Sunday, July 1, 2007

Usage and Performance (Box #2)

  • This unit seems to have issues when transitioning from one program to another or back to the live tuner. Not just the crashing/freezing mentioned below (Problem #1). Even when it doesn't crash, it is jittery and takes a few seconds before being totally responsive... The Motorolas were more swift in their transitions.
  • Speaking of which, some of the slowness and flakiness of the Motorolas in terms of remote responsiveness seem to not be happening as much with this guy.
  • Similar in usability to the Motorolas, but not exactly the same.
  • The front-panel LCD (or LED) screen is cool, you can tell which tuner(s) is/are recording as REC1 and REC2 light up. It also graphically shows some other operations such as playback (with green arrow), message in inbox (green envelope), and remote signal being receiving. The POWER letters are blue when the device is running, and red when it is rebooting or otherwise unavailable but powered on... However, it does not show the time or the channel number, even though that option is available in the Setup Menu. You can see some of them in the picture below:

  • When everything else is quiet (eg middle of the night) there is a hard-disk-spinning noise at times. It's not loud and not annoying, but you can hear it.
  • For those switching from the Motorolas, the user interface is exactly the same. You may even forget you got a different box.
  • When returning to a live tuner from watching a pre-recorded program, the green play arrow is on on the front panel display of the device, even though it's a live tuner. Pressing the LIVE button on the remote makes the green button disappear (as it should)
  • When recording on both tuners and watching another pre-recorded program there is noticable slowness. This is a bit different from the Motorola boxes when they experience their remote control erratic responsiveness. Actually the Pace slowness is more organic than the Motorolas. The Motorolas seems to be a bit more erratic.
  • The audio levels on Stereo are lower than the Motorola boxes. Switching to TV Speakers makes it louder for the TV, but not for other sources. The audio level is also much lower from the RF cable output of the same channel, so it's clearly the box.
  • Btw, my SNR (in [03 OOB Status] is ranging from 21.5 to 23.3, which the displays says [Good] but I have no clue what the range of values is. The SNR in [04 In Band Status] is 35.1 [Good].
  • One thing that I didnt notice before is that with Option [24. Content Listing] of the Diagnostics Menu , you can go through the recording files one by one and brihg up a long page of info on the files, including file size, duration, digital copy permission (!), average bit rate, etc, etc. This is cool stuff, I'll play with them more later!... Lots of screenshots from the Diagnostic Menus have been added

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