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Test Report for Arion AF9400PVR

Arion AF9400PVR

The cabinet of the AF9400PVR HDMI is simple but elegant. On the front panel you will find an extremely easy to read VFD display as well as a fold-down flap behind which are a set of eight buttons to control the receiver should the remote control go missing. This flap also hides two CI slots that can be used with all the typical modules (Irdeto, Seca, Viaccess, Conax, Nagravision, etc.). A pair of LEDs on the left and right side of the housing indicate the receiver's operational status.

The excitement began to build when we took a look at the rear panel. In addition to a satellite IF input and looped-through output for both of the tuners, we also found two Scart connectors, an S-Video Info Bar output and naturally an HDMI jack to connect the receiver to a plasma or LCD TV. On top of that there are also three RCA video and stereo audio output jacks, a programmable 0/12V output, an RS-232 interface, a USB 2.0 output to link with a PC, an RF modulator output and, of course, an optical digital audio output. To round out the entire picture, there's also a main power switch.

The included remote control is ergonomically designed and sits nicely in your hand with buttons that are clearly labeled.

Since this is a twin tuner PVR, both tuners can be operated in three different modes. In Loop Mode, only one satellite signal source is needed since the input signal is looped-through from the first tuner to the second tuner. In this case, while one channel is being recorded, not all of the remaining channels will be available on the second tuner. In Twin Mode, two identically switched satellite signal sources are routed to both tuner inputs so that every channel is available on both tuners at the same time. The T1/T2 Mode tells the AF9400PVR HDMI that both tuner inputs will be occupied but with independent satellite signals. In this mode, not every channel is available on both tuners.

During the installation, it is actually quite easy with a single push of a button to set up the LNB and DiSEqC parameters for each individual satellite. In addition to the two motor control protocols, the Arion AF9400PVR HDMI also supports DiSEqC 1.0 and 1.1 and is therefore capable of handling multi-feed reception using up to 16 LNBs. And unlike many receivers from other manufacturers, this new Arion box actually comes with a programmable 0/12V output that can also be set up for each individual satellite.

The Main Menu is divided into six large areas: in the Channel Search menu, multiple settings for antenna configuration and satellite data can be taken care of. The receiver offers an automatic scan, a manual scan and an expanded search with manual PID entry. Of course, a network scan is also possible as is scanning for only free-to-air (FTA) channels. In the Channel Editing menu, everything is geared towards organizing the channel and transponder lists. As many as 8000 channels can be stored and in this menu they can be deleted, moved, renamed, locked out with a PIN code or transferred into one of four Favorites lists.

When switching between channels, an Info bar appears momentarily and displays information on the current and upcoming program as well as specific channel data (teletext, subtitle, Dolby Digital audio, etc.) and information on the satellite in use. A second push of the OK button displays expanded EPG data on the cur-rent program as long as this information is made available by the provider. Another push of this button displays technical parameters for the channel such as frequency, polarization, symbolrate and PIDs.

As a manufacturer, it is almost a must to equip your PVR receiver with a USB 2.0 or network interface in order to be on the same level in the marketplace although the film industry and some PayTV providers might not be too happy with this.



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