I couldn't find much information about this box in the description here, or by searching online, so I've put lots of info here which I've learned, that I would have wanted to know before buying this item:
Boot-up and shutdown is very fast, under 5 seconds, better than any other DVRs out there, and faster than your TV turns on. The LCD display is completely useless, and best covered with black electrical tape!
Channel changing, and every other task is a bit slow and laggy, but entirely tolerable if you aren't expecting a very high-end device.
OTA/antenna TV reception is good, perhaps just slightly better than my TV.
Signal strength/quality meter unfortunately doesn't beep at all, making it a poor choice when aiming an antenna, but it minimally works.
The display size / aspect ratio selection option is extremely difficult to understand but with trial-and-error you'll figure it out, and there's no option to set it on a per-channel basis, nor a quick/easy button on the remote that will let you go through the different modes as you go from channel to channel. This is unfortunate.
Cable / Clear-QaM reception minimally works, but it doesn't receive the PSIP or EPG information, unlike my TV. This makes the EPG/guide and INFO useless, and channels are randomly numbered, with stations like NBC7 actually found on channel 99-135. This is an incredible hassle, and seems impossible to keep straight with so many channels. This issue makes this box vastly less useful for cable subscribers, and I would suggest buying something else if QaM reception is what you need. You CAN still schedule recordings by manually typing in clock times and keeping track of which station maps to which 6-digit channel number, but that's no fun at all! Also, auto-programming will save all the encrypted QaM channels in the lineup as well, and you're left, stuck manually deleting several hundred blank channels, one by one.
Digital and Analog pass-through/loop-through works fine, both when this box is on, and when turned-off, which is a common issue with other similar boxes from IVIEW and HomeWorx.
The user interface is clumsy and horribly inconsistent. In one sub-menu, you hit 4 to delete items, in another you hit 3 instead, and in yet another you use the EPG button. Why???
You CAN record one channel, while watching any other sub-channels on the same frequency. So if you're recording channel 7-1, you can watch channel 7-2, channel 7-3, etc., without interrupting the recording. On an antenna, this may give you up to 9 channels to watch, and on cable could offer hundreds. But you can NOT enter the menu to change any options, nor EPG to see what's coming up next, without interrupting the recording. You'll either get an alert that you're in recording or timeshift mode, or it will pop-up message asking whether you want to stop recording, and you can continue or cancel.
Picture quality is very good, except when using RF output (channel 3 or 4) the on-screen has nasty, blurry ghosting, though the program looks fine.
This box has several outputs on the back. HDMI, composite video (yellow) and stereo audio left/right (white/red), and RF (coax/antenna) in and out. Slightly more expensive boxes like the IVIEW also provide spdif digital audio output (for a surround-sound system), and composite output (for very old HDTVs without HDMI inputs) if you want or need those.
Auto-programming with OTA/air/antenna completely missed my *single strongest channel*, and "manual channel add" took a half-dozen repeated attempts before it finally picked-it up and added it (after which the channel comes in perfectly). If this going to be your only digital tuner, you may be missing several strong TV stations, and you'll never have any way to know it, unless you check the signal strength on every channel, and repeatedly try adding it to the list. This box also doesn't tell you which real/RF channel maps to which virtual channels, which can be invaluable info whenever you need to reprogram this box. A site like tvfool which provides it can be quite valuable.
Playback from USB is a bit clumsy, with needing to hit the HOLD button all the time to switch the video to full-screen and other random buttons to navigate folders, and more. It's odd the way MOVIE playback won't show the DVR/recorded programs, and the DVR mode won't show the other video files. Worse is that options like RENAME and DELETE work for DVR/recorded files, but not any other ones, even though I'd love to have them.
For some reason, this box doesn't play back 1080i MPEG-2 videos I dumped/recorded from OTA broadcasts via another DVR (ie. my computer), even after naming them properly so they show up under the USB/DVR playback option. Other video formats like MPEG-4 ASP and H.264 work just fine in MOVIE mode, so it's just going to require conversion.
Clock is 24-hour time only (midnight is 00:00 while 11pm is 23:00), with no way to change it. This could be quite difficult to get used-to, particularly if you regularly type-in recording times manually. Often, you'll instinctively type in something like "09:00" when you really meant 9pm, which should be "21:00".
Other reviewers have said the time-zones are an hour-off, but this is NOT true. Instead, the box just doesn't keep track of daylight savings time start/end dates. You just have to go in, twice a year, and toggle the DST times setting to ON or OFF as needed.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you! You have successfully submitted feedback for this review.