iView-3500STB Tuner & DVR Owners Thread - Page 171 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #5101 of 5123 Old 09-03-2017, 07:00 PM
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Thanks. Mostly I just wanted a visual confirmation that I had the correct models. I too tend to avoid buying directly from Amazon, although I'll buy from third parties that set up Amazon "stores" if they have a good rating. But the links above are from Amazon themselves, so if my local Target has them, I'll buy them at Target now that I know what they look like.

My guess about why SSD controllers work but the small integrated USB thumb-drive controllers don't, is that the SSD controllers probably include several megabytes of RAM for cache and buffering, while the integrated controllers include barely enough RAM to make the thing work at all. That would explain why I had trouble with time-shifting, when I tried to use a cheap micro SD card reader with a 128GB micro SD card. The micro SD card itself was plenty fast and recorded and played back the highest-speed channels I have with no issues, but when I tried to time-shift, which requires simultaneous writing and reading, I think the data going in and out kept bumping into each other due to very limited RAM. The playback couldn't keep up and kept stuttering.

As I've mentioned in the past, I've had good luck with PNY "Turbo Attache" 64GB and 128GB drives, but the way PNY names their thumb drives is very confusing, and others have reported that PNY "Turbo" or PNY "Attache" models don't work - only the "Turbo Attache" ones (with both words in the name) work, and they're hard to find. As with the Sandisk thumb drives, the Turbo Attache models are physically longer than the other models with only one of those words in the name
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post #5102 of 5123 Old 09-03-2017, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
Thanks. Mostly I just wanted a visual confirmation that I had the correct models. I too tend to avoid buying directly from Amazon, although I'll buy from third parties that set up Amazon "stores" if they have a good rating. But the links above are from Amazon themselves, so if my local Target has them, I'll buy them at Target now that I know what they look like.

My guess about why SSD controllers work but the small integrated USB thumb-drive controllers don't, is that the SSD controllers probably include several megabytes of RAM for cache and buffering, while the integrated controllers include barely enough RAM to make the thing work at all. That would explain why I had trouble with time-shifting, when I tried to use a cheap micro SD card reader with a 128GB micro SD card. The micro SD card itself was plenty fast and recorded and played back the highest-speed channels I have with no issues, but when I tried to time-shift, which requires simultaneous writing and reading, I think the data going in and out kept bumping into each other due to very limited RAM. The playback couldn't keep up and kept stuttering.

As I've mentioned in the past, I've had good luck with PNY "Turbo Attache" 64GB and 128GB drives, but the way PNY names their thumb drives is very confusing, and others have reported that PNY "Turbo" or PNY "Attache" models don't work - only the "Turbo Attache" ones (with both words in the name) work, and they're hard to find. As with the Sandisk thumb drives, the Turbo Attache models are physically longer than the other models with only one of those words in the name
Yeah, probably buffer size is the key. And you never really know what's in these crazy drives, my nightmare is it might change from production run to production run.

But as far as the SanDisk Ultra I got from Target, it is still working perfectly as of today, since I this afternoon I ran random tests on it, recording shows I don't want, pausing live TV for 10 minutes, then fast forwarding, rewinding at random, whatever, while I was working on other stuff (not much on TV today!). Not a single problem.

I seen those PNY Turbo Attache drives, passed 'em by because they looked too big and clunky, which I guess is the reaction of the average drive buyer, considering this is the biggest selling drive on Amazon, and it works like crap for iView recording:

https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-128GB.../dp/B017DH3NOW

Looks great, though...

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post #5103 of 5123 Old 09-04-2017, 07:28 AM
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I'm using the 64 GB version of the Sandisk Ultra with my Mediasonic and so far it has worked great. So well, that I've removed the 320 GB hard drive and hub I was using to power it. It should be noted that for OTA where I'm at the max I have available is a 720p signal (about 6 GB per hour of recording). So I don't know how it will perform with a higher bandwidth signal. Next spring we will likely be moving very close to the Canadian border which will bring the Winnipeg stations in play (including 1080i stations) - so perhaps things will change. But I was using chase-play with the sandisk during the 3rd preseason Vikings game and the simultaneous read/write was being kept up with by the drive. I wasn't really considering flash drives as a reasonable option for chase-play previously, but it appears this will be a decent solution. (I typically find an audio stream online so I can listen to the radio call for Vikings football and use the box -- last year a TiVo -- to sync up the TV with the radio call).
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post #5104 of 5123 Old 09-04-2017, 01:05 PM
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I'm using the 64 GB version of the Sandisk Ultra with my Mediasonic and so far it has worked great. So well, that I've removed the 320 GB hard drive and hub I was using to power it. It should be noted that for OTA where I'm at the max I have available is a 720p signal (about 6 GB per hour of recording). So I don't know how it will perform with a higher bandwidth signal. Next spring we will likely be moving very close to the Canadian border which will bring the Winnipeg stations in play (including 1080i stations) - so perhaps things will change. But I was using chase-play with the sandisk during the 3rd preseason Vikings game and the simultaneous read/write was being kept up with by the drive. I wasn't really considering flash drives as a reasonable option for chase-play previously, but it appears this will be a decent solution. (I typically find an audio stream online so I can listen to the radio call for Vikings football and use the box -- last year a TiVo -- to sync up the TV with the radio call).
Right now I'm just DVRing a 1080i DD5.1 channel for testing, looking at the "info" for the recording shows about a 1.88MB/s data rate (or about 15.04 Mbps), which is typical.

But there is another FHD channel here with no sub-channels and they show a data rate of about 2.2MB/s (17.6 Mbps). This to me is the "acid test".

In both cases the SanDisk Ultra records and "chase plays" perfectly.

A 720p DD5.1 channel typically runs at about 1.3MB/s (10.4 Mbps), with stereo sound it's about 1.03 (8.24 Mbps). So yeah, you can't necessarily go by what happens with a 720p channel, but my testing shows that the SanDisk Ultra can handle them all.

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post #5105 of 5123 Old 09-10-2017, 02:06 PM
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Well, I am saddened to report that today I purchased a 32GB SanDisk "elevate Ultra(R) USB 3.0 Flash Drive" at Target for the princely sum of $12.99 (regular price).

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They have 32GB and 64GB ($20.99) versions at the Target a few blocks from here. The front packaging says, "USB 3.0 32 GB elevate SanDisk Ultra(R) USB 3.0 Flash Drive Transfer a full-length movie in less than 40 seconds^1 UP TO 10X FASTER SanDisk(R)".

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Well, my local Target's prices were a bit higher than yours, but not much: $14.99 for 32GB and $21.99 for 64GB. So I grabbed a 64GB one. What's an extra buck for the convenience of buying (and, if something goes wrong, returning) locally, especially since shipping would have far exceeded the difference (unless I'd bought more Amazon crap to go with it)? I had the iView reformat it to NTFS (it comes formatted with the dreaded exFAT format, which the iView thinks is FAT32 but it isn't), and it time-shifts perfectly, even on Fox. (Not the highest bit-rate channel, but pretty respectable at >15 Mbps.) It's also much faster at starting time-shifting than a larger 500MB spinning-platter drive, so it looks like a keeper to me.

I haven't checked standalone recording yet, but since it time-shifts perfectly, surely it can do the same without simultaneously playing back the content. So between you, me, and eherberg, that's three votes for the SanDisk Ultra thumb drive models.
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post #5106 of 5123 Old 09-10-2017, 03:11 PM
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The big test for me will be next Sunday when the Vikings are OTA. It will be time-shifting for about 3+ hours while I sync up to the Vikings radio call. Typically I have between a 10 - 30 second shift depending on which audio stream I can find that is behind the TV broadcast. That will be a lot of simulaneous read/write for an extended period of time to stress test it with.
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post #5107 of 5123 Old 09-10-2017, 04:46 PM
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Well, my local Target's prices were a bit higher than yours, but not much: $14.99 for 32GB and $21.99 for 64GB. So I grabbed a 64GB one. What's an extra buck for the convenience of buying (and, if something goes wrong, returning) locally, especially since shipping would have far exceeded the difference (unless I'd bought more Amazon crap to go with it)? I had the iView reformat it to NTFS (it comes formatted with the dreaded exFAT format, which the iView thinks is FAT32 but it isn't), and it time-shifts perfectly, even on Fox. (Not the highest bit-rate channel, but pretty respectable at >15 Mbps.) It's also much faster at starting time-shifting than a larger 500MB spinning-platter drive, so it looks like a keeper to me.

I haven't checked standalone recording yet, but since it time-shifts perfectly, surely it can do the same without simultaneously playing back the content. So between you, me, and eherberg, that's three votes for the SanDisk Ultra thumb drive models.
WHHAAATTT!?!?!?!?!

I was in the Target down the street on Friday, and took note of the actual prices of the SanDisk Ultra flash drives (I slightly misreported them before):

16GB: $8.99
32GB: $12.99
64GB: $19.99 (NOT $20.99 as I reported before)

Only the 32GB drives have been on the rack for at least a week now. But I can't believe how YOUR Target rips you off!!! I mean, there might be local differences based on the cost of living in the area, but where I live, a 2bdrm 900sq.ft. shack costs like a $1million, so you must live in friggin' Kuwait!!!

I also can't believe Fox has a 15Mbps rate, much lower here. One of the reasons I would ideally want to use a flash drive is the issue of an HDD spinning up (or not) before it starts to actually work; I've had hard drives take like 20 seconds to start recording, so pausing live TV really takes a long paaaauuuuuussse...

I was recording like crazy last Friday on the SanDisk, about eight hours worth, all kinds of channel data rates, not a single drive-related problem...

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post #5108 of 5123 Old 09-10-2017, 04:57 PM
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The big test for me will be next Sunday when the Vikings are OTA. It will be time-shifting for about 3+ hours while I sync up to the Vikings radio call. Typically I have between a 10 - 30 second shift depending on which audio stream I can find that is behind the TV broadcast. That will be a lot of simulaneous read/write for an extended period of time to stress test it with.
I was wondering about longer shifts based on the default 1GB limit listed in the PVR configuration menu, I guess you can change the limit to anything the drive can support (I was thinking about up to an hour of pause before a three-hour program with commercials to be able to fast forward through the commercials, so that would exceed 1GB by a bit).

I've time-shifted an hour program with five minutes of pause, then fast-forwarded and rewound multiple times, no problems. You will always be limited by the size of the drive though; three hours of 1080i DD5.1 could be over 20GB...

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post #5109 of 5123 Old 09-10-2017, 05:07 PM
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My local Fox station does about 6 GB of filesize per hour of recording. I'm curious what will happen. I've got the buffer set to the max 4 GB - but what will happen when it hits 4 GB? Does it fail and I need to resync? Does it just start losing minutes off the back end as more is added to the front end while it keeps on chugging along? I'm not sure how it handles it since I will only be pausing for seconds once I hear where Paul Allen's radio call is in comparison to the broadcast. :-)

With the TiVo last year - that has a 45 minute buffer, but maintained the shift just fine for the entire game - so here's hoping the Mediasonic just keeps a nice, shifting buffer.

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post #5110 of 5123 Old 09-10-2017, 05:23 PM
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When it hits 4GB, it's supposed to "wrap around;" i.e., start writing over the beginning of timeshift.ts instead of continuing to extend the file. The only practical effect is that you can't rewind further than 4GB worth (about 40 minutes for your Fox affiliate), but since you'll only be 30 seconds or so behind, you probably won't even notice.
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post #5111 of 5123 Old 09-10-2017, 05:25 PM
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My local Fox station does about 6 GB of filesize per hour of recording. I'm curious what will happen. I've got the buffer set to the max 4 GB - but what will happen when it hits 4 GB? Does it fail and I need to resync? Does it just start losing minutes off the back end as more is added to the front end while it keeps on chugging along? I'm not sure how it handles it since I will only be pausing for seconds once I hear where Paul Allen's radio call is in comparison to the broadcast. :-)

With the TiVo last year - that has a 45 minute buffer, but maintained the shift just fine for the entire game - so here's hoping the Mediasonic just keeps a nice, shifting buffer.
I do not know, but the fairest way would be to keep shifting forward. What did the fine documentation say? (JOKE!!!)

It does seem like I've seen the numbers on both ends of the slider updating at times, so that's probably it. I've never done much time-shifting, but the other day I was watching regular TV, and I had an over-whelming urge to fast-forward through the commercials, and quickly rewind to catch some dialog I missed, and I realized I had been spoiled by the iView just by testing it!

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post #5112 of 5123 Old 09-10-2017, 05:58 PM
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64GB: $19.99 (NOT $20.99 as I reported before)

Only the 32GB drives have been on the rack for at least a week now. But I can't believe how YOUR Target rips you off!!! I mean, there might be local differences based on the cost of living in the area, but where I live, a 2bdrm 900sq.ft. shack costs like a $1million, so you must live in friggin' Kuwait!
Nah, just Texas; similar economic basis, though

Actually the COL isn't bad here (east Dallas county), but I agree it doesn't make sense for the cost of things like this to change, unless I were in a rural area where the store's shipping costs might be higher. I suspect they do market research and find out what the average disposable income is in the neighborhood; in areas with high real-estate costs, average total income is probably higher, but average disposable income is probably lower, so I guess retail stores price their wares accordingly.
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I also can't believe Fox has a 15Mbps rate, much lower here.
I believe both Fox and MyTV network programming is distributed at 720p, but at a rather high data rate: IIRC, 15.3 Mbps. Fox designed their own multiplexer, called the "splicer," that fixes the .1 channel at that rate, so the viewer gets the same picture quality that's coming down from the satellite. That only leaves bandwidth for one more subchannel, though (maybe two if you push it), so many affiliates have abandoned the splicer in favor of more subchannels. Here, our Fox affiliate still uses the splicer (and has no other subchannels); our MyTV affiliate used to use the splicer, but now uses a more conventional multiplexer and broadcasts five subchannels.
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post #5113 of 5123 Old 09-10-2017, 06:09 PM
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I've seen the numbers on both ends of the slider updating at times, so that's probably it. I've never done much time-shifting, but the other day I was watching regular TV, and I had an over-whelming urge to fast-forward through the commercials, and quickly rewind to catch some dialog I missed, and I realized I had been spoiled by the iView just by testing it!

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The slider can be a bit misleading: from my experience, it will show the total time you've been in time-shift mode, even if that's much more than 4 GB worth of data. Once it fills up and starts wrapping around, I assume you can't rewind to before whatever remains in the buffer file, but the on-screen slider doesn't indicate where that point is.

I do know that once, I paused for so long that my pause point got overwritten, and a bug prevented me from even watching what was still in the buffer. I had to abandon time-shifting completely, losing everything. (iView firmware bugs? Say it ain't so!)
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post #5114 of 5123 Old 09-10-2017, 08:39 PM
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Nah, just Texas; similar economic basis, though

Actually the COL isn't bad here (east Dallas county), but I agree it doesn't make sense for the cost of things like this to change, unless I were in a rural area where the store's shipping costs might be higher. I suspect they do market research and find out what the average disposable income is in the neighborhood; in areas with high real-estate costs, average total income is probably higher, but average disposable income is probably lower, so I guess retail stores price their wares accordingly.
I believe both Fox and MyTV network programming is distributed at 720p, but at a rather high data rate: IIRC, 15.3 Mbps. Fox designed their own multiplexer, called the "splicer," that fixes the .1 channel at that rate, so the viewer gets the same picture quality that's coming down from the satellite. That only leaves bandwidth for one more subchannel, though (maybe two if you push it), so many affiliates have abandoned the splicer in favor of more subchannels. Here, our Fox affiliate still uses the splicer (and has no other subchannels); our MyTV affiliate used to use the splicer, but now uses a more conventional multiplexer and broadcasts five subchannels.
The Fox affiliate station here broadcasts four sub-channels: Fox affiliate, Spanish-language, Movies(TM), game show network. Only one 720p, rest 480i, Movies(TM) is 16:9 anamorphic.
MyTV is (or was?) a sub-channel on another station here, or syndicated programming for the .1 channel.

After people get through paying their rent here, they don't have any money left for luxuries like flash drives and food (but oddly, enough for the highest Ferrari-to-Kia ratio on the planet)...

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post #5115 of 5123 Old 09-13-2017, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post

I was in the Target down the street on Friday, and took note of the actual prices of the SanDisk Ultra flash drives (I slightly misreported them before):

16GB: $8.99
32GB: $12.99
64GB: $19.99 (NOT $20.99 as I reported before)
Best deal IN TOWN until Sunday: Best Buy is having a sale on all SanDisk flash drives. A 128GB SanDisk Ultra is $35, 256GB is $60 (this beats the last price I saw on Amazon, which was $70).

I can report that the big capacity SanDisk Ultra drives record and time-shift on an iView every bit as flawlessly as the 32GB mode I got at Target...

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post #5116 of 5123 Old 09-13-2017, 07:23 PM
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Yes; larger SSDs often perform better than smaller ones, so if a given size works, a larger size should work even better.

And thanks for the recommendation on the SanDisk. I'm now using the 64GB model as my main iView drive. Time-shifting engages so much faster now!

I'll check out the 128GB at Best Buy if I get a chance before Sunday, and see if Best Buy has a "Dallas surcharge" like Target. But even $39 would be a good deal for 128GB.

BTW, I got lucky with my 128GB PNY: it was an amazing $31 from Amazon seller "maxproductsales" last year, but that deal's long gone: Amazon now charges $59.99 for it
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post #5117 of 5123 Old 09-15-2017, 11:40 PM
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WHHAAATTT!?!?!?!?!

I was in the Target down the street on Friday, and took note of the actual prices of the SanDisk Ultra flash drives (I slightly misreported them before):

16GB: $8.99
32GB: $12.99
64GB: $19.99 (NOT $20.99 as I reported before)
Is there a difference between the San Disk Ultra drives and the San Disk Cruzer drives? I picked up a 64 GB Cruzer at Target tonight for my Iview.

Indirectly Outta Compton

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post #5118 of 5123 Old 09-16-2017, 10:49 AM
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Is there a difference between the San Disk Ultra drives and the San Disk Cruzer drives? I picked up a 64 GB Cruzer at Target tonight for my Iview.
Probably, maybe, I don't know, you'll find out (or already have).

Nobody really knows what these crazy flash drive makers are putting in their drives, or what their capabilities are, because that's the way they like it.

I can only speak based on my empirical testing with several different flash drives (but NOT every flash drive available), and the only one that actually worked flawlessly FOR ME for all data rates and modes in the iView was the SanDisk Ultra.

And note carefully, I'm talking about the SanDisk Ultra that looks literally like a big black thumb, NOT some other model like a SanDisk Ultra "Fit", which is a tiny form factor drive. When I went to Best Buy to buy a 256GB SanDisk Ultra (for the fantastic price of $60), I asked for it, and the guy went right to the rack and pulled off a 256GB SanDisk Ultra FIT. I had to inform him that was NOT what I wanted, and then we had to spend a few minutes pawing through all their flash drives to find what I wanted, because they had all of their drives in the wrong places in the display rack (the rack label where the "Fit" drive was showed it was clearly NOT the "Fit" drive rack, which was actually a few spots over).

Soooooo...I think you have to be very careful to get the PRECISE drive that a few people here have confirmed works in the iView for ALL data rates and modes (you can buy a flash drive for like $2 that will work just fine for recording SD television, but nothing of a higher quality or be able to handle "timeshift" mode recording).

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post #5119 of 5123 Old 09-16-2017, 12:20 PM
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Probably, maybe, I don't know, you'll find out (or already have).

...I can only speak based on my empirical testing with several different flash drives (but NOT every flash drive available), and the only one that actually worked flawlessly FOR ME for all data rates and modes in the iView was the SanDisk Ultra.
I have not yet unpackaged the Cruzer. I will take no chances and return the Cruzer for an Ultra. I have looked up the two models and cannot see any difference other than cosmetic. But I'd rather go with tried and true.

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post #5120 of 5123 Old 09-16-2017, 02:14 PM
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I have not yet unpackaged the Cruzer. I will take no chances and return the Cruzer for an Ultra. I have looked up the two models and cannot see any difference other than cosmetic. But I'd rather go with tried and true.
That's the best idea. This is what I bought at Target:

https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Ultra.../dp/B00KYK2AKO

Don't be fooled by a "Fit" version with the same name, almost certainly it will not work.

I think the "Cruzer" is actually a USB 2.0 drive, the "Ultra" is a 3.0 drive. In the goofy world of flash drives, they quite often put faster flash media in 3.0 drives, then advertise them as being "up to 10 times faster than 2.0" (which means nothing). But sometimes they apparently put the exact same media in the 3.0 drives, sell them for more money, and still make the same phony-baloney claims.

In consumer electronics world, the marketing departments quite often use the term "Ultra" to designate a high-performance version. SanDisk does that, but then has an even higher-performance designation, "Extreme" ("Go" and "Pro" versions). Again, this is all must marketing hype, you don't really know what's in any of these things (except by independent testing), but the SanDisk Extreme is generally regarded as the best-performing drive available (also REALLY expensive).

Price note: this must be the week for sales on SanDisk flash drives. I just noticed Staples has the 32GB Ultra for $10.99. (I really need a MUCH bigger drive since a channel I DVR regularly here has such a high data rate that a single hour of video chews up 9GB!)

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post #5121 of 5123 Old 09-17-2017, 04:10 PM
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Wow. 9GB/hr sounds like pretty much the full payload of an ATSC 1.0 broadcast: 19.39 Mb/s, plus the .mts format overhead, I think works out to just shy of 20 Mb/s or 2.5 MB/s. Multiply by 3600 and you get 9GB/hr.

A 64GB drive would barely hold even 7 hours at that rate; maybe even less.
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post #5122 of 5123 Old 09-17-2017, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
Wow. 9GB/hr sounds like pretty much the full payload of an ATSC 1.0 broadcast: 19.39 Mb/s, plus the .mts format overhead, I think works out to just shy of 20 Mb/s or 2.5 MB/s. Multiply by 3600 and you get 9GB/hr.

A 64GB drive would barely hold even 7 hours at that rate; maybe even less.
Yes, that's why I NEED a VERY large flash drive...

Actually, the iView info button shows 2.2MB/s when recording that channel (17.6 Mbps). I'm also including the time fudge I use when recording, so an "hour" recording is actually more like 1:06. But a 32GB drive would be lucky to hold three hours (actual capacity is about 28GB).

But it's a 1080i DD5.1 channel on a station with no other sub-channels. Typically, I see data rates of about 8-12 Mbps these days on other FHD surround sound sub-channels. For quite a while here we had two stations that had two FHD SS sub-channels and a few more SD sub-channels crammed into one 6MHz channel...

And that's why I feel fairly confidant to say that if a flash drive can record and time-shift THAT channel, it can record and time-shift any ATSC channel in the US. One time I thought I had found a flash drive that would work after some fairly cursory testing, then it failed miserably on THAT channel.

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post #5123 of 5123 Old 09-17-2017, 06:33 PM
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But a 32GB drive would be lucky to hold three hours (actual capacity is about 28GB).
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I add a few minutes of padding to my recordings too, and six minutes of padding added to a 1 hour show is obviously 10% overhead per show. At the stated rate, that's 8900 MB/show after adding the .mts overhead, and it might be as much as 9100 MB/show (due to rounding down from 2.249MB/s), so 9GB/show sounds about right. In that case I'd probably go for a 256 GB drive, enough to hold a full season. A 128GB drive would probably top out at about 14 shows.

The situation isn't as bad as it looks though. The "GB" above refers to two different measurements: in one (the 32GB nominal drive capacity and the 9GB show file size), a GB is one billion bytes; in the second (the 28GB the iView reports when you format it), a GB is 2^30 bytes, which actually works out to about 30 billion bytes, enough for three 9GB shows. (Sometimes GiB is used for 2^30 bytes to try to reduce confusion with GB. The iView doesn't use that terminology, but I'll use it here.)

My iView formatted my PNY 64GB drive (I have a 64GB and a 128GB version of this drive) to 58.7 GiB, but that's actually over 63 billion bytes; just enough for 7 shows at 9 GB/show! The 64GB SanDisk I bought last week is ever-so-slightly smaller - 57.84 GiB - so 7 shows wouldn't quite fit unless the padding were reduced a little.
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