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  1. I’ve skimmed through all the reviews on this product and I am going to give you some new information. First, let me say that if you are one who said something like, Should I remove the plastic film covering the unit, or How many channels does it have- then I suggest you go straight away to Walmart and return the unit. Though the unit is not difficult to operate, it requires at least an IQ of 87.4 to operate (verified on IQ Master dot com). Sorry, if you don’t have at least an IQ of 87.4, you’re not going to be able to figure out how to set up or use the unit.

    You can choose three different ways to connect the unit to your TV.
    1) HDMI cable (best way if you have flatscreen TV)
    2) RCA audio/video cable (this cable is supplied)
    3) RF cable to channel 3/4 ( I use this method because my TV is really old.)

    Next, let me say that recording an hour of full HD TV (resolution 1920x1088) will use about 6GB on the USB memory stick. Make sure you have enough free space on the USB memory stick before you start the recording. You have no choice about the resolution (and therefore GB used) of the recordings. This is set by the broadcaster. Some stations broadcast in standard definition (resolution 704x480) and this will use about 1.3 GB per hour on your memory stick. USB memory sticks are now cheap. The regular price for a 16GB USB memory stick at Microcenter is $5. On sale (I just bought one) they are $3.

    Your recordings will be in the mts format. You can easily play back your recordings through the unit and view on your TV. If you want, you can play back mts files in your computer with free software such as VLC. If you play back on your computer with VLC, the closed captions will display if you set them to display in VLC. Another reviewer said the closed captions of recordings will not display when played back on the unit to the TV. I found this to be the case. In fact, as soon as you start recording, the closed captions disappear from the live broadcast. If someone brought this to the attention of the relevant authorities at the FCC, this unit would likely be banned in the USA. The closed captions will display when watching live broadcast (if you press the CC button on the remote control and are not recording). Also, by using a computer and free software CC Extractor, you can quickly extract the closed captions to a srt subtitle file. This might be useful for some people. If using a computer to process the recorded file, if your recorded file has any dropouts or pixilation, you will need to run the mts file through the “Quick Stream Fix” with VideoReDo software, before you can do any processing (such as closed caption extraction, or re-encoding to mp4, or cutting out the advertisements in the TV program). I have attached a 2 minute sample recording with srt file that I processed with Vidcoder to be mp4. I used the Fast De-interlace and saw improvement in the video when there was motion.

    You can use the unit for Timer Recording. This is similar to a programming a VCR to record when you are away from home. If you have an old style TV, you can only watch what you are recording. If you have a flat screen TV, you can record one channel and simultaneously watch a different channel. When using the Timer Record, the unit will automatically switch to the channel that you program in to record. In other words, you don’t have to leave the unit displaying the channel that you will timer record. You can be watching a different channel, and at the pre-set recording time, the unit will switch to the Timer Recording programmed channel.

    The unit also has an instant record button on the remote. This is very convenient and useful. You are watching something and suddenly you want to record it, you just press the record button.
    The unit will play back all kinds of files, such as mp4, avi and mkv and mp3. One problem is that when playing a file with separate srt subtitles, the subtitles are displayed in a very bad way - white letters on light grey background - difficult to read, and no way to adjust.

    A lot of reviewers said that their unit broke prematurely. The people that designed this unit (about 2 years ago) have long since abandoned the project. Any bugs, problems, shortcomings will never be fixed because all the engineers and technicians are long gone. There is just a Chinese shell company that markets this unit and no one that speaks English. My unit that I bought from Walmart just lasted 2 days before the remote control broke. I verified that fresh batteries were installed correctly. A short developed inside the remote and now the IR LED is always on, even when no button is being pressed. (See picture). I also verified that no button was stuck down. I opened the remote control and cleaned the board with alcohol but no change. The unit is going back to Walmart and I won’t be buying another. I give the unit a rating of one star out of five, primarily because it won’t last a year. Be informed that Walmart decided not to post this review. But they are happy to post a review like, "This TV recorder is grate, i'm going to buy to more for my other rooms."
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    Last edited by jimdagys; 26th Dec 2015 at 08:02.
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  2. Member
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    Dec 2006
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    I also have purchased this box (Ematic AT103) from our local WalMart store. It has so many bugs, it will as they say "eat your dog." Admittedly, it does function at some usable level, so I'll list my complaints for those who are interested.

    1) Strangely, this unit will respond to ALL of my other device's remotes; that is to say, the most recent button press on the AT103's remote will be repeated by ANY button press on ANY other of my remote controls! Needless to say, this is a genuine PITA! I have gotten around this by making sure that I press a button on the AT103's remote that, when activated by another remote, will cause no aggravation.

    2) The unit occasionally changes it's time zone, screwing up all displayed times on the EPG and fouling up scheduled recordings.

    3) When playing back USB recordings, the unit will occasionally lock up entirely; the unit must then be unplugged and replugged.

    4) The Electronic Program Guide offers no assistance in setting the recording timer; you must enter start time, stop time (in 24 hour format), channel number, etc etc... This is a disappointment. It would be very nice to simply select a program from the guide and press OK to enter it into the recording schedule, but nooooooo!

    5) The time-shift feature was plagued by program stuttering and freezing, video and audio.

    6) fast forwarding the playback of media files causes a drift of lip-sync.

    7) Timer recording across the midnight boundary failed to stop recording at the appointed stop time, it just kept on recording.

    These are the bugs I can remember. Even though I am not that picky when it comes to inexpensive electronics, and even though this device does work to a certain degree, I draw the line when a device starts to aggravate the crap out of me! Like jimdagys, I will return this unit to the store for a refund. I would welcome suggestions for similar products that work properly.
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  3. Member
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    Jan 2007
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    United States
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    i have the HomeWorx 150PVR these are available from walmart online, or amazon
    mine is (2) yrs old has hundreds of hours of use,
    it started to give me shut down problems last month, working for about 15 minutes, then suddenly no signal and no response to the remote
    before buying a replacement, i opened it up, found a bad filter cap in power supply, replaced it
    and its working perfect again
    i recommend the HomeWorx model
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  4. Hmm, never use a memory stick to test these units.
    Always use a usb hard drive.
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  5. Walmart sells an RCA for $50 that also records TV shows. I haven't tested it, but I don't like that it uses a watch battery in the remote, instead of standard AAA battery. The RCA looks to be a completely different animal than the Ematic. The RCA Recorder recently came to Walmart (within the last 6 months).
    Last edited by jimdagys; 26th Dec 2015 at 07:32.
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  6. Member
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    Originally Posted by Steve(MS) View Post
    Hmm, never use a memory stick to test these units.
    Always use a usb hard drive.
    Me too, I use a hard drive, I tried a memory stick one time
    It was not one of the fast ones, like a class 6 our class 10
    It was a cheap slow one, the the 15 minute test recording was broken up into pieces , and the audio was missing
    If you want to use memory sticks, they must be fast like 20mbs, hi deff recording reaches 10mbs or more
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  7. The $3 16GB memory stick at Microcenter (see screenshot- in stock inside store) seems to make good recordings on HD resolution. I'll take a look more closely though to see if there is any evidence of not being able to write/read the stick fast enough.
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  8. Member
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    i've seen read speeds listed at 6x the write speed
    the critical requirement in recording is the write speed
    IF it records correctly. there should be NO problem with playback/read
    my sticks, are good enough for my normal use data transfers etc..
    and will play back any file i transfer to the stick from from the hard drive
    they just don't write fast enough for my homeworx PVR to record a 1080i hi-def tv program to them
    you got lucky and got some good ones
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  9. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    Anything above 3MB/s write speed should be enough, for standard 15Mbit 1080i broadcasts. Need even less for stations that share the bandwidth between 2 or more channels.
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  10. There are long threads over on avsforum and most of the advice is to avoid using flash drives for recording off air.
    Now maybe some of them are fast enough but flash drives generally can't take the abuse from rewrites and such.
    It's best for testing to use a usb drive and make sure reception is strong enough to record OTA stuff.

    Disregarding the 2 above suggestions isn't the best way to test out units and then decide they don't work correctly.
    I haven't had any problems with my 1st generation iview 3500, no freezes or glitches whatsoever.
    I don't know about this walmart unit but if the above suggestions aren't followed, I dismiss the results.
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