Originally Posted by maxreactance
Now I am just as stupid, but apparently with the canonical answer to the question of "can you use a flash drive with an iView" (if my testing holds up). The answer basically is, "there are a VERY FEW that work, for unknown reasons."
Maybe later I'll share a few possible tricks that make this flash drive the CHEAP BUT EFFECTIVE answer to your iView problems...
OK, after some additional research, I THINK I know what the true canonical answer is (with the caveat that I've been horribly wrong before).
It's not the write speed of the flash drive that's critical, although it MUST be above the maximum data rate of any ATSC channel, which is listed as 19.4 Mbps or thereabouts. Looking at the iView "info" display while the iView is recording on my highest data rate channel (single sub-channel 1080i DD5.1) shows a rate of around 17.6 Mbps, but whatever. You should get a flash drive with a write speed for large sequential files that is safely north of that. The first and ongoing problem is getting reliable and appropriate write speed benchmark information. Typically, you will not get that from the drive manufacturer, you have to rely on independent benchmark testing websites.
But after going to all that trouble, you are likely to be disappointed with the performance of a flash drive that apparently can handle the write data rate. So what's the problem?
I was SURE (stupid!) it was just the write data rate speed of the media, but then I noticed something strange. I have several flash drives, I'll use two as an example, because I performed my own "test" of their write speed.
One flash drive was one of those nifty-looking Samsung "bar" drives, that looks like a prop from a science fiction movie. I copied a 14GB two-hour FHD surround-sound (with LFE) movie to it from my computer in about seven minutes. Certainly, that should be a fast enough write speed, right?
Wrong. Any HD or better channel recorded or time-shifted on the iView was a mess with this drive.
Now the second drive is a Toshiba that comes with labels that you can put on the drive, nicely solving another problem with flash drives. Copying the same movie to this drive took about an hour, I didn't really time it precisely because it took so damn long I lost interest. Independent benchmarks show this drive as having about a 20 Mbps write speed, so I'm lucky it still isn't copying today...
But on the iView, it recorded and time-shifted very well, except for the highest rate channels. It was much, much better than the Samsung.
So what about the SanDisk Ultra? I haven't tried copying the movie to it, but I can note that the first few reviews on Amazon are bitter complaints about how SLOOOOOOOOWWWW the write speeds are, and they actually accuse SanDisk of consumer fraud with their packaging claims (and I agree, SanDisk should be prosecuted for fraud for this drive, along with most other flash drive manufacturers, and most TV makers too, for that matter).
But in my stress tests using this drive on the iView, it worked perfectly for EVERYTHING on EVERY channel.
So what's the difference? Finally, my brain kicked into second gear and I started Googling "flash drive controllers".
The bottom line: you probably need a flash drive with an actual SSD controller (equivalent to an HDD controller), rather than the controllers they put in most USB 3.0 drives with apparently speedy media. This also answers the question as to why HDDs work fine, because they all come with HDD-type controllers.
And the next problem is just like the original problem of getting any kind of decent information about the flash drive you are buying. The drive manufacturers go out of their way to not supply you information about the drive controller, just like they fraudulently hide their media speed.
BUT, there may be a simple way to figure out which drives will work and which won't. Apparently SSD controllers must contain many chips and cannot be made more compact than a certain size today.
Note that the SanDisk Ultra is a big fat monster compared to the slim Samsung "bar". It's so wide that it is a problem inserting it in the closely-packed USB ports on a typical laptop, a major marketing problem. It's also noticeably longer than a typical flash drive.
The Toshiba drive that did pretty well is not THAT big but is definitely wider than the Samsung "bar", which is exactly the width of the USB port itself.
So the trick may be as simple as just looking for a larger, clunkier-looking drive (but I wouldn't recommend that approach). If it turns out during my infrequent uses of the iView that the SanDisk Ultra can handle anything thrown at it, just go with that drive (and they ARE cheap too, $20 for 64GB at Target, I think you can get a 256 GB version for like $30 on Amazon).
Additional note about formatting: you do want to format the drive to NTFS to exceed the 4GB file limit size with the default FAT. I always do this on a computer, because I copy the additional programs that some drives come with to a folder on my computer (and I've never used them). The iView does come with its own NTFS/FAT formatting options, and you might actually want to use the NTFS format there with an unchangeable 4 kB segment size. It seems that the iView does like the 4 kB segment size for reading, rather than the typical recommendation here for using the largest segment size available on your computer. I say this because I fooled around with different segment sizes and it seemed to make a difference (but nothing like the apparent controller difference).