Previous posts at in-koherence have been rather skeptical of using SSDs as recording storage in DVRs. SSDs have a lifespan that is largely dictated by the amount of data written to them. This may not be much of a problem if you record one or two shows a day. However many users set up recordings for series which they might watch (but for some reason never find the time to…or maybe they decided it wasn’t such a great series after all, but who has time to cancel the subscription to the series?) This is amplified if multiple members of the household set up recordings on the DVR. The next thing you know it your four-tuner DVR is recording 20 hours of shows a day. For all its faults, the good old mechanical hard drive is superior in having a write limit that’s so high that it’s generally not considered.
But with rapidly falling prices, larger capacities (with correspondingly higher endurance ratings), and the increasing difficulty of finding non-SMR 2.5″ hard drives, the time has come to give SSDs a harder look. So we took a mid-grade SSD and ran the first SSD-based Project Entangle through its paces.
Continue reading “Revisiting SSDs in DVRs”
I was recently reminded that summer’s come and gone with nary a peep out of in-koherence. So just what’s been going on? Well in addition to various feature enhancements to Project Entangle, the in-koherent project SFBayATSC was rolled out in May.
SFBayATSC is actually a follow-on to a similar OTA ATSC monitoring site which was run by AVSForum member toast0. Earlier in the year toast0 gave notice that he’d be moving and that his monitoring system would be shutting down in May. The signal reception data he collected was quite useful to both viewers and broadcasters in the Bay Area, so that got us thinking…just maybe Project Entangle could fill the gap. So the signal analysis, already a part of Entangle, was beefed up, a cloud infrastructure was built, and SFBayATSC was born.
Continue reading “Behind the scenes at SFBayATSC”
One of the goals of Project Entangle is to receive The Perfect Broadcast – a transport stream with no bits missing or in error. As anyone using OTA ATSC (and since you’re reading this you’re probably one of them) knows, this can be a challenging endeavor. Signals can be too weak, and ironically too strong. Multipath can turn an otherwise strong signal error-prone. Dynamic multipath is even harder to deal with as the demodulator needs to adapt to the changing properties of the signal.
But hard doesn’t mean impossible. One of the methods for obtaining The Perfect Broadcast that Project Entangle has been investigating is diversity. Essentially, diversity involves receiving two or more versions of a broadcast in different ways. The various versions are then combined to yield a signal that’s better than any of the individually received ones.
Continue reading “Enhancing OTA ATSC Reception Through Diversity”
DIRECTV Now is a service I’d really like to succeed. After dropping Comcast there were a few channels that I missed. Like Science and BBC America. (We’ll ignore the little detail that one of the reasons I dropped Comcast, aside from their ever-increasing prices, was their seeming inability to actually deliver a reliable signal in the first place…) DIRECTV Now seemed like a godsend. Their initial promotion had the Go Big package for $35/month. No hidden taxes or fees. No years-long commitment. Plus, no cables to run or satellite dishes to mount.
I eagerly signed up for DIRECTV Now soon after it launched in late 2016, and was initially quite impressed. The video quality via AppleTV on a 55″ TV or on my iPad was quite good. No buffering or other issues which one might associate with streaming. There was the occasional bout of block noise, but these were infrequent and transient. But after waiting patiently for a year and a half for a decent DVR service, I finally cancelled my subscription. DIRECTV Now is a great solution for those of you who like to watch linear TV linearly. But it’s not so great if you’re used to trick modes or do a lot of time shifting.
Continue reading “DIRECTV Now: A Good Start, Hoping For More Later”
I’d like to thank all of you who commented or emailed about the SiliconDust HDHomerun Connect Quatro review posted in November of last year. I’m truly amazed at the amount of interest it garnered.
And there’s some great news for those of you who have the Quatro or been on the fence about getting one – the issue reported in that review has been addressed with the 20180327 firmware!
The HDHR5 Quatro now performs on par with the HDHR4 Connect. In fact, for certain types of impairments, it may perform a bit better.
Continue reading “Update: The SiliconDust HDHomerun Connect Quatro”