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Discussion Starter #1
My 5 year old DTV Tuner Box for my TV blew out the other day and because the TV and VCR are still working I didn't want to trash either of them. It turns out the DTV Boxes are still being sold.

In searching for a replacement box I came across this:

This unit also features record capability, in manual, programmable and time shift modes, onto standard thumb drives or external USB hard drives. Recorded video may be played back on most PC's or directly through the DT-1200. In addition to recorded video, this unit will also playback numerous audio, image and video file formats. Multiple digital and analog A/V outputs provide up to 1080i video, and 5.1 Dolby Digital audio.

Standard 75Ω coaxial cable input allows connection all types of television antennas, and multiple outputs are provided, allowing compatibility with virtually any television set and most monitors. The 75Ω output connection can be configured to act as either a feed through RF connection, or a modulated NTSC CH3/4 output.


So this is a TV Tuner Box that can record to a memory stick. I ordered one and hope to have it next week... I'll let you know if it's any good.


Bob Diaz
 

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Hook an external drive to it and you're good to go. Wonder if it would work between a Tivo box and the TV....:wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It will take a USB drive, but USB Memory sticks are getting larger and cheaper. A SamDisk 64GB is now only $40. It should hold more than 8 hours worth of material and doesn't make any noise or have to spin-up.


Bob Diaz
 

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Sort of related... Since I don't have cable as an option and I'm not paying for satellite TV, I wanted to be able to schedule OTA digital broadcast recordings for later playback. One of the least expensive units I could find was this Magnavox from Amazon:

Amazon.com : Magnavox MDR533H/F7 HDD/DVD Recorder : Digital Video Recorders : Electronics


The menuing system looks like it's from the early 90s, but it actually does it what it claims. I had to get an amplified digital antenna to pull in those distant stations, but I can now pick up all the major networks and record the shows I want to watch.
 

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This looks great! I've been using a WD TV Live HD media player for a few years now. I use it daily and really like it. But, I might give it to my Mom. The WD doesn't have record capability and costs more.

I'ma gonna buy one, although there are some video formats it doesn't support that I'd like to see on it. Perhaps a firmware upgrade down the road.

Use promo code AFC909 and the tuner is $84.48 delivered. But, it is back ordered for 22 days.
 

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Bob, when did you order? I've got one in my checkout cart and there's a note that it's back ordered for 22 days.

The description makes it sound like a nice device. I guess I'll go ahead and get the ball rolling if it's going to take that long.

Anyone else interested, use promo code AFC909 to save $12 ... almost covers shipping cost of $16.49.

Bob, we'll be watching for your first impressions. You might have bought the last one they had on hand.

EDIT: On a closer look I realized this device is an actual tuner, intended for broadcast TV use, not a cable box. I believe it would function between the cable box and the monitor. But, the tuner function would be irrelevant and the cable box would have to have its channel changed manually in order to record the desired program. <sigh>

It might still be useful in that function. But, a more simple (i.e., lacking tuner function), but otherwise similar recording device would better fit my needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I ordered it on late Friday, one week ago, it just arrived today. The box will decode non-scrambled cable TV feeds. However, even if you just used it to record over the air broadcasts, it is well worth the cost.

The user guide is less than ideal, but in playing with the box, you'll figure it out. The box records in .MTS format. Because I do a lot of editing I have the conversion program (Toast for the MAC) to put the file in a better format for my use. It will record in the format of the broadcast, so a 480i broadcast is recorded that way and a 720p is recorded that that format.

There's a lot more tests I want to run, but so far it's looking really good.



Bob Diaz
 

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I've been doing a lot of tests, but first here's some photos:









In looking at the files it generates, it has the name of the channel, followed by -MMDDYYY-TIME.mts The file will be up to 536.7MB and if it's any longer the second, third, ... will be .mts2, mts3, ...

There is a split second, maybe 1 second, lost between the closing of one file and the opening of another. On playback you may see a brief jump every 4 to 24 minutes. The time depends on what the bit rate of the broadcast is.

The file is recorded in MPEG-2 format, which suggests that they are taking the MPEG-2 broadcast and wrapping it into a .mps file. This is good, because they do not appear to be decoding and re-compressing it, which would result a drop in image quality every time we un-compress and re-compress.

The user guide is somewhat limited, but the menus are easy to figure out. If you bring up the EPG (Electronic Program Guide), it's easy to scroll through a listing and pick the program you want to record. Once you pick it, you can edit the start and end times, if you want it to start recording before the program or keep recording after the listed end time.

The current version of the firmware does have an odd bug and the time is 3 hours and a few days off. Oddly enough, the EPG is also 3 hours and a few days off, so even if it reads at the wrong day and time, the correct program is recorded.

While there are a few odd quarks to the unit, I'm happy with my purchase so far.


Bob Diaz
 

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I too am contemplating going with a DT-1200.

What results are you having so far Bob D ? Thanks. A2Jack
 

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RE: So BobDiaz, after a bit of time under your belt with this, what do you think?
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RE: What results are you having so far Bob D ? Thanks. A2Jack

The device is working very well and I like recording onto a solid state memory stick. Now there is a slight drop between when it closes one file and opens another, but its' not too bad.

Here's my full review:

The Stellar Labs DT-1200 HD ATSC TV Tuner works very well as a tuner and does a good job of receiving signals. The reason for picking this model over other models is that it will record to a USB device. I record to a 64GB memory stick and that works very well.

The recordings are to a .MTS format file that contains the original MPEG-2 broadcast. It looks like they take the broadcast as received and wrap it into the MTS file without any changes to the compression or the resolution. The largest file size is 536.7 MB and if additional time is needed, a new file with the same name is opened as "MTS2", "MTS3", ...

There appears to be a short jump in the recording as the old file is closed and the new file is opened. You can expect this to occur about every 4 to 24 minutes depending on the data rate of the broadcast signal. The jump is a minor issue.

Overall I'm very happy with my purchase and any complaints are very minor issues. It's very easy to set a recording, just bring up the EPG (Electronic Program Guide), switch to the channel I want, scroll down, and press Enter. This brings up a window that allows me to make changes to the setting, like change the start and end times. The on screen prompts really help tell you what your options are.


Minor Gripes:

I wish the User's Manual was better written. It does cover the basic features, but is unclear in many areas. I had to play with the box to figure it out and I'm still discovering new things.

The channel number displayed on the box is the memory number of where the channel is stored, not the channel number. This is odd, because the box could have displayed the channel number.

When recording a show, there's no indication on the box that it's recording, unless your USB device has a blinking red LED that lights up when being accessed. Also, there's no indication that the box is waiting to record something.

When turned off, the box displays time in the 24 hour format and I can't find a way to display it in 12 hour format.


The Bottom Line:

Just accept the fact that nothing is perfect and you'll find the DT-1200 to be worth having and using. If you're like me, you'll be temped to purchase a second unit to put on the other TVs.

See: Stellar Labs Digital Television Tuner / Recorder with HDMI and Component Output | DT-1200 (DT1200) | Stellar Labs


Bob Diaz
 

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Thanks Bob, I wonder if the iView 3500STB is using the same chipset... They appear to be pretty much the same other than the box.. and then again.. the box might be the same other than the logo or print. The iView has a a pretty good price. Thanks for your feedback!!
 
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