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All posts by MikeB

Below are all of MikeB's postings, with the most recent are at the bottom of the page.

Waltham (Leicestershire, England) Full Freeview transmitter
Friday 19 July 2013 11:19PM

john: Since there are be loads of us with similar problems, its a Sony thing, and seems to be HXD models from 6 to 3 years ago. Someone mentioned software, which makes sense, but there is nothing on the Sony twitter feed, etc (did I expect anything!).

Hopefully, it will get back to normal soon, but when I'm in work sunday, I'll see what up generally. One of the other blokes has exactly the same machine, so I'll what happened to his.

I know Dave Lindsay has got a similar machine, but no news from him yet, so it might be regional?

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Saturday 20 July 2013 12:45PM

Well, I was right, I wasn't the only one with a Sony PVR problem :)!

Ok, surmising what happened from everyone feedback - its not 4G (Sony Woking should be ashamed of themselves..), and its not caused by strange weather, signal strength, etc.

It seemed to have started around 8.30pm, and is almost certainly a software update glitch (mine normally updates around 3am/pm, but still..), probably to do with the tuner/Epg software (but not seemingly the same as the Australian glitch, which seems to have been a particular channels problem). Updates (if mine is any guide) seem to be stuck, but without the the ability to update, use any patches,etc.

Sony's website says nothing at the moment, and neither does their twitter/facebook pages (although they are telling we are going to have nice weather!).

Here's what I'd suggest:

1) Dont switch off the machine. Even if it just 'updating', at least it is able to get an update in theory. You can still use it for watching stuff you have recorded, and for viewing DVD's.

2) Retuning/resetting will have no effect, but you will lose your existing timer settings (probably worth writing them down anyway), and possibly your existing (working) transmitter settings.

3) If your near to a Sony shop, go in and make a fuss. Yes, they can do nothing, but you can tell them its not 4G, and make your feelings known. They work for Sony, and its Sony's fault. They should own the problem. If you are going to another retailer, its not their fault, its Sony (I'm working tomorrow, and I suspect we might have had a question or two...)

4)Email Sony by all means, include your name, address, model number (serial number if you've got it). I'll be ringing them Monday as well.

5) There apparently is a kind of fix, by changing the country setting to France. However, this will still only allow you to watch a channel, and record it manually. If you have to record, then OK, but if not, you havn't gained much, and of course you've got to change it back.

6) If the glitch has messed up the tuner/epg software, its likely that any patch wont work, becuase the machine cannot recieve it! In that case, Sony will hopefully put the patch on their website, which you can then download to a USB stick, and then put it in the USB port hidden under the front flap (if you've got one). It might be worth contacting Sony even if you can do that, and certainly on behalf of someone who can't - since Sony will hopefully make sure that its corrected one way or another.

Its not unusual for TV's, recorders, etc to have problems with software upgrades, and most of the time, its over very quickly. The possible problem this time is that since its a 'dumb' device ( not online), the means by which it would be resolved is the thing that does not work!

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Sunday 21 July 2013 10:22PM

jb38: I've been mulling over what you said earlier in reply to Jane about Sony and its unavailablity over the weekend.

Having given the tech support people at work a heads up about the Sony situation yesterday as I was passing, we had four reported examples of the problem, three of which I dealt with. However, if I hadn't either had a problem with my own machine (or been reading about it on the net), I won't have heard about it at all.

I think this a wakeup call to Sony and other TV manufacturers - what they call 'a teachable moment'. In the old days, you bouigh a TV. It stopped working, so you'd call the shop you bought it from, or a repair person, and they'd replace a part, etc.

Now, TV's, blu-rays, PVR's. streamers, etc are all 'smart' to some extent, even if they don't go on the net. There are software updates every so often, and as we've seen, they don't always work. Considering the complexity of modern machines, its amazing there are not more problems like this, and I'm sure we can all think of examples from our own line of work where even if you get it right 99.9% of the time, the smallest problem can have large consequences.

As we've seen, we all rely on our machines a lot more than we might realise. Ironically, when those machines fail, we now have the chance to complain about it instantly, not just by phone/email, but via Twitter, Facebook, etc. Sony's offical twitter feed has twenty replies to questions about the PVR problem on the 20/7 alone.

Hardware and software are no longer seperate, and that means that Sony and others can no longer put the phone off the hook on Friday, and pick it up Monday. There would be outrage if Microsoft didn't reply to a serious problem about Windows 7 immediately, and even the most basic Blu-Ray player runs on software - that makes Sony a software company.

What all manufacturers have to realise is that a problem can hit at any time, so they need to answer peoples questions, calm them, and manage the media.

If Sony had a proper response plan, they would have annouced that there was a problem as quickly as possible on their website, Twitter,etc, reassuring people that it was a problem that was beyond their immediate control, and was nothing to do with any user.

They would have said they were getting to the root of it, and they would update everyone as soon as possible. They would have also contacted all major vendors to tell of this problem, and explain what the problem was, including their own stores (which in one case ended up with someone just saying the first thing that came into their head).

The one thing any major brand has is its reputation. We all know things go wrong, but its how problems are dealt with which helps mantain that reputation.

In a crowded market, with a product which only just starting to get its mojo back, and a company which has had huge losses, Sony needs to get on top of this.

And other companies need to learn the lesson that a quick reponse, even if it can tell you little more than we understand your frustration, we know there's a problem, and we going to find a solution as quickly as possible goes a long way towards keeping customers.

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Sunday 21 July 2013 11:00PM

OK - told by Sony (in a reply to a tweet to Sony by my wife) that everything is good to go, by using basic setup. It works, well at least so far. Will wait in hope...

However, try and find anything on the actual Sony website about it - again, you can find out if you can tweet, etc, but basic info on their website is hard to find.

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john gidden: If you have a Sony PVR, then thats easily explained....!

Seriously, I'm in Pebo as well, and reception has been fine. Start by having a look at your leads from the TV to the aerial - are they secure? Then make sure that if you have a booster/splitter system, that its working (although I doubt you need one now).

If you include your postcode, which transmitter you use, and details of your setup (what type of aerial, recorder, TV model number), then we can hopefully help.

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peter: Check your signal quality and strength - unfortunately you havn't given an exact postcode, but if you are that close to the transmitter, you might well be able to pick up a decent signal with only the aerial wire, rather than the aerial itself!

If strength is on 100%, its far too high, and should be around 75% (search for: too much of a good thing on the website). If you have a booster, bypass it.

Although you say you've checked aerial connections, it might be that your aerial has a fault where the cable connects to the aerial istelf - perhaps water or rust?

You can always try a cheap portable aerial, it might give you an idea of where the problem lies, and frankly, might be fine anyway!

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Neil: I know almost nothing about aerials or reception compared with the other people who have posted,but looking objectively, why not give it a try with what you've got.

The house already wired, and you've got an aerial already. As you say, its a lot easier putting it in the loft than externally, even if you can. Have a look at ATV's guide to loft aerials Loft and indoor aerial installations for TV, FM and DAB and give it a go.

You know which direction the various transmitters are on, and I'd get a fair length of decent coax from ATV and connectors, so at least you can move the aerial around in the roof while having it hooked up to your TV to find the best spot. Their fly lead looks like a bargain at £3.

If the aerial isn't suitable now or later, you can always swap it out, get a booster, etc, but this way you at least have minimum outlay at a time when your going to be spending a lot of money anyway just in the move. If nothing works, there is always Freesat, but Freeview is an easier first option.


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Diagnostics - old version
Tuesday 23 July 2013 10:25PM

HPerc: It could be as simple as those aerials simply not being connected! The best thing to do is to trace the cables from the aerials to the TV - its not unknown for people to disconnect old aerials, chop through old coax accidently, etc.

Looking at your terrain plot, Llanddona might be fine with something as basic as a portable aerial - for a couple of quid its worth a go, if only to get you a signal, while you find out about the other aerials.

A cheap freesat box might be worth thinking about, again to get you some sort of TV, while you get the PVR going.

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My Sky box has a "no signal message" - what do I do? | Help! Fr
Tuesday 23 July 2013 10:34PM

Mark: I'm no expert, but I assume the Sat connection is an F type, while the UHF is a normal aerial type. You can't use one for the other, even by 'converting' it.

In that case, you can only use the F type for Sky (and for one tuner/input only). The UHF is is for Freeview only. You might well be better getting a cheap Freeview PVR to record and watch, and just using the Sky box to watch or record.

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Connecting it all up | Installing
Wednesday 24 July 2013 10:15AM

Tarquin: Brianist got in first with regard to what sort of sound quality your going to get, but I'd go back to first principles with your setup.

The Panasonic has a Freeview tuner (although a good five years old, the last of the line has only just been delisted). Your Samsung is rather old (2005) , and the best I can make out has:

2 SCART connectors
1 Component (YUV)
1 S-Video connector (Mini DIN)
1 Digital RGB (DVI) HDCP compatible
1 Analog RGB (PC)
1 AV connection

and possibly a freeview tuner....(it had a tuner in the german version)

If it does, then use both the tuner in the PVR and the TV seperately (pass through or split, the choice is yours). If your using a seperate Freeview box when you have one in the TV, etc, you don't need it, unless the TV's tuner is simply unusuable.

I'm surprised there is no HDMI input, but DVI was used at the time by one or two other brands as well (although Samsung is normally in the lead on these things, so I would have guessed HDMI, but still..).

Since you have an HDMI output on the PVR, you could use that instead of scarts, if only to allow you to use an HD source. You can get a DVI/HDMI cable for a relatively small sum…6FC, but remember that DVI does not do audio, and you'll need to use the phonos from the PVR to the Samsung for this. Perhaps stick with scarts....!

To sum up - to simplify your setup, you may no longer need your booster, and if you have working tuners in both TV and PVR, you can lose any extra Freeview boxes. Take any switches/converters etc out of the system if you can.

In the longer term, with my TV sales hat on, I'd look to upgrade the TV. You TV is actually slightly wider than an 55in LED, and you'd get 3/4 HDMI's, Full HD, Freeview HD, digital optical, full smart and built in wifi from pretty much any of the four main brands.

If you'd wish to stay at 42in (which you probably wont), the excellent LG N575 in 42in for £499 would be a good place to start for the price. I saw a 32in version next to similar specced Samsung, Sony and Panasonic models last week blow the others away when rendering the end titles of a film (white text, black background - an excellent test) - it was almost as good as a 400hz screen, which is amazing for a 100hz panel.

BTW - No TV for a fair number of years has had side speakers, although the very nice new 4K Sony 9005 does have them, but is £4000. The sound is excellent though...

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