SA8000 dolby dropouts - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-27-2003, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone else noticed audio dropouts when playing back dolby digital
on the SA8000 ?? Also FF and reverse lock up ?:confused: :confused:

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post #2 of 7 Old 07-29-2003, 02:18 PM
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The SA80000 DVR has developed a reputation as a useful but somewhat finicky machine. Problems frequently reported include audio dropouts, video stuttering, failure to record scheduled programs, unexplained reboots, total loss of recordings, FF/rewind problems, menu freezes/lockups (especially within the 2min window of a program starting to record or as a result of trying to press buttons too fast), loss of the first minute or so of a recording, and trying to pause programs while recording live and ending up with problems. Sometimes it just acts weird.

Many find it totally unacceptable while others find their machines exhibit few of the major errors. In other words, given its typical rental cost, its benefit often overides its tendency to burp or have a catastropihic problem. Swapping out boxes sometimes helps. Our personal experience is that if one sticks to the basics (function-wise) it works pretty well; my wife loves it (usually). While the box has a limit of about 30 hours for pure analog-tier recordings, we try to keep it below 20. Our most annoying error is periodic video stuttering (and that happens only rarely (maybe 1-2 times/week) while the most common is probably the loss of about a minute or so at the beginning of many recordings.

As I understand it, while there is but one DVR SA box there are at least two brands of box application software (firmware) that run on it: one made by Scientific Atlanta (called SARA) and runs on head-end servers that have SA software. The other is Pioneer (called Passport) and runs on Pioneer head-end based servers. Cable units that have Pioneer based head-ends apparently can use both SA and Pioneer cable boxes while SA based head-ends apparently cannot use Pioneer boxes. Note these names are only visible if you peek into the box's internal diagnostic menu.

Which type of software you have is based on your particular cable company/division and interestingly there are slight slight differences in functionality. However both have been deemed problematic. The firmware comes pre-loaded in the box and is periodically updated by the cable company usually during the night (no user intevention required). Each cable company/division implements updates to the internal OS modules on their schedule. The latest I believe are dated 9 July. Keep in mind that that some/many cable companies do run older versions.

Having said that, whether your audio problem lies in the box and its problems or elsewhere within your cable company I cannot say. Best recommendation I can make is to hang in there and let your cable company know you are having problems. The updates do seem to be killing bugs!


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post #3 of 7 Old 08-01-2003, 10:09 AM
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My experience matches yours exactly with the SA8000 I received on Tuesday from TWC in NYC. However, for me this being a new technology, and being in the computer software development business for over 10 years, I tend to give them a bit of leeway, and as long as it gives me a reasonably satisfactory experience, I am willing to ride out the bugs until, hopefully soon, the major issues get addressed.
Hover, my patience is not infinite!!
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post #4 of 7 Old 08-05-2003, 07:57 AM
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Bdenmen is right on on his response. The software is still buggy and various upgrades will occur as they are uncovered. Keep posting issues you are seeing here. I know that SA peple look at these posts.
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-05-2003, 09:02 AM
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I received my SA8000 on Saturday from TWC in NYC as well, for use in my bedroom. It has been quite buggy and finicky so far, but the convenience is too much to pass off too quickly. My recordings have gone fine so far, none missed and no partial recordings. But, very frequently, when I go to play my recording, the 8000 crashes and either reboots automatically, or requires a re-boot. This has happened almost every time I have gone to play back a recording. Once it re-boots, though, the recording plays back fine, and the pause, fast forward, etc., work fine.

All in all, I am pleased with the unit as long as the bugs get worked out, but as bigd86 stated, my patience will only go so far also. I have Tivo in my main system, and the Tivo is still at another level compared to the 8000. But, the lack of any initial cash outlay for the 8000, as well as the lower monthly cost, could make it a Tivo-killer. I am waiting for the 8000HD version for my main system, so I will stick with Tivo there for now. But, again, when it works, the 8000 is a very nice unit with lots of potential.
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-23-2003, 02:49 PM
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I get dolby sound problems only on one Starz channel. So I switch my Denon to Analog and the sound is fine.
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-30-2003, 01:23 PM
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I too just received a SA8000 box from TW nyc 3 days ago.
I also have a Replay and have to admit, as much as i love my Replay, the problems i was having with just my digital cable boxes were unbearable.
I couldn't ever watch a VOD movie without dropout and freezes starting around 3/4 the way through. And even watching regular digital channels like CNBC had a glitch, a drop out and audio drop out every 5-10 seconds.
I had them come over, they replaced my boxes with newer ones, it worked better for a few days and then the same old problems returned.
Even though my Replay's work great, using them with digital cable made it very unpleasant.
That is until the SA8000! Oh my God, i have been so happy the last 3 days!
Ever since I hooked it up, I haven't seen a drop-put, a single glitch, a single audio drop out, nothing wrong!
I watched 3 VOD movies so far, and all without any problems.

So for me, this alone has made tv enjoyable again.

As far as reboots, haven't had one yet, but its only 3 days, but what's the difference the cable boxes use to do it all the time anyway.
I had built little gadgets to help with that, but won't need it now with this.
Hopefully even if it reboots, it will still remember to get schedule shows.

Also, the menu's are hidden, but you can customize all recording, any way you wish, just on tuesday, first run only, even a specific time only if you wish. You need to go into the list menu and select from there after the initial recording is set.

PS, Funny thing is, the regular digital box in the bedroom got better now also after installing the SA8000, either its a coincidence or the box i replaced with the sa8000 was bad and caused all my problems on my line.

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