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Don't buy a Metronic Touchbox HD3

It's a reasonably friendly little satellite receiver with useful PVR functionality so I can record things on TV. It has support for alternative audio, subtitles, and will happily downscale 1080i video to the analogue video output. Recordings capture the entire transport stream (so will capture subs and other audio tracks) and can be watched using VLC, MXPlayer, etc.

So why the problem? It's a pretty critical one. I used to watch a fair amount of satellite TV (so it would be used a lot), these days I've watched next to nothing. I plugged it in last week for Doctor Who. Before that, possibly last winter (His Dark Materials).
In both cases, the box didn't make it beyond two years without failing. Failing by simply ceasing to work. Plug it in, no red LED. Nothing. The internal fuse is okay, so it's some other fault.

I bought my first box in May 2017, and it lasted until I got a replacement in May 2019. And now, in November 2021, that box has given up the ghost.
There's a fuse inside. It hasn't blown. I don't plan on doing a deep dive to try to work out what component failed. I just feel that something that runs off the mains that can't handle being plugged in and will, thus, drop dead within two years (of light or normal use) isn't entirely fit for purpose.

I'm using one (same model) that I got cheaply from Amazon when the first one failed, but of course there's all the setting up to do. I couldn't be bothered putting the stations in order (1 = BBC One, 2 = BBC Two, etc) so I've just sorted them alphabetically.

At any rate, with a track record of failing-to-power-up like that, I can only ascertain that there is some sort of underlying fauly in this product, so I must warn you that - as nice as it may appear - it probably won't have a long service life.

Metronic Touchbox HD3 and its box
Metronic Touchbox HD3 and its box.

I've just ordered an inexpensive Echosat 20500 to have as a backup for when this box fails.
My requirements are simple and specific: FTA channels, HD support, can function as a PVR, has composite output (my monitor uses a composite to VGA adaptor). I do use HDMI too, but that's a 7" screen!
The Echosat appears to offer the expected HDMI output, old-style video using phono sockets rather than SCART (that's fine), two USB ports, PVR functions, and I note there's an RS-232 port on the back too.


Some things shouldn't be remade

As I write this, Gothique13 is playing "Zombie" by Absynth Aura. As with the movie To Kill A Mockingbird, the original version of this song by The Cranberries was entirely correct and perfect.
A remake of To Kill A Mockingbird would be an unforgivable heresy. I'm afraid I think much the same about this version of Zombie. There's an "epic guitar solo" at the end that is suitably pleasing, but the ghost of Dolores O'Riordan is just laughing at this one. It's trying hard to be metal, to be angry, to be powerful, and yet the original just completely owns.

Perhaps, just maybe, because Absynth Aura is Italian, while The Cranberries were, you know, it was personal.

Here's a quick test for anybody thinking of remaking something. Ask yourself - does this have any particular meaning (asides from being a cool rock song, potent movie, etc etc). If the answer is Yes, or even just a Maybe, then don't remake it; because unless it has a lot of personal resonance with you, you will not be able to do it justice.
Dolores grew up amidst The Troubles. The song, written by Dolores, was basically writing about events that were happening around her. It's a lot more than just a powerful song. It's a statement. So much so that both sides of the Atlantic censored it during the Iraq conflict.


Celebrations Advent Calendars - victim of Brexit?

The Mirror, the red top rag that used to rage about Christmas being "ruined" because there was a Bounty in the calendar, is now lamenting its passing, while also dropping a mention of the Bounty.

The pitiful excuse for journalism says The much-loved Celebrations advent calendar won't be hitting supermarket shelves this festive season.

The other red top rag, The Sun, has said much the same thing.

Here are my two advent calendars.

Give us this day our daily choccie
Give us this day our daily choccie.

Yup, a Celebrations. As usual. The date is fresh, too, expiring in July 2022 (I think?). This is about right for Christmas chocolates.

The thing is, some of the chocolates are made in Holland. Others are made in Germany. I think the calendars themselves may be produced in Germany. So it's possible that with the UK out of the EU and the ongoing transporation problems, they might have simply decided that it's just not economically viable?

The company themselves have not given any official explanation. Perhaps they're smart enough to understand that any mention of Brexit is a red flag. One could reasonably expect the right wing press, to scream and shout and clamour for a boycott of anything Mars, from the chocolate bar to the planet. After all, it would be a convenient distraction from trying to think up excuses for why the Owen Paterson thing isn't a big deal and how it absolutely isn't yet another piece of sleaze or clear signs that Johnson considers the rules to be for other people.

Update: I've found something interesting on the Playmobil site. It isn't available at Amazon, for some reason. So I decided (giving it'll require going to an access point) to check my bank balance to see how much I was paid. Well, I guess those three Saturdays in a row have come through for me. ☺ So I've ordered it.



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Zerosquare, 8th November 2021, 21:36
I resurrected one of those boxes (not that model, but I think it was made by Metronic as well) that had similar symptoms by replacing the electrolytic capacitors of the power supply part. Those things tend to run hot, and they probably used the cheapest capacitor brand they could find...
Robin, 27th November 2021, 10:22
Would not mind a deeper look at the failure point of those boxes...

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