Mediasonic HW180STB HomeWorx HDTV Digital Converter Box with Media Player and Recording PVR Function, Dolby Digital, HDMI Out (New Version)
- Receive Over-The-Air Digital Broadcast to your Analog and Digital TV, Projector, and Computer Monitor. Antenna Out Analog Pass Through, Favorite Channel List, Parental Control Function
- USB Multimedia Player Function. Auto Tuning, HDMI 1080P Output / Composite Out / Component (YPbPr) Output / Coaxial Output, Closed Caption,
- Real-Time recording & Programmed Time Recording, Auto, 16:9 Pillar Box, 16:9 Pan G Scan, 4:3 Letter Box, 4:3 Pan G Scan, 4:3 Full, 16:9 Wide Screen.
- Recording require user to connect a USB Flash Drive (Up to 64GB) or 3.5″ External Hard Drive via USB (Up to 2TB)
- Timing Start Up & Shut Down.
Mediasonic HOMEWORX HW180STB is a digital converter box which converts Over-The-Air ATSC digital broadcast to your analog and digital TV. The built-in Media Player function allows user to play back picture and video files via USB connection. The built-in recording function allows user to record their TV programs and play back. Please Note: this converter box is designed to receive Over-The-Air signal, and it is not a replacement of cable box. External Antenna is required to connect to this converter box in order to receive signal
List Price: $ 34.99
Price: [wpramaprice asin=”B00IYETYX8″]
Love the HW150PVR, this one too! GREAT for those w/ special needs ‘° ” ‘°,
[Updated review] I decided to buy another Homeworx unit for the spare bedroom. I’m a big fan of their previous recording model, the HW150PVR, though it has a glitch or two. I’ve been waiting for Mediasonic to bring out another recorder- this 2nd generation HW180STB is it (the 1st generation model doesn’t record). I tried to cover a lot of bases in this review, just pick and choose what may be useful to you.
The specs in the listing say “Composite Out/Component (YPbPr) Output” but no such jacks [green/blue/red] are shown in the photo, a puzzle. After receiving the unit, I found that the photo is correct, the description is not. The older 150PVR has these jacks (I need them for my Samsung analog HD DVD recorder). It also has a coaxial digital out jack for playing Dolby 5.1. (HDMI also carries Dolby signals.)
The 180STB is smaller than the 150PVR, maybe ¾ the size- LxW smaller than a 6″ Kindle, and less than 1½” thick- TINY, but a little dynamo. The remote is smaller than the original too, performs a few more functions and the buttons are placed differently, so some re-learning there. They’re a definite improvement. The legends for play, pause, stop, fast forward, rewind, skip forward, and skip back are now shown in white on the keys themselves, along with the words below each key. And, the buttons are better situated. The Menu, Exit, EPG, and TV List buttons form a square around the volume and channel up down keys, which form a diamond with OK in the center. Much easier to see at a glance and feel, and learn.
In a nutshell, both units do a comparable job of recording (crystal clear), output signals in SD/HD via RF-coax cable, RCA cables (red/white/yellow), and HDMI, and at various resolutions/screen widths, allow pausing of live TV, etc. The menu functions look to be nearly identical. I heartily recommend both. Here are the relative advantages of each:
-Has a Digital coax out jack for Dolby Surround Sound.
-Has a Composite Out/Component (YPbPr) High-res Video Output for accessories that can make use of this signal
– Can tune cable channels (unencrypted QAM) with the QAM firmware update
-Has a better remote (though smaller)
-Presumably has the latest programming and circuitry
-Displays multiple pages of the programming guide
-Has a small form factor for tight spaces
[NOTE: I don’t have cable, but I read in Daniel Solomon’s review that he has used it to tune cable. See his review for details. I imagine the process will be streamlined with a future firmware update.]
One caveat- I did various recording, all went well, except when I hit the RECORD button and just let it go- it stopped precisely on the next hour (started at 5:02 pm and stopped at 6:00 pm exactly). Don’t know why, found nowhere to specify automatic recording duration. I plan to go back and play with this. [Have done and results are inconsistent. I thought perhaps it was stopping, as would be ideal, when the program was over, but sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t so I’m stumped.] However, it’s easy enough to circumvent by hitting the TIMER button instead, then ADD (the current channel and time pop up) then enter the time you want it to stop. A few extra button presses but takes only a few seconds, and works fine that way.
UPDATE: I used this for a month or so then reverted to my older model in the living room. But when I used it the default mode for any type of recording was “record.” I just moved it to another room, hooked up a new antenna and hard drive, and now the default mode is “view.” (WTH? I didn’t even know it existed). This is now the case whether I’m attempting to record from the program guide or by entering a manual timer. I mention this because if you’re having trouble recording, look down at the last option- “Mode” and change it to RECORD. I’m actually delighted it changed somehow or other to VIEW mode because it’s a function I used daily when I had DISH.
DETAILS: When I scanned for channels, the new unit found 146 over-the-air channels, the same as my other unit. On the 150PVR, in EPG (program guide) mode, on a particular channel it might show “Page 1 of 4” but I could never get it to page down beyond the first page of program listings. I was gratified to see that this unit/remote does (via both the down arrow button, down one listing at a time, and the NEXT/fast forward button, for a page at a time, even though unlike the 150PVR it always showed Page 1 of 1, even when on subsequent pages). So now I can record something more than just a few hours ahead by paging forward then hitting OK/Enter while on a program listing. What I’ve done in the past if I knew something was coming up was set a manual timer. How nice. [Update: it’s no longer paging down while in EPG mode- why I haven’t a clue…
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BUY THIS BOX AND AN ANTENNA AND CANCEL YOUR CABLE SUBSCRIPTION RIGHT NOW,
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Very nice digital converter that works best with OTA content,
Having been locked in the cable and satellite television market for years, I’ve been accustom to using a rented box to receive my television stations. We recently “cut the cord” and ditched our cable TV, which freed up about $800 a year in television bills. In the process, we purchased this box as a way to receive local over-the-air (OTA) content. It’s been since I was a child, in the 1970s, that I last pulled stations in using an antenna. Boy, has this process changed, and for the better! No more staticy, ghosty signals that constantly require adjusting the “rabbit ears” to pull the signal in well.
After much research, I chose the Mediasonic HW180STB HomeWorx digital converter. This little box grabs signals from your antenna, converts the analog signal to its digital constituent, then passes this processed signal to your television or home theater receiver for viewing. The advantage of using this converter, for us, is it unlocks Dolby Digital 5.1 over an HDMI line to our home theater receiver. Our television doesn’t have an HDMI return channel feature to pass the audio from the television back to the receiver, so if we didn’t have this box, we’d forever have to use the television’s internal tuner and speaker, leaving our surround sound unused.
After receiving the converter, I set up this little box in a matter of minutes. It was really simple! All I did was plug in the HDMI cable from our old cable box into the HDMI out on the back of the converter. This cable runs to our home theater receiver, but it could also go directly to our television. I then plugged the antenna in and plugged the convert into an AC outlet–done! When this was complete, I powered it up. After the box booted, I pressed the Menu button. From there, it’s very easy to locate the Antenna Tune function from the onscreen GUI. A total OTA tune took only a few minutes, and this tuner found 28 channels in our modest, local market.
The first thing I noticed was how rich and sharp the 1080i stations are. Cable and satellite stations utilize a compression algorithm to reduce bandwidth. The compression used is lossy and produces a “softer” image than OTA images. Using this box, you get uncompressed OTA digital stations. I found the OTA 1080i images to be really stunning! They contain sharper detail than their cable/satellite counterparts.
After you’ve completed a tune, you can press the extended programing guide button to see what’s on each channel. Unlike cable and satellite tuners, you don’t get an overall guide showing everything on every channel. Rather, you get the schedule for what’s on the station you’re currently watching. This information is encoded into the digital OTA signal. Using the tuner in my Samsung television, I wasn’t able to view the channel programming guide. That’s a nice feature that the Mediasonic digital converter provides that is really handy.
If you want to view cable stations, the Mediasonic HW180STB also supports tuning to your cable provider’s cable line. This tuning process takes quite a bit longer. I left the room and came back in five or ten minutes. It also isn’t as feature rich as your cable provider’s cable box. You won’t have a fancy program guide, for example. We cancelled our cable service, but I connected the cable line and performed a cable tune to see if I could grab anything off our cancelled service. Sure enough, I was able to tune all our local stations and a few cable stations. Unfortunately, the tuner also grabbed 167 scrambled stations, and the watchable channels it grabbed were mixed into these, making it very difficult to easily locate the channels I could watch. There was also no programming guide for each local channel. In addition to this, the local channel 1080i quality was inferior to the OTA content, so I wouldn’t recommend viewing your local content this way. Using an OTA antenna is really the way to go, if you can do it.
The Mediasonic converter can act as a DVR. Mediasonic refers to their DVR function as PVR. The PVR feature records programs either by pressing record while viewing a program or scheduling a program to be recorded at a later time. Unlike many DVRs, you cannot watch one channel while recording another. Programs can be recorded to either a USB thumb drive (up to 64GB) or an external USB hard drive (up to 2TB).
Experimenting with the PVR feature, I found using a USB thumb drive to be inconsistent. I have several thumb drives of varying size. Some worked smoothly while others caused pixilation and screen freezing. I found two Verbatim thumb drives, each of the same size, were inconsistent. One worked well while the other failed. This failure could have been due to problems with read/write times to/from the drive chip, or it could be due to a problem that Mediasonic may correct in a later firmware update. There’s no way for me to tell. I didn’t test further…
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