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6945 posts

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# 40031 24-Aug-2009 10:32
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Hi,

I initially spotted this when I was looking for a cheap Satellite STB with HDMI output.
Turns out it does PVR recording too.
Just wonder if anyone here has tried one of these DishTV S7050 PVR STB's?

http://www.dishtvsupport.co.nz/products/

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106 posts

Master Geek
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# 252595 2-Sep-2009 14:53
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I'm interested in one of these boxes too but can't find any reviews on them apart from this little snippet:

http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?biz.5.777001.8

I don't really want to be the 2nd ever person to buy one but might have to...can someone please ellaborate on how this unit performs or indeed a link to a review somewhere?

TIA

Kerry.

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Wannabe Geek


  # 253821 7-Sep-2009 18:55

I bought one today.
It looks a bit 1980's but quite passable. For the price, what the hell, and you can't really see it when it is tucked away anyway. It doesn't bother me.
It took me most of the day to get it tuned in and running - there was much cussing. The device seems fine but the documentation is shocking - really bad. It is full of acronyms which I have no idea what they are. There is no easy use guidelines and it assumes you were the person who invented the device. The on-screen menu, whilst looking fine, isn't intuiitive - you can't tell how to record something from looking at it.
The USB drive drive was very straightforward to connect and format, but how the hell you get it to record something on it I have no idea. I am off to the website shortly to have a look.
Overall it appears to do what it says but I just haven't figured out how to actually make it work fully yet. If I was you I would hold off. I will come back as soon as poss. and let you know how I got on.

 
 
 
 


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Wannabe Geek


  # 253839 7-Sep-2009 20:13

Further to my earlier post this evening.
I have been to the website and the documentation is just a pdf of the one in the box. So not much to be gained there.
I have played around with it a bit more in the last hour and I think I may have cracked how to record somethng - it's like the Da Vinic Code. The menu is not intuitive at all. I have set a program to record later whilst watching another one at the same time, so we shall see how it goes. So far I am not dissapointed with my purchase, but annoyed at the documentation.
Incidenatlly I submitted a query this afternoon to Dish TV asking how to tune Prime (it isn't set up out of the box). I have just received an email with instructions so I am happy with the support (4hrs response) at this stage. I did actually figure it out by myself in that time, but I have to say I think it was more luck than skill.
I will let you know how it goes.



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  # 253965 8-Sep-2009 09:22
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Thanks a lot for posting your comments here.  This box seems to be the best option pricewise to get an hdmi equipped sat box.  It's very frustrating though, in that whilst everything comes from China etc these days you would have hoped they'd get some help with the menu system before putting their product up for sale.

My receiver can not upscale analogue video/audio to hdmi output so I have to have devices that output hdmi if I want to get away with just the one hdmi cable going to the tv/projector from the receiver.  That's why I was initially interested in this box for the price.

Does the audio and video both come out of the hdmi port?

Cheers.

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  # 253966 8-Sep-2009 09:22
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Thanks for the info. Getgripped!

I downloaded the manual the other week so can share your amazement at how @#$~! the manual is and no doubt you've just left things to chance and worked things out for yourself and making some great progress too by the sounds of it.

It will be interested to see how you get on with the recording side of things.

I have since gone and bought a cheap SD PVR from 1-day.co.nz for $99 so will see how that goes but really I wanted to go HD (upscaled) which is where the S7050 came into it - depending on your feedback of the device and any pending firmware updates etc, I may still go down this route.

Please keep us up to date with your findings,


Kerry.

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Wannabe Geek


  # 254123 8-Sep-2009 18:17

My ownership of the Dish TV S7050 came to end this morning - less than 24hrs.

The device does and doesn't record another channel whilst watching another - yes I was confused too, but not any more. I have subsequently found out via emails from Dish TV it is a single transponder unit which subsequently only allows the record/watch feature to work if the two programs happen to be on the same transponder (that's the simple version). For full record function of all channels it requires more than one transponder, and this device only has one - as do most PVRs apparently unless it is a very, very expensive unit. Beware when you buy a PVR that it will actually do what you think it will do. The gap in my knowledge has subsequently been filled.

The devil is in the detail of the sales brochure of course where it refers to "mux". The translation of that is, as I have described above - it is referring to the transponder quantity. I partly blame myself for lack of knowledge, however it should not be a battle of wits when buying goods and I can't be expected to know everything. I think it a little devious embedding the truth in a sales brochure in such a way as to fool buyers. That is my first gripe out the way.

My second gripe is the user manual and on-screen menu. Two very ineffective things indeed. The manual is incoherent and gives no useful guide to actually operating the device, preferring to merely list functions in a "tech-speak" way, which is of little use to a user. Ironically the user guide states it is "easy to use", which is not correct and in fact it is very difficult to operate. The on-screen menu was equally as bad and very unintuitive. For example recording functions are not listed under the Record section and reside somewhere else. It was a mess.

I am upset it didn't work out as I really liked the USB hard drive idea, and the HD upscaling feature, which I know Jaxson was interested in. Unfortunately Jaxson I cannot make comment on that feature as I never got that far. In summary a good idea but poorly implemented. I foresee many complaints.
Caveat Emptor - let the buyer beware.

Hope it all helps.

Regards

Phil


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  # 254214 8-Sep-2009 22:44
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There is a review of this very box on page 87 in this month's PCWorld magazine. They scored it 8.5/10. I was going to upload a scan of the article, but I didn't know if it would be allowed...

 
 
 
 




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  # 254279 9-Sep-2009 09:48
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Yeah that's pretty standard sorry for any of the basic set top boxes that also have usb output. They only have one tuner, so you can essentially only do one thing at a time with it, either watch tv or let it record the channel you want. You certainly can't be watching one show and have it off recording another channel in the background, unless (as you've described), the two channels in question are on the same mux.

I wasn't so interested in this for the pvr side of thing for me, just simply it seemed to be the cheapest box to offer HDMI output. That said I was thinking the PVR could be ok for my parents who currently only have sat set top boxs with no usb option. I'll scrap that idea.

If you want a proper PVR to work as you seem to expect, you'll need to get something with twin tuner written on it, which yeah pushes you up in cost a fair bit. That said they tend to be larger better named brands so the user interface has been polished off properly. These cheap china boxes tend to have the hardware but have had no input on the user interface which in reality is an important part of the product too.

Thanks for your feedback and to samnorr too for the heads up on the mag review. Cheers.

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Wannabe Geek


  # 254285 9-Sep-2009 10:06

Samnorr,

I know of the article in Sept PC World NZ you are referring to. It was actually that article that piqued my interest in the S7050. I have since written to the author Scott Bartley laying out my disappointment with the device. His reply was "you get what you pay for" - let's hope that doesn't start to apply to PC World NZ magazine. I don't want to comment on how ratings are arrived at because I don't know what measures or benchmarks they use. He states that it can record one channel whilst watching another, which is true but it needs a qualifying statement to the effect that only if the channels are on the same transponder - that was the bit I fell down on because of lack of knowledge. Perhaps Scott Bartley is, like me, also unaware of that little gem of technical knowledge.

In my defence of lack of my knowledge, I did a lot of research and asked questions, but research can only go as far as knowing what questions to ask - Catch 22 really. Call me naive but I expect sales brochures, experts in magazines, and sales staff to point out the limitations as well as benefits of equipment.

Having calmed down somewhat from yesterday, I believe the device is clever but a few things need to be addressed to make it consumer friendly. It has good features but it has been poorly implemented.

There we have it. I am done. If you buy one I hope it is everything you want it to be.

Regards

Phil


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Wannabe Geek


  # 256405 17-Sep-2009 10:22
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The DishTV website has been updated I see with more info about the unit and also some extra user guides http://www.dishtvsupport.co.nz/help-guides/

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Wannabe Geek


  # 256409 17-Sep-2009 10:32
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oh and I have used it and it is great, easy to use. I agree that the brochure left the single tuner explanation unexplained for the layman, but once you have grasped that it is very good.

As Phil explained above, with a single tuner, when recording you can only watch any other channel on the same frequency. Fortunately Freeview is broadcasting on only two frequencies so you have half of the channels still at your disposal. To make things easy the unit automatically blanks out any channels on the other frequency, so when you are recording and bring up the channels list, what you see is what you can view.

As for recording, well those guides on the DishTV website now make it plain, but actually the unit operates very similarly to any other PVR, so it is quite simple to use. It is just that if you are not a PVR user, the manual leaves much to be desired and as Phil found out, can take a lot of time to become familiar with it by yourself. At least DishTV not only replies with technical support quickly, it seems they also responded to your complaints Phil.

One other thing about buying a twin tuner PVR if you want to have the option of watching any other channel, yes that is a good idea but costly. Another cheaper option is buying two S7050s. Not as smooth to operate as a true twin tuner, but much cheaper.

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Wannabe Geek


  # 256412 17-Sep-2009 10:37
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Actually i have a question to ask:

I have been playing movies on the S7050 as a media player, it will play a mpeg2 movie from the USB HDD. But of course it requires converting most files from .avi to mpeg. I have been using Super http://www.erightsoft.com/SUPER.html

Does anyone have any other free software that would be better?

And/or some comments on how they have been finding the media player aspect of this receiver?

If you record in PS mode, it records the file to the USb HDD as an mpeg file, meaning I can then take it over to my PC and burn it to DVD or whatever I want.

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Wannabe Geek


  # 256416 17-Sep-2009 10:46
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Oh yes, (sorry for the many posts, just keep remembering stuff) - did you know that the S7050PVR will read the blue Sky card and the MySky card? (with the right software) It won't read the old gold Sky card for some reason. PC world didn't seem to know but I guess they had only used the standard software the units are sold with.

Obviously the advantage of this is that anyone with a blue sky card can now have a PVR instantly or you can take your MySky card down to the batch for the weekend without carting your MySky. Pretty cool huh?

It is not the software the boxes are sold with, it is an extra one, and it works sweet. i have uploaded it temporarily to http://rapidshare.com/files/281083461/DishTV_S7050PVR_All_Card_Reader.rar.html

If anyone has a place to host this file, can they do that and then post the link. Thanks

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