Revised "Laundry List" from the last firmware;
(Separated into hardware & firmware, in order of importance. Similar items are grouped together.)
A. Add the missing component out to where it was original designed to go. Older TV's may not have HDMI inputs, newer low end TV's never have enough HDMI inputs for multiple devices. Component could solve those shortcomings. You did the R&D, adding that can't cost more than a couple of dollars at the manufacturing level.
B. Add a front panel USB port.
C. Remove the VGA input and add two HDMI inputs. VGA is old school, Using a DVI to HDMI adapter cable would allow most PC's to be connected,
D. Move power switch to rear panel to prevent accidental power downs,
E. Add a output resolution control on the rear panel, similar to the 205 tuner to allowing changing settings when the screen is dark due to setting issues with the TV.
F. The remote is too small with buttons too close together. Rename GoTo to Return, swap that with the Guide button. Swap the numeric keypad with the transport controls. The keypad is the least used on most remotes. Buttons at the bottom are harder to access with ones thumb. Change the name of the “V Mode” to “Output Resolution”.
1a. The Guide needs to include both tuners integrated together as one Guide no matter which input you are in. It's a real problem and inconvenience to have to switch back and forth between tuners to try to schedule programming. Especially if you have overlapping recordings.
1b. Locking the preview window (EPG on/off) to speed up the display of data prevents data from showing on any channel that has not been previously accessed from standby. If you 'surf' through all channels before you enter the Guide, there isn't problem. Rename that “EPG Tuning Mode” to “Lock the preview window”
1c. Stopping on a weak station that is not receivable at the time, will lock the Guide up, forcing you to exit and re-enter. These are 'on the cliff' signals. Channels that are not there at all, have no effect if you stop on those.
1d. No ability for the system to save the existing PSIP data for each station in the Guide. After you stop on that channel, continue, then return, the data has to re-loaded every time on every channel.
1e. No indication or previously scheduled programs to record in the Guide. This may not be possible,
1f. No direct ability to cancel a upcoming recording made through the Guide, unless you do it in the Upcoming Recordings screen,
1g. The 'reading' of program data appears to provide less listings compared to other PSIP 'Guides'. Example; Comparing to a older DTVPal on the same stations at the same time, the DTVPal (with no TV Guide data) has their listings further into the future.
1h. Add the ability to 'wrap' from the lowest channel to the highest & vice versa without scrolling through the entire channel list as you can in Media Player.
1i. Disable the channel up/down buttons while in Guide. It's too easy to hit and accidentally exit from the Guide.
1j. Access to a website (like it is with You Tube) that has program listings for convenience to manually schedule a recording. PSIP Guide data is unreliable, spotty and inconsistent if it is there at all. What good are three to six hours of listings? Anything less than one full week shouldn't be acceptable in this day and age.
Image quality: (2b may be hardware related)
2a. The default output of this DVR is very dark with saturated highlights. The default brightness needs to increased to between 16, contrast reduced to 65 & color reduced to -5 for each input. These shouldn't be that far off in the first place.
2b. False contouring in blacks, shadows, dark scenes. This has been confirmed. Especially noticeable anywhere there are shadows and/or dark clothing, especially mens suits. The default dark, contrasty video settings appear to hide this problem. After extended testing, it now appears this Broadcom/ATI chipset is sensitive to lower bitrates. A difference of only 3MB/s will cause noticing the false contouring. I have compared the same program from two different sources (stations & networks) and the station (source) that had the higher bitrate didn't have the problem. Not all programming is affected. This affects recordings played outside of the DVR and effects less than 20% of the recordings.
3a. Add the ability for a multi-event, manual recording option allowing entering more than one recording at a time without re-entering the Manual Record mode again,
3b. Manual record duration; 1. When changing to less than one hour, make the default 30 minutes instead of five. 2. Unable to enter numbers 1-4 to change minutes. 5–0 work Ok. Only way to do so now is toggling up or down one at a time.
3c. In the Guide; add the ability to delay (add) to the start time and allow the end time to finish early (subtract). Programs do start early and end early also.
3d. Add the ability to rename a manual recording when it is scheduled instead of just afterwards,
3e. Remove that “Active” check box in the new “Record Schedule Timer”. That is available in the schedule screen if one wants to skip recording for a week. You don't schedule a recording not to record.
3f. Modifying a recording in the "Upcoming Recording" menu will not show any time changes in the recording list when you 'pad' the start and/or end time of a program. It then appears no change was made.
3g. Change weekly icon to “W”, change “Once” icon to “O”, remove Sat & Sunday entry. I see no need for that.
3h. Unable to schedule a manual recording using the inactive tuner. If you are on tuner one, any stations on tuner two can not be setup to record.
4a. Those small, somewhat identical, circular Menu icons are hard to read and decipher. They all look the same, except for when you are actually in that sub menu. Plain text is needed instead cutesy icons. It's confusing to guess at a icon, then read the text above and to the right of that icon. Move the text over of each sub-category, replacing the associated icon. The GUI in their Media Switcher was better. It appeared that was easier to navigate.
4b.Reduce the number of entries in the main menu and each sub menu so there are six or less, allowing all to show on the screen at once, eliminating scrolling to find a hidden entry. Specifically;
4c. Move the main “Locks” entry to “Settings” reducing the sub menu entries down to six,
4d. Change “Dynamic Contrast” to “Gamma” and move it to “Picture Settings”, then delete the “Advanced” entry under “Picture”,
4e. Under “Record”, combine the three USB entries into a single sub menu,
4f. Under Media Player/Recordings, move Forward Skip & Backward Skip into a single group,
4g. Under “Picture Settings”, remove “Color Temperature” since it has no effect,
4h. Quick menu; replace Scale Window with a added “Aspect” control. Scale Window is only for specific situations,
4i. In the “Picture” sub-menu, once you selected a item, you can't scroll up or down to the next item to adjust without returning to the previous screen. Change the behavior to the way it is in the Quick menu so all show in a small window,
4j. Add “V Mode”, which should be re-named to “Resolution out” (or similar) to both the Quick Menu & under “Picture Settings” since it is only available from the remote,
4k. Remove the "Presets" entry. There are too many choices in the first place, some do little to change the actual settings. Each input has it's own memory settings anyway, it's not needed,
4m. Hide 'Wireless Settings” since this is not enabled,
4l. Re-enable the highest analog channel noise reduction setting that was removed.
4n. Rename "Picture" to “Video” in the Main Menu. Picture is a non technical, childish term. "Audio" is used instead of 'Sound', why not 'Video' instead of “Picture”.
Audio: (these probably are hardware related)
5a. HDMI passes only two channel, variable PCM uncompressed stereo audio. (Which is the only output that can be adjusted.) A option to enable AC3 for HDMI is needed. Thanks to HDTV1080p for this),
5b. Audio controls have no effect on analog or optical outputs. Only HDMI is affected. Specify this in the manual.
5c. HDMI audio level is noticeably low compared to optical out.
5d. There is no audio at all when the timeshifting mode is activated. Only when you are watching the delayed portion of the recording is there audio. There is audio on the HDMI output.
6. Nothing preventing you to place the DVR in standby to prevent stopping a recording in progress. You will loose the recording if standby is pressed accidentally. Some confirmation is needed.
7a. If you are watching a previously recorded program in Media Player, if this goes into recording mode for a scheduled recording, there is no response from user input except to shut the unit down. Thanks to LenL for this,
7b. Pressing 'Exit' while in Media Player will completely exit you out of MP while watching a recording. Exiting out of MP should only be permitted while in the main menu. Use of the Exit otherwise should take you back to the Main Menu,
7c. Shorten the manual recording file name in Media Player by removing the seconds and changing the year to two digits. It's too hard to read with those extra unnecessary digits,
7d. Include channel number, date & time to the recording entry under the new "Recordings" screen. What happens if there are more than one of the same program listed?
7e. Media Player/Recordings; When you use the skip feature, the time bar remains on the screen to long. Reduce the duration from 8 to 4 seconds and/or provide selectable times,
7f. While playing back recordings, the right & left navigation buttons will change what you are watching to the next or previous recording without any other interaction. If pressed by mistake, you are now watching something else. This needs to be disabled, except for Photos or Music. (only relates to Recordings)
7g. The "Video" section in MP still has the issue of not remembering where you left off when you stop playback and not remembering changed picture settings.
7h. Use skip fwd & back to move through the pages instead of channel up/down like it is in all other menu functions where this is used. Consistent and less confusing.
7i. Don't allow using 'Mute' to automatically bring up Closed Caption. If CC is wanted, there is a dedicated button for this.
7j. Apparent problem with running PC server software interfacing this, locking up the DVR forcing a power cycle,
7k. Change "Movie" to "Recording" in the delete confirmation box.
7l. In photo slide show when music is selected, only the 1st selection plays, no others,
7m. Interval seconds amount is off by several seconds: 3 sec. is actually 7, 5 sec. is 10, 10 sec. is 15,
7n.There is a four second delay in changing photos when either navigation key is pressed.
8a. Slow channel changing, especially considering this DVR does not do continuous time shifting. How can this be improved? (This may be hardware related)
8b. Improve the signal level display to expand the resolution of the reading by using similar to the System Info screen that has a 0-100 numeric readout.
8c. Change the color of RF 1 icon from gray to some other color. Gray is hard to see,
8d. Ability to manual edit the channel number (along with the stations call letters) for entries that get a bad channel number from improperly ID'ing the virtual channel number from the actual physical number.
8e. Add ability to save the channel tables separately when doing firmware updates so you don't have to do a re-scan,
8f. You can not record on tuner one if you are using one of the inputs to the switcher. ??
9. There is no clock backup if there is a power outage.
Standby & spin down:
10a. An external enclosed hard drive does not spin down when the DVR is on and no recording is scheduled, only when in standby. This was changed from early firmware releases. Why have it run when it is only being used as a tuner with the HDD connected? (Yes, you can disconnect the drive, but you shouldn't have to.)
10b. After three or more consecutive recordings are finished or recordings over 90 minutes in length (approximately), the DVR does not go back into standby. Single recordings or two short recordings back to back will allow Standby two minutes after the last timer recording is finished.
10c. Timer recordings from standby loose the 1st 45 seconds of the program due to the boot time if the recorder was in standby. Power on should start one minute early so the recorder is up and running.
11. No 480p or 1080i for older HDTV's w/o a 1080p input. 480p was removed from the early firmware. Some TV's have limited aspect options with some resolutions. Sometimes the 480 choice works out better. This should be restored.
12a. There are too many 'Aspect' choices. Direct appears to be the proper setting for probably 95% of the material available without distorting the image just to fill the screen.
12b. Normal has 1:1 pixel mapping (no over scan), Direct does has over scan. Swap names between both,
12c. For analog & SD channels; Normal, Direct & 4:3 are identical. For HD channels; Direct & Full Screen are identical.
12d. 4:3 will 'narrow' a HD channel. I can't see any need for this. Since it is the same as normal, remove it.
12e. 'Panoramic' disproportionately stretches the screen, mostly the extreme edges. Remove that.
12f. 'Zoom1' is Ok for proportionally expanding a 'postage stamp' image, but 'Zoom2' over stretches the image vertically & horizontally. Remove that.
Front panel display:
13a. Ability to turn clock display off when in standby and when using the device as a input scaler, A single orange standby LED is sufficient.
13b. The display on the unit will not show a channel change entry until that channel is actually changed. It would be nicer if the entry on the unit would duplicate what is seen on-screen, especially if you have "music only" CATV channels available and are using the tuner as a source for your audio system without a TV on.
14a. Add the ability to initialize a bare drive. The Internal disc format utility can only be used with a drive that is already initialized, which leaves out "bare" drives. The owners manual makes no mention of this. It isn't a problem with these pre-packaged combo enclosures & drives, but it is with any bare drive. Separate components are always better than some pre-configured package. You have control over each item. ePVision doesn't seem to grasp this.
14b. Add a progress bar to let one know where in the formatting is, also a timer to show how long it's been since the process started.
14c. Add the ability to defrag the drive.
15a. Add USB support for a keyboard to make it easier to search U Tube. Trying to use the on screen keyboard gets old real quick.
15b. The aspect control has no effect in You Tube. If you try to watch a 16x9 clip, it is squeezed down to 4x3 instead of displaying full width.
15c. U Tube can not be used when recording. Accessing U Tube will stop all recordings.
16a. Speed play is of no value as it stands due to inter-reaction with the audio sampling when using AC3. Using PCM, the problem isn't as bad. Mostly noticeable in FF. The sample rate is to low, making the feature worthless. You can't see enough frames to make any sense out of the video. Adding faster speed steps makes matters worse. This surely wasn't needed.
16b. If a recorded program is paused during playback, the video freezes but the audio continues playing for an additional 5 seconds. This happens when AC3 is in use. When the video stream is resumed by hitting play, there is no audio until the video "catches up" to the point where the audio originally paused (another 5 seconds). The HDMI output behaves normally.
17. Timeshift; Duplicate use of the skip fwd. & back function for slow motion is confusing. Substitute the Fwd & Rwd buttons instead and leave the skip & back functions as is.
18. Trying to record and use the USB speed test causes conflicts. Disallow testing while recording. The speed test also is depending on the state the device is in at the time. Sitting on a blank channel produces better results.
19a. The "Lock" feature can cause issues if one forgets the pin number:
19b. This can be easily overridden just by powering off the DVR and powering back up via the mechanical power switch,
19c. Doing a factory reset doesn't restore access to the front panel buttons.
added 7j regarding PC server software locking up unit
Edited by videobruce - 4/22/13 at 6:47am