Homeworx HW-150PVR, Support and Discussion - Page 52 - AVS Forum
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post #1531 of 1555 Old 11-11-2014, 09:10 AM
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None that I know of. The only updates Mediasonic provides are:
  1. V10, for very old boxes that came with V3 firmware
  2. Versions to enable QAM "support" (meaning the firmware will tune clear QAM, but there's not actually any support).
All other firmware updates were to support hardware changes. No bugs have been fixed since V10. Pity, because these boxes actually have quite a few nice features; a little more attention to bugs and they could compete with boxes 4 or 5 times their price.

Note: if your HW has V1, that's actually Mediasonic's newest firmware. There is no update; in fact, other HW firmware versions won't work at all.

Some of us have loaded iView firmware on our HWs, but mostly just so we can use iView's remote, which is a bit nicer than the HW remote. iView's firmware is probably the newest for these types of boxes and does have a few minor bells & whistles, but no bug fixes that I've found.
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post #1532 of 1555 Old 11-11-2014, 01:19 PM
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Can use as VCR replacement?

Can you use this as a VCR replacement?

What I'm asking is can I send a signal from the cable box to this to record programming?
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post #1533 of 1555 Old 11-11-2014, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingJunior View Post
Can you use this as a VCR replacement?

What I'm asking is can I send a signal from the cable box to this to record programming?
No. The homeworx can only record channels that it tunes. If you have any clear QAM channels it may be able to tune those with firmware you have to request from mediasonic. But that is hit and miss as well. But no to your specific question.
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post #1534 of 1555 Old 11-11-2014, 02:40 PM
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As jprc said, no. If this device had a analog as well as digital tuner you could record the channel 3/4 analog output of your cable box, unfortunately for you this box lacks a analog tuner and audio/video inputs.
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post #1535 of 1555 Old 11-14-2014, 09:05 PM
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Sorry to jump in here with a question that maybe has been answered in one of the many pages of discussion about this Homeworx 150...


I just bought one of these things - to use as an ATSC converter (not as a PVR). I bought this because it has component output (not just crappy composite out like many convertors). So I can watch OTA tv on my 14-year-old Sony Wega TV.


What I don't know is - what is the general consensus regarding the tuner sensitivity in this product? Because the one I have sucks. Really badly. Where I live (an area of SW-Ontario that is badly served by OTA service) my 5-year-old Samsung digital TV can pick up about 10 stations with my outdoor antenna. This Homeworx, when given the same antenna connection, can only pick up 3, and all of those have poor reception (on the signal-strength scale). Even though I'm just 1 mile from the transmit tower of one of them (!).


So did I just get a bad unit? Should I return it for another one? Or is this just how they are?
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post #1536 of 1555 Old 11-15-2014, 08:03 AM
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I purchased what looks to be a new (not refurbished) Homeworx HW-150PVR yesterday, and if my unit is any example, then these boxes have terrible receivers that can barely pick up any OTA broadcasts. I live in a poor area for receiving OTA stations as it is. My 6-year-old Samsung flatscreen TV can pick up about 10 stations from my outdoor antenna. When I connect that same antenna to the Homeworx, it can tune into only 3 of them - with very bad signal strength readings even though I'm only 1 mile from the transmit tower of one of them.


Is my experience typical? Am I wasting my time returning this unit for another one?
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post #1537 of 1555 Old 11-15-2014, 11:51 AM
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Hi guys, first post here. I got mine at the end of the summer and have a 300G external drive. I'm using it as a second DVR when my Magnavox MDR is already being used and have been pleasantly surprised. BUT, when I turned it on today to check on some of the timer records, it looks like it has run out of room! There are only 51 files, and most of them are only an hour long. Is there a way to record at a lower quality setting to get a smaller file size? Is this a file system issue? I'm running FAT32. Thanks.
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post #1538 of 1555 Old 11-15-2014, 12:40 PM
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No way to record them smaller, this box records whatever file size is broadcast. If you could record your programs off a SD channel(or sub channel) that will be smaller but HD files are quite large and if you have close to 51hrs of HD on your 300Gb HDD consider yourself lucky, they must have been off mostly 720p channels as full bandwidth 1080i channels are even larger. I'd suggest a 1Tb for a replacement drive, they aren't much more than $50 now days and you can keep recording.
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post #1539 of 1555 Old 11-15-2014, 01:03 PM
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There's no quality setting on the HW. Like most DVRs of this type, it records the transport stream exactly as broadcast. Any down-scaling is done during playback, so choosing a lower resolution won't reduce recording size. (If you're recording HD, 50 hours on a 300GB disk is actually pretty decent.)

The file system won't matter, except FAT32 will break recordings into 4GB files, so an hour-long HD recording will probably be 2 or 3 files. If you switch to NTFS, each recording will be a single file. But the total size will be the same.

Of course, you can hook your HDD to a PC and use a program to reduce the size of your recordings. If you want to do this, you might go ahead and switch to NTFS so you only have one file per recording to deal with.

My favorite program is Handbrake: it's free, and it doesn't reduce quality - instead it just transcodes to more-efficient H.264 video compression. The HW can play the smaller files as "movies" even though it can't record them that way.

Transcoding files does take a long time though, especially with HD recordings. A faster CPU in your PC will help.
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post #1540 of 1555 Old 11-15-2014, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
they must have been off mostly 720p channels as full bandwidth 1080i channels are even larger.
A 720p program can be just as large as a 1080i (eg. FOX versus CBS). ABC gives 720p a bad rep because it over-compresses its signal. But FOX does not.
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post #1541 of 1555 Old 11-15-2014, 06:57 PM
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I just bought an HW-150 ATSC converter box yesterday, and I'd like to know if this unit is just defective or if these are known to have very poor tuner performance (inability to receive anything but the strongest broadcast signals).

I have an outdoor antenna that when connected to either a digital TV or another brand of converter box can pick up about 10 OTA ATSC broadcast channels. But this HW-150 can only tune in 3 channels when connected to the same antenna line. One of those channels is a VHF (channel 10) and I'm about 1 mile from the transmit tower, and the HW-150 shows the signal strengh at something like 30% and the picture is pixilating constantly. My digital TV shows the same signal as 100% and rock solid.

So are these units known for extremely bad tuner sensitivity? Or do I have a defective unit? I'd like to know which one it is before I bring it back for refund or replacement.
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post #1542 of 1555 Old 11-17-2014, 09:39 AM
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They aren't the greatest tuners but they shouldn't be that bad!

If you're that close and using an outdoor antenna, the problem may be overload. The signals may be too strong for the HW, not too weak! If so, a signal attenuator should help. I've seen an attenuator help my HW in some situations.

Alternatively, try something like an 8-way splitter (or you can daisy-chain 3 two-way splitters in a row) to weaken the signal somewhat. Or try a cheap indoor antenna, or deliberately mis-aim your outdoor antenna (although that may cause other problems like multipath interference).
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post #1543 of 1555 Old 11-17-2014, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summguy View Post
I purchased what looks to be a new (not refurbished) Homeworx HW-150PVR yesterday, and if my unit is any example, then these boxes have terrible receivers that can barely pick up any OTA broadcasts. I live in a poor area for receiving OTA stations as it is. My 6-year-old Samsung flatscreen TV can pick up about 10 stations from my outdoor antenna. When I connect that same antenna to the Homeworx, it can tune into only 3 of them - with very bad signal strength readings even though I'm only 1 mile from the transmit tower of one of them.


Is my experience typical? Am I wasting my time returning this unit for another one?

I agree with JH, likely you are overloading the unit. I had this problem and was able to correct it simply by removing the amplifier from the antenna. I now use a smaller amp direct to my Samsung plasma and split off an attenuated signal for the HW box using a 6dB tap:


http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=hrt106
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post #1544 of 1555 Old 11-18-2014, 08:10 AM
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There is no way that this unit is being overloaded. I live in "Radio Free" London Ontario - which is notoriously poorly served by OTA transmitters even by Canadian standards. I posted more comprehensive info recently on Mediasonic's forum for the 150PVR where I made the discovery that running my antenna cable directly into the 150 gave worse results when compared to running the cable first into a passive 2-way splitter and sending one of the outputs to the 150 (and the other to a Samsung digital TV). Other people in that forum seem to agree that there are issues with the 150's tuner sensitivity or input impedance, and it is more likely to be "by design" rather than a build issue with the unit I have.


Has anyone fed an antenna signal directly to their 150, without going through any splitters or amplifiers? And compared how many channels you get (and their signal strength) vs using a passive splitter just before the 150?
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post #1545 of 1555 Old 11-18-2014, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summguy View Post
One of those channels is a VHF (channel 10) and I'm about 1 mile from the transmit tower, and the HW-150 shows the signal strengh at something like 30% and the picture is pixilating constantly.
Quote:
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There is no way that this unit is being overloaded.... I made the discovery that running my antenna cable directly into the 150 gave worse results when compared to running the cable first into a passive 2-way splitter and sending one of the outputs to the 150 (and the other to a Samsung digital TV).
That is a classic symptom of overload: you make the signal stronger (by removing the splitter) and the reception gets worse!

You don't need 30 different channels to overload a tuner. Even one channel can do it, if it's as close as you say channel 10 is.

Frankly, you could probably receive channel 10 by sticking a paper clip in the HW's RF input jack. Is it your only VHF station? How far are the other stations?

Last edited by JHBrandt; 11-18-2014 at 12:16 PM.
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post #1546 of 1555 Old 11-19-2014, 08:56 AM
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I have a yagi-style UHF antenna (digiwave, one of their longer units) and I added a 5 mm wire mesh to the back reflector to improve forward gain. The antenna is currently pointed 90 degrees away from the local TV tower (RF channel 10). There is no amplifier.

Given the direction where the antenna is currently pointed, I can receive the following channels on my Samsung LN22A330 22" TV: 10, 14, 18, 20, 29, 69. All of those channels are both real and virtual except for 69 (that's OMNI, and their channels are confusing, but it's either real channel 20 or 40).

When connected directly to the antenna, the 150PVR drops out channels 18, 29 and 69. When going first through a splitter and then going to the 150PVR, those channels now become receivable, and channels 10, 14 and 20 come in with stronger strength.

So you tell me if a UHF yagi antenna, with no amplifier, pointed 90 degrees away from a local tower 1 mile away broadcasting on VHF channel 10, is going to interfere with the reception of UHF RF channels 18, 29 and 20 (or 40).

You might want to look at this current thread I started on the mediasonic site before you reply.

http://forum.mediasonic.ca/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=2900

There's been some interesting information posted about the hardware version of the 150 unit I (and others) have.
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post #1547 of 1555 Old 11-19-2014, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summguy View Post

So you tell me if a UHF yagi antenna, with no amplifier, pointed 90 degrees away from a local tower 1 mile away broadcasting on VHF channel 10, is going to interfere with the reception of UHF RF channels 18, 29 and 20 (or 40).
Can't comment on the performance of the newer PVR receivers... but yes... its not that simple any more.

There are a few good antenna and RF propagation sources about, including another sub-forum here, that you may want to review, but with digital its more about signal quality, multipath, and noise and just about every brand of front end performs differently. Overloading some front ends causes what seems like contradictory performance and affects reception across the band in one way or another. There are much better receivers in adverse conditions than the PVR, but feed it a decent signal and it does OK.

I have DirecTV, Samsung TV, Silicon Dust and two PVRs and each has one issue or another, the 10 year old DirecTV receiver seems to be the best performer. I also have several antennas on the roof to mitigate issues caused by dense foliage. The modulation scheme used for OTA in the US is great for long distance free space but fails miserably for many in city or suburban forest environments.

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Last edited by ColdCase; 11-22-2014 at 12:23 PM.
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post #1548 of 1555 Old 11-20-2014, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summguy View Post
I have a yagi-style UHF antenna (digiwave, one of their longer units) and I added a 5 mm wire mesh to the back reflector to improve forward gain. The antenna is currently pointed 90 degrees away from the local TV tower (RF channel 10). There is no amplifier.

I can receive the following channels on my Samsung LN22A330 22" TV: 10, 14, 18, 20, 29, 69. All of those channels are both real and virtual except for 69 (that's OMNI, and their channels are confusing, but it's either real channel 20 or 40).

Note: If you have a working channel on RF 20, we can safely assume channel 69 is not on RF 20. (You wouldn't be able to receive either one if it were.) Therefore it is likely on RF 40.

So you tell me if a UHF yagi antenna, with no amplifier, pointed 90 degrees away from a local tower 1 mile away broadcasting on VHF channel 10, is going to interfere with the reception of UHF RF channels 18, 29 and 20 (or 40).
In free space, that might be a good argument. But I'm betting your antenna is near the Earth's surface, where there are lots of buildings, trees, etc.

As a result, a few reflections of channel 10 are going to reach your antenna no matter how it's aimed. I wouldn't expect a UHF antenna to have any gain at a VHF frequency, but you are only one mile away!

BTW, I checked your link. Interesting that Mediasonic has moved to yet another hardware version (and that apparently, they've given up trying to number their firmware versions. Given the crazy progression of their firmware revisions (V3-V10-V12-V8-V13-V14-V1, and I probably left out a few), that's probably for the best.

Anyway, in my experience the HW tuners do seem more susceptible to overload than most others. True, I don't have your exact model, but the evidence you've provided nevertheless points to it. If an overloading signal is received, it drives the electronics into non-linear operation that will cause both harmonic and IM distortion on all channels - not just those near the frequency (or a harmonic) of the strong signal. All that distortion looks just like noise to an ATSC demodulator, reducing your S/N ratio.

Note that RF 18, 29, and 40 are all 11 channels (66 MHz) apart. IM distortion from the first two could easily wipe out reception of the third; likewise, IM distortion from the last two could wipe out reception of the first.


Now, what to do about it? The way I see it, you have three choices:
  1. conclude the HW tuner is junk, send it back, and opt for a different tuner that won't overload so easily;
  2. since splitting/weakening the signal helps, split/weaken it more, e.g., with a 4- or 8-way splitter; or
  3. just attenuate RF 10. Since all your other channels are UHF, that should be easy. I'd probably put in a $4 UVSJ, connect the UHF antenna to the UHF input, and connect the UHF/VHF output to your splitter. At this point channel 10 should be all but gone, but if I'm right all the UHF channels will work.

To restore RF 10, you can connect a small indoor antenna to the UVSJ's VHF input. As I said in a previous post, even an unrolled paper clip would likely be enough.
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post #1549 of 1555 Old 11-22-2014, 12:20 PM
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I have performed some detailed signal-strength measurements with this 150PVR box and some inline attenuators. Here are my results:

(A)___(B)__(C)____D___E___F___G___H___I____(J)___( K)
10.1__195__45____44__57__60__66__66__64___-10.2___1
14.1__473___4____58__71__75__76__77__72___-35.3___4
18.1__497___2.4__ 00__40__52__39__53__46___-37.9___4
20.1__509__14____46__62__67__67__67__59___-31.2___4
69.1__677__25____00__43__00__47__55__39___-31.2___4

The above columns are as follows:

A) Displayed Virtual Channel
B) Frequency (as displayed by 150-PVR) in Mhz
C) Transmit Power (kw)
D) Direct Antenna Connection
E) Using 3 db attenuator
F) Using 6 db attenuator
G) Using 10 db attenuator
H) Using 16 db attenuator (10 + 6 in series)
I) Direct Antenna connection, using only center conductor
J) Signal Power (dBm) from TV Fool report
K) Distance to transmit tower (miles)

Notes:

Columns D through I are the average "quality" value displayed by 150PVR unit under various situations for 5 different ATSC broadcast channels. Each number is the average of 2 readings (a high and low) noticed during about 20 to 30 seconds of viewing. The difference between these high and low values ranged from 2 to 9, and was highest for column I (6) and lowest for column F (3). In all cases, the signal strength changed rapidly from one value to another from second to second.

Attenuators were in-line type, exactly like this:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...uL._SY300_.jpg

Column (I) had antenna cable F connector inserted into 150PVR just enough for center conductor to make contact, but external shield nut was not in contact.

150PVR unit will NOT show any signal strength below numerical value 38. Video picture will pixilate at 39 or 40 and at 38 will disappear completely. No signal strength value less than 38 has ever been displayed (anything under 39 or 38 will result in no picture and hence no information is displayed).

Antenna: Digiwave 2190
http://www.summitsource.com/images/products/AN2190.jpg
I have a 5 mm mesh mounted to the reflector to increase forward gain. This presumably makes the antenna more directional.

Channel 10.1 broadcasts from its own tower about 1 mile from my antenna. The other 4 channels are on the same tower (about 4 miles away) and my antenna is pointed directly at that tower. So my antenna is pointed about 160 degrees away from the closer channel-10 tower.

General observation is that signal strength improves as attenuation is increased, even when up to 16 db of attenuation is used.

Now I'd like anyone to comment on these signal strengths, given the relatively weak transmission power of the towers in question, and the use of some very strong attenuation.
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post #1550 of 1555 Old 11-22-2014, 02:26 PM
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Seat of the pants is that those are very high tvfool signal levels, anything above -60 dBm is is a pretty good signal. Tvfool signal level above -30 dBm or so with anything more than rabbit ears is nearing overload, and the PVR does not take kindly to overload.

I know you think you are doing well, but you have not provided enough information about the environment to do anything beside speculate. You need a more complete site survey. Can you move the antenna around, placing it in different positions and hight as well as direction? Can you try different antennas?

Off hand speculation is that you are overloading the PVR tuner. Ignoring multipath for the moment, perhaps simple rabbit ears would do well for the channels you listed.... or use the 16dB antenuator if thats what is giving you the best reception. If you are seeing drop outs its probably from multipath, not signal level.

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post #1551 of 1555 Old 11-22-2014, 03:49 PM
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I returned the 150PVR to the store I bought it at, and decided to swap it for another one. Just fyi - both of these looked like new-in-box. The second unit performs no better than the first:

(A)___(B)___(C)___(D)___(E)
10.1__44____49____2/3____8
14.1__58____68_____4____10
18.1__00____00_____4____10
20.1__46____56_____4____10
69.1__00____00____2/3___5/6

The above columns are as follows:

A) Displayed Virtual Channel
B) Signal strength (1'st 150PVR that I returned)
C) Signal strength (2'nd 150PVR replacement)
D) Signal strength (in "bars") Access HD DTA 1080
E) Signal strength (in "bars") 6-year-old Samsung 22" Digital TV




In all cases, the antenna line was connected straight into each device - no splitters or other connections. In addition to the above channels, the Samsung TV can also tune in these channels:

29.1 (2 bars) -96.6 dBm (48 miles away)
31.1 (3/4 bars) -52.2 dBm (27 miles away)

The antenna is pointing about 200 degrees away from 29.1, and about 20 degrees away from 31.1. The Access HD box is not tuning in the above 2 channels. And for the record, when doing a second scan on the (replacement) PVR150, it did not pick up 20.1 (I had to manually tune it in).

And just to note - I haven't moved the antenna at all during all these measurements. The second unit's signal strengths are showing slightly higher than the first, but it still can tune 3 out of 5 expected channels.

I think the Access HD box is crappy. If I turn it on from a COLD start, it takes 1/2 hour before it can tune in any signals. That's why I generally don't turn it off. But then again, it doubles as a space heater when it's on. But at least it (usually) can pick up the same stations as the TV. I don't know how many Bars the AccessHD box has - if 4 bars means "100% signal" or not.

So if the prevailing theory here is that the 150PVR tuner is just oh, soo sensitive, then I will test that next by pointing my antenna south towards Erie / Youngstown / Akron / Cleveland. On good tropo nights in the summer my Samsung TV can usually pick up a few of those channels (about 80 to 120 miles away). Then I'll try Detroit.

A few questions about the 150PVR:

1) why does it tune all the way up to channel 62? Without having any ability to tune NTSC (analog signals) there seems to be no reason to go past 52.

2) during a channel program scan, the screen shows 2 columns. On the left - a list of any TV channels it can receive. On the right, is a table for showing a list with the heading - Radio. I've never seen anything show up in the radio list. What exactly could, would or should show up there?

3) What is the minimum signal level it needs to display a picture? Has anyone seen anything lower than the upper 30's (or even 40) before pixellation and complete drop-out?

Last edited by summguy; 11-22-2014 at 06:41 PM. Reason: I mixed up columns D and E in the table. The table is now correct.
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post #1552 of 1555 Old 11-22-2014, 05:59 PM
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This site has some useful hints and better description than can be typed out here:

www.hdtvprimer.com
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post #1553 of 1555 Old 11-22-2014, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
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3) What is the minimum signal level it needs to display a picture? Has anyone seen anything lower than the upper 30's (or even 40) before pixellation and complete drop-out?
I need 50 for solid reception on my two early 2014 PVRs, dunno how the newer PVR signal quality indication differs from these older models.

PDP-6010FD, VSX1123K, HW-150PVR, Snell E111 Mains, Polk Center, VTF3Mk4 Sub, DIY surrounds, HD XA2, DMR HS2, DV F27, HR21-200, TH-50PH9UK, VSP-1100, PSW200... some other stuff.
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post #1554 of 1555 Old 11-22-2014, 09:45 PM
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BTW, from your first table it appears your channel 69 is on RF 48 (674-680 MHz; the HW displays the center of the band or 677 MHz).
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So if the prevailing theory here is that the 150PVR tuner is just oh, soo sensitive, then I will test that next by pointing my antenna south towards Erie / Youngstown / Akron / Cleveland. On good tropo nights in the summer my Samsung TV can usually pick up a few of those channels (about 80 to 120 miles away). Then I'll try Detroit.
I don't think the HW tuner is particularly sensitive; at least mine isn't. It's just more susceptible to overload. IOW, the difference in dB between the weakest and strongest signals it can handle is less than most other tuners.

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1) why does it tune all the way up to channel 62? Without having any ability to tune NTSC (analog signals) there seems to be no reason to go past 52.
The exact channel range may depend on the country you select. In the US it will tune all the way up to RF 69, even though our top frequency is RF 51! Even after the DTV transition, the US had a handful of low-power stations operating on RF 52-69; they've all moved to lower channels by now but the tuner range is a relic of those days.

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2) during a channel program scan, the screen shows 2 columns. On the left - a list of any TV channels it can receive. On the right, is a table for showing a list with the heading - Radio. I've never seen anything show up in the radio list. What exactly could, would or should show up there?
I've been told that the firmware was originally written for an FTA satellite box, and the "radio" column is a holdover from that.

I don't know if audio-only ATSC channels would get listed under "radio." There are no such channels in my area to check with. There were at one time but they were gone by time I got my HW.

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3) What is the minimum signal level it needs to display a picture? Has anyone seen anything lower than the upper 30's (or even 40) before pixellation and complete drop-out?
I think that depends on the exact hardware version. I own one of the first HW's made, and the signal strength meter in mine is nearly useless. I've had it lock a station reading as low as 7(!) solidly, yet pixellate on stations with higher readings. I know your HW uses a different demod chip; it sounds like your HW provides more consistent readings than mine.
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post #1555 of 1555 Old 11-23-2014, 10:19 PM
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Bought an HW-150pvr recently off Amazon.
FYI the System -> Information screen doesnt give a version anymore, just date/time:
Model:HW-150 PVR
SW Version:Aug 29 2014 16:22:49
HW Version:MLG7802-ATSC-V3
So far working great.
Cant say if it has any bugs/quirks mentioned in the thread except the program details not clearing when viewing another program that the description is shorter.

Have a 1TB 5 1/4" drive in USB enclosure for recording.

As a former TIVO owner can say not as slick but good enough for the price.
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post #1556 of 1555 Old Yesterday, 03:43 PM
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True, they'll never match TiVo, but these boxes do quite a lot for the price!

Here are some bugs to look for:
  1. If you schedule a recording that starts before midnight but ends after midnight, and you already have another recording scheduled for earlier that day, does it incorrectly report a conflict, forcing to to delete the other recording(s) before you can enter the one that crosses midnight?
  2. Have you noticed any stations that lost all their flags (favorite channel, skip channel) and/or recording timers when you tuned to them?
  3. If you have a DD 5.1 system, do you only get stereo when playing back a recording?

There are other bugs, but those are the only ones that are annoying/common enough to come to mind. If they've addressed any of those, that would be significant.
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