I recently bought the eMatic AT103B and decided to give it a try. There are some improvements over the RCA DTA880 that I'm currently using, but I've noticed a few inconveniences as well as bugs with the AT103B, particularly with the PVR side of things...
While accessing the PVR list, I have to hit the USB button and select the PVR option as there is no separate PVR button on the remote to quickly take me there. (Unlike the RCA DTA880). What's nice is that the PVR option is selected by default as they figure that's what most people are going to use. No big deal I guess. However, once in the the PVR menu, the PVR folder on the drive is not automatically entered by default, (unlike the RCA DTA880), and I'm always at the root of the drive. This of course, requires me to navigate to the PVR folder and press the OK button to access the recordings, which is time consuming and will wear out the remote quicker.
Another inconvenience with the PVR is that the filenames of the recordings have the channel label listed first instead of the date, the latter is how the RCA DTA880 names it's recordings. (Example: WKYC-HD-042420190745PM vs 20190424-1945-WKYC-HD-3-1). This naming scheme causes the PVR to list the recordings alphabetically instead of oldest to newest, which is what I would prefer as it is better organized.
I wish the front panel display would show the virtual channel number (25-3) instead of the list number (C024). I do see a colon on the display when I shine a flashlight on it, so I guess it could be done by using it as a separator for the sub channel, assuming it's connected. Otherwise, I guess it's a good way of knowing how many channels you have programmed.
A bug that I discovered with the AT103B involves the audio. Recordings are somewhat quieter compared to the live broadcasts. If I switch the digital audio to RAW, the volume is fixed for live broadcasts, but the volume for recordings can be cranked up to make them leveled with the live broadcasts. This doesn't affect timeshift mode.
Another bug with the AT103B is garbled audio (audio dropouts). This seems to happen with live broadcasts while the digital audio option is set to RAW and after FF/RW a recording multiple times.
Update: The issues affecting the RAW audio output appears to be related to the TV (Sanyo) that I had it hooked up to. I tried another TV (Samsung) and the issues disappeared, except for the soft volume on the recordings.
The AT103B suffers from a few other issues as well, mainly the "midnight bug". (Common issue with the RCA DTA880 and other STB clones).
Info screen sometimes doesn't feel like displaying the description of the show shortly after tuning in. Seems like you have to wait for a few minutes for the description to appear. Also, the info screen shows the name of the program twice.
Black level seems to be much higher compared to the RCA DTA880, even though the color settings for both HDMI inputs are the same.
It appears that the "channel re-initialization" bug has been fixed, so schedules shouldn't end up disappearing when the box sees something slightly different with the station's PSIP. (Common issue with the RCA DTA880 and other STB clones). I take that back... It just happened right now on a particular station that commonly causes the box to re-initialize upon tuning in. Darn!
The tuner seems to be better built than the one in my RCA DTA880, and doesn't appear to suffer from breakups due to signal overload. (Common issue with the RCA DTA880 and other STB clones).
Does anyone know what the sort option does under the program sub menu? I've tried all the options and nothing changes. What is LCN & ONID?
A user on page 8, post 239
of this thread claims that his AT103B has software version Jan 9 2018-16:47:35, while mine has version Feb 27 2017-19:26:11. I couldn't find any available updates on their website. Actually, they didn't even have the AT103B listed at all, just the older(?) AT102B. I sent an email to support explaining this and was told that there were no updates available at this time. I've seen screenshots of the AT103B with older versions (2016), and the only thing I found noticeably different was the change to the 12 hour time format. I suppose that the only way to get the latest version is to exchange the converter box with another one in hopes that it contains the latest software. Does anyone know if there are any improvements with the latest version? Does it fix any of the issues that I listed above? Should I even bother?
Overall, I find the eMatic AT103B not much of an
improvement over the RCA DTA880 that I've owned for the last couple of years. While a bit more reliable when it comes to receiving channels
, the PVR suffers from the same common issues that plagues these STB clones (as well as additional issues)
that may annoy some people. If these issues were not present or were fixed with a newer software version, I might actually recommend this converter box to others. The only recommendation I would give (at this point) would be strictly using the AT103B for live viewing on a HDTV that lacks an integrated tuner. Otherwise, using it to record and view recorded shows may aggravate some users, particularly those who are picky or are not technologically inclined.