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HomeWorx HW-150PVR ATSC Digital TV Converter Box w/ Media Player & Recording PVR Function / HDMI Out

Pinned on October 9, 2013 at 5:02 am by Ramona Epling

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HomeWorx HW-150PVR ATSC Digital TV Converter Box w/ Media Player & Recording PVR Function / HDMI Out

HomeWorx HW-150PVR is a digital converter box which converts ATSC digital broadcast to your analog TV. The built-in Media Player function allow user to play back video files via USB connection.

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Trancelucence "(Leigh)" says:

FANTASTIC Unit & Ideal for people w/ special needs I think this is the best thing since sliced bread! I received it as a gift a couple of weeks ago, have been putting it through its paces. Although it has quirks and a bug or two, you can easily work around them, I just love it. There are a couple of really neat, unusual features that suit my purposes to a T (below). [BTW, see end of review for how to tune in channel numbers with dashes or dots in them.]I’ll detail my experience with it, using an old TV, a rooftop antenna, and especially, its use with special populations (elders, those with cognitive/perceptual disabilities, children, etc).I formerly had a very early Sabrent USB stick connected to my laptop that finally went kaput, the HW-150 is its replacement. It also enables me to make use of a very nice TV I have that lacks an ATSC tuner.Set-up was really easy. There’s a bit of a curve involved in learning to use it, but it’s actually surprisingly intuitive and after two weeks I (and my thumb) have it down pat. What seems initially tricky is that the buttons on the remote have different functions depending on what mode you’re in, but since the options are shown on the screen whenever they differ from the buttons’ regular functions, it is pretty easy and becomes second nature surprisingly fast. It’s evident that considerable thought has gone into which buttons have been programmed for which additional functions.I bought a new 320 GB hard drive to use with it (link below), it came already formatted in the NTFS format (I was prepared to format it on my computer first if need be, but it wasn’t necessary). I’d already hooked up the HW-150 to my TV, and plugged the hard drive into the USB slot on the front, and the unit automatically created folders on the hard drive and copied the requisite files to them. I’d read in another review that there was a firmware update available, so I next turned the HW-150 off and then unplugged the hard drive and plugged it into my computer, and copied the update that I’d previously downloaded, to the hard drive. Note: the update comes as a zipped file. You can either expand/unzip it on your computer and then copy the unzipped (.bin) file to the hard drive, or copy the zipped file to the hard drive, and expand the .bin file there. Don’t put the file in a folder, it needs to be in the main directory.I then plugged the hard drive back into the HW-150, selected Menu on the remote, and followed the prompts to install the update- you go to System (the pic of gears at the top of the screen), go down to/select software update, then USB Upgrade, and it will take it from there.Another reviewer mentioned that the update allows you to change your time zone and specify whether you have daylight savings time. For some reason it didn’t allow me to do that (I tried it again when writing this review, same result- when I get time I’ll check for another upgrade). It allowed me to change my time zone, but not specify DST, so in order to have the program guide (EPG) show the right time, I advanced it to the next time zone, so the times shown were correct. When we change DST again I’ll have to re-adjust it, but I’m sure I’ll have figured out by then how to correct the problem.I have a large, old rooftop TV antenna that my Dad put up about 40 years ago (yes, it brings in digital signals perfectly- digital signals are broadcast via VHF and UHF bands just like the old analogue signals were, it’s the decoding mechanism that’s changed)- it brings in stations from miles around. I live in the LA area and it also brings in stations from Orange County, so when I first set up the box, it auto-found 142 stations (15 PBS stations alone, so cool). It didn’t decode radio stations, however, which my old Sabrent usb stick brought in with the rooftop antenna, but I don’t need to listen to radio over my TV (have a cell phone and stereo system for that).My mother lives with me and has poor eyesight, so can’t see to use a remote, though she can make out some images on the TV and likes to listen to certain programs. I found when playing back recordings that if you do nothing, the unit automatically plays the next recorded program. This is Godsend for my mother, I can record a whole list of shows she likes and have them play automatically, one after the other. Though she hasn’t the eyesight (and/or patience) to mess with the remote, I painted the PAUSE key with bright orange nail polish, she can push it to pause or un-pause if need be, that’s all she needs.Previously, the only DVR or tuner I’d seen with a similar feature was DISH network’s auto-tune feature. You could program the DISH tuner in advance to autotune to particular programs. This is handy, but if you’re on a budget, the HW-150 tunes AND records free over-the-air broadcasts, doesn’t cost a penny, and basically subsumes the same function [auto-tunes to programs you have set to record, you can watch while…

Lora "22" says:

Some issues but offers a lot for a low price [UPDATE: http://www.forum.mediasonic.ca/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=1616 There is a firmware release that corrects the main issues I mentioned in this review]As a converter box – this works great and pulled in all the digital channels available for me onto my old tv with just a normal, portable rabbit ears antenna. It’s great that it has rf out, av out, component out, and (what seems to be unique to this product) HDMI out.The user interface for this is not the most intuitive but you can get use to it.I really like the usb/multimedia feature. I was able to easily play .mp4 and .mkv video files off an usb on it. This is very nice if you have a lot of personal or downloaded video files that you want to watch/share with people on your tv (especially older tvs) without having to do extra work like converting and burning the video files to disc.It’s also nice that you can save recordings to usb (or usb-portable HDD) and then reinsert the usb into your computer/laptop to watch your recordings. The recordings are .mts format and easily played via VLC media player for me. Thus, when I want to – I can fully enjoy the true HD of the digital broadcast recording on my 1080p laptop screen (that my old tv is not capable of). Note digital broadcast recordings are fairly large – about 5 gb for a hour long show. So you want a usb or portable HDD with a good amount of storage. Again, since you can easily take out and reinsert your usb or portable HDD – you can always transfer your recordings to your laptop/computer as well for storage. Note, I formatted my usb to NTSF format – because with this format the shows/recordings are save in a single file; with FAT-32 the shows are broken up into a series of files (each a couple minutes long) as I found out.The issues I ran into are more related to programming recordings. Check out the mediasonic forums for this product (http://www.forum.mediasonic.ca/viewforum.php?f=44) or the very similar (pretty much the same product) iView 3500STB DTV Converter Box – that has been out longer and documents many of the same issues. Things like the time is off for Eastern Standard Time (it is set a hour earlier); daily and weekly recordings do not properly forward your timer recordings to the next date (rather oddly jumps several days ahead); only military time is available; and do use/set ‘the power on/power off’ option to make sure it wakes up before any scheduled recordings (as I found out when only 1 of my 2 timed recordings of the day was getting saved onto my usb).I think that’s it. For the 40 dollars I paid, the usb/multimedia playback feature is worth the cost. The digital recording ability (without a monthly fee like most dvrs and tivo) is pretty nice. For now though, programming recordings can be a little tricky: you pretty much have to set them every day as the ‘daily’ and ‘weekly’ timer options are not reliable and be careful to think of the correct military time conversion (plus a hour ahead for the EST bug). Mediasonic does state on the forum that a possible firmware update may come out to address these issues.

Old Pro says:

New life for old TV’s, and a dandy recorder! (This review consists of the original review and two updates. All contain some valuable information about my experience with this neat little converter.)Not only does this converter provide an excellent digital TV signal for your old analog TV, it functions as a digital recorder and player of your favorite TV shows and other media. The USB port and your memory stick allow a convenient way to enjoy your recorded TV programs and play music, movie, and photo data. The converter seems to be more sensitive than my old one giving me an additional station and providing superior image quality. Use the supplied composite video/audio cable for the best image. Set up was pretty intuitive, which is a good thing since the instruction booklet was sub par. Do keep and read the booklet but use the Quick Installation sheet to get going. Then refer to the booklet and play with the Menu items to learn the finer details of using your box. It does not recognize Daylight Savings Time, so tell it you live in Canada and use Atlantic Time if you live in the Eastern US. You will need a fairly large memory stick if you intend to record much TV. It will allow you to record the program you are watching but apparently not another channel at the same time. It does allow recording your selected shows remotely while your TV is off. Do format your stick using the appropriate menu selection. I had problems recording until I did this. Allowing for a few quirks, this is an excellent piece of equipment especially given the price.UPDATE:I have just purchased another of these units to replace a converter box(different brand)on another TV. With its recording ability and solid performance as a converter, it was a no brainer. Please take note that a firmware update is available from the distributor. You’ll find that at mediasonic.ca under product forums. This update fixes the DST problem and a couple of other issues. It did seem that the image quality deteriorated slightly in the process, but I rescanned the channels, went through the converter setup menu, and tweaked the video settings in the TV menu and everything was fine once again. My TV is very old so it could very well have been the problem. Thanks Mediasonic for the update. It’s nice to find a company still interested in customer satisfaction. If you’re listening: What about offering additional remotes for sale? You know these things are notorious for getting lost or broken. And a his and hers wouldn’t be a bad idea. Excellent piece of equipment now even better with the firmware update!UPDATE:This update comes after owning this converter for over two months. My original conclusion has not changed – excellent little machine especially when you consider the price.My second unit now operates solely as a recorder as I have replaced that TV with a new digital model. I use the HDMI out connection on the recorder to connect to the TV to play the program back. You’ll have to purchase a cord, but it’s worth it. The quality is identical to the original, and I find the recording process simple. It took a couple of tries at first but just read the manual and play with it on your own and you should have no problem. The following explains how to send the antenna signal through your unit and still use the TV’s tuner. First you connect your coax antenna connection to the RF In and then set your unit to loop through the signal to the TV. Of course your unit has to be connected to the TV via the RF Out. To loop the signal, go the Menu and Channel Search. Under Channel Search, press RF Output until you see Loop. If you have your TV input set properly, you should be able to use your TV tuner to see all your channels and record on your unit. Looping the signal does reduce its strength somewhat so that a weak station may not come in. Since my TV in question is at the end of a 125′ cable run and the signal is split, I lost too much signal to use this approach. I use a good quality mechanical A/B switch to accomplish basically the same thing albeit with a bit more trouble but less signal loss.Judging from the Mediasonic.ca web site HomeWorx HW-150PVR forum, people are finding ways to use this unit to function with many equipment set-ups and having fun personalizing it for their own use. It won’t do everything that people would like and it does exhibit a quirk or two, but it sure is a flexible machine for the price. And it’s so nice not have those outrageous cable and sat. bills.Mediasonic.ca has provided a company administrator for the forum site. There is a very sincere effort to provide solutions for problems and questions. Check out the forum for answers and info. How unusual for a company to provide a forum and administrator for a product that you can buy for under $50.00! Also the company is selling a replacement remote on their web site, $8.00 or $9.00 with shipping I believe. Fairly…


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