Google Chromecast update fail and other issues

Fix – Update stuck or hanging? Can’t connect? Read this troubleshooting guide.

We have used Chromecasts since the first ‘model’ came out, and generally they have run without an issue.  Our first Chromecast appeared to have died, it would no longer connect,  so we bought a new Chromecast 2 and spent an evening trying to set it up.  Everything appeared to be working OK until it tried to fetch an update, at which point it just stayed at 0% (zero percent).  Here’s what we tried and how we eventually fixed it:

  • First we tried switching it off and waiting 30 seconds or so before switching back on.  This has worked for some but not for us, it just went straight to the update screen and stayed at 0%.
  • Next we tried resetting it to factory settings, another online suggestion, by holding the reset button for 25 seconds or so until it rebooted.  We went through the setup procedure again, it tried to fetch an update annnnnnnd stuck once more at 0%.
  • We recently upgraded our broadband and BT had kindly sent us a new Home Hub.  Now I don’t know if other routers have this functionality but when you log on for the first time with a new device you are redirected to a set up page where you can set parental controls etc.  Possibly the Chromecast was being treated as a new device when it tried to get an update, being redirected to this page would certainly confuse it.  To switch off this feature do the following:
    • In your browser go to http://bthomehub.home/
    • Select ‘Advanced Settings’
    • On the next screen enter your username and password and on the following screen select ‘continue to advanced settings’.
    • Select ‘Home Network’ and then ‘Smart Setup’
    • Change ‘Enable Smart Setup’ to ‘No’ and click the apply button.
    • Reset the Chromecast to factory settings once more and try again!
  • Now this didn’t work for us initially but we did discover that our old Chromecast 1 was now able to connect and function correctly once more and I think this was part of the solution to getting the Chromecast 2 up and running also.
  • The final key to the puzzle for us was to ……..

    Change to another HDMI port, I don’t know why that worked but suddenly the update was fetched and we’ve been streaming without an issue ever since.

Toshiba 22BV500B Review

A 22 inch LCD wide screen TV with freeview and HD ready

I am writing about this TV for two reasons. First, we have just bought one and second, it is on offer at Argos and I thought a number of people may be considering buying it, especially with Christmas approaching, and may find an unbiased review useful.

Toshiba 22BV500B

We bought this television for our kitchen to replace an old CRT TV which sat on top of the fridge.  For this reason we decided to wall mount it as the fridge door is occasionally wrenched open by the kids and we were worried about it falling off. The first thing to mention here is that the size of bracket specified on the Argos site is incorrect it is not 200 x 100 but 100 x 100 (VESA compliant).  We bought the bracket on the same day and ended up buying a more expensive one because of this (one with 200 & 100 holes).  Having said that fixing it to the wall was a very good idea as the base is only slim and in fact the Toshiba manual suggests using a fixing strap. Not that I have ever seen that done with any telly. You should be OK if you have it on a solid, steady surface but if you are thinking about having it on a cabinet in a kids bedroom you may want to consider the strap or wall mount options.

The 22BV500B comes with basic standard conectivity:

  • 1 HDMI socket.
  • 1 SCART socket.
  • PC input socket.
  • Component video socket.
  • Composite.
  • Headphone socket.
  • AV socket (side and rear).
  • 1 USB port.

The on screen menus, functions, picture options are what you would expect from most modern freeview televisions, albeit basic.  Swapping between channels isn’t immediate and when first switched on it takes a good few seconds (sorry I haven’t timed it) for the picture and sound to come on.  The first time I switched it on I switched it off again thinking that I hadn’t switched it on properly. The sound is OK but not brilliant and when listening to radio stations comes across a little tiny reminding me of an old transistor radio and it’s a shame that there is no way of switching of the screen, thus saving a little energy.

Finally, the picture quality, probably the most important consideration. The picture is clear and bright with a reasonable viewing angle.  However there is a slight bleed from the back lighting around the edges which is noticeable when the edge of the picture is dark.  This would irritate me if this was our main TV but doesn’t really bother me in the kitchen.

So to conclude, a good kitchen telly or possibly for the bedroom and adequate for a games station.  You get what you pay for and I haven’t been able to find anything better for the price.  If you do have an extra £40 though you may want to consider one of the higher quality manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony or Panasonic.

I hope you have found this useful, you can download the full manual here.  If you have any questions leave a comment and I will endeavour to answer them.

Fix Humax PVR-9200T Freezing / Locking

How to fix the Humax PVR-9200T if you are getting problems with it freezing / locking / crashing.

(Also my experience with the –:– clock problem in standby and the 9200T’s failure to record in this mode.)

I have owned the Humax PVR-9200T for a good few years now and it has changed the way we watch TV as a family.  Bought when the kids were younger because inevitably there was something we wanted to watch at their bedtime. This generally entailed one of us watching the beginning of the program and then filling the other in once the kids were settled.  The ability to pause TV was, and is, just brilliant, when the phone rings or unexpected guests arrive etc.  but recently the player started to freeze/lock or the remote control would have no effect and although the program could still be viewed the only way to regain control of the unit was to switch it on and off at the mains.

I was convinced the only way to solve the problem was to reformat the hard drive but luckily I took my partners advice and called the excellent Humax support – 0844 669 8800 (UK Customer Helpline). Within minutes they had emailed me the fix, and here, to save you the bother of picking up the phone is the solution they sent:

Please follow the steps below to perform a Default reset;

  1. Power OFF the receiver
  2. Disconnect the Aerial cable
  3. Power On the receiver
  4. Press MENU
  5. Select Installation
  6. Enter your password (default = 0000)
  7. Select Default Setting
  8. Select YES
  9. Enter your password (Default = 0000)
  10. When the receiver restarts, power off
  11. Connect the Aerial Cable
  12. Power ON – the receiver will then search for the channels.

I hope it works for you too. Enjoy.

UPDATE 02/08/2011: I am now experiencing the dreaded –:– clock problem and have found this thread. This is when the clock displays –:– in standby and won’t record from this mode. I haven’t tried the posted solution yet but by the comments it seems to work. I will post my findings when I get around to it.

UPDATE 03/08/2011: I have just contacted Humax and a new clock board can be purchased for a little over £30.00. However the support engineer suggested that I tried cleaning it as described in the above thread. So I think I will give that a go first.

UPDATE 06/08/2011: So today I removed the clock board following the guidelines here and cleaned it as listed above. It took me about 45 minutes in all to dismantle, clean and reassemble. I used surgical spirit from a local pharmacy and about 5 cotton buds. It worked! and it is quite simple to do, just take your time and hey presto 🙂 Besides, even if it doesn’t it’s certainly worth a try before shelling out £30 for a new board.

If you have a question on any of the above then please post a comment for the benefit of all

HTC Magic – Review

The Android Smart Phone with Google

HTC MagicI became the owner of a HTC Magic at the beginning of the summer.  Although an ‘I.T. Professional’ I have never owned a smart phone before. Bearing this in mind I can’t make any comparisons with other smart phones. However this device has become one of my favorite pieces of techno-kit, surpassing my beloved Zen Xtra, which has served me well for many years and equaling my Squeezebox Boom, which I may write about some other time.

The HTC Magic appealed to me for a couple of reasons.  It wasn’t an iGadget which tied me into irritating iSoftware and I was already a user of GMail, associated calendar and other apps.  I should say at this point that this is the ‘with google’ version of the phone I am using.

The HTC Magic comes with the obligatory charger and mediocre in-ear phones, plus an uninspiring white pouch to keep it safe from scratches.  I bought InvisibleSHIELD to further protect the finish although I would not recommend it as it is in 9 extremely fiddly to fit pieces and could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be called invisible.  In retrospect I would go for a good quality screen protector instead.

Switching on the HTC Magic for the first time you are asked for your Google account credentials and within minutes, Internet connection permitting, your mail, calendar and contacts are all synchronised with your on-line account. I also installed Google Calendar Sync at work which means that my Outlook calendar syncs with my on-line Google calendar and thus with my phone, perfect :).

The touchscreen is clear and responsive, even with a protector glued to it, and I have never felt the need for a stylus as the keyboard can be used precisely even with your thumbs.

The HTC Magic interface is clean looking and easy to use.  It has three ‘desktops’ which can be accessed by swiping the screen left or right.  Shortcuts and widgets can be placed here, wallpaper and themes changed etc. and by turning the phone you can either work in portrait or landscape.  An application tab resides at the bottom of the screen and opening this reveals all your installed software.  One criticism here is that although you can have folders containing icons on your desktop there is no way to further organise your apps within this tab.

Making a call is easy and the dial pad is always within reach should you be put through to an automated system. Another easily accessible tab allows you to hold, switch from or to a bluetooth device or turn on the speaker phone.  Sending texts and emails  is also a doddle with suggested words appearing at the bottom of the input screen for you to select should you wish.  The keyboard is qwerty, simple to use and quick to access numbers and special characters.

All in all I think this is a great phone, it comes with a number of good quality applications and by using Google’s Market Place you can search for, by name or via category, for thousands more.  Most of the applications are free but even those are not are of minimal cost  and if you uninstall within 24 hours you get a complete refund. There is also an option to allow the installation of non verified software should you be happy to do so.

The device also comes equipped with a compass, GPS, WiFi and decent camera all of which are made good use of by the huge variety of available software.

Finally, should you wish, you can develop your own apps using the free SDK and Eclipse Software suite.