Stellar Labs ATSC HD Modulator - Page 7 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #181 of 195 Old 05-19-2019, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
The product page link is basically the same (except for the domain, of course): https://www.newark.com/stellar-labs/...tor/dp/84Y7983

I noticed today that Newark has raised the regular price to $314. But they still have it on sale for $219, so that may just be a little bit of marketing on their part ("save $95!" sounds like a better deal than "save $80"). I expect it to remain on sale through Cyber Monday at least.
Just out of curiosity I checked again today: this modulator is now up to over $320! ($299 each if you buy 4 or more.) Starting to regret not picking up one at the $219 price last fall; I would've expected the price of these to drop, not continue to rise, but I guess there's not much competition (the closest is probably PVI's MiniMod-2, retailing for $495).

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post #182 of 195 Old 05-19-2019, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
Just to return to this thread.. does anyone who kept this modulator know if any of those promised "firmware" updates to improve it ever resurface, or did they die with MCM Electronics sellout?
Still nothing AFAICS
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Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
Also, while searching eBay I see another cheap, no name, modulator out there now. It's Chinese made it appears, but does seem to be highly configurable. Anyone tried this model? I'm almost willing to take a gamble to try one though there isn't much difference between it and the MicroMod from PVI price point wise.
Did anyone ever give this one a try? It's $365; only a bit more than the Stellar Labs one now. Might be worth it if the SL's shortcomings have been overcome
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post #183 of 195 Old 10-23-2019, 09:51 AM
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tried this one

I tried the stellar labs bought from newtek and the Petit Thor bought from Amazon. Stellar is a bad ATSC low quality, underperformance , lots of issues. Petit Cannot even connect all my TV and the control software from laptot does not work. tried other chinese crap but that 's no point in hitting your head on the wall with this crap.
PVI is $100 more expensive so I am looking for a coupon. The PVI works, I understand it sucks to spend $100 more but it works.Does anybody knows when PVI have promotions?
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post #184 of 195 Old 10-23-2019, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Joshua Dixons View Post
I tried the stellar labs bought from newtek and the Petit Thor bought from Amazon. Stellar is a bad ATSC low quality, underperformance , lots of issues. Petit Cannot even connect all my TV and the control software from laptot does not work. tried other chinese crap but that 's no point in hitting your head on the wall with this crap.
PVI is $100 more expensive so I am looking for a coupon. The PVI works, I understand it sucks to spend $100 more but it works.Does anybody knows when PVI have promotions?
I bought the Thor Petit direct from Thor when it was on sale for 40% off. The last time I looked it was 25% off. It works well for me, but I also had a problem making a network connection between the modulator and my HP laptop. I called Thor support and Stan gave me excellent instructions on how to make the connection. Please see my review of the Thor Petit Modulator on my thread for the connection details:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/25-hd...modulator.html

The Thor Petit Modulator has a 5-warranty. Call them and give them a chance to fix the problem or return it.

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post #185 of 195 Old 10-23-2019, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Joshua Dixons View Post
I tried the stellar labs bought from newtek and the Petit Thor bought from Amazon.
I don't see a negative review by you on Amazon as a verified purchaser.

If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.
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post #186 of 195 Old 10-23-2019, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
Just out of curiosity I checked again today: this modulator is now up to over $320! ($299 each if you buy 4 or more.) Starting to regret not picking up one at the $219 price last fall; I would've expected the price of these to drop, not continue to rise, but I guess there's not much competition.
Now $321.50 each ($301.50 each for 4 or more). So the price has stabilized but hasn't dropped any.

However eBay has this mod for $237 that looks exactly like the Thor Petit: https://www.ebay.com/itm/ATSC-modula...g/273847174497

I'm sorry to read of Josh's troubles with both mods. A quick scan of the first several posts to this thread would have revealed the weaknesses of the SL mod. That said, it does work if you can live with the drawbacks.
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post #187 of 195 Old 11-14-2019, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Dixons View Post
I tried the stellar labs bought from newtek and the Petit Thor bought from Amazon. Stellar is a bad ATSC low quality, underperformance , lots of issues. Petit Cannot even connect all my TV and the control software from laptot does not work. tried other chinese crap but that 's no point in hitting your head on the wall with this crap.
PVI is $100 more expensive so I am looking for a coupon. The PVI works, I understand it sucks to spend $100 more but it works.Does anybody knows when PVI have promotions?
Joshua how much do you get paid for these negative posts?
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post #188 of 195 Old 11-14-2019, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by WoodieLA View Post
Joshua how much do you get paid for these negative posts?
woodie...
After not posting for 5 years why do you now target Joshua?
Any compensation in this for you?



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post #189 of 195 Old 12-01-2019, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
[Stellar Labs modulators n]ow $321.50 each ($301.50 each for 4 or more). So the price has stabilized but hasn't dropped any.

However eBay has this mod for $237 that looks exactly like the Thor Petit: https://www.ebay.com/itm/ATSC-modula...g/273847174497
Just grabbed one of those from eBay. It appears to be this: https://www.soukacatv.com/household-...lator_p46.html

Yes it's one of those cheap Chinese modulators. I haven't hooked it up to a computer yet - I just configured it from the front panel - but at first glance it seems to stack up well against the SL mod:

  • Defaults to 1080i. With the SL mod, 720p30 is the only option.
  • Virtual channel/subchannel defaults to 2.1. There is a 2.1 in my area, but I don't watch it, so the default is OK for me. I assume if I hook it to a PC, I can reconfigure it to a different VC a la the Thor Petit.

    The SL mod defaults to VC 0.0, which is invalid and causes tuners to employ random "correction" strategies (the mStar boxes like iView fall back to the RF channel number + program ID, which is 4, so if you set it to RF 69, the iView will give it VC 69.4; OTOH, my DTVPal made it channel 70.0 )
  • Supports ATSC or something called J.83B. Google says J.83B is the QAM standard for North American cable. Don't really need QAM but it may come in handy for testing tuners someday.
  • The signal seems a bit cleaner. The SL mod's signal adds a bit of interference to the channel immediately below the one you're using, so you probably wouldn't want to set the SL mod to RF 37 if you have an RF 36 in your area. But with this mod, it looks like you could get away with it.
  • As noted above, it's almost $90 cheaper.

Downsides? A couple, but nothing major: first, it's harder to set up from the front panel. Instead of entering the channel number, you must enter a frequency. When I plugged mine in, it displayed 473.0, which I happened to recognize as RF 14. I changed that to 743.0, which is RF 59 (a nice vacant channel). 773.0, which is RF 64, would've been simpler (only need to change the first digit) but I happen to use RF 64 for an analog signal (my old satellite receiver).

Second, I saw the signal drop out a couple of times. The first time was expected: I started Vudu on my DVR+, which uses HDCP. So the signal probably dropped out momentarily until the HDMI handshake could complete with HDCP enabled. But the second time I was just watching whatever TV channel my DVR+ happened to be tuned to; there shouldn't have been any HDMI handshake. (I haven't yet seen it happen a third time, though.)

At any rate, the SL mod displays a bouncing "No Signal" instead of just "going dark" for a few seconds. I tested the new mod by turning off my DVR+. Edit: Slight amendment to what I had previously posted: when turning the DVR+ off, the new mod goes dark for a few seconds, then comes back on with a static screen reading "DTV." When the DVR+ is turned back on, it goes dark for a few seconds, then comes back on with the picture from the DVR+.

So that was kind of weird. Edit: And I found one more downside: I can't get WMC to recognize the new mod's signal. The HDHR's own software plays it, so it's specifically a WMC issue. WMC won't tune the SL mod's signal either, but that's understandable because of its invalid 0.0 virtual channel number. Don't know why it won't work with the new mod.

Hardly a show-stopper, though. At this point I'd say I got my $237 worth.

Edit: After thinking about things, I made a couple of changes to my configuration. I hooked the DVR+ back up to the SL mod, and hooked my Roku to the new mod. The Roku is "always on" so I won't have to worry about the modulator going dark momentarily when I turn the Roku off or on.

I also reset the new mod to 665 MHz (RF 46), a channel that happens to be very clean and free of noise in my neighborhood. (RF 46 is part of the uplink segment of LTE band 71, but apparently my neighbors have no T-Mobile phones that use it yet.) RF 46 is actually cleaner than obvious choices like RF 37 or RF 45, and by choosing an RF channel below 52, my DVR+ can actually tune to the Roku now!

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post #190 of 195 Old 12-02-2019, 02:01 PM
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Two questions;

1. Has anyone view the output of this broadband using a hardware Spectrum Analyzer as to harmonics & spurs etc?

2. Has anyone open up any of these versions have some pics of the circuit broad for a actual comparison to see if they are the same design in a different wrapper? (the Thor Petit, Stellar Labs & Souka)
.

.
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Recording free OTA TV for 'time shifting' has been here since 1975. Will there be DVR's to do the same when ATSC3 obsoletes existing DVR's??

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post #191 of 195 Old 12-02-2019, 07:53 PM
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Don't have a spectrum analyzer (although I've read that you can make one out of an SDR). Edit: Looks like Rabbit73 put together one of those SDR spectrum analyzers and checked the output of his Thor Petit with it: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/25-hd...l#post58678612. Looks pretty clean. I do see a few small spurs but I can't tell if they're from the modulator or not.

Haven't opened either box yet, but I can tell you my Souka has identical displays and connectors in identical positions to the Thor Petit, so I suspect the physical hardware is the same as well. (The SL mod is quite different, though.)

The Souka firmware appears to be different from the Petit firmware however. The Souka displays frequency; the Petit displays channel number. Support is probably better for the Petit too, I would suspect.

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post #192 of 195 Old 12-03-2019, 03:32 AM
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I have read posts using a SDR, but I'm not a fan of those shoestring designs relying on multiple pieces of hardware (namely those 'USB dongles'), firmware & software.

I wonder if the F/W for the Souka & Petit versions are interchangeable? (I should of separated the SL version in my post, jumping between threads I missed the difference of the enclosure due to the small, poor pic of that one on their site.)

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post #193 of 195 Old 12-03-2019, 09:38 AM
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I wonder if the F/W for the Souka & Petit versions are interchangeable?
Thinking back on my experience with mStar tuners/DVRs (iView, etc.) I bet it would be; the snag is, these mods don't seem to have any obvious way to update the firmware. Maybe there's an option for that in the Web interface. The one-page instruction sheet I got hinted that there are "developer" sign-ons besides "user", but it just said to stay out of them and didn't give the user ID or password for them.

The SL mod has a USB port, but I've never seen a FW update (or instructions on how to update) posted at Newark's site. It's too bad because a simple update to let you select a valid virtual channel/subchannel would probably make it compatible with more tuners.
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post #194 of 195 Old 12-03-2019, 01:54 PM
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Good point, thou I wouldn't really put this/these in the same category as those $40 STB's.

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post #195 of 195 Old 12-03-2019, 06:04 PM
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The one-page instruction sheet I got hinted that there are "developer" sign-ons besides "user", but it just said to stay out of them and didn't give the user ID or password for them.
Here's what it exactly said:
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Note : Advanced settings are for the factory developer only. These passwords are not open to the user. It not affect user to using the item. Ist easy schnappen der Springwerk, blowenfusen, und poppencorken mit spitzen Sparken. Ist nicht fur gewerken bei Dumbkopfen. So relaxen und watchen das Blinkenlights.
I may have made part of that up.
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