Need a new HD Converter Box. Suggestions Welcome. Toledo Ohio - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 91 Old 09-27-2017, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Need a new HD Converter Box. Suggestions Welcome. Toledo Ohio

Right now I have a HD Access DTA-1080. Which was a cheap unit when I got it and it works well except when it overheats and especially now since the unit is old and it malfunctions all the time when it is hot. It's time for me to get a new one. I've had this box just before using DTV signals became mandatory for everyone.

I'm using a converter box with my CRT TV Philips Magnavox MS2730C221, it's a 16 year old TV that I use for normal free TV, gaming on old consoles.

Now that I'm more serious about getting the most out of free TV, but also more functions and input/output jacks for various peripherals. I looked at several units and they even have a USB port. I know the USB port is used for external hard drives to store video recording files. I'm also wondering if that USB port can be used to hook up a laptop cooling stand because those units get extremely hot and need to stay cool if you want them to function right. Would a USB port in one of those TV converter boxes supply enough power to run a cooling stand? If it would work, I can run the fan most of the time when not recording and I won't be recording a lot because I don't want too many files piling up.

I've read a lot of reviews about converter boxes and I am confused about what one to get. Some of them are commercial based, there are a lot of negative reviews about the interfaces being clunky, etc. And some of them having malfunctioning problems which I'm wondering is just overheating which can be solved by using fans. I am using a fan right now to blow directly on my current box and it helps keep it cooler.

This is my first post here as well. I decided to start working on getting a new box today.
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post #2 of 91 Old 09-27-2017, 04:32 PM
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Welcome, Probus

There is a thread for converter boxes:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/186-co...rter-box-cecb/

I did a review of the Channel Master 7003. It did OK, but the remote was not very responsive. It did better with a Sony learning remote.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/186-co...erter-box.html

remote in post #40
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/186-co...l#post49008193

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post #3 of 91 Old 09-27-2017, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
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A lot of information there to digest. I skimmed through the Channel Master CM-7003 review a few times.

It looks like the remote is not very good and if it doesn't work right a universal remote can be used.

Is it necessary to use two antennas as you have in that test? Can one antenna be used and still get in most channels?

I looked at the menu interface and it doesn't look bad at all, a little on the plain side. Apparently, two different companies use the same software. lol

I definitely am interested in getting in more channels and you seem to specialize in signals, it looks like. I was reading some other reviews and it's said that some models don't have good reception. I realize there are a lot of factors for signals.
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post #4 of 91 Old 09-28-2017, 07:26 AM
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Thread moved.

Laptop cooler pads will work in just about any USB port they're plugged into. However, individual USB cooling fans seem to be quieter. I use them on my DirecTV receivers as they sit in an enclosed area and tend to get pretty warm.
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post #5 of 91 Old 09-28-2017, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Probus View Post
Is it necessary to use two antennas as you have in that test?
I didn't use two antennas; my indoor antenna that I used to test the sensitivity of the CM7003 tuner is for UHF and VHF channels. I used a splitter to feed the same signal to the two tuners for a real-time comparison. See post #8 , that shows the CM7003 tuner was just as sensitive as the tuner in my 32" Sony TV.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/186-co...l#post48473881
Quote:
Can one antenna be used and still get in most channels?
That would depend upon what channels you have in your area. We would need to know what town you are in and see a tvfool signal report for your location. As the sticky thread says:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/25-hdt...-1st-post.html
Quote:
I looked at the menu interface and it doesn't look bad at all.
There is no perfect converter box. They are all more difficult to use than the tuner in a TV, but the price is right.

As far as a fan goes, you will need separate power for it. For previous boxes that ran too hot, many users drilled more holes in the top of the housing, after removing it for drilling.

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post #6 of 91 Old 09-28-2017, 08:54 AM
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Lightbulb Happy with ViewTV AT-300 and AT-263's

Quote:
Originally Posted by Probus View Post
Right now I have a HD Access DTA-1080. Which was a cheap unit when I got it and it works well except when it overheats and especially now since the unit is old and it malfunctions all the ti

Now that I'm more serious about getting the most out of free TV, but also more functions and input/output jacks for various peripherals. I looked at several units and they even have a USB port. I know the USB port is used for external hard drives to store video recording files. I'm also wondering if that USB port can be used to hook up a laptop cooling stand because those units get extremely hot and need to stay cool if you want them to function right. Would a USB port in one of those TV converter boxes supply enough power to run a cooling stand? If it would work, I can run the fan most of the time when not recording and I won't be recording a lot because I don't want too many files piling up.

I've read a lot of reviews about converter boxes and I am confused about what one to get.
I am going to sound like a broken record, or maybe better, a CD with a bad spot, errr... corrupt file! Yeah thats it!

I looked at a lot of the various asian made "tuners" and chose based on features and how cheap I could go with that list.

I finally chose these:

ViewTV AT263
https://www.amazon.com/ViewTV-AT-263..._&dpSrc=detail

ViewTV AT-300

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I chose these mainly because they were C-H-E-A-P!

Now each has its plus/minus and they sort of differ between them.

One of the reasons I got the AT300, was a review I watched, that showed it had a Signal Level meter as well as a quality meter. While still only a percentage based on both, , but at least its there. Additionally the firmware in the 300 has 24hour time format, and for me that is better. (I've lived on 24 hour time for so long its hard to use fake time! )

The 263 has an internal power supply and tends to get warmer than the 300 with its external bog standard power blob.

As for the USB port, yeah sure you could probably power a little cooler fan unit from it, but that would negate use of the DVR fucntions, which if thats not an issue, no big deal.

Using a USB hub on these is something on my list to try. As is finding deals on large USB sticks that will work with these for BOTH time shift and DVR. Like the USB stick speed issue, finding a hub that will keep up, and then if the firmware will even allow multiple USB media attached. It gives an option to pick in the firmware, using its fake BS "c:" mentality.

So if you want to record AND use a fan for cooling you will have to travel the path to find a USB hub that can keep up with the data. You may find that like USB sticks that it will allow recording, but time shift won't work due to the data being moved.

If I could find some cheapo USB hubs to try with I would, but by the time you find them, order them and then PAY SHIPPING they are not so cheap! My area is crappy for electronic toys sources.

You can find lots of reviews with huge negatives on these, and huge positives which directly opposite the negatives in cases.

I am happy with them. One of the bugs that is mentioned in reviews for the 300, I didn't encounter, so either my units came with the newer firmware or I don't have the conditions to replicate it. The ViewTV site doesn't give firmware versions to compare with.

I am open to provide specifics if you want. My testing is ongoing.
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post #7 of 91 Old 09-28-2017, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
That would depend upon what channels you have in your area. We would need to know what town you are in and see a tvfool signal report for your location. As the sticky thread says:

link removed

There is no perfect converter box. They are all more difficult to use than the tuner in a TV, but the price is right.

As far as a fan goes, you will need separate power for it. For previous boxes that ran too hot, many users drilled more holes in the top of the housing, after removing it for drilling.
It looks like editing posts is disabled after awhile because I was going to put my TV fool information link in there. I will do it here.

(can't post the link, need a post count of 5).

It looks like there is a boatload of channels but I don't get even half of those. I have a problem of being in an apartment that is a courtyard and reception is poor a lot of times. I can't put a antenna on the roof because of really high winds here and it will rip it right off. I actually am using some rabbit ears with a amplifier built in which I was reading is mostly useless to have, if you have short cables.

Thanks for moving the post. I was confused about posting in this category because I thought that coupon from the government has long been expired.

Right now I have a large fan on a chair and the box sitting on the arm of the chair behind the fan and it is sucking all the heat out and it is working better than blowing the fan directly on it. Just thought of doing that last night.

I saw a video of where someone cut a large hole in a box and then bolted a fan on it but I don't want to try and modify a box too much. Drilling holes would be simple enough if I have to.
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post #8 of 91 Old 09-28-2017, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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There are so many different boxes now days. When I got my first box I think there were only a few brands available and they were more expensive as well.

I wouldn't mind finding a box that is manufactured in the USA, but it needs to have a USB port and under $50 including shipping and all that.
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post #9 of 91 Old 09-28-2017, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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You guys have been very helpful and perhaps soon I will be getting a box. I am also waiting to be able to post my TV Fool information after I get 5 posts. Because I think I need help with signals as well but I want to get a decent box and a new antenna first. I've also seen some ViewTV bundles with a antenna for a window. I never used one of those before.
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post #10 of 91 Old 09-28-2017, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Now that I have 5 posts I will post my TV Fool information link here.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e6a421fc3ce3da
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post #11 of 91 Old 09-28-2017, 03:45 PM
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It's going to be difficult to find a CM-7003 box. Seems to be discontinued nearly everywhere. But many clones of that type of box exist - with most users here probably using either an Iview or Mediasonic.
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post #12 of 91 Old 09-28-2017, 03:51 PM
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Thank you for the tvfool signal report.

Quote:
Thanks for moving the post. I was confused about posting in this category because I thought that coupon from the government has long been expired.
I didn't move your thread, the moderator moved your thread. I wanted it to stay right where it was at HDTV Technical, because I thought it would turn into an antenna thread. The coupon program did expire a long time ago, but there is still a need for separate tuner boxes. In addition to use for analog TVs, they are needed for TV projectors, and some "TVs" are now being sold without a tuner at all, and are called displays. We used to call them monitors.

Your signals are quite strong, but being inside in that building will make them weaker. Also, there will be a lot of signal reflections that will make it necessary to find a good spot for the antenna.

Getting a new box is only half your problem. You also need a better antenna.

I am using GE34792 attic/indoor antenna and a RCA TVPRAMP1R preamp. The antenna is located indoors on the ground floor, with trees and buildings in the signal path.


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post #13 of 91 Old 09-28-2017, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by eherberg View Post
It's going to be difficult to find a CM-7003 box. Seems to be discontinued nearly everywhere. But many clones of that type of box exist - with most users here probably using either an Iview or Mediasonic.
You are right; I hadn't noticed that. I bought mine on sale from Solid Signal in Nov 2016.

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post #14 of 91 Old 09-28-2017, 08:29 PM
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Exclamation

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Originally Posted by Probus View Post
I can't put a antenna on the roof because of really high winds here and it will rip it right off.
My OTA and other LMR stuff went thru a CAT 3 Hurricane, still standing, operating, and operated all during.

And I have nothing fancy for mounting this stuff.

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Originally Posted by Probus View Post
I wouldn't mind finding a box that is manufactured in the USA,
When I started out building PC's, one of the things I did was "Built in the USA from USA parts from USA Companies."

I did pretty well for a while, but it slowly became impossible to get anything that was not made in asia some place or parts . I finally had to relent, or I couldn't build the boxes.

In 2017, for these type of units, at this price point, its not going to happen.

I would love for a return of this type of stuff to be made in the USA with USA parts with AMERICANS making them from design to board stuff. You just can't compete with $2/year slave labor, no labor laws, no environmental laws, and tax dodges. Plus the price would easily quadruple or more to pay US wages, and overhead. I don't mind a small increase to get this, but 400% would kill these. They are barely worth the price point now. Don't get me wrong, I think I got a good deal at $40/each, at $200/each, NOPE!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Probus View Post
but it needs to have a USB port and under $50 including shipping and all that.
Pretty much all the ones that have been listed here are < $50 SHIPPED.

As for the antennas that ship with them, I got the bundles just cause in both cases for $2 I got the antennas with them. I plopped those ones in the parts bin, unopened, untested. Testing these out is on my lab test list... when I get some time... I'd actually like to see what these things might do if placed outside, and up on my "tower" v. in the window, at 3-4 ft AGL.

Now, I did test out one similar for a little site survey work, and I was pleased with what it got. Now compared to what I get with a proper antenna, its a joke. Otherwise though in the environment I tested, it performed pretty decently.
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post #15 of 91 Old 09-28-2017, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Probus View Post
There are so many different boxes now days. When I got my first box I think there were only a few brands available and they were more expensive as well.

I wouldn't mind finding a box that is manufactured in the USA, but it needs to have a USB port and under $50 including shipping and all that.
I wouldn't mind finding a unicorn that poops gold turds, but that's more likely than finding consumer electronics manufactured in the USA...just a hint, a large number of "American" brands are actually manufactured by virtual slave labor factories in China, such as all Apple iPhones...

Aside from that, you are describing what are sometimes referred to as "mStar" boxes, which are several brands that are variations on a common motherboard and firmware API design. The brands are things like iView, Mediasonic Homeworx, ViewTV, etc. You shouldn't have to pay for shipping because Wal-Mart typically carries one or more of them, at around $35-$40.

They are cheap devices with a lot of bugs and user interface problems, but at some crude level they get the job done if they work at all when purchased (see the Amazon reviews for them and note the large number of one and two star ratings).

I have an iView 3500 STB that I bought four-five years ago, and I haven't used it much because it's such a piece of junk. The remote was completely unusable, so I programmed it into a cheap RCA six-device remote that I paid about $12 for. That helped tremendously. I also had problems with overheating using USB-powered hard drives for recording, and other issues. In the iView thread, somebody mentions a possible fix for the overheating using a small fan attached to the DC output of the internal power supply, which runs faster the more DC current is being drawn. That would probably work OK for heat, and another possibility is to use a self-powered hard drive, but ultimately I wanted to use a flash drive for recording, but there are virtually none that can keep up with the data rate of video recording...

...except recently I began using SanDisk USB 3.0 Ultra Flash Drives (SDCZ48-XXXX-XXX), and they work perfectly for everything. You can get a 64GB drive for about $20 everyday at Target, and recently they had a sale at Best Buy where you could get a 256GB drive for $60.

So, to sum up, you'll probably need a new remote for $12 (but you can use it for your DVD/Blu-Ray/etc. so you may already have it), a flash drive for from $9-$60 (depending on the sales and size), and the box (iView, Mediasonic Homeworx, ViewTV, etc.) for $25-$50, and then you'll still have to put up with a lot of quirky behavior, but it will work, after a fashion...

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post #16 of 91 Old 09-29-2017, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by TampBayOTA View Post
My OTA and other LMR stuff went thru a CAT 3 Hurricane, still standing, operating, and operated all during.
LMR? Please define.
Land Mobile Radio?
Ham?
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post #17 of 91 Old 09-29-2017, 07:38 AM
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LMR? Please define.
Land Mobile Radio?
Land Mobile Radio - Part 90 & 95. Numerous 800Mhz, VHF/UHF, and 800 yagis for various systems I am responsible for.
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post #18 of 91 Old 09-29-2017, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
So, to sum up, you'll probably need a new remote for $12 (but you can use it for your DVD/Blu-Ray/etc. so you may already have it), a flash drive for from $9-$60 (depending on the sales and size), and the box (iView, Mediasonic Homeworx, ViewTV, etc.) for $25-$50, and then you'll still have to put up with a lot of quirky behavior, but it will work, after a fashion...
Good summary.
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post #19 of 91 Old 09-29-2017, 08:38 AM
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Arrow Happy with my units, quirky yes, junk no.

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Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
They are cheap devices with a lot of bugs and user interface problems, but at some crude level they get the job done if they work at all when purchased (see the Amazon reviews for them and note the large number of one and two star ratings).

They are cheap, I will agree with.

They have bugs, foibles, and things I and others would like to see done differently or improved.

BUT

I think alot of the negative reviews and your post are based on expecting WAY TOO MUCH from these for the price.

IF you have used something like a Dish 722K DVR or something with all its glitzy GUI, live rotating time shift etc., and then expecting these to do all that for $50 or less.

These are NOTHING more than digital VCR's. They record stuff to USB media. They will playback stuff from USB media, be it the M2TS files they record or most of the H264 stuff I have from my 20TB's of stuff.

In the case if you have a provider still using ClearQAM for anything, yes they can do QAM. They don't push it, and won't support it because 99% of the stuff on QAM is encoded.

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I have an iView 3500 STB that I bought four-five years ago, and I haven't used it much because it's such a piece of junk.
I've used mine since I put them into use for almost 3 months now. Junk, no. Definitely not a Dish 722K DVR, but I knew that going in.

They record the shows I want for playback later, so I can FF through ads! They can time shift if I come across something I want to watch right now, and skip through the ads.


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The remote was completely unusable, so I programmed it into a cheap RCA six-device remote that I paid about $12 for.
No issues with remotes here.

I think the layout personally sucks, but thats because the lay out for the DVR playback and FF are in a layout I don't think is that great... but thats minor.

The only real issue with remotes is that one of the cheapo android box remotes conflicts with these. Causing all kinds of weird things to happen at inopportune times. I fixed that by getting a full keyboard remote for the Android box, and you need it any way to use things the way I do. So problem solved, and I would have to do it anyway.

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also had problems with overheating using USB-powered hard drives for recording, and other issues.
No issues here, with Seagate USB drive.

I use a Seagate 2TB 2.5" non powered HD I got from Target, like $68, works great.

No overheating that I am seeing on the unit, and it has the internal supply. It records about 6 events daily. More over the weekend.

If there is one thing that I notice is that startup on recording seems to be slow, thus it may miss some of the start. Now on the USB stick unit, I don't see that. So I don't know if its firmware or the slow 5400RPM disk. I will narrow down as soon as I get another stick to try in that unit. As the one using USB stick starts recordings quickly, but its a different version of the units (300 v. 263)

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...except recently I began using SanDisk USB 3.0 Ultra Flash Drives (SDCZ48-XXXX-XXX), and they work perfectly for everything. You can get a 64GB drive for about $20 everyday at Target,
Thats the reason I picked up one of those. It works great! Time shift or record. I need to get another to test in the other unit.

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and recently they had a sale at Best Buy where you could get a 256GB drive for $60.
Have you used said 256GB device for recording and TIME SHIFT?

Does it work? EXACT MODEL #, please.

Since if you got this to work and another poster is listing a 128 GB one worked, I am wondering if the limit listed on the various models for these at 64GB is an artificial limit based on when these were designed they didn't have anything more to test with.

If I can locate some of the referenced 128GB ones at a decent price I may try it with mine.

know the EXACT MODEL # of the 256GB one would help to find it.

Next time I get another 4TB USB drive, before I put it to use with my main operation I will stick it in the ViewTV's and see what happens with it. Those are self powered.

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Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
So, to sum up, you'll probably need a new remote for
Didn't have to do that for the ViewTV's,

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
a flash drive for from $9-$60 (depending on the sales and size),
If you want DVR modes then you have to get the media. I am sure that some are going to go to the local mega store and grab the cheapest and largest stick they find, and then be upset when say recording works, but time shift won't or some variant of things record say 720p, or 480i, but 1080i doesn't, etc. and then give bad reviews on the units. I seen a lot of that in the reviews for various units.

A well educated consumer is the best customer!

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Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
) for $25-$50, and then you'll still have to put up with a lot of quirky behavior, but it will work, after a fashion...
I've got no issues that are deal breakers on a $40 unit. Some quirks, yeah, but mine record the stuff they are told to, and I play it back at night. Happy. Are there things I would like to see? SURE!

Mo-Fr, Sa-Su scheduling versus jacking it as weekly for each days. Right now mine records junk I could care less about on Sa Su because one of the diginets schedules differently then.

If these had LAN port, and Samba ability, I could probably use these as my players for my main stuff since they play H264 stuff. But I dropped sneakernet years ago. Still for a $50-60 version of this with a LAN port to get access to the USB media to send stuff to and pull stuff off and then run it through ffmpeg to make them mp4's would be a plus.

I have low expectations on these, and they have exceeded that as I know they are NOT anything like some DVR systems out there. Like the time shift is not active all the time, and a rolling say hour. Quirk, but $40, who cares.
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Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
Thank you for the tvfool signal report.



I didn't move your thread, the moderator moved your thread. I wanted it to stay right where it was at HDTV Technical, because I thought it would turn into an antenna thread. The coupon program did expire a long time ago, but there is still a need for separate tuner boxes. In addition to use for analog TVs, they are needed for TV projectors, and some "TVs" are now being sold without a tuner at all, and are called displays. We used to call them monitors.

Your signals are quite strong, but being inside in that building will make them weaker. Also, there will be a lot of signal reflections that will make it necessary to find a good spot for the antenna.

Getting a new box is only half your problem. You also need a better antenna.

I am using GE34792 attic/indoor antenna and a RCA TVPRAMP1R preamp. The antenna is located indoors on the ground floor, with trees and buildings in the signal path.


I don't mind it turning into a antenna thread either because I need to figure out that as well.

This is the current antenna that I am using but needs to be replaced as well because it is old and one of the dipoles has the top busted off.

https://www.amazon.com/Philips-MANT-.../dp/B00086HU9K


Right now TV is bad for me. I'm only getting in channel 48 and that's it and it doesn't come in good either. When I first got my box and antenna, I was getting nearly all the green channels and even channel 27 in Bowling Green, Ohio. No matter where I put the antenna, it doesn't help. So, I need some new equipment without a doubt.

To be honest, I liked analog better because I could get way more channels. I even got channel 9 in Canada back in the day. I also had a rooftop antenna and I could get nearly all the over the air channels in Detroit, Michigan and some in Indiana as well.

Channels have been changing a lot lately and I've had to rescan several times.

I just looked up the GE34792 and it looks affordable. I see the dimensions of the unit but do not know how much space the antenna would take up. Because I think you need a good deal of free space around it. I do have an attic but I'd have to run about 20 feet or slightly longer cable and it seems like the longer the cable is the worse the connection.

https://www.amazon.com/GE-34792-Atti.../dp/B00U2U13NG
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post #21 of 91 Old 09-29-2017, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by eherberg View Post
It's going to be difficult to find a CM-7003 box. Seems to be discontinued nearly everywhere. But many clones of that type of box exist - with most users here probably using either an Iview or Mediasonic.
That sucks about the box being discontinued. That leaves me with a lot of other units including iView. I am going to look at Mediasonic Homeworx soon. But apparently, all the boxes are similar and have a lot of various issues.
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Originally Posted by Probus View Post
I don't mind it turning into a antenna thread either because I need to figure out that as well.

To be honest, I liked analog better because I could get way more channels.
With analog, you could get the weaker channels. They had a little snow, but they were still there. With digital, they suddenly dropout when they get too weak.



Quote:
Channels have been changing a lot lately and I've had to rescan several times.
There will be even more changes because of UHF repack, which will shrink UHF to 14-36.

Quote:
I just looked up the GE34792 and it looks affordable.
There are several different versions of that antenna; they have different model numbers, but all look the same. I don't know what the difference is. This is the one I bought, but it is out of stock:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/GE-Attic-...tenna/20976617

This LOOKS the same, but is the 33692:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/GE-Pro-At...tenna/52170370

I looked at this video to help me with the assembly:

I use this preamp with the 34792 antenna. This model sometimes has quality control problems, but it is inexpensive. Mine works OK.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/RCA-Anten...ifier/14554631

Don't buy the Amazon warehouse special of the RCA preamp. They are returns that haven't been checked; many have a DOA power inserter.

Quote:
I see the dimensions of the unit but do not know how much space the antenna would take up. Because I think you need a good deal of free space around it.
With an indoor antenna you will need to try different locations and adjust aim for the best reception.
Quote:
I do have an attic but I'd have to run about 20 feet or slightly longer cable and it seems like the longer the cable is the worse the connection.
With the preamp near the antenna, and the power inserter down below, the extra coax doesn't matter. Try it with and without the preamp.
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Originally Posted by TampBayOTA View Post
They are cheap, I will agree with.

They have bugs, foibles, and things I and others would like to see done differently or improved.

BUT

I think alot of the negative reviews and your post are based on expecting WAY TOO MUCH from these for the price.

IF you have used something like a Dish 722K DVR or something with all its glitzy GUI, live rotating time shift etc., and then expecting these to do all that for $50 or less.

These are NOTHING more than digital VCR's. They record stuff to USB media. They will playback stuff from USB media, be it the M2TS files they record or most of the H264 stuff I have from my 20TB's of stuff.

In the case if you have a provider still using ClearQAM for anything, yes they can do QAM. They don't push it, and won't support it because 99% of the stuff on QAM is encoded.



I've used mine since I put them into use for almost 3 months now. Junk, no. Definitely not a Dish 722K DVR, but I knew that going in.

They record the shows I want for playback later, so I can FF through ads! They can time shift if I come across something I want to watch right now, and skip through the ads.




No issues with remotes here.

I think the layout personally sucks, but thats because the lay out for the DVR playback and FF are in a layout I don't think is that great... but thats minor.

The only real issue with remotes is that one of the cheapo android box remotes conflicts with these. Causing all kinds of weird things to happen at inopportune times. I fixed that by getting a full keyboard remote for the Android box, and you need it any way to use things the way I do. So problem solved, and I would have to do it anyway.



No issues here, with Seagate USB drive.

I use a Seagate 2TB 2.5" non powered HD I got from Target, like $68, works great.

No overheating that I am seeing on the unit, and it has the internal supply. It records about 6 events daily. More over the weekend.

If there is one thing that I notice is that startup on recording seems to be slow, thus it may miss some of the start. Now on the USB stick unit, I don't see that. So I don't know if its firmware or the slow 5400RPM disk. I will narrow down as soon as I get another stick to try in that unit. As the one using USB stick starts recordings quickly, but its a different version of the units (300 v. 263)



Thats the reason I picked up one of those. It works great! Time shift or record. I need to get another to test in the other unit.



Have you used said 256GB device for recording and TIME SHIFT?

Does it work? EXACT MODEL #, please.

Since if you got this to work and another poster is listing a 128 GB one worked, I am wondering if the limit listed on the various models for these at 64GB is an artificial limit based on when these were designed they didn't have anything more to test with.

If I can locate some of the referenced 128GB ones at a decent price I may try it with mine.

know the EXACT MODEL # of the 256GB one would help to find it.

Next time I get another 4TB USB drive, before I put it to use with my main operation I will stick it in the ViewTV's and see what happens with it. Those are self powered.



Didn't have to do that for the ViewTV's,



If you want DVR modes then you have to get the media. I am sure that some are going to go to the local mega store and grab the cheapest and largest stick they find, and then be upset when say recording works, but time shift won't or some variant of things record say 720p, or 480i, but 1080i doesn't, etc. and then give bad reviews on the units. I seen a lot of that in the reviews for various units.

A well educated consumer is the best customer!



I've got no issues that are deal breakers on a $40 unit. Some quirks, yeah, but mine record the stuff they are told to, and I play it back at night. Happy. Are there things I would like to see? SURE!

Mo-Fr, Sa-Su scheduling versus jacking it as weekly for each days. Right now mine records junk I could care less about on Sa Su because one of the diginets schedules differently then.

If these had LAN port, and Samba ability, I could probably use these as my players for my main stuff since they play H264 stuff. But I dropped sneakernet years ago. Still for a $50-60 version of this with a LAN port to get access to the USB media to send stuff to and pull stuff off and then run it through ffmpeg to make them mp4's would be a plus.

I have low expectations on these, and they have exceeded that as I know they are NOT anything like some DVR systems out there. Like the time shift is not active all the time, and a rolling say hour. Quirk, but $40, who cares.
You bring up some good points about the differences between the "mStar" boxes, and differences between the old iView 3500 STB I have and newer models.

The remote for my iView was so bad that the company would send a different remote for free just for asking. I don't think any of the "mStar" boxes have had a remote THAT bad for years (you literally could not change the channel, or even hardly turn it on, except from about two feet away from the box with the remote placed at JUST the EXACT RIGHT position). The RCA six-device remote is cheap, nowhere near perfect (WAY too many similar buttons in some awkward positions, backlighting only lights the mostly incomprehensible button icons instead of the labels, etc.), but allows me to control the iView from all angles up to thirty feet away (I put some Scotch tape over the IR receiver per a tip in the iView forum which seemed to help too), and I'm down to just a few remotes to juggle around compared to the nine devices I have in the living room...

It has an internal power supply that is dicey just powering itself, forget about a USB-powered 2TB drive. I mean it worked, but I'm paranoid about things overheating, which is one of the reasons I like the flash drives I'm currently using. Both the box and the flash drive are barely warm no matter what you do with them.

With an external power supply, you only have to worry about setting the carpet on fire...

The iView takes forever to enter the setup menu, and if you press the button again, you will lock the whole box up, and that's just the first bug and user interface foible you will have to deal with, but your mileage may vary from box to box...

Finally, I'm not sure where you got those recording device limits, but the original advice from iView seems to STILL be correct: DON'T USE A FLASH DRIVE (just because some people have got certain flash drives to work doesn't mean that you can buy the EXACT SAME MODEL and have it work).

So the basic advice is: buy a cheap box, and figure out how to live with it according to the threads in this forum for that particular device. GOOD LUCK!!!

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post #24 of 91 Old 09-29-2017, 07:24 PM
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Question Which 256GB unit?

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Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
You bring up some good points about the differences between the "mStar" boxes, and differences between the old iView 3500 STB I have and newer models.
I think mStar the various suppliers who buy these have worked in firmware upgrades and design upgrades that mStar has found, but needed a SEM to pay for!

The iView takes forever to enter the setup menu, and if you press the button again, you will lock the whole box up, and that's just the first bug and user interface foible you will have to deal with, but your mileage may vary from box to box...

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
Finally, I'm not sure where you got those recording device limits,
If I can find it is in the back of the 263's "manual" it specifically lists 2TB and 64GB.


Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
(just because some people have got certain flash drives to work doesn't mean that you can buy the EXACT SAME MODEL and have it work).
I would disagree with this. I purchased the exact SanDisk unit listed in another spot, and it works great! Records, and does time shifting. And depending on my testing with another one it actually might work better than a real drive. We'll see.

So If you can please provide the 256GB model number, as if I find a deal again on it, I will try it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
So the basic advice is: buy a cheap box, and figure out how to live with it according to the threads in this forum for that particular device.
I these things have had some upgrades based on field use. The firmware in the 300 is dated 10/2016, which considering the way these are made, thats probably pretty good.

I think a lot of people go into these units expecting way too much out of them. Actually, I think that exists for a lot consumer electronic devices to many other things.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TampBayOTA View Post
I think mStar the various suppliers who buy these have worked in firmware upgrades and design upgrades that mStar has found, but needed a SEM to pay for!

The iView takes forever to enter the setup menu, and if you press the button again, you will lock the whole box up, and that's just the first bug and user interface foible you will have to deal with, but your mileage may vary from box to box...



If I can find it is in the back of the 263's "manual" it specifically lists 2TB and 64GB.




I would disagree with this. I purchased the exact SanDisk unit listed in another spot, and it works great! Records, and does time shifting. And depending on my testing with another one it actually might work better than a real drive. We'll see.

So If you can please provide the 256GB model number, as if I find a deal again on it, I will try it.



I these things have had some upgrades based on field use. The firmware in the 300 is dated 10/2016, which considering the way these are made, thats probably pretty good.

I think a lot of people go into these units expecting way too much out of them. Actually, I think that exists for a lot consumer electronic devices to many other things.
You won't find this on the packaging, but on the back of the SanDisk Ultra drives they have a designation in the following format:

SDCZ48-XXG

Where "XXG" is the size, so the 256GB version is "SDCZ48-256G"; the actual model number varies a little bit between the drives I have and what appears to be listed on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Ultra.../dp/B00YFI1A66
https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Ultra.../dp/B00KYK2AKO

The "U46" and "UAM46" may mean something, the actual packaging for the two drives I have is different (the 32GB drive is called "Elevate"), and there are some additional files included with different drives.

Whether any of this is dispositive for any particular SanDisk drive and mStar box is problematic since people have gone out and bought SanDisk Ultra drives that appeared to be identical to drives that worked for other people on a particular box, and the drive didn't work!

So, as usual, who knows? I for one have called for the immediate imprisonment of all flash drive manufacturer CEOs for rampant consumer fraud, you never know what you're going to get...

To the extent that anything is documented in the iView manual, I believe it said, "DON'T USE FLASH DRIVES". There is an upper limit of about 2.3TB for a hard drive that I know exists for the iView, because it doesn't recognize certain NTFS controller extensions that allow large drives. The drive will either not work at all, or if the controller firmware is reflashed, you can only write 2.3TB.

Another box may not have that limitation. It's also possible that other boxes may be more lenient when it comes to flash drives.

Again, who knows?

As a person who generally works in the consumer media streaming area, I can only say NO COMMENT on what goes on in the big American companies, and I have NO IDEA exactly what happens in the Asian companies, though I can guess. Years ago I did volunteer to rewrite the firmware for the mStar boxes free of charge just as an interesting project, but actual paying projects take up most of my time now.

I will note one thing: I saw something about the recording functions being removed from at least one of the boxes, and the prices going up on others. Again, as a person who works in this area, what always amazed me is that these devices exist at all, or aren't more expensive, because of the Intellectual Property vultures that infest every nook and cranny of the business. I figured these no-name companies managed to fly under the radar of the lawyers who threaten or actually sue every big name company in the business, and that there would be time when Rovi et. al. would find it worth their while to go after iView, Mediasonic, etc., the same way they've tied up Netflix, Google, Apple, Roku, etc. etc. etc. in court and BS "negotiations" for years.

So get 'em while you can, boys...

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Thumbs up Thanks for the model info...

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
You won't find this on the packaging, but on the back of the SanDisk Ultra drives they have a designation in the following format:

SDCZ48-XXG

Where "XXG" is the size, so the 256GB version is "SDCZ48-256G"; the actual model number varies a little bit between the drives I have and what appears to be listed on Amazon:
Thanks!

I've got some alerts setup to find these on various places.

[quote=maxreactance;54881114]
Whether any of this is dispositive for any particular SanDisk drive and mStar box is problematic since people have gone out and bought SanDisk Ultra drives that appeared to be identical to drives that worked for other people on a particular box, and the drive didn't work! [/qupte]

I personally think that things have improved vastly since you purchased your iView unit 4 years ago.

I purchased the EXACT SanDisk item listed in another thread used on some other mStar box(s), ViewTV's. WORKS GREAT! I've actually just ordered another! To test out my theory on one of the little foibles.

I will when I find a deal on the 128GB or 256GB versions will try them out. As I really have no need to keep this stuff around. So the 2TB drive could be used for something else.

Keeiong them would, one I would need to convert them from M2TS to MP4, they are watermarked with bugs, and they are only 480i, and for some of this decent DVD sets or even HD sets exists. I have the Hogans Hereos Kommendant Edition, but still record it each night for filler. As I watch so little of all the tidal wave of "programming" spewed out.

I will probably add a section on the various media that works to my website.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
As a person who generally works in the consumer media streaming area, I can only say NO COMMENT on what goes on in the big American companies, and I have NO IDEA exactly what happens in the Asian companies, though I can guess.
The ViewTV's and etc. are probably 3-4 people at best using rentaminute offices and just work out with mStar and some Foxconn like asian firm to stuff these things together. They probably check off a list of things, and mStar and the foxconn clone build them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
Years ago I did volunteer to rewrite the firmware for the mStar boxes free of charge just as an interesting project, but actual paying projects take up most of my time now.
Why not get it started as community operation. I'd love to see some hacked firmware for these ala Cyngamod. I know there is a serial port on some these boards inside, and there is a *nix like OS on them. As the uboot has been captured from some of these. Nothing about a JTAG, but with a decompiled ROM, and USB you could reflash them based on the commands in the uboot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
I will note one thing: I saw something about the recording functions being removed from at least one
This is the Stellar Labs one, I think. Probably due to the quirks, and Stellar didn't want to support it. I don't remember if it was confirmed removed in the hardware, the thread I remember was it was not in the manual. No follow up on actual removal from the hardware.

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always amazed me is that these devices exist at all, or aren't more expensive, because of the Intellectual Property vultures that infest every nook and cranny of the business.
Well based on statement above and some other things... I doubt you will care for my view.

IP and all the rest of that can go to the trash! At least in the current environment. I welcome a return to a reasonable IP etc. situation, as it was conceived. But the perversion of that into the current landscape. SCREW THEM!

As for these devices. I am going to educated guess they have some type of license to use the various things like M2TS, and H264 for the silicon they produce. Which is probably why they don't save the files in anything more than M2TS, but I am also not discounting standard asian SOP to do so with out a license, pay some fine if they get caught, if ever. They've probably determined that cost already.

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Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post

So get 'em while you can, boys...
I doubt we see ATSC V3.0 of these, with the HUGE payload IP encumbrance, on that mess.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TampBayOTA View Post
If there is one thing that I notice is that startup on recording seems to be slow, thus it may miss some of the start. Now on the USB stick unit, I don't see that. So I don't know if its firmware or the slow 5400RPM disk. I will narrow down as soon as I get another stick to try in that unit. As the one using USB stick starts recordings quickly, but its a different version of the units (300 v. 263)
I found through experimentation that it seems to be related to hard drive size (with disk hard drives). I noticed when I was first testing with the Mediasonic that the larger drive I put on -- the longer the delay was in starting recording. For me - 2 TB passed my point of acceptance for responsiveness. I found that a 320 GB was not that far off from flash performance.

Most recently, I have been using a 64 GB Ultra flash drive which has worked out perfectly as I regularly move things over to the Plex library instead of using the box itself to watch with.
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[quote=TampBayOTA;54884766]Thanks!

I've got some alerts setup to find these on various places.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
Whether any of this is dispositive for any particular SanDisk drive and mStar box is problematic since people have gone out and bought SanDisk Ultra drives that appeared to be identical to drives that worked for other people on a particular box, and the drive didn't work! [/qupte]

I personally think that things have improved vastly since you purchased your iView unit 4 years ago.

I purchased the EXACT SanDisk item listed in another thread used on some other mStar box(s), ViewTV's. WORKS GREAT! I've actually just ordered another! To test out my theory on one of the little foibles.

I will when I find a deal on the 128GB or 256GB versions will try them out. As I really have no need to keep this stuff around. So the 2TB drive could be used for something else.

Keeiong them would, one I would need to convert them from M2TS to MP4, they are watermarked with bugs, and they are only 480i, and for some of this decent DVD sets or even HD sets exists. I have the Hogans Hereos Kommendant Edition, but still record it each night for filler. As I watch so little of all the tidal wave of "programming" spewed out.

I will probably add a section on the various media that works to my website.



The ViewTV's and etc. are probably 3-4 people at best using rentaminute offices and just work out with mStar and some Foxconn like asian firm to stuff these things together. They probably check off a list of things, and mStar and the foxconn clone build them.



Why not get it started as community operation. I'd love to see some hacked firmware for these ala Cyngamod. I know there is a serial port on some these boards inside, and there is a *nix like OS on them. As the uboot has been captured from some of these. Nothing about a JTAG, but with a decompiled ROM, and USB you could reflash them based on the commands in the uboot.



This is the Stellar Labs one, I think. Probably due to the quirks, and Stellar didn't want to support it. I don't remember if it was confirmed removed in the hardware, the thread I remember was it was not in the manual. No follow up on actual removal from the hardware.



Well based on statement above and some other things... I doubt you will care for my view.

IP and all the rest of that can go to the trash! At least in the current environment. I welcome a return to a reasonable IP etc. situation, as it was conceived. But the perversion of that into the current landscape. SCREW THEM!

As for these devices. I am going to educated guess they have some type of license to use the various things like M2TS, and H264 for the silicon they produce. Which is probably why they don't save the files in anything more than M2TS, but I am also not discounting standard asian SOP to do so with out a license, pay some fine if they get caught, if ever. They've probably determined that cost already.



I doubt we see ATSC V3.0 of these, with the HUGE payload IP encumbrance, on that mess.
The basic idea on flash drives for these mStar boxes has always been, and I think still is: they probably won't work, but if they do, you lucked out. It's like getting hit by lightning in reverse...

Otherwise, many if not most USB 3.0 drives (which tend to have media write speeds sufficient to record HD video) will work. Have you tried any other flash drives that worked? Maybe they all work, even the USB 2.0 super-cheapies!!! (I'm not holding my breath, but give it a shot.)

Oh, as far as an alert is concerned, I think I saw a price on the 256GB version for like $55 on some website, probably you have to pay for shipping, whatever...me, I'd just wait for them to go on sale at Best Buy again...

I'm not sure what you're talking about in terms of "keeping" the files, I've got a huge amount of FHD DD5.1 (and lesser) edited files on my media server that I recorded, though primarily using Windows Media Center. All commercials gone, special effects transitions added, all accessible from menus that allow me to even select specific songs from the hundreds of hours of concerts and music performances I've recorded...GOD BLESS FREE TV IN THE USA!!!

I think it might help to speak Chinese to get mStar to release their APIs into public domain (and talk about pushing IP legalities to the limit!). Nothing happened with this, and I don't expect it to, I never really pushed it...jailbreaking probably wouldn't be too difficult, and who cares how many $25 boxes you brick in the process...

Another idea is just to build a generic DVR API in the public domain (without the actual media player layer), and at least some of that is being done already. I'm too busy doing something similar for VOD ecommerce in any event...

If you think you're mad about the current IP landscape, try working on a VOD feature for a few weeks, then get told that it can't be released for legal reasons. Ask Apple and Google about the combined $600million they lost in a "sweetheart" Houston court (or just Google(TM) the case).

The current most egregious offender is Rovi, who bought TiVo and TV Guide just to assert IP rights to just about anything and everything you could imagine in video streaming, and run a "patent factory" churning out hundreds of hopelessly vague patents to ensure that they can sure anybody for anything...or force a "settlement".

I've got to give Netflix some credit here (or their legal team), they have stood up to these vultures where Apple and Google wouldn't and couldn't...but it's a never-ending process, since NONE of these cases will ever be settled except in the US Supreme Court...and not even then (they're still debating in lower courts the applicability of previous Supreme Court rulings tossing a broad range of Internet video streaming "patents")...

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So the basic advice is: buy a cheap box, and figure out how to live with it according to the threads in this forum for that particular device. GOOD LUCK!!!

--
max
That's exactly what I'm going to do is get a box and just work with it. I saw some reviews for the ViewTv and it looks pretty good for the price. I seen Mediasonic Homeworx can get a box for about $20. I think I might even get that Mediasonic and learn to use it and move it to my other TV and get a different box later on. I'm thinking about spending more on a antenna right now is another reason. I know I can't expect too much for the price and that most of these are manufactured in China.
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post #30 of 91 Old 10-01-2017, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
There will be even more changes because of UHF repack, which will shrink UHF to 14-36.

This LOOKS the same, but is the 33692:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/GE-Pro-At...tenna/52170370


I use this preamp with the 34792 antenna. This model sometimes has quality control problems, but it is inexpensive. Mine works OK.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/RCA-Anten...ifier/14554631

Don't buy the Amazon warehouse special of the RCA preamp. They are returns that haven't been checked; many have a DOA power inserter.
I have a wall socket that is next to my cable connectors and a power plug that has two slotted screws that I think is a old 300 Ohm TV aerial socket. I tried it with a two prong transformer converter but I couldn't get it to work. I am planning on taking it apart and taking a look at it. i haven't done it yet because my computer desk is right in front of it. Never have figured out what it is 100% or to get it to work. It looks like a standard wall plug socket with two sockets. The top socket has the two screws.

I like that assembly video for sure and it makes it look kind of easy and that's just part of it as I may try to figure out if I can get a antenna in the attic. That strange wall plug might help if it has a insulated wire going up to the attic. I looked up there but never actually went in there fully. lol

For the UHF repack sounds like one day TV won't be free anymore like it is now.

Thinking about for now just to get a cheap box like the Mediasonic Homeworx and just spend more cash for the antenna setup. Then I can move the box to my second TV and get a different one later on.
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