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Pace Twin Software Update

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by iwatkins, May 27, 2003.

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  1. iwatkins

    iwatkins
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    Hi All,

    Well, successfully did the over the air upgrade this morning. Took around 10 minutes in all.

    MHEG5 is now in (at last). Teletext (CH9) works fine as does the text while on BBC. Can take a few seconds to appear but is fairly quick once up. Of course, no where near the depth of information available on analogue teletext. Also noticed that you have to be on BBC channels for a few seconds before the box will even react to the Text button ?

    MHEG5 on screen logos for radio stations works fine also.

    Have yet to see if SCART2 is now outputing in colour, will need to do some recabling first. Also not checked the fast rewind bugs on recordings yet.

    My 60Gb hard disk is still recognised, so they haven't slipped in a limit to hard disc sizes, but I didn't expect that anyway.

    Now, PQ. I'm really not sure. I could never really see the problem (using a 28 inch Sony WS) but I think I can see an improvement in PQ. BBC channels are nice and sharp this morning and the scrolling text on Sky Sports News is also very sharp. I'll have to let someone else decide whether they have fixed the PQ problem as I just cannot say for sure.

    Cheers

    Ian
     
  2. igp

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    I bought a Twin in the Argos sale, so it's still rather new. But I've already run into a bug. If you set something to record to the HD, and start watching it before it's finished recording, the box gets confused. I've done this three times now:

    1. Genuine use - half-hour programme set to record, and started to watch it 15 minutes or so after start. All went well until the recording finished, when the elapsed time meter jumped from ~15 to ~45 minutes. A few minutes later, the picture froze but the sound carried on running. Stopping the playback and skipping back to the position cured this.

    2. An experiment. I started recording, then about 50 seconds later, attempted to playback. The recording preview showed one of the other recordings, and an attempt to play it failed. Even after the recording finished, the file was unusable. I deleted it later.

    3. A similar trial, but I waited longer. This failed *big time*. Attempt to play was greeted by a crash of the box. The main scart started outputing various random flashing rectangles on a green background. Second scart output continued OK. Completely failed to respond to any commands, so had to pull the mains cable to fix it. After this, the recording (not surprisingly) wasn't listed.

    All this looks to me like an uninitialised variable - some pointers not being set up early enough in the recording cycle. Has anyone else seen this?

    I'll give it another try after downloading the new firmware, and report back.

    Ian (P)
     
  3. Vassago

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    I think it is a very poor update and they don't seem to have fixed a great deal. Although we now have the MHEG, it is pretty poor and seems to work when it so desires! I think they should send out a bug list of problems that have been addressed, so we can all check them off and wait for the next update to see what they have fixed.
     
  4. cybersoga

    cybersoga
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    bug list? pace? the words blood and stone come to mind.
     
  5. Vassago

    Vassago
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    lol I know what you mean!
     
  6. rob@rar.org.uk

    rob@rar.org.uk
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    Update has made no difference to the poor picture quality on my setup (37" Panny 5 plasma).

    I'm in a real dilema as to whether I should keep the Twin. This is the second unit I've had - I sent the first back because the picture was so soft, and this unit is no better even after the firmware upgrade. I'm not happy with the picture, but it would be a real pain to give up the recorder functionality. There does not seem to be any real signs of other companies bringing this type of product to market (all the announcements I've seen are just vapourware for the foreseeable future), and Sky+ is too expensive for the amount of TV I watch.

    Can't understand how Pace could have produced such a poor product after all the experience they have.

    Regards

    Rob
     
  7. bewty

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    It's worse...
    The vcr scart switching bug is worse. I set the twin to record an event in 5 mins time, then put it in standby, then turned off the dvd connected to scart 2, the twin powered up and started recording straight away then locked up completely. I had to eventually pull the plug with the red light still on...after powering back up there was no recording.
    The fast rewind bug is still there, plus my signal strength now reads about 17%, before it was 42% ish.
    It still locks up and is still temperamental and now on channel 4 the dreaded RED spot keeps appearing top right for the big brother game... :thumbsdow.
     
  8. dougbryson

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    I've tried updating my Twin today but it says there is no update available. I only bought it on Sunday so does this mean that I already have the latest firmware, or is the update only available during office hours or something???
    I really want the picture quality to improve on BBC1 - it's bloody annoying.
     
  9. parsimony

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    Did the upgrade - as far as I can tell, the only thing changed is the addition of MHEG.
    I have an IDTV which makes quick comparison of the digital receiver on my TV and Pace easy.
    Digital Text is faster on the Pace & seems (so far) less buggy than the TV (Toshiba) which often crashes when accessing text.
    The soft picture is unchanged as is the background noise on the audio output.
    Did Pace ever say they were intending to fix these and would it be a software fix anyway???
     
  10. boomer

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    bewty

    Ditto! Mine has dropped from 60+% to around 20%, although the picture is still fine.

    Other comments...

    Teletext is a new fun thing to explore, but for some reason it got jammed and wouldn't appear on any channel until i cycled through standby to reset things. It is also difficult to tell whether you are in teletext mode or picture mode (thus the up/down arrows work differently). Oh, and do we have to put up with the irritating "press RED for..." logos that keep appearing (e.g. on Channel 4)?

    Forward/rewind on recording seems to be sorted (at least so far) - it actually does what you expect.

    Oh, and is it just me losing my marbles, or is there a new menu option that says start recording "n" minutes before and "n" minutes after a scheduled event??? Nice feature :smashin:

    Overall, the update is good, but it also highlights a few failings.

    mb
     
  11. Richard46

    Richard46
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    Not had the time to be sure but the FF /rewind problem does appear to be fixed. None of that going back to start of recording nonsense so far.
     
  12. mortod

    mortod
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    The upgrade has turned my Twin into a digibox with no recording capability. Signal strength has been reduced from 40% to 12-16%. But also, whilst recording the error rate increases from 1E-9 to 5E-4 on A, and 4E-3 on B. The recording is unwatchable.

    I did sometimes see the error rate increase before the upgrade, but at least everything seemed to work (although reception on A would sometimes worsten whilst recording on B).
     
  13. Vassago

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    OK, now I have the updated software I can no longer play the video recorder without turning the twin off!!! Anybody else had this problem? Before the update I could just press play and away it went and switched over to AUX.
     
  14. rob@rar.org.uk

    rob@rar.org.uk
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    I've had two failed recordings since the so-called software update earlier today. This is frustrating as the recording function of the unit had worked well for me until now. Do Pace have monkeys doing their beta testing? A soft picture and now buggy software! It's going back tomorrow and I'll get a refund.

    Regards

    Rob
     
  15. Dave Taylor

    Dave Taylor
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    Thats not fair on Monkeys
     
  16. nickoh

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    Here are my comments following the software upgrade fwiw. I'm going to send
    this to Pace also.

    The Good:

    - Text
    Seems to be working OK, and is faster than my previous Nokia digital
    box. I get the proper banners for the radio stations now, and BBC
    Parliament with the quarter-size screen all OK. Not noticed any
    problems with this so far

    - Bookmarks in radio recordings
    This definitely works now - it didn't used to, and was one of the issues
    I'd mailed Pace about it.

    - Picture sharpness
    I *think* it's better now, although it's a bit subjective. Also the
    quality varies depending on what programme you're watching. E.g. ST:TNG
    looked very hazy last night on BBC2 but once it finished and they went to
    the next programme the picture was fine.

    - Momentary picture freezes during playback
    I've not watched enough stuff to tell, but I've not yet seen this happen
    (and was seeing it quite a lot previously) so I'm hopeful that it's been
    fixed

    - Timer settings
    As has been mentioned elsewhere, you can now configure the timer to start
    up to 5 mins before and finish up to 5 mins after a recording time. Not
    tested this properly but this is worth having

    The Bad:

    - Hangs
    Already had a hang with the box since the upgrade, although as usual this
    happened after mucking about with the remote a fair bit so I don't know if
    I'll be able to reproduce it consistently. But it's still a problem


    - Recording bug
    Pressed the "record" button during EastEnders last night and then turned
    over to watch something else; subsequently went back to play EE and the
    recording just displays the "RADIO" screen (although the soundtrack is
    there OK). I saw this happen once before the upgrade, so it's another one
    that's not yet fixed but again I don't know how to reproduce it
    consistently. I subsequently recorded the programme off BBC 3 with no
    problems.

    The Other:

    - Signal strength reduced
    Others have mentioned that the signal strength displayed has dropped by
    about 50%. I see this if I navigate through the "Menu..Signal Strength" -
    the signal I see here is about 20, compared to over 50 previously.
    HOWEVER, if you go to the "List" view and then select a channel and press
    "Info", you get an overlayed screen showing, among other things, signal
    strength for that channel, and this value is the same as before
    (i.e. 50-ish). So I reckon that the values displayed by "Menu..Signal
    Strength" are incorrect

    - Letter/Digit input
    I notice that they've changed the way that character-input works - e.g. it
    used to be that repeated pressing the "2" key would cycle through
    "A-B-C-a-b-c-2" or something, now it's "2-A-B-C..." (i.e. the digit is the
    first in the cycle). Call me a saddo for noticing this.

    nick
     
  17. rob@rar.org.uk

    rob@rar.org.uk
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    I've now replaced my Pace Twin with Netgem's I-player and the difference in picture quality is considerable. The Netgem is so much better. Unfourtunately I'm back to using my VCR for recording stuff, and this comes nowhere near the convenience of the Pace Twin. I just couldn't live with the very soft picture that was produced by both the Pace units that I tried.

    Good luck to those people who are sticking with Pace.

    Regards

    Rob
     
  18. Sunil

    Sunil
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    I agree with Nick's points on the signal strength under "Menu" being incorrect, as mine is around 20%, whereas before, and after pressing "OK" and "Info" it is 70%. There has been no change in the quality of picture I get.

    Is there any way to stop the "Press RED" captions coming up?
     
  19. bewty

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    Is there any way to stop the "Press RED" captions coming up? [/B][/QUOTE]

    If on ch.4 press text, wait to load, then press the green button to get rid of the red dot.
    OR
    If on the hits ch. just press the subtitles button (there are no subtitles but it gets rid of the dot)

    "I've tried updating my Twin today but it says there is no update available. I only bought it on Sunday so does this mean that I already have the latest firmware" Dougbryson

    press menu-configuration-product data:-
    OLD
    product _01_03
    master 1.7.27 mar07
    resource 1.0.19

    NEW
    product _01_05
    master 1.7.40 may19
    resource 1.0.26
    :smoke:
     
  20. dougbryson

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    Finally got the update late last night and everything seems tickety boo. Teletext works so much better than it did on my old Nokia box - very fast and no glitches or hangs so far.
    I may be wrong but the soft picture issue does seem to be a bit better. I seemed to notice the softness most on EastEnders for some reason so I'll need to wait til tomorrow night to see how it looks. BBC1 does look pretty sharp tonight, not perfect but a bit better.
    I also have the signal strength oddity - it has gone from 60% down to about 30% but picture quality remains the same.
     
  21. mortod

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    Re my inability to record problem - I have come to the conclusion that this is probably not related to the software upgrade (though that did seem to trigger it).

    It seems to have fixed itself. The only odd thing I spotted which might explain the problem, was that TV1 was using tuner B, and TV2/VCR tuner A. Furthermore TV2 seemed always to be stuck on SkyNews. It was only by forcing TV2 back to tuner B that I was able to record again ... I think. I had also recorded a program via the timer (rather than just recording the current channel), so it might be that which kicked the recording ability back into life.

    Does anyone understand how the Pace decides which tuner to use for each of TV1/2 ?
     
  22. igp

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    So far, no-one's mentioned what to me is almost a show-stopper of a bug.

    If you have a recording scheduled at any time in the future, and turn your VCR on and off, the Twin will start the recording prematurely - we end up with "----" on the display plus the red recording light. If you cancel it, you have to delete the file that's produced and re-schedule the recording.

    More serious for some users: if you power-cycle the box, the next program will start recording as soon as power is appliied. This is a disaster if you have a power failure when you're away, since the first recording will attempt to run for many hours or days, and fill up your hard disk with junk.

    Two other things - the indicator in the top-right showing how fast slow/fast motion is going has disappeared; and the fast-rewind randomly jumps back several minutes at a time.

    I'll get on to Pace about this one. I regret running the upgrade, and I'd advise anyone who still has the choice to stick to the old version and do without HPEG until Pace start fixing bugs.
     
  23. gmt steve

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    I emailed Pace yesterday about the signal strength meter bug and the lack of change in picture softness, and received this reply today.
    "Hi,
    Thank you for your email regarding the Pace Twin Digital TV Recorder.
    The signal strength difference has been reported to us and it should be
    fixed in the next download.
    The picture softness has been improved but is still being investigated.
    Hope this information is useful to you.

    Customer Front office
    Pace Micro Technology plc"
     
  24. Dave Taylor

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    Strange choice of wording

    If you "improve picture softness" does that make it softer?

    So are they admitting it is soft? and if so how come some people state they have a perfect sharpe picture?
     
  25. dougbryson

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    Hmmm. Not sure what "picture softness is still being investigated" means.
    It does seem to be a bit of a subjective thing - the source material seems to play a part in the level of softness. Some programmes look perfect, others are a tad soft. EastEnders on BBC1 has the same level of softness as it did before the update so I'm not sure what they've done exactly.
     
  26. igp

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    I've just been told by Pace support that you now need to operate the tv/dtv button to allow Scart loop-through, which is fair enough I suppose.

    Shame they don't provide release notes...
     
  27. Vassago

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    Well at least you can still play the video. It would be extremely helpful if they gave us a list of fixes/changes etc.
     
  28. Vassago

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    Is there anyway of making the aspect ratio stay on one position? As in if you put the tv in wide mode, it will stay in that mode instead of changing everytime you flick the channel over. This did not happen with my previous pace digital box and I find it really annoying.
     
  29. Richard46

    Richard46
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    Assuming you are using a widescreen TV.
    If you want to force all 4:3 transmissions into some kind of widescreen picture you will not do it on the Twins Widescreen setting which (correctly) shows programmes in whatever format they are transmitted in.

    You might get something close to what you want if you use the 4:3 setting on the twin and try the letterbox or full screen options you get there. I suspect that you may have had your old Pace box set up in this way. My old pace box widescreen setting did exactly the same as the Twin.

    Regards Richard

    Regards Richard
     
  30. gmt steve

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    After trying out the Twin software update over the weekend, I'm very glad to say that the freezing/dropped frames on playback seems to be cured:clap: However I had another missed recording (24) last night, and as the post above seems to indicate, ther vis something weird going on with the widescreen switching. The problem wasn't there before the update, but I was watching a 4:3 recording with my Tosh Strata TV set to Superlive (psuedo stretch). When I FF'd through adverts the TV jumped back to 4:3 :mad: Very irritating.
     

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