Monday, April 30, 2001

Discussion Capability Added

Really rudimentary Discussion Capability has been added compliments of Blog Voices. To Comment on a posting, just click on the Comment link you see below. Let me know how this works out. It isn't really sophisticated, no message counts or flags showing the presence of new comments. Trying to make this more interactive you know...

Dave
IR Remote Control Codes

Thanks to Michael Winestock for the remote control codes for the Pronto or other such capable learning remotes.
Here is a list of all the discrete codes for the US Aconda TVs:

TV Loewe, RC-5, System 0

12 Power On/Off Toggle
34 Power Off
0 digit 0
1 digit 1
2 digit 2
3 digit 3
4 digit 4
5 digit 5
6 digit 6
7 digit 7
8 digit 8
9 digit 9
10 Input Select (Cycles Sequentially through available Inputs)
11 Menu
17 < (Left Arrow/Volume Down)
16 > (Right Arrow/Volume Up)
32 ^ (Up Arrow/Channel Up)
33 v (Down Arrow/Channel Down)
38 OK/Channel Select
63 Exit current Menu Selection
26 Window Select (for PIP Control)
40 Swap PIP windows
43 Picture In Picture toggle

13 Mute
53 Audio Settings
35 Video Settings
39 Info/Onscreen Help
49 Channel Label Edit
27 Picture Format (Cycles through 4:3, Panorama, Cinematic, Zoom, 16:9)
15 Favorite (Cycles through Favourite Stations)
60 Freeze (Captures a single frame of video)

The following selects the Video Inputs Directly:

37 Ant A
36 Ant B
31 Front inputs (under access panel, Camcorder)
20 VGA/RGB for 480p/1080i
52 Video 1s (S-video/Composite)
19 Video 1c (component)
51 Video 2
57 Video 3

Note: Video 3 direct access code recognized only if your Aconda's ROM Version is later than v1.2. Most Acondas sold initially had ROM v1.2 (like mine). A v2.0 ROM is avaiable. I'll get you information about this ASAP.

Dave
More Info about the 38" Aconda

Thanks to Eujin Hong wrote in with the following information:
I got an update from my local Loewe dealer on Saturday (4/28) who told me that this set will be delayed till the Fall. The other important bit is that the new Aconda will DEFINITELY NOT BE FLATSCREEN. This info came directly from Sensory Science and my dealer passed it on to me -- he's also waiting to purchase the set for himself. I guess the production problems that have caused the delay stemmed from the size of the tube itself. As such, I think the tube that will go into the set is probably going to be the Thompson 38" curve[d] screen. But this is just speculation on my part - anyone else know of a 38" tube out there that does a good job?

Anyway, it's still going to MSRP at around $5000. Personally, I'm not too bothered about the delay -- more time to fatten that piggy bank before breaking it!

[The use of the Curved RCA/Thompson 38" 16:9 Tube has pretty much be confirmed by several sources at this point. I am told by Sensory Science that all of the Electronics/Comb Filter/Shadow Mask Components are all Loewe's custom stuff. - Dave]

Sunday, April 29, 2001

Loewe HDT-100 ATSC Tuner

I have seen and played with this unit at my local Good Guys Store. According to the Sensory Science Guys, this ATSC Tuner was pretty much a "One Off" small production run as many of the Loewe Dealers were asking for ATSC tuners to show off the Aconda in its full HDTV glory.

More info on the HDT-100 can be obtained in a .pdf (aquired from their German Web Site) click here.

This "One Off" status may account for why this thing is so dammed expensive. The Sensory Science rep seems to think that this is a pretty dammed good ATSC tuner because no costs were spared in making it.

In corresponding with a couple of guys who've spent some time with the HDT-100, they didn't seem too enthused about it (See this thread on AVS Forum). For one thing, it wasn't all that ergonomic in it's user interface and changing display modes (480i/480p/720p/1080i) required that you manually flip a mechanical switch in the back. Also, it's performance wasn't necessarily that much better than existing ATSC tuners. It also does not include a Direct TV Tuner capabilities.

Too Bad. If anyone has anymore information about the HDT-100 or any experience with it please let me know.

Dave
Hello Folks,

Back from my Snowboarding Trip. Had a great time, but it is good to be back. Got some minor updates:

1) The Home Theater Spot Aconda Forum has changed it's URL. The new URL is updated in the Links section in the left column. If you've bookmarked this Forum, you may want to click on the link to the left and update your bookmarks. The old URL will still take you there, but in a more roundabout way.

2) Dorian was kind enough to point out the presence of 2 additional articles about the upcoming 38" Aconda on IGN.com who did a brief writeup on it at CES 2001 and seems to confirm the rumors that it will support 720p. Another short article on TWICE.com who saw it at CEDIA 2000 mentions the 38" Aconda briefly and also makes mention of some other Loewe products.

Dave

Thursday, April 19, 2001

Taking a vacation. I'll be off Heli-Snowboarding for 7 days in Canada, so the site will not be updated for the next 9 days or so. Sorry folks, gotta make some turns. See you all when I get back.

To think, I'd rather be in Powder instead in front of a Monitor/HDTV... : )

Dave
Information about the 38" Aconda

Many have written in asking for any information about the soon to be released 38" Loewe Aconda.

According to the Aconda Owner's Manual:
Screen Size: 38"
Dimensions: 41" x 29 7/8" x 24 3/8 "
Weight: 220 lbs.
Colors: Piano Black, Stratos Metallic
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Speakers: 4
Power Consumption: 185 watts

I have a little information beyond the specs listed in the Aconda Manual that came with the 30" Aconda. According to a Sensory Science Rep. MSRP around $5400.00, this figure also showed up in the Good Guy's Inventory System.

Additional information can be found at: TWICE - HDTV Monitors

The Rep also mentioned that this monitor would support a 720p signal (not sure if it is converted to 1080i or natively displayed at 720p. Also, the one (yes alas, still only one) set of Component Video Inputs (Y/Pr/Pb) would support a Progressive Scan Signal. The Picture Tube is reputedly a RCA/Thompson 38" 16:9 tube that isn't completely flat.

If anyone has additional information or specifications, please share. I think we are all eagerly awaiting the release of this model. Anyone want to buy my 30" Aconda so I can upgrade w/o selling my car off?

Dave
Serial Port on the Aconda

Did you know your Aconda had a Serial Port that allows for integrated control with your other stereo components (that is assuming that your other components also support Serial Control). The socket mysteriously marked "Service Port" on the back of the Aconda is the serial port. It requires an adapter interface which is called the Kabelmax RS-232 Converter, part #L87933050 which converts RS-232 to I2C (a high speed, 2 wire serial protocol). The Kablemax lists for $160.00.

Panja is working up the Aconda's protocol the protocol to use in their Home Entertainment/Electronics Integration system. Check out their Web Site and contact them for details. No word yet on when their control module or Aconda Support will be available.


If anyone knows the specs for the Pin Outs on this Service Port, perhaps you don't need the I2C converter box and you could have the Aconda hooked up directly to your Home Theater PC's Serial Port and controlled by the PC. Now we just gotta work out the communications protocol...


Both the Kablemax and the DVT-100 (see post below) are in stock and can be ordered through a Loewe dealer.

Dave
A Second Set of Component Inputs for your Aconda

Need a second set of Component Inputs? Loewe makes a Transcoder which converts a component signal to VGA caled the DVT-100 which would allow you to run an additional component input into the VGA connector. The DVT-100 lists for $150.00 and is available through your Loewe/Sensory Science Dealers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Yet Another Service Menu Tweak:

Turn Off Scan Velocity Modulation


Be aware, that screwing around with these settings are at your own risk. The Option Bytes control the TV at a VERY low level and changing them without knowing what you're doing could really result in permanent damage and or an unviewable state that will require a service call to rectify.

USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.You have been warned...

This info is from the nice people at Sensory Science Tech support people. I have been running my Aconda with SVM off for about 1 month now and I honestly can't tell the difference. Gotta get my Avia test disk back to check it out.

1) Enter the Service Menu as described here.

2) Go to the "Option Bytes" Sub Menu.

3) Scroll down to "Option Byte 5" and select it for adjustment by hitting the Right Arrow key.

4) Bit 0 (Zero) should be set to 1 (one), this is the factory default SVM on.

Not too late to go back...

5) Change it to Zero, and to set it, you have to press the "OK" button on the factory remote to set the change into the non-volatile memory that holds the Aconda's settings.

And Voila...maybe a subtle change? Let me know if you can spot the difference, I can't really say I see a difference at all.

Dave

Tuesday, April 17, 2001

More Service Menu Tweaks:

Geometry Adjustment: EW Upper and Lower

OK, have you noticed that in the Panorama and 4:3 picture modes that the bottom corners of the image bow in? I didn't notice this until about 2 months after getting my Aconda. Don't know if this was some drift that showed up after the burn-in period or what. It really bothered me when I got a ATSC tuner and a non-full screen letterbox image showed the bowing in quite prominently.

If you are noticing this, here's the fix. Remember, entering the Service Menu and changing stuff is not without it's risks. Read the disclaimer in the Service Menu section of this site before proceeding, you do so at your own risk.

1) First, enter the Service Menu as described in Entering the Service Menu or in the Service Menu tweaking sub page.

2) Select the "Geometry" sub menu.

3) Now is a really good time to scroll down and write down all the factory settings for each parameter.

4) Put on a light colored signal or better yet, an Avia Test DVD Test Screen and set the TV to Panorama mode.

5) Go down to the setting labeled "EW Lower". Adjust this setting to a lower value (you may have to go into negative numbers) to get the Lower Corners of the display to widen out and to straighten out. Changes to "EW" Upper will also change the width of the upper corners of the screen in a similar manner.

6) Did you write down the original setting? If not, don't worry, you can just hit the "E" button on the remote to leave without changing anything.

7) Once you have a setting you like, hit the "OK" key on the remote to write this new setting into the non volatile memory and you are good to go.

Not so bad eh? I noticed that as I adjusted this, I also had to play with the "EW Upper" setting a little bit too. I probably should have used the Trapezoid setting too, but to tell you the truth, I'm probably getting in over my head with that one. If anyone has insight into the finer points of the interactions between the "EW Upper", "EW Lower", "EW Amplitude" and "Trapezoid" settings, please let me know and I'll put it up on the site.

Hope this helps,

Dave
How does this look?

I have been tinkering around with the HTML template for this page on and off all day. I think I finally have a version that looks acceptable in both Netscape and Explorer. I think this is pretty much the final format, nice and clean and simple.

I gotta admit, this Blogger thing is pretty darned cool and fun to use. Even set up linked Service Menu Reference and a FAQ sub-pages pretty easily.

If anyone has any input as to what should be addressed in the FAQ please send me e-mail (especially if you have the answers too!). Also, I know of only a few Service Menu adjustments. If there are any experts out there (ISF types, you know who you are) who can lend some insight into the various parameters we see in the Service Menu, please drop me a line.

What do you guys think? Any suggestions? Once again, if you'd like to collaborate on this Site with me, PLEASE let me know. Left to my own devices, I'll probably run out of good fresh information real soon.

Dave

Monday, April 16, 2001

Service Menu?


Some of you hav probably noticed that if you push the Menu button under the front access panel (you know, the one that looks like an arrow circling back on itself, go ahead, push it...) you see an option labeled "Service Menu" at the bottom. When you highlight this option, you get a very ominous "For Dealer Use Only" message.

Here is how you ENTER the "Service Menu" for those who can't resist tinkering.

WARNING!!! You CAN mess up your Aconda SERIOUSLY to the point that the picture is NOT VIEWABLE and to the point that a SERVICE CALL is required to repair the damage!!! DO NOT change the factory settings randomly or unless you know what you are doing!!! I RECCOMEND that you RECORD all the factory default settings for your Aconda BEFORE you change ANYTHING!!!

Sorry for all the yelling, I just thought it would be prudent to say that before you turned your $4000 TV into a very big and expensive paperweight. You have been warned : ) So Here we go:

1) Hit the Menu Button behind the access door on the front of the Aconda.
2) Hit the "M" button on the factory remote.

Volila you're in...

3) Go into "System data" by highlighting it and hitting the Right Arrow on the cursor cluster.

You should now be able to see the following (this is what it says on my unit):
Chassis A24
Software Version V1.2
EPROM code 27344 442
EAROM code @00900 (Eraseable ROM checksum?)
Operating time 734h (I've had mine since Dec 2000)

OK, that's all for now. You can explore the other Menus but write down all the factory settings before doing anything else!!! I'll talk about some basic changes later on.

Dave

4/16/2001 6:30am PST - First Post!!!



Welcome to the Loewe Aconda Fan site/blog. Tax Day 2001 here in the U.S. For what I'm about to send out in Taxes, I could have purchased a REALLY nice HDTV/HT setup...Oh well.

Welcome to my humble attempts to host a Loewe Aconda News, Info, Gossip, Gear, Tech-Tips and Comment site. Dunno if you are going to be able to find this blog very easily amongst the general sea of infoglut out there, but I'll try to provide some usefull information and Links. Blame it on Tax Day induced Insommnia and Anxiety, at least the TV Picture still looks good : )

Send your News, Raves, Rants, Tips and whatnot to me via the Contribute link at the left column and I'll post it ASAP.


Enjoy your Loewe augmented view on the world on this somewhat dreary Tax day,

Dave