it to the DVI port on the TV which I thought it should have worked but still a black screen with 1080p displayed on the box this time. SOOOO, I break down and try the composite out and still nothing but a black screen. Getting kinda worried and frustrated at this point so I try another cable (but the ones I were using I had just taken off and we're working fine but what the heck, I'll try anything at this point). Nothing but black screen on every try but after getting it to come on with the PC and scanning both tuners (one for each tower I have) I thought, hey....wonder what it looks like at 1080p on my computer screen.....BAM....bad move cause my monitor freaked out and I wasn't able to get it to do anything at that point cause evidentially it's too high for my monitor....UGH! I like to never got it to come on again at 720p even after hitting the mode change button a few times (pauses in between of course since I saw the thing changes channels and other general responses slowly). Tried even holding in the power button while booting hoping it would reset or something and finally it did somehow I don't know how. So I just quit screwing with the settings and hooked it back up to the TV via composite and it works but no on screen display BOO!

So now I'm at a turning point. Either find some type of adapter that will make this thing work...1080p HDMI input with a 1080i componet (or DVI, or HDMI for that matter as I have an HDMI to DVI in adapter for the digital in monolink port) or buy a new TV which I'm hating since this one works great for everything else and 1080i live TV looks great thru windows media center tv tuner over my network compared to this 480 stuff with no on screen display.

????
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post #2402 of 2415 Old 02-04-2015, 12:06 PM
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It's very unusual to run across an HDTV that won't do either 720p or 1080p. My guess is your HDMI-to-component adapter just converts HDMI to component but doesn't rescale or interlace, so it won't convert either format to the 1080i your TV requires.

I looked up HDFury (the maker of your converter) and they make downscalers but they cost $399-$499 each, which is ridiculous.

I can't vouch for it but I found this box for under $50 at Amazon.com that looks like it'll do the trick: http://www.amazon.com/Portta-PETHRSP...dp/B00JVNUAEI#

The first reviewer said, "I recently purchased an Xbox One only to discover that it will not work with my perfectly good (but old) HD TV because it doesn't have an HDMI input and it only supports 480i, 480p, and 1080i. The Xbox One only supports 1080p and 720p." Sounds like the same situation you're in.
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post #2403 of 2415 Old 02-05-2015, 07:11 PM
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I am thinking about making the jump to the VRX2. I currently have the dtvpal dvr and tired of its glitchy performance.

I am curious about a few things that i didn't see explained in previous posts. What file format does the VRX2 record in? The dtvpal saves recordings in a proprietary format that is useless on other platforms. Will I be able to take a VRX2 recording and play it later on my computer for instance? Guesstimate of the file size of the typical one hour show? Need to decide what size capacity drive to go with.

In general, after the last fw update, what glitches or unresolved issues should I still expect with this DVR?

Thanks.
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post #2404 of 2415 Old 02-05-2015, 07:39 PM
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I saw those earlier in the week but didn't know either so I just decided to go ahead and give it a shot. I did see another one that mentioned something about passing the HDCP nonsense but a little cheaper so hopefully I won't need that one (and I really don't fully understand the exact specs other than I know it's a copy protection thing but I wouldn't think that be necessary for OTA but who knows. Might just be a general thing for HDMI but I digress and that's a whole nother topic...or is it...might just be the reason for all this trouble in the first place).

Anyway, it's due to show up tomorrow so when I get home from work and either succeed or fail I'll be sure to share my results so maybe it will help someone. I've got my fingers crossed but hopes aren't too high. I sure don't wanna put out for a new tv.
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post #2405 of 2415 Old 02-05-2015, 09:04 PM
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Let us know how it goes. Luckily Amazon is good about accepting returns if things don't work out.

You're right, copy-protection schemes like HDCP shouldn't be necessary for OTA, so hopefully the PHD-VRX will handshake with a non-HDCP-protected HDMI port like the one this adapter presumably has. But I don't know if anyone's tried it yet.
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post #2406 of 2415 Old 02-05-2015, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haiku View Post
I am curious about a few things that i didn't see explained in previous posts. What file format does the VRX2 record in? The dtvpal saves recordings in a proprietary format that is useless on other platforms. Will I be able to take a VRX2 recording and play it later on my computer for instance? Guesstimate of the file size of the typical one hour show?
This is from memory, but IIRC the VRX and VRX2 use a standard MPEG-2 transport stream (extension .ts) that should play fine on a PC. Typical file sizes range from about 2GB/hr for SD up to 8GB/hr for HD. But those figures can vary depending on how your local stations divide up their bandwidth.

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In general, after the last fw update, what glitches or unresolved issues should I still expect with this DVR?

Thanks.
Good question! The VRX and VRX2 firmware has been notoriously buggy but does seem to be slowly improving. Would love to see an updated list of known bugs. (This is shorter than the "issues list" that includes usability issues along with true bugs.)
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post #2407 of 2415 Old 02-06-2015, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
This is from memory, but IIRC the VRX and VRX2 use a standard MPEG-2 transport stream (extension .ts) that should play fine on a PC. Typical file sizes range from about 2GB/hr for SD up to 8GB/hr for HD. But those figures can vary depending on how your local stations divide up their bandwidth.

Good question! The VRX and VRX2 firmware has been notoriously buggy but does seem to be slowly improving. Would love to see an updated list of known bugs. (This is shorter than the "issues list" that includes usability issues along with true bugs.)

Non-technical description of some of the bugs we still have with the VRX2:
-We try to not ask it to do multiple things at once. For example, if we are recording on both tuners, we don't ask it to erase a recording that we have just finished watching (we erase when it is not recording at all).
-When exiting a recording that we are watching, we push the "go back" button and it is supposed to go back to the recordings list. Then, if we want to totally exit we push the "go back" button again and it is supposed to leave the recordings section and go to whichever tuner you are using. Sometimes, after the first push of the "go back" button, it will go to a blank page of the recordings list, and the spot where you finished watching the recording will be lost. If you want to continue watching that recording from where you left off, the "resume from previous position" option is not available and it will start from the beginning.
-Since we recently installed a back-up power supply to prevent the glitches from all the power hiccups we have, we seem to be having fewer recording timer issues. However, the backup has not been in place long so time will tell. These recording timer issues are BY FAR the most frustrating bugs we have. When it goes to start a timed recording (typically one tuner is already recording and it is when the second recording is about to start) it will bring up the warning "no signal available" (when there IS signal available) and the recording will fail. If you go into the recording schedule and change the failed recording to start the next day (it won't work if you re-do it to start today) it will sometimes then start to record, and sometimes it will not. If it will not you have to go into the details of the failed recording and re-enter all the details (start and end times, etc.). It will typically then start to record. Sometimes it will not let you change the failed schedule because it says "the program is currently recording, stop the recording first if you want to make changes". When that happens, sometimes it will let you "stop" it (even though it is already not recording) and sometimes you have to mess with it (switch from one tuner to the other and then back, etc.) before it will let you "stop it". Of course, if you don't happen to be staring at it at the moment it fails, you have no idea that it is not working (other than the display will not show the tuner is recording). Instead of doing all the "re-doing" of the failed schedule, if you do a "manual recording" for the current time, it will record the "current manual recording", but the failed schedule will still not work in the upcoming days until you "fix" it.
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post #2408 of 2415 Old 02-06-2015, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
This is from memory, but IIRC the VRX and VRX2 use a standard MPEG-2 transport stream (extension .ts) that should play fine on a PC. Typical file sizes range from about 2GB/hr for SD up to 8GB/hr for HD. But those figures can vary depending on how your local stations divide up their bandwidth.

Good question! The VRX and VRX2 firmware has been notoriously buggy but does seem to be slowly improving. Would love to see an updated list of known bugs. (This is shorter than the "issues list" that includes usability issues along with true bugs.)
Thanks. It sounds like I would be able to watch on my computer, but it also seems like I won't be able to play the file by plugging the drive directly into my tv. I don't think my tv will be able to .ts files.
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post #2409 of 2415 Old 02-06-2015, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by windermere View Post
Non-technical description of some of the bugs we still have with the VRX2:
-We try to not ask it to do multiple things at once. For example, if we are recording on both tuners, we don't ask it to erase a recording that we have just finished watching (we erase when it is not recording at all).
-When exiting a recording that we are watching, we push the "go back" button and it is supposed to go back to the recordings list. Then, if we want to totally exit we push the "go back" button again and it is supposed to leave the recordings section and go to whichever tuner you are using. Sometimes, after the first push of the "go back" button, it will go to a blank page of the recordings list, and the spot where you finished watching the recording will be lost. If you want to continue watching that recording from where you left off, the "resume from previous position" option is not available and it will start from the beginning.
-Since we recently installed a back-up power supply to prevent the glitches from all the power hiccups we have, we seem to be having fewer recording timer issues. However, the backup has not been in place long so time will tell. These recording timer issues are BY FAR the most frustrating bugs we have. When it goes to start a timed recording (typically one tuner is already recording and it is when the second recording is about to start) it will bring up the warning "no signal available" (when there IS signal available) and the recording will fail. If you go into the recording schedule and change the failed recording to start the next day (it won't work if you re-do it to start today) it will sometimes then start to record, and sometimes it will not. If it will not you have to go into the details of the failed recording and re-enter all the details (start and end times, etc.). It will typically then start to record. Sometimes it will not let you change the failed schedule because it says "the program is currently recording, stop the recording first if you want to make changes". When that happens, sometimes it will let you "stop" it (even though it is already not recording) and sometimes you have to mess with it (switch from one tuner to the other and then back, etc.) before it will let you "stop it". Of course, if you don't happen to be staring at it at the moment it fails, you have no idea that it is not working (other than the display will not show the tuner is recording). Instead of doing all the "re-doing" of the failed schedule, if you do a "manual recording" for the current time, it will record the "current manual recording", but the failed schedule will still not work in the upcoming days until you "fix" it.
I'm cringing. A lot of that sounds familiar. Similar bugs with dtvpal dvr. It also has record fails as well. One of the reasons I wanted to "upgrade" to something newer. Makes it harder to justify buying this. I guess I will have to take a closer look at more expensive alternatives - or live with what i have now.
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post #2410 of 2415 Old 02-06-2015, 08:52 PM
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Thanks. It sounds like I would be able to watch on my computer, but it also seems like I won't be able to play the file by plugging the drive directly into my tv. I don't think my tv will be able to .ts files.
Mine (an LG) handles .ts files fine. You might have a problem with the file system though. While the PHD-VRX2 will record to NTFS-formatted drives, according to this thread's first posts, performance is poor and you won't be able to record two shows at once. Therefore videobruce recommends a Linux ext2-formatted drive, which will let the PHD-VRX2 handle two simultaneous recordings but which your TV may not support.

Curious: how long have you been having issues with your DTVPal? I own two and don't have any of the problems with skipped recordings you seem to be having. (My only issues are the biannual DST bugs.)

As for alternatives, no perfect solution comes to mind. If plugging your drive into your TV to play recordings is your prime concern, a cheap iView or Homeworx is a good choice; but they're very limited single-tuner DVRs with their own reliability problems.

Channel Master's DVR+ is slightly costlier than the PHD-VRX2 at $249, but with a free 14-day EPG provided via Internet. Recordings are saved in .ts files on ext4-formatted drives, so you'd likely have the same problems playing them on your TV.

And there's the TViX 6620. It usually costs a bit more than the DVR+, and I think it uses a SATA drive connection instead of USB, so pulling the drive to play on your TV would require a dock and still probably be too much trouble. But it has extensive media server capabilities. Aleron Ives has one; you might PM him about it.
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post #2411 of 2415 Old 02-06-2015, 10:43 PM
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Well.....SUCCESS! The item suggested by JHBrandt works like a charm! (with a small bit of flicker I might add but NOT worth the purchase of a new TV in my opinion). You REALLY have to be staring at it and scrutinizing the image to see it.

It did take a bit of finiking (that a word?) around with to actually get it to come on thought and I don't understand why (had to turn on and off several times and even took it back to my PC monitor to make sure I didn't tear the HDMI port up). I set the output on the device for 1080i and was able to see from the VRX2 just fine. There IS a bit of flicker on screen though it's not too bad. More noticeable on the shades of grey & light blue. Dunno what that might be but I MAY try another componet cable as the one I had is pretty darn old and was wadded like a rat nest in a huge ball of cables, adapters, and other wiring that I've accumulated over the years yet refuse to get rid of (I actually needed some RCA 3 plug wires and other stuff out of that box after this TV tuner arrived so glad I've kept them all for that long).

I've made a trip to Best Buy this evening and picked up a 4 port HDMI switch made by Rocketfish (kinda high priced ~$60) but it did come with a remote (and I know I've seen them cheaper on Amazon but I didn't have to wait for this one), as well as a Chromecast to plug into one of the ports and it also works great feeding it thru to the single HDMI input of the VRX2. I can use Plex directly to the Chromecast on my iPhone as well as an app called Allcast. I've got my Xbox 360 also plugged into one of the ports on the switch box and I need to get another cable to run the PS4 thru the switch box and I'll have all my devices using the single optical audio link to my surround sound system. I've also got a Raspberry Pi B+ coming on Monday that I'm HOPING wont give me too much grief setting up just Kodi on it (although I'm thinking about also loading some emulators on it maybe MAME and a SNES emulator just for some fun). I've never messed with one of those, let alone Linux at all...Hoping the Raspbmc or OPENelec will be easy to setup and get Kodi running so I can stream all the "good" stuff for free as well instead of having to use a big ole PC stacked up against my TV.

Sooo, needless to say I AM SO VERY HAPPY with this tuner box. Yes there are some quirks...kinda like I'm seeing when I just hooked up a 1TB drive to it and it's displaying only 870G free to use??? Wonder what's up with that? But overall, I'm very pleased with my purchase.


Oh, one thing I really like too is the ability to add some little network graphics to channels....There are a few that aren't in there that I'd like to have to round out my channel listing like one for "Create", MeTv, VMe, Live Well Network, Home Town Sports Network, Grit, Bounce, JUCE (don't watch that one but still would like to have the gfx), This TV, COZI, Ant-TV!, maybe a few others. Anyone know if it's possible to add in our own icons or whatever to the lineup? I'd love to have all of my channels "iconized".
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post #2412 of 2415 Old Today, 05:32 PM
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Mine (an LG) handles .ts files fine. You might have a problem with the file system though. While the PHD-VRX2 will record to NTFS-formatted drives, according to this thread's first posts, performance is poor and you won't be able to record two shows at once. Therefore videobruce recommends a Linux ext2-formatted drive, which will let the PHD-VRX2 handle two simultaneous recordings but which your TV may not support.

Curious: how long have you been having issues with your DTVPal? I own two and don't have any of the problems with skipped recordings you seem to be having. (My only issues are the biannual DST bugs.)

As for alternatives, no perfect solution comes to mind. If plugging your drive into your TV to play recordings is your prime concern, a cheap iView or Homeworx is a good choice; but they're very limited single-tuner DVRs with their own reliability problems.

Channel Master's DVR+ is slightly costlier than the PHD-VRX2 at $249, but with a free 14-day EPG provided via Internet. Recordings are saved in .ts files on ext4-formatted drives, so you'd likely have the same problems playing them on your TV.
The most important thing for me is the reliability of the recording, more than playing it directly from the drive to the TV.

I have one of the 1st gen dtvpals, when they were actually under the DTV label and sold at sears - not channel master. In other words, very old and there might be some hw and fw revisions not available for my box.

The failed dtvpal recordings are more likely triggered when recording multiple events back to back. It might happen, after recording 2 things from 9-10 and then record something different from 10-11. It has also happened the other way around. Might be recording 1 event from 9-10 and then 2 from 10-11. Sometimes 1 of the events at the tail will fail to record.

BTW, where can u get the dvr+ for 249? amazon only has units for 299 and up.
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Oh, never mind, i guess you can get dvr+ for 249 direct from channel master.
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post #2414 of 2415 Old Today, 06:01 PM
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(Apologies in advance for temporarily hijacking the thread. I'll make further replies by PM.)

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The most important thing for me is the reliability of the recording, more than playing it directly from the drive to the TV.
In that case I think the DVR+ is a reasonable alternative.

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I have one of the 1st gen dtvpals, when they were actually under the DTV label and sold at sears - not channel master. In other words, very old and there might be some hw and fw revisions not available for my box.
The last firmware version for the original DTVPal was F208. (Press Sys Info to see your DTVPal's version.) All CMs were version F400, which is functionally identical to F208.

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The failed dtvpal recordings are more likely triggered when recording multiple events back to back. It might happen, after recording 2 things from 9-10 and then record something different from 10-11. It has also happened the other way around. Might be recording 1 event from 9-10 and then 2 from 10-11. Sometimes 1 of the events at the tail will fail to record.
Yes, that's a known bug in the Pal firmware (all versions). Work-around is to always record two shows followed by two shows, never one followed by two or two followed by one. You can always delete the unwanted recording.

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(Apologies in advance for temporarily hijacking the thread. I'll make further replies by PM.)
I don't want to hijack the thread either, but i wanted to thank you for your advice. I couldn't reply to your PM - not enough posts yet.
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