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OTA TVGOS on Panasonic DMR EH75 with Artec T3APR-T

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Part -1
We sincerely appreciate all the helpful posts and friendly advice found in this forum. We hope this post of our recent progress (May 2012) in getting the OTA digital TVGOS to work on our analog Panasonic DMR EH75 with the Artec T3APR-T will be helpful to others. Thanks to JTBell for his 2009 post which prepared us for what we would see. JTBell's post, "Panasonic DMR-EH75V, TVGOS and Dish DTVPal+", http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1181246

We received our Artec T3APR-T the day before yesterday. The device cost ~$135.00 so it was annoying to find that our "new" converter box was a return unit. The cardboard packaging and plastic bags were torn and we had to do a factory reset on the converter box to start fresh.

We did not need to do a full reset on the Panasonic. We used the "VBI Search Current Channel" method (code 963214785). The first night populated the stations logos, channel numbers, and a few ads. We deleted channels not needed. The next day we found about 1/2 of the program listings had populated.

The process was not as simple as just hooking it up per converter box procedure manual instructions and there were multiple gotchas. My husband is in the process of writing up the details of the method he used and problems he encountered along the way. Also, we have a bit more IR blaster testing to do.

More soon
post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 
Part 2

When you first prepare to connect the Artec to use with the Panasonic DMR EH-75 you will need to make sure you have what is called the Infrared (IR) Blaster (A.K.A. G-Link) cable plugged into the back of the Panasonic and have it ready for use, but laying over to the side out of the way.

The setup and connections are normal, as for any Set Top Box (STB) or in this case, a Digital to Analog Converter Box (DACB) which many shorten to Converter Box (CB). The antenna goes to the RF in and the RF out goes to the RF in on the Panasonic. The Panasonic is of course connected to the TV. (It appears that the Artec was on channel 3 and our Panasonic was also on channel 3. So when connected, the Artec was seen by the Panasonic. If that fails, you will need to try channel 4).

The Artec should ask to scan for channels. Ours originally did not, and we did a Factory Reset. After the reset, the unit then asked to scan for channels.

After the channel scan, go to the menu of the Artec, "System Setup". Confirm your RF output is set to Channel 3 or 4 (to match with the Panasonic when you get there in its TVGOS setup). You can set the time, the screen size and other items. In this same menu is the option to turn on the TV Guide & Guide Plus+. Click it to turn on the TV Guide functionality. It will warn you that Parental Controls and Sleep Timer will be deactivated. Click yes to that screen.

Now put the IR Blaster's LED roughly in the center of the Artec (according to the picture in the manual).

Go into the Panasonic's TVGOS setup, "change system settings". In this setup it will ask for your Zip Code (we used the special Zip code given in the Artec Manual), select Cable with Cable box, the RF channel that you picked in the Artec (3 or 4) to talk to the Panasonic, then it will ask for the brand of cable box. For the Artec you can pick either HAMLIN or REGAL. Here is when it gets tricky. The Panasonic will test to see if the IR code works with the Artec. Now the Artec instructions say "When asked if the device has tuned to Channel 9, select Yes." Don't let that statement fool you into *having* to say yes when you first start. You will need to look closely at the picture of the test screen that is within the setup screen. For us, the first 2 HAMLIN IR codes would only flicker the test screen and not actually change channels (we had a similar situation with a RCA converter box before our Artec arrived). The 3rd code actually had the Artec display channel 9 in the little screen being shown. Watch closely! We did not have a channel 9 signal broadcast, so we had to look and see that channel 9 was actually being asked for with the Artec. Once you verify that the remote code does change from channel 2 to 9, then click YES and write down that IR code for future reference.

As for how it changed channels we chose; number, number, enter. Or number, number, number, Enter (if available). It is good to try and use the "Enter" which is actually called "OK" with the Artec's remote. By having "Enter" used, it finalizes the numbers being given to the Artec, and it does not have to wait to see if any more numbers are being given.

Another tip is to NOT press any remote buttons, such as volume for the TV, while the IR Blaster is trying to tell the Artec (or any other box for that matter) what channel to go to. The extra infrared signals could confuse the Artec. This did happen a few times as we were changing channels with the previously used RCA converter box.

Once you finish the TVGOS setup, turn off the Panasonic as it suggests. This is how it is supposed to work. It will then scan for the HOST channel while the Panasonic is off. The next day you should have a channel lineup and TVGOS data.

That is how it's normally done, but we have used the "VBI Search Current Channel" (963214785) on several occasions to jump start the TVGOS with our already known CBS Host Channel. This works very well and you do not have to reset the Panasonic and start over from scratch. So, we forced a search for the Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI) data manually to speed things up.

We needed to put the Artec on the Host channel, CBS 11.1 for our area. When we clicked any number or menu button on the Artec's remote, it asks if we want to go out of TVGOS mode. Unfortunately you will have to click "yes" and put the Artec on your host channel. Press menu and go back into the system setting to tell the Artec to use TVGOS mode, and click "yes" to the confirmation to do so. The Artec is now on the host channel and in TVGOS mode.

Turn on the Panasonic and make sure your host channel IS being shown. Now go to the TVGOS screen, Setup, arrow down one line to "change system settings", type in 963214785 and it should say, "VBI Search Current Channel". Let the screen stay there until it disappears on its own (about 5 minutes), then turn off the Panasonic. The next day you should have a channel lineup and TVGOS data.

The above *should* work for you. If for some reason it doesn't, keep reading.

In setting up our Artec/Panasonic, we did do one-more-thing to assure success. When the Artec was tuned to the host channel and reset in its menu to use TVGOS mode, we also went into the TVGOS Channel Editor of the Panasonic, and set the CBS 11.1 to be seen as channel 211. As was mentioned by JTBell in his 2009 post, the new analog channel numbers will be 3 digits by adding 100 and dropping the period. So 11.1 is actually 211. (http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1181246) We then tuned the Panasonic to channel 211. So the Artec was tuned to channel 11.1 and the Panasonic was tuned to 211 (11.1) and we used the "VBI Search Current Channel" method.

We don't feel that this step is mandatory, but it can't hurt.

With the above we had success with OTA TVGOS being downloaded to the Panasonic. It restructured the channel listings from the previous cable lineup to the current OTA lineup. The next day we "turned OFF" all the channels we did not want in the TVGOS channel editor. Turning off unwanted channels saves memory space and allows more information to be stored per channel. The next day we had all areas "green" with data for the name search, and 5 out of 8 days listings. After a day or two we had all 8 days.

For all DVR users we suggest you go to your local computer "superstore" and buy an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS). Remember, the DVR has a hard drive, memory and basically a motherboard. By having a UPS, this will protect from power surges and power drops. How many times have you experienced a brief 3 second power outage and the unit resets? With a UPS much of this can be avoided, and extend the life of your unit. Give it some thought.

Observations after a few days.

1) With this new setup, you will have to learn the new channel lineup, being 3 numbers. This is not so bad and the station logos & call letters are there.

2) The IR Blaster does NOT seem to have a 100% success rate in changing channels. On occasion it will not change channels to record a show. This seems to happen if you record 2 shows back to back on 2 different channels. Also, with the earlier used RCA box, it would occasionally go to the wrong station. JTBell mentioned using 4 digits to change channels. If we have more issues with this we will investigate trying JT's 4 digit method. We assume this is by telling the Panasonic we can get to channel 1028 (which we can't). But maybe that is the key. -The main reason for having "enter" sent in the channel changing sequence was to finalize the channel change command and try to eliminate or reduce some of those errors.-

3) The Artec does not have any visual feedback when the remote is used. With the RCA converter box, it would flash the power light as an indicator. It was nice to see the responses to the IR blaster on the RCA and wish the Artec did the same.

We hope this helps others with OTA TVGOS issues.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
FYI - Artec no longer producing converter boxes

Sent an email to Artec and they confirmed that Artec is no longer making converter box devices. They recommended using Google to find.
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