Could someone that has the DTVPal converting TV Guide listings from digital to analog try the test mentioned below and report whether it worked or not?
Ultimately this test would be mostly for those of us still relying on analog PBS TV Guide listings to check CBS on the DTVPal to see if it is working yet. And to do this without having to do lots of reconfiguring and thus lose our existing listings. So it would be appreciated.
(In the following I keep referring to Panasonic because I don't know how similar other hardware is)
This method is similar to the G*Test (Gemstar Test) but you can use your Panasonic again right after performing the test. Unlike having to wait for G*Test's 3 minute and 20 second reboot and self-check sequence when you exit it. I'll explain more about that in another message.
You can confirm the special 9 digit number I mention below by looking at page 29 of www.spiffspace.com/TVGOS_Training_Manual.pdf
With my Panasonic DMR-EH75V (TVGOS 9) already viewing the channel I want to test for TV Guide data:
On my Panasonic remote:
I press the [Schedule] button.
I press [Up Arrow] to go to the "Service Bar" (top menu).
I press [Left Arrow] to go to "Setup"
I press [Down Arrow] to go to "Change system settings" (don't press [Enter])
with "Change system settings" highlit I enter: 753 159 852 (ignore the spaces)
The TV Guide diagnostic screen appears.
I press [Up Arrow] twice.
The top of the screen now says:
"Section Reception - Slicing"
The "CurrChan" column of the "Starts", "Ends", "TypeB", and "TypeC" rows should count up.
(You can see a picture of this screen on page 31 of TVGOS_Training_Manual.pdf)
To leave the diagnostic screen I just press the [Return] button.
The regular television picture then resumes.
I've also found that after 5 minutes of not pressing a button on the Panasonic's remote the diagnostic screen will go away and the regular television picture resumes. Periodically pressing [Enter] is sufficient to keep it displayed.
I've only had success with this test on PBS channels that carry the analog TV Guide data.
I'm pretty sure it will work for the CBS channel that carries the digital TV Guide data which the DTVPal is supposed to convert to analog. But it would be great to hear that it actually does.
You can find the channel that is supposed to carry digital TV Guide data for your area here
Additional nonessential info:
I was able to assign that sequence of button presses to a programmable remote that has macro capability. But I found I had to put in a 1 second delay after the [Schedule] button.
(shorter pauses than 1 second sometimes weren't long enough)
(nothing bad happens. It just sends numbers to the Schedule screen which ignores it)
(A 4 seconds delay is necessary if you want to allow for the Panasonic's "SLEEP" state. The manual says this state is entered when the hard drive has not been used for 30 minutes)
(Before I realized my programmable remote had a way to pause I found sending a button's signal 5 times in a row also worked (in place of the 1 second delay, at least). I chose the [Pause] button. But that was just a symbolic choice, of course)
It appears whenever you switch channels the Panasonic spends 8 seconds checking for TV Guide data on the new channel. If TV Guide data wasn't detected in the first 8 seconds then the "CurrChan" counts won't be able to show any activity.
How I determined this:
I figured this out using an old VHS-VCR as a pass-through device. I disconnected the video cable from the yellow output jack on the DTVPal and connected it to the output of the VHS-VCR. I disconnected the antenna cable from the Panasonic and connected it to the VHS-VCR. Then whenever I switched channels using the Panasonic remote it thought it was really switching the video too. But instead the video was under my VHS-VCR's control. Anyway, this allowed me to interrupt the TV Guide data by just changing the VHS-VCR from the PBS channel. I set my watch's countdown timer for 10 seconds. I switched the VHS-VCR off of the PBS channel by using the channel up/down button. Next I got ready to do two things at once. At the same time I had the Panasonic change channels I started my watch's countdown timer. When my watch's alarm went off I switched the VHS-VCR to the PBS channel. I then checked the diagnostic-mode's Reception-Slicing. "CurrChan" had all 0's. I then set my watch's countdown timer for 5 seconds and tried again. "CurrChan" now showed activity. Then I tried 7 seconds, 8, and 9. I determined 8 seconds was the longest I could wait before enabling the TV Guide data for the Panasonic to still be able to detect it.
Sometimes it takes a few seconds before "CurrChan" starts counting up. Maybe 10 to 15 seconds at most.
I was curious whether after the 8 seconds has passed and it didn't detect the TV Guide data on the current channel whether it will periodically check the current channel again? (Assuming you just leave it set to the same channel. And without any power off/on cycles interrupting things.)
So I did the test mentioned above to make sure that it didn't detect the TV Guide data within the first 8 seconds. I confirmed this by looking at the reception-slicing screen. I then switched the VHS-VCR to the PBS channel with TV Guide data. I then left the Panasonic set to the same channel for one hour. After that hour I checked the reception-slicing screen. "CurrChan" showed all 0's.
Maybe at some point I'll be able to do a longer test. I had a show scheduled to record. So my test was cut short. I don't think it is that useful of a test. It is just a slight curiousity of mine.
The "CurrChan" counts get cleared whenever you:
- switch channels
- leave diagnostic mode
- power on the Panasonic (maybe power off too, but how could you prove that?-)
If "CurrChan" was counting up you can leave and reenter diagnostic mode and it will count up again without requiring that you change channels. (usually. tho sometimes "Starts" will be 0, and "Ends" have a non-zero number and no counting takes place. Then switching channels is necessary. I don't know why this stuck state happens)
The "CurrChan" counts start counting after the channel is switched to, not when the diagnostic mode is entered.
This is evident by waiting 60 seconds after switching channels before bringing up the recepton-slicing screen. The Starts and Ends counts will be around 100. (the rate seems to be 100 per minute)
(I didn't spend a lot of time determining the rate at various points during the day. Maybe it is faster at certain points of the day than at other times?)
I wondered if I could get listings from any channel I want. Since the Panasonic checks each channel you tune to for a TV Guide signal I decided to turn off the Panasonic's auto-off feature and then leave it over night tuned to a channel that I knew it detected the TV Guide data on. The next day when I checked it the listings had indeed come in for that day.
(update: the antenna wasn't left directly connected to the Panasonic for this last test. I know I previously said I switched the antenna from the Panasonic to the VHS-VCR. I just figured this point warranted restating given the significance of this last test's findings...)
(update 2: unstated is the fact that the analog PBS channel seems to constantly transmit TV Guide data at all times during the day. At least here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Maybe not significant data. But at least a heartbeat signal.)
(update 3: I did that testing I described above a week ago. I went to verify it just now it and no matter what "CurrChan" wouldn't coun't up. On a hunch I did the G*Test. That did count up. Then I did the procedure I described above and "CurrChan" would count up again. After performing the G*Test all of the counts within "Reception-Slicing" get reset. That is including the "SinceCold", "HostChan" and "CurrChan" columns. Unfortunately I didn't pay attention to the numbers in this screen before I did the G*Test. I'm thinking that the numbers in Reception-Slicing stop counting up once they reach a certain number. Or at least "CurrChan" stops functioning if certain rows of the other columns have numbers over some value. I'll talk more about G*Test in another message. It could be that nobody will experience success using this test unless all your counts were resest within X amount of time.)
(update 4: I did the listings reception test again last night. I should've gotten the 1st listings transmission of 2:31am-5:34am. Checking it at 7:52am (Wednesday) I didn't have next Wednesday's listings. (aside from the typical 12am to 4am period of the previous day's listings). So did I really have success before? I'm not sure anymore)