Diamond 9000HD PVR Review

i4tas

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 10, 2005
791
4
Northern USA
About a month and a half ago I purchased the Diamond 9000HD on eBay for $322 USD shipped. I got an okay deal as other auctions ended higher and a few lower. To purchase this unit it online via a retailer or eBay (Buy it Now) it is $499 USD + shipping. For spending about $300 I can say it is worth it… $500 on the other hand, probably not. Features that caught my eye were: HDTV, MPEG 2, MPEG 4, ATSC Tuner, 8PSK built in, and most importantly PVR. Lots of features to keep you busy.

When it arrived I first upgraded the firmware from Diamond’s website as the first version had a PVR glitch. It upgraded via USB very quickly and easily. Second was to try the PVR, eventually I bought a 500GB Maxtor OneTouch4 external hard drive, but the first recordings were on a thumb drive. Both worked great. Although the Maxtor drive was more money to dish out, it also serves value for other purposes. Although I am always moving the dish and watching different channels… my ASTC OTA Digital channels are always there and the easiest to record. I currently have it setup to record Conan every night… the 1080i picture (live or recorded) looks great. Time shifting also is easy to use and another nice feature. The only complaint about the PVR so far is that the USB hard drive needs to have sleep mode disabled, otherwise timed recordings can be missed.

I have not been able to test this receiver on all feeds but will update as I do:
-MPEG-II (works like any other)
-MPEG-IV H.264 (tested on a couple feeds… I can confirm it works)
-ATSC Tuner (finds all my locals, impressed with signal on fringe stations)
-8PSK built in tuner (can’t do turbo, but should do normal 8psk… have not tested yet plan to hook up to c-band dish soon [many HD and SD channels out there now])
-4:2:2 (Tried it and…… NOPE. Just audio)

HDMI works excellent. Controls my switches: Diseqc and 22KHz. Works well with my other Ku dish on motor USALS, I still prefer my Pansat for this but it might win me over. It has pointless features like MP3, Games, Languages, JPEG… no opinion.

It has a normal satellite scan, manual (TP) scan, and PID scan. No blind scan, making it near impossible to find new feeds (DVB-S and DVB-S2) by myself and share them with the rest of you. This is disappointing, but thanks to satelliteguys.us and its members feeds are plentiful.

The one and only USB port is on the front under the flip down panel, making a plugged in drive looking ugly… fixed this by opening it up and hooking up an usb extension cable and wiring it out the back without drilling at all.

I don’t know why but only when off and showing the clock the “too bright” blue light turns on and is very annoying when trying to sleep… not to mention my usb hard drive also has a light.

The receiver by default came with an outdate satellite list so I upgraded it with channel master with my favorite. The thing was the Diamond uses CNDF and NDF files which is the same as Coolsat so I converted it and uploaded. When trying to send the list back to the PC, Channel Master didn’t like the file as the ATSC channels were added to it. Luckily Diamond has their own editor from their site and it edited the CNDF with ATSC channels. Although their program is a joke compared to channel master it does have a Lyngsat update option and works.

On problem I discovered when editing channels is that it can only be done via serial cable and not via USB. I decided to call Digiwave in Canada (the company behind the Diamond division) about this and some other complaints. After first talking to someone that hardly heard of the Diamond 9000, I got the number for a technician and we had a nice talk. I forgot to bring up the Blind Scan issue, but I did ask if 4:2:2 would be added and he knew of it and said it was possible, he confirm the specifications about the 8psk module saying can’t do turbo. And he seemed surprised that it could only transfer channel data via serial after I told him. He asked me if I had the latest firmware… and suggested I get it from the yahoo group ftadiamond, instead of ftadiamond.com for some reason. After the call that day I went to yahoo and realized there were lots download to choose from and they were captioned EMU FIX and such. Instantly I knew this was for the hackers, but for the sake of unlocking new features as others here have discovered with new receivers and 3rd party software. I tried a file that was released that day. To my surprise the firmware had the “CNDF to USB option” I requested. Now asking myself, “Is this because of my call?” I tried the file prior to one that I first downloaded and the “CNDF to USB option” was gone. So I have reached the conclusion: Digiwave must have closer contact to the hackers than one would think, pointing me to their yahoo site… adding new features via 3rd party and not their own site. The funny thing is I read the messages on yahoo about all the hackers complain the files don’t work but for True FTA and the features we want they did something, although I would prefer they do it the legit way.

Let me just address the above… I do not encourage non-factory software, but using it to improve the true and legal FTA experience and/or suggested to use it by the manufacturer are instances when it becomes a possibility. If it is to be done, firmware a little older is best… as in my case hackers already have no need for it. Lastly any signal decryption by a FTA receiver is highly discouraged by me and my comments on the topic are suggesting the same.

That might have gotten a little off-topic but I found my situation very interesting and informative to other members. To end the review: this is a great receiver… if anything just being a HD-DVR for ATSC is worth the $300. Adding the fact it does mpeg-IV and dvb-s2 the two upcoming modulations, I can see myself using this receiver for a long time. I attached some pictures and the links for the manual and the manufacture website. Thanks for reading, reply with comments, and please ask your questions.

Manual - http://www.satelliteguys.us/1178948-post1.html

Diamond 9000HD’s Website - Fta Diamond Receiver
 

Attachments

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
9
L.A., Calif.
If the Passion doesn't hit the market soon, all the niches will be filled , and they won't be able to sell it for $500.
They may not be able to get $400 for it.

Loved your review. Told me many interesting things.
I'm sure others looking for something to do HD will be impressed as well.

If you think you have a pipeline into the development group, sneak in all the little things it takes to make a real FTA receiver.
Get some fancy switch tests confirmed, if you can.
Make sure it doesn't lock up scanning any bogus signals as do other receivers.
If 4:2:2 can be done (questionable), that might be nice.
And blind scanning would make it a winner here with the SatGuy's.
As you say, just recording ATSC is quite an accomplishment for that price.

oh, one last thing: does it have sound on the R/L RCA connectors when you are on PBS with their dolby?
I'm betting that it does. It would for ATSC, so it should for FTA.
 

i4tas

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 10, 2005
791
4
Northern USA
I have not been able to test this receiver on all feeds but will update as I do:
-MPEG-II (works like any other)
-MPEG-IV H.264 (tested on a couple feeds… I can confirm it works)
-ATSC Tuner (finds all my locals, impressed with signal on fringe stations)
-8PSK built in tuner (can’t do turbo, but should do normal 8psk… have not tested yet plan to hook up to c-band dish soon [many HD and SD channels out there now])
-4:2:2 (Tried it and…… NOPE. Just audio)
It does do dvb-s2 (8psk).
Recording high bit rate HD like ABC-HD is choppy, but live TV works well.
8psk TPs are impossible to find, and if you know of one the only way to add it is via the PC channel it tool, can't add manually. It also can't do AUTO on the FEC for 8psk. Hopefully this gets fixed as trying to watch these new feeds are a pain. 8psk signals are also weaker and harder to tune in. Otherwise the HD pq looks great.
 

WEC4104

SatelliteGuys Family
Mar 13, 2007
38
0
Nice review. One question for you regarding the PVR capabilities...

Let's say you want to watch a show that is on from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm, but you won't be home until 8:30. Does the unit have the capability to start the recording at 8:00, but start watching at 8:30 while it continues to record?
 

i4tas

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 10, 2005
791
4
Northern USA
Nice review. One question for you regarding the PVR capabilities...

Let's say you want to watch a show that is on from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm, but you won't be home until 8:30. Does the unit have the capability to start the recording at 8:00, but start watching at 8:30 while it continues to record?
Yes. You and you can skip the comercials so you might be done watching that show at the same times it ends... you catch up.
 

WEC4104

SatelliteGuys Family
Mar 13, 2007
38
0
Yes. You and you can skip the comercials so you might be done watching that show at the same times it ends... you catch up.
That's great. Here's the strange part, I may end up buying one for a reason that has very little to do with satellite reception. I have been looking for a high definition PVR that records on a hard drive and has that "chase" feature. My wife would use it primarily to record her favorite shows off our Comcast cable subscription. [We have the Comcast service without a STB, so today the cable goes directly into TV.] Does the set-up of the ATSC tuner on the Diamond have a ANT/Cable setting that will permit it to receive the extended channel range?

This may be just what I have been looking for, since I refuse to pay TiVo subscription fees or rent a STB from Comcast.
 

Iceberg

The No Pain Train
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
0
35
The Lake House
it has a astc tuner but that would be just for digital OTA channels. I havent seen a PVR box yet that can do FTA and an external souorce other than a OTA digital antenna
 

i4tas

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 10, 2005
791
4
Northern USA
Does the set-up of the ATSC tuner on the Diamond have a ANT/Cable setting that will permit it to receive the extended channel range?
it has a astc tuner but that would be just for digital OTA channels. I havent seen a PVR box yet that can do FTA and an external souorce other than a OTA digital antenna
Iceberg is right... It can only do OTA and won't tune a single comcast channel.
 

barret

SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 30, 2006
47
0
i4Tas,
Thank You for the thorough review. I myself am interested in the 8PSK for True FTA non Turbo. Short of the commercial units I have not seen much out there. Everything of course geared to Turbo. Have you had a chance, or do you have the ability to test it on an 8psk channel on AMC 6 C band. There is one ITC WGGN Tp19 Freq 4063 V SR1628 FEC 2/3. I would be curious to see if it will lock this channel. I have read conflicting info on this 8PSK tuner some saying it is non turbo and some saying it is a cheap turbo clone board.
Regards
 

mrweather

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 27, 2006
225
0
Toronto, Canada
Very thorough review, thanks!

I recently picked up a 9000HD PVR (it's "in the mail") and I'm trying to figure out what size/make of hard drive to get. Any suggestions?
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
9
L.A., Calif.
Might check to see what sizes are supported.
But, otherwise, with the price of 500gb drives dipping under the $100 mark from time to time,
...and with Hi Def taking up so much room,
...there isn't much question that I would get a 500.
i4tas said:
The only complaint about the PVR so far is that the USB hard drive needs to have sleep mode disabled, otherwise timed recordings can be missed.
 

stogie5150

Crazed Cajun Rebel
Jan 7, 2007
3,791
22
Slidell,LA
Be aware, I have not been able to get my Diamond 9000 HD to lock on ANY DVB-S2. Just FYI. It DOES work on h.264 signals though.
I do not have mine hooked to a hard drive yet, so I cannot comment on that.:)
 

i4tas

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 10, 2005
791
4
Northern USA
i have a 500 gb drive, it works great... make sure the drive can be FAT32 formated. I found out that you have to disable sleep mode or else it will miss recordings. You can also hook it up to PC and watch them that way. Xbox and Media Center can play it after some certain conversions, but that is an xbox issue.

It does DO DVB-S2 8psk but very hard to lock anything (software)... I can confirm it.
 

JR Blue

New Member
Feb 24, 2008
2
0
Very thorough review, thanks!

I recently picked up a 9000HD PVR (it's "in the mail") and I'm trying to figure out what size/make of hard drive to get. Any suggestions?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here's what I have done with my HD Subsciption service. I purchased a Panasonic DMREH55S wtih a 200Gig HD. I use it to record HD programming which I can edit (cut crap out) and if one wanted, could record to DVDs as well.

I'm new to this FTA, been reading up on it, I think I might try it as a hobby if it doesn't get to costly..

I'll do a new thread maybe you experts can assist in a question I have.

:)
 
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