Stellar Labs ATSC HD Modulator - Page 3 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #61 of 195 Old 02-28-2017, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

Hopefully you'll have better luck with the PVI. I bet that one's not on the market yet because they're still testing and working out issues.
The PVI actually is showing as "in stock" on Adorama for the ATSC model, so I placed an order for one this morning. I guess I will find out within a day or so if they really have it in stock or if that is a system error. I have a sneaking suspicion that the same issues are going to affect it, but we will see. The two devices look VERY similar, and likely are made by the same company. Some updated reviews have been posted on the MCM site. One explains the 0-0 issue. Apparently they haven't built any sort of virtual channel function into theirs either, so some TVs only see the 0-0. I assumed it would just default the real and virtual channels both to the channel you set it on. But, I guess not.
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post #62 of 195 Old 02-28-2017, 12:17 PM
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I suspect it would work with Windows Media Center if I could enter 0-0 as the channel-subchannel; but WMC won't accept that! Edit: I even tried renumbering the channel to 0.0 with a program called GuideTool; but WMC uses a dot vs. a dash, so GuideTool turned 0.0 into just 0, which didn't work.

As I mentioned before, I'm actually surprised it creates PSIP at all. I expected a "bare-bones" modulator with no PSIP. That would have made the virtual channel default to the RF channel, and the subchannel default to the PID (and they could have cheated and used PID 1 instead of 4; a lot of LPTVs do that even though PIDs are supposed to start at 3).

So they actually did more work than I expected. They transmit a virtual channel table and that's how they get the name "Stellar" to show up. But there's no virtual channel/subchannel number

They also transmit a system time table, and that's why boxes like the iView and HomeWorX get reset when they tune it in. Edit: I suppose one could partially work around this problem by plugging the modulator in right at midnight. The date would still be wrong, but at least the time would be right! Still, they probably would've been better off with no PSIP at all.

Anyway, I left my own review at MCM. I didn't give it a bad review; whether it works or not depends on whether or not it's compatible with your equipment, and it works with mine, so I gave it more of a neutral review.

Last edited by JHBrandt; 03-03-2017 at 06:55 AM.
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post #63 of 195 Old 02-28-2017, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
I played with it some more yesterday and can't find any combination that eliminates these issues we've all discussed. I got my RMA# and return label this morning. I'm just going to return mine. I might try the PVI model when it becomes available, but based on appearances I'm betting it is based on the same technology. Though the PVI is listed as full 1080p, so possibly it has a better encoder.
I'm still waiting for my RMA #, i hadn't set up an account... did ya'll contact customer service or how did you get the RMA?
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post #64 of 195 Old 03-01-2017, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
Well the power level of the modulator isn't the huge surprise- most of the PVI ones go up to 35. .
Yea, it's not exactly a barn burner in reality..Most commercial modulators have an output of +55 to +60...

I have not decided about keeping mine yet..the VCT table being set to 0-0 is a big issue,
whoever wrote the code new just a little but not enough about ATSC PSIP. A simple code patch to "disable tables" would fix the issue. The Dolby pass through is a bit harder to correct.
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post #65 of 195 Old 03-01-2017, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by sgarringer View Post
I'm still waiting for my RMA #, i hadn't set up an account... did ya'll contact customer service or how did you get the RMA?
Did you get a chance to look at the output with a spectrum analyzer? I'm still curious how clean its signal is.
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post #66 of 195 Old 03-02-2017, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
Did you get a chance to look at the output with a spectrum analyzer? I'm still curious how clean its signal is.
I hit it with my SDR the signal had a sharp cutoff and didn't bleed much into the adjacent channel, however there were distinct harmonics at multiples of the modulated frequency which could post problems.

My RMA was also approved and the modulator is headed back to MCM scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.
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post #67 of 195 Old 03-02-2017, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mizzou! View Post
I have three set up on adjacent channels, and the receivers seem to lock with no problems.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Garci View Post
I changed it to 51, which worked much better and did not interfere too much with OTA channel 49, although it made no difference for the audio glitches.
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Originally Posted by sgarringer View Post
I hit it with my SDR the signal had a sharp cutoff and didn't bleed much into the adjacent channel, however there were distinct harmonics at multiples of the modulated frequency which could post problems.
All this sounds like good news for folks needing to use this in a crowded UHF band.

Harmonics could be a problem for folks with MoCA or satellite signals on their coax, but using a low-pass filter and external combiner should help.
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My RMA was also approved and the modulator is headed back to MCM scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.
We all await the arrival of cpalmer2k's PVI MiniMod. The front panel looks the same (except for all the annoying bold-color graphics), but hopefully they did a better job on the firmware.

One of those graphics on the front panel claims full 1080p. Not sure how they accomplish that with ATSC unless it's 1080p30 (a la the Stellar mod's 720p30). Of course, it could just mean that it accepts full 1080p, as the Stellar mod does.

The Web page at adorama.com showed additional listings: a QAM mod as well as a couple of mods for overseas standards, all at the same price. The QAM mod might be able to do 1080p60.

Last edited by JHBrandt; 03-02-2017 at 05:41 PM.
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post #68 of 195 Old 03-07-2017, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
The PVI actually is showing as "in stock" on Adorama for the ATSC model, so I placed an order for one this morning. I guess I will find out within a day or so if they really have it in stock or if that is a system error.
Any word? Is it back-ordered or on its way?
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post #69 of 195 Old 03-07-2017, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Any word? Is it back-ordered or on its way?
Back-ordered. They've updated the listing on the website now as well.
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post #70 of 195 Old 03-07-2017, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
Back-ordered. They've updated the listing on the website now as well.
This appears to be vaporware at least at this time - just looked at the Adorama site and now it says:

PVI MiniMod HDMI to RF ATSC OFF AIR USA Modulator
SKU: PVIMODATSC1 MFR: MOD-HDMI-ATSC-1
We are sorry, this item is no longer available.

https://www.adorama.com/pvimodatsc1.html
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post #71 of 195 Old 03-08-2017, 06:48 AM
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B&H Photo/Video also lists the PVI MiniMod as "discontinued." (I'd love to know when it was ever "continued" in the first place.)

So for any sort of reasonably-priced ATSC modulator, it looks like for now, the Stellar Labs one is it. It has its issues, but at least it exists.
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post #72 of 195 Old 03-08-2017, 12:02 PM
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B&H Photo/Video also lists the PVI MiniMod as "discontinued." (I'd love to know when it was ever "continued" in the first place.)
PVI does not have a release date yet.
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I contacted PVI about the MiniMod and was told that there is no release date yet, even though some stores already list it.
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post #73 of 195 Old 03-08-2017, 12:17 PM
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Yes, I remember; but now the stores that were listing it are saying they won't be selling it at all - not just that they don't have it in stock yet.
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post #74 of 195 Old 03-08-2017, 06:06 PM
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B & H has the same "Discontinued" message. PVI must have initially offered this to the stores and then pulled it back. Maybe early testing showed problems like the Stellar Labs unit. Discontinued could mean it will never be released, or maybe that an updated unit with different model number will eventually come out.
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post #75 of 195 Old 03-09-2017, 02:41 PM
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I spoke with a very nice and helpful person at MCM on this modulator. They tell me the mfg is working on a software update, nothing more specific than that was given. With that said, I'll keep mine. As others have said, it has its problems but for the price (given what it is) it's usable.

One more reason I love MCM, especially with their sales, but they and Parts Express kill my hobbyist budget...
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post #76 of 195 Old 03-09-2017, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I spoke with a very nice and helpful person at MCM on this modulator. They tell me the mfg is working on a software update, nothing more specific than that was given. With that said, I'll keep mine. As others have said, it has its problems but for the price (given what it is) it's usable.

One more reason I love MCM, especially with their sales, but they and Parts Express kill my hobbyist budget...


I still haven't sent mine back either. I've been debating on keeping it to see if an upgrade might improve it down the road, especially since the PVI might never materialize. I still have a few days to debate it.
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post #77 of 195 Old 03-14-2017, 01:43 PM
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MCM ATSC-RF interface with Channelmaster DVR+

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Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
It looks like this is going to be a return for me too. I've tried it with several sources, and get the same audio glitches others have described. Even more troubling to me is the fact that the audio/video seems WAY out of sync. Not to mention that the quality is much worse than the PVI mod I had used previously.

For testing purposes I've fed it several ways

First I tried feeding 1080i video thinking that because it is already 30fps it might eliminate some of the glitches. No dice using either "Dolby Digital" or "PCM". I did however get audio with Dolby Digital.

Next I tried feeding 720p with Dolby Digital and PCM. It actually seemed to function better in this mode, but it still has the awful audio glitches.

I think they need more of a *DELAY* on the input/output. I've seen some of the same issues on the older PVI modulator I had when I set the delay factor too low. I'd rather have the feed be delayed and be right than it be closer to real time with horrible sound.

Also the two TVs I have tried don't recognize the channel correctly. They see it is as 0-0
I actually got this to work, albeit with somewhat kludgy audio.

While a rescan showed "Stellar" as 0.0 scrolling through
the channels on the Channelmaster DVR+ revealed the
Stellar at 100.0 ! So feeding the HDMI input port from
an Apple TV thru the Stellar to the RF input on the DVR+
actually works.

You must then select the channel and make a MANUAL
recording request. Leave your Apple TV on being careful
to override its auto-off.
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post #78 of 195 Old 03-14-2017, 01:50 PM
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Out of curiosity, if you transfer a recording from the DVR+ to a PC (assuming you're using an external HDD), does the audio play OK on the PC?
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post #79 of 195 Old 03-14-2017, 02:06 PM
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Eric had better luck with his LG and Sony TVs, although he didn't mention the model numbers.
LG 55EC9300 and Sony KDL-22BX300.
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post #80 of 195 Old 03-14-2017, 02:25 PM
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Thanks. I updated the quoted post with those model numbers.
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post #81 of 195 Old 03-17-2017, 12:34 PM
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Another discount offer from MCM Electronics: use code LUCK17 for 17% off any Stellar Labs products through Sunday. The ATSC modulator would qualify, as would other products such as their 1080p wireless HDMI transmitter/receiver.
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post #82 of 195 Old 03-17-2017, 01:31 PM
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Another discount offer from MCM Electronics: use code LUCK17 for 17% off any Stellar Labs products through Sunday. The ATSC modulator would qualify, as would other products such as their 1080p wireless HDMI transmitter/receiver.
Awww gee thanks..Don't encourage me ok?
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post #83 of 195 Old 04-03-2017, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I got the latest MCM catalog today, and immediately two new items caught my eye. While they are not true "modulators", they might work for many of us just looking to feed video to multiple rooms.

They have two new HDMI over Ethernet Transmitter/Receiver Sets- one designed for 1080p, and one for up to 4K video. They advertise that one transmitter can deliver signal to up to 200 receivers and these work over a LAN as opposed to being wired directly to each other via Ethernet. In true MCM fashion no real "specs" are listed though.
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post #84 of 195 Old 04-08-2017, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
I got the latest MCM catalog today, and immediately two new items caught my eye. While they are not true "modulators", they might work for many of us just looking to feed video to multiple rooms.

They have two new HDMI over Ethernet Transmitter/Receiver Sets- one designed for 1080p, and one for up to 4K video. They advertise that one transmitter can deliver signal to up to 200 receivers and these work over a LAN as opposed to being wired directly to each other via Ethernet. In true MCM fashion no real "specs" are listed though.
Yep - there appear to be two distinct genres of HDMI extenders that use Cat-5/6 type cables.

1. Those that ignore Ethernet and just use the cables as... well... cables - and send data over them in a proprietary format (either compressed or losslessly). These may use 'Ethernet' cables - but they aren't based on Ethernet as a standard.

2. Those that use Ethernet protocols and carry content in a compressed codec as IP format data. These are likely to allow 1->Many distribution over a network.
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post #85 of 195 Old 04-30-2017, 02:46 PM
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Question

Hi Guys,
Has anyone tried to use it with D-VHS VCR to record HD material via built in ATSC tuner?
Cheers, Steve
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post #86 of 195 Old 04-30-2017, 08:44 PM
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D-VHS VCR to record HD material via built in ATSC tuner?
Cheers, Steve
I wasn't aware that such a thing existed! But I suspect it would depend on the tuner, so probably on the specific D-VHS DVR model. As mentioned on the first post, I can record HD material with an iView and with a DTVPal (the iView with some limitations), but those record the digital data on a hard disk drive, not a videocassette.
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post #87 of 195 Old 04-30-2017, 08:57 PM
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There was one model from JVC that had an ATSC tuner, the HM-DT100U.

When I was at LSI Logic, I wrote the code for the IEEE1394 interface on all the D-VHS decks after the HM-DH30000U. That's why my handle here on AVS Forum is dr1394.

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post #88 of 195 Old 05-01-2017, 09:32 AM
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Please to meet you dr1394, heck of the work!
Aside of recording off-air programs on my HM-DT100U, historically I tried also to record some unrestricted programming from my cable box through 1394 port on the back panel. But results varied depending on the cable provider and stb model I was using. For example with fios Motorola 7100P2 box the video "passthrough" via JVC was perfect, no dropouts of video neither audio. But when recorded on the tape, the playback was showing occasionally video pixelization. Initially I thought it was because of recording malfunction of JVC but later ruled this out as anything recorded via ATSC tuner was and is perfect. I tried to analyze stb stream on PC to find root cause but eventually dropped this investigation due to lack of time, mostly to learn all the details about coding for this standard.

Without getting into more details, my own curiosity is telling me to try this modulator to see if I can archive some my old recording on DVHS tape once more, other than through iLink way. Just curious, always eager to learn and explore when time permits. Thank you.
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post #89 of 195 Old 05-01-2017, 09:50 AM
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I wasn't aware that such a thing existed! [...]
Mostly sold in N.America and Japan, the DVHS quickly disappeared from the market with HD-DVD/BluRay introduction. Also because WIPO had a chance to finally remove last remaining free HD recording device from the market which was another step in tightening the copyright leash around the HD content market with DMCA law progression. Leaving customers on a mercy of cable companies and emerging TiVo monopoly on the american market. Today the hard disk based HD DVRs are on-existent unless you lease one through your local cable company but here you pay fees even if you want to record anything on that cable box.
The DVHS recorders have not been outlawed, they just became obsolete. They all had necessary copyright protection features hence being compliant with the laws, thing everything else is copy protected nowadays so no standalone recorder can capture it on the tape or the disk. Except some off the air digital HD channels like PBS or local news stations.
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post #90 of 195 Old 05-01-2017, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
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The DVHS recorders have not been outlawed, they just became obsolete. They all had necessary copyright protection features hence being compliant with the laws, thing everything else is copy protected nowadays so no standalone recorder can capture it on the tape or the disk. Except some off the air digital HD channels like PBS or local news stations.
AIUI all the major ATSC OTA broadcasts are unencrypted and free-to-air - whether PBS or ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox (or the smaller stations). You can receive these broadcasts using a USB (or PCI/PCI-E) ATSC tuner interface on your PC, Mac etc. and will end up with clean recordings with no DRM or other copy protection tech.

Cable is a different matter.
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