TviX Media Extender - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 2008-02-15, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
 
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TviX Media Extender

Are these devices available in Canada? If so, where?

Are there any similar devices which play everything and which output up to 1080 via HDMI?

Sometimes with these convergence devices, it's not clear whether an AV store or a computer store is the best place to look for them.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 2008-02-20, 08:41 AM
 
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Yes... you can certainly buy this on-line in Canada. I did. Love the machine. I'd post a link, but not sure if I am allowed to or not.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 2008-02-23, 02:19 PM
 
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On the official website, there is a "Where To Buy" tab with 1 option in Canada. Cant comment on them, never used them.

http://www.tvix.co.kr/Eng/WhereToBuy.aspx

PS: I've been looking at those also but I'm wondering if I should pay ~400$CAD for this device or about the same amount for a HTPC able to do the same thing and much more. I'm still researching slowly the question as I dont plan to buy/build it before fall 2008.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 2008-02-24, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
 
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Update

I did follow up from the info from DVDGuy and ordered a TviX 6500 with a
500-Gig HDD.

I would be surprised if you could get a HTPC for less money. Just the OS will cost a couple of hundred by itself, I would expect. Then you will be penalized by having WMP trying to play everything.

The beauty of the Media Extender is that you don't have to deal with the Microsoft so-called Operating Systems or crappy media players. I think if you search this macro thread you will find endless problems associated with MS and their players from those who went the HTPC route.

There must be at least a million websites that have downloadable video on them. Some free. Most require payment. However, every website uses its preferred video codec. And new ones are being developed continuously.

I think the real solution to getting downloaded media into a home theatre setup is to have the makers of AVRs to smarten up their products, not a HTPC or a Media Extender. In the meantime a Media Extender is my preferred approach.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 2008-02-24, 10:50 PM
 
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Thank you for the update. If possible, give us a review of the unit after a while as I am sure others are also interested in similar products.

As for the HTPC comment, I already have a HTPC working flawless with MediaPortal so I'm not worried about functionalities nor the cost to build one which would be 500$ including the OS at the present time. The size and portability of a TviX box or similar is the real appeal for me which makes me research a little more into my possibilities.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 2008-02-25, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springle
I would be surprised if you could get a HTPC for less money. Just the OS will cost a couple of hundred by itself, I would expect. Then you will be penalized by having WMP trying to play everything.

The beauty of the Media Extender is that you don't have to deal with the Microsoft so-called Operating Systems or crappy media players. I think if you search this macro thread you will find endless problems associated with MS and their players from those who went the HTPC route.
I do not want to take away from your like of the product that you have but that statement above is quite misleading.

A properly done Windows basted HTPC running pretty much any HTPC software will ALWAYS be the best overall most functional and stable solution.

I have operated a Windows based HTPC infrastructure for over 2 years and I have never had issues playing any content. And lately, with my switch to SageTV, there are even fewer problems right out of the box for a noob HTPC builder.

And to further the comments from TheIceMaster, the price of these media devices is pretty steep considering that they can never do as much as and HTPC. Those purpose built devices will never play BluRay. They will never let you simply drop in a movie disc and press play, etc...

Again, if you like/love your choice, great. It is better to have the choice we all have. However, to make such a wide reaching statement about HTPCs running Windows with only he said/she said inferrences as supporting evidence is, well, obtuse.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 2008-02-25, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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Utility

My comments regarding Microsoft and its software are personal. I am not interested in conducting a survey. One point of interest, though. I saw some recent statistics: (from memory) 91% of all PCs worldwide use Microsoft O/S. 3% use Vista. So why is MS dropping support for XP? Doesn't this move indicate the disdain with which MS holds its customers?

I think Microsoft has lost its way. Instead of being in existence to benefit me, it acts as if I am in existence to benefit Microsoft. The tail wagging the dog. Hence I avoid MS whenever I can.

WRT home theatre setups, I don't see any place for Microsoft. It would dearly love to insert itself in some form just about everywhere it can.

As I suggested, I view the ultimate resolution of playability to be a smart AVR which contains a large HDD. "Smart" meaning a product that is constructed to make easy upgrades, both firmware and hardware. I don't want another box in the chain, be it a media extender or a HTPC.

In the meantime, I suspect that the problem I am solving is slightly different from most users of HTPCs. I have 2 HT systems: one in the main bedroom and one in the LR. In total I use 5 DVD recorders, each with a large HDD. I also have PVRs from Shaw and Bell ExpressVu. I don't need any additional device to record broadcast TV. Should I wish to record HD (not timeshift using a PVR), I use a DVHS recorder (and very seldom do so).

In other words, I only want a device which will play all the various audio and video codecs I find on the internet. I don't need to play any sort of disks with this device, just computer files. I don't have a Blu-Ray player and at this time have little interest in purchasing one. If a stand alone Blu-Ray recorder were available, like Panasonic sells in Japan with an embedded 1 TB HDD, then I would buy such a device. I've never played a computer game in my life and have zero interest in the various PS and Xbox devices.

I recognize that few people will share my bundle of interests (utility curve). I haven't built a HTPC and cannot verify their costs. I assume they require a MOBO, a good video card, some memory, a disk player/recorder, a big HDD or 2, a CPU, a box, a PSU, a remote control and an OS. The playing is handled by software, rather than the hardware of a media extender. I did look at software referenced by others and see that it allows a HTPC to function as a PVR. I don't need a PVR.

So I bought a media extender. Each to his own.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 2008-02-27, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springle
So I bought a media extender. Each to his own.
Excellent!!! You bought what you needed.

I just wanted you to understand that strong comments (that lacked strong qualification) on a forum that could be read by others that are not necessarily as knowledgeable on the subject, could be misleading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by springle
The playing is handled by software, rather than the hardware of a media extender.
Incorrect. HTPCs do almost everything in hardware. Where you are seeing it as software is that you have to install something. Otherwise, all of the video decoding in a modern HTPC is handled in hardware on the video card and even in onboard video solutions.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 2008-03-01, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
 
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TviX 6500

I picked this device up today.

My first observation is that it is small. About the size of my 1 TB external HDD. It has many connections on the back, including HDMI 1.3 and also both coaxial and optical digital audio.

I ordered it with a 500-Gig HDD. However, the package just included the HDD in a separate box, leaving the installation and initialization to me. At least it's a Seagate Barracuda.

The TviX is made in China, but designed by a Korean company. I noticed shortly after I ordered it, that there is a new model, a TviX 7000, coming out this month. The 7000 has the same chip as the 6500.

Unlike the comment of a reviewer of a previous model, this one does include an HDMI cable. It doesn not include a Component Video cable set, though. It also has a LAN port. Right now, I'm not certain whether or not to connect it to the router. I have a spare 500-Gig external HDD and can just connect that to my PC, dump the files of interest, then connect the external HDD to the TviX via USB.

There is no software to install. Just plug and play. Firmware upgrades are to be expected, though. It came with an enclosed disk which contains the operating manual.

Initially I plan on connecting it to my Denon 4308 AVR and hope that the AVR accepts the HDMI from this device. The advantage of this is that the AVR upconverts everything to 1080p prior to outputting to the TV set via HDMI. If the AVR doesn't accept the HDMI from the TivX, then I'll connect it directly to the TV and only the digital audio to the AVR.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 2008-03-02, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
 
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Testing TivX 6500

After reading the manual from the enclosed CD (and it was written in that bizarre style of English often seen for products of the far East), I unpacked the enclosed HDD and installed it into the device. (It also has a slot for a TV tuner which I assume is for use as a PVR.)

I then attached the device to my PC, initialized the HDD and formatted it as a NTFS drive, gave it a Letter and copied over about 100 Gigs of data. I put in some Music in MP3 format, some old radio programs in MP3 format, some JPEGs (it claims it can show JPEGs up to 3888 X 2500), and a good selection of video files. I put in a couple of Japanese films with subtitles in AVI format, some HD material in WMV format, some MPG, some HD MKV, etc.

I then removed the TviX from my PC and brought it to the LR AV system. I decided that for testing I would attach it directly to the Sony XBR4 rather than do any rewiring on the AVR.

I turned the TviX on and watched it BOOT, then LOAD. After about a minute some splash screens appeared on my TV. I went through a setup choosing NTSC (over PAL), 16:9 TV set, connection via HDMI, etc. It then SAVED the settings.

Then a Directory appeared showing the first level of Folders on the HDD. My first concern was that it would not accept multi-level directories, but it was able to drill down. E.g., under my VIDEO folder, I have an AVI Folder, an X264 folder, etc. I drilled down and clicked on a WMV 720p item with DD5.1 audio. It started up instantly and looked very good.

I stopped and returned to my AUDIO folder and selected some Nick Cave songs. They played without a problem, with the TviX starting the next song in the Folder immediately after the first selection finished. Interestingly, the list of songs disappeared from the TV's screen after about 3 minutes and was replaced by a moving "TviX" symbol. To stop burn-in, I assume. A thoughtful touch.

I then went to a JPEG folder and displayed about 20 photos without a problem.

I then went to an AVI directory and tested a Japanese film which came with a subtitles file. The subtitle file was not displayed in the Folder, but the video played OK and subtitles appeared on screen. I did notice, though, that the frame rate seemed a little jerky. These AVI files are often created at lower frame rates, 25 or so being common. I wonder if the TV was trying to do a 2:3 Pulldown exercise on the video? Something to check out later.

I tried various MPG, WMV, etc., video files and all played without a hiccup.

In other words, this device passed my tests. Now I've got to wire it through my Denon upconverting AVR. If I have a glitch with this, then I shall leave it connected to the TV but use the digital audio out from the TV to connect to the AVR.

The TivX is so small, it is almost unnoticeable sitting on a shelf under the TV set. Later I'll connect a 500-Gig external drive to the TivX via USB and then I'll have a total of 1 TB available for playing.

As an aside I have some misgivings regarding running the MP3s through the TivX. My Denon is supposed to have some circuitry for enhancing MP3 audio and I may connect my MP3 files directly to the AVR via another external HDD to its USB port.

A worthwhile investment - at least for my personal Utility Curve.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 2008-03-26, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
 
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Update ... Review

I have used this device for a while now and have noticed some glitches with it. Also, I'm not a person who will uncritically support a device or tool I have purchased. (Try to get a person who just purchased a new car to accept or offer criticism of it.)

I recently visited the website of the manufacturer/distributor and discovered that there was a Firmware update. Today I installed this update and did some tests of various media.

I don't wish to connect this device (TivX 6500A) to a network, wireless or wired (and it can do both (untested by me)). Hence, my usage has been to load up the internal HDD with program items by connecting it to my PC via a USB connection and check dragging and dropping files. Then move the device into my living room and connect it to my Denon AVR (which upconverts to 1080p) via HDMI 1.3 (and the Denon connects to my 1080p TV via HDMI 1.3 as well.

I also purchased a 750-Gig external HDD to attach to the TivX and now just move files my copying them to this external HDD, then attaching to the TivX.

The most irritating gltich of the TivX is that when disconnected from its perch by my AVR and then connected to my PC and then returned to the AVR perch, it loses all its Setup history. I have to reset the clock and go through a setup menu choosing various audio and video options.

I can live with that. However, simply by storing these initial settings on its internal HDD, this could be fixed.

Previously I had noted that there was some jitter on AVI filess and I speculated that my TV might be trying to do a 2:3 pulldown on the 25fps AVI video signal. However, the instructions that came with the new Firmware stated that this was an issue which was being fixed with this Firmware upgrade. After installation, I checked and found no jitter in playing AVI files.

I checked a large MKV 1080p file and it played as beautifully as before, but now it was showing subtitles. This was another Fix in the upgrade. I had not noticed the absence of subtitles with MKV files, but now I can select different languages with such files (if present).

Another glitch to me involved some older video files. I noticed that when I tried to play some WMV files, I was getting an error message along the lines of "Unsupported Format - WMV7" and also for "WMV8". I didn't realize that there were such playability distinctions. The TivX plays newer WMV files and also WMV HD files without any problems. The upgrade did not address the playability of these older filetypes.

I accidentally loaded it with a PAL video file. I had the TivX set for NTSC and got a garbled playback. Initially I didn't know the file was PAL. I burned it to a disk and put it into a Panasonic DVD recorder and the disk would not play. I then put it into an LG DVD recorder where it played without any problems. The LG does play/convert PAL. Therefore I concluded that the file was PAL.

When I repeated the Setup after the Firmware upgrade I noticed that I could set the Video to Auto (NTSC/PAL) and did so. It still would not play the PAL and I conclude that it was outputting PAL, but my AVR or TV could not play it. Or else the HDMI connection advised the TivX that the other end of the cable was an NTSC device.

The TivX only plays JPEG stills, not TIFFs or PNG or other image formats. I popped in over 3,000 fractals and thought I only selected JPEG ones. However, I have noticed that it will not open the occasional image. Don't know why. It does have a limit analogous to the full size of the 10MP Rebel, 3888 pixels by 2504 (I think it is) and I don't think any of the fractals exceeds that image size.

I created a DVD ISO and put it into the HDD. The TivX has a feature whereby it plays this filetype (as well as IFO) as if it were a disk, showing the DVD menu, etc. These features work OK for me. I consider this to be an important feature as it is a harbinger of a future without disks and should encourage the business of selling entertainment files over the internet.

I noticed that an outstanding issue (as noted in the instructions for the Firmware Upgrade) is that some external HDDs are not recognized by the TivX. I have connected a Maxtor 750-Gig HDD through one of the TivX's 2 ports. The TivX had no difficulties recognizing this drive. However, occasionally, the TivX will not switch to it. Don't know why. I have always been able to overcome this glitch by powering off the TivX and rebooting. It always sees the Maxtor after a rebooting.

The Firmware Upgrade also noted that "True HD and DTS HD-MA pass through using HDMI is under development". I have seen DTS5.1, DD5.1 and DD6.1 audio being input to my AVR from the TivX. No complaints wrt audio.

The TivX will allow an external DVD player/recorder to be connected via its USB ports. Hence audio from such disks could be passed through to the AVR. I suspect, however, that Blu-Ray external players/recorders are more likely to be connected via the upcoming USB3.0 ports which will offer 10 times the speed of USB2.0
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