Recently purchased a Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB.
So far it's better than I expected and VERY happy with it. But I have some questions about it and the MediaSonic Forum doesn't seem to be accepting new members.
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I just got one a few days ago and actually, I love it.
It certainly isn't as polished as the $400 units but for the money ($27.00 US), it's really nice.
Oddly, the remote didn't work out of the box, but by day 2 it's working flawlessly.
it could be because I have it near multiple IR controlled devices. My Security DVR's for example respond when I use the MediaSonic remote.
As far as doing what it's supposed to do.....PerFeCT so far.
I connected a 500GB external 3.5 Hard Drive and have recorded a number of shows (Space 1999) and others and it starts right on time, records perfectly etc.
But I do have some questions if someone else is here and is familiar with it.
Many people report early failures.
I'm fairly certain it's due to heat. (like any electronic devices)
Older version lacked a heat sink on the main processing chip.
Newer versions have a large aluminum heat sink on the main processor.
Still, the units life can be extended substantially by additional cooling.
One easy way to keep it cooler is to modify or remove the top. There are 5 screws that hold the top on and removing it completely allows MUCH better cooling.
another cooling technique is to add a cooling fan to force air flow inside and flush the heat out continuously.
For budget minded people who opt for broadcast TV this is an exceptionally great option for recording TV.
@RandyS555 I don't have a Homeworx HW180STB. However, I do have some advice for you. Post the questions that you want to be answered. Plenty of people here probably have one of these, but if no questions are posted, no answers will be received.
Also, I have some advice for you from VideoHelp's forum rules:Please try not to "bump" your topic.
Replying to your own topic to get it to the top is annoying. Try to have some patience, this is a bulletin board, not IRC. It may take some time (e.g., one or two days) before someone can answer your query or question.Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
Why all the hostility?
My additional posts were because I had additional thoughts. I guess on hindsight I could have added them to the original post but wasn't thinking about it TBH.
Maybe I was a bit over-excited about this new capability but "Bumping" the posts was not even a consideration.
Thanks for the warm welcome to the forum.
In your very first post you said you had questions:
Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
I thought there was a larger thread on AVS but searching turned up just one small thread.
I don't have the Mediasonic but do have several iViews, which is similar to the many different brands of cheap Chinese tuner/recorders.
Here's a link the most active and recent thread of a similar device, the Homeworx, while my iView was the first, its not as common now days as some other brands.
Go to the end of that thread for the most recent comments.
When the broadcasts first switched to digital, I got two Zenith (made by LG?) DTT901 converter boxes. Both failed within a year.
Then I got two Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB boxes. Both failed within a year. I got one more HW180STB box, and it also failed within a year.
The main processing chip inside does run quite warm and the new units have included a heatsink to help with that.
But adding additional cooling "should" greatly help.
I've modified my brand new unit to keep the main processor and all the internal components significantly cooler. I guess I'll know in a years or so.
The fact that you had the same problem with multiple units from various manufacturers does tend to suggest it could be an issue of heat.
Considering the great price ($27.00US), It might be worth a shot?
The Zenith failures were different. They began by being hard to turn on after they were turned off. At first I had to unplug and plug in the power cord several times to get them on. Later, that wasn't enough. Then I was able to get them running if I used a hair dryer to heat up the boxes. And they had to be kept warm to stay on. Eventually, that stopped working.
u_q has made a fair point. You stated both here in the initial post, copied from the original topic that I replied two that you have questions about this device. The forum is called 'VideoHelp' which generally means you ask for help ie put at least one question and then wait for a reply.
And, yes, all I see are comments about the device or even advice about it. Dare I add that your topic is more of a commercial than a request for assistance.
I bought a similar device (Ematic brand) from Walmart store about three years ago. It is on 24/7 and still works as brand new. I see Walmart.com sells them refurbished for $20, in store new is about $33. I tested a new one briefly and noticed a few software changes. For example, the time display is now am/pm instead of 24 hour time. Also pressing "info" the info screen stays on longer.
I make sure direct sun does not ever shine on the device. I use the device to watch on-air TV, since my TV is old and doesn't have digital tuner. I also use the device for recording TV shows (also storing the TV show video files on-line), and watching videos that I download with computer and transfer to USB stick to play in device.
Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
I'm sorry you seem paranoid. But, honestly, you're way off base. What are you suggesting my "purpose" could be?
I will indeed have questions about the HW180STB.. Lots of them. I just bought two of them. And it seems there are people here who actually have this unit. You don't.
I do hope you find some comfort for your concerns.
Hope you have as terrific a day as I am having!
PS. I just re-formatted my 500GB external drive to the NTFS file system using my PC and copied all my recordings back to the HD. Worked great and now I can record videos larger than 4GB.
So Far So Good. Glad I bought this.
Last edited by RandyS555; 8th Jan 2019 at 14:33.
I have been recording OTA TV transport streams for 9 years with a variety of different PC tuners. Are you sure I can't answer any of your questions? Are they all hardware-specific?Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
BTW I also checked the Mediasonic site.
As far as I can tell the forum IS accepting new members.
1. The registration must be approved
but before that
2. You must answer that quirky question to complete the registration process.
Check out this topic:
It accepted my registration, but then no one seemed to be there to approve the registration.
The forum does not appear to be staffed. It may be members mostly answering other members questions.
I actually called them yesterday and got someone there to approve my registration. I had to call Amazon Customer Service and they got me a direct number.
They were very nice on the phone. Very helpful.
I admit, I had to google the question to get the answer to that question about 10GB
It's great to know there are people here with such extensive knowledge.
I do hope your concerns won't stop you from lending assistance when I need.
Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
I stand behind DB83 and usually_quiet's comments and suspicions. In the three days since you've joined, you have 14 posts, almost half of which are about how much you love and how great your purchase was. I won't outright call you a spammer, but your posts and history brings your true intent being here into question.
"If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck!"
Take a step a look at your posts from an outside view and hopefully you'll see what we see.
Interesting. If that's they way you see it, what can I say?
Can you tell me then what you "think" I'm up to ? You 3 keep insinuating that I'm here for "nefarious" purposes. (And you're wrong)
Do you think I'm tying to sell something? Maybe you think I'm a MediaSonic representative? You would be totally incorrect on both.
I'm fairly good with electronics repair (in a hobbyist kind of way), but know very little about video.
Why is it so hard to believe someone could come here, simply stoked about finding a nice and inexpensive way to record OTA programs?
OK...I have a question......
When I record programs (or watch live broadcasts), it seems that the resolution does not stay where I set it.
For example, my TV is HD (1080p) I think. Wide screen like most modern TV's
However, even though I set the resolution at 1080p in the HW180STB menus, and the (ratio?) to 16:9, some (not all) programs record and display in what looks like 4:3
It only takes up the center of the screen and there are two blank areas on both sides of the video.
I can't figure this out. It's as though some programs are broadcast at 4:3 and the HW180STB doesn't know how to stretch the video to fit the widescreen or something?
Hopefully this question will put some of this silly suspicion to rest finally. I hope. Unless this is just a silly prank you people play here.
Not even sure if I'm describing this accurately.
Last edited by RandyS555; 8th Jan 2019 at 22:11.
Your HW180STB faithfully records the transport stream for each channel bit-for-bit, as received. It doesn't re-encode the video or audio it records. HD channels are always broadcast in 16:9 aspect ratio. SD channels can broadcast in either 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio, but the aspect ratio remains constant for that channel.
However, some programming may be formatted inappropriately for the channel's own aspect ratio (objects in the picture will have incorrect proportions, or the wrong kind of padding) when it is broadcast. This means that there is no automatic setting which will be correct for every oddball formatting that broadcasters use by mistake. If you have a widescreen TV, you will need to adjust the aspect ratio/picture format manually with the TV remote when things don't look right. If you have a 4:3 TV you need to fiddle with the aspect ratio on the HW180STB's Picture Format screen.Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
The other thing is that the correct way to view a 4:3 transmission/recording is to have the picture centered with black bars left and right.
Many, especially younger people, who have grown up only with wide-screen tvs, can not handle this and seek to stretch that image to fill the screen. Great if you want fatter faces and bodies etc.
so does this mean the TV ALWAYS automatically stretches the image to fit the entire 16:9 widescreen, but the HW180STB does not?
In addition, when the image is only in the center, the people look too tall and narrow, as if the image is squished into the center.
Sharp Roku TV
Display resolution - 1080p
1920 (H) × 1080 (V)
Aspect ratio - 16:9
3d y/c digital
NTSC, ATSC, 8-VSB, CLEAR-QAM
The black bars may be added by the HW180STB for output over HDMI or they may be present in the broadcast. You would need to look at a recording using a video editor to find out whether or not they are part of the picture as broadcast, and maybe also use MediaInfo on the file containing the recording to find out the aspect ratio and video resolution used for the broadcast.
There are fewer display issues with HD channels. For one thing, they are uniformly 16:9 aspect ratio. If you see black bars, they were deliberately added by the broadcaster as padding to create a picture in the resolution used by that channel. I can't recall seeing an instance where an HD broadcaster stretched a 4:3 picture to fill the entire frame from side to side and top to bottom instead of padding the sides with black bars.
4:3 SD channels may pad widescreen content with black bars at the top and bottom to fill a 4:3 frame or they can use something called anamorphic widescreen, where a 16:9 picture is squeezed horizontally to fill a 4:3 frame. Viewers with a widescreen TV can use the picture size/aspect ratio controls on their remote to stretch the anamorphic widescreen picture to fill their screen from side to side and top to bottom.
16:9 SD channels usually pad 4:3 pictures with black bars on each side, but I have seen instances where the broadcaster stretched a 4:3 picture to fill the entire frame from side to side and top to bottom, in which case viewers with a widescreen TV can use the picture size/aspect ratio controls on their remote to squeeze the picture back into 4:3 aspect ratio.Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
Many tvs can be set to stretch a 4:3 image to full 16:9. Even older analog transmissions over here did that when the first wide-screen tvs came out. The picture did not look pretty.
Not sure what is wrong with your output. It could be an incorrect or missing broadcast flag which just allows the tv to display it as it wishes. Since your unit just, it seems, records the raw stream such adjustment needs to be done there. But as you state you have already covered that. I would still check to see if you have any specific 4:3 display setting for it.