- September 22, 2008 at 3:16 am #2446
I am surprise no-one here discuss about Digital Set Top Boxes.
I just bought mine a couple of weeks ago and I am loving every minute of it
Picazzo is a Made-in-Hong-Kong product which is one of its kinda (at this moment. In a few months TivX will come out with one but it will cost you an arm and a leg…$6000+)
I won’t go into details but this is what it is capable of:
? Support DMB-TH China Digital Terrestrial TV Broadcasting standard in HD MPEG-2 and H.264 encoding.
? Auto channel scanning, EPG and IP return-path for MHEG-5 interactive TV application*
? Higher-Tier Receiver compliant to OFTA HKTA 1108 Specification
? HDMI output up to 1080p. S/PDIF digital audio output available.
? Support Digital TV recording
? Ultimate Digital Jukebox for Movie, Music and Digital Photos.
? Support all common video format like MPEG1/2/4/H.264/WMV/XVID/AVI
? Decode High-definition MPEG2/TS/WMV/MP4 up to 1920×1080
? Play MP3/WMA/WAV music files with JPEG photos slide show.
? USB host port to connect flash drive and HDD. NTFS and FAT32 file system supported.
? Internal Compact Flash card slot and External USB-Driver/HDD for TV recording and media storage.
? Ethernet port for PC and NAS connection via UPnP/Microsoft Media Connect.
? Firmware upgrade via USB, Digital TV Broadcasting and Internet for future feature enhancement.
? Macrovision and HDCP content protection for Video-On-Demand services**.
? Internet Radio and Podcasting*
Video Format: WMV9, WMV HD, AVCHD, avi, mpg, vob, mp4, asf, tp, trp
Codec: MPEG 1/2/4, H.264 DivX, XVID Up to 1920 x 1080p
Source: Quicktime Movie Trailer, Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1000, Panasonic HDC-DX1
Audio MP3, WMA, AAC, PCM, Multimedia Digital Sound, DTS Pass Through and Down Mixing
Photo JPG with Slideshow effect
Connections USB2.0 Host x 2
AV Output Video: HDMI, Component, Composite
Audio: Coaxial (Digital), Stereo (Analog)
File System Format NTFS, FAT32
Language English / Traditional Chinese
Memory Flash 16 MB
Power Supply Power Adaptor: 12V 1A
Dimension 220mm x 220mm x 35mm
Weight 1 Kg
I am telling you it plays 1080p TS/AVI/MP4 with AC3/DTS audio very smooth (not so smooth for high bitrate DivX codecs). You can also record DTV to its built-in Compact Flash, external USB devices, or across the network to a Linux or Windows share. It is really awesome!
The digital feature is mediocre but the multmedia features are amazing!
$1780 – worth every penny.
There is a rather big problem for me….all of the 720p/1080p videos you download from the Internet are based on the Matroska (.MKV) format and that was one of the formats that the Picazzo doesn’t support. In order for Picazzo to play these videos, you will need to convert to either AVI, TS, or MP4. Yes, there are many conversion programs out there BUT each one Picazzo has complication on. For example, if your MKV file comes with DTS audio and you wish to convert MKV to MP4 but preserving the DTS audio, then that is not possible as MP4 does not support DTS. The most it can handle is AC3 or their native AAC. And if you choose to convert MKV to AVI using the DivX codec, then you will notice that Picazzo does not have enough processing power to play these HD videos as the audio and video gradually becomes out of sync. Finally, if you choose to convert to MPEG-2 or VOB instead, then you will have to live with HUGE files…between 8 to 35 GB, which means they cannot be backed up to DVD or even DVD-DL.
This has been rattling my brains since the day I bought it. I am still searching for a solution….
I wrote a brief review on their blog:I was quite disappointed to see that Picazzo wasn’t showing off its products at the recent HK Computer “flea market” convention. I searched high and low for someone selling this product and when I found the one and only store selling it, I was shocked to find that they were selling it at 20% more than the cheapest store outside the convention and 10% more than a store at the Wan Chai Computer Center (I can’t find it at Sham Shui Po Computer Center) – and the guy said its the lowest he can offer. That made me think there must be something “unpleasant” with this product but then I had to soothe myself by thinking that Hong Kong’ers probably find local/China-made product inferior (which is quite true) while any shit from overseas is consider a masterpiece! Because of this, I decided to try one first and this is my findings:
– Beautiful X.264 and DivX/XviD decoding
– Small form factor
– Quite cool even when playing HDTV clips or recording HDTV
– Digital recording to NFS/Windows (XP) or NAS box (Synology) was awesome! Kudos!
– USB ports have enough power to support power hungry 2.5″ notebook HDDs (usually large capacity HDDs) without the need for external power
– The “universal remote” is a big PLUS!!
– Ability to choose English or Chinese EPG is very nice!
– Comes with HDMI cable (I wish it also comes with Coaxial cable too)
– The package does not come with Manuals; only a quick reference illustrated guide.
– The “M218 User Manual (PDF) v1.0” online PDF is apalling. And it is not “gwai lo”-aware! In other words, where’s the English?!
– The Setup Assistant is bogus! It doesn’t do much…at least not for relaxing NTFS directory and share permissions!
– Many times FULL SCAN only resulted in 4 channels (81,82,84,85) while Quick Scan can identify 10-13 (depending on time of day)
– Does not allow you to default to a specific Aspect Ratio. I.e. 16:9, 4:3, etc. When viewing HD TVB news, it switches between 16:9 and 4:3 (news sources that were recorded at 4:3). Very annoying. That’s why setting Aspect Ratio is necessary. Most DTV-enabled LCD/Plasma TV’s nowadays have this feature. Plus, we did not buy 42/50/60 inch 16:9 TVs to watch at 4:3 – we have lived with (and accustomed to) “flattened heads” for the last 10 years already. 🙂
– The “Title” button only Zoom but not fit-to-screen (or stretch). When Zoom, a large porton of the left, right, top and bottom borders are truncated
– Very disappointed that DivX/XViD .SRT subtitle is not supported. I can live with no IDX/SUB subtitles but without .SRT is a very big inconvenience!
– No .MKV support, another common HDTV format similar to .TS
– Support for Quicktime format would be nice.
– If you can add in Internet streaming support, this product would be extremely attractive
– Need to restart Picazzo to recognize network source or USB HDDs (no Plug ‘n’ Play support)
– Cannot switch channels during recording. Don’t tell me it’s because of its single tuner because some single tuner box/TV can do that. The trick maybe that it is not true 25fps but rather 15fps for example. In other words, time slicing or the recording gets full 25fps while the less important viewing gets only one frame for every 2 or 3 frames processed. Just a thought. I remember many TV tuner cards use this trick when viewing mutiple screens despite having only one tuner.
– Setup is not really setup. Setup only changes brightness/contrasts/color. The real Setup is at the Menu – Setup buttons
– What does the Subtitle button do? The TV broadcasters force you to look at subtitles anyway…
– Umm…What does EDIT CHANNELS do?! Baffled…
– When deep within Media browsing, there is no single button to shortcut back to the main menu. You need to click the Cancel button many times instead.
– The Picazzo Power button doesn’t shutdown the box at all.
– It does not preserve channel settings
– It does not allow you to customize channel numbers. I originally thought the “Edit Channel” feature was for this purpose.
Big Cons (but probably not Picazzo’s fault)
– 2 to 3 seconds delay when switching channels. Very annoying, makes me not wanting to use DTV at all. Good thing I didn’t buy Picazzo for viewing DTV. I hope the government would provide one frequency per channel rather than 1 frequency shared by several channels
– How come there’s a 2 second audio delay when viewing Live DTV while analog signals are instant? Time to process…?September 22, 2008 at 7:04 am #2447
kaiKeymasterI am surprise no-one here discuss about Digital Set Top Boxes.
I haven’t bothered to think about one… I was under the impression that only the Chinese channels had HD and we don’t watch much Chinese TV? (but do ATV, Pearl English channels have HD as well?)September 22, 2008 at 4:57 pm #2448kai920 wrote:I haven’t bothered to think about one… I was under the impression that only the Chinese channels had HD and we don’t watch much Chinese TV? (but do ATV, Pearl English channels have HD as well?)
Ahhhh….Banana….Yellow on the outside, white inside. I am slightly better, I can speak cantonese but reading/writing is a couple of cans short of a sixpack.
Well, yes, DTV is primarily for Chinese although TVB Pearl also has HD. ATV, well, their additional channels suck anyway; you won’t lose sleep over it.
I seldom watch TVB too. Watching TVB drama series is like watching Pr0n – watch one and all others are the same: multiple 3-way love affairs, government housings are 2000 sq ft, they only sit half of a round table, they talk to themselves like a retard, etc., etc. Too many to list….
Anyways, I bought Picazzo for its network multimedia capabilities, not for DTV. But unlike its competitors, you get two main features for the price of one.September 22, 2008 at 5:07 pm #2449
Btw, I found a solution to the MKV conversion problem for Picazzo.
It was right in front of me and not knowing it until now.
All you need is a freeware program called tsMuxer and it takes only 5-10 minutes to convert MKV to TS while preserving all its original features: DTS audio, built-in multiple subtitles, resolution, audio and video bitrates, etc., etc.
This conversion works on the Picazzo and better yet, no more audio and video out of sync issues and Jump-To-Time is instant even playing it across the network.
Two noticeable issues though:
1) Size is slightly bigger than its original MKV format. The size of the original video is normally encoded to fit a 4.5Gb or 8.2Gb blank disc, thus this conversion makes backup to DVD or DVD-DL impossible. I’m still looking for a workaround…
2) Fast forward does not work. But at least Jump-To-Time works, so no big loss…
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