Advantage VX Model AVX-1

Instructions for use with Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U DVHS deck

Posted here at the request of 169Time, Inc.

Updated- 02/21/04   Quick start list

Ø    For version AVX-1 software rev 0.8A5 © Copyright 2003 Sixteen Nine Time

 

Initial Preparation

 

In this document the term “HDVR” refers to a DTC100 or Proscan STB that has the 169time.com HDVR firewire adapter board installed and version 1.6 thru 1.8 firmware in that firewire board.  The current 1.85 firmware is not supporting the Mitsubishi DVHS VCRs.  169Time may, once again, support the Mitsubishi DVHS VCR in later firmware versions.  If you are planning to use a Mitsubishi DVHS VCR with a 169Time HDVR modified receiver, it is important to notify 169Time of this so that they may supply you with the proper firmware. 

 

A special CD disk is provided for use with the AVX-1.  This disk should be inserted into the AVX-1’s CD tray and left there for all normal operation.  This disk is licensed only for use in the particular AVX-1 unit number written on the disk label, and there are other usage restrictions and conditions of that license, as stated on the label.  Read through this whole document before actually starting to use the AVX-1.

 

A set of four self-adhesive pads are provided with the AVX-1 to protect it and the surface it is placed on from scratches and marring, if the user desires to affix and use them.  The ventilation holes of the AVX-1 should not be blocked.   The AVX-1 generates more heat when it is actually processing digital television signals than it does when it is powered on and idle (idle = not selected as an input to the deck).

 

The large button on the right hand front panel beneath the CD tray on the AVX-1 is the power button.  Pressing this button will power up the unit and it will begin its power boot up sequence.  This boot up takes several minutes each time the AVX-1 is powered up.  The AVX-1 may be powered down by pressing and holding the power button for about ten seconds, until the green front panel power light goes out.  There is no special shutdown procedure.  The AVX-1 may be powered down at any time without harm.  While the AVX-1 is powered on, the user should avoid moving the AVX-1 as the spinning CD disk may be damaged by contacting stationary surfaces inside the CD drive during such movements.

 

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IMPORTANT – With the version of the HDVR Firmware 1.6 thru 1.8 and AVX-1 software version 08A5, The Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR will not display any list of attached 1394 devices to select.  This does not appear to impair the automatic function of the VCR for recognizing that the AVX-1 and DTC-100 / HDVR100-2 is attached.

 

The recommended wiring for connecting the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U for playback as well as recording both OTA channels with ATSC input and HDTV Satellite channels, 199, 509, and 543 currently supported is the same. 

To use the AVX-1,  it is suggested that the deck first be connected to the HDVR alone and tested on a short recording of an OTA  ATSC channel without having AVX-1 connected.  Be sure to select an OTA channel that uses a   –1 subchannel.   It has been noted that some ATSC TV stations have implemented certain encoders that oputput HDTV to –2 by default and this is not selectable by the user.  The HDVR system does not work well with stations tuned to these –2 subchannels when the –1 is absent.

 

 

A Brief Quick Start Checklist for the AVX-1 and 169 Time HDVR

 

Here are a couple of tips on getting off to the right start with the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR:
1. Get your 6-10 ft. 1394 6x4 cable and attach a radio shack RFI toroid to each end. Separate the AVX from the DTC and VCR by at least 5 ft.
2. Connect the
Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR to the HDVR on the DTC-100 and learn how to record with OTA first. Get used to learning how to activate the auto control "d" in the 1394 I list. It will not see the DTC-100 so you must use the auto sense procedure that is listed in the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR manual see pages 12, 26&27 for more information.   Note that normally one would see a list of devices in the “I” list with 169Time no device will show up.   From the menu I list, you would select Cancel to restructure the “I” List from anything previously stored in the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR memory.  Then just menu back out as per the instruction manual and you should see  a “d” in the front panel indicating the VCR is being controlled by the DTC-100/HDVR.  If you do not see a “d” in the panel you should test by pushing the “1394” button on the remote.  Once you have that working you may lose electrical connectivity from time to time but it is easy to re-establish the connection by momentarily disconnecting the firewire cable from the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR for a couple of seconds then reconnect it and wait until the power button on the DTC flashes indicating connection is good. You can now record and play back OTA HDTV.  Remember, for playback, you must tune to a channel / station that is airing it’s HDTV program on –1.   For record, you can record any channel, even though it is only a –2 on the HDTV signal.   
3. Be sure your DTC-100 has channel mapping turned OFF in the menus or you may not be able to play back.   Channel mapping confuses the HDVR as to what the real channel number is.  Turn it off in the sat. receiver setup menus
4. Be sure you tune to an ATSC HDTV signal for playback. All should work but I have found that true 480i transmissions do not work while 720P and 1080i always work.
5. To record a satellite channel, after testing with OTA successfully, first, tune to DBS channel that is airing HDTV. Get a good HD picture. Now connect the firewire with the toroids to the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U second 1394 jack. Be sure your AVX-1 is turned on first and fully loaded and ready to begin data translation as indicated by the computer monitor on the AVX stating- "Looking for HDVR" If you are trying to work the AVX without a computer monitor connected you are asking for problems. Shortly after connecting the firewire to the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U jack you should see the AVX monitor translating the video and audio in a scrolling list of data. This is good and indicates you are now ready to record. There is only one button to push at this point. That is the record button on the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U.   The latest version of the AVX software, O8A5, has a very nice resync feature that is quite stable.  Early versions did not permit you to switch channels or check menus and program guide without destruction to the recording process.  With the latest software, 08A5, you may pause the tape, check some guide info, switch to another channels and then resume recording with fear that the signal to the DVHS will be ruined.  The new software will recover automatically.  In fact, I have tested this latest version and it is so stable that the only time you need to reboot the AVX is if there is a problem with the power or after 5-10 days and a buffer overrun is announced on the computer monitor.  If you do not see the video/audio data scrolling or the “Looking for HDVR” scrolling then reboot the AVX.  It is advisable to reboot the AVX with it’s Firewire cable disconnected from the DVHS VCR but I do not believe this is necessary. 

6. When you are done recording and wish to view the tape, you must disconnect the AVX-1 FW cable from the Mitsubishi VCR, and tune to a valid ATSC OTA channel before playing the tape.  The power button should be flashing before you hit play.  If you keep the AVX Firewire connected to the DVHS VCR, you will not be able to play back the tape through the sat receiver’s decoder.  If you keep the AVX fire wire connected you will not be able to record any OTA channels in HDTV.  The Mits DVHS VCR requires you disconnect the AVX for playback or OTA recording.
7. Note that no harm will be done if you do something other than what I said with the AVX connected, just that you will have caused the system to not work as it should.

Note- in early versions of the AVX software, the sat signal quality was said to be a key factor in obtaining recording results that were mostly free from “glitches” and freezes. The Latest version, while still not 100% perfect, offers close to perfect recordings on the Mitsubishi DVHS VCR.  I still notice a few minor stutters of a missed frame from time to time but it is not at all uncommon to watch several movies with no observable flaws what so ever.  By most users opinions the Mitsubishi DVHS VCR is able to produce more reliable recordings that it’s competitor.   

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Additional parts you must supply that are not part of the AVX-1 package:

1.        One  IEEE1394 fire wire cable with one 6 pin and one 4 pin.  Recommended length 6 ft. minimum.

2.        Two   Radio Shack  Part number 273-105  Ferrite toroid snap on filters.  Adding these to the firewire cable for system connectivity is a good idea to reduce RFI on the fire wire cable set but may not be required in your installation.

 

 

Wiring recommendation:

  1. Connect the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR with a 4X4 IEEE1394 cable to the DTC100 /HDVR100-2.  You may use either 1394 jack on the DTC100 /HDVR100-2 and either jack on the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR.  The cable may be 3 or 6 ft. in length as needed.
  2. Prepare the AVX-1 box by placing it in a convenient location at least 4 ft from the VCR to reduce any possible effects from RFI (Radio Frequency Interference).  Again, you may not require  this distance with your location.  Prepare a 6 ft. 6X4 Fire wire IEEE1394 cable by attaching RFI reducing toroid Ferrite filters at each end just behind the connectors.  These filters may be obtained from Radio Shack part number:273-105 and are easily snapped into place.  Connect the large end to the back of the AVX-1 to one of the two Fire wire jacks on the Fire wire expansion port.  Route the cable to the back of the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR.  It is highly recommended that you have convenient access to the back of the VCR where the Fire wire jacks are located as you will be required to connect and disconnect the Fire wire coming from the AVX-1 between record and playback sessions or anytime you are intending to record Satellite channels and after finished recording.
  3. Power-  Connect the AVX-1 power to a standard outlet where the VCR and DTC-100 are also connected.  It is recommended that you have access to the power cord of the DTC-100 for rebooting the DTC-100 when necessary.  This is a standard recommendation from DirecTV anyway.

 

Note:  Some have reported results with the AVX-1 connected between the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR and the DTC-100.  I tried this system and it does not offer the flexibility of quickly disconnecting the AVX-1 for playback and DTC-100 channels switching  There were other limitations as well  to using this wiring configuration that made it undesirable.  I do not support this connection scheme in this document and do not recommend it.

 

Operation:

 

Initial power up:

First be sure the wiring is complete but do not, yet, have the AVX-1 connected to the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U  VCR.

First,  power up the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U DVHS VCR.  Next Power up the DTC-100 and wait for it to stabilize.  Tune it to an OTA channel with an ATSC digital signal connected to one of the antenna inputs.  (Not the satellite).  Observe for a flashing power button light on the DTC-100 that indicates the Fire wire connection has been made.  

At this time go ahead and power up the AVX-1.  This will take some time to boot the software from the supplied CD-ROM.  Let this load the software as indicated by activity on the front panel lights on the AVX-1.  This process should be complete in about 3 to 4 minutes. I highly recommend connecting the AVX video output to a computer monitor to see what the AVX run status is.

Insert a DVHS tape into the VCR.  Be sure the green DVHS button is on.  If not press it to turn it on.  Note-  You may use an SVHS tape for recording by manually pressing the green button for DVHS but SVHS tape stock is not supported by Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U for digital recordings.  We have had excellent success using it.  Now, with your Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U remote control, push the IEEE1394 button and observe the “d” in the display.  If you don’t see the “d” in the display consult your Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U manual pages 12, 26 & 27, for details on how to set this up.  Observe that you have a flashing power button light on the DTC-100.  You may do a short test recording now of the OTA channel.  Rewind the tape and hit play.  If you do not see the playback immediately or within 15 seconds hit stop and then play again.  This second time should initiate the playback.  If the Power button light is on solid (not flashing) then you will need to re (soft) boot the DTC-100.  Power button the DTC-100 off, wait 15 seconds and then power button back on.  Look for the flashing power button.  Try the recording and/or playback again.  If still no go, then disconnect the 1394 cable from the DVHS VCR for a few seconds and connect it back up.  This should initiate the connection as indicated by the flashing power button.  With the power button flashing you should be able to do a short test of a 5 min. OTA recording.

 

You are now ready to record a satellite channel.  Follow the next steps very carefully.  Sequence is important for a flawless recording.

  1. Switch the DTC-100 to one of the supported channels, That DirecTV airs in HDTV.  Any of them will work.  You must be subscribed to  DirecTV to receive these.
  2. Observe that the power button light is now on solid, rather than flashing.  This is OK.
  3. Connect the FW from the AVX-1 to the other FW jack on the back of the Mitsubishi DVHS VCR.
  4. Wait about a minute for the AVX-1 to stabilize and recognize that it is connected as shown by a good scrolling list of data, no longer showing “Looking for HDVR”.
  5. Now hit your record button. 
  6. When you are done recording, hit the stop button on the VCR.
  7. After the recording is finished, disconnect the FW cable from the AVX-1.

IMPORTANT:  With a Mitsubishi DVHS VCR, the only time you should have the AVX connected is when you intend to record.  All other times it should be disconnected.  You may leave it connected with the most recent AVX software for changing channels or checking the guide info.  While thjis caused problems with early software the current version is stable during these non- recording functions.

 

 

Problems and suggested solutions:

  1. You may need to soft boot the DTC-100 or power plug boot the DTC-100 for initialization.  The long term stability of the HDVR connection is not guaranteed.  If the power button no longer flashes, you must go through the initial startup process again.  It is not expected that the AVX-1 will need to be reset or rebooted.  We have tested over 300 documented operational failures, intentionally triggered, in our testing and none required a reboot of the AVX-1 to correct the problem.  All corrections were achieved with either a power button reboot or power plug reboot of the DTC-100 to correct or momentary disconnecting and reconnecting the 1394 FW HDVR cable from the DVHS VCR. 
  2. It was observed early on that the AVX-1 would introduce a recorded artifact of picture hesitation every so often when otherwise operated properly.  Use of the Ferrite Toroids as recommended above may fix this.  Other recommendations would be to put some distance between the VCR and the AVX-1.  Also, by adding an appropriately sized ferrite toroid to the power cord at the AVX-1 may also be done.  It is not the scope of this manual to teach proper RFI reduction but start with the recommendations listed and then consult us for more assistance. Again, more recent software for the AVX has achieved much better stability.
  3.  Playback problems may be induced by RFI as well.  Since the AVX-1 is not necessary for playback.  You may simply shut it off if this becomes necessary and the suggested precautions were not effective for playback. 
  4. Known bugs- 

The Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR will not display any of the connected 169Time products in the  I list.  This has not seemed to cause any operational limitation at this time.

 

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The current version of AVX-1 software does not provide for the automatic switch into playback mode for Mitsubishi DVHS.  To best facilitate playback, it is suggested that the AVX-1 be powered off, or alternately positioned at least eight feet away from the playback deck, and the firewire connection unplugged from the AVX-1.  As the AVX-1 is not needed for the playback process, the HDVR, deck, and tape contents behave in an identical manner to playing back tapes recorded from OTA sources as discussed in the other document on this site.

 

 

The AVX-1 represents a monumental advancement to HDTV enthusiasts by providing a bridge between the nothing of the past, and the something of the present.  Prior to the AVX-1 there were some signals that HDTV enthusiasts had no way to view and time-shift on their JVC deck.  Once again 169Time has achieved what many thought was impossible, by offering a working system to aid the loyal people of the free world in their quest for the liberty to watch better television.

 

Miscellaneous

 

When a VGA monitor is connected to the 15pin VGA connector on the rear of the AVX-1, several status indications are present.  No additional documentation is provided about the meaning of these indications except to say that the only useful information displayed is self explanatory.

 

 

Users of AVX-1 systems have reported more robust performance when toroid / ferrite filters are deployed on the interconnect cables, especially the firewire cables, and when careful grounding and shielding techniques are employed for the adjacent electronics and RF satellite / OTA reception systems.  The need for this may be predicated by local environmental factors.  The current 08A5 software is practically immune to disruption caused by RFI but in severe cases preventative measures should be taken as suggested here.

 

Types of tape stock I feel works with the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR for HDTV recording:  I have had excellent success with every brand and quality SVHS and DVHS tape tried to include consumer and professional grades of Fuji, Maxell, JVC, Sony, Ampex, and TDK.  The Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR appears to be the most tolerant of all the current DVHS HDTV capable VCR’s on the market by reports from many users.  Standard grade VHS tape does not work and should not be used.  In the Perfect Tape™ tape evaluation system in the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U VCR the VHS tape just does not have sufficient high band response to perform under digital requirements.  SVHS and DVHS tape stocks of all brands have similar range of response and therefore appear to work equally well for HDTV DVHS recording.