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PrimeDTV PHD-101 / PHD-200 / PHD-205 / PHD-205LE ATSC/QAM Tuner Official Thread - Page 2

post #31 of 844
I think I'll pick up one of these soon. I have a Sharp aquos LCD with a built in ATSC tuner but unfortunately no QAM tuner or cablecard.
post #32 of 844
Thread Starter 
Well, good news. I've been in contact with a guy from epvision and he's sending me out a new firmware today on a USB stick. He said it should be here tomorrow. I'll update the unit and let you guys know. I think this update is only supposed to fix the optical problem. He said the engineer were still looking into the aspect problem.
post #33 of 844
Thread Starter 
Well, I got the firmware update, but the update didn't seem to work as the instructions stated. I emailed them back stating my problem. After attempting the firmware upgrade, my unit no longer works at all. All this was in my email. The cool thing is I got a phone call from a guy at epvision to ask me more about the upgrade (he must have got my phone number off my order sheet). He wasn't sure what the problem could have been, but he emailed me a new firmware to try again. Unfortunately, this didn't work either, so he is rushing me a new unit with the upgraded firmware. Now, even thought the box hasn't worked properly, I'm still very impressed with their customer service. After having dealt with the likes of Samsung and Philips, this is a very refreshing break. I could tell I was talking to someone who actually knew his sh1t on the subject. As always, I'll keep you all posted.


...type one out, 24 more avs forum posts to go...
post #34 of 844
What's the GUI like on that thing? Is it possible for you to take a screen shot of the menu, or maybe the guide?

I'm seriously considering this box, especially after reading about how great the customer support has been. But I can't stand the ugly/poorly designed user interfaces I've seen on a few other boxes. So I was kind of curious about what this one looks like.
post #35 of 844
Thread Starter 
go to www.epvision.com and download the manual. It has tons of screenshots that show what it looks like. The thing about the guide (at least currently) is that it only shows the current channel your on. I emailed my contact a long list of features that could be implemented in firmware for this box. Lets just say that if they get even half of them, this will be an outstanding box. I also gave suggestions for the next revision, such as having two coax inputs for both cable and air at the same time. If they added that feature, it would already be years ahead of most other boxes.


...type one out, 23 more avs forum posts to go...
post #36 of 844
Let us know after you tried the new unit. I like to get one.
post #37 of 844
D'oh! I've been to that page three times now, and never saw the manual there at the bottom.

Looks pretty nice. The guide thing bothers me a little. But I bet it'll be changed within the next couple of firmware versions. It looks like they actually, dare I say it, care about what their customers think! It's very refreshing.
post #38 of 844
Did everyone here order it directly from ePVision?

Is the video quality about equal to a MyHD or HiPix card?

Thanks,
Ben
post #39 of 844
I ordered one Thursday, and I expect it to be delivered sometime tomorrow --- but what's great is, down in the TINY TINY "comments" box during the order, I asked if my unit would have the firmware upgrades.


... and mere moments after I placed my order, I had a response:


Quote:
Thanks for ordering our PHD-101. The unit you will receive will have optical audio enabled.



Thanks again!



Support Team

ePVision / ePBoard

email: support@epvision.com

Tel: (714) 630-6839


Awesome. I can't wait to test it out.
post #40 of 844
Well................... at least their customer service is good.

The QAM isn't nearly as awesome as I had hoped. It artifacts for me like crazy.

And with only a handful [ maybe 20 ] channels that actually work out of 395, it is quite a pain to delete the channels, since there isn't a way to delete the channel you are currently tuned to without scrolling through the list of available channels.

The OTA is just fine, but my TV already does that anyway.

I'm not resenting my purchase by any means, but "you get what you pay for" certainly applies here.

--- Haz
post #41 of 844
Thread Starter 
Most of the issues with this box are software related. That issue that you bring up is one that I wrote about in my email of suggestions. When I get a chance, I'll post my email of suggestions here, so you all can know what the box doesn't quite do so well at. But, most of the issues are software related, and not hardware.

...type one out, read it aloud, 19 more avs forum posts to go...
post #42 of 844
Thread Starter 
I got my replacement unit today. The optical port works just fine. Anyways, here is a list of all the improvements I suggested to their design team:
These are listed in category, but each category is in no particular order.


Remote Control:

1. It seems that there are two buttons that are unused at the moment. One is at the top center and the other the bottom right of the remote.

2. Program the bottom right button as a mirror to the OK button so that when someone enters a channel, they can quickly hit the lower right button to accept the channel change, instead of having to wait or move their hand and press the center OK button.
The top center button would be great if it were programmed to show the current signal strength. One press could bring up a small onscreen meter, which would be very easy to get to and helpful for aiming an antenna.




ATSC:

1. It would be helpful if you could tune to a channel not currently in the channel list. If the user enters a channel that was not in the list (as found by auto scan), the unit should take the channel number to mean the RF frequency channel and tune to that channel. This is useful when the unit cannot detect a channel due to the aiming of the antenna. With this feature, the user could enter the RF channel of a known digital station and use the signal strength button mentioned above to fine tune the antenna. For example, channel 55.1 (RF 36.1) is a particularly weak station, that I cannot tune with the PHD unit since I am unable to fine tune an antenna and the auto scan does not detect it. In this case, I could press 3 6 . 1 and have the unit tune to RF 36 and look for a digital signal.


2. On the channel list, if you could store the current program names as given by the PSIP stream of each digital station so that the channel list would not only show the name of the channel, but also the current program name; that would be very helpful.




QAM:

1. Currently, I am unable to tune to a specific sub-channel when using the QAM tuner. For example, channel 100.1 is my digital PBS and 100.2 is my digital CBS. I can only push 1 0 0 enter to tune to channel 100.1 then I must press channel down to get to channel 100.2. This is very frustrating on my Music Choice channels as I cannot press, for example, 63.28, I must push 63, then channel down 28 times. This is very annoying to say the least.


2. On my cable system, there are several unencrypted QAM channels, but there are far more encrypted QAM channels. On channel detection, the PHD unit finds roughly 320 channels, only 3 of which are HD channels and a handful are music stations. That leaves around 200-250 encrypted channels that do me no good by being in the channel list. The unit should be able to detect which ones are encrypted and automatically remove them from the channel list as it is scanning for channels.




Both formats (ATSC & QAM):

1. Onscreen menus should have a timeout associated with them, similar to the display when changing channels. If I press the list button, the list display will remain until I press list again, or the clear button. This could cause serious burn-in if left like this. List applies to the Menu, Guide, and List functions.


2. On the channel list, when I press list, the cursor should default to the station I'm currently on. As it is, it defaults to the top item. This isn't a big deal or OTA programming, but on my cable list, there are well over 100 channels, and if I am on channel 70 and want to go to 75, I'd have to scroll down 75 times.


3. The display of channel number, resolution, audio format, and channel name should show the Dolby Digital format, such as 2.0 or 5.1. This would be a nice convenience factor. So the display instead of Dolby Digital could say DD 5.1 or DD 2.0.


4. On channels above channel 6 (channel 7 and above) for OTA and channels above 13 (channel 14 and above) for QAM should allow me to press the channel number followed by a sub-channel number without the need for a press of the . button. Since there are no channels above 69 for OTA, pressing 2 1 1 should automatically select channel 21.1. For the cable, there are no channels above 135, so pressing 1 4 1 should select channel 14.1. Channels below this will still require a press of the . button since 6 1 1 could either be channel 6.11 or 61.1.


5. The timeout delay for the information screen could be shorted from 15 seconds (which seems kind of long) to something like 8 seconds. A delay of 15 seconds could still be implemented for other onscreen information such as the guide, menu, and channel list, as those are not automatically put on the screen by a channel change.


6. Another feature that would be nice is that if you scan for an OTA channel list, then scan for a QAM list, the unit would not lose the OTA list. When the user selects an Antenna scan, the unit could prompt the user to use the previous list, or to scan for a new one. This way users that switch back and forth between cable and OTA, could just select no to the rescan and use the previous list. I myself have an A/B switch for cable and antenna, and this feature is quite nice on my LG LST-4200a. An idea for a future box, and one that would net you a great deal of sales, is have two coax inputs and store an ATSC and QAM list at the same time, allowing the user to seamlessly go from a cable to OTA channel. I'm a member of several online forums, and this feature is one of the most requested features of an HDTV tuner. Currently, I know of no tuner only (not DVR units) that has this feature. It would be a great opportunity for your company.


7. When the unit goes into standby, the LED on the front remains an amber color. It would be very helpful if when the unit is in standby that the LED would turn red. I have a hunch that it was designed originally to do this, as after I use the power button on the front, the LED is red for a short time until it boots up and turns on.


8. It would be helpful to program the front buttons of UP and Down on the unit to change channels. Since they do nothing when the menu is not displayed, it would be a nice fall back if you could not find the remote.


Future hardware revisions for the next model:



1. As I stated above, it would be nice to have two coaxial inputs, one for cable and the other for OTA. This would increase the selling point of the box tremendously.


2. Implement a tri-state LED on the front panel for the signal strength: Red for 0-30%, Yellow for 30-70%, and Green for 70-100%. This way, at one glance of a small light, the user can tell the current signal strength.


3. Label the LEDs on the front panel so that the user knows what each one does.


4. Rearrange the Up, Down, Left, and Right buttons on the front panel in a cross for a more intuitive layout.


5. Add a small LCD display that displays the current channel, or time. Let the user choose which he prefers in the menu.


6. Add an NTSC tuner for backwards compatibility with cable systems that have many analog channels still, and will continue to have analog channels, well after the FCC Analog OTA shutoff date.
post #43 of 844
That's a near perfect set of suggestions. I really can't think of anything that would be useful other than maybe when you press the "add/delete" button in addition to when you press the "list" button it wouldn't start you at the top of the channels list, it would just add/delete the current channel instead.

Of course, in QAM mode, if it would only catch the unencrypted channels, there would be much less of a need for that function.

Great list... I hope they take those items into consideration. That would make the product much more enjoyable to use.
post #44 of 844
Received the update USB. No problems performing the update, very quick. Optical audio now works. Austin City Limits is now even more a joy to watch and listen to.

Sent the following back with the USB, most matches Oryan:

Update fixed the Optical audio output. Thank you.

Future PHD-101 revision suggestions

1. realtime signal strength bar.
a. when in channel monitor, to allow changing through the channel list for
monitoring, assists in antenna mounting

2. Channel list
a. add broadcasted channel id, ie. KVOA, KOLD, WB, Food, ESPN, etc
b. channel access via list using OK button
c. add non previous scanned channel
d. add/del with left/right buttons and confirm with OK, cancel with down button

3. Channel scan
a. with cable scan, option to save or skip encrypted channels

4. Time set from broadcast station
a. selectable station to set time (usually PBS channels most reliable)


Next generation suggestions

1. Channel with simultaneous Time display, blue led preferred
a. Channel display with option to display channel id instead of number
b. Time display 12hr or 24hr option

2. Improve status leds from one to four
a. green power led
b. three signal strength leds green 0-35, yellow 36-74, red 75-100
sounds opposite, but matches VU meter, tachometer, etc.
Space these three leds one position from power led

3. Dual RF input, one ATSC/NTSC, one Cable
a. add NTSC on cable input, FCC turn off date is always changing
b. separate maintained channel scan lists
c. input selection changed by the grey button right of the 0

4. CableCard capable
post #45 of 844
Has anyone tried to use a harmony remote witht he PHD-101? I have a harmony 880 and haven't been able to find the PHD-101 device on the harmony website. I could always just manually program it but I am lazy.
post #46 of 844
Have any of these "new" suggested features been implemented via firmware update in the past few months?

Thanks!
post #47 of 844
Thread Starter 
I haven't heard anything since the firmware that fixed the optical issue. I actually just emailed them yesterday asking about a new firmware. I'll let you know what I hear.
post #48 of 844
oryan_dunn; Thanks for the great pics, but $160 for this?: I bet it is imported for $30.

The problems you reported for the QAM tuner were the same I had with the Mits 1080 DLP I had. You spend more time deleting channels (one at a time sub channels) that the time it takes for the scan.

This lack of direct channel entry without doing a scan first is a joke! It's not just this unit either.
post #49 of 844
Quote:


The QAM isn't nearly as awesome as I had hoped. It artifacts for me like crazy.

Explain?
post #50 of 844
Any other input on this unit?
post #51 of 844
Has any of the above issues been resolved?
post #52 of 844
I spoke at length to someone at ePBoard regarding issues with this unit.

First off, he said there has been one firmware upgrade to resolve a issue with the digital output. They are now working on a upgrade to fix the sub channel issue. You will be able to directly access a subchannel without just entering the major channel number and then toggleing through all of the sub channels as reported eariler. It should be ready to be released soon.

Regarding the problem that most digital tuners have ID'ing a channel by direct entry without doing a scan first (my huge gripe), unlike analog, digital has much more going on and the tuner needs to see and ID the data through a 'scan'.
Why this can't be done by just directly entering a channel number is the lack of insite of the manufacture that goes under the assumption that everyone doesn't know their true channel numbers in their area (say 43.1 for the digital version of analog channel 17 in my area) and the only way for it to work is doing a scan first that gives you channels you wind up deleting anyway (especially cable).
post #53 of 844
Thread Starter 
What they should do, is any channel that isn't in the lineup, when you punch in a number, will take you to that direct RF channel. Users not in the know, will need to do channel scans to find channels, but people who know the right RF channel could benifit.
post #54 of 844
That's what logic would dictate, but the Asians seem to think differently.
post #55 of 844
So I'm taking this as ... it's still a good recommendation and has the same drawbacks as just about every other OTA STB out there eh?

I need to replace an old hughes d* box that I think the tuner is going out on and would like a qam capable box for well.... cheap!
post #56 of 844
I just received this unit and will post my findings.
First off there is a problem out of the box. The unit rarely boots to a active screen. So far, I am only using composite for testing. I have to power down (via the front panel) wait a few minutes and try booting again.
Second I just realized there are NO front panel channel up/down buttons! Really bad idea, can't belive anyone would make a tuner without these being available.
And one of the biggest issues is the aspect control or lack of. It doesn't work on all channels. No idea why it would work on some, but not others. All I get is a narrow 3x3 image.
It isn't all bad news. I just ran some sensistivity tests and out of the three tuners (this and two TVs') this receiver blew away the others by a long shot.

Previously to this, the other sets I tried, the drop-off was around -38dbmV which is still unbelievable considering -35db is the cutoff point for most SLMs' (Signal Level Meters). A -35db analog signal is barely reconizeable on a TV as it is.

Pluses;
1. Price.
2. Best sensistivity (so far of any tuner).
3. 8VSB & QAM tuners.
4. Multiple outputs including DVI & VGA.

Minuses;
1. No channel up/down on front panel.
2. No 'stand-by' button on front panel.
3. You can't add channels that aren't in the original scan (major issue with most tuners).
4. NOT SUITABLE FOR 4x3 DISPLAYS! Aspect control doesn't work on HD channels.
5. NO channel display on front panel.
6. On screen menu is very hard to read on a smaller screen.
7. No separate memories for OTA & cable.
8. No on-screen display of volume.
9. Two color LED on front panel doesn't tell you if the set booted properly or if it is 'on' or in 'standby'. It is red for booting and orange any other time.
10. Power consumption is almost as much in 'stand-by' as it is in the 'on' state (.13A vs .19A).
post #57 of 844
Update on the aspect issue. I posted a general question here;
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=675703

The question is; do any other owners have this connected to a 4x3 display (any technology)?
post #58 of 844
Thread Starter 
When I first got mine, I hooked it up to my Dad's 32" Sony, but could not find any way to tell the box it was hooked to a 4:3 tv. I thought maybe the 480i setting took care of it, but it did not. Unless the TV has a 16:9 compress, you'd be sol.
post #59 of 844
It's too bad 'basic' features aren't supported. The unit goes back....................
post #60 of 844
I am looking at this unit for my parents. they got a DLP right before they started putting tuners into them. I need QAM since their house is in a terrible location for reception. Ease of use is not really a problem, as long as i can set it up with the local channels so all they have to do is channel up or down is fine.
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