3view HD PVR

Hints and Tips

I thought it might be useful to pass on some of the useful 'hints and tips' I've accumulated since May 2010 so, in no particular order other than latest at the top...

Sticky Top Tip: you are strongly advised to ensure that your unit is running firmware 37956-1. The firmware may be downloaded from simply8654t2_trunk_37956-1_201108211726.bin courtesy of 'Barry The Sprout', a subscriber to the 3viewpvr.info forum.

Inserting or removing the aerial lead from the box may damage the tuner. It is understood that adding some self-adhesive conducting tape across the casings of the two RF connectors (inside the box) and strapping them to ground may offer some protection.

Simply turning off the power to the unit has the potential to corrupt the file system on the hard drive with the consequence that it will have to be re-formatted and all recordings lost. To avoid this, reboot from the menu at setup > system > system reset > restart system and then remove power as soon as the first 3view splash screen is displayed.

When booting up, the 3view will sometimes freeze at one of the splash screens which show the 3view logo. If rebooting for a second time is unsuccessful then the following has been found to be successful in some instances:

  • remove power from the box
  • connect the box via SCART rather than HDMI
  • hold the standby button on the front panel down while turning power on again and keep the button held down until the maintenance menu appears
  • reinstall the firmware.

There would appear to be the possibility of damage being caused to the unit's tuner if the aerial lead is removed or inserted with the box powered up. For that reason, it is suggested that power is removed from the box and the box then left for 60 seconds before the aerial lead is either inserted or removed.

It appears that a limited number of televisions using an HDMI connection do not recognise that the 3view has been taken out of standby and so the box seems not to be responding to the remote control. To avoid this, put the 3view into standby before turning off the television. A more permanent fix is under development.

To view a listing of all of the programmes currently in the EPG go to pvr and then click on the Search option. The listing, in alphabetical order, is on the right of the screen and is accessed using the right arrow key and then the down and up arrow keys. To narrow the listing, initiate a search.

Some users have found the red LED on the front panel gradually dims over time and 3view have usually offered a replacement front panel. Removal of the front panel is quite easy and requires no tools. Just apply thumb pressure to the front top lip of the case lid, starting at one side, twist the front panel down to release the securing tab and then repeat for the middle and other end.

As DSO (Digital Switch Over) proceeds, many transmitters reduce power while engineering takes place. This may produce streaks of bright colour in the display, pixellation, complete loss of picture, sound distortion and even the loss of a group (or groups) of channels. If any of these symptoms are experienced, it may be worthwhile checking on the status of the local transmitter before changing anything on the 3view unit or its installation. A broad indication of whether or not engineering may be affecting a particular transmitter is available from the DigitalUK website, with a more detailed account on the ukfree.tv site.

When the unit is connected to the network, a green LED on the front panel is illuminated. If the connection is lost, and all else on the network is working as it should, the following workaround may be necessary to persuade the 3view to reconnect:

  • press 'setup' and go to the 'System' menu and then 'Network'
  • change the network setting to Manual
  • enter some random values
  • change the unit's name (this would be from '3view' if it is still set to the default)
  • reboot
  • go back into the 'System' menu and, in 'Network', change the network setting back to 'Automatic' from 'Manual'.

If channels are consistently missing after a scan, try scanning with an aerial that offers a low strength signal. A set-top aerial can sometimes produce the required result.

If 'Cancel' is clicked while updating firmware, a further attempt to load that firmware may fail. To work round this, reboot the unit using 'Restart System' in the System menu and try again or, if this fails, start to re-install an earlier firmware (there is usually one available direct to the box through 'Network Update'), click 'Cancel' once the install has started, and then install the required version.

At the present time, Windows Media Player will not play 3view high definition recordings with sound. VLC Media Player (www.vlcmediaplayer.org/), on the other hand, will, but a work-around is needed. To play HD recordings with sound using VLC, use WMP to navigate to the recording in question and right click on the icon. From the window that opens, left click on Properties and copy the file's location. In VLC, use the copied location to tell VLC where to find the recording and it should play with sound.

When updating firmware by USB stick the 3view may fail to see the new file. This is not uncommon as not all USB sticks appear to be equal and different devices may or may not have issues with them. Inserting the USB stick into the 3view (or a short USB extension plugged into one of the unit's rear panel USB sockets and brought to the front) with the 3view already turned on is usually successful.

If attempting to use the Maintenance Menu, and the menu fails to display, it may be necessary to use a SCART connection rather than HDMI as some televisions (some Samsungs being an example) are unable to resolve a 576i signal, the one used by the Maintenance Menu, on an HDMI input.

With the possibility of some corruption to data having been introduced during the installation of firmware 34275-1, 3view have made it known that, with appropriate information from the unit's owner, they are able to access it remotely and may be able to reconfigure the corrupted data. For this reason, it is recommended that any problems are raised with 3view through the 'My 3view' page at www.3view.com before any drastic measures such as re-formatting the hard drive are considered.

Following the installation of firmware 34275-1, it would appear to be inadvisable to return the box to an earlier firmware as access to recordings will be lost.

If undertaking a restart using the 'Maintenance Menu' it is essential that power is restored with the front panel standby button already held down and held there until the on-screen message and instructions appear. Releasing the button before the instructions appear, or starting to hold it down after power has been applied, will mean the the process will fail.

If you have timers set, and then later alter the way in which channels are mapped, use the 'Fix Channel' menu entry to reattach the timers to the correct channel. Affected timers are identified by an asterisk (*).

If you are experiencing problems such as frequent 'Buffering...' messages with BBC iPlayer it may be that your broadband connection isn't able to transfer the data at a fast enough rate for the quality iPlayer is expecting to deliver. To reduce the quality go into iPlayer and navigate to 'Settings'. Once in 'Settings' (at the bottom of the screen), choose 'Video Quality' and then 'Normal'.

If you do not have BBC One HD and BBC HD in your channel list it's necessary to undertake a channel 'Erase and Scan' rather than a 'Keep and Scan'. Series timers, a Favourite Channel list and any channel position re-assignments (if set) will need to be reviewed as described below.

As of 19:00 on 3 November, a channel rescan is required to update the channel list and EPG to reflect the launch of BBC One HD on channel 50 and the transfer of BBC HD to channel 54. This may have consequences described below.

When scanning for channels using 'Erase and Replace' or 'Keep and Replace' it's possible that the link between series timers and the EPG can be lost with no further timers scheduled, though matching episodes are available. To reset a link, press 'ok' on the affected timer and then on 'View Upcoming'. Press 'ok' on the first episode that should be recorded and then again on 'Record Series'. The link between the series timer and the EPG should have been restored. Repeat this procedure for all affected series timers.

To cancel all recordings or delete all existing recordings and cancel all scheduled recordings quickly press 'pvr' and then press 'ok' on 'All Programmes'.

After installing a new firmware use 'Restart System' in 'Settings' > 'System Reset' to reboot the unit and ensure a clean restart for the new firmware.

To open a synopsis of the story behind the headlines in the 'BBC Headline News Top 10' widget (currently third from the left), use the central up and down arrow keys to highlight the headline and then arrow right. To continue on and read the full story, press 'ok'. This (slowly) opens the story in a browser window.

Firmware 33323-3_201010131047, released on 15 October, has introduced a fix for the Daylight Saving issue. Anyone who had used the 'GMT + 1:00' work around, and had switched off automatic Daylight Saving switching, should go into the 'System' menu and undo the changes.

If the 3view is having difficulty in displaying high definition channels in an area with a strong HD signal, it may be worth reducing the signal strength with an attenuator. Up to 24db has been found to be effective in some, though not all, installations.

To restart the box go to 'setup' > 'System' > 'System Reset' > 'Restart System' and press 'ok' on the 'Restart' button. This is a 'gentler' alternative to pulling the plug!

To play back in slow motion, press 'pause' and then 'fast forward'. The recording will play at 1/16 speed at first and then 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 with each subsequent press of 'fast forward'.

Pressing 'guide' to view the EPG while watching a recording will stop the playback. To avoid this, press 'info' twice instead and then navigate the EPG with the four central arrow keys.

To check how much of a recording has been viewed, or is left to play, press 'play' during playback. The progress bar shows time elapsed and time remaining, along with a graphical representation. It also has fine vertical lines at 15 minute intervals.

To enter text in the 'web' screen press 'sub' to pop up the 'Opera Keyboard'. Unfortunately, the firmware will need a tweak to move the page focus from the 'Go' button to the URL entry field before a URL can actually be entered.

When setting up a wishlist it's now possible to search on words which are not present in the EPG. They are entered as normal and can then be selected by arrowing right and pressing 'ok' when they are highlighted.

When using the soft keyboard, pressing 'ok' when the 'Shift' key is highlighted will cycle through upper case letters, lower case letters and a numbers/punctuation option. To do this more quickly, use the 'info' button on the remote control.

There are three LEDs, green, yellow and red, positioned along the lower left hand edge of the front panel. The green LED indicates that the PVR is powered on, the yellow that it is in standby or is acknowledging a press on the remote control, and the red that a recording is underway. When the unit is booting up, all three LEDs flash together.

There is a serious issue (as at 16 September) when the PVR is connected using SCART. 3view are aware and are working on it. However, you may wish to make them aware of your particular problems.

Anyone using a mixture of wireless and standard homeplugs, and experiencing stability problems on the PVR, should try to separate the two homeplug systems by using passwords to create separate private networks. This has been shown to be effective.

To set a recording, single or series, while playing back a recording press 'info' twice and then use the four arrow keys to navigate the single channel view EPG to the channel and then programme required. Once the programme is highlighted, press the record button once for a single event timer and twice for a series timer. The alternative, and more obvious method, is to access the EPG by pressing 'guide' but this has the unwanted effect of stopping playback.

If a channel rescan is required then there are two options: 'Keep and Scan' and 'Erase and Scan'. The former may be useful in building up the channel list in an area or conditions where reception is less than optimal.

'Full' registration appears to be a two stage process in which an account is set up on the 'My 3view' page on 3view's website and then the same username and password are entered in the 'Settings' menu on the PVR.

The usual way to exit a menu is to press the 'back' button. However, this doesn't work if you have moved out to the web by either pressing the 'web' button or by choosing one of the broadcaster options in the 3view screen. To exit from the web, the 'exit' button should be pressed.

The web page starts up with the focus on the 'Go' button. To move focus to the URL entry field move the pointer over the field and click.

To move back a page when browsing the web, use the 'back' button on the remote.

To set up a recording from within the EPG view, move to the programme in question and press record on it. The programme's entry will acquire a blue background and a single green tick. A second press of record will change the reservation to a series record, with a second green tick being added to the display, and a third press will cancel the recording request completely.

There are occasions when more than one firmware is available for installation direct to the PVR, but there is no need to install them sequentially. Simply identify the latest by examining its name, the last 12 digits of which act as a timestamp, and install that.

Registering the PVR with 3view is achieved through the 'Settings' menu. 'Error2' in the bottom field indicates that the serial number 3view have on their database doesn't match that of the box being registered. A call to 3view will result in their records being amended (have your serial number ready: the easiest and most reliable source is 'Chip Serial Number' in 'System Info') and they will either complete the registration for you or ask you to try again.

If you expect to use the USB port(s) and the PVR is to be installed in a relatively inaccessible location (or you don't want to have to disturb your carefully tidied cabling!) it is worth attaching a short USB extension cable to bring the port(s) from the back to the front or side of the case.

If you are planning on connecting an external hard drive to the unit, it would seem that a powered drive is likely to be more successful than one which derives its power from the USB port.

If you are having problems with displaying HD channels it may be advisable to check your aerial cable and ensure that it is adequately screened and has sound connections.

If you want to check signal strength for a channel then it's probably best to use the one in the 'info' or EPG view rather than the one accessed through 'setup' which seems to be relatively unreliable.

Anyone needing some homeplugs might want to have a look at item number 179960 on the Ebuyer website. They work well and have reduced in price by 5 over the last couple of weeks.

It's possible to obtain the EPG by either the usual over-the-air mechanism, or over the web. It isn't possible to use both methods at the same time. To change the source, press 'setup' and go to Channels and then 'Guide. For an OTA EPG, the radio button should be dark. For an OTW EPG, the radio button should be orange. The OTW EPG is only available on registered boxes.

You will need your box's serial number to enable registration with 3view. The number is on a small sticker on the bottom of the unit, on an identical sticker on one of the long sides of the cardboard box, or on the 'System Info' page in 'Settings' under 'Chip Serial Number'. I suggest you keep a record of it, but be warned: you will need a magnifying glass to read it on the labels!

When compiling searches or wishlists it's not possible to use free text entries. The words used must come from the lists on the right of the screen which are derived from the contents of the EPG current at that time. Punctuation is limited so I have not, for example, been able to set a wishlist for 'formula' + '1:' where the colon is vital in ensuring that Radio 5live broadcasts are not recorded in addition to the BBC Formula 1 TV broadcasts.

When using the soft keyboards, pressing 'ok' on 'Shift' cycles the keyboard through upper case, lower case and numeric/punctuation.

Programmes with titles beginning with 'The' are listed in Recordings without the 'The' at the start. Hence 'The Gadget Show' is listed as 'Gadget Show, The'

The box will output the incoming RF signal on its 'RF out' socket (as long as it's turned on or in standby). However, it will not output playback of any of its recordings on this socket as it does not have an RF modulator.

If you leave the box in one of the menu screens it will time out and return to the broadcast if there is no activity over a period of time.

If you are watching a broadcast and decide you would like to record it, then pressing the 'record' button will start a recording which includes the whole of the programme up to that point (assuming the box was tuned to the programme from the beginning, otherwise only that part that is in the buffer) and on to the programme's end.

If you need to restart the unit there are a number of options available. To get to the full list, press 'setup' and go to 'System'. Go right down the list and keep going (the last entry is off the bottom) until you get to 'System Reset' where there's a self explanatory list. If you want a complete reset, and I accept no responsibility if you decide to use it, you can hold the standby button on the front panel in while you switch the box on. This takes you to the 'Maintenance Menu'.

Moving around the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky pages that are coded to the '3view' button and then accessing further content through links on those pages is possible by using the rewind and fast forward buttons to move left and right through links, and the P▲ and P▼ buttons to move up and down through the links. Pressing 'ok' activates the link. Scrolling up and down the page is achieved by using the large up and down arrow buttons, with the left and right buttons scrolling the page left and right. Entering text does, of course, require a keyboard. Having pressed 'ok' on a link and moved to the relevant page, pressing 'back' takes you back to the previous page.

A USB keyboard will not work if the box offers a soft keyboard on the screen in question.

To set basic recording preferences press 'setup' and go to 'Channels' and then 'Recording Defaults'.

To remove a channel from the EPG listing press 'setup' and go to 'Channels' and then 'Manage Channels' From there, move to the channel you want to remove( or re-include) and press 'ok'.

To change the order in which channels are displayed in the EPG, press 'setup', go to 'Channels', then 'Manage Channels', then arrow right, highlight the channel you wish to move, arrow right to 'Edit Info' and press 'ok'. Enter the new channel number. If you give the channel a position that is already occupied you will find that you have two channels with the same number occupying adjacent positions in the EPG but the box seems to cope with this. I have BBC HD and BBC 1 both occupying position 1 and have been able to make single and series recordings without any problems. If you do have two channels with the same channel number the box appears to place the one you have moved above the 'original' in the display.

To change a channel's name, follow the above but, once you have pressed 'ok' on 'Edit Info', arrow down to the soft keyboard and enter the new name before pressing 'ok' on 'Accept'.

To create a Favourites list press 'setup' and go to 'Channels' and then 'Favourite Channels'. Navigate to each channel you wish to include in your list of favourite channels and press 'ok' on it.

To display your Favourite Channels list press 'guide' and press 'info'. The first press will display the EPG in alphabetical order and the second will display the favourites list. A further press will cycle through to the standard listing by channel number.

Moving around the EPG: pressing the left and right arrows in the EPG view moves forward and back in time in 30 minute increments. Pressing fast forward and rewind moves in six hour increments. Pressing the up and down arrows moves up and down the EPG one channel at a time, while using the P-up and P-down buttons moves in five channel increments. To move to a particular channel quickly, enter its number and press 'ok'.

To set a repeating timer for a particular time on a particular channel go to the EPG, find the programme, press 'ok' on it and then select 'Manual Record' to access the relevant menu. One of the menu options is 'How Often'. This offers the choice of 'One Time Only', 'Every Day', 'Monday-Friday', and 'Every Sunday', 'Every Monday' etc.

To check for a repeat of a particular programme when in the EPG or the 'Recordings' screen (press 'pvr') move to the programme, timer or recording and press 'ok'. One of the entries is 'View Upcoming'. Press 'ok' on that and a list of repeats will be shown. Pressing 'ok' on any of these will allow a single or series timer to be set.

Some menu options show a downward pointing arrow next to them to indicate that there is a number of set choices available for that element. Pressing the right arrow on the remote cycles through the list one entry at a time, but pressing 'ok' on it instead displays all the choices available. To select one of them, simply move up and down the list with the up and down arrow keys and then press 'ok' on the appropriate entry.

To change the volume in basic viewing mode, press the left and right arrows. This alters the volume output by the box and may help balance it with that output by any other devices you have attached to your TV

To check on how much free space you have on the hard drive, press 'pvr' and open 'PVR Event Viewer'. The free disc space is on the right, just above the 'All Events' listing.

Within the 'PVR Event Viewer' there are a number of different screens available. Pressing 'info' cycles through 'All Events', 'Recordings', 'Deletions' and 'Unexpected Events'.

To set up a permanent search ('Wishlist') press 'pvr' and press 'ok' on 'Search'. Move to 'Select' just to the right of 'Keywords', press 'ok', and then use the soft keyboard (a USB keyboard will not work) to enter your keyword. Once you can see the word you want highlighted, in whole or in part, to the right of the keyboard move across to it and select it by pressing 'ok'. To add further keywords to the search press 'ok' on 'Select' again and repeat the process. Don't worry that your keywords are not yet visible. Once you have finished assembling your search move to 'Create Wishlist' and press 'ok' on it before setting your options in the menu which pops up automatically.

Take care when deleting timers and heed the warning that all recordings will be deleted along with the timer.

Don't be concerned to find that the box has gone into standby for no apparent reason. It's designed to do that after three hours of inactivity. Recordings will happen as normal.

'If you knew somebody, on your doorstep, who'd walked 11 days because they were starving and needed a quid for food, you'd say, here, have a bloody quid. Forget geography, these are your neighbours, this is your doorstep.' Lenny Henry

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