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ePVision PHD-VRX & VRX2 Owners Thread - Page 2

post #31 of 2203
I finally switched over from cable to OTA. smile.gif

My friend and I are about to take the dive on this DVR. Before we commit on the purchase, can existing owners please tell me if you have any regrets? I was going to buy the Channel Master, but I read that it is plagued with overheat issues.

Thanks!
post #32 of 2203
Bruce, you have done an amazing job with this thread. You deserve a great big pat on the back. The screen shots are wonderful and the technical details are awesome.

As you know, this is a probably a niche market. That has never stopped me from being part of the niche. I will watch this thread and point others to here for comparisons. I have quite a few DVRs as you know. None are perfect. Most have finished their life cycle way too soon. I blame the US TV industry for this and the loose implementation of the PSIP by stations and cable operators.

So without a more flexible manual recording feature and the lack of a cable card, I will have to pass for now. Looking at the fall network schedule, my present equipment can handle things. Perhaps by then the VRX will have some updates, TVGOS will die, or Funai will make an HD unit. I don't pretend to see the future. So keep up the good work.

Joe
post #33 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the kudo's, but I can't even hold a candle to one of wajo's threads. That guy should work for Funai. wink.gif
Quote:
Funai will make an HD unit
I can't believe that haven't yet. Other than no Guide at all, it's such a waste not to have HD capability available. So it's only SD DVD, I could live with that easily if it was HD.
Quote:
So without a more flexible manual recording feature and the lack of a cable card
Buried in the Main Menu, is a future manual record screen which is only available in this screen via this route. NO one button shortcuts and it';s not available through the Guide.
Edited by videobruce - 6/13/12 at 5:34am
post #34 of 2203
Thread Starter 
avonord; This was just released a couple of days ago. No matter what you buy, there is no perfect DVR, just like there is no perfect TV.

Anyway I added more text concerning the CC issue from a e-mail I had from Allen that was in the other thread.
post #35 of 2203
Hi Videobruce. Yes, I am aware of the planned paid service. $50 per year or the equivalent of about one Starbucks late per month is certainly not too much if they could get that arranged. A very simple user programmable file will however be in line with the main reason why most people are switching to OTA, i.e it being free. (other than buying the equipment and paying the hydro bill)

I see two types of possible files.

The first would be to download the full EPG from where the programming is done on the DVR. To generate this file will require somewhat of an effort from the user perspective and I do foresee a user community such as on this forum promptly sharing EPG files.

The second would be a much simpler solution where only the recording programming is downloaded to the PVR. The latter could be done in the format of a simple .csv file using any spread sheet software. A very simple format such as “Program name, tuner #, Channel #, Start Date, Start Time, End Date, End Time. Issues like padding etc are then part of the users decision on which start and end times to use etc. The program name and start date and time is used as the name under which the recording is listed on the PVR. This recording .csv file could even be resident on the HDD or on a USB stick using the second USB port . When this .csv file is present then the use of (whatever) available PSIP data is restricted to live surfing. Free, very simple and certainly a lot less effort to sort out than the unreliable PSIP data.

I am willing to help with the beta testing of the firmware of this change. (yes, for free)

PS I received my shipping notice yesterday
post #36 of 2203
Thread Starter 
I remember this being discussed somewhere before. Was that you?

IOW's a single file, like a firmware update that could be displayed within the DVR similar to Zap2It or TitanTV as opposed to a constant data updates (however often it would be done)? Something like opening a .pdf file with interactive links within the document?
post #37 of 2203
Yes, I did mention it earlier. I believe at that point we were probably hoping for some sort of miracle. Now that the tire has hit the road and the PSIP problems are real it is maybe a good time to discuss this again. If the owner forum agrees that this is a usefull alternative we could maybe brainstorm a bit and share the result with epvision. That way they may consider it more seriously for the immediate future.

Yes, a single file that is only updated when uploaded. However, I am sure that some of the programming gurus here will soon come up with PC based software that would do the mining part which can then be loaded to the DVR when required. As an added advantage, based on my experience with programming a Panasonic HD-DVR, I would rather use a proper keyboard and mouse doing the programming than a fiddly remote control.
Edited by RamKat - 6/9/12 at 5:17am
post #38 of 2203
Has anyone else actually received their unit yet? I thought I had read in the other (now deceased) thread that some people were expecting delivery Friday (today).
post #39 of 2203
I just ordered one today, although it probably won't ship from Cali until Monday. And using the standard ground shipping, it'll probably be at least a week before i get it in SC. Fortunately, the $30 off coupon code still worked.
post #40 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce 
It supports it enough to record. It's the inefficiency of the file system that is the problem unless hardware comes into play here.

Considering the TViX DVR is capable of recording two shows while simultaneously watching a third all from a single NTFS HDD, the problem must lie either with ePVision's NTFS implementation or their decision to use USB instead of SATA. It can't be the fault of NTFS, since a competing DVR does what the VRX currently can't.
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce 
No CC or SAP. That was discussed in the speculation thread.

I noticed your extra post after checking the topic today. It seems I'm repeating my own questions. wink.gif I do like how the remote control has a CC button, even though it apparently won't do anything. biggrin.gif
post #41 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post

I do like how the remote control has a CC button, even though it apparently won't do anything. biggrin.gif

I would expect the CC to be there while using the unit as a tuner to watch live TV. Hence the need for CC button.
post #42 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by morc258 
I would expect the CC to be there while using the unit as a tuner to watch live TV. Hence the need for CC button.

Yes, you might think so, but considering the TViX can do CC on neither live nor recorded shows and still seems to be generally ahead of the VRX in terms of features at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the VRX has the same limitation. Maybe the CC button is labeled incorrectly to go with the GoTo button. It's a feature! biggrin.gif It seems the CM DVRs are going to remain the only option for people who need CC for the time being.
post #43 of 2203
According to the manufacturers website,
Digital CC: Yes
Analog CC: Yes
This is listed under Technical Specifications tab here.

If you take a look at the PHD-8VX owners manual page 26-27 here, it has advanced CC capabilities. Keep in mind, the the 8VX is not the VRX model this thread is about, but the VRX is based on the tuner/switcher 8VX. I would think the two models would be very similar in this aspect, but that is speculation on my part.
I emailed epvision earlier this week about availability of a owners manual for the PHD-VRX because it is not currently available. They did not respond as of yet.

videobruce, if you get a chance, could you drill through the CC while using "Live Tuner" and see if it has settings?
post #44 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Yes, I did mention it earlier. I believe at that point we were probably hoping for some sort of miracle. Now that the tire has hit the road and the PSIP problems are real it is maybe a good time to discuss this again. If the owner forum agrees that this is a usefull alternative we could maybe brainstorm a bit and share the result with epvision.
I was already planning on asking you to contact Allen and suggest this when I read your post. This may get them out of the 'mud' so to speak.
Since the Goliath TiVo seems to be the stumbling block with Guides. mad.gif
Quote:
I noticed your extra post after checking the topic today. It seems I'm repeating my own questions.
Every time someone brings up a subject and if I can remember if/when it was discussed before, I would like to include it it the original series of posts to keep everything together, instead of burying it later on in the thread.
If this disaster of the software change didn't happen when it did, I could/would of reserved more posts. mad.gif
Edited by videobruce - 6/9/12 at 9:29am
post #45 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

Quote:
Do you mean that you can't even pad the start time? That's a serious oversight.
Anything that is grayed out can't be changed.
Quote:
It's also a pretty big oversight to not support NTFS fully.
It supports it enough to record. It's the inefficiency of the file system that is the problem unless hardware comes into play here.
Quote:
since the VRX saves recordings in the MPG container, does that mean they won't have the option to show closed captions? I'm guessing that it's stripping the PS data from the TS wrapper, which probably means it's losing the captions, and I think I remember something in the speculation thread saying that the VRX couldn't show captions on recordings. It might also be losing the SAP, since I kind of doubt the old MPG container supports more than one audio stream.
No CC or SAP. That was discussed in the speculation thread. Allen tried to explain that to me and it was due to the complexities of the system, they would have to allow full channel recording including all sub-channels which one of those other recorders does do. Problem with that is it eats up more space. Then there is the huge problem with QAM channels, Look how many sub-channels they can have. eek.gif
It's absolutely no issue for me as I hate those annoying and distracting CC boxes. I can't watch TV and 'read' it at the same time. Other than discussing it to address others concerns, that was not on any of my 'things to fix' lists.

The NTFS thing is just a software problem on their end. Other devices handle NTFS just fine. Sounds like they didnt license a commercial NTFS driver and used something like fuse which has ****** performance.

The recording problem they allude to with having to record the entire transport stream is also an excuse as there are many other devices which can filter out what is not wanted and then save a filtered transport stream.
It cannot be that difficult.

But the fact that they have things greyed out at least implies that they planned for it and eventually will implements things like recording padding????

Definetly not the time to buy this box. Once again a CEM releases a half baked un-finished product which is missing foundational functionality all in order to grab a few dollars out a largely unsuspecting consumer.
post #46 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by qz3fwd View Post

The NTFS thing is just a software problem on their end. Other devices handle NTFS just fine. Sounds like they didnt license a commercial NTFS driver and used something like fuse which has ****** performance.
The recording problem they allude to with having to record the entire transport stream is also an excuse as there are many other devices which can filter out what is not wanted and then save a filtered transport stream.
It cannot be that difficult.
But the fact that they have things greyed out at least implies that they planned for it and eventually will implements things like recording padding????
Definetly not the time to buy this box. Once again a CEM releases a half baked un-finished product which is missing foundational functionality all in order to grab a few dollars out a largely unsuspecting consumer.


That would be me. I'm sorry I bought this thing and I have not even received it, yet (it arrives on Tuesday).
post #47 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by qz3fwd View Post

Once again a CEM releases a half baked un-finished product which is missing foundational functionality all in order to grab a few dollars out a largely unsuspecting consumer.

Bummer. confused.gif Instead of this product, is there a convenient product that can record two OTA broadcasts at the same time, but that isn't specifically a DVR recording all the time? A box located near the TV that can record shows I watch together with my wife might be more affordable for me than a TiVo.
post #48 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Looking at the menu for their Media Switcher and then this, I wonder if they bit off more than they can chew? I liked the older menu better. Easier to navigate.
Reminds me of M$, sell it on a glitzy GUI. rolleyes.gif

I amended posts #2, 7, 8 ,9 & 10 due to omissions on my part. Most in bold. frown.gif
Edited by videobruce - 6/9/12 at 2:37pm
post #49 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJW007 View Post

Instead of this product, is there a convenient product that can record two OTA broadcasts at the same time, but that isn't specifically a DVR recording all the time?

What you describe is a HTPC, and there's a separate forum for discussing those. :P
post #50 of 2203
I contacted ePVision suggesting that they make scheduling manual timer recordings possible when guide data is present. In reply they sent me an 8 page PDF of the PHD-VRX's recording features. By reading the PDF it looks like it should be possible.

It lists 4 ways to record.

The first two are to record the current program both manually and with the guide.

The third is for manually scheduling a timer recording and reads ...
Manual Recording:
You can fully control how to schedule your recording by selecting this option from main menu. Press MENU remote button to bring up main menu, then select Record > Schedule > Recordings > Manual Schedule. Once selected, Record Timer screen will pop out. In this point, majority options are open for user to adjust.
It then shows the Record Schedule Timer pop-up with all the options available except the Timer Options at the bottom and instructs how to set them.

The fourth is for scheduling a timer recording with the guide and reads ...
Program Guide Recording:
There are two ways to start program guide recording. In menu, select Record > Schedule > Recordings > Program Guide. This way, PHD-VRX will bring up Program Guide screen. Or, you can directly press GUIDE remote button to bring up the same screen.

In the Program Guide screen, use navigation keys UP and Down to search the desired channel. Then use Right key to move to proper program title for recording.
It then shows the Record Schedule Timer pop-up with only Active, Type and the Timer Options at the bottom available and under the timer options both the start and end times are adjustable.
post #51 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by idknyc View Post

I'm sorry I bought this thing and I have not even received it, yet (it arrives on Tuesday).

Ouch. Is this a new low for DVR customer satisfaction? frown.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kansas_Tom View Post

I contacted ePVision suggesting that they make scheduling manual timer recordings possible when guide data is present. In reply they sent me an 8 page PDF of the PHD-VRX's recording features.

If only they would send a PDF of the entire manual, we might have a way to figure out how to work all the VRX's hidden features...
post #52 of 2203
Update to documentation. http://www.epvision.com/HDTVSTB/phdvrxmain.htm

Those with a unit will need to comment on the accuracy. I will give them credit for using US format for event time.
post #53 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Those with a unit will need to comment on the accuracy.
Oh, boy, can't wait for the 1st owner to report. biggrin.gif :

The write up is actually very good other than a few typos & language translations. The burning question that was never answered was that "Active" check box, for the life of me, I had no idea why it was there, nor the purpose. I would say, if it is a regular scheduled program that isn't being aired that week, go and uncheck the box so the time slot doesn't record, then next week re-check it.

BTW, more updates in the related posts #3, 6, 8 & 10 including CC. (morc258; I didn't forget you)

Thanks Joe for the heads up, I don't always check there.
Edited by videobruce - 6/10/12 at 7:57am
post #54 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kansas_Tom View Post

Nuts!
The lack of manual recording scheduling when PSIP data is present will keep me from placing that order. I sometimes need to program recordings 2-3 weeks in advance and like to tweak the start and stop times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

Only if the station has no PSIP data can a full manual recording take place VCR style

I think there is some confusion here. According to the Recording Guide, there is a different procedure for Manual Recording associated with Program Guide and Manual Recording. As noted on pages 2&3.
The way I understand it a "manual recording" can be made regardless of EPG data. If this is correct, that would ease some peoples fears on the limitation of recording flexibility.

videobruce, can you please elaborate on this? As I guess you are the only one with a unit as of yet.
post #55 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

Quote:
Those with a unit will need to comment on the accuracy.
Oh, boy, can't wait for the 1st owner to report. biggrin.gif :

I would say, if it is a regular scheduled program that isn't being aired that week, go and uncheck the box so the time slot doesn't record, then next week re-check it.
BTW, more updates in the related posts #3, 6, 8 & 10 including CC. (morc258; I didn't forget you)

My pleasure. I haven't given up yet. One curious thing though: for pure manual you have to select rf input AND cable/OTA. I would think that is redundant unless the user is switching cables or the unit can't remember which table goes with which input.

Best thing I saw was a date entry. That's missing on most other manual recording screens. Like, I couldn't schedule a weekly recording of Falling Skies until tomorrow on any DVR except my old Sony since it has a date field. With online guides going out 14 or 15 days, a date should be there for manual recordings. Personal preference I guess.

As for the active box: feedback needed.
post #56 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Quote:
The way I understand it a "manual recording" can be made regardless of EPG data.
The only 'Future Manual Recording' screen available is through the Main Menu buried four layers deep;
Menu - Record - Schedule - Schedule Recordings - Manual Schedule. This is not available in the Guide or by pressing the 'Record' button on the remote outside the Guide.
Quote:
As for the active box: feedback needed.
Addressed in my previous post.

Well, it appears flashing the recorder does not remove/update all of the old firmware. Now, the HDD does not spin down after I reverted back to the older firmware. mad.gif
Edited by videobruce - 6/13/12 at 5:48am
post #57 of 2203
As I expected, their NTFS sucky performance is because they are using the open source reverse engineered NTFS driver ntfs-3g.
You can see this for yourself by downloading the firmware file, extracting it and then inspecting the squashfs.img file.
You can mount this fs on linux or extract the files on windows by using the unsquashfs.exe program from here:
http://fragilematter.blogspot.ca/2010/02/squashfs-tools-40-windows-binaries.html

The box is running what appears to be a 2.6 linux kernel, yet I did not see a source code listing avaliable in their website.
They should make avaliable any changes they made to the system sources. Maybe they are running a plain vanilla install?

The device seems to support NFS, so those if use who have NAS's with our content should be able to mount these NFS shares and playback high bitrate content across the network if these guys enable it in the GUI, or someone can log in as root and setup the NFS shares on the device.
post #58 of 2203
Update to web page. File (pdf) on timeshifting. I can't say I agree with the name, but that's unimportant. If they do this every day we should eventually have a full manual. Whatever works.
post #59 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Slow motion is only available when in this mode. Added link in post #6
It's properly explained.

(No, I didn't forget about this function, I just didn't include it, among a few other features including the 'Favorites' function.)
post #60 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

Slow motion is only available when in this mode. Added link in post #6
It's properly explained.
(No, I didn't forget about this function, I just didn't include it, among a few other features including the 'Favorites' function.)

Any idea of the relationship of USB memory stick and timeshift time? I do like the ability to record to a USB drive, like the BV-980H.
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