Homeworx HW180STB

Unit working nicely on live TV with solid signal capture (80%+) and great pic on all local channels. BUT, frequent pixillations on Record and in “Timeshift” modes rendering it worthless as a PVR. Using a splitter to feed both Tablo and Homeworx and Tablo is working fine in all modes. Using 1TB HDD with TABLO and 64GB flash drive for Homeworx. Can’t understand the disparity between solid signal reception in live TV mode and pixillations on recordings.
Like to hear from other users re similar problems, suggestions, solutions. Considering upgrading flash drive to HDD and/or amplified distribution splitter.
Thanks all.

I use a 1 TB hard drive on mine with no issues.

Sounds like your flash drive is too slow to handle HD recording and/or playback. Definitely try a different drive.

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Had pixelation when using flash key USB 2.0 for sports but all other shows were good and clean. Changed over to a USB 3.0 drive and sports recorded cleanly. Recorded three shows the last two days and all were clean without any pixelation whatsoever.

Is the key 2.0? People have mentioned that 3.0 keys with fast write times work OK for Homeworx even though the Homeworx uses 2.0 as its protocol. 3.0 keys have faster write mechanisms even under 2.0 conditions. But it also depends on the write specs of the device. Sandisk has faster writes than PNG for example. I never used to look at these write specs when buying these keys until last year.

I don’t think amp will help here since I also use a splitter between Tablo and Homeworx fine. I think it’s a drive speed issue which I also had with 2.0 flash key. Most people at other forums recommend using a drive rather than a key.

Yes a faster drive. The Homeworx is writing six times the amount of data per second than the Tablo. For instance, the same file recorded on Homeworx is 6 GB (mpg2) whereas on Tablo it is 1 GB (mp4).

Since I use it sparingly I got a small 3.0 drive (250 GB).

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That seems to be the consensus. Need to upgrade my drive to USB 3 with faster speed. Off to Best Buy.

BTW there are others in the same class and price range like iView and ViewTS. You may want to try those if the Homeworx doesn’t work out (return it). At one point I said to myself that if the faster drive didn’t work out, I’d ship the Homeworx back and try a different brand for the same price until I got a good combination to work. But I needed absolutely for one of these to work for my projector. Love Amazon’s no-nonsense buying, testing, returning or exchanging no questions asked.

I’d be interested to know if a new drive fixes the problem. I’ve got a HW150 that I picked up years ago to do live TV for my Xbox One. I only every used it for live TV, never as a DVR, but the thread here talking about using these boxes as a backup and/or “conflict resolver” got me thinking. (In fact, I think I have a spare external spinny HD around that I may hook up to it and test it out before the new TV season ramps up.)

BTW, just to add to @TabloFan and @MarkKindle’s comments. A standard ATSC channel stream is just under 20 Mb/s (megabits/s) data rate; this would be about 2.5 MB/s (megabytes/s). This could be used by just one channel (i.e. a channel with no sub channels) or split up among the various subchannels. However, I believe even in the latter case, the Homework will record the entire channel stream, so if you’re just recording a channel on 16-2, say, it will record all the 16-x channels since they’re part of a single data stream, meaning you’ll still need the full ~20Mb/s write speed. While a USB 2.0 interface can theoretically handle much more than that (480 Mb/s), the other side of the equation is just how fast the memory in the USB stick can perform. (Kind of like how microSD cards have different speed ratings.) It’s not all that uncommon for write speeds, especially on older and/or cheaper USB 2.0 sticks to be relatively low. If you look at this page showing speed rankings and sort by minimum speeds, you can see that many sticks have lower minimum write speeds than 2.5 MB/s which means they potentially couldn’t keep up with recording the stream.

USB Flash Drive Speed

That did it. SanDisk USB 3.0 flash drive, 100 MB/s speed, 128GB. Pixelations gone. This little puppy is pretty cool. Great HD1080i picture. Even the SD channels look pretty good. Actually better than Tablo.
Thanks to all for the input.

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Yup, faster flash drive did the trick. USB 3.0 rated at up to 100 Mb/s. Record, pause, FF, all working nicely. Thanks

The issue here isn’t the USB 3.0 interface, it is the actual write speed to your previous flash drive.

A USB 2.0 External HDD would have been fast enough.

For the price of a 128 GB USB 3.0 flash drive, you probably could have gotten a 1 TB USB 2.0 HDD, no?

Yes but most of us are using the Homeworx as a secondary DVR supporting the Tablo. So a large storage space may not be a primary consideration. I would never suggest replacing a Tablo with a Homeworx - it simply isn’t in the same class as the Tablo for functionality. I use the Homeworx for one reason - record a sports event once or twice a week. At best I need about 64 GB because the games are gone after several days. One full game takes about 16 GB.

Also as an addendum, I would never come to this forum peddling another device. If something supplements the Tablo affordably I mention it. But never to use this forum to advocate a competitor which is in poor taste!

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This is with a splitter to send the signal to both Tablo and Homeworx, right?

I tried a test yesterday in which I ran the antenna cable to the Homeworx (RF In). Then a short coax from the Homeworx RF Out to the TV’s RF In. In standby mode the Homeworx passes the signal onto the TV without the need for a splitter. Wonder if you were to connect the Tablo to the Homeworx…

However I found something interesting. If the Homeworx was in standby mode (red light on) and not doing any channel selection or display, I could change channels on the TV OK. But once I brought the Homeworx back up from standby mode, the TV would only tune in the channel the Homeworx had selected for itself. So it appears the Homeworx sends to its RF Out whatever channel the user has chosen to view but in standby mode it sends out the entire set of channels.

So I went back to the splitter. I was hoping to ditch the splitter and save on the signal loss. But now I’m wondering why I even need to have the TV tuner going anyway since channel switching is fast with the Homeworx and picture quality is excellent. Plus a guide on screen which the TV doesn’t have and time shifting.

BTW now that I’m used to having a guide overlay the picture without having to exit the show…:heart_eyes:

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Tablo to Homeworx, “You ain’t putting that thing up my rear.”

Uncle Leo went to Staples and picked up a USB 3.0 Lexar key for $8.99 (32 GB) Labor Day special. Recorded parts of a sports event as test and it did great! I could’ve gotten a 64 GB for $11.99 but I only had ten bucks cash in my pocket. Still the whole package (DVR + storage) under $40.

Well here’s another bonus. Swapped out my 3.0 key and re-inserted my 2.0 HDD and recognized immediately. Unlike the Tablo, it can use both drives by swapping them in and out. Wonder what would happen with a USB hub attached? Would probably need to tell Homeworx which drive to use on the hub.

Now this is freaking interesting! I connected a USB hub to the Homeworx. I attached both my 3.0 flash key and my 2.0 HDD to the hub. When I would go to the Homeworx PVR screen, it asked me what drive (USB1 or USB2) I wanted to work with. Then it would show me what was on that drive. And I could go back and forth between drives whenever I would enter the PVR screen - always getting the “USB1 or USB2?” selection popup. Talk about expandable storage without going through a torture chamber…

So both drives can be attached via a hub! Though not both can be used at the same time, both can stay attached and toggled between them for specific usage. I can use the 3.0 to record sports and the 2.0 for everything else.


Are we having fun yet?

I figure if it lasts me another year, the cost will have been about a dollar a month.

I have no direct to TV tuner hookup. Splitter feeds Tablo and Homeworx HDMI output goes to TV. No degradation of OTA signal with Homeworx so no need for TV tuner. Channel capture pretty much the same as Tablo and TV tuners, so I guess the Homeworx tuner is up to the task. Toss in pause, FF, and instant channel switching and away we go. Also having a 2 channel Tablo this adds an additional channel record option as needed.
As you said, a nice adjunct to (not a substitute) Tablo.
BTW I did record about 15 mins of football with new USB 3.0 flash drive without issues.