Dvico TViX HD R-3300 HD Digital Jukebox + Ultimate PVR

TViX's supposedly HD PVR promises to be the "ultimate" PVR. We can't help thinking that "basic" would have been a better appellation.


6.0
CNET Rating
4.0
User Rating


Design

Plenty of designers fall back on tried and tested designs, and that's exactly what TViX has done with the R-3300 PVR box. Put it next to the Dvico TViX 4130SH PVR we reviewed early last year, and we'd swear that you'd have a tough time picking the two apart. The only problem with relying on an existing design comes when the design you're falling back on was unremarkable and plain in the first place. That's exactly the trap that the R-3300 falls into. It's a plain black box with a simple LED display flanked by a circular array of buttons that annoyingly flash whenever any key or remote button is pressed. In a darkened environment — like, say a home TV viewing room, exactly where the R-3300 is meant to be placed — that's rather annoying.

The R-3300's remote control belongs to the same school of few cosmetic changes, and just like last year's model, we can't fault its basic design, but we can't get excited by it either.

Features

The R-3300 is a combined digital PVR and media streaming unit. On the PVR front, it uses the freely broadcast EPG information supplied by each channel to form its guide. Media streaming is via NFS shares on a compatible PC, and a client application called NetShare is provided with the unit. Video file format support is reasonable with compatibility offered for .mpg, .mpeg, .avi, .divx, .vob, .tp, .ts, .trp, .dat, .iso, .ifo and .m2t files, but critically H.264 and MKV files are not supported. It's also somewhat disappointing that a system that sells itself as an "HD" PVR and tops its video output at 1080i.

Connections on the rear of the R-3300 include HDMI, component, composite and S-Video output, as well as coaxial and optical audio out. Wired networking is provided via a 10/100 Ethernet port, and there's also a video-in function through an S-Video port if you wanted to use the R-3300 to record other video sources.

There's one big catch to be aware of when shopping for the R-3300, however. The base specification for the unit doesn't feature a hard drive. Or a TV tuner. Or wireless. They're technically optional extras, and a quick bit of web searching revealed vendors selling the unit with all sorts of interesting hardware combinations. That's great if you want to fit your own drive — or don't need the tuner, or wireless, or whatever — but less so if you end up having to spend more money to get functionality you might have assumed was "built in". For our review, distributor Also Technology supplied us with a model with a single tuner and integrated hard drive.

Performance

There's a very apt word to use to describe the R-3300's performance. That word is "basic". As a PVR (as long as you opt for a model with a hard drive, or fit one yourself), the R-3300 offers basic performance. You can pause live TV and schedule recordings, but only at the most basic level. There's no functionality built in for season or even repeated recordings, and you're totally at the mercy of the free-to-air EPG, which is often catastrophically slow to update, if at all. You can't alter settings while you're recording, even if those settings have nothing to do with recording at all. As our review sample was a single tuner product, we also couldn't record two channels at once, although the in-built EPG software was at least bright enough to pick where we set up channel recording conflicts. The one area where the R-3300 did excel was in signal reception and display, factors we had no problems with at all.

Likewise, the streaming functionality of the R-3300 was basic, but flawed. As an example, the supplied NFS streaming software, NetShare, only allows you to share four folders in total. You can't stream from a UPnP-compliant storage device such as a NAS, and when first installed NetShare drops itself in the system tray without letting you first configure it. To add to the streaming woes, the default install parameters on-board the R-3300 look for a SAMBA share, not an NFS one, so at first the R-3300 won't see any shares at all. Switching between the in-built drives and networked ones is slow and fiddly, with the left button often (but not always) defaulting to sorting folders rather than helping to select them. We also encountered instances of the R-3300 locking up within menu structures or during playback, and only pulling the power at the back resolved these.

Ultimately, the R-3300 is a flawed PVR. As with TViX's previous models there's not much here that couldn't be solved with a few firmware updates in theory, but we can't assess theory — just the products in front of us. As it stands, you'd be better off looking elsewhere for your PVR needs unless they're very basic needs indeed.

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techpoida
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techpoida posted a review   

The Good:Value, features

The Bad:Reliability

I thought the unit was great for what it was and the price. Dual tuners and I had a 1TB HDD in it. It just couldn't pull it off.
The only problem was the tuners kept dying. The other annoying thing was the time. Neither using the network time or manual setting allowed for accurate time and therefore scheduled recording was almost impossible. I think the timing would have been OK if it's used on AEST, but anything further west is scr3wed.
Disappointed with the device and it's now long gone.

 

QUIETFIX posted a comment   

Beware- the advice on the CD manual about Dlink 222 etc wireless adaptors is wrong. The latest issue file on the web has a ** comment that they don't work - a bit too late!! . I found this out after buying two different adaptors. A gentleman at Dvico promised to send me one for $42.00- apparently used on the 6500 etc- but have had difficulty getting site to accept payment. Internet explorer only and must accept browser addons- so currently awaiting delivery of this We will see if its any better but I'm not convinced.

Idea is to use it to copy SKY content and file it on a server. First bit - Sky - OK but ......

The instructions are cyptic to say the least especuially about networking. If you want a networking system buy a 6500 or similar etc

 

Licorice posted a comment   

The EPG is much better than my set top box - won't be using that anymore - for example - just hit 7 and you get all the 7 channels to choose from. The PVR is good - but you can't watch something on the HD at the same time as you are recording as 2 things can't access the HD at the same time. The user interface overall needs to be improved - it's a bit hard to see - very small. It doesn't support MP4 which is annoying. Sometimes freezes when you go from TV to movies - so have to reboot. But on the whole very happy - I have put in a 1Tb sata drive which is bigger than a Tivo and a lot cheaper. The instruction booklet/CD do not tell you how to record etc - you need to go to their website

 

lonestarr posted a comment   

The Good:value for money

The Bad:a bit buggy

I mostly agree with the review. EPG is basic, IceTV is not yet supported. Good networked media player (don't understand why 4 NFS / Samba shares are not enough) - average PVR functions. Would like to record two shows at once (with dual tuner module). Time shift works great, but you can't watch a video or recorded program while recording. Has bookmarks, you can see the schedule of upcoming recording etc. All in all a good product - a bit let down by the firmware, which is still flawed.

 

MusicMick posted a comment   

I totally agree with Danjo's comments - the unit does have several options but the idea is you only buy what you want. If you only want a media streamer, great! dont buy the optional tuner module and save yourself some money. The unit fully optioned is still very competitive in price. As far as the reviewer is concerned, how long did you actually spend on using the unit - I'm guessing not long as the comment regarding repeat recordings is so wrong it's not funny. I have used several other "hardware" PVR's and the 3300 has much more flexiblity in repeat recording schedule functions. And really, whats so hard about spending 2 minutes installing your own hard drive?? At least you are sure the hard drive is of good quality and not a cheap unit. C'mon guys, if you want people to take your reviews seriously, you've got to be realistic and ACCURATE!

 

Danjo posted a comment   

I've had one of these for about 2 weeks now, and although I havn't used the networking side at all yet the pvr/tv side of things has been pretty damn good. Yes its basic but that could also be translated as simple. One touch recording (from the EPG) for example is pretty useful/simple. And despite what the reviewer states it is very easy to set up for repeated recordings, i.e. same time every week. Also the firmware updates keep coming and does make significant improvements. So in conclusion - no its not a tivo, it is however not tivo prices, @ about $330 with a dual HD tuner, and then a hard drive an absolute breeze to put in with prices heading down all the time,I have found it to be the best buy around.




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User Reviews / Comments  Dvico TViX HD R-3300 HD Digital Jukebox + Ultimate PVR

  • techpoida

    techpoida

    Rating4

    "I thought the unit was great for what it was and the price. Dual tuners and I had a 1TB HDD in it. It just couldn't pull it off.
    The only problem was the tuners kept dying. The other annoy..."

  • QUIETFIX

    QUIETFIX

    "Beware- the advice on the CD manual about Dlink 222 etc wireless adaptors is wrong. The latest issue file on the web has a ** comment that they don't work - a bit too late!! . I found this out a..."

  • Licorice

    Licorice

    "The EPG is much better than my set top box - won't be using that anymore - for example - just hit 7 and you get all the 7 channels to choose from. The PVR is good - but you can't watch something on..."

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