One of my DTVPals died last week, so I've been using the Homeworx more heavily while I try to procure another. I only use it as a backup in case I screw up recording on my PC; still, it's been an adventure.
My first attempt, Knight Rider on Cozi-TV. worked pretty well. The only problem I had was that I couldn't overlap the two recordings, even though both were on the same channel.
That's been a pet peeve of mine for some time: you shouldn't need two tuners to make two recordings of the same video stream! Just write the single video stream to both of the recording files simultaneously during the few minutes of overlap. Even NTFS over USB 2.0 should be able to handle the bandwidth.
But I have yet to find a DVR that will do this. The DTVPal used both tuners during the overlap; if you turn it on and tune to another channel, it's down to one tuner and eliminates the padding in order to do the recordings.
The Homeworx just reports a conflict if you try. Still, it recorded both back-to-back shows just fine. So Cozi TV is good.
My local Retro TV affiliate is another matter, though. First, they're on a low-power station that doesn't broadcast an EPG at all, so you have to book the recording completely manually, VCR style.
No big deal, I thought, until I tried - and discovered I couldn't even set the channel for the recording to 31-4! It started out on my lowest channel, 4-1, and as I pushed the "right" button it went up to 23-3 - but the next button push moved it down to 18-2! I was in a loop and couldn't get past 23-3.
So I tried pushing the "left" button, got back down to 4-1, pushed it once more, and it went to 25-1! From there, there was no escape. If I went left again, I was back on 23-3; if I went right from 25-1, it went back to 18-2 again!
Good grief, I thought; what a weird bug. Odd that I'd never even read about this one. But I finally got around it by tuning to channel 27-3, pulling up the EPG, and setting up my recordings from there. By starting at 27-3 I was able to reach 31-4.
Next problem: I only got the first of two back-to-back recordings. I actually understand this one though; channel 31's time is way off. It did the first recording OK, but then thought the second recording didn't start for another hour or so.
I'll have to combine back-to-back shows into one long recording, I thought, but that's OK because I can cut them apart again on my PC. After all, this is only a backup anyway.
But then I ran into more problems: first, when I tried to play the Retro TV recording on my PC, the audio was complete white noise, even though the video was fine. In contrast, the Cozi TV recordings played perfectly.
That's even weirder, I thought; it plays fine on the Homeworx itself, why is the audio fouled up on my PC? But what the heck; I decided to load it into AVIDemux as if I were going to edit out the commercials.
And from AVIDemux, the audio played perfectly! Great, I thought; the audio will probably get fixed when I save the file after editing it.
But then, I hit a literal show-stopper: the recording was incomplete. It stopped right after the first commercial break.
I actually have an idea why. My local Retro TV affiliate consistently FUBARs the switch from commercials back to programming. In most cases, this just causes a few seconds of "glitchy" video. But apperently the Homeworx was completely flummoxed and just died on the spot.
So, so much for Retro. There are just too many problems with their stream, and the Homeworx just can't deal with it.
Tomorrow night, we'll see how This and Me-TV do.