: Channel Master 7000PAL, CM TV, CM7400 DVR's
2012-03-12, 03:38 PM
If by freeze you mean "the picture freezes but the volume continues on normally", I have seen this only on extra-low strength recordings - recordings so bad that the picture is dropping out regularly and the sound is garbled. The 7400 tries to follow along, but can't always keep up. Pressing Commercial Skip gets the picture and sound back in sync. You can then back it up a little so you don't miss the whole 30 seconds.
Actually, this is preferable to what the 7000PAL does in the same situation - it just stops recording when the signal drops off.
If by "freeze" you mean the whole unit becomes unresponsive to commands from the remote, I find it best to stop pressing buttons and wait for the lag to catch up. Only once or twice have I found it necessary to turn the machine off (standby) and then on again from the power button on the front of the box.
There is also talk in another thread about the 7400 being more sensitive to overpowering the tuner. Haven't really seen it myself but perhaps the CM7777 is messing with your stronger channels.
2012-03-12, 03:46 PM
I refer to the signal reception stopping and the image freezing but the unit is responsive in all other ways - I can even go back and listen to a recording (I manage to get 1 done). When it freeze, the signal bars all stay grey instead of red/yellow/green for all channels. It does not fix it it I close and reopen the unit: I need to unplug the power for a while for the signal reception and image to come back.
Do you have the link to this other tread of the potential side effect of the CM7777 with stronger signal on the CM7400 ?
2012-03-12, 04:34 PM
Hmmm. It happens when watching live TV as well as on recordings? The only thing I've seen like that is when I'm using channel up/down to run through all the channels. I have 1 or 2 channels that are there only some of the time, and sometimes the unit will "freeze" on a blank channel and not proceed to the next channel up or down. Again, a small wait is all that's needed to recover control.
I've found the number one problem with most DVR/PVRs is how they deal with weak channels, including those that are only received part of the time. The firmware designers seem to think you will receive a set number of channels at a given strength day in and day out - which is simply not the reality of OTA viewing imho.
It still sounds like a signal strength issue, especially since the strength meter shows no signal when it freezes. Does it freeze on all channels, or only on some? Most of the time or only occasionally? Do the strength meters for the 7400 and your TV seem to match (it's hard to tell with the 7400's colour-coded scheme)?
As for the thread concerning tuner sensitivity we shouldn't be promoting competing forums, but I'd imagine a google search for "CM7400 tuner sensitivity" or "CM7400 overpowering tuner" would turn up several results. It all seems to be hearsay, anyways.
To answer your original question, despite minor quirks (which I have seen on every DVR I have ever owned) the CM7400 functions pretty much as advertised. Not the most glowing recommendation, but...
2012-03-12, 04:52 PM
Thanks for the reply. The freezing happen while watching live TV from the DVR. I even got a case where it froze while closed because it was blank when I open the unit. It can happen anywhere while watching, in the guide, while looking at a channel or during channel switching. When it freeze, I can switch channel or go to the guide but all channel will show no signal (all grey bars). When frozen, the only way out is to unplug the power, wait for a while and plug it back - even the reset in the menu does not fix it.
Before putting the CM7777, I had some found channel with weak signal (only red bars in the "manage channel" section) but it could stay "alive" for 1~2 hours (even got it still working after 24 hours once). Now that I have the CM7777, all found channels are in the green zone but the freeze happen also faster, usually within 1 hour. I am not sure if is freeze on all channel, I will try to start it and let it on each on them to see if it change something (good point).
The overall signal strength is always a little less on each channel on the CM7400 compare to my TV (Toshiba 42ZV650U).
I would be happy to only use the unit for recording & replay, using my TV tuner for live watching but it would need to be a little bit more stable for that... :-)
2012-03-12, 08:20 PM
I rarely use the 7400 as a tuner, but most of the freezes/delays I have seen are attributable to poor signal strength while recording or mashing buttons on the remote too quickly.
Before you got the 7400, how would you assess your reception? Steady and reliable, or variable? Do you see a lot of pixelation, or does the picture remain clear all evening? If a channel is steady and watchable on your TV but causes the 7400 to freeze, perhaps it's a defective unit. It may be more sensitive, but that's not normal behaviour for the 7400 tuner.
Try recording your strongest channel, while simultaneously watching the same channel on your TV. The results should be identical.
2012-03-12, 08:29 PM
Before the CM7400 & CM7777, reception was steady & reliable on most of the channel and with no much pixelation except on rare case. I do have a situation from time to time with one of the channel: it cut and come back but mostly with bad weather. My antenna is pointed to optimize the far away channel so, my local channel are coming from "the side". Those local channel have stong signal but one on them is cutting sometime - not pixelation but nothing for a second and then back to normal: can this cause trouble ?
2012-03-12, 09:41 PM
I'm not saying it's the cause of your trouble, but obviously the 7400 is sensitive to lost signals and will freeze up in response. As I said before, the 7000PAL is also sensitive but tends to just stop recording if the signal is lost momentarily. Neither response is acceptable imho - lost recordings are lost, whatever the cause. I've got an old standard def ATSC DVR that will happily record 4 hours of black screen if that's what it receives.
That's why I suggested recording something and watching at the same time. That way you can compare the results and see if the 7400 is having trouble where the TV isn't. Whether that's a sensitive tuner or a defective unit, it still makes the 7400 useless in your situation.
Generally speaking, a strong signal should not be cutting in and out, even a little. That implies the signal isn't that strong, or you have other issues like multipath (trees). As always, your individual situation may be different from what I've experienced.
Keep at it, and good luck.
2012-03-19, 11:44 PM
how do you get a epg on the unit (CM7000Pal) without being able to enter a postal code on it? i seriously want to buy one but i am disturbed by the info on the lack of ability to program this thing ? and what other ota dvr are available now ?
(asked in PM by a member in the London, ON area)
There are two methods this DVR uses to receive EPG data: (1) TVGOS (linked to a ZIP code), or (2) PSIP (data sent out by the stations themselves).
The former provides up to 7 days of data for stations within the TVGOS host station's local area. The latter--if provided by the station--typically provides 12 hours or so. Some stations offer several days of PSIP data (such as TVO), or up to a week (CBC's digital English stations, currently).
In London, even if you manage to receive a US TVGOS host station (usually PBS stations), it may not provide data for local London and area stations. You may wish to ask in the London reception thread for clarification.
Either way, in London, most stations offer PSIP data (exception would be CHCH). And even if they didn't, you can still program the DVR to record shows on that station.
This particular DVR is easy to program. Here's a tip of what I do in my area:
Locally for me, I receive WNED Buffalo PBS, which means that I receive TVGOS data for the Buffalo area stations and CFTO Toronto. If a US network program is available on local Canadian stations, such as CHCH, I set the program to record on the American network, then edit the program to change the channel to the Canadian station carrying the program.
This works well for me for shows such as "Jimmy Kimmel Live". It airs on ABC and CHCH Hamilton at the same time. However, as CHCH doesn't offer PSIP, I simply edit the channel after setting the recording for the ABC affiliate in Buffalo. And presto! It records at precisely the correct time on CHCH with having to set start/stop times, etc.
With regards to competing DVR products: Unfortunately I haven't done much research on the subject. You're welcome to explore the DVR & PVR Recorders (http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=56806) thread to catch up on discussion of other devices on the market.
Some people prefer the simplicity of an "all in one solution". But as I have some IT skills, I've decided to go the Home Theatre PC route for my next DVR. The advantage with a HTPC is that you can grab EPG data online up to two weeks into the future. And you can network your HTPC to various TV's throughout your home--much like a "whole home PVR" solution offered by some of the cable/satellite companies.
2012-03-19, 11:59 PM
how are you able view a program guide on the cm pal 7000 without being able to enter a postal code i want to buy one but i am sketchy about the program guide and dvr abilities without it
PSIP, as mentioned in my reply post. A postal code is only required for TVGOS (TV Guide On Screen) data from a host US TVGOS station.
PSIP (Program and System Information Protocol) is an embedded data stream sent out by most OTA stations. Unlike TVGOS, PSIP is not linked geographically by postal code or ZIP code. If your DVR or tuner can receive a station, it can decode it's PSIP data stream.
Obviously it sucks that Channel Master has failed to support TVGOS for their DVR users outside of the US. Especially considering that cities like London have their own TVGOS host station locally (CFPL). But the device still works well if the station you're viewing has a populated PSIP EPG stream.
2012-03-20, 12:04 AM
I'm guessing that Londoners with this DVR likely use WQLN Erie PBS for TVGOS? If so, which ZIP code do you use?!
2012-03-30, 09:30 PM
Was pleasantly surprised that the 7000Pal reports on-screen when the remote batteries are low. Very cool.
2012-04-11, 10:59 AM
Will there every be a reliable WAF friendly OTA HD PVR with Netflix integration?
I still have trouble believing with the wave of people adopting OTA, there isn't a bigger market offering for these devices.
2012-04-11, 11:04 AM
The Channel Master DVR's--effectively being a computing and storage device--have the capability to offer Netflix from a technical perspective. Though, based on my observations, should CM launch Netflix support, it won't likely be for devices outside of the US.
2012-04-11, 11:13 AM
I am a bit leery of the CM brand based on the multitude of negative reviews I've read about their OTA DVR's. I'm still hoping more players will enter this consumer space.
2012-04-11, 11:44 AM
Will there every be a reliable WAF friendly OTA HD PVR with Netflix integration?
I still have trouble believing with the wave of people adopting OTA, there isn't a bigger market offering for these devices.Yes - Windows Media Center set up with a US zip code and (ideally) using unblockus or a VPN. This gives you full OTA with an attractive UI with good guide data and access to lots of online content from US TV networks plus good Netflix integration. You can also supplement this with your own video files in your video library.
2012-04-13, 02:02 PM
i have finally received my cm7000pal and it keeps saying channel has been lost and is trying to requisition the chgannel when it does finally find it though it is way over 80 % 88 even why am i getting this result ? kinda frustrated about it moving my antenna around lots for no reason ?
Which channel specifically are you experiencing this issue with?
For myself, I sometimes notice this problem with channel 6 Paris (Global, RF6). Tuning to another channel, then back to 6, appears to resolve the issue. There must be something about the channel 6 PSIP data the box doesn't like.
2012-04-13, 02:36 PM
My question is why is the cm 7000 pal saying signal has been lost and acquisitioning channel. When the channel always reads 88 % it is channel 20 omni 2 from london ? it has been doing the same with 51 chch which i understand since it is usually 64-66 %...
Again, the issue may have something to do with a compatibility problem between the PSIP data that the channel is sending out and the DVR. Does the DVR, after about 30 seconds of attempting to acquire the signal, show a signal meter with a black screen indicating signal? If so, this is a decode issue and confirms problems with decoding PSIP for this station.
And note that "64-66%" signal on this DVR is actually borderline signal. It could be that CHCH is falling below the receivable threshold.
2012-05-02, 07:55 PM
Home theatre magazine June issue has an in dept review of the CM 7400. I have had a keen interest in this unit for sometime. I was thinking of getting rid of my Tivo due to the monthly charges. However based on the review I will be keeping my Tivo which in my opinion is quite superior dvr/tuner.
The downsides to the CM 7400
Runs hot 119.3 F
Expensive $450 American
Have to subscribe to a premium program guide $50.00 a year and have to be connected to the internet.
Has quirks and reliability issues
No netflix or hulu plus widget.
Overall it was rated with three stars.
On reviewing the article it appears that channel master is still in need of significant improvement to this unit
2012-05-02, 09:33 PM
A Channel Master TV™ subscription is a requirement? My understanding was that the service is optional. If the review is correct, this is likely a major deal breaker for many who are looking to go subscription-free with OTA.
The hot running temp concerns me as well. This says to me that: (a) the unit consumes excessive power, and (b) premature component failure is likely.
2012-05-03, 10:16 AM
"Quirks and reliability issues" doesn't surprise those of us who own the CM7000PAL.
The 7000PAL has had bugs in its software for the entire 18 months that I've owned it, and we haven't seen a software update in well over a year.