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smashtoppy

Junior Member
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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #61 

Hi davidmorr,

I am not sure what you are indicating regarding the manufacturer’s web portal reliance for a PVR. I thought PVR’s were self contained units requiring only the use of FTA broadcast signal & their own internal software to operate. Topfield - Beyondwiz (& later Hummix (?) were the only ones I considered at the time because they were established & had some sort of history & support. My 2400 Masterpiece never required any firmware update since purchased new in 2013. And regarding your suggestion that if manufacturers made a unit that lasted 10 years would potentially make them broke, that seems a business plan model definitely favouring them as opposed to the consumer. Would you not rather have a model that lasts at least 10 years (for not hugely more than past & current prices) so that you are not required to have to or have it repaired to continue functioning perfectly fine - as the Topfield should have been (no obsolesce in sight yet I think unless 6 MPEG is coming - by the way is it coming to FTA?) I understand the issue of technological advance appearing to manifest more quickly these days, but how can the manufacturer predict those occurrence’s, & so justify a short lived unit other than more turnover for them. Maybe the PVR is something of a niche product for a demographic that is not large enough to justify more larger mainstream manufacturers to produce and so influencing this short lifespan. Certainly, speculating but I feel for not a lot more money those noted hardware failings (apart from the hard drive and its apparently short lived life) which seem to repeatedly occur could be replaced with better quality parts or design to get longevity.

I am no doubt biased by my use for the PVR, which is based simply on a device that can record FTA content & play it back with decent quality image and sound (with the important ability to skip through advert’s very quickly 😊). That’s all I require - with reliability AND durability. Again assumption, but that would be a significant portion of PVR users as well (majority?), & likely those from an older demographic who do not need to keep up with value adding (& requisite added complication requirements for hardware incorporation & user) of newer developments for capturing or sending other media. Is it these newer developments that will be the lifeblood for PVR survival?

This forum is an important website for those lucky enough to stumble across it in the hope something may be done to resurrect their toppy when things will inevitably go wrong. But because the main problems are hardware related, the more serious fixes suggested for one to try are really only for those who have an adventurous streak with a bit of confidence, because in order to do some of the things suggested require prerequisite knowledge of electronics in order to do so safely & also without potentially damaging other components when repairing or replacing. In other word’s it is for those with some type of electronic experience, & therefore a small portion of PVR users.

The information for directing people to appropriate repairers is invaluable as the one I used did the repairs & testing for very reasonable money. So thanks to those who encouraged me to take that route as was seriously thinking I would have to abandon the unit & make a significant new purchase from Beyondwiz.

I don’t think the issue of storage capacity is relevant to longevity of components here if external archiving of content is available. I do not need more than 500gb, even into the future I think, but the option is there to upgrade at minimal cost via the repairer used here in WA. I said previously that I record 2-3 programs a week, but today realized that is incorrect, it is actually closer to double that. In any case the repairer indicated he ran diagnostics on the hard drive & and by all parameters acts like it is essentially a new drive. Maybe I got lucky like Ian in that this is not the norm. I had up to around 320gb on the unit before I culled a fair bit out in the hope of that helping to get my unit running again (it did not help). I essentially only record content I know I will watch within a fairly short time frame in the future. Movies I record, if they have not been viewed within a year or so are deleted.

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AQUAR

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Posts: 75
Reply with quote  #62 

@ smashtoppy

The rewrite durability advise given to you on SSD's is relative to the rewrite durability of HDD's under ideal conditions (try shaking a HDD whilst its spinning during a write cycle!).

Lets evaluate the practical "rewrite life" when using a 512 GB SSD in the toppy PVR:
Cycle life per cell: 3000 rewrites (doesn't sound much yes!).
Writing capacity of 512GB SSD is 3000 x 512 GB = 1,536,000 GB (helped along by spare capacity and wear levelling!).
Lets say you record 2 hourly programs every night - estimated storage size of say 5 GB.   
In one year that is 1,825 GB of recorded material and so gives your SSD a rewrite durability of 814 years.
Lets be mean and be out by 80% in our durability estimate, that still gives us 0.2 x 814 = 162 years of recording 2 hours of stuff every night.
Now if you had a 10 year Toppy you could write all day long to your SSD and not wear the thing out.  

Choices between alternative options are always evaluated by their strengths and weaknesses with sensitivity testing (eg practical PVR usage level).

You also need to better understand the point made by davidmorr.
The point is that the rapid development of technology results in early obsolescence (eg 3 years for PC's).

Good example is that in the last 10 years we have seen the introduction of mpeg 4 in FTA codecs used, making mpeg 2 only toppies obsolete.
HEVC codecs will save even more bandwidth and that will be the next move to fit in more FTA channels in available bandwidth.
So a long life PVR will end up becoming obsoleted, but not necessarily useless.

One last point is that toppies are not made, by design, to last just 5 years.
Some are DOA, some fail during burn in, some fail down the track because of a construction flaw (eg weak BGA solder joint), most last a decent time and some even last a long time. That is the normal failure mode of electronic devices.

I don't know the MTBF of Toppy PVRs, but your 5 year experience is not the yard stick that defines it.

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smashtoppy

Junior Member
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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #63 

@AQUAR

Nice explanation of the evaluation for use of an SSD drive for PVR use. Unless there are other considerations to take into account, it looks like an alternative.

I think that I understand the technology obsolescence aspect & the implications of the more rapidly occurring changes. But that did not really apply to the 2400 as it is still more than relevant today (and into next year which would make it at least 10 years). Going into the future that may indeed be more relevant, but we are only talking functionally about recording FTA TV content (& perhaps exporting for archiving) as the primary purpose of this product. This is not a multiple function product like a computer which would be significantly more prone to that.

When do you predict newer HEVC codecs will be implemented in FTA?

I would like to know what the average life of the toppy was that did not require any hardware repair or replacement. Mine was around the 5 year mark but the repairer indicated that many did not appear to last much longer than the warranty period. For the cost of the unit I would expect an electronic unit to last for more than 5 years (value). As you pointed out its usefulness, regardless of its obsolescence time frame, would extend past that time frame.

What do you define as a decent time life expectancy for the PVR (not requiring repair)?

Your remark that my 5 year experience does not define the yardstick for failure rates again smack’s of a patronizing attitude AQUAR. Apart from it being an illogical statement (how could my toppy’s timeframe define that) what purpose was served in mentioning it? Are you deliberately try to provoke or genuinely do not recognise this? My assumption of longevity of these units stems from my experience of owning other pieces of equipment (Midi system, TV, VCR,) all which in real terms cost more than the toppy, but not the multiples more figure you suggested earlier (though the TV was $1400, so 2 ½ times more), and also speaking to the repairer. TV was purchased at the same time as the toppy & I fully expect it to last at least 10 years. Also, the number of topics for this ‘service not running’ subject is pretty substantial on this forum (by far the most) suggesting to me many people having hardware issues, therefore the life expectancy of the unit not being particularly long.

If I have not stated this clearly enough, my argument has always been that with the components which regularly fail (excluding the hard drive perhaps), would not better quality items (or design) be the better choice so that longevity is achieved? Would doing so blow out the cost to multiples of past/current prices (as suggested by you)? How much more would those individual components cost, or improved manufacturing quality control than past/current? As indicated previously I do not know your background but you have not offered any evidence to be able to state that is not achievable, but you continue to argue it. I can offer no more evidence other than there are known component & assembly (solder?) failures, would costings of improved components & manufacturing/assembly be so excessive when the infrastructure is already in place?

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AQUAR

Member
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Posts: 75
Reply with quote  #64 
@ smashtoppy

I think we have hijacked this thread enough.
Feel free to start a new topic about the reliability of toppies with your 5 year sample as the baseline for further discussion.

IMHO you are evaluating "failure" through rose coloured glasses.
Since my input to broaden your perspective on equipment lifespan is repeatedly seen as patronising, I'll leave any further discussion on it to others.

Hopefully your repaired toppy will last the distance.

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smashtoppy

Junior Member
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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #65 

@AQUAR

Agreed, time to let this somewhat off tangent subject of reliability go here.

It is not the specific information given by you that is the issue (patronising), it was how you phrased a couple of remarks/statements that was evidence for me, and I don’t believe they were taken out of context -

Quote – “There is "the law of diminishing returns" that only a few will give a blind eye too (maybe you are one of them?).

Quote – “I don't know the MTBF of Toppy PVRs, but your 5 year experience is not the yard stick that defines it.”

And thank you for the sentiment of wishing a good outcome for my repaired toppy.

I wish you well, so till next time all the best.

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2100

Junior Member
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Posts: 13
Reply with quote  #66 
a continual problem with the 2100 I have been using for last 4 years, which was not an issue on the previous two 2100s I had (but which packed up eventually anyway)

the funny thing I find with it...it occurs with least severity on 1-10-11 (1 the best of the three) and perhaps most severely with SBS...Melbourne community channel 31-44 seems immune to it altogether.

It also does not seem to be exclusively in cold weather, although that is perhaps the worst situation for it...I have had it happening on quite warm days too, the common factor seeming to be if a sharp temperature change has occured in last hour/s or so...and seems temp changes either up or down can trigger it.
But, perfect storm is a sharp air-temp drop...in some situations, even as the unit warms up well and truly, it is still not solved, the unit remains in twitchy bubble and squeak condition no matter how long it has been powered up.In that situation, even if a recorder task is begun successively at all, it will likely be a corrupted useless file which will not play back properly at all..or even a 0MB file which still has its correct name-label on it. 
What I have always done to manage it as well as it can be managed, is, for example, I really want a program beginning at 23.30 tonight...set in a preceding unwanted overlapping program which will have the unit powered up for at least 10-30 mins when the desired program task will begin.But sometimes even this fails, as the bootup fails to complete on the warmer-upper program, meaning the intended target later program fails to launch as well as the unit has never entered full correct stand-by idling mode to initiate the new task.
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davidmorr

Senior Member
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Posts: 177
Reply with quote  #67 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2100
I have had it happening on quite warm days too, the common factor seeming to be if a sharp temperature change has occured in last hour/s or so...and seems temp changes either up or down can trigger it.
It seems unlikely that a sharp temp change outside would change the temp inside a house that quickly. Is there anything outside that might be affected, eg, masthead amplifier? Perhaps something about the signal it outputschanges?

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