iView-3500STB Tuner & DVR Owners Thread - Page 166 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #4951 of 5437 Old 03-15-2017, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
The HDD's SATA version won't matter as long as it's compatible with your dock or enclosure. Even SATA I is plenty fast for the USB 2.0 connection used by the iView.

Same goes for RPM. A larger cache is probably better, though.

It would seem to make sense to format with the NTFS cluster size at 64K, since we're talking about pretty big files. I haven't been able to tell if it really helps, though.

How full the drive is shouldn't matter - although for an SSD, it apparently does. On a spinning-platter drive, if you frequently delete files then record more, the drive can get fragmented and that can slow things down, especially if it's really full (over 80%). If that happens I suppose you could hook it to a PC and run a defrag program on it.
For an SSD, fragmentation doesn't matter, it is not recommended running defrag programs on them, it won't make any performance difference and 'wears' it out with all the writing. Sort of like teaching a pig to whistle, it won't work and only annoys the pig ;-). JH, I know you referenced only hard drives, just thought I'd add some elaboration (so folks don't go out and 'defrag' their SSDs).

As SSDs get used and filled up, even if files are removed, they can slow down, one solution is to plug it into a PC and if the OS is anywhere near recent, do an 'optimize' on it which does something called a 'trim' operation. VERY fast and cleans things up. Later Windows won't even let you defrag an SSD although 3rd party programs might.

Still, I would think with the speeds of SSD, it wouldn't be very relevant to the iView over a USB connection.

I've been using an old donated external 500 Mb HD, don't really know its specs, but no indication of a performance issue (well, until I filled it up and had to force-watch several programs ;-)).

Tell ya one thing though, I sure wish the iView had an offline operation that would convert those video files to MP4s, they are SO much smaller. Not fast enough to do it live, that takes a healthy CPU. One could do that on a PC though since iView does understand MP4s, I've played them back with no problem. But that's a fair bit of work unless you could write some script to handle the details or had a good converter program that would.
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post #4952 of 5437 Old 03-16-2017, 11:20 AM
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Regarding the RPM, a 5400 RPM HDD is more ideal for a DVR simply because it will produce less heat (and probably use less power). Since the iView only supports external drives, the heat output doesn't matter much, but using a higher RPM certainly won't make things any better, as with SATA III. The lower power requirements are better when you have to draw from a single USB port, though.
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post #4953 of 5437 Old 03-17-2017, 08:49 PM
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I've programmed the Blue POWER and VOL buttons on the remote to control my TV but.....

How can I program this sequence to perform an approx 30 sec skip with 1 Blue button?

">>", ">>", ">>", ">>", ">>", ">||"

Thanks!

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post #4954 of 5437 Old 03-18-2017, 06:46 PM
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You can't do it with the iView remote, but there are universal remotes that will let you program a "macro" (a sequence of codes transmitted by pressing a single button). Offhand, I'd suggest a Sony RM-VLZ620, but I know there are other remotes that will also work.

The Sony is a learning remote; you'd have to teach it the iView buttons first, then program the macro to an unused button.
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post #4955 of 5437 Old 03-19-2017, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
I wanted to let the iView community know about an interesting gadget I just bought from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KNCVFL8. It's an HDD dock with both USB and WiFi access.

What makes it interesting for iView (or HomeWorX, etc.) users is that it switches WiFi access off/on when power is applied to/removed from the USB port. That means you can connect your iView to its USB port, and your iView will have exclusive access to the HDD when it's on (and say, recording) - but when it's off, anyone can access recordings on the HDD via WiFi. (There are even iOS and Android apps to stream videos from the HDD, but I haven't tried them yet so I don't know if they'll work with iView recordings.)

Now this doesn't turn an iView into a full-blown "whole-home" DVR - but the total cost of an iView, this dock, and a bare HDD is under $150, and this is an easy way to access your iView's recordings wirelessly for that little money.
Depressing discovery about the CableMatters HDD dock. While it works with my older (7816-based) FrankenIview (an old HomeWorX cross-flashed with iView firmware), it doesn't work with my newer (7802-based) iView 3200!

I wanted to switch to my 7802 box because the old 7816 box won't correctly record (and therefore won't time-shift) the signal from the ATSC modulator I bought. The 7802 box records and time-shifts the modulator fine, but I have to use a different HDD, otherwise I lose network access to the HDD dock.

I've identified my iViews by their chips for convenience, but I don't think the chip is relevant. The problem is, with the (newer) 3200, the HDD dock shuts down network access as soon as you plug in the USB cable! So there's something different about the USB ports between the two boxes.

It's possible the USB hub I'm using with the older box is what makes that one work. But as my luck would have it, I glued that hub inside the case of the box, so I can't just move it to the newer one - and naturally, I can't find another hub identical to that one anymore.

I did try three other USB hub models with the 3200, but none fixed the problem. I can plug the HDD dock into any of the hubs without it disconnecting, but it disconnects as soon as I then plug the hub into the 3200 - even if the 3200's power cord is unplugged! How does it know?
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post #4956 of 5437 Old 03-20-2017, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
Depressing discovery about the CableMatters HDD dock. While it works with my older (7816-based) FrankenIview (an old HomeWorX cross-flashed with iView firmware), it doesn't work with my newer (7802-based) iView 3200!

yada, yada, yada....

I did try three other USB hub models with the 3200, but none fixed the problem. I can plug the HDD dock into any of the hubs without it disconnecting, but it disconnects as soon as I then plug the hub into the 3200 - even if the 3200's power cord is unplugged! How does it know?
hmmmm... lots of variables to deal with. Different USB hubs, different HDD, different iView... LOL

The one thing that stands out to me after reading about the HDD Dock on Amazon is that it is USB3 connectivity. Did someone ever report difficulties connecting a USB3 HDD to the 3200? I assume you are using the USB3 cable that came with the dock. I would try a USB2 cable just for the heck of it. Couldn't hurt.

Even though the old USB hub is glued into the 3500, can't you use a USB extension cable to use it with the 3200, just for test purposes? Just a thought. Maybe try the old HDD, for test purposes only, to eliminate all the variables. If all else fails, punt.
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post #4957 of 5437 Old 03-20-2017, 11:01 AM
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I've had no problems using USB3 HDDs with my 3200. The only problem seems to be getting that one dock to realize when the USB port is powered down.

I would do the test you suggest, but I already moved the dock and 3500 (actually a cross-flashed HW, not a "true" 3500) to another room, so it's more trouble than it's worth at this point. It'd probably be easier to buy another hub just like it. I couldn't find one at Fry's yesterday, but I found one at Amazon that's nearly identical: https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B002FFT8Z6.

An easier test would be to take the cover off and connect the HW directly to the dock, bypassing the glued-in hub. If I had the same problem as with the 3200, then I'd know that particular hub is what lets it work. Otherwise, I'd know it's due to a difference between the HW and the 3200.

I may give that a try next weekend. For now I just wanted to let everyone know that the dock I suggested doesn't always work as I originally described, before someone buys one and can't get it working.

In any case, I'd still like to know how the dock can tell when I plug it into the 3200, even through a hub and even when the 3200 isn't even plugged into its wall-wart!

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post #4958 of 5437 Old 03-20-2017, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
I couldn't find one at Fry's yesterday, but I found one at Amazon that's nearly identical: https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B002FFT8Z6.
I just ordered one, but just for kicks and giggles I almost ordered this little dude.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00274NRRA...ing=UTF8&psc=1
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post #4959 of 5437 Old 03-20-2017, 06:37 PM
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I just ordered one, but just for kicks and giggles I almost ordered this little dude.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00274NRRA...ing=UTF8&psc=1
2-ish bucks total for a cute USB hub? I almost clicked thru too, but the reviews are about evenly split between great and POS. Still....
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post #4960 of 5437 Old 03-22-2017, 01:45 PM
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I have the iView-3500STBII and out of all the $40 units, I think overall it's the best box, best remote, best firmware.

Thinking of getting another unit.

Which $40 units are comparable or 'next best'? Another iView, eMatic, HomeworkX, other? Model number and why?

Opinions? Thanks!

Nick

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days I've stayed alive. - George Carlin - 1996
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post #4961 of 5437 Old 03-22-2017, 02:45 PM
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HomeWorX seems to have the fewest bugs. The HW-150 is comparable to the iView 3500, and the HW-180 is comparable to the iView 3200. But the remotes all suck compared to the 3500's remote.

eMatic went through a phase with bad firmware like iView did, but the newest ones are reportedly OK. Model number is AT103B. Ematic doesn't do firmware updates though, so if you get one make sure you can return it in case you get one of the buggy ones.

If you get an iView 3200, you can use the 3500's remote with it; you don't have to use the sucky 3200 remote. (That's not true of the HW-150 and HW-180 though - each of those needs its own remote!)
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post #4962 of 5437 Old 03-23-2017, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
HomeWorX seems to have the fewest bugs. The HW-150 is comparable to the iView 3500, and the HW-180 is comparable to the iView 3200. But the remotes all suck compared to the 3500's remote
What's your opinion of HW-150 versus either iView unit? And what specifically, in your opinion, makes the remotes suck?

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post #4963 of 5437 Old 03-23-2017, 11:13 AM
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I have the iView-3500STBII and out of all the $40 units, I think overall it's the best box, best remote, best firmware.

Thinking of getting another unit.

Which $40 units are comparable or 'next best'? Another iView, eMatic, HomeworkX, other? Model number and why?

Opinions? Thanks!
I just bought an Ematic AT103B last weekend from Walmart for $31. It had firmware dated Nov 2016. I think it has a reasonable remote control layout. The performance seems great so far. I set up a few timed recordings and it would properly wake up from off and record them and go back to off. The video quality has been excellent. The only issue I've had from a bug standpoint was entering digits to overwrite a start or stop time to record a show. Sometimes I'd press a 3 and it would just keep trying to give me a 1. I never figured out why, but worked around it by always starting at the first digit, even if it's not changing and even if it's 0 and entering all of the time digits. That seems to work.

However, I am in the process of replacing this unit with a Homeworx HW-150 (after reading positive things about that unit on this forum) only because the AT103B remote conflicts with my Vizio sound bar remote. The mute on the sound bar is the same as the Play on the AT103B, and the input select on the sound bar is the same as fast forward on the AT103B. The HW-150 should arrive tomorrow and I'll take it for a spin. If it weren't for this, the AT103B would be a definite keeper. I'm really sad to give it up because it otherwise works so well.

If you don't have a Vizio sound bar, I'd definitely endorse the AT103B to at least try out. If you get it from Walmart, it's easy to return if it doesn't work out (and if it doesn't have at least Nov 2016 firmware since, as JHBrandt points out, Ematic isn't forthcoming with firmware updates).
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post #4964 of 5437 Old 03-23-2017, 12:19 PM
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What's your opinion of HW-150 versus either iView unit? And what specifically, in your opinion, makes the remotes suck?
The HW-150 is a lot like the iView 3500. Main differences are, it's lacking a few frills, such as the front-panel display. But it seems well-built, and it has a hard front-panel power switch that physically disconnects power. That's sometimes useful.

Homeworx does offer firmware upgrades, but only by email. You have to send them a pic of your serial number so they can tell which firmware version was written for your specific box. Over the years, Homeworx firmware seems to have had the fewest bugs, but like the box itself, it lacks a few frills, such as setting transparency of the menus.

As for its remote, judge for yourself:
It's actually bigger than the small remotes used by the eMatic, HW-180, and iView 3200, but it's very hard to read, especially the block of 12 buttons at the bottom, which have grey labels on a black background. There's almost no color, and the layout isn't very logical: Record is above the arrow keys, FF/Rew are on a curved rocker below and to the right, and play, pause, and stop are in that hard-to-read block of 12 buttons. I actually prefer the HW-180 remote (looks like the eMatic one with a slightly different layout), even though it's smaller.

Luckily, I understand you'll be using a Harmony, so you probably won't care much about the Homeworx remote.
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post #4965 of 5437 Old 03-23-2017, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
As for its remote, judge for yourself...
...
Luckily, I understand you'll be using a Harmony, so you probably won't care much about the Homeworx remote
Ugh. The arrangement of the "transport" buttons are particularly weird. Actually, outright bizarre. Glad I'll be using the harmony!

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post #4966 of 5437 Old 03-24-2017, 12:40 PM
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Not to mention the button that changes a recording from the preview window to full screen being labeled as 'Hold'. :-)

But once you get used to it and just remember it as bottom-most right, you don't think of it much after that.
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post #4967 of 5437 Old 03-24-2017, 01:00 PM
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The button to go to full-screen doesn't make much more sense on the iView. It's the "Schedule" button (equivalent to "Timer" on the HW remote). I have no idea why neither box picked a more obvious button, like "OK." At any rate, I just remember it as the green button
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post #4968 of 5437 Old 03-25-2017, 04:15 AM
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Not to mention the button that changes a recording from the preview window to full screen being labeled as 'Hold'. :-)
That is odd. The AT103B is the same. I don't know any function that the Hold button performs that actually means "hold".

On the odd UI topic, both the AT103B and HW-150PVR use 1, 2, and 3 for add, edit, and delete. On the USB drive screen, it uses EPG to delete, TIMER to rename. Pretty random. Thankfully, it has the legend right on screen for the button meanings.
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post #4969 of 5437 Old 03-28-2017, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ncsercs View Post
I have the iView-3500STBII and out of all the $40 units, I think overall it's the best box, best remote, best firmware.

Thinking of getting another unit.

Which $40 units are comparable or 'next best'? Another iView, eMatic, HomeworkX, other? Model number and why?

Opinions? Thanks!
Just ordered a ViewTV AT-163 that was a Lightning Deal on Amazon for $23.99 w/free ship (normally $29.99).

Very similar to the iView. The price and the remote sealed the deal.

Nick

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days I've stayed alive. - George Carlin - 1996
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post #4970 of 5437 Old 03-28-2017, 08:48 AM
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Great! Let us know what you find:

  • Menu/System/Information (HW version, SW version, etc.)
  • Any special features (games a la eMatic, menu transparency a la iView, etc.)
  • Any stupidly disabled features, such as time-shifting on the RCA DTA880 boxes
  • And, of course, any bugs
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post #4971 of 5437 Old 03-29-2017, 08:03 PM
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hi everyone,
I first got the iview3500 back in 2013, when I went by johngbm4el. the box eventually could be only be controlled by pointing a remote 2" inches away from the box, whether it was iview's or a harmony. I am now in the market for a new box. I see a 4 star amazon rating for the "Edal Digital ATSC HD TV Receiver Converter Tuner Box." There is no edal website.
Amazon said they tested and they back the product. any thoughts?
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post #4972 of 5437 Old 03-30-2017, 03:58 AM
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hi everyone,
I first got the iview3500 back in 2013, when I went by johngbm4el. the box eventually could be only be controlled by pointing a remote 2" inches away from the box, whether it was iview's or a harmony. I am now in the market for a new box. I see a 4 star amazon rating for the "Edal Digital ATSC HD TV Receiver Converter Tuner Box." There is no edal website.
Amazon said they tested and they back the product. any thoughts?
There are only 38 reviews on Amazon, so statistically it's hard to tell how it compares to most of the others which come in close, at about 3.5-ish stars with 100's or over 1000 reviews.

There are a lot of players in this business. From a feature and UI standpoint, these units are about the same, and most of them run around the same price give or take a couple of bucks. What's different are some extra features here or there and level of support. From what I've seen, at least iView and Mediasonic (Homeworx products) provide firmware updates. I have personally had email and phone support experience with Ematic (AT103B) and Mediasonic and found them to be very responsive, although Ematic doesn't provide firmware updates readily.

So all that said, I would hesitate to by a unit that didn't have a website and has an unknown support record unless the user reviews indicate that they get good support.

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post #4973 of 5437 Old 03-30-2017, 06:33 PM
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Is there something on Amazon that will enable me to plug an HDMI cable in the back and convert to a USB port enabling me to use my laptop as a monitor? Everything I see goes from laptop to monitor only. Is there a term for it?

Nick

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post #4974 of 5437 Old 03-30-2017, 08:10 PM
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Just search Amazon for "HDMI capture device. " They aren't particularly cheap though.
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post #4975 of 5437 Old 03-30-2017, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
The button to go to full-screen doesn't make much more sense on the iView. It's the "Schedule" button (equivalent to "Timer" on the HW remote). I have no idea why neither box picked a more obvious button, like "OK." At any rate, I just remember it as the green button
They don't have a set of mode screens and functions for each mode like you might find on a more "professionally-designed" user interface. They just throw a bunch of buttons on the remote, then they can't remember what the functions are for any particular remote and certainly can't design a mode screen, so they just grab any available button. Note that something like Apple TV relies on a remote with hardly any buttons but you are guided to press a particular button (up, down, ok) for a function on each mode screen.

I forgot the other day about how I'd programmed my universal remote for the iView "Schedule" button, but then I remembered I needed to use it to change the size of the playback in the "playback" mode, and I use buttons with arrows on them or picture-in-picture toggle buttons to do those kinds of things, so I pressed an unused right-pointing arrow button in the DVR section, and it worked. I probably should change that to the unused PIP buttons on the universal remote because the pictograph on the button really captures the essence of that function (an arrow between two different size windows).

--
max
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post #4976 of 5437 Old 03-31-2017, 10:11 AM
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Ironically, iView is one of the few MStar boxes whose remote has colored (red, green, yellow, blue) buttons that are often used for mode-specific functions - and Schedule is one of those buttons (the green one)! So iView actually did a somewhat better job than most of the others, although they should have used colored backgrounds on the onscreen button labels, and other colors for other mode-specific functions (e.g., red would have made sense for delete; and blue might have been better than green for full-screen since it isn't next to red/delete).

My beef is, switching to full-screen is such an obvious thing to need to do, they should have used an equally obvious button to do it. To me, pressing OK again would have made the most sense.
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post #4977 of 5437 Old 04-01-2017, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
My beef is, switching to full-screen is such an obvious thing to need to do, they should have used an equally obvious button to do it. To me, pressing OK again would have made the most sense.
Then don't use the "OK" button (and then the "green" button) to view your recorded program. Use the "Play" button instead. It will go "full screen" automatically. Just have to train yourself to use the "Play" button. It's just too tempting to use that big old "OK" button for starting everything. You'll get the hang of it after a few hundred tries.
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post #4978 of 5437 Old 04-02-2017, 08:24 AM
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Thanks! That's a great tip and I hadn't even thought about using the play button. Just tried it on my Mediasonic and it works there also.
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post #4979 of 5437 Old 04-03-2017, 02:44 PM
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Trouble with scheduled recordings

Hello all,

Just bought an iView 3500STBII and have been trying to make it work. I updated the firmware to the latest version, 9-23-2016, but it is still giving me trouble. Over the weekend I tried to record four episodes of The Avengers but only one is good. That was the first one, which ran from 1:00 to 2:00 Sunday morning. The second episode which ran from 2:00 to 3:00 resulted in an .mts file which cannot be read either by the iView itself or by my desktop computer. I set up both recordings using the EPG button/feature. Then, last night, I set the iView to record two more episodes, but this time I set the iView to make a single recording from midnight to 2:00 on the same channel. This was the scheduled time for the next two episodes. The result was a readable file but it plays for only about 46 minutes then ends abruptly.

All recordings were done using a 64GB Lexar USB3 flash drive. I reformatted it to NTFS (on my computer) so that it could accommodate HD broadcast movies and shows. However all the recordings I have attempted with it have been 480i broadcasts which along with the success of one recording, makes me think the flash drive is fast enough for the job.

I would appreciate any advice on troubleshooting this issue.

TIA -- Dave
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post #4980 of 5437 Old 04-03-2017, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveM59 View Post
...All recordings were done using a 64GB Lexar USB3 flash drive....
You should be fine using a flash drive that's fast enough for HD recording.

Trouble is that most flash drive makers don't seem to want you to know how SLOW their drives are. Typically, the larger the capacity of the flash drive the faster it writes (read speeds are always faster than write speed, but they're not as important as write speed).

Write speed is very important to assure our HD files are being faithfully and completely written to the drive we're using. This requires a write speed at least as fast as a typ. HDD, or 125MB/s. Without a good write we can see bad playback w/o realizing it's caused by a poorly written HD file.

Here's a Lexar page on many of their flash drives with MANY SLOW-writing drives... there's only ONE on that page that's fast enough for recording HD, the P20 down the page priced at $74.99, with 270MB/s write speed. Other mfgrs seem to have many faster drives that Lexar.

People who'd really like to use flash drives need to do a little digging to find one that actually tells you what the write speed is! Also, many drives are USB 3.0 and natively much faster than 2.0 but operate at 2.0 speed if your machine is only 2.0, which most are today, so take that into count as well... i.e., get the FASTEST flash drive you can afford to assure best results in recording (writing) and simultaneously playing (reading) HD files, which we often do.

Here's a help file on this subject JFTHOI:

Worried about "slow" FT drives? Best FT drives for DVRs will be larger-capacity USB 3.0 drives (128+GB), which are *designed* for faster reading/writing than smaller-capacity models from same mfgr. This can prevent the playback-stuttering-while-recording reported on other DVRs. Here's a good comparison chart that might make your research easier? Look for write speed at least faster than 125MB/s, the typ min. write speed of HDDs. Beware of sellers who show only read speed, which is always (much) higher and not nearly as important as write speed for our recorders. See note on Samsung 850 Pro below.
Worried about multiple writes/rewrites? How about "Two freaking petabytes" (2,000 TB) in SSD endurance tests so far (tests performed "way back" in 2013-2014). All depends on the type of flash memory inside, e.g., the Samsung 840 model in that report was not a great performer due to its use of TLC flash but its new 850 models for 2017 (up to 4TB) will be using 2-bit NAND MLC and have 470-520MB/s write speed(!).
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Last edited by 7558037; 04-03-2017 at 05:28 PM.
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