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Magic Pvr Arrived Today


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#1 Tassie Devil

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 03:06 PM

OK folks, this PVR is fine. Despite a small label on the box saying it is a 3700, my appraisal is it IS a 4000. It has "Freeview" plastered everywhere and that should mean no SKIP function (to jump through ads) BUT this unit does have a working skip option. It is simple to program recordings from the EPG and appears to have a reasonably sensitive tuner (important for here). No PIP function but it does have s-video out for feeds to a DVDR, a feature being omitted on many new recorders. I have not bothered with a wireless dongle but did hardwire it in on set up.

So guys, if you want an HD PVR with a massive 1 TB HDD, this is a huge bargain - the best I've ever seen. :rolleyes:

I'll report back later on how it settles in.

John

Here is the link: http://junglejumble....-n-adaptor.html

#2 Tober27

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 04:13 PM

I picked one up too, and like it a lot as a 2nd recording unit.
Can give more details/thoughts if anyone is interested.

Edited by Tober27, 13 July 2011 - 03:51 PM.


#3 DrP

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 04:44 PM

See if you can give the freeview epg 'accurate' recording feature a whirl. Interested to know if the data is any more useful there than it is here.

This post has been edited by a giant wombat: Today, 4:43 PM

#4 cwt

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 06:31 PM

Hi John ; notice it has a pixel magic deinterlacer/scaler by the looks; very nice depending on implementation :) Does it also have a source direct mode for the video ? Look forward to your thoughts ;)

#5 Tassie Devil

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:40 AM

Further Edit 29/07/2011 (now had this PVR in use for several weeks). Thanks for further contributions by others - now included below.

Is it a 3700 or 4000?
First up there is confusion about which model is being sold at this low price. The sticker on the box and on the base of the unit clearly says "3700" and it has a big and obscene "FREEVIEW" logo on the front of the player. As I understand it licencing use of this labeling implies no skip function & some other crippling (not sure what) that we usually avoid like the plague. It appears the firmware is not freeview and is that of the 4000, meaning it does have a functioning skip function and it is even on the remote. All a bit confusing, and the 3700 label certainly means it would be harder to get a good resale price, but against that it has been already depreciated to the low $299 price so as a new machine is a bargain. Prices for this PVR vary a lot on the net and it does seem many are most likely reprogrammed 3700's rather than 4000's - all very confusing.

The differences between the two models are the following "improvements" of the 4000 over the 3700:
• Magic TV™ EPG and menus throughout
• Export recordings
• Expand your recording capacity
• Edit recordings
• Skip ads, using the more flexible skip function

However, study of the "Owner's Guide" (something we all try to avoid) reveals there is no danger of any firmware being inadvertently installed which will cause it to revert to crippled FREEVIEW status.
What happens is that if connected to the net either hardwired or by dongle etc, it will download any updated freeware but will not install it without permission. So we can relax on that score. rolleyes.gif

Set Up
Tuning in the channels was straightforward although I stopped it too soon (to avoid tuning in a repeater station) so did have to hunt around in the menu awhile to find where to retune. You can assign favourite channels to the numeric keys on the remote eg. One to 1, Seven to 7, WIN to 9 etc etc.

This PVR runs quite cool and does not need any attention using computer fans - because there is no mains transformer inside it runs on 12V from a laptop like power brick.

Tuner Sensitivity
This appears to be up with the best and no problems have been experienced so far. All channels here are showing good strength and quality. Further use suggests that the tuner sensitivity is even slightly better than the Topfield 7100 - the best unit here to date.

The Remote
It is a decent size and holds 4 AAA batteries. I guess you would get used to it but the layout of the play, stop etc buttons does not appeal to me. However that is no bother here as all functions are transferred to the programmable HTM 850 - no problems were experienced "learning" the codes. Others have reported no problems with Harmony remotes either.

Video Quality
This appears to be extraordinarily good and first impressions are it is even slightly better than the Topfield at an output setting of 1080P. I inadvertently set recordings for SD SBS instead of HD but the PQ appeared to be very close to, if not as good as I record from HD satellite. Recording on SD commercial channel was very crisp and clear. The only minor downside I have seen is a tendency for too much red in some complexions giving a "ruddy" appearance. Puzzling as it is not on all faces and is not always evident so is not a significant negative.

Setting Recordings up via EPG
This is dead simple. If it is tuned to the channel you want to set up, press GUIDE, move to the item to be recorded, press the red R button once to set it, press that red button again to make the setting a daily, weekly etc one - very nice & easy. If there is no conflict it automatically adds 10 minutes to that setting and that can be changed as it can generate unnecessary conflicts. You can get around that by going backwards timewise in setting timers as it then no longer adds times if ity is likely to cause conflict.

Playing Back, Editing & Deleting Files
VERY easy. One press of the "PLAY" button immediately reveals the file list. Locate the one wanted and "PLAY" will set it playing. If you use "OK"it opens a window with choices of resume play, playing from the start, delete, move to folder etc.
It has a number of folders already set up and files can be moved to them. However managing those folders does not appear to be simple and is not easily navigated through the menus. I cannot see how to rename a folder although you can disable it to achieve much the same effect and you can rename a file fairly easily.

Deleting a file is achieve with one button press (no check box) but all is not lost as it merely is moved to another folder called "TRASH" so it can be retrieved if any mistake is made. However it does mean that every so often housekeeping to empty the trash can is needed.

FF is not as good as on some PVRs with a 30X maximum. The right and left navigator buttons jump you forward or back by 5 minutes to quickly move through a file. This PVR has the most skip functions I've seen on a PVR. Using the button labelled "skip" jumps forward 30 seconds but press "1" and it jumps ahead 1 minute, "2" 2 minutes etc right up to "9" for 9 minutes. This makes short work of the ads. :rolleyes: The skip function is instantaneous although there is a minor time lag in between repeated applications. This button is clearly labelled on the remote as it the skip back. Most ergonomic.

When a file play is stopped, you are taken back to the menu of file lists. Deletion of the file with the "clear" button immediately sends the file to a trash can where it can be later retrieved or finally deleted as previously described.

If you have only viewed part of the recorded file and/or want to keep it then there is a "LIVE" button which takes you back to the TV channel. Accessing the file again you have a menu selection of continue play, start again etc.

Editing is fairly simple and you can then copy the edited file to archive it into a folder if you like. With a 1 TB HDD archiving on HDD is a proposition as it has very large capacity. Personally I prefer to download to a DVDR to edit & archive while others might prefer the PC for this. Anyway, the Magic does have a reasonable editing function for those who would like to use it.

You can copy to an external drive, or USB stick, provided it's capacity is large enough. File sizes are pretty big, several GB for a 1-hour show.

HDMI Audio Quirk
No problems with video BUT it the receiving item it not switched on first, there will be no audio via HDMI unless it is kicked into life through the menu.

The Wireless Donger
The wireless donger was a minor challenge until it was realised that the alpha-numberic keys circulate - e.g. "2" goes a b c A B C and "0" goes space 0. This made entering in the wireless security key (they call it "PASSPHRASE") a bit challenging to intellectually impaired owners like me. But overall it is a useless toy so don't bother wasting money on it.

So overall it seems to be a very capable PVR if all you are interested in is FTA TV. It will also play HD camcorder AVCHD and HDV files. The Owner's Guide is actually readable and helpful :lol:

For the price it is a winner! :rolleyes: :D


John

Edited by Tassie Devil, 29 July 2011 - 11:49 AM.


#6 DrP

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:34 AM

Anyway it appears the firmware is not freeview and is that of the 4000, meaning it does have a functioning skip function and it is even on the remote.

Bummer. I was hoping to be able to see how a 'freeview' EPG equipped PVR would behave in someone else's part of the world - ie, is the EPG etc data any more useful in another part of the country than it is here.

#7 Tassie Devil

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 02:46 PM

Bit slow getting back to this thread - power outage (a planned one) most of the day.

Anyway I rang Alex and asked what was the story behind the 3700 & Freeview bit. Well it turns out that manufacturers have to pay $30,000 for the Freeview privilege and what that does is give access to deathly slow EPG by wireless -= something supposedly more accurate than the alternative EPG. It also blocks the skip function and does not allow feeds out of USB. Upshot is that manufacturers are finding Freeview PVRs not selling very well so Magic decided to put in firmware so the normal skip etc functions are ok - hence the 4000.

If you are crazily inclined you can download the firmware for the unit to convert it to Freeview BUT you cannot revert back to the 4000 status without returning it to the factory.

The other interesting tit bit is that retailers (in particular Hardly Normal) are getting very toey about the discounts now being offered on those once highly profitable PVRs. This is why HN are getting out of the Magic breed and some others. Distributors are getting highly pressurised to maintain higher retail prices but fortunately the net is breaking that system down.

So, there you are, an apparently very good PVR at a rock bottom price ;) . We will see how it works out longer term.

John

#8 DrP

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 02:49 PM

The EPG is part of the digital TV broadcast, but it does take a long time to populate due to the silly way its transmitted and you do have to wait for an applet to load and execute each time you want to view it so it isn't that flash.

#9 Tober27

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 04:02 PM

Just a couple of quick notes. As the features were covered very well above.

What bothered my most is that after setting up my favourite channels, removing duplicates and audio stations, they seem to reappear later, and I don't know why.
Not a big issue, but annoying.

I wasn't aware you could change the quality of recordings, but Tassie Devil seems to have done this, lowered HD recording to SD? So maybe I should check this. Otherwise, being able to copy to USB is fine, but the files are quite large.

A tip, for one-touch access to your recorded programs, just press the Play button.
And deleting files isn't so scary, as it just moves them to a trash folder, where they can be recovered if deleted by accident. Which is useful, as I did this once already.

My "main" recorder is a Panasonic BW850, which I find much simpler for editing recordings and storing programs in folders, but for a secondary recorder I like the the MagicTV unit a lot.

Edited by Tober27, 13 July 2011 - 04:03 PM.


#10 pgdownload

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 04:12 PM

The Freeview EPG isn't 'wireless'. It embedded in the TV broadcast itself. A the moment its little better than the standard EPG. Its anticipated that the Freeview EPG will enable badged machines to get up to the minute recording information to enable it to do things like reliably series record or automatically extend a timer if a show goes over time. So far this hasn't eventuated. Cleverer PVRs actually save the EPG to harddrive so you don't have to reload it channel by channel every time its turned back on. I'm not sure if Freeview devices can do this though. Its also rpetty uncertain if any of these features eventuate that existing PVRs will be updated to take advantage of them.

I wasn't aware you could change the quality of recordings, but Tassie Devil seems to have done this

You can't change recording quality settings on a PVR (you can set the output resolution however however that won't improve the PQ at all)

Regards

Peter Gillespie

#11 DM Dave

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 04:23 PM

Tassie Devil recorded SD SBS channel instead of the HD SBS channel.

#12 Tassie Devil

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 04:38 PM

Tassie Devil recorded SD SBS channel instead of the HD SBS channel.


And you have just reminded me to go and change it.

One little feature I also like - it tells you how many hours are available on the HDD (it gives it for HD & SD) for more recordings - not really an issue with a 1 TB HDD but interesting to know.

John

#13 heyhey

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 05:51 PM

Nice review there John. In the specs it says FF FR up to 64x
Is there a padding option for timer programs? ie Set timer to start 5 mins before program and keep recording 10 mins later than epg programmed time
Was it free postage?

#14 DM Dave

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 06:27 PM

If it is labeled Freeview and model 3700,what is to stop an over the air software update reversing the model 4000 software?I'm just wary of anything to do with Freeview, not trying to be a stick in the mud.

What is it like heat wise?

Reckon you have a good buy there and wish you the best.

Understand it was free postage from the link you provided.

#15 pgdownload

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 07:03 PM

If it is labeled Freeview and model 3700,what is to stop an over the air software update reversing the model 4000 software?

Consumer law and simple self interest. If you buy something with certain capabilities and then it turns out the device can't perform those capabilities (for any reason) then you're entitled to a refund. Other than that, Freeview is a very (very) long way from having any sort of market dominance. The day they arbitrarily restrict users functionality is the day they essentially lose the PR campaign.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

#16 DM Dave

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 07:15 PM

Fully agree with those sentiments.The question,unfortunately,remains.

#17 Tober27

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 07:17 PM

Tassie Devil recorded SD SBS channel instead of the HD SBS channel.



Yes, I guessed that after I posted.
This is my first PVR as opposed to DVR, I guess.

You can buffer the recordings with predetermined increments. You can set it to add 15 minutes to every recording, for example, so you don't have to adjust it each time.

#18 DM Dave

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 07:50 PM

Hi Tober27,

Just attemptin' to assist.Oddly,with the junk on "HD" channels I'd prefer to record to PVR in SD,unless HD actually warranted.Would save a lot of HDD space.As PG pointed out,not to be.

I sidestepped DVRs by initially using a Leadtek WinFast DTV1000 in my PC.Then onto SD PVRs a bit over 7 years ago.HD PVRs 13 months ago.

There have been some real dodgey duals and some very borderline ones.Good to see something at a realistic price that seems to work OK.

We have been taken to the cleaners too often with overpriced or under performing HD PVRS.This unit seems to hit the Goldilocks sweet spot.Hope so anyway.Good luck!

#19 cwt

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:17 PM

Nice review there John. In the specs it says FF FR up to 64x
Is there a padding option for timer programs? ie Set timer to start 5 mins before program and keep recording 10 mins later than epg programmed time
Was it free postage?

Needed to know about pre padding as well heyhey [as well as source direct for the video;it can be configured for 576i at least] so hunted for the manual.The answer is yes as tober implied :) Some very nice options that appear to alter the colour space per channel thanks to the pixel magic chip as well ;)

http://www.freeviewn...rs_Guide_v1.pdf

#20 DrP

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 05:39 AM

If it is labeled Freeview and model 3700,what is to stop an over the air software update reversing the model 4000 software?

The receiver's current firmware, ie if the receiver considers itself to be a 4000 model it won't install an OTA update for a 3700 model. This is further supported by the fact that according to the manufacturer, once 4000 firmware is installed by the owner it is not possible to revert to 3700 firmware without a trip to the factory (where presumably they lift the lid, plug into a connector on the PCB and reload the firmware that way).

Edited by DrP, 14 July 2011 - 05:41 AM.


#21 Tassie Devil

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 08:11 AM

If it is labeled Freeview and model 3700,what is to stop an over the air software update reversing the model 4000 software?I'm just wary of anything to do with Freeview, not trying to be a stick in the mud.

What is it like heat wise?

Reckon you have a good buy there and wish you the best.

Understand it was free postage from the link you provided.


No, not free postage, but a reasonable $17 odd. That was via Aust. Post so it took over a week to get here (over Bass Strait added at least 2 more days).

AFAIK there is no way firmware can be altered automatically. Maybe it could be downloaded, but it would need to be installed by an operator.

Heatwise it is about normal for a PVR => there is heat, but not as much as some.

John

#22 Tassie Devil

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 08:17 AM

Nice review there John. In the specs it says FF FR up to 64x
Is there a padding option for timer programs? ie Set timer to start 5 mins before program and keep recording 10 mins later than epg programmed time
Was it free postage?

As in my review,. there is an auto timing padding after of 10 mins - and that can be altered. Not sure about any padding before but it is rare for a program to start ahead of time. Yes it happens, but it is not as crucial as getting the ending.

30X was all I could get the other night but I'll double check tonight (I was away last night).

Postage around $17.

John

#23 Grampus

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 08:49 AM

but it is rare for a program to start ahead of time. Yes it happens, but it is not as crucial as getting the ending.

M.A.S.H. always started 2 minutes before 5.
That first scene was something I hated missing.
But I guess that's pretty much the only one that I was concerned about.

#24 Tassie Devil

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 09:47 AM

M.A.S.H. always started 2 minutes before 5.
That first scene was something I hated missing.
But I guess that's pretty much the only one that I was concerned about.

I've only been caught out that way a couple of times. If it is consistent for any particular program them manual timer entry would be a fix.

GENERAL COMMENT: I'm told there is a warehouse full of these Magic PVRs so where I purchased it is likely to have a good supply for some time yet. However I see wildly differing prices being asked for the Magic so, if JungleJumbie can make a profit at $299, you can see there is still price gouging going on with PVR sales. Even "Catch of the Day" were in the act last week with an asking price much higher.

John

#25 CarlR

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 12:42 PM

Thanks John and Tober for your info.

Do either of you know if the Network port can be used to export recordings to a computer? The specs say that you can Export recordings via USB ...but exporting recordings via USB could mean only to an external drive, not to a computer, which then means more handling to get it to a computer.

Does anyone know what format the files will be in? I have read the specs, but I'm not clear on the storage container/format. I guess I'm asking will I be able to play it on a regular media player and/or my Topfield TRF2400?

Carl