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The new TVIX boxes (R3310 and R2210) are tuner/media player that can timeshift and record when a hard drive is installed. Tunes OTA ATSC and unencrupted cable QAM and outputs 480i/480p/1080i/1080p video. The network media player of the R3310 allows playback of other recorded MPEG2 HD and DVD files as well as music and photos on the network.


The R2210 is a portable tuner/player (no network) that has similar features but uses a notebook hard drive, nice if you need a small portable media player. There is an optional wifi USB adapter but it is not capable of handling HD files on the network.
 

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So what are some people's general consensus on these things? I am seriously considering jumping in despite some of the "limitations" (PSIP data, single tuner) since it does so many other things. Overall opinions I've seen have been very favorable and you can't beat the simplicity of the thing (i.e. maybe for the price you could build something more capable but you're only adding complexity). The deal right now at Digital Connection seems pretty remarkable to me right now.


Are users pretty happy with theirs?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaslug79 /forum/post/15802829


So what are some people's general consensus on these things? I am seriously considering jumping in despite some of the "limitations" (PSIP data, single tuner) since it does so many other things. Overall opinions I've seen have been very favorable and you can't beat the simplicity of the thing (i.e. maybe for the price you could build something more capable but you're only adding complexity). The deal right now at Digital Connection seems pretty remarkable to me right now.


Are users pretty happy with theirs?

It's still relatively new and the user base is still tiny so I don't know if you'll hear too many people chime in here. The biggest limitation compared to the previous TVIX units is that it does not support .mkv nor h.264 and video outupt is limited to 480i (analog), 480p, 720p and 1080i. But it does perform better than the older TVIX units in regards to trickplay (ff/rw) of MPEG-2 files which is an ongoing problem with all the Sigma based media players.


Like most TVIX units, this model will continue to get firmware updates to improve upon the functions.
 

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Kei, thanks for the reply. I'm aware of some of the "shortcomings" with this device and they don't really fit my needs, so I'm still leaning heavily towards one. I do realize they are pretty new, or at least have come to realize that as The Google tells you very little about them and not too many people here have one. What I've heard has been solid though, without any major caveats that would impact me.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaslug79 /forum/post/15806676


Kei, thanks for the reply. I'm aware of some of the "shortcomings" with this device and they don't really fit my needs, so I'm still leaning heavily towards one. I do realize they are pretty new, or at least have come to realize that as The Google tells you very little about them and not too many people here have one. What I've heard has been solid though, without any major caveats that would impact me.

The most common problem with new HDTV tuner releases are that we often need a bigger base of users to debug issues present in all the markets. Otherwise, the device is pretty straight forward and stable, but every new firmware upgrade is always a challenge. We may consider doing a special promo to get these out to a larger audience so we can get feedback to engineers to tweak the drivers.


I have yet to test the analog TV recording function, which takes s-vid/composite input and outputs MPEG-2 files, handy for converting all my tapes to files when I can find time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kei Clark /forum/post/15806765


We may consider doing a special promo to get these out to a larger audience so we can get feedback to engineers to tweak the drivers.

Hello, Kei,


Thanks for the replies.

 

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Thanks for this thread...I've been considering the purchase of one or the other of these products a little later this year, and so I'm interested in hearing about anyone's experience with them.
 

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Kei, I was hoping either you or someone else knowledgeable about this stuff can clear this up for me. I was reading Dvico's site regarding the latest F/W for the Tvix boxes, and this is described in the fixes:


2. Avoid the H.264 channel scanning both DVB-T and ATSC.


What exactly does this mean? I understand that the latest Tvix boxes don't "do" H.264, but I thought this was only a codec for certain HD video. Does this innocuous sounding "fix" in this firmware mean an R-3310 won't pull down free HD broadcasts using the QAM tuner? Or am I reading too much into this?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaslug79 /forum/post/15833431


Kei, I was hoping either you or someone else knowledgeable about this stuff can clear this up for me. I was reading Dvico's site regarding the latest F/W for the Tvix boxes, and this is described in the fixes:


2. Avoid the H.264 channel scanning both DVB-T and ATSC.


What exactly does this mean? I understand that the latest Tvix boxes don't "do" H.264, but I thought this was only a codec for certain HD video. Does this innocuous sounding "fix" in this firmware mean an R-3310 won't pull down free HD broadcasts using the QAM tuner? Or am I reading too much into this?

Not sure what that means, I've never seen an h.264 ATSC station, Terry maybe able to comment if that codec is commonly used on cable QAM. The R3310 is not able to playback h.264, and this maybe more an issue in Europe for DVB-T users.
 

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Well, my Tvix box was shipped today from Digital Connection. Once I get it set up and running, I'll be sure to post some experiences with it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaslug79 /forum/post/15908606


Well, my Tvix box was shipped today from Digital Connection. Once I get it set up and running, I'll be sure to post some experiences with it.

I'm sure there a lot of us interested in user experiences. I'm in the market for a device like this but am waiting for user feedback before taking the plunge.
 

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Keep the title in mind when considering some of these impressions. Overall the unit has done most of what I expected, but there have been a few letdowns (that could possibly be corrected if Dvico is serious about adding new features, etc. through firmware updates).

The Box


Small, unobtrusive, and slick. Every connection imaginable in this day and age. For me the inclusion of both a digital audio in toslink and coax is appreciated. So far hookups direct to my computer (over USB) and component video and RCA audio to the TV (with the aforementioned digital audio to my receiver in addition) have all gone without a hitch. The power cable felt a bit tight and this worried me at first, but after some wiggling and shaking it fits fine. It'll get a workout as well since I'll be bouncing this box between the home theater and my computer as needed.

The DVR


The HD tuner works like a charm. Over my most basic of cable connections, it pulled down the original 25 analog stations we were getting previously, those same stations in their digital counterparts, at least two or three dozen music-only stations, and the 9 or 10 broadcast stations in HD. This latter is great as with my five year old Toshiba CRT, it's the first time we've gotten HD stations on the set and it will at least double the life of this older TV.


Recorded shows in HD so far appear to be pixel perfect. When you set a recording (or record by hand), it drops the file in a folder called "PVR" in the root of the drive. In my experiments so far, I've noticed it further breaks this folder down by a folder titled with what station you recorded from, with the actual video file contained within (some times with a helpful name, other times not so much) as a ".tp" file. Supposedly you can manipulate this file on a computer then using some transformation to mpeg but I haven't done this yet (not even sure if I will, but it's a nice feature to have). Time-shifting is done on the fly and no files are stored when you are in this recording mode (at least once you stop time-shifting).


Of note I should say that you kind of need to look at this box right now as a high tech VCR. While you can schedule a recording by date/time and even with the meager EPG (impressions on this are further down), the functionality of the DVR is pretty limited. When you make a scheduled recording, you select which mode to do this in, "Watching" or "Recording." Now, I did read as much as I could before buying this box and also once I had it, but there never appeared to be an explanation for what these modes actually do. Upon first looking at it, one would think that "Recording" would make just a recorded file (which it does) and "Watching" would turn on the DVR and start recording until you told it otherwise. Unless I'm doing something wrong, I've found that the Watching mode does little except turn on the box to the channel you specify at the indicated time, and then sit happily doing nothing. It may be recording what it is showing, but there is no time-shifting allowed. To me, this kind of defeats the purpose of having a mode that doesn't really let you "set the VCR" and then come in later and time-shift away. The time-shifting function (while working quite well) is purely a manual affair where you pause live TV, make a sandwich while time passes, and then boogie around in the buffer of TV you've created. I kept the default time-shift duration to Free Space so I can have maximum flexibility (such as during CBS's triple header of college basketball!) but like I said this is strictly a manual process. This is one area I hope Dvico improves the functionality by make the "Watching" mode actually start the time-shift buffer.


Despite these limitations in the DVR, like I said the picture quality is exactly as you see it live and when you are watching a recorded show the skipping functions work just fine. Right now the only default skip duration is 15s (I've requested you be able to set this) which you do with the Up/Down keys on the remote. Left/Right toggles between higher backwards/forwards speeds at 2X, 4X, and so on, while the >>| skip buttons just go to the end and beginning of the file. I tell you this only because it's not that intuitive and took me a while to get used to. (While time-shifting these buttons work pretty much the same functions.) What I have used the scheduled recording so far for is snagging Sesame Street at 9AM each morning so we can watch it with our daughter any time during the evening (rather than "waiting" for the 7PM broadcast, how barbaric!). I've also done some basketball recordings and while the DST setting betrayed me over the weekend, again this has worked out OK. It really depends on your needs; we don't watch a lot of TV so the fact that the box acts as a high tech VCR works OK for us. To grab one or two shows that we do want to see and for me getting to actually watch sports occasionally (when I have time, not when it's on) is a godsend. However, you get what you pay for and this is not a media center TV or a Tivo, so adjust your expectations according to what you need. For us, being able to tune HD channels and record stuff on a basic schedule works out just fine.

The EPG


This could use some work. Not only does it not really give you a lot of information, but the basic UI is pretty broken. Instead of anything like your standard TV guide setup (Edit: Yeah, they do have a patent on this), you have this odd "dates and channels across the top with the limited programming listed below" thing going on that is just a bear to navigate. Add in the fact that you get a preview window on the left that actually changes channels when you scroll through stations, and this is a pretty broken EPG. Supposedly you get up to 7 days worth of programming listed, but in my use so far I haven't seen even close to this (try maybe 7 hours). There are also some stations that show absolutely nothing in the programming space (hello, PBS) and what appears when can be wildly unpredictable. However, when it does work you can set a quick recording schedule for a program from here and that worked out fine (I grabbed a random Tonight Show using this method, simply because it actually showed up on the EPG). This is definitely an area Dvico is going to have to work on if they expect this to be a viable feature. Again though, adjust your expectations. I'm not paying for a Tivo, so I certainly don't expect a Tivo. Still, the EPG is pretty hobbled in this device. I imagine unless they improve it I just won't use it (I've never had an EPG so you can see where I'm coming from; your results may vary).

The Media Jukebox


This is one area where I didn't necessarily buy the Tvix for, but it definitely impacted my buying decision. Simply put, this is awesome. You set up the internal hard drive with three folders, Movie, Music and Photo. Then, dump copied DVDs as .iso files in the Movie folder, digital music in the Music folder, and any kind of picture files in the Photo folder. Hook up Tvix, GO. The .iso file playing works wonders, it basically replicates the DVD playing experience bit for bit. I used their recommended software solution of DVD Shrink 3.2 to make the .iso files and it works as promised. In this area I see us making copies of DVDs we have for kid watching as the ease of the jukebox just beats out exchanging physical discs when it comes to kids (I would imagine Dvico doesn't want you to necessarily use the .iso function for illegitimate means, but just treat it like you would any other digital media functionality). I haven't done anything yet with the Music or Photo functions, but on the page they appear well done and with the stupid amount of storage space I have on this thing (I bought the 1TB option) I imagine I'll just dump my 30GB or so collection of mp3s and picture files on it as a backup at least. It supports playlist files (at least in .m3u format) and has some slideshow features for the pictures, but I haven't done any of this yet. Overall, the media functionality of this box is very cool and an added bonus to the DVR and tuner.

The UI


This is pretty slick and you can see where Dvico is probably most experienced with media functionality. Everything is clean and sharp; moving from item to item and within the menus is snappy. The one area I feel is hindered the most is simply the startup time of the box. As a media player, 30-40 seconds is not a big deal. When it is your main TV tuner, the wife starts to complain. I would think this boot time could decrease with Dvico's tweaking, although maybe there are some other ways around it. The box will turn itself on when a scheduled recording is needed, and it does have a screen saver function. I'd like to get Dvico's answer on whether you can/should leave the box on most of the time and how much of a power drain or hindering to the components that is. If the thing just powered on faster this wouldn't even be a problem.

The Remote


Nothing fancy here. It gets the job done though. Buttons across the top switch from TV mode, Movie, Music, and Photo. Unless I just don't know how yet, there doesn't seem to be direct access to the PVR folder and your recorded shows (at least not with a button on the remote). This is a tad irritating, as I'm required to jump into the Movie folder (for example) and then folder jump up and over to the PVR folder. Like I mentioned in the DVR section above, some of the button choices for time-shifting video seem a bit odd and unintuitive. To their credit though, they do explain which buttons to use so you're not flying blind. It's just not the way I would have designed it. Changing channels in DTV mode is a bit odd as the number pad has an aspect ratio change button and zoom button flanking the 0. In order to get the dash/decimal for digital stations (like 73-10, what idiot thought that was a good idea), you have to type 7 > 3 > Aspect button > 1 > 0. Again, not terribly intuitive but you get used to it. The nice thing about the remote is it's small and light, not quite as diminutive as your Roku player remote but also not a big honkin' universal-style remote.

Various Sundries


As far as I can tell, the box makes almost no noise. Remarkable considering there is not only a (potentially) big hard drive in the thing but a fan as well. Dvico recommends setting the fan speed to Normal and I see no reason to change this; with the box in my components cabinet and me sitting across the room on the couch I can't hear a peep out of the unit. Even when I had it upstairs at my computer copying files to it, I don't remember much of a racket. The almost silent nature of the unit doesn't seem to change whether you're watching live TV, time-shifting, or watching a file.


The expandability of the unit can't be underestimated. Like I said, with my meager media collection and TV viewing habits, 1TB of storage is a heckuva lot. If you really needed more (or just wanted to offload some files from the internal HDD but still wanted quick access to them) the unit supports external drives over USB. This seems to be a common complaint with most commercial DVRs (what few exist) but Dvico has got you covered. As I have no need for this right now I haven't done any testing with it, but it is one of those nice features to have for the possible future. The unit also supports wired ethernet and wireless connections, and while I haven't used these yet I could imagine setting it up some time to try the FTP copying (to save the Tvix a trip upstairs to the computer room, say).


I did a firmware update first day out of the box by copying the .fwp file from Dvico's site to the root of the drive on the Tvix. Fire up the file browser (again, either I don't know what I'm doing or there's no direct access to this without going through one of the folder modes), select the firmware file, and fire away. This is easy, fast, and appreciated. Easily updated firmware makes this unit have possibly limitless potential, if Dvico wants to continue to add features and tweak the hardware (if not, I suppose there's always http://www.opentvix.com/ , if anyone starts working on the R series).


This device only has one tuner in it. So there's none of that fancy "watch one show while you record another" stuff. Again, this is a high tech VCR with a lot of other bells and whistles that you have to adjust your expectations to (the HD tuner is actually an expandable card slot, sort of; who knows, maybe this can be changed out some day). To me and my needs it is a magic box but to others it may not fit what you want. Overall I would say if you have been looking into a device like this and understand what it can/can't do, I say take the plunge. For just about four bills from Digital Connection (thanks, Kei!) the value of this thing can't be beat right now.


Happy Shopping,

(and thanks for reading, if you came this far!)

Samas
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaslug79 /forum/post/16002495

The EPG


This could use some work. Not only does it not really give you a lot of information, but the basic UI is pretty broken. Instead of anything like your standard TV guide setup (which I'm pretty sure TVG doesn't have a patent on, if just in a display mode for goodness sake), you have this odd "dates and channels across the top with the limited programming listed below" thing going on that is just a bear to navigate. Add in the fact that you get a preview window on the left that actually changes channels when you scroll through stations, and this is a pretty broken EPG.

Gemstar TVGuide (now Macrovision) owns patents on the traditional program guide. No one can integrate a traditional program guide in a commercial product unless they pay to license those patents.


Comcast, Dish Network, DirecTV, and TiVo all pay (or paid) to license those patents. DViCO did not license those patents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaslug79 /forum/post/16002495


Supposedly you get up to 7 days worth of programming listed, but in my use so far I haven't seen even close to this (try maybe 7 hours).


There are also some stations that show absolutely nothing in the programming space (hello, PBS) and what appears when can be wildly unpredictable. However, when it does work you can set a quick recording schedule for a program from here and that worked out fine (I grabbed a random Tonight Show using this method, simply because it actually showed up on the EPG). This is definitely an area Dvico is going to have to work on if they expect this to be a viable feature.

Many broadcasters offer 8-48 hours worth of program information. Few offer more than 48 hours at this time.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaslug79 /forum/post/16002495


(and thanks for reading, if you came this far!)

Samas

Thanks for posting! One of these DVICO boxes is on my "possible purchase" list for later in the year, so the detailed information that you supplied is definitely appreciated.


A couple of minor questions:


1. Is it possible to playback one program while another is recording? (And related -- playing back a program while it is still recording)


2. Is it possible to set recurring recordings, where it will record the same time/channel week after week?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Desmond /forum/post/16006212


1. Is it possible to playback one program while another is recording? (And related -- playing back a program while it is still recording)


2. Is it possible to set recurring recordings, where it will record the same time/channel week after week?

1. You know, at first I thought this question was referring to the whole "single tuner" disadvantage, but I think you're asking if you can play a recorded file while the box is recording another show? The answer to that question is no; basically when the box is recording it pretty much locks down all the features/buttons. Just about the only thing you can do when it is recording is hit the stop button, change to another mode (and thus stop the recording), or watch what it is recording.


2. So far my experiments with recurring recordings have gone well. Like I said, I record Sesame Street Mon-Fri and this has gone well. There are other selections for recurring times but I don't remember all of them. It seems pretty flexible though. Since the EPG is pretty painful, this is actually the best way to record a show consistently (or at least the one I've used the most).


Also, this kind of response from Dvico makes me hopeful for future improvements down the line:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaslug79 /forum/post/0


When setting a scheduled recording, you can set the mode to either Watching or Recording. So far I haven't found a use for the Watching mode. It seems to just turn on the box and do nothing else.


What I would like is for the Watching mode to actually be a "start time-shift buffer" at the scheduled time. This way I could set a schedule and it would start time-shifting, then I could start watching at my leisure and be able to time-shift the broadcast.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dvico guy /forum/post/0


Hello Sam,

This function will support with next firmware- auto start the timeshfting.

At this moment, you may think watching mode to just Alarm.

Complete with Engrish! I love me some back and forth with these guys and their Engrish. It's awesome. Seriously though, every question/comment I've submitted to Dvico through their website so far has been answered promptly. Even if their customer service is an illusion like this, it's a nice illusion!
 

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Kei


Are you aware of any firmware update issues with the R2210 when it gets upgraded to v1.5.2?


I recently purchased an R2210 and had been getting used to it's performance over the last week. My initial impressions were very good with it's capability to operate as a stand alone PVR for OTA ATSC.


This weekend I decided to update the firmware to the latest version on Dvico's website; v1.5.4. I received the unit with version showing as v1.4.2. I have done these updates on a number of Dvico units I have owned over the years so I am aware of the caution to be used during an update.


I started the update, it correctly identified the update as version 1.5.4, and started updating. Everything was proceeding normally up to when the process bar reached about 65 to 70%. The unit turned it self off and then back on again. External power was not interrupted from what I could verify. At this point I was afraid that the unit cycling power before 100% completion was bad. I had hoped that it was done updating and that the bar was wrong.


After powering back up, the unit freezes at the TVX logo and goes no further. Just what I was worried would happen. I am sure power was not interrupted during the upgrade attempt because I had a monitor on connected to the same outlet and it showed no signs of a power interruption.


Could you suggest anything that I can do to research this further or does this sound like it has to be returned? I just wanted to bring this to your attention just in case there is something wrong the firmware on Dvico's site, or some step of the procedure. I would hate to see more people get stuck with this scenario if there is something wrong with the update firmware or procedure.


Thanks for any help you can provide.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsjedrze /forum/post/16048988


Kei


Are you aware of any firmware update issues with the R2210 when it gets upgraded to v1.5.2?

Please try recovering the firmware with the link bananaslug provided and let me know if its successful. If not, we can arrange to send you an exchange unit with the firmware upgraded already.


One thing to keep in mind for those that are upgrading, I know that there is an issue with the other TVIX boxes in that as the firmware increases in size, it becomes necessary to free up all the memory before proceeding with the upgrade. I dont' know if there are similar issues with the R models, but to be on the safe side, make sure you reboot the unit before proceeding with the upgrade.
 

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For anyone wanting to be part of a test program to help develop the features for the HDTV tuner, we have a promotional price that you maybe interested in. The only stipulation is that you're involved in the discussions on the tuner performance in your area and assistance in providing file output of any problem stations you may encounter. This will be available for a limited time and quantity. If you're interested, use the link below:

http://www.digitalconnection.com/pro...avs_promos.asp


Remember, there are no guides except that which is provided by the broadcaster as PSIP, and that is not one of the functions for which we are testing.
 
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