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104 posts

Master Geek

#55311 29-Dec-2009 17:57
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Any further feedback on the Zinwell ZMT-640PVR?
Previous thread ( had it pegged as too expensive, but it's available now for about $640 (LV Martin).

But I saw this post on ICEAV - which mskes me wonder if it's any better than the ET / JCMatthew unit that has sound problems?

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104 posts

Master Geek

  #288699 10-Jan-2010 16:24
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Everyone should be back from holiday now, so... <bump>

59 posts

Master Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  #293817 28-Jan-2010 10:59
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I can not really comment on the Zinwell PVR since my only experience was comparing the Zinwell to a Magic TV PVR in a Bond & Bond store.  For me the Magic TV box was a better choice because of design, remote and menu system.  I had little trouble negotiating an under $700 price with the Bond & Bond sales woman.  After using it for five weeks I am very happy with my choice.  The picture quality and box reliability have been very good. 

I sent an email to support asking a question about setting up the remote to also control my Sony TV on-off, volume and input selection.  Back came a useful response, within 12 hours, during the period between Christmas and New Year.  I would recommend it to others and suggest you include it in your possibilities.


6999 posts

Uber Geek


  #293836 28-Jan-2010 11:24
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That article you link to is over a year old. I don't know if any updates have addressed those issues, but it would pay to check that prior to deciding. I have heard good things about the Magic TV unit though, and it had been in production for the Honk Kong market for a quite a while before being adapted to the NZ requirements. Think you score a larger hard drive with that (?) and support seems to be good compared to the Zinwell.

3 posts

Wannabe Geek

  #293863 28-Jan-2010 12:21
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I have a unit, with the latest firmware. See my comments to the ICE AV article.

Regularly when the machine is put into standby, it will continue to run the hard disk and fan as noted by others. You have to power up and down a couple of times before it properly goes into standby.

This must have been fixed, as doesn’t do this.

Exceedingly slow response to the keys on the remote - a lag of up to 2 secs behind. Harmony 1 remote with Zinwell codes is far quicker.

I use a Harmony remote, but when using the unit remote no slower than the input tuner on our Panasonic tv or other units I have used. No problems at all with Harmony remote.

Poorly written manual - no mention in manual of OTA firmware updates - it shows the use of the USB port! No mention of the segment keys on playback for jumping to "chapters"

I agree manual poorly written, but you don’t really need a manual as it is easy to use.

Display lights on the front panel (such as timer recording light) randomly do or don't display.

Haven’t had this problem

The unit will not always come out of standby when it has timer recordings set by using the remote - you have to use the standby button on the machine. If the machine has been off for the day, then the remote won't power it up. Pushing the standby button powers it on and it goes through the "boot" process. After that, if the duration
between power on/off is not too long, the remote will power it on quickly - weird.

Again haven’t had this problem, I believe this was fixed.

Random loss of set recordings in the rec list - including loss of series recording. This seems to happen if you power it off/on in a particular way! Bizarre that it should lose all the settings though - and an annoyance especially if you have gone through the EPG for the whole week!

Haven’t lost any set recordings.

Regular loss of sound when playing back recordings. You have to turn off the machine a couple of times until it will bring back sound. The annoying thing is that the loss of sound is random - if you exit the playlist, the sound of "live" broadcasts will be there and also for some of the recorded programmes - just not all. See below for more details.

Loss of audio
Zinwell connected by HDMI through Denon 3808 receiver to Sony 1080P LCD. SPDIF coaxial connection to Denon. Denon set to pass HDMI video to TV and ignore HDMI audio. Set to pass Dolby Digital through coaxial cable connection.
Turn on all equipment and watch live TV broadcast - all channels play video and audio correctly. Denon decodes TV3 Dolby digital and displays all channels being received. For other channels, AC3 is decoded and converted to Dolby PLII, then output over the 5.1 channels.

Record programmes (all channels). Now the fun starts.

Watch recorded programmes - sound will play as normal (as above) with TV3 correctly playing Dolby digital. Stop watching programmes and turn off for the viewing session. Turn everything back on later in the day and guess what? No sound being played back EXCEPT for TV3 recordings in Dolby digital. Turn off Zinwell and turn back on. Play
any programme NOT recorded on TV3 = no sound. Select a programme recorded on TV3 = sound and now, the programmes that previously had no sound, do have sound! (randomly works)

Set the Denon to ignore the coaxial cable and play HDMI audio. Result - all programmes play audio as 2 channel. However, this defeats the purpose of the Zinwell outputting Dolby Digital for the receiver to decode when we are watching programmes encoded with it.

Therefore, it appears that at some point the Zinwell loses the ability to play non Dolby recordings - probably a codec failure?
Setting the audio options during playback or before playback makes no difference either. It is only playback of recorded TV - watching live TV through the Zinwell properly decodes the audio without a problem.

(also randomly occurs with HDMI audio as well - go figure!)

I have had no issues with Sound since I got the unit a few months back.

When I got the unit, I did get it updated to the latest firmware via Next Electronics. I am having some issues with occasional randon crashing, and HDMI hand shaking and they are providing a replacement unit with no issues.

While, what I have read the MagicTV is better, the issues raised here appear to be either one off problems or resolved with later firmware.

Apart from the HDMI handshaking problem which has not been reported as a problem before, which they are sorting out by providing a replacement box, we have found the unit to be trouble free.

We went with the Zinwell as it was significantly cheaper than the others, and don’t regret it.

104 posts

Master Geek

  #293895 28-Jan-2010 13:22
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All, thanks for your replies, I appreciate the info.
munckof, thanks for a very comprehensive response!

441 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #293974 28-Jan-2010 15:40
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I've got the JC Matthews DVR-320T which appears to be a rebadged Zinwell PVR. I've had it since November and haven't had any issue whatsoever. It has a 320g hdd as opposed to the Zinwells 250g but other than that it runs the same software, has the same remote and the instuctions are identical.
Harvey Norman at Northwood (in Christchurch) had it for under $600 a couple of weeks ago ($589 I think).

20 posts


  #298756 13-Feb-2010 23:59
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Do either the Zinwell or JC Matthews PVRs have the ability to edit recordings (i.e., trimming beginning and ending, and cutting out advertisements)?

When watching a recording, can you skip ahead to a particular time stamp, or can you only use the FF and REW functions?  I have a JC Matthew receiver with USB drive that I use as a PVR, but you can only move through a recording using FF and REW. Even at 32X, it takes a long time to get to the end of a 2h program if you had to stop it for some reason (or just accidentally hit the 'stop' button).

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