Homeworx HW-150PVR, Support and Discussion - Page 52 - AVS Forum
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post #1531 of 1550 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 #1532 of 1550 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 #1533 of 1550 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 #1534 of 1550 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 #1535 of 1550 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 #1536 of 1550 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 #1537 of 1550 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 #1538 of 1550 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 #1539 of 1550 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 #1540 of 1550 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 #1541 of 1550 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 #1542 of 1550 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 #1543 of 1550 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 #1544 of 1550 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:
Originally Posted by summguy View Post
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 #1545 of 1550 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 #1546 of 1550 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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post #1547 of 1550 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 #1548 of 1550 Old Today, 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 #1549 of 1550 Old Today, 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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