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Customer Review

85 of 100 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good price, does a lot but has it's quirks(not quite ready for primetime), April 1, 2013
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This review is from: Multi-function Digital Converter Box: TV Recording/Media Function/QAM Function (Old Version) (Electronics)
For the price I can't really complain too much, I mean for the <$50 that I got this for you can't even purchase a HD tuner let alone something that records and plays back photos, music and video.

The good:
Compact, very low current draw both on and off.
Using thumb drives(faster the better) or USB HDDs you can record TV or playback things you already have on your drives. Such as photos, music, or movies. I was able to playback a DVD I had ripped with Shrink but it did pause a second or two between the VOBs. It would be better if what you wanted to playback was in one file.
Ability to take your recordings and play them back on your PC in a standard format.
Direct plug, no wall wart.
Lots of cool technical screens/info for those who care.
Fast channel changes(using up/down button).
HDMI, Component, composite, RF and audio coax. Note 5.1 is also available via HDMI when configured so(RAW HDMI).
Resume feature available on any title, must push STOP to save resume point.

The bad/odd:
Remote, like most Chinese goods in this price range the remote sucks! It's small(remote and buttons), hard to read and has several buttons that are miss marked or make no sense. Since it's so small and illogically laid out it's also hard to push the button you want. Oh and there is no - or . key, only whole numbers and also the numbers are laid out in a odd non standard fashion.
EPG is buggy and slow to load, occasionally locks up and no ability to set your programs from the guide. You need to program it like a VCR with start/stop and channel number(and note channel numbers are odd, not your normal 2.1 etc).
Cannot record one program while watching another, you can chase play the program being recorded though.
Units display is overly bright and only the channels number order(C0001 for your first channel, C00002 for your second, etc) is displayed.
For cable users the channel numbers make no sense, every clear QAM channel is 0-0 and another cryptic number.
RF output(passthrough) is only enabled when unit is ON, OFF and you get no passthrough. You can also set the output for modulated CH3 or CH4 when ON.
No native output, only fixed 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i or 1080p, and all channels are scaled to your selection and as you can imagine the scaler in this tuner isn't the best, probably OK for smaller(<40" HDTV) or less discriminating viewers but if you are fussy and plan on hooking this up to your 110" projector either look elsewhere or plan on manually switching the output resolution dependent on the station(takes ~ 5 seconds via menu button).
No way to tell your channels resolution, only after recording it and playing it back does it tell it's resolution.
Manual very sparse, many features are not documented, it's kind of a plug and play device and hopefully you've used such a device before so you don't get totally lost.
A bug where you cannot program an event spanning midnight without it recording forever.....Yes it's true, unless you want the iView to record until you push STOP, if your event spans midnight your only work-a-round is to use 2 events. The first one ending at 23:59 and the second starting at 00:00 to your end time. Yes I know you'll miss the minute from 23:59 to 00:00 but unless they fix this rather serious bug it's your only choice. Remember this thing is <$50 and for that you may have to live with it's bugs and limitations.

I'd be hard pressed to have this be my only DVR, it's poor guide and inability to record one thing while watching a previous recording is a killer. My main use for this product will be for a backup for my 2 tuner Tivo(when both tuners are recording something else) so in that vein this should work just fine. The manual states 500GB is the largest drive you can use but I tried a 1TB USB drive I had and it seemed to work just fine(and I've found with a USB hub you can use more than one drive at a time but again be wary of the power usage for USB powered devices). For larger drives I'd suggest a external power supply, for how light this is it's hard to believe the power supply could supply much more than a thumb drive or small power sipping USB HDD.
For a nice owners thread talking about this unit and lots of nice pictures, please check out AVSforum dot com(a AV enthusiasts forum) and click forums, then HDTV Recorders and finally look for the iView-3500STB DVR & Tuner Owners Thread by videobruce. He has lots of nice photos and posts from iView owners.

If you like to save money and are willing to put up with it's quirks and limitations, this DVR may be just your ticket!

update: added note about midnight bug under THE BAD and removed note about sub-standard composite quality, it was a problem on my end not the iView.

4-20-2013 I'm ordering another one, dropped a few dollars and for the price it just can't be beat!
9-23-2013 One of my major complaints has been fixed......just received my replacement remote(it was free for a short period of time but now is a nominal fee of ~$10 I believe, from iView). Anyway the new remote is much better than the original, it's larger, has larger buttons and the layout is better :) Oh and through firmware fixes many of the original quirks and bugs have been fixed, firmware available for free at iViews website.
Given the updates I'd now give the box 4 stars(again considering it's very low cost). To get 5 it would have to be able to allow me to record a program while watching a different one, something that I've been told will never happen because of hardware limitations(due to the low cost of this box).
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 1, 2013 9:49:50 PM PDT
98clru says:
How large are the files as recorded? I'm thinking a 500 gb HDD would would get a lot of programming recorded.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2013 4:29:00 AM PDT
jjeff says:
The 1TB drive I hooked up said ~143hrs available recording a full bandwidth CBS channel. Something like my local ABC channel would probably be double that(since it's bitrate is 1/2 that of CBS) and something like a SD channel would be 4 or more times CBS.
BTW the 143hrs is similar to what my Tivo HD(also with a 1TB drive) reports when empty. This would make sense since when I compared file sizes recording a 1hr program the iView was basically the same size of my Tivo. Since the iView and Tivo just record the transport stream(mirror image of the broadcast) that makes sense. The only degradation in the picture would come from playing it back and outputting it in a resolution not native to the broadcast.
For reference last night I did some testing and with the iViews live TV buffer set to 4GBs I was able to get a 43 1/2 minute buffer of the same CBS channel. IWO 43 minutes of that channel must take ~4GBs.

Posted on Apr 2, 2013 8:48:04 AM PDT
videobruce says:
Entering in three digits, then a forth for the sub channel will enter that in as a major & minor channel.

Enter 0234 for 23.4

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2013 2:20:19 PM PDT
jjeff says:
Thanks for the tip, unfortunately one 0 is all you can add to the beginning, IOW to get a channel like 2.4(I have several 2.x channels) you can't enter 0024 :(

Posted on Apr 3, 2013 8:52:59 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 4, 2013 5:33:05 AM PDT
videobruce says:
So much for that idea.

The manufacture is aware of the problem.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2013 8:46:09 AM PDT
rr says:
vb: can you search for titles ? how does one do alpha entries ? Can we attach a keyboard ?
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