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ePVision PHD-VRX & VRX2 Owners Thread - Page 48

post #1411 of 2203
It is an issue of abandoning support when there are NO firmware upgrades to fix issues. Sure your list may include some enhancements or nice to haves but it also has identified lots of bugs with this DVR that should be fixed and it should be communicated that they are working on fixing the issues.
post #1412 of 2203
I have the Home Network feature turned on in the PHD-VRX since June of 2012, however I would need to setup another device over my network if I wanted to test the feature. For me the tuner quality with 2 RF inputs is the most important feature and then the HD DVR quality is second on my list.

I agree the bugs should be fixed first before offering new features. New features are a bonus, bug fixing is something that should be required.
Edited by HDTV1080P24 - 4/22/13 at 2:46pm
post #1413 of 2203
I could not resist and instead if doing some prep work for my travelling, I loaded serviio on a Vista notebook and the setup was happy. So it appears not to be serviio alone. But then, the library on the notebook is orders smaller than on my main PC. It probably need something like a wireshark Ethernet analysis. Or, as I hinted earlier, a proper review of the coding, in this case around the ethernet stack.
post #1414 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Back to a old subject. I just stumbled across a hand held DSO (digital storage oscilloscope) that uses open source firmware. It has it's own page on this website;
http://www.seeedstudio.com/wiki/DSO_Quad

Too bad that can't be the same here. We could fix the problems ourselves, or at least try to. wink.gif

Further looking through that site brought me here;
http://dangerousprototypes.com/docs/Bus_Pirate

Could that, or anything like that be of use here?

.
Edited by videobruce - 4/23/13 at 7:05am
post #1415 of 2203
That would be awesome. Think of it as crowd sourcing to improve the product.
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

Back to a old subject. I just stumbled across a hand held DSO (digital storage oscilloscope) that uses open source firmware. It has it's own page on this website;
http://www.seeedstudio.com/wiki/DSO_Quad

Too bad that can't be the same here. We could fix the problems ourselves, or at least try to. wink.gif

Further looking through that site brought me here;
http://dangerousprototypes.com/docs/Bus_Pirate

Could that, or anything like that be of use here?

.
post #1416 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

Back to a old subject. I just stumbled across a hand held DSO (digital storage oscilloscope) that uses open source firmware. It has it's own page on this website;
http://www.seeedstudio.com/wiki/DSO_Quad

Too bad that can't be the same here. We could fix the problems ourselves, or at least try to. wink.gif

Further looking through that site brought me here;
http://dangerousprototypes.com/docs/Bus_Pirate

Could that, or anything like that be of use here?

.

It would be quite interesting in deed if someone came out with a DVR that had open source firmware or they made the firmware open source after sale. On the one hand there could be issues of people making changes and the changes being made available and causing DVR crashes. Then the other possibility is a bunch of talented people freely make changes and we get firmware that really makes the DVR work great!

It might be a crapshoot.
post #1417 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by LenL View Post

It would be quite interesting in deed if someone came out with a DVR that had open source firmware or they made the firmware open source after sale. On the one hand there could be issues of people making changes and the changes being made available and causing DVR crashes. Then the other possibility is a bunch of talented people freely make changes and we get firmware that really makes the DVR work great!

It might be a crapshoot.

In either case, Hollywood would never allow such an animal to exist. frown.gif
post #1418 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Why not, you can surely do more tinkering with a PC solution? This is OTA, not encrypted CATV programming.
post #1419 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by WS65711 View Post

In either case, Hollywood would never allow such an animal to exist. frown.gif

Please explain what Hollywood has to do with a DVR functioning better? See the list of DVR issues that Video Bruce posted and explain how Hollywood would have a problem?
post #1420 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by LenL View Post

It would be quite interesting in deed if someone came out with a DVR that had open source firmware or they made the firmware open source after sale. On the one hand there could be issues of people making changes and the changes being made available and causing DVR crashes. Then the other possibility is a bunch of talented people freely make changes and we get firmware that really makes the DVR work great!.

Hollywood doesn't want anyone messing around with HDMI, HDCP, CableCard, or anything else relating to copy protection. They are against "open" anything.
post #1421 of 2203
The cable companies HD DVR’s and the satellite companies HD DVR’s have encrypted external hard drives so no backup copy can be made of the recordings. Also when one cancels their monthly cable or satellite service the HD DVR can no longer be used including the encrypted hard drive since those programs are owned by the program provider and not the consumer.

The EpVision PHD-VRX allows consumers to make a perfect bit for bit copy of the original ATSC/QAM channel on an unencrypted hard drive without a subscription fee. This means consumers can make unlimited backup copies of their ATSC/QAM channel recordings to other hard drives or a Blu-ray recorder drive in their PC. That is another attractive feature of the EpVision. The local networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and FOX and the Hollywood studios have not pressured non subscription based HD DVR companies to encrypt the hard drive recordings yet or to use the 5C copy protection system. A JVC D-VHS with a built in ATSC tuner that one of my family members owns uses the 5C copy protection system and if a program were every to be marked as copy never it will not record it over the IEEE-1394 interface or ATSC tuner. If the EpVision had a cablecard slot like the TIVO then the hard drive recordings would most likely be encrypted since the premium movie channels could be subscribed to with a cablecard.
post #1422 of 2203
As long as one is not breaking any encryption or copywrite laws, then some companies might allow for open source. Open source can make a product better or worse, depending on the quality of the programming code.
post #1423 of 2203
^^
In the quoted post LenL refers to "a DVR that had open source firmware". I did not interpret that to mean the PHD-VRX specifically.
post #1424 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Open source can make a product better or worse, depending on the quality of programming.
Surely wouldn't be worse here. wink.gif
post #1425 of 2203
If an open source program by a third party programmer in the future did somehow violate some rules by mistake, then the EpVision company would not be responsible since it was not one of their employees that designed the new firmware code and the responsibility would fall on the third party programmer. At the same time a third party programmer might be afraid to make free open source firmware available for the PHD-VRX since they could open themselves up to legal issues from the consumers and other companies GUI patents.
post #1426 of 2203
Some of you are getting way off track. First we are talking about firmware that controls the functionality of the DVR and open source code to fix the DVR issues and make it work better.

If we look at all the OTA capture devices whether they be DVRs or PC connected OTA High Def internal and external cards TV programming is being copied left and right to hard drives and recopied again and edited. The arguments made here are much to do about nothing.

When we had VCRs and the TVs were analog we were copying left and right and it's NO different today.

There are people out there that have the resources and technology to copy original movie DVDS. They are the Pirates that the industry is worried about.

I don't see an issue with people who watch TV doing what they always did since the dawn of the VCR.
post #1427 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV1080P24 View Post

If an open source program by a third party programmer in the future did somehow violate some rules by mistake, then the EpVision company would not be responsible since it was not one of their employees that designed the new firmware code and the responsibility would fall on the third party programmer. At the same time a third party programmer might be afraid to make free open source firmware available for the PHD-VRX since they could open themselves up to legal issues from the consumers and other companies GUI patents.

Like what rules? That the DVR does not hang up when trying to shut it down? Can you be more specific about the "RULES" of DVR?
post #1428 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by WS65711 View Post

^^
In the quoted post LenL refers to "a DVR that had open source firmware". I did not interpret that to mean the PHD-VRX specifically.

This is the PHD-VRX thread. I am talking about this device.
post #1429 of 2203
WS65711 is somewhat correct, if unclear in his explanation. A DVR with open-source firmware could exist, but it would be restricted to OTA and QAM tuning only. Open source PVR software, such as MythTV, already exists, but because DRM and CableCARD technology violates open-source licenses like the GPL, MythTV and other FOSS PVR solutions do not and cannot support encrypted channels. Any stand-alone DVR with open-source firmware would have the same restrictions. Since the PHD-VRX was already designed without support for encrypted channels, making the firmware open source would be well within ePVision's ability.
post #1430 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by LenL View Post

Like what rules? That the DVR does not hang up when trying to shut it down? Can you be more specific about the "RULES" of DVR?

If a programmer only fixed the bugs that would be fine, however if a programmer designed the GUI to look and act like the TIVO there would be a patent problem. On other issues Aleron Ives post above summed it up very well about open source firmware.

Another issue, are there any third party programmers interested in spending weeks or months making free open source firmware for the PHD-VRX? Some consumers would be willing to pay $49.99 to download a new firmware that fixed bugs and added all kinds of new features to the PHD-VRX, while others would want that firmware for free.
post #1431 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Quote:
are there any third party programmers interested in spending weeks or months making free open source firmware for the PHD-VRX?
I'd bet there are. If for nothing else, for the challenge of it.
Quote:
Some consumers would be willing to pay $49.99 to download a new firmware that fixed bugs and added all kinds of new features to the PHD-VRX, while others would want that firmware for free.
I'd can't think anyone would pay that. You already paid for the device, fixes that should of been fixed early on. should not cost.
Now, if updates would add additional functions/features not originally in any of the literature, that would be different.
Edited by videobruce - 4/25/13 at 5:06am
post #1432 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV1080P24 View Post

If a programmer only fixed the bugs that would be fine, however if a programmer designed the GUI to look and act like the TIVO there would be a patent problem. On other issues Aleron Ives post above summed it up very well about open source firmware.

Another issue, are there any third party programmers interested in spending weeks or months making free open source firmware for the PHD-VRX? Some consumers would be willing to pay $49.99 to download a new firmware that fixed bugs and added all kinds of new features to the PHD-VRX, while others would want that firmware for free.

I agree with you and Videobruce. I have dabbled in Linux and there are lots of Linux versions out there that are being developed, maintained and upgraded. I can install any number of them and I will get updates not only to the operating systems but also to the many thousands of apps and there is NO charge. It's all FREE!

So would there be a programmer out there who would take the challenge and maintain and update the firmware for the PHD-VRX for free? Who knows but based on the LINUX model for open source I would say quite possibly. It would just have to be made open source and someone will pick it up and run with it. In fact I would not be surprised if a number of programmers would participate. People with an interest in programming are like that. Whether it be the challenge or to develop their skills. Will there be someone who wants to make some money? Maybe but unless there were millions of PHD-VRX units sold there would not be much money to be made.
post #1433 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Quote:
People with an interest in programming are like that. Whether it be the challenge or to develop their skills
Exactly.

I've been trying to figure out how this outfit is structured. I do know he/they have another company manufacture the main board. I then can assume the case is purchased from a company that manufactures similar, same goes for the PS & the display with the front panel controls. I don't know who assembles all of this. I'm not sure where the design was/is done. How much is here (if any).

Most important, I'm guessing they have a third party that does the coding of the firmware. If so, that only adds to the mess since it is someone that is second guessing the situation. Someone that can't fully test it there, but has to hand it off to someone here (which has been all ready stated).
Also unknown is just how much experience these people have with DVR operation which appears to be little. Same goes with many other of these DVR importers.

The original DVTPal was designed in England (I believe) and I assume the replacement CM7400 was mostly designed here. Both show this with there user interface (other than the overheating problems with the 7400).

If I am right about the firmware, I assume there is a contract. I then assume the code is probably proprietary to that 3rd party, which means there is no chance of it becoming available. Anyone else have a take on this?
post #1434 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

Exactly.

I've been trying to figure out how this outfit is structured. I do know he/they have another company manufacture the main board. I then can assume the case is purchased from a company that manufactures similar, same goes for the PS & the display with the front panel controls. I don't know who assembles all of this. I'm not sure where the design was/is done. How much is here (if any).

Most important, I'm guessing they have a third party that does the coding of the firmware. If so, that only adds to the mess since it is someone that is second guessing the situation. Someone that can't fully test it there, but has to hand it off to someone here (which has been all ready stated).
Also unknown is just how much experience these people have with DVR operation which appears to be little. Same goes with many other of these DVR importers.

The original DVTPal was designed in England (I believe) and I assume the replacement CM7400 was mostly designed here. Both show this with there user interface (other than the overheating problems with the 7400).

If I am right about the firmware, I assume there is a contract. I then assume the code is probably proprietary to that 3rd party, which means there is no chance of it becoming available. Anyone else have a take on this?

I suspect you're correct but whoever owns the code can at the point in time they no longer want to maintain it let it go out to open source and make it freely available. If it is a Chinese company we know how much they don't really care about laws, licensing etc. So for them to just release it would not be an issue in my mind. Can you think of anyone who was sued because they made code open source? Code that they wrote?

What would be great for us is for Alan to come back to us and say he is NOT paying for anymore firmware updates and will instead have the code made open source and it is up to us owners of the PHD-PVR to find someone to make all the changes we want. Hurray! Yippee!
post #1435 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Quote:
What would be great for us is for Alan to come back to us and say he is NOT paying for anymore firmware updates and will instead have the code made open source and it is up to us owners of the PHD-PVR to find someone to make all the changes we want.
Funny Ethernt routers (for example) were designed to work this way. Look a DD-WRT and Tomato. They open a new world for owners of those routers that are supported, More importantly, they automatically make the product far more valuable to the manufacture than if the code wasn't released.

Allowing third party firmware to replace or co-exist with the existing firmware, is only a win-win situation for all concerned. What does it take for them to see this?
post #1436 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Here is a perfect example;
http://micro.arocholl.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57&Itemid=67
Quote:
Hacker's corner
RF Explorer is a hacker friendly device. As hackers ourselves, we do like customizing, tinkering and expanding gadgets. We certainly designed and built RF Explorer with these factors in mind.
In the next few weeks, we will populate this section with information so you can get more from your RF Explorer unit if you want to.
post #1437 of 2203
Sorry about dredging up old posts, but I've been offline for a while and felt the urge to respond to these:
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV1080P24 View Post

Here is a link with more information on why Comcast has started encrypting 100% of all channels in some markets (The link also mentions why Verizon FIOS might decided not to encrypt the local in the clear QAM channels).
In the context of the article, cable theft means "stealing" the channels one could get (in better quality) OTA for free anyway. Aside from viewers fighting recalcitrant HOAs (see below) or the few in poor OTA signal areas, why anyone would do this is beyond me; but more importantly, I don't see why Comcast would even care about such minor piracy. I find the article's hypothesis, at best, incomplete.

A more important reason, I suspect, is control. Comcast wants to know exactly how many TVs are hooked up to cable in each household. Forcing subscribers to use their equipment and/or CableCARDs is a perfect way to do that.

Also, my understanding is that after the first couple of boxes/CableCARDs, Comcast charges you monthly for each one. I'm sure they view clear QAM tuners as a lost revenue stream: a little bit from pirates, sure; but mostly from legitimate subscribers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV1080P24 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

As far as blocking OTA locals on CATV, what's the big deal, the programming is still available with an antenna. Other than convenience, there is no difference.

.
... The problem with some locations in the United States is that they have homeowners associations that prevent an outdoor TV antenna with a rotor from being connected outside.

Unfortunately, that is very true. As you may know, it's illegal for an HOA to do this, but many HOAs aren't aware of the law (or just don't care), and if your HOA refuses to comply with the law, you, the individual TV viewer, will have to petition the FCC for relief. 99% of viewers burdened by such restrictions would probably find that process more trouble than it's worth.

Quote:
So instead, I am using an indoor small attic antenna that receives only around 80% of the local channels that Verizon offers....
Just a suggestion: have you considered a "panel"-style antenna such as the Channel Master 4228HD? Panel antennas have much higher gain than small indoor antennas, but in my experience they can be mounted in an attic and aimed much more easily than large "airplane"-style outdoor antennas. (Of course if your attic has a radiant barrier, you're still SOL frown.gif )
post #1438 of 2203
post #1439 of 2203
JHBrandt the article is based on facts. In the past many years ago cable companies had a security problem with consumers using analog descramblers, however since all cable companies in the USA now use digital encryption, their signal is now 100% secure from piracy as long as the channel is encrypted. Comcast has had such a major problem with consumers illegally going outside and connecting themselves up for free local channels and basic cable service that they started an online forum where people can report other people that attempt to get free unencrypted analog and free unencrypted QAM digital channels. Click this link for the Comcast cable theft forum that people use to report other people who have attempted to get free basic cable or limited basic cable. Some people are too lazy to install an outdoor or indoor TV antenna so that they can get legally free local channels and instead think that getting free limited basic or basic cable is ok. Here is another article link about passive cable theft and Comcast. Since 100% of the Comcast network nationwide or soon to be nationwide is using 100% digital encryption for all their channels this means signal theft is no longer an issue for Comcast.

Its kind of funny JHBrandt that you brought this topic up today since I just had a chance to test out the Comcast signal in my area at a local dentist office. I live in a city that has both Verizon FIOS and Comcast to choose from. Some businesses subscribe to only one cable provider while other businesses subscribe to both cable companies to increase their Internet speed and as a backup Internet provider to reduce the possibility of Internet outages (special load sharing router with two WAN connections is used for those that have two separate Internet providers).

I wonder if Comcast has now switched to 100% encrypted QAM in all markets nationwide or just some markets. In some areas of the USA both Comcast and Verizon are available in the same city. Today while at a local dentist office, they were complaining that they lost their Comcast TV reception in the entire office area, which contains like around 5+ TV’s. I checked out the Comcast TV signal and what I found is that only 1 NTSC channel exists on Comcast now, however it is a channel 2 NTSC color bar test channel that lets consumers know that they have an active cable service. So I verified that Comcast in my area has shut off all their NTSC analog cable channels and has switched to 100% encrypted QAM except for the one 24 x 7 NTSC color bar test channel that still exists. In a few months the last remaining NTSC analog Comcast test channel might even go off the air so the bandwidth for QAM channels will increase.

Now the dentist office I visited is upset that they have to rent a Digital Cable box for all of their TV sets which are mostly HDTV flat screens and one 480i SD tube TV. They claimed that Comcast never notified them that they were going to lose all the local and basic channels that they subscribe too. Some cable companies told the FCC that if they encrypted all the QAM cable channels including the local QAM channels, that it would stop cable theft completely. In addition, it would save the cable companies money since they would no longer need to send a technician out to the house to connect or disconnect the physical RG-6 cable in the street if every channel is encrypted including locals (the cable companies can just leave the cable connected all the time now). When subscribing to cable TV service the cable companies can just UPS a digital cable box over night to the customer’s house or apartment for self-installs. The other benefit now is that the cable companies that encrypt 100% of their channels will now make money on cable box rentals or cablecard rentals for every single TV set in one’s home or apartment. Just like a satellite box is required on every TV for Direct TV and Dish Network, now a cable box or cablecard is required on every single TV from Comcast and many other cable companies. Some cable companies charge around $20 a month for each HD DVR while other cable companies have package plans. I explained to the dentist office that they can connect an outdoor TV antenna to all of their TV’s if they are just interested in the local channels. They currently only use Comcast for Internet service.

I verified that Verizon FIOS is sending all the local channels in the clear in my area and according to a Verizon technician I spoke with, that is the same Verizon FIOS policy nationwide for local channels (Verizon FIOS has been 100% QAM for several years). Also Verizon FIOS has never so far sent a letter to customers saying they plan on encrypting all the channels including locals. The advantage of the Verizon FIOS network is that the 100% digital fiber optic network runs from the central office to the side of the customers house. On the side of each persons house that has Verizon FIOS there is a network interface box that converts the fiber to a RG-6 cable. That Verizon FIOS network box is 100% addressable so that they can remotely turn off or on the FIOS landline phone, FIOS Internet, or the FIOS TV service. Therefore, if a customer cancels their basic local QAM TV service then Verizon will send a signal within a few seconds to have the TV service completely switched off at the network interface box on the side of the house. So my point is, if Verizon FIOS does every decide to encrypt the local channels it will not be because of a security issue, but because they would like to increase the demand for cablecard rentals and digital cable box rentals.

Some consumers that like using their in the clear QAM tuners have canceled Comcast and have switched to Verizon FIOS since they only want the local channels and are not interested in paying a rental fee for every single TV in one’s home.

Regarding the TV antenna situation. I am aware that consumers can contact the FCC or take legal action against their Home Owners Association so that they can have the right to put a TV antenna outside. Personally I have no interest in doing that and the small indoor attic antenna with a rotor is fine. The problem TV stations I am having issue with is one analog low power VHF low band station and the other is a few high band VHF stations (also I use the antenna for FM radio). In the future I might try a separate VHF antenna with a separate UHF antenna pointed in different directions in the attic to improve the reception. I have also considered trying something like the Channel Master 4228HD. Right now I am happy with the dual RF inputs of the PHD-VRX that provides me both ATSC and in the clear Verizon QAM channels.
Edited by HDTV1080P24 - 4/25/13 at 8:50pm
post #1440 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithdoor View Post

Low cost remote works great from walmart http://www.walmart.com/ip/RCA-5-Device-Learning-Universal-Remote/14554642
Just so you know, that is a typical "doughnut" remote. Instead of four separate navigation keys, there is single a 'ring' (doughnut) that controls those functions. Problem is, it's far too easy to have your finger between two functions (right & down for example) and wind up pressing the wrong one. wink.gif

Out of curiosity, the very limited specs use the word "learning". Does this have a true learning capability for all buttons or is it just limited to a few buttons??

.
Edited by videobruce - 4/26/13 at 5:20am
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