Homeworx HW-150PVR, Support and Discussion - Page 40 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Old 04-22-2014, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

The tuner chip is fairly new (and presumably 6th generation). The newer generations are better able to deal with multipath; 6th generation chips can even handle situations where the reflected signals are stronger than the direct signal, as happens sometimes in crowded urban environments.

I believe it's a low-cost "universal" tuner chip that can tune DVB-T (overseas) as well as QAM and 8VSB, although of course DVB-T isn't used by the N. America firmware. They probably sell identical or similar boxes overseas with only the firmware changed.

Nevertheless, the Homeworx tuner is not the best around. It's not bad, but I've always had trouble getting the Homeworx to lock onto the 3 or 4 weakest stations in my area. Most of my other tuners will easily lock all but one or two of these. A better antenna will probably help a great deal.

Thank you for the reply. I'm going to reserve judgement until I get a proper antenna (ordered the Monoprice 4730) since I believe the signal is fairly strong. I'm on the 4th floor of a condo building, and my balcony roughly faces the broadcast sources which are 3-5 miles away, so I am expecting fairly good results.

Right now I was just using a cheap flimsy wire antenna designed for getting FM radio reception to my A/V receiver haha, so certainly not ideal.

Is there a significantly better tuner box that you would recommend?
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:47 PM
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That close and that high up, pretty much any UHF/VHF antenna should work. Chances are your Homeworx will work fine once you put your antenna up.

BTW, since your TV has a digital tuner, you'll probably want to set your HW's RF output to "loop through" and hook it to your TV's RF input. That will let you record one show while watching another (like an old-fashioned VCR).

As far as tuners go, many are somewhat better but I know of none that are "significantly" better. I've tried the CM-7001; it has a better tuner but it doesn't have nearly the features of the Homeworx: no recording, no media playback, no favorites lists, and you can't use SD and HD outputs at the same time. Heck, you can't even delete unwanted channels! Yet it's significantly more expensive than the HW rolleyes.gif

If you want an OTA DVR with a better tuner, you might look for a used DTVPal or CM-7000Pal on eBay. It's a six-year-old design but still one of the best DVRs for OTA use. It also has two tuners instead of one (so you can do things like time-shifting one show while recording another) and comes with a built-in HDD. But it doesn't play media, and you can't copy recordings to a PC as with the Homeworx.

I personally use a HW and a Pal together, and I know of others who do the same. The HW makes a great "overflow" DVR for those (hopefully rare) occasions when you need to record three shows at once wink.gif
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Old 04-24-2014, 07:20 PM
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Hello everyone, this is my first post here. 

 

I received yesterday my HW-150PVR which I bought at Amazon, and have been trying to make it work but so far I'm unable to get any signal. I live in Guatemala and have cable service, and bought the unit in order to record some of the programs from the cable company. I plugged the cable wire to the boxes' RF In and then plugged another coaxial cable from the boxes' RF Out to the TV, and tried searching for the channels but nothing appeared. Just in case, I bought today a digital antenna and plugged it to the box and when searching for channels nothing came in either. I'm not really interested in getting the channels via the antenna, I'm only interested in getting the channels via the Cable service and being able to record them. What am I doing wrong?

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Old 04-24-2014, 08:19 PM
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Not sure about Guatemala, but most cable companies use QAM or analog which the PVR won't receive by default. There may be QAM firmware available but you need to email mediasonics (discussed earlier in this thread).

I'm not sure what over the air digital TV standard is in use in Guatemala, but the PVR is a ATSC NTIA standard device. I though Guatemala is still analog and in the process of going to ISDB-T, but I dunno. The PVR is not going to receive analog or ISDB-T TV.

see http://www.rapidtvnews.com/index.php/2013060728182/guatemala-to-use-isdb-t-from-2015.html

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Old 04-24-2014, 10:15 PM
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I did a little research and can confirm ColdCase's conclusion: Guatemala is using ISDB for digital television, which is not compatible with ATSC, so the Homeworx won't tune any OTA stations in your country. You need a DVR intended for the Japanese market, as you're using the Japanese broadcasting system.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:28 PM
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Hello ColdCase and Aleron Ives, thank you both for your replies. I don't know anything about this so I just want to make sure that the box will not work with the CABLE SERVICE (not the air signal received with the antenna)? If that's the case, can you point me to an affordable DVR I can use in this country?

 

Thanks again!!!

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Old 04-25-2014, 12:21 AM
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So I bought a Patriot 128gb USB 2.0 Flash drive that was on sale and plugged in into the HomeWork and formatted it to NTFS or whatever lol.... anyhow this is my first time using time shift but is it super jumpy and break up for you guys? is it because I am using a flash drive, should I be using a hard drive? I would imagine the flash drive would be faster then a hard drive would be? I have not tried to schedule to record anything yet only tried the time shift for a moment since its so late..

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Old 04-25-2014, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Chaves View Post

So I bought a Patriot 128gb USB 2.0 Flash drive that was on sale and plugged in into the HomeWork and formatted it to NTFS or whatever lol.... anyhow this is my first time using time shift but is it super jumpy and break up for you guys? is it because I am using a flash drive, should I be using a hard drive? I would imagine the flash drive would be faster then a hard drive would be? I have not tried to schedule to record anything yet only tried the time shift for a moment since its so late..

USB 2.0 flash drives are significantly slower than a hard drive. Some high speed flash drives can handle recording at full HD speeds but not the average 2.0 thumb drive. I do have a high speed 2.0 and 3.0 drive that can handle recording full single stream HD with only an occasional hiccup Of course if you are recording lower bitrate streams you will find more success. In most places CBS is the highest bitrate station (I don't know if this is true everywhere but it is in many cities) so if you want to test your drive, I would suggest you test with that station unless you know another station is higher bitrate. If you test with a lower stream you may think it works fine and then mess up a recording with a faster stream.

Now timeshifting of course requires writing and reading simultaneously which is even more strenuous for a thumb drive and latency comes into play as well as buffer size. So you will need a low latency fast drive. Again the higher the bitrate of the stream, the more likely you are to get stuttering on a flash drive. If you want to eliminate this problem altogether, just use a hard drive. Otherwise you will have to test a series of thumb drive to find one that can handle high bitrate timeshifting. I would suggest using a 3.0 drive if you really want to timeshift on a flash drive. Although it won't go any faster than USB 2.0 speeds with the Homeworx, you have a better chance of getting real world higher speeds than with a 2.0 drive. A USB 3.0 drive will be more expensive of course. If you really don't want to use a hard drive for some reason, you could use a micro SD card with adapter - make sure the adapter is up to it and not too slow of course.

You've already found out your current flash drive isn't up to time shifting. It may or may not be able to record without timeshifting. You will just have to try it and find out. Like I said, test it on your highest bitrate station so you know for sure.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svsanchez View Post

I don't know anything about this so I just want to make sure that the box will not work with the CABLE SERVICE (not the air signal received with the antenna)?

I don't know anything about cable TV outside of North America, but most US cable companies are encrypting their cable now, so your ability to use the Homeworx with cable depends upon your cable being clear QAM. If it's encrypted, analogue, or some other format, then the Homeworx won't work. Even if you do have clear QAM, you won't be able to make recordings with the timer, because most cable feeds do not supply the PSIP information that the Homeworx needs to set its clock.
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Chaves View Post

So I bought a Patriot 128gb USB 2.0 Flash drive that was on sale and plugged in into the HomeWork and formatted it to NTFS or whatever lol.... anyhow this is my first time using time shift but is it super jumpy and break up for you guys? is it because I am using a flash drive, should I be using a hard drive? I would imagine the flash drive would be faster then a hard drive would be? I have not tried to schedule to record anything yet only tried the time shift for a moment since its so late..
Flash drives cannot write to video HD in real time. They are too slow. The only possible alternative is is a class 10 SD card with a USB adapter. Make Sure it's a class 10. That's the only card fast enough for video. Haven't tried that personally but it may work. I'd stick with a hard drive.

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Old 04-25-2014, 07:44 AM
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Quick question. Have you guys tried watching the files on an 8-10 inch models android device? If yes do you need to convert it? or as is? Thanks

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Old 04-25-2014, 09:11 AM
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I can confirm that a class 10 SD card is perfectly capable of recording well beyond 1080i (up to 1080P60, in fact) from my camera, which is MPEG2 encoded (M2TS container).

So I've perused this thread a bit but haven't yet come across any specific recommendations for an inexpensive, reliable HDD that will record without a hiccup. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:28 AM
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Portable WD 500GB or Toshiba 500GB work good on mine. I would not go higher than 500GB, although some say 1TB works good. I tried WD 2 TB and had problems..

http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Canvio-Basics-Portable-Drive/dp/B005J7YCHG/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1398443472&sr=1-1&keywords=Toshiba+500GB+USB+3.0+Portable+Hard+Drive

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Old 04-25-2014, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by AvidHiker View Post

I can confirm that a class 10 SD card is perfectly capable of recording well beyond 1080i (up to 1080P60, in fact) from my camera, which is MPEG2 encoded (M2TS container).

So I've perused this thread a bit but haven't yet come across any specific recommendations for an inexpensive, reliable HDD that will record without a hiccup. Any suggestions?

What's inexpensive to you? I use the 2TB version of this $70 hard drive without scheduled recording issue: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822145597 I think they also offer a 500GB version for less than $50.

I also use a 128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD in a Star Tech USAP USB3 enclosure without issue, including time shift. But that's $120 or so. There are less expensive SSDs that will work well, but you are still $70+

Regardless of the drive you select, the PVR seems to occasionally hiccup and need reset. Most often when there is a signal glitch while recording either introduced at the TV station or along the way to the PVR. So the better the signal quality and the better the signal source, the more stable the PVR will be.

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Old 04-25-2014, 10:16 AM
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When watching TV and the PVR starts recording a scheduled show, after the splash screen a continuous recording status popup is displayed at the top left of the screen. Is there a way to set the PVR to not to pop up the status?

I haven't been able to find mention of this.

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Old 04-25-2014, 10:21 AM
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well I needed a larger general use thumb drive lol so I guess it will now be the 128gb flash drive I just bought, I will look at getting a hard drive for around that $50.00 mark. smile.gif

Also does a self powered USB HDD work fine with this unit? just avoiding yet one more thing plugged into my AC strip.

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Old 04-25-2014, 10:49 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdCase View Post

When watching TV and the PVR starts recording a scheduled show, after the splash screen a continuous recording status popup is displayed at the top left of the screen. Is there a way to set the PVR to not to pop up the status?

I haven't been able to find mention of this.

You can't pre-set it to not do that but all you have to do is press Exit to get rid of it.
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by afterlife2 View Post

Portable WD 500GB or Toshiba 500GB work good on mine. I would not go higher than 500GB, although some say 1TB works good. I tried WD 2 TB and had problems..

http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Canvio-Basics-Portable-Drive/dp/B005J7YCHG/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1398443472&sr=1-1&keywords=Toshiba+500GB+USB+3.0+Portable+Hard+Drive


I second that, I have that exact drive and never have issues. It's blue light comes on 1 minute prior to a scheduled even and flickers when recording or playing back. I paid ~$50 for mine at Office Max with a coupon, great deal IMO.

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Old 04-25-2014, 01:05 PM
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Quick question. Have you guys tried watching the files on an 8-10 inch models android device? If yes do you need to convert it? or as is? Thanks

The native player likely will not support it but just download MX Player from the Play Store and it will. If for any reason you didn't want to download a third party player (although I do like that one myself) you can convert the files to mp4 to play in the built-in video player.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:08 PM
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You can't pre-set it to not do that but all you have to do is press Exit to get rid of it.

Thanks. Short story is I have one unattended setup (no remote) and it would be nice to not be distracted by the status pop up.

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Old 04-25-2014, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jprc View Post

The native player likely will not support it but just download MX Player from the Play Store and it will. If for any reason you didn't want to download a third party player (although I do like that one myself) you can convert the files to mp4 to play in the built-in video player.

Thanks it works with all the players in any format and looks and sounds great.biggrin.gif

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Old 04-26-2014, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

The tuner chip is fairly new (and presumably 6th generation). The newer generations are better able to deal with multipath; 6th generation chips can even handle situations where the reflected signals are stronger than the direct signal, as happens sometimes in crowded urban environments.

I believe it's a low-cost "universal" tuner chip that can tune DVB-T (overseas) as well as QAM and 8VSB, although of course DVB-T isn't used by the N. America firmware. They probably sell identical or similar boxes overseas with only the firmware changed.

Nevertheless, the Homeworx tuner is not the best around. It's not bad, but I've always had trouble getting the Homeworx to lock onto the 3 or 4 weakest stations in my area. Most of my other tuners will easily lock all but one or two of these. A better antenna will probably help a great deal.

Good info.

I'm just coming to realize that my antenna must be seriously lacking (and I likely have a lot of multipath), because the Homeworx can only reliably lock onto NBC. I'm just under 20 miles from NYC and the rest of my channels (dozens of them) are choppy or unreceivable. Makes me really appreciate the excellent tuner in my Samsung plasma (D7000), which has absolutely no problems with most channels.

OK, Mediasonic, time to get a real NA tuner chip in there! I'll happily pay more.

UPDATE: Apparently this tuner is easily overloaded (and the signal strength meter is useless - always shows low signal from my antenna). Removing my antenna preamp appears to have resolved the problem, at least for some channels. Got the idea from reading through the thread the other day - thanks to whoever posted that.
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:44 AM
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Yeah I can confirm using a 32gb Sandisk Ultra Class 10 works fine with time shift on HD quality channels, I have a very small adapter so I may just get a 64gb Class 10 microSD and just use that, I dont need tons of space since I can always transfer what I want to keep to my HTPC, this is just for timeshift and every now and then recording a few shows smile.gif

On an HD channel how many hours would you estimate you could record with a 32gb or 64gb? Say Fox or ABS or CBS?

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Old 04-26-2014, 12:10 PM
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On an HD channel how many hours would you estimate you could record with a 32gb or 64gb? Say Fox or ABS or CBS?
a little over 4 hrs on 32gb and a little over 9hrs on 64gb. You can see how many hours when you press the info button on the remote.
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Old 04-26-2014, 01:21 PM
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Yeah I can confirm using a 32gb Sandisk Ultra Class 10 works fine with time shift on HD quality channels, I have a very small adapter so I may just get a 64gb Class 10 microSD and just use that, I dont need tons of space since I can always transfer what I want to keep to my HTPC, this is just for timeshift and every now and then recording a few shows smile.gif

On an HD channel how many hours would you estimate you could record with a 32gb or 64gb? Say Fox or ABS or CBS?

Each of those channels will have a different bitrate and so take up a different amount of space recording. On stations with sub-channels the streams will be lower rate and your highest stream on such a station is likely to be at a 720p rate. Even on a single stream station broadcasting at 1080i, the bitrate will not be the same as another station broadcasting a 1080i stream because of what compression method they use, overhead, and simply because they get to choose (up to the limit of the standard) what they send you. That's why I mentioned finding your highest bitrate station when testing recording or timeshifting. Just because it says HD doesn't tell you what bitrate stream you are receiving. You can expect about 8GB per hour for the highest bitrate streams, which mean (after formatting/overhead on your drive/card) you would get less than 8 hours on a 64GB and less than 4 hours on a 32GB.
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Old 04-26-2014, 04:49 PM
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Checked NBC NY today - with just one 480i sub-channel, their 1080i stream takes about 1GB for every 10 minutes of recording. More than I expected, but it looks amazing!

BTW - I'm currently using a 1.5TB WD drive (WDBY8L0015BBK-NESN). Haven't carefully scrutinized a dedicated recording (so far so good), however I did notice a couple random, brief pauses when testing it for time-shifting.
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:37 PM
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Also does a self powered USB HDD work fine with this unit? just avoiding yet one more thing plugged into my AC strip.
Yes it does; I use one (a 500GB Samsung I got from NewEgg) and it works just fine. Actually a USB powered drive is even better IMO because the HW turns the drive's power off when you put it in standby, saving a little electricity (not that a USB powered drive uses all that much power anyway) and wear on the drive.
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by AvidHiker View Post

Apparently this tuner is easily overloaded (and the signal strength meter is useless - always shows low signal from my antenna). Removing my antenna preamp appears to have resolved the problem, at least for some channels. Got the idea from reading through the thread the other day - thanks to whoever posted that.
I probably should have mentioned that; I've had the same experience myself. Cutting the signal with an attenuator can sometimes improve reception. And you're right about the signal meter - as far as I can tell it measures raw strength only and completely disregards signal quality. I use an old Philco CECB to check signal strength.

If you do use a preamp with the HW, I recommend an extremely low-noise one such as Winegard's Boost or Kitztech's KT-100. I've had good luck with those but not so much luck with anything else.
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:50 PM
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So I moved my leaf outside out of the weather and direct sun and out of eye sight too and amazingly even as low as it is, I am getting all the major channels near 100% strength so happy smile.gif

*

I plan to get a plastic home security sign to attach to the same wood post in front of the antenna to make it blend away a bit better since it is in the front yard lol... ^^;;

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