Had my Maige TV HD3 now for a few days and it's fantastic (got it from maigetv.com) - took a day or two longer to arrive than I thought it would though - I got worried.
I also thought I'd have to pay import tax but nope, came through okay to me
As I promised earlier I'll do a writeup of what I found and my set up.
The picture quality is quite nice and as others have said the quality is better than the iHome.
What does it come with:
Maige TV HD 3 box,
Remote control (no batteries included - takes AAA batteries)
Power adapter (this has a Chinese plug (I think American plugs are the same) at the end of it so you'll need an adapter if you live in the UK - you can simply buy one online or buy a travel adapter from somewhere like Argos/Maplins.
HDMI cable (x1)
Network cable (x1)
User Manual (pretty much useless)
1 Year subscription
I also bought the wireless adapter that they provide as an optional extra with it because I wanted to test it out (results for that are below).
You can also buy a powerline ethernet adapter as an optional extra (I didn't buy this from them and got it elsewhere though and is what I'm currently using as my TV/HD monitor is far away from my router).
Note that you you don't need either of these if you're just going to be plugging it in using a normal ethernet cable by the way (they provide one free with the order).
You need to activate the box before they'll let you do anything with it. Unfortunately this isn't automated so to do that you just go to their site and click on Activate Service, type in your details and the MAC address which is at the bottom of your MaigeTV and they'll activate it within 24 hours and email you; mine took around 6 hours.
I'll talk about my set up as some people might be confused about what to choose/do with setting it up.
When you turn it on - as others have already said in this thread - the setting for the language is most likely going to be in Chinese. But the boxes all come with the option of choosing English, Chinese (traditional, simplified), Japanese, Korean in Settings.
If you ask them by email or something they'll probably just send you one with English already chosen for you. Contact them first though and find out.
If you want to change it to English yourself though pretty easy to do, just click the settings button on your remote (the one with the little cog at the the bottom) and choose the the third option down
) which is for Screen. Choose the first dropdown box
and scroll until you see English
and press OK on your remote to choose it. Then keep pressing down until you go the last button
right at the bottom of the the screen which is 保存
After that it just restarts quickly and everything is always in English after that.
The main screen has:
- will (probably) play things from a hard drive you can put into one of the USB ports - haven't tried this yet,
- I think is to see some information about the box - I don't really know/care about that. I think it tells you how many days you have left though, which you can also see on the main screen anyway so it's kind of redundant.
- Can choose drama shows from US, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea to play back whenever you want. All of them I think seem to come with Chinese subtitles though (live Japanese TV or the 7 day playback for the channels don't
have subtitles thankfully). There's 1998 drama shows altogether from all countries at the time of this post. However, there's 139 Japanese dramas to choose from here which is a decent amount but I'm not going to be using this option anyway.
- Watch Live TV or choose VOD playback for 7 days
. The 7 day playback seems to be for all of their channels (which is pretty huge at over 400). There's options at the top to choose either HD, Comprehensive, News, Sports, Entertainment, Cartoon, Humanity, Japanese, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Korea.
Japanese channels list from counting them right now is 48, full list here: http://www.maigetv.com/HD3_Channels_List.pdf
If you want to choose the 7 day playback:
choose the channel and click the Menu option on the remote control and choose Playback, it might take two or three seconds to load depending on your connection, then just choose the date/time you want. All of the times have the names of the shows in Japanese available if you want to know exactly what aired. You can also pause playback of this and fast forward through commercials, etc and rewind which is pretty cool
If you want to adjust the volume on the MaigeTV itself:
you need to have something playing first and then press back or forward buttons on your remote, there's also a mute option. I couldn't figure this out at first as I was playing the audio directly on a HD monitor and didn't have a way to adjust the audio on the monitor
- This is essentially movies to choose from to play back. At the time of writing it's at 5724 titles altogether (most of them from the US I think) but there's no real way to separate and see the Japanese titles as they're split into genres like Action, War, Comedy, etc. The titles are in Chinese too and these come with Chinese subtitles (does anyone know if the subtitles can be turned off?). Again, if anyone's confused there's thankfully no
Chinese subtitles on Japanese live TV or the 7 day playback. From flicking through it has some new Japanese movies which is nice but again not really something I'll really be using this for; I just want the live TV and 7 day playback for the channels.
- Tells you what all of the buttons on the remote control does when you're in one of the screens.
- information like the version of firmware, mac address, local ip address, etc.
- where you can choose a server you always want (it's set to Automatic by default), Access Mode (choose between Wireless or Wired Connection), Connection Mode (Automatic by default - you can change your settings like IP address stuff here if you want to here - I guess maybe you could set up smart DNS if you wanted to),
has System Language, Video Standard (can choose between PAL or NTSC), Resolution (1080i, 1080p, 720p, 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p), Time Zone (I'd recommend setting it to Tokyo time so you don't need to keep thinking about time zone differences when looking up TV listings somewhere else), Energy Saving (powers down when not in use). You can also change the brightness, contrast, saturation of the output picture here by clicking the appropriate colour on your remote (it gets a little annoying though because you need to keep clicking it to make it come back around again) - I've left everything at 50 and you can just adjust your TV/monitor if you need to anyway.
- test to see if your connection is okay
- I guess this is to upgrade firmware (stay away if you don't know what you're doing).
- Same as the Help that was described above.
- Reboot it (I think - I'm not clicking it in case it resets everything
You can just click the power button your remote anyway).
I'm currently using it with a powerline ethernet adapter as the computer/TV stuff is far away from my router.
Results vary when using ethernet/powerline/wireless and I'll talk about each.
The Maige TV site says: "Internet connection requirements are 2M for regular and 4M for HD channels" but I don't know how accurate that is and what settings they were using.
Everything is super fast on 1080p and 1080i and works perfectly with no buffering/stuttering for me, some people in the thread have said that it buffers a little every now and then but I guess it just depends on your connection speed.
Same performance as ethernet with 1080p and 1080i and streams great. Good alternative to using a long ethernet cable if your TV/computer is far away from your router. It's also a steady network connection unlike wireless.
Used a different powerline ethernet adapter than the one they provide as an optional paid addon when you order a Maige TV HD3 (I'm using Netgear Powerline 500 XAVB5221 adapters) but the one they provide should work okay too.
When testing the connection speed of the adaptor though with a PC I noticed I was only getting around 15mbps download (I've got over 100mpbs connection but I'm using surge power connectors so there's going to be some loss there) but even with that loss everything streams nicely. Powerline adapters are actually very easy to set up but I guess they can be confusing for first time users. Tutorial for how to use the adapters:
Using the wireless adaptor they provide with the MaigeTV as an optional paid addon - it just plugs into one of the two USB ports at the back.
Wireless didn't work well for me, only worked okay with 720p when plugged directly into a HD TV. However, when I plugged into a Hauppage HD PVR 2 to record, the audio was choppy. The recordings probably would have come out okay but it would be nice to actually listen to what's going on at the same time too. When the resolution for the MaigeTV was lowered to 480p it worked fine.
If you do have buffering issues just pause the video for a few seconds and then play it again or just wait for the live TV to fix itself by choosing a different server.
So if you want to record using a PVR either make sure you have either have a powerful wireless connection or use powerline, or even a long ethernet cable if your TV or HD monitor is far away from your router. I think all of these boxes are pretty much the same in that regard though - if you want a decent picture without frames being dropped/buffering issues wireless isn't the best thing.
You might have a different or better way of doing this but this is the easiest way I found with using a Hauppage HD PVR 2 to record it with (thanks to renarayne for suggesting that)
. Using the 1512 model but I guess the gaming edition should work okay too.
Put the HDMI from the MaigeTV into the HDMI In
of the Hauppage HD PVR 2, then and connect the HDMI Out
of the HD PVR 2 to the HDMI port
of your HD TV or HD Monitor. Then simply put the USB cable
from HD PVR 2 into a computer/laptop and start the software that Hauppage provides. Then you can either click the Start button to start recording or press the big button on the HD PVR 2 to record (if you use the big button make sure the software on your computer is running first).
Make sure the volume is up (doesn't have to be really loud) on your MaigeTV by the way as I messed up one of my recordings because I'd turned it down earlier
. To do that make sure something is playing first
and then adjust the volume by clicking the right and left buttons your remote control.
I found this the best option because all of the stress/work goes to the HD PVR 2 and it doesn't affect your computer's performance at all so you don't need a fast computer, it's essentially just dumping what it records to the computer's hard drive (you can also change the location it saves it to in the recording software and save it to an external drive or something). When you're recording you can watch it back on your laptop/computer if you want to.
You can carry on using your computer without it affecting anything and can mute the Hauppage software if you want to (it won't affect the recording).
If audio is choppy while playing it back on your HD TV don't worry because the recordings themselves won't be, the audio should be fine though if you play it through your computer (but it has a delay of like 2 or 3 seconds because it's recording so you can just watch it on your computer if that's the case. It also might be because your network connection does seem to affect things if you plug it into a PVR so try using ethernet or powerline instead of wireless (more about that in the section above).
A note about the HD PVR 2's recording software:
I tried using it on a Mac but they only provide a link to a third party application on their site which is...er...not great. It got frustrating so I just ended up using the official program on Windows and it works beautifully - you can even set how long to record for and choose MP4, TS, M2TS and even resize it automatically and stuff if you want to and adjust the quality settings of the recording. You can also export your TS or M2TS files to MP4 afterwards which doesn't re-encode anything but puts it into a nice MP4 container
Note that this isn't necessary but you can also play around with HDMI switches and so on if you want to mess around with using other monitors with your PC connected to it with HDMI, etc.
I believe it also might come with playback software for computer/ipad/iphone that you can download, I haven't tried this stuff out though, I've just read what other people have posted about it so far on other sites. Will probably update this post if I try it. Also, if anyone wants me to go into how to cut out commericals, etc easily and without quality loss I can update this.
Anyway the Maige TV HD3 does everything I want it to do: play TV and I can choose 7 day playback and being able to record using a HD PVR 2.
Hope that helps. The subscription fees are pretty damn cheap too when compared to other ones.
It would be nice if I could schedule my recordings though, I'm hoping to find a way.
tl;dr: it's cool