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ePVision PHD-VRX speculation thread  

post #1 of 476
Thread Starter 
This was announced December 2010 and hopefull has a March 2011 release (as of Feburary, it is in the firmware testing stage);
Frankly, I'd rather have that then a quick release of something "buggy" like the disappointing Brightview/Zinwell DVR.

Since there is a drastic lack of DVR's that aren't leased/rented by MSO's (feeding their pockets), this would be more of a welcome addition since it has both OTA and QAM capability unlike the original DVTPal that is only OTA or that Moxi that is only CATV (both now discontinued).

What I am asking anyone reading this (since you have at least some interest) is to add their name to the inquiry with a valid e-mail address (it can be a secondary address) for the explicit purpose of drumming up interest in this product. No, I don't work for them, or in any way connected to them.
The only way this company will bring this to market is if they have a market for it and the only way for that to happen is people contacting the company, either by this inquiry or preferably a phone call.

Below is the reply I received when I inquired. Most has to do with their new tuner/switcher (which I didn't inquire about), but mention was made of this ez1;

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for the email. For your answer, PHD-eZ1 does have OTA and CATV recording features. Not like some PVRs can be only limited to OTA. We may end up to build full feature PVR instead of eZ1, reason is the cost is very close. We can add additional component and cvbs inputs and encoding but it will cost much more. Output so far is limited to HDMI and CVBS outputs just like PHD-8VX but we may change it the last min. based on the demand and cost.

For PHD-8VX, it is on the way to here. We will send out the re-release coupon this week or early next week. Please kindly find the attached PHD-8VX user manual for your reference. There are so many fine features added in this model and we are very excited about it. For some of the nice features mentioned in the following:

(1) Excellent 1080p scaling and enhancement. Video looks much richer than PHD-205.
(2) "Custom Aspect Ratio" adjustment so user can control video over-scan issue and cover 100% HD picture content on the screen. Not like many TVs chop out certain video content around the edges. This custom aspect ratio adjustment can also apply to PHD-8VX internal graphics as well as PC input video.
(3) Dual scan channel database. Keep both OTA and cable (QAM/NTSC) channel information and easy to toggle to each other.
(4) Additive channel adding: To periodically scan any additional channels without erasing the original channels and only adding them on top of it.
(5) individual picture adjustment on each inputs. We add brightness, contrast, sharpness and others picture adjustments for video. Each input adjustment is individual.
(6) Adding virtual surround sounds and other audio adjustments.
(7) USB port to play pictures as well as music (MP3) separately or both in the same time.
(8) Can accept PC inputs from both VGA/audio port as well as any one of 3x HDMI ports.
(9) PHD-8VX HDMI input can handle 24p mode to display even more vivid movie pictures if the source content is filmed by 24Hz from Blu-ray.
(10) New generation RF tuner reception. In some areas, PHD-8VX can pick up more OTA as well as QAM/NTSC channels!

So many more from PHD-8VX box...


This is my response;


Thanks for the reply. I was just interested in the DVR. As I stated, the most important features that are lacking are;
1. A second RF input (one for CATV, one for OTA),
2. A CC (Cable Card) slot to make it functional with all encrypted channels. Many cable systems are encrypting ALL channels, even 'basic' ones, so without a CC slot, the QAM tuner is pretty much worthless,
3. You say this will have a composite output, but no component? Component is necessary as some older monitors might not have HDMI and you should consider the fact all HDMI inputs on a TV might already be in use.

I understand these will cost more, but I'm sure most will gladly pay for what I consider 'basic' features. There is a demand for this, it's only because of the lack of consumer education the demand isn't greater. I would suggest going the deluxe route first. Don't come out with a limited function model, I don't think it will sell anywhere as much.

Thank you,

One point I forgot to add is a program guide. A bad omission on my part.
post #2 of 476
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 476
Your manual link doesnt work for me.
No mention of price range, very little useable info on their website, no UI screenshots nor images with the backplane input/outputs. I guess time will tell though. Will it record to external USB hard drive and does it have NTFS write support........
post #4 of 476
Thread Starter 
Did you enter in the 'captcha' text (reload if you can't read it) and click "Free download" (unless you have a pay account) and wait the 15 seconds?

As far as the lack of info, do as I asked and converse with them to see if they will add more information. I just received another e-mail from them yesterday. They are listening.
post #5 of 476
Yeah-the link worked today-yesterday the page would not even load.
It might have a program guide, the manual may just mean info for the currently tuned channel? I guess it depends on the price and how it performs.
post #6 of 476
Thread Starter 
A response from my follow up e-mail;

Hi Bruce,
Thanks again for the email. To quickly answer your questions:
(1) Yes, it is both OTA and CATV.
(2) Are considering now. Two separate tuners will add up cost, which is the main concern. Technical-wise, it is no problem.
(3) EPG, as you said, will add cost a lot. When we build this unit, we will add Ethernet port for future expansion. We may consider downloading EPG info from Internet instead EPG packets grabbed from channel data to lower the license cost. How do you think about that method?
(4) Cable card slot is considering. But no any promise now.
(5) No internal HDD for current design. Use external USB port to connect external USB storage devices. So, you can hook up 2TB HDD for recording if you want.
(6) Yes, metal case.
(7) Yes, will improve remote control greatly.

Thanks again!

This was the e-mail;

1. Ability to have OTA and CATV (which you already have),
2. Dual RF inputs. (What good is only one input, especially if you are set to record programs from both sources?),
3. A dependable program guide. I completely forgot to mention this. I completely understand this will add additional cost to the device. Putting myself in your shoes (trying to keep costs down), just having the ability of manual recording will not fly. Most are spoiled by clicking a single button to record a program. My self included. I have probably set a thousand recordings for the 20 plus years I used a VCR using a paper copy of TV Guide and using a manual method, with the Sony, using TVGOS has spoiled me. I can also speak for others, even thou I fully understand costs, something other than the very limited 2-12 hour data the station provide (and that's ONLY OTA stations, not CATV) won't cut it,
4. A cable Card slot. At least one MSO has switched to all digital and they are encrypting every channel (AFAIK). Without a CC slot, having a QAM tuner is a waste,
5. The easy ability to replace/upgrade the HDD and the option of an external HDD,
6. A metal enclosure. Unlike that cheap looking plastic 'box' that that DTVPal uses, a metal enclosure that will allow equipment to be placed (stacked) above it,
7. Lastly, a larger remote and a menu structure that has channel access at the top of the list. That remote that your PHD-205 tuner has is terrible. The buttons (for the most part) are too small, especially the "OK" button. 90% of the time I go into the 205 menu is for channel purposes and to switch from OTA to CATV.

Again, thanks for listening and please pass this alone to your people overseas.

post #7 of 476
email sent just now.
post #8 of 476
Thread Starter 
Almost 300 views and no input??
All you guys content with feeding the MSO?
post #9 of 476
I for one, am definitely interested. Looks more promising than the DTVpal.
post #10 of 476
I emailed them with several suggestions.
1. Internet EPG is a must-PSIP is not acceptable+what to use for EPG on QAM.
2. 2 Tuners is mandatory.
3. The styling leaves a lot to be desired-change it to the conventional 17 inch CE form factor.
4. Screwless internal Hard drive with NTFS/HFS+ write support, not just ext2/3/4.
5. Cablecard not mandatory but OK if they want to include it.
They responded quickly and said they would consider it.
post #11 of 476
Thread Starter 
They aren't really interested in a internal HDD which AFAIC is a must. CC, because of cost they aren't interested in either, but again, that is a must especially with more MSOs dropping analog altogether and encrypting even the basic QAM channels which I don't believe these people realize.
All of their tuners have used the same chassis/case which is not a standard 17" width, but far better than what that DTV Pal uses.
post #12 of 476
I just registered for the Preview Discount Coupon for this product and typed my suggestions in the comment box. My preferences are just about opposite from those expressed so far in this thread, but I assume ePVision would appreciate a variety of views.
I expressed a desire for an OTA recorder only. It would not bother me if it could record from cable but I feel that a very small percentage of the population who have cable looks for alternatives to renting a box from the cable company. Everything that I have heard about cable cards is that they are a lot of trouble and have not in general been successful. I know that on the web site for the local cable company there are footnotes for several channels with the message "not available with cable cards".
I also stated that I feel on-screen guides are more trouble than they are worth. I have had two recorders that depended on guides. I had Tivo for one year (OTA only) which I assume is about the best since one pays about $16 per month for not much more than the guide. I can understand that there will be occasional discrepancies in the guide but I had three channels that I could not even receive as the channel number or PID values did not match what Tivo believed they should be. Channels that simply were not covered by the Tivo could be scanned in and recorded manually, but these channels that Tivo had wrong simply presented a black screen. After many calls and complaints, Tivo finally told me that I needed a new "digital" antenna. The other recorder was based on the PSIP data and that is even worse. The time is always off by several minutes if not an hour around daylight savings changes. I know it is supposed to be correct time, but unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world.
Finally I expressed my opinion that one tuner would be enough. I am lucky if I can find one show of interest to record over night and made choices for twenty years with the VCR on what to record now and what could wait until re-run season.
I realize that this company has to make a product that will sell. Hopefully, they can weigh suggestions such as mine for a simple low cost solution with other's desire for a more consumer friendly but costly solution.
Finally, Is this an American Company? A quick tour of their web site did not show where they are located.
post #13 of 476
Thread Starter 

I feel that a very small percentage of the population who have cable looks for alternatives to renting a box from the cable company.

That's exactly what they want you to do: keep feeding their pockets!

Everything that I have heard about cable cards is that they are a lot of trouble and have not in general been successful.

Those were the 1st generation cards that these Asian manufactures didn't want to bother with. You can thank the CEA for that also.

I also stated that I feel on-screen guides are more trouble than they are worth.

There are always listings in print from various sources, programmed manually like everyone did with a VCR (at least the ones that weren't lazy).

Is this an American Company?

The 'Importer' is in California.
post #14 of 476

You did say that you wanted them to come to market with their product didn't you?
You better call them back and tell them to forget about cablecard and therefore cablelabs "certification", wait I mean runaround delay tactic process to prevent consumer owned hardware to compete with MSO offerings......

Just sayin!
post #15 of 476
I never received any reply from this company when I registered my interest on their web site. I just checked and it does not appear any progress has been made since July. Does anyone have any information on if this product may ever come to a reality. It would be good information to have for those considering the alternatives for OTA-HD recording which of course is a very limited choice.
post #16 of 476
I'd buy one....if they ever released it.
post #17 of 476
Thread Starter 
The contact page is here;

(714) 630-6839
post #18 of 476
Thread Starter 
I just talked with the importer and was told the following;

1. The 1st release of this DVR with be PSIP Guide data only,
2. The HDD will be external (not sure of port type),
3. A internal PS,
4. Dual tuner,
5. ATSC & QAM capability,
6. With a later firmware upgrade, the ability (with a separate 3rd party subscription fee) of Internet delivered full Guide data.

Nothing has been worked out yet as there are more than one source of this data. It was suggested that the yearly cost may be around $25, but this was just a guess on his part. I did ask about TVGOS data, but that was out of the question due to cost. They don't want to wait for this EGP deal, so the 1st version will be PSIP only. Later, owners will have the ability to upgrade using the same model. I asked about this twice, if it was a hardware upgrade or firmware and was told it was just firmware.

Due to some past hardware issues, the release was delayed. Those were overcome, but still no release date mentioned.
post #19 of 476
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

1. The 1st release of this DVR with be PSIP Guide data only

Just hope it either "locks onto" one channel's time, such as with the later versions of the DTVPal CECB and CBS, or it has manual time setting, and the manual timers will override the "auto"-method.

If it doesn't have either, I won't be at all surprised if it has problems with conflicting station times, just like the early Pal CECB versions did. Generally resulted in missed/dropped recordings.

(I would assume the Pal/CM DVR has something like that, too, for when it has to deal with either just PSIP, or both TVGOS and PSIP times for the recordings being set.)

If it doesn't have that upon initial release, hopefully they'll issue a firmware update that can fix it quickly enough (and then, that should also not get screwed up or wiped out once somebody does the "internet guide method" update - or at least it should be able to be easily reverted back to the old firmware).

I would like to believe they're thinking about all those things, and it's taking so long because they just want to "get it right". But you never know. It's certainly not uncommon for electronics to be released buggy and unfinished these days, no matter how long it's been in the planning stage.
post #20 of 476
Thread Starter 
With my very limited experience with that DTVPal DVR, the big issue with the clock is only twice a year with the time change.

it's taking so long because they just want to "get it right"

That is what he conveyed to me during our conversation.
He's fairly easy to talk with other than the slight language barrier. I make sure he fully understands my questions and vice a versa. I forgot to ask a couple of questions, mostly if it will have a CC slot. When I call back, I will post anything new.
post #21 of 476
Thread Starter 
I had a conversation with "Allan" from ePVision with the following points discussed;

1. The initial unit will not have a CC slot. He didn't think the 2nd would have one either. I stressed this was a mistake. The licenses fees were the reason.

2. I stressed the availability of decent Guide data, not just PSIP. The initial release will only have PSIP with future version via a firmware upgrade able to use the Ethernet port for full data with a yearly subscription cost around $25 as I already stated. I believe it is only the firmware that would be holding this upgrade back, not hardware. (And of course the 3rd party source)

3. The external HDD will be via a USB2 port only. I thought a eSATA port would be a nice addition. The files will be unplayable in Windows, but I believe they will be able to be transfered to another drive. (This is unclear, since I'm not familiar with Linux.)

4. Formatting the HDD will be the users responsibility. The plan was to provide instructions to the user using resources via the Internet. I strongly suggested the procedure be accomplished via internal firmware, not via using a separate PC whereas you simply connected the HDD and via a user menu format the drive attached to the DVR. I also feel, this would hamper sales if they do it the way they planned. Joe Sixpack isn't going to obtain some software, burn it to a bootable CD and format the drive outside of Windows for the Linux format. (I'm assuming this would be the procedure)

5. This has a target price of $250. I again brought up the lack of a CC slot (since this will have QAM capabilities). He is aware of Comcast switching to digital only. I also brought up with some systems, almost everything is encrypted.

6. It will also have a analog tuner, but no encoder so it won't be able to record analog CATV channels. He mentioned a future model that may, but I brought up the fact analog CATV systems are slowly disappearing and the longer they would wait, the less it would be a benefit. It seems to be a waste to even have this.

7. I suggested for the 2nd version that should have a CC slot (and some additional features) a price between $300 & $350.

8. I don't like this "plastic box" similar to what that DTVPal uses. At these price points, there is no reason it couldn't/shouldn't be in a metal enclosure just as their 'tuners' have been.

9. Dual RF inputs were stressed, but this was in a follow up e-mail. I didn't bring up this point and I don't know if it is planned.
post #22 of 476
[quote=Rammitinski;19756061]Just hope it either "locks onto" one channel's time, such as with the later versions of the DTVPal CECB and CBS, or it has manual time setting, and the manual timers will override the "auto"-method.

I was just checking this thread to see the current status. Based on the latest information that the unit will use PSIP data only, I can not stress enough the importance of the above quote.
I just got out my old converter box to check on the local PSIP situation (my TV does not show much of the guide and time information). It is no better than it was 6 years ago when the digital stations were new. A couple of the local stations have the time close (within a minute), another is about 4 minutes fast, and has been for years. Two others are an hour fast as they never adjust for Daylight/Standard time.
Manual record is also a must as if the time is wrong, the guide is wrong also.
I have tried the Channel Master Recorder and had to return it as one of it's "known bugs" caused my local FOX station to glitch every 30 seconds. Now I am back to TIVO with a one year contract. I want to keep an eye on this proposed product to see if it is a viable alternative when the contract with TIVO runs out.
post #23 of 476
Thread Starter 
Have you called him to express your concerns??
post #24 of 476
I just sent the following e-mail to ePVision:

Good Day:
I have been following with interest your development of the PHD- e71 PVR. I participate in the AVS forum and another member suggested that I contact you and express my opinions on such a product. I did register my interest on your web page last July.
I am a dedicated OTA viewer and have been struggling with a way to record from the antenna since converting to HD about 6 years ago.
My first attempt was the JVC HM-DT 100U digital VCR with built-in digital tuner. This looked to be the perfect product for my needs as I had used several JVC S-VHS recorders over the years. The DT 100 was such a complete failure that I had to return it within the retail outlet's grace period. In my opinion, it's fatal flaw was it's reliance on the local stations PSIP time with no way to over-ride it by a manual time set for digital tuner programmed recording. I know that by FCC regulations the time is supposed to be correct, but that is not the way it is out here in the real world. I just yesterday checked the times on several of the major broadcasters in the El Paso, Texas area. A couple of the stations had the time within a minute or so of the correct setting. Another was 4 minutes fast and has been fast for years, and still another never adjusts for Daylight/Standard time, so was an hour off. I believe the reason the JVC DT 100 often failed to record timed programming was the inconsistency of the time from one channel to the next.
I also more recently tried the Channel Master CM-7000 Pal DVR. Although it receives scheduling and time from TV Guide , it has a "Known Problem" that for some stations only PSIP data is available. In my case, that station was the one which is off by one hour. The wrong time also means the wrong program information is shown. It also had a "Known Problem" that for some stations there is audio and video glitch every 30 seconds. Again, I lucked out and had one of my major networks disrupted every 30 seconds. The Channel Master also went back for a refund.
So, I continue to pay TIVO for a HD recorder. For the most part the TIVO is reliable. The main problem I have is getting them and their Tribune Media Service to correctly match the correct virtual channel to the correct RF channel and have the guide information show on the same channel. I understand that you are considering eventually mating the PHD -e71 with such an on-line guide service. That would be great if it works, but I highly recommend that you also include manual timed record capability in case it does not. I would assume for the price I pay and the years that TIVO has been in business they have the guide issues ironed out as well as anyone, and for OTA there are still many problems.
I will continue to follow your development of this product. If you follow the AVS forum, I am known as Mister B. That is what my students used to call me, the polite ones anyway.
Thank you.
post #25 of 476
Thread Starter 
There is a possibility that might not be read. He doesn't normally respond to them when sent judging by past history. I have only sent a e-mail after a phone conversation and asking him if he would want me to do so.

Back it up with a phone call.
post #26 of 476
I would rather not make a long distance phone call. Hopefully, my e-mail will be read by someone at the company. Actually, if this is to be released any time soon design decisions should have already been made by now. It will be interesting. I hope they post the owner's manual on their web page when available.
post #27 of 476
I just received this encouraging e-mail on this the PVR:

I want to thank you very much for your email! These are very valuable information for us to make a good PVR product! Again, we apologize for the delay of releasing PHD-eZ1 PVR unit. It is more complicated than we originally planned since we also try to add additional features on network connectivity. Currently, we are on the way building prototypes. Your great suggestions are coming in time. We will discuss with our engineers to add manual timed recording and continuously adding more useful features around this box. Please free feel to drop any emails to us for checking the unit status or any suggestions. Thanks again!

Sales Team, Allen
post #28 of 476
Thread Starter 
Golly, a reply.
The more input they receive, the better. I'm glad he is responding, I think I might of prodded him to do so.
post #29 of 476
Thread Starter 
With the introduction of that Brightview/Zinwell DVR I contacted ePVision alerting them to this (if they already didn't know) and received a reply;

Thank you for the email. We appreciate that very much!!

We are still on the way to produce our PVR unit. Dual tuner are built in,
outputs are at least 720p and 1080p. The main chip is Broadcom/ATI current
and latest chip. The video quality is even better than any of our models.
Currently is working EPG integration. Maybe after summer, we can show close
to final spec to you. Thanks and appreciate your email and continuously
interests in our products.

post #30 of 476
Thread Starter 
From ePVision:

Hi Bruce,

Thanks again and thank you so much for sending us this email. We are scheduling to release the product by end of Q4 this year (I hope!!). The model number will be changed to PHD-VRX ( as Video Recording eXtreme). We also built with many new and rich features and we believe it will be extremely competing with CM-7400. For cost-wise, we are much less for sure! We have dual-tuners built-in. One of tuners also has NTSC decoding in case customers want to see analog cable channels. However, unit is only focusing on digital channel recording. The video output can go up to 1080p/60hz from HDMI port. It also has many inputs to switch. It has media player feature from any one of two USB ports of PHD-VRX.

There are still many nice features we are working on right now but you will the first one or two to know. We will send you an updated email when release date close. Thanks again!

Support Team

Note the analog decoding, but only digital recording, no mention of QAM or external recording, 1080p output, two USB ports.
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