Ultra long "laundry list" of major problems. This does not include hardware issues.
I lost count on how many versions of this I have sent in the past three months, but with the additional points that HDTV1080P24 and others brought to light, here it is. As already stated, ePVision has had problems making changes to the default video settings (and possibly others) that created other problems, so they hit the panic button and seemed to put the brakes on any other changes placing any progress on hold.
More importantly, the stranglehold TiVo has on DVR development, namely "grid" type of program guides and their so called patents they managed to get rights too elsewhere, has raised concern and mostly fear. TiVo's pure greed (the reason for my 'TiVo's greed' thread) stifles development, especially with small companies that could never be any threat to TiVo's domain.
In order of importance (which leaves this open for disagreement, but will welcome comment):
1. No full user manual. I can't say I have ever seen or heard of a consumer product that didn't have some type of user manual, especially something as complex as this. While a couple of specific How To's where added to their web site, this was only recently. I know they are fully aware of this. This shouldn't of been released without a manual.
2a. 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. Also, more than one channels programming needs to be available. This is another real problem. You schedule one program only to find something better on another channel at the same time. If you forget what channel that was, you have to go back and find it, one channel at a time. PSIP Guide data is unreliable, spotty and inconsistent if it is there at all. It was intended to have a paid subscription Guide available two years ago. Other than the lack of a manual, this is problem #1.
2b. The Guide really needs a subscription, Internet based full program data. I know this is well known to them, but I had to have this in the list. PSIP data is mostly worthless. What good are three to six hours of listings? Anything less than one full week shouldn't be acceptable in this day and age.
3. No ability to remember where playback was stopped. No 'Mark' function. You stop or exit playback mode either accidentally or on purpose, you loose where you were. One hour into a two hour movie, you have to leave, as soon as you press stop,when it comes time to pick up where you left off, guess what? You have to remember were you were and hit the 20 second skip xx number of times or use the fast forward to return to where you left off.
Also, if you hit "Exit" while watching a recording, you not just stop the recording, but fully exit from the Player, again loosing where you were.
4. A timer recording from standby looses the 1st 45 seconds of the program due to the boot time if the recorder was in standby. Booting from standby should start one minute early so the recorder is up and running.
5. The 20 second skip forward and back was most welcome (there wasn't any until I insisted on this), but 20 seconds is not enough. Give the ability to set times in each direction. 15, 30, 60 & 120 seconds would suffice with 15 seconds back and 60 seconds forward as defaults. What is really needed is adjustable skip times from 15 seconds to five minutes. Even though, if you hold the Skip Fwd or Rev down, it will FF scan until you release it, a fixed amount would make s things easier.
6a. There is no audio at all when the timeshifting mode is activated. There is audio on the HDMI output.
6b. If a recorded program is paused during playback, the video freezes but the audio continues playing for an additional 5 seconds or so. 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.
6c. Audio controls have no effect on analog or optical outputs. Also, HDMI apparently passes only two channel stereo audio.
6d. Optical audio level is apparently very low.
7. The output of this DVR been confirmed to be very dark with high contrast. You have to set the brightness to around 15 and the contrast around 80. It's way too dark at the default settings. These settings do not apply to Media Player, you have to readjust them each and every time you use MP since they don't 'stick'. The settings should be universal to both functions
8a. A Full manual recording option, no matter if there is Guide data or not that is directly accessible from the Record button without going into any menu or Guide. There are too many times where one needs to modify the start and/or stop times either way. As this stands, other than diving into the main menu a number of layers deep, when in the Guide, there is no full manual recording available if there is Guide data of any kind on that channel.
8b. There is no “Weekly” option for recording in the manual recording option. This is the most used type of recording. Remove the unnecessary Sat. & Sun. entry. I can't see any purpose for this.
9. GoTo & Guide buttons on the remote need to be swapped. GoTo needs to be renamed to Return as it is on most other devices. GoTo means something entirely different than what it does here and is confusing. The button for GoTo is larger and should be for the Guide. Apparently ePVision realizes this as they pack a separate slip in the box stating the use of the GoTo button.
10. No 1080i for older HDTV's w/o a 1080p input. 480p was removed with the latest firmware. This needs to be restored.
11. An attached external enclosed hard drive does not spin down anymore when the DVR is on, only when in standby with the last firmware release. Why?
12. Nothing preventing you to place the DVR in standby, or to change channels in or out of the Guide to prevent stopping a recording in progress. You will loose the recording if standby is pressed accidentally, or you change a channel in or out of the Guide.
13. Menu icons are hard to read and decipher. Plain text is needed instead of those hard to decipher icons. It's confusing to guess at a icon, then read the text above and to the right of that icon. Substitute icons for plain text by moving the sub-category to the far left column replacing the associated icon. The GUI in their Media Switcher was better. Not as 'glitzy', but who cares, it's easier to navigate.
14. Ability to turn clock display off when in standby, substituting a single 'dash' to indicate standby. Also, disable the red LED in the standby mode since it is confusing to have represent two functions; record & standby.
15. Speed play is useless as it stands either do to hardware limitations (procession power and/or memory) and/or firmware. The sample rate is terrible making the feature worthless. You can't see enough frames to make any sense out of the video. If this is the best the circuity can do, it's better just to remove the function.
16. Replace 'Scale Window” with Media Player Recordings in the Quick Menu. One button access to the recorded programs list. After all, that is the purpose of this isn't it?
17. Shorten the manual recording file name by removing the seconds and changing the year to two digits. Assuming this sorts its recordings alphabetically, naming the files in descending YY-MM-DD would work better recording multiple programs before watching.
18. In the Video (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.
19. Rename 'Picture' to 'Video' in the main menu and move Dynamic Contrast out of that 'Advanced' menu so all A/V adjustments in one sub-menu. Then delete "Advanced" since nothing would be under that heading anymore. Color temperature has no noticeable effect so remove that.
20. Inconsistent time format. Some are shown as 12 hr., others as 24 hrs. In the US, 12 hrs. is preferred.
21. Media Player; 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 that way.
22. Change 'Video' to 'Recordings' in Media Player. “Video” is a term relating more to image adjustments. Originally this was labeled "Movie" until it was change per my insistence. Also change "Movie" to "Recording" in the delete confirmation box.
23. Change the “Recording List” to “Recording History”. Since it is just a history, not what is actually on the hard drive. It's confusing since one would assume these recording are still available.
24. Disable channel up/down while in Guide. It's too easy to hit and accidentally exit from the Guide.
25. Using You Tube, the aspect control has no effect. No full width. If you try to watch a 16x9 clip, it is squeezed down to 4x3.
26. Add USB support for a keyboard to make it easier to use U Tube. Trying to use the on screen keyboard gets old real quick.
29.“Skip” in the channel editor; Confusion of a checked or unchecked entry. That could mean either the channel is skipped or that it is active. A checked channel should mean skipped, not active.
28.Timeshift; Duplicate use of the skip fwd. & back function for slow motion is confusing. Use the separate orange & blue buttons for this and leave the skip & back functions the same.
29.Remove 'Locks' menu entry. According to a user report, it causes all kinds of problems due to forgetting the password and being able to bypass it under certain conditions.
30., Internet firmware upgrade option keeping USB flash drive upgrade. I would prefer conventional 'flashing' since you have control and can monitor the process directly. Considering how critical this is, I wouldn't trust a 'automatic' flash.
31. Configure that “Active” check box in the recording options so it's always checked.
32. There appears to be too many 'Aspect' choices. 'Direct' and 'Normal' appear to be identical. Debatable with some of the other choices.
33. What is “Digital Preference” under Audio for??
Last minute additions:
A plastic wrap has been applied to the DVR case[/B] which normally wouldn't be a problem or unusual, but the problem seems to be, it can't be easily removed.[/B] It seems as this film fused to the painted surface more than expected, possibly due to excessive heat in a truck during shipment.
Edited by videobruce - 7/17/12 at 10:19am