iView-3500STB Tuner & DVR Owners Thread - Page 182 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #5431 of 5445 Old 08-04-2019, 01:33 PM
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I have the older box with the 3/4 switch. Is there any advantage to getting the "newer" box?
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post #5432 of 5445 Old 08-04-2019, 01:54 PM
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Well, maybe. The older box's firmware has a frustrating bug that sometimes causes it to rescan a frequency when you tune to a channel on that frequency. Seems to be triggered by something innocuous changing in the station's PSIP data. This unwanted rescan often deletes or scrambles recording timers for the channels on that frequency, causing you to miss scheduled recordings. Since 2016, firmware for the newer iViews seems to have fixed this, making timed recordings more reliable.

Another firmware change was with closed captions. AIUI on the old boxes, you could use closed captions while watching live or using time-shifting, but not when playing back your recordings. The new boxes' firmware reverses this: you can use closed captions while watching live or playing back a recording, but not during time-shifting. So neither is perfect, but you may prefer being able to use closed captions when playing a recording to using them when time-shifting.

One more thing: the recording format of the old and new boxes is subtly different, so you can't play your old recordings directly on your new box. You can play them indirectly, though, via a trick. Using a PC, rename your old recordings, changing the extension from .mts to .m2ts. It's the same format, but your new iView will now see your old recordings as "movies" and you can play them in the "movie" section of the USB menu.
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post #5433 of 5445 Old 08-04-2019, 03:31 PM
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Speaking of the recordings, are they a re-compressed format or is it the raw, transmitted signal?
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post #5434 of 5445 Old 08-04-2019, 04:59 PM
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It's the raw transmitted data.
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post #5435 of 5445 Old 08-08-2019, 06:48 AM
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I just got a new 3500 and the serial# starts with 1710, which I don't see on the firmware upgrade page. Is this the latest version of the box and does not yet need an update?
Also, I have the box connected directly to TV via HDMI. Do I set the Digital Audio setting to PCM or RAW - or OFF?

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post #5436 of 5445 Old 08-08-2019, 11:59 AM
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Here is iView's firmware page for the latest-generation 3500STBIIs: https://www.iviewus.com/firmware3500STBII/. You'll find five firmware versions listed there (along with a link to 7-Zip, a free archive extractor), but two (09/28/2017 and 11/06/2018) turn out to be identical when you extract them

1710 is a year and month, so presumably the box was made in Oct. 2017. So most likely it has the 09/28/2017 firmware version. But check at Menu / System / Information first. (It will display in year, month, day order; e.g., 20170928.) I've seen a couple of oddball versions, including one that cannot be updated!

I tried out the 09/28/2017 version briefly. It seemed to work OK but had a couple of annoyances:

  1. OTA channels with no PSIP (only a few low-power stations, but still....) were assigned "internal" channel numbers (the channel numbers displayed on the 3500's front panel), instead of the RF channel (plus program number for the subchannel) used by other firmware versions.
  2. Entering a channel number without using the '-' to enter a subchannel number always tuned to that internal channel number instead of the traditional channel number.

Those annoyances made changing channels confusing for me. And the latest firmware version, dated 03/18/2019, seemed very similar to the 09/23/2016 version when I tried it, so I ended up downgrading my iView to the 10/31/2016 firmware version.
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post #5437 of 5445 Old 08-08-2019, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randyr5 View Post
I have the box connected directly to TV via HDMI. Do I set the Digital Audio setting to PCM or RAW - or OFF?
I leave mine set at PCM. If you set it to RAW, you must control the volume using the TV's remote; the iView's volume control will do nothing (unless you lower it all the way to zero).

But if you have a 5.1 sound system, you should use RAW. PCM decodes the station's audio and down-mixes it to stereo only. RAW leaves it up to your TV (or 5.1 sound system) to do the decoding.

Not sure what OFF does, but it might just turn HDMI audio off, forcing you to use the coaxial digital or L/R analog audio outputs instead. I would guess the idea is to keep any sound from going to the TV if you're sending it to a sound system via those other outputs.
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post #5438 of 5445 Old 08-28-2019, 01:30 PM
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Antenna Power Foo...

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Originally Posted by randyr5 View Post
I have a 3500STBII, using it for OTA. What is the "Antenna Power" setting for? No mention of it in the manual. Thanks...



There are "active antennas" in the marketplace. They have a built-in "broadband" amplifier which raises the signal level at the input of your "TV" or "DVR."

There are also "in-line" "TV PreAmplifiers" in the marketplace. Manufacturers like Weingard and Jerrold and others. They usually get their power from a wall-wart plugged into a "bias-T" which passes the TV signals on to your TV or DVR without also injecting power into them.

Provided the power polarity of the amplifier conforms to the industry standard, the Antenna Power output from the 3500 can replace the wall-wart + bias-T. Fewer connectors and less cable is always better when you can make things work.



Active Antennas and TV-Preamps consume only a few milliamps of current, or perhaps a few tens of milliamps if there are LEDs to light up. The USB powered Disk Drive consumes a hundred times as much current. (One amp to 1.25 amps.)

(5 inch external USB disk drives powered by their own wall-wart don't consume much power from the 3500.)


One more thing about Preamps -- In urban areas with good antennas and line-of-sight to transmitter antennas that are a few miles away, a Preamp can be overloaded, and cause more trouble than the value it provides. Preamps are useful in Fringe areas to decrease the "Noise" in the image. In fringe areas Preamps are most effective if they're within a couple of feet of RG6 of the antenna.

The RG6 coax attenuates (absorbs) signal proportional to the length and the frequency.

The lower limit on signal is the inherent noise of the first amplifier in the system. ("Noise Figure" which is rarely a published specification)

So minimize signal loss between antenna and pre-amp. The pre-amp increases the signal AND overcomes the losses of long runs of RG6 or RG59 coax)


That's my 2¢

Jerry
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post #5439 of 5445 Old 08-28-2019, 01:50 PM
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I use the power option to replace the external power supply of my Monoprice amplified antenna for my iview. Works great and reduces clutter.
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post #5440 of 5445 Old 08-28-2019, 01:54 PM
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To upgrade hardware or Firmware

Quote:
Originally Posted by randyr5 View Post
I have the older box with the 3/4 switch. Is there any advantage to getting the "newer" box?

I have two model 3500STB boxes and a model 3500STB-II

The two old boxes developed power supply problems which were easily fixed by replacing a bad electrolytic capacitor.

Installing the latest available firmware on the oldest of the old boxes provided functionality very much like the newest unit (more in line with what the actual owners manual says).



Reduce E-Waste; update the firmware if you can rather than dumping the old box.
Then if you don't like the result, get something else.


I did have some difficulty getting the firmware on the website to work. A version I got through this forum DID work. My oldest box was so old that you couldn't book a recording from the event list. (all the fields had to be filled in from the remote) The updated firmware pre fills all the fields when saving a recording event.

I'm happy. I have low expectations for a $30 DVR anyway. My expectations have been wildly exceeded.

That's 2¢ more

Jerry
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post #5441 of 5445 Old 09-07-2019, 12:42 AM
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Capacitor Question

Interesting.
Glad this is still an active thread.

I have what I'd call an older 3500STBII - without the 3-4 switch.
It has been in a room where it has not been used much - maybe 100 hours.
I noticed a few days ago that the display was off and would not come on.
Unplugging it from the 120 volt AC, removing the cover, plugging it back in, and checking the output of the power supply board showed 12 volts on the 12 volt wire, but only 2 volts on the 5 volt wire.
Not being very knowledgeable about this stuff, I rather assumed that a transformer was bad.
But, after reading your comments, I looked at the capacitors on the board.
All but one have a flat surface on the end.
The capacitor located at C6 on the board is not flat, and looks to be swelled up - or convex instead of flat.
The writing on the plastic wrap of the capacitor has 1000uF 10 V.

Might this be the same capacitor that you replaced?
If so, maybe I could save this unit from the electrical trash heap by finding, and soldering in, a new cap, or, if available, maybe replace the entire power supply board/assembly.

Also, if so, any idea how/where I might acquire the cap or the board?

Thanks in advance,
Jay
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post #5442 of 5445 Old 09-07-2019, 02:42 PM
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Another power supply failure

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Originally Posted by plow_dog View Post
Interesting.
Glad this is still an active thread.

I have what I'd call an older 3500STBII - without the 3-4 switch.
It has been in a room where it has not been used much - maybe 100 hours.
I noticed a few days ago that the display was off and would not come on.
Unplugging it from the 120 volt AC, removing the cover, plugging it back in, and checking the output of the power supply board showed 12 volts on the 12 volt wire, but only 2 volts on the 5 volt wire.
Not being very knowledgeable about this stuff, I rather assumed that a transformer was bad.
But, after reading your comments, I looked at the capacitors on the board.
All but one have a flat surface on the end.
The capacitor located at C6 on the board is not flat, and looks to be swelled up - or convex instead of flat.
The writing on the plastic wrap of the capacitor has 1000uF 10 V.

Might this be the same capacitor that you replaced?
If so, maybe I could save this unit from the electrical trash heap by finding, and soldering in, a new cap, or, if available, maybe replace the entire power supply board/assembly.

Also, if so, any idea how/where I might acquire the cap or the board?

Thanks in advance,
Jay
The power supplies are "Switchers" which rectify "line-voltage" on the input side; follow it up with a high-frequency switching regulator; and rectify and filter the output on the low-voltage side. It's more economical than a lotta iron and copper of traditional power supplies.

My power supply failures were with first-generation 3500's.

The particular capacitor that failed was the tall, fat 1000µF 10V Electrolytic with radial leads.
In my cases, the capacitor didn't show outward signs of failure. No bulging or leaking. The capacitance had dropped to 30µF or less when I measured it.

If you have a Gen 2 or Gen 3 unit, it appears they didn't change their procurement, and that the selection is ill-advised. It's not robust enough.
When you're shopping for a replacement, pick one with the right pin-spacing, and diameter, AND with the highest reliability or longest projected lifetime you can find. Pick parts with the same or greater capacitance, and the same or greater voltage rating. Be willing to spend 10% or 20% extra for better quality parts. Look at vendors like Digi-Key or Arrow or Mouser. (You can take your chances with Amazon too, or ebay) I kinda like the low ESR organic electrolytics like the Os-con. When I was working on a high reliability project before retiring, our reliability engineer steered us to products manufactured on the same production lines used to produce the MIL-SPEC parts. It paid off in low failure rates in the experiment hardware that got installed in the ice at the south pole.

If you have a capacitance meter (some good modern digital voltmeters have the feature), you might consider checking the other electrolytics too. It might save you a second assault on the PCB. Unfortunately you have to remove the parts from the board to reliably test them.
Good luck. Be careful.

Unplug for long enough before working on the board.

Don't burn your fingers. Don't lift PCB traces. Don't short traces when soldering.

Picture before beginning work are helpful. Just a lotta common sense stuff.

Jerry
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post #5443 of 5445 Old 09-08-2019, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalevan View Post
The power supplies are "Switchers" which rectify "line-voltage" on the input side; follow it up with a high-frequency switching regulator; and rectify and filter the output on the low-voltage side. It's more economical than a lotta iron and copper of traditional power supplies.

My power supply failures were with first-generation 3500's.

The particular capacitor that failed was the tall, fat 1000µF 10V Electrolytic with radial leads.
In my cases, the capacitor didn't show outward signs of failure. No bulging or leaking. The capacitance had dropped to 30µF or less when I measured it.

If you have a Gen 2 or Gen 3 unit, it appears they didn't change their procurement, and that the selection is ill-advised. It's not robust enough.
When you're shopping for a replacement, pick one with the right pin-spacing, and diameter, AND with the highest reliability or longest projected lifetime you can find. Pick parts with the same or greater capacitance, and the same or greater voltage rating. Be willing to spend 10% or 20% extra for better quality parts. Look at vendors like Digi-Key or Arrow or Mouser. (You can take your chances with Amazon too, or ebay) I kinda like the low ESR organic electrolytics like the Os-con. When I was working on a high reliability project before retiring, our reliability engineer steered us to products manufactured on the same production lines used to produce the MIL-SPEC parts. It paid off in low failure rates in the experiment hardware that got installed in the ice at the south pole.

If you have a capacitance meter (some good modern digital voltmeters have the feature), you might consider checking the other electrolytics too. It might save you a second assault on the PCB. Unfortunately you have to remove the parts from the board to reliably test them.
Good luck. Be careful.

Unplug for long enough before working on the board.

Don't burn your fingers. Don't lift PCB traces. Don't short traces when soldering.

Picture before beginning work are helpful. Just a lotta common sense stuff.
Thanks for the fast reply and great info!
Jay
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post #5444 of 5445 Old 09-19-2019, 04:20 PM
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Another one bites the dust (apologies to Queen).
Of the three units in our house, two of the three had failures of C5 on the power supply board... prior to this week.
This morning the third of three was unresponsive to the remote, and the display dim. The last one is an STB-II with 3/4 switch.



That makes it a 100% failure rate.

If you own one of these DVRs, learn how to do printed circuit board repair, and acquire a good quality 1000µF 10V radial-lead electrolytic capacitor to stock until you need it.



Apologies if I sound a little annoyed.



One advantage of this family of DVRs over the rest is that these don't have to be connected to the internet, so at least we know they're not logging all our entertainment choices to some server operated by a company that slices, dices, and sells the demographics for targeted advertising. I count that as a reason to fix the ones that want to wink out.



That's my 2¢

Jerry
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post #5445 of 5445 Old 09-19-2019, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalevan View Post
Another one bites the dust (apologies to Queen).
Of the three units in our house, two of the three had failures of C5 on the power supply board... prior to this week.
This morning the third of three was unresponsive to the remote, and the display dim. The last one is an STB-II with 3/4 switch.
Sounds like the average lifetime of these (at least the older 7816-based models) is about 4 years before that capacitor goes. If so, all the old ones are probably coming up on failure if they haven't already.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalevan View Post
One advantage of this family of DVRs over the rest is that these don't have to be connected to the internet, so at least we know they're not logging all our entertainment choices to some server operated by a company that slices, dices, and sells the demographics for targeted advertising.
Totally agree!
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