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The Official AVS Dish DTVPal DVR Topic! - Page 580

post #17371 of 18096
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrpastore View Post

I've watched a few old Bogart and Steve McQueen movies from that new "Movies!" network that recently went on the air (7.2 subchannel here in Austin). I've seen a couple of strange things and I'm wondering whether they are unique to the Austin distribution channel (FOX) or are network-wide.

1) Every few minutes there will be audio drops that come and go quickly for a few seconds. It sounds exactly like the audio drops that they use to edit out offensive language, but they're also occurring when there is no dialog to edit out. Here's the strange part, if I hit the "10 sec back" button immediately after one of these audio drops, that portion of the movie will repeat without any audio drops! I have never watched this channel "live" for any length of time so I can't say whether these audio drops are present either "live streaming" through the DVR or while tuned directly by the TV tuner.

2) Much less frequently (once per movie if at all), the video will drop out for about one second, replaced by a blue screen with white text in the center that says something to the effect of "Alarm - No Video Lock" or something like that. These events are so rare and so brief I've never bothered to "skip back" and verify that they are indeed part of the recording.

I've never seen either of these glitches on any other channel. I'm just wondering if any other DTVPal DVR users are seeing these symptoms either here in Austin on 7.2 or elsewhere around the country on other carriers of this "Movies!" network. Thanks for any replies.

Are you seeing these when viewing 7.2 live? What kind of signal strength are you getting? Also 7.2 would be VHF and that can happen with VHF. What kind of antenna are you using?
post #17372 of 18096
7.3 is digital designator and the RF channel could be UHF as well ...
post #17373 of 18096
In this case his guess turns out to be correct, they are VHF broadcasts. Main channel designator 7-1 (FOX) is 720P on physical channel 7.2, Sub channel 7-2 (Movies!) is 480i on physical channel 7.3. DVR reports signal strength of 98% for both of them and I've never seen any glitches on recordings from FOX so I don't think the VHF frequency has anything to do with it.
Edited by jrpastore - 9/2/13 at 9:49am
post #17374 of 18096
There could be local contributors, like radars, other sources of periodical EMI;
BTW, RF channel number never had a dot, it's just a decimal number, so if you could obtain freq of it, we will get the real number.
post #17375 of 18096
I've never bothered to crack open the case on either of my DVRs. I find the 250GB capacity to be plenty and I'd hate to see how long the scroll list of recorded programs gets with a 1TB drive!

Problem is the issue is not consistent, sometimes I don't hear the dropouts on recordings from 7-2, and sometimes I do. So it would take some effort to correlate live-viewing experience to recorded-viewing experience on the same program. The problem is occasionally annoying, but not so much that I want to dive into another engineering debug session on it. I was just wondering if any other viewers of the Movies! network were seeing anything similar on their recordings. Thanks for your suggestions.
post #17376 of 18096
I would say, if you experience the glitches only on one channel/one station, then it wouldn't be a point of blame inside of DVR.
post #17377 of 18096
I'm just using the convention from Rabbitears.info. He uses "x-x" for the designator, and "y.y" for the physical channel.
post #17378 of 18096
Yeah, it's not clear whether Known Issue #12 persists on replay of the recording or not, maybe the same issue.

I saw the Blue Screen error msg thing again last night while watching Catch-22, and it DOES persist on replay so it's clearly an issue at KTBC or Movies!
post #17379 of 18096
Quote:
Originally Posted by P Smith View Post

I would say, if you experience the glitches only on one channel/one station, then it wouldn't be a point of blame inside of DVR.

I agree. Hence my original question. Trying to see whether it's a KTBC specific issue or something more global at Movies!
post #17380 of 18096
I'll ask Trip why is that RF has sub numbers.

I found in his FAQ, perhaps something related to your case:

Q. Why are there so few stations on channels 2-6?
Channels 2-6 have some severe problems which can be tolerated in the analog world, but cause havoc in the digital world. Chief among these is that electrical noise from lightning as well as vacuum cleaners, blenders, and anything else with an electric motor, can and will cause the signal to drop out or disappear completely.

These channels also suffer from a phenomenon called "e-skip" which is when ions in the E-layer of the ionosphere create a sort of mirror which reflects signals that would otherwise go out to space back down to Earth. This allows stations from as far as 1500 miles away to interfere with what you are attempting to watch.

While the power saved by using these channels is undeniably great, the tradeoffs are huge. It is advised to avoid these channels if at all possible.
post #17381 of 18096
Quote:
Originally Posted by P Smith View Post

I'll ask Trip why is that RF has sub numbers.

I found in his FAQ, perhaps something related to your case:

Q. Why are there so few stations on channels 2-6?
Channels 2-6 have some severe problems which can be tolerated in the analog world, but cause havoc in the digital world. Chief among these is that electrical noise from lightning as well as vacuum cleaners, blenders, and anything else with an electric motor, can and will cause the signal to drop out or disappear completely.

These channels also suffer from a phenomenon called "e-skip" which is when ions in the E-layer of the ionosphere create a sort of mirror which reflects signals that would otherwise go out to space back down to Earth. This allows stations from as far as 1500 miles away to interfere with what you are attempting to watch.

While the power saved by using these channels is undeniably great, the tradeoffs are huge. It is advised to avoid these channels if at all possible.

Channels 2-6 used to be called VHF-Lo while channels 7-13 were called VHF-Hi. There is a pretty large frequency gap between channel 6 and channel 7 and in that gap you'll find air traffic control, weather broadcasts, lots of stuff. So I don't think the VHF-Lo issues described in the FAQ apply to this case with channel 7.

I'm pretty sure it's not any kind of EMI interference with the signal, because the resulting "loss of data" from the broadcast stream would be permanent and unrecoverable. In my case, I skip back 10 sec, and the audio is fine, so the data is all there... I think it's some ATSC hardware incompatibility issue like we've seen so many times in the past. Some digital processing can't keep up with some bitstream so it drops some frames of audio data to get back in sync. As usual there are three possible owners of blame:

1) The DVR's decoder is not fully compliant with the ATSC spec.

2) The encoder at KTBC or Movies! is not fully compliant with the ATSC spec.

3) The ATSC spec is not sufficiently well "nailed down" and it's possible for a fully compliant encoder and a fully compliant decoder to not communicate with each other perfectly.

We see variations on option number 3 all over the place, particularly in PC hardware, so that seems pretty likely...
post #17382 of 18096
Got a response from Trip. He is mixing analog [RF channel number/freq] and digital domain - MPEG dot sub-channels for visitors' convenient at his site.
I'll insist on no use sub-numbers when we are talking about RF channels.

To answer to your last post - I would make some conclusion about stream/decoders/encoders if you'll write the stream to file without skipping packets (by 8VSB computer card).
post #17383 of 18096
I'll copy the e-mail I just now sent you here:

"I know it's not perfect, but it's done with the idea that if you're manually entering into certain tuners or TVs, if you enter that number (7.3) you should get something usable. I know the Sony TVs are like that, where if a channel hasn't been scanned in but you put in what I've got as the 'physical channel,' it will find it. Other sets do things like that too."

- Trip
post #17384 of 18096
NP. It will benefit all members here for sure.
post #17385 of 18096
I don't think RFI or EMI is involved for the reasons previously stated. But for reference, RF channel 7 is 174-180 MHz. That's about 3x the frequency of RF 2, which is 54-60 MHz. and about 2x the frequency of RF 6, which is 82-88 MHz, just below the FM radio band.

That big frequency gap accounts for the different characteristics of RF channels 2-6 and RF channels 7-13, such as why the former are much more susceptible to E-skip and RFI/EMI.
post #17386 of 18096
Do any of you frequently power off and disconnect DTV Pal DVR often when not in used? And then plug it in back to record and/or use? I am trying it for the rest of the hot summer (e.g., 90F degrees in my upstair room). I am trying to keep my room cooler and save electricity.

Thank you in advance. wink.gif
Edited by phildaant - 9/4/13 at 12:44pm
post #17387 of 18096
Quote:
Originally Posted by phildaant View Post

Do any of you frequently power off and disconnect DTV Pal DVR often when not in used? And then plug it in back to record and/or use? I am trying it for the rest of the hot summer. I am trying to keep my room cooler and save electricity.

Thank you in advance. wink.gif

The DVR uses around 20W, which is about 15 kWh per month, which probably costs you around $2.00. If you're running your A/C, then you can roughly double that to $4.00 month after paying to extract that incremental heat from your house. Whether that's enough savings to justify the hassle depends on your recording schedule. One thing for sure, once you start running your furnace, the net cost to leave the DVR plugged in drops to near zero, so definitely not worth it at that point. That's kind of the dirty little secret of pushing CFL and LED lighting in cold northern climates, complete waste of money.
post #17388 of 18096
I always felt the big issue with heat wasn't so much that heats up the room (it's like a 20W light bulb, which isn't that bad) but that it heats up the Pal's own components, possibly shortening their lives. Also, when running, the fan will accumulate dust inside, making the internal heat worse.

But either way, if you're neither recording anything nor watching any recordings, I see no harm in unplugging it to save some power and reduce heat. You could even use one of those 24-hour mechanical timers to power it on & off at preset times, if that fits your situation.

You can also reduce the Pal's power requirements if you happen to upgrade the HDD. The stock drive is a fairly power-hungry 7200 RPM drive, and of course it runs whenever the Pal is plugged in. A 5400 RPM laptop drive will typically reduce the Pal's power usage to 15 W or less.
post #17389 of 18096
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

I always felt the big issue with heat wasn't so much that heats up the room (it's like a 20W light bulb, which isn't that bad)....

A house with closed windows is essentially a closed system. You dump an extra 20W of heat into it and tell the thermostat you want to maintain a constant temperature, then by definition, you're requiring the A/C to pump an extra 20W worth of heat out of the house. Admittedly that's a miniscule percentage of the overall load on the A/C, but it's still incremental cooling requiring incremental power and incremental money at the end of the month. That's why any power that you save in the summer pays you back double, while saving the same power in the winter saves you very little.
post #17390 of 18096
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrpastore View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

I always felt the big issue with heat wasn't so much that heats up the room (it's like a 20W light bulb, which isn't that bad)....

A house with closed windows is essentially a closed system. You dump an extra 20W of heat into it and tell the thermostat you want to maintain a constant temperature, then by definition, you're requiring the A/C to pump an extra 20W worth of heat out of the house. Admittedly that's a miniscule percentage of the overall load on the A/C, but it's still incremental cooling requiring incremental power and incremental money at the end of the month. That's why any power that you save in the summer pays you back double, while saving the same power in the winter saves you very little.
Yeah, my upstair room can get to about 90F degrees during the heat waves (even with expensive and old central AC on). frown.gif So far, I only used the DVR for over an hour when needed for each day (twice a week). At least it is connected and used at night when it is cooler.
post #17391 of 18096
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrpastore View Post

A house with closed windows is essentially a closed system. You dump an extra 20W of heat into it and tell the thermostat you want to maintain a constant temperature, then by definition, you're requiring the A/C to pump an extra 20W worth of heat out of the house. Admittedly that's a miniscule percentage of the overall load on the A/C, but it's still incremental cooling requiring incremental power and incremental money at the end of the month. That's why any power that you save in the summer pays you back double, while saving the same power in the winter saves you very little.

Interesting stuff. Of course there are people who keep their house shut down and either run the air or heat all year. Then there are people like me who keep windows open and only run the air a dozen or fewer times. I also have an external drive and shut my PALS down during rerun season. I agree with Brandt. I would be more concerned about heat buildup in the PAL than electric usage and costs. You can always get electricity but you can't buy a new PAL and used ones are tough to come buy at a reasonable cost.
post #17392 of 18096
Quote:
Originally Posted by phildaant View Post

Do any of you frequently power off and disconnect DTV Pal DVR often when not in used? And then plug it in back to record and/or use? I am trying it for the rest of the hot summer. I am trying to keep my room cooler and save electricity.

Thank you in advance. wink.gif
The unit dissipates about 20 watts. Unless you have about 10 of them running I would not worry about heating the room. Also keep in mind that most electronic devices fail on startup.
post #17393 of 18096
Actually unless the PALDVR is recording or you are watching a recording it should be in standby mode and not giving off much heat at all. You could have 100 in the room and they are not going to make a dent in the temperature unless the room is the size of a closet and all 100 are recording.

We probably all have devices that give off a lot more heat in our houses. Turn on you tv and run it for just a few hours and and you give off more heat than the PALDVR gives off in a year. Boil a cup of water on your stove and you give off more heat than the PALDVR gives off in 10 years.

Let's get back to more serious issues.
post #17394 of 18096
The Pal's energy usage changes very little between standby and active use. It may go up from 20 to 22 watts. So it really doesn't matter much whether it's recording or not.

LenL's exaggerating a bit* but the sentiment is correct, I think. A typical plug-in electric room heater or hair dryer uses 1000-1500 watts, which is equivalent to 50-75 Pals. So in most cases the heat from a single Pal wouldn't even be noticed.

But as always, YMMV. If you have a Pal in a small bedroom whose temperature is right on the threshold of comfort, I suppose the extra 20 watts could be just enough to push it over the edge. If so, it'd be better to unplug the Pal than to lower your home thermostat even one degree, since your A/C would use far more than 20 watts cooling the whole house just to make that one room comfortable again.

BTW, WillN937 is right that most electronic devices fail on start-up. However, internal heat is often what brings components to the brink of failure in the first place. So it's a trade-off.

If a Pal is going to be unused for a significant period, I'd think the benefit of removing internal heat by disconnecting it would outweigh the risk of failure when plugging it back in. But since the Pal was designed to be on 24/7, I wouldn't cycle its power more than once per day, and not even that often unless the Pal was going to be off for several hours each time.

*If my calculations are correct, it takes about 600 kJ to boil a cup (~240 ml) of water. At 20 watts, It would take a Pal over 8 hours to produce that much heat. Not quite 10 years but the point is well taken. Of course, actually collecting the heat from a running Pal and using it to boil water would be a daunting engineering challenge, which I'll leave as an exercise for the reader wink.gif
post #17395 of 18096
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

The Pal's energy usage changes very little between standby and active use. It may go up from 20 to 22 watts. So it really doesn't matter much whether it's recording or not.

LenL's exaggerating a bit* but the sentiment is correct, I think. A typical plug-in electric room heater or hair dryer uses 1000-1500 watts, which is equivalent to 50-75 Pals. So in most cases the heat from a single Pal wouldn't even be noticed.

But as always, YMMV. If you have a Pal in a small bedroom whose temperature is right on the threshold of comfort, I suppose the extra 20 watts could be just enough to push it over the edge. If so, it'd be better to unplug the Pal than to lower your home thermostat even one degree, since your A/C would use far more than 20 watts cooling the whole house just to make that one room comfortable again.

BTW, WillN937 is right that most electronic devices fail on start-up. However, internal heat is often what brings components to the brink of failure in the first place. So it's a trade-off.

If a Pal is going to be unused for a significant period, I'd think the benefit of removing internal heat by disconnecting it would outweigh the risk of failure when plugging it back in. But since the Pal was designed to be on 24/7, I wouldn't cycle its power more than once per day, and not even that often unless the Pal was going to be off for several hours each time.

*If my calculations are correct, it takes about 600 kJ to boil a cup (~240 ml) of water. At 20 watts, It would take a Pal over 8 hours to produce that much heat. Not quite 10 years but the point is well taken. Of course, actually collecting the heat from a running Pal and using it to boil water would be a daunting engineering challenge, which I'll leave as an exercise for the reader wink.gif

All I know is my 2 units pretty much stay cool when not in use and when in use they run a lot hotter. Maybe its my imagination. The fan runs more often and the unit's case is warmer. I don't see how 2 extra watts can make that much of a difference but if you say so then I believe it.
post #17396 of 18096
I took my measurements with one of those Kill-a-Watt meters. I think mine actually read close to 21 watts in standby and 23 when on (which includes recording to the buffer) but I rounded down. (That was with the stock drive. I didn't recheck after upgrading the HDD)

There are some components that aren't used in standby. In particular, all the outputs are shut down except RF, which is in pass-through mode (so the RF modulator is shut down too). Plus, if it's not using the HDD, the drive's heads won't be moving. But other things remain active: the power supply, CPU, and the tuner it uses to keep the guide updated (and to discover new channels). And the HDD always spins, so it's ready instantly when you turn the Pal back on (or when a timed recording starts). So all things considered, the 2-watt savings I measured seemed reasonable.

If your Pal experiences significant heat when in use, you might check its power usage yourself. If it's using a lot more power when on, it could be a warning that some component is about to fail.
post #17397 of 18096
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt 
If your Pal experiences significant heat when in use, you might check its power usage yourself. If it's using a lot more power when on, it could be a warning that some component is about to fail.
I wonder what P Smith thinks of this...
post #17398 of 18096
Just reading, entertaining smile.gif

If you owning it you could do what it please you;
sure, just take in account higher rate of failures during frequent warming ups, spin ups ...
I'm sure no one has 20 DVRs in his room what would produce same calories as working big plasma HDTV;
also I would be interesting to see how much heat produce our body during 24 hrs, say eating 3500 kcal per day smile.gif
post #17399 of 18096
Quote:
Originally Posted by P Smith View Post

Just reading, entertaining smile.gif

If you owning it you could do what it please you;
sure, just take in account higher rate of failures during frequent warming ups, spin ups ...
I'm sure no one has 20 DVRs in his room what would produce same calories as working big plasma HDTV;
also I would be interesting to see how much heat produce our body during 24 hrs, say eating 3500 kcal per day smile.gif

College prof once mentioned that thermal load of humans in a closed room is estimated at 100W per person. That's how they size HVAC for large auditoriums, etc.

In response to all the discussion of whether a 20W appliance could ever make a noticeable difference in the ambient temperature of a room; no one ever suggested that. Someone was trying to calculate $ saved per month by unplugging a 20W appliance. I pointed out that it varies by season. In spring/fall with the windows open, you'll save about $2/mo, In summer with the A/C on, you'll save closer to $4/mo. (just because you can't feel an increase in room temperature from a 20W appliance, doesn't mean that your A/C somehow "magically" doesn't have to remove that heat from your house. It's basic thermodynamics). In winter, your electric bill savings will be negligible, because you'll need to burn that equivalent 20W worth of heating fuel (electricity, nat gas, whatever).
post #17400 of 18096
Unplugging one Pal would save about 10 kWh for every three weeks you left it unplugged. That would work out to saving about $2 per month I'd guess, depending on your electricity rates.

If your electric bill is like mine, that's not a lot. But if you went through your home and found several similar examples, it could add up.

Regarding the heat produced, as jrpastore noted, savings are increased during the summer and diminished during the winter. But surprisingly, it's not necessarily a 1:1 ratio.

Air conditioners actually remove several kWh of heat for each kWh of electricity used. So during the summer, the savings would be greater than $2/month but wouldn't double to $4/month. Might get to $3/month.

Winter is more complex because there are many ways of heating one's home. If you have a heat pump, that's basically an air conditioner in reverse, so the savings diminish, but not to zero. If you have electric heat that isn't a heat pump, savings could diminish to zero (assuming the Pal's heat was released in a room you wanted to heat!)
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