SA 8000 issues with Cox Cable/Fairfax VA - AVS Forum
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Old 10-02-2004, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I've had my SA 8000 for a couple of months and am not very happy with it.

1) The vaunted 50 hours of recording time is really about 25 hours.

2) The channel info is pretty lame, compared to Dish or Tivo. And the further
from today the guide is, the more likely it's out of date. There is not
information if the show is new, and what year it was originally aired.

If you schedule something a couple of weeks out, and the guide information
changes, it doesn't notify me that the information may not be valid anymore.

3) Searching for titles is only good for the day you're on, not like the entire
week or 2 weeks of guide information like Tivo does Themes would be a
nice addition too.

4) The recording selections are lame. Either record a program on 1 channel
at 1 time slot any day of the week, or a program at any time on any channel
on any day of the week. I've been recording "Rescue Me" on FX, but end up
getting the rebroadcasts. And I can't delete a recording in the future
without deleting the entire subscription. So I have to let it record it, then go
back and delete it. I'd like to be able to record a show at a specific time,
channel and day of week. If I want to delete a show in the future, I should
have the ability to delete just that show and not the subscription.

And recording a show on any channel at any time on any date is only good
for the point in time you make the subscription. It doesn't continuously check
the guide information for changes in programming. I found this out at the
end of June when SciFi stopped running X-Files and TBS started. The DVR
did not pick up the programming change.

5) No 30 second fast forward

6) Fast forwarding/fast reversing has a tendency to get the audio and video
signals out of sync. Have to fool around with the fast forward or reverse to
get it back in sync.

7) Recorded shows can't display the show info, unless you're in the
recorded show list menu.

8) The response time of the system is much slower than a Tivo.

9) No user profiles. I have things I don't ever want to see in the channel
guides.

Other than the fact that it integrates Cable and PVR and can record two
channels simultaneously, I'm seriously thinking about getting a series 2
Tivo.

Has anyone talked to cox's DVR tech support? The last time I talked to
someone, it was clear they were a few cans short of a six pack. Trying to
get them to understand the problems was beyond their capability.
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Old 10-04-2004, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by H1ghlander
1) The vaunted 50 hours of recording time is really about 25 hours.
It records about 50 hours from SD digital channels. Analog SD channels take up more space so recording time is less.
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Old 10-05-2004, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dt_dc
It records about 50 hours from SD digital channels. Analog SD channels take up more space so recording time is less.
Are you sure about this? I get faster FF and REW on recorded analog channels then digitial channels. Wouldn't this indicate that the digital channels contain more data than the analog channels? From my own experience, I don't run into recording space problems unless I record some digital channels.
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Old 10-05-2004, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by scalag
Are you sure about this?
The times I quoted are typical for what most people have reported ... and what I've experienced on Cox Fairfax (SARA 1.83.4.a8).

As always ... different cable plants ... different software ... lots of places for differences ... so ... YMMV.

I will say ... FF and RW SPEEDS on my boxes (I'm using both an 8000 and an 8000HD) seem about the same for all content (including HD). However, there is a big difference in responsiveness. Longer response time while watching HD ... much shorter response time while watching digital SD ... and analog somewhere in between.

Space usage for analog content should be pretty fixed ... governed by the on-board MPEG encoders. There's a page in the diagnostics screens that shows how they are set up ...

Digital content would tend to vary more. The 8000 is just dumping what it gets to disk. Certain channels (overly compressed, less popular channels) would probably take up less than others (premium channels like HBO that always seem to have better PQ). But ... on my box anyway ... digital channels seem to always take up less space than analog.

If you're getting different results ...
- perhaps the local cable operator can change MPEG encoder parameters (no clue?)
- perhaps there's some errors / garbage / noise / who knows what in some of the digital channels causing problems (that would be my guess)
- perhaps some of the digital channels are barely-compressed very high bandwidth ...
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Old 10-09-2004, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by H1ghlander
I've had my SA 8000 for a couple of months and am not very happy with it.
The SA8000 is not designed or intended to be as good as or better than Tivo or Replay. It's just a simple device to allow cable users to record and time-shift their shows. It's TONS better than my old method of running 3 VCRs to do all my time-shifting, and for us existing cable users it's more convenient to rent and use their DVR than trying to get a Tivo or Replay to reliably record through a cable box. Plus there's the added benefit of the two tuners which is better than running two Tivos. Plenty of us (myself included) don't need the added features of Tivo or Replay and are perfectly happy with the features of our SA8000s. I seriously checked into getting Tivo last year then my cable company released the DVRs so i got one instead and it does everything it was designed to do. I know what i want to watch so i don't need the machine to seek it out for me and record it for me. Sure, the SA8000 is a downgrade from a Tivo but it still plenty good enough for what we use it for and leagues better than using a bank of VCRs.

One thing i will give you is that it appears you have the SARA software which lacks some of the extended features of boxes with Pioneer Passport software, which does give you the ability to search by Theme and customize your scheduled recordings such as Record First-Run only or record only certain time slots. I have this and it does come in handy. SARA people have been improving the software and adding features through forced downloads which address some of your complaints, but it still will never be as good as Tivo. Unfortunately since your area uses SARA you're stuck with it cause they can't switch to Passport without completely redoing everything. If you keep the DVR service, just hope for better software upgrades to come.

It's like complaining that your new Chevy Impala is not performing like your old Corvette did. It's just not supposed to and it probably never will.

Have you considered switching to DirecTV and their 2-tuner Tivo? I did, but the convenience of cable over DirecTV keeps me as a cable customer.

Randy
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Old 10-09-2004, 06:31 PM
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I seriously checked into getting Tivo last year then my cable company released the DVRs so i got one instead and it does everything it was designed to do.
This is a matter of opinion. Many on this forum do not believe the SA8000HD w/ SARA "does everything it was designed to do." I do not believe that the SA8000HD w/ SARA meets acceptable standards for DVR usability and functionality. For example, it doesn't allow you to watch many recordings from the start until the entire recording is complete.

Comcast does not believe the software does everything it needs to do. That's part of the reason why they've invested millions in their iGuide initiative. They've delayed the dual-tuner iGuide software to incorporate more "advanced features" like title search. Comcast has said publicly that it wants its DVRs to be as good or better than offerings from satellite. Obviously, that's not something that can happen overnight (or even in a year, maybe not in two), but time will tell.
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