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134 posts

Master Geek

#43120 17-Oct-2009 17:19
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Just picked up a MagicTV 3600 this afternoon as my wife is getting sicked of me keep telling her we should wait "just a few more days" for some reviews.

So here's my quick little report/review of this machine after using it for a few hours..

My first impression..  the unit's design looks very nice. Definitely one of the best looking and high quality freeview device i've seen.  It definitely looks a lot better than the DSE/Zinwell FreeviewHD decoder that i've been using since last year.

Installation is quick and easy. And only takes a few steps and less than 5 mins.

Remote doesn't look fancy or anything special. But the button layouts is quite good. It also has backlight
and i believe it can learn your TV remote as well but i haven't try that yet.
It feels good when you hold it and doesn't feel cheap.

The user interface is very nice. The MagicTV comes with a reasonably good user manual but i find that i don't even need to read the user manual as the user interface design is very good. The front LCD panel is quite informative and one nice touch is that it also shows you the current option you are selecting when you are browsing thru the user menus. The user interface response is very fast as well (10 times faster than my zinwell).
EPG works (as expected) and recording a program (or a series) is very easy. If a program is splitted into two halves (like there is a news in the middle of the movie), it automatically record the whole program for you when you record the first half. Setup delay/extend start/end time is very easy as well.
Overall, the unit is defintiely very wife friendly.

now.. everything seems as good as or even exceed my expectation. Unfortunately after using it for about 2 hours, i suddenly can't get any live picture :/ The unit seems to be working perfectly fine (user menu...etc all working normally) but i just can't get any live TV picture. Restarting the unit a few times (including unplug and resetup the unit) doesn't seem to help. I checked the antenna connection which seems to be fine. Then i find that i can check the RF signal strength from one of the setup menu.. and it says the signal strength is onmly 25-27% and signal quality is around 60%.  So maybe i just got a temporary weak signal? i waited for another hour and still can't get any picture. Ocassionally i can see part of picture and some sound but i just can't get any good signal at all. It seems quite strange as i never have any problem with signal with the zinwell decoder. So i quickly reconnect my zinwell and guess what? i got perfect picture/sound from the zinwell. Switch back to MagicTV and no picture again...

[update] the problem appears to come from the antenna cable. One of the connector is a bit loose. I got perfect TV reception now!

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134 posts

Master Geek

  #264671 17-Oct-2009 20:18
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installing external antenna is not an option. so how good are the internal antenna like this?

or would it be better to get someting like this instead?

134 posts

Master Geek

  #264705 17-Oct-2009 23:24
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Just an update. I've unplugged my MTV 3600 earlier this evening and replugin my Zinwell. Watching TV whole night no problem like usual so i thought i should give the MTV3600 another try, so i reconnect it and now it works perfectly fine again.

Signal Strength is 74-80% (compare to 25% earlier today)
and Signal quality is 99-100% (compare to 60% earlier today)

I'll see if i got any problem tomorrow morning and report back.


1274 posts

Uber Geek

  #264847 18-Oct-2009 16:06
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Might have been some FV crankiness ?

Does the Magic have native signal resolution pass through ?

i.e. signals are output as they are received, 720 in/720 out, 1080 in/1080 out.

Or is the output fixed at a single resolution like the Zinwells ?

134 posts

Master Geek

  #264923 18-Oct-2009 21:59
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my MagicTV seems to be behaving very well today. But i will have to wait a few more days to confirm if the signal problem has really disappeared or not.

Recorded a few programs today and haven't find any problems so far.

ilovemusic: you have to select a prefer output resolution from 480i to 1080p, 50hz or 60hz. Any other questions, feel free to ask and i'll try to find out for you.

1274 posts

Uber Geek

  #265019 19-Oct-2009 11:48
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Thanks for your reply.

I prefer to let my display do the video scaling so want a box that outputs video at its native resolution (like the Draco FV HD boxes).

7000 posts

Uber Geek


  #265032 19-Oct-2009 12:34
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ilovemusic: Thanks for your reply.

I prefer to let my display do the video scaling so want a box that outputs video at its native resolution (like the Draco FV HD boxes).

Just as a note:
Sometimes this change of resolution between channels can force a tv to do a resynch, so it can be a pain in some cases.  But in other cases, yes it's nice to be able to pass the original signal on to the display, which might do a better job of scaling it to the displays native resolution than the set top box.

46 posts


  #265056 19-Oct-2009 14:26
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I'm interest to know how quick it is at changing channels and what the EPG looks like (it looks like the typical Freeview styled one on their site, so it looks entirely different to the rest of the user interface?)?


46 posts


  #265058 19-Oct-2009 14:30
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oh, and also, when recording two consecutive programs, is it smart enough to make one recording and split it exactly where one show starts and the other stops rather than using two tuners for the period the overtime of the first show might overlap the beginning of the second show? Hopefully that make sense...

134 posts

Master Geek

  #265060 19-Oct-2009 14:52
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Update: i had a few slight video/audio glitches this morning. Nothing really major and the signal strengh is still aruond 80% and signal quality is 100%

maccrazy: Yes you are right, the EPG looks exactly  like the standard freeview EPG, so yes it's different to the rest of the UI.

You access the EPG from the EPG button, while the rest of the functions are accessed from the "MagicTV logo" button.

Don't have the answer for your 2nd question. I'll investigate and report back

Will also try it's news/weather feature and will try connect my HD video camrea  as well.

134 posts

Master Geek

  #265191 19-Oct-2009 23:41
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maccrazy: oh, and also, when recording two consecutive programs, is it smart enough to make one recording and split it exactly where one show starts and the other stops rather than using two tuners for the period the overtime of the first show might overlap the beginning of the second show? Hopefully that make sense...

i tried record 2 adjacent shows on same channel, and during the overlap time, i can still watch all the other channels

oh and changing channel seems a bit faster than the Zinwell, but it's definitely not instantanous (sp?).

203 posts

Master Geek

  #265198 20-Oct-2009 06:23
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hi richard , does the magic access other digital content over the network . ?

134 posts

Master Geek

  #265209 20-Oct-2009 08:18
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Peter, i haven't try it yet. but i don't think so.

Will try it and report back

Update: my magictv was working perfectly the whole evening. no reception problem at all.

any other questions about the magictv, feel free to ask.

27 posts


  #265574 21-Oct-2009 10:27
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Sounds good so far, glitch at the start aside. For the series link function, does the magicTV record based on name (i.e. searches the EPG for a shows name and records the entry) or does it simply do repeat time recordings (for instance record for 1 hour every wednesday at 6pm)?

Still not sure if I should wait for the forthcoming Topfield or go with a MagicTV box...

134 posts

Master Geek

  #265589 21-Oct-2009 10:54
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I think the initial reception problem was most likely coming from my antenna wire. when i was tidying up the cables behind the TV last night, I found that one of the connector on the antenna wire seems slightly lose somewhere inside .
So yes it's all working fine so far in the last few days

Pluged the network cable to the magictv and tried the magictv widgets: weather and news. it works. but it's pretty basic. so it's a good feature to have but you won't miss it if you don't have it.

re the series link function, i have a feeling it's using the EPG instead of doing repeat time recordings. Is there some tv program that shows at different time or day ? let me know and i'll try to use the magictv to record it and let you know

896 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #265600 21-Oct-2009 11:22
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The Simpsons changes alot from thursday through Sunday? Where did you buy it from and was there any discount? How long does it take to boot up?

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