Originally posted by wsalopekI too am a long time TiVo user with a 120-gig hard drive that I upgraded a couple years ago.
I just cancelled an order with Albuquerque Comcast for the SA8000HD DVR when I could no longer stand the thought of a measly 6-15 hours of HD (everyone I asked had a different answer as to how much HD the thing can hold...and NO ONE knew the size of the hard drive).
This small hard drive along with the many bad reviews I've read about the SA software (much less user friendly than TiVo which my wife LOVES) has given me pause in making the "upgrade" to the SA8000HD.
Most if not all of those reviews I read were from several months ago...has the SA software been upgraded to where the average TiVo user will be satisfied with it?
Given that it HAS got better...
How to upgrade the hard drive in the 8000/8300.?
There are several problems:
1) It seems like Comcast issues the 8000HD in some markets and the 8300HD in others.
2) It's ONLY the 8300HD (correct?) that can accept the EX-ternal hard drive options.
3) If Albuquerque Comcast does not offer an 8300HD, and if I buy one on eBay or wherever, will it work with my local Comcast?
4) Someone has said that we users can NOT open the box on the 8000HD/8300HD and put a bigger hard drive in there? Is that right? It's just too messy in there? Of course there would also be the formatting issue to deal with.
5) Has anyone seen the Maxtor "QuickView Expander" external hard drives on the market anywhere? Or will these be available ONLY thru Comcast?
It shouldn't be this hard to upgrade that darn hard drive.
The average Tivo user will never be satisfied with the SA8000/SA8000HD. Tivo users bash the SA8000 constantly and rarely ever have anything good to say about it. They expect too much out of it and are disappointed when they see that it is indeed not as user-friendly as Tivo. I'm sure if Scientific Atlanta wanted it to be as good as Tivo they certainly could have done so, but apparently they chose their own path. The Pioneer Passport interface is better than the SARA interface, so the amount of complaints depends on the software. Also, complaints from SA8000 owners have decreased in the past year and a half as subsequent software upgrades do tend to make things better so there is hope for the future that it will be more Tivo-like. The new version of Passport now appearing has extended search funtionality so things are getting better.
Alternately, as a former longtime 3-VCR time-shifter i am completely satisfied with my SA8000 (and my SA8000HD) and it's performance. It does exactly what it was designed to do and is much much easier and quicker than using VCRs. Still not as good as Tivo but for me it doesn't need to be.
Oh, and i've gotten a little over 20 hours of HD on my SA8000HD and still had disk space to spare on it's 150.6 GB hard drive.
3) If you buy one on EBay it will not work, period. AFAIK
they're only owned and distributed by cable companies and are not available for private sale anywhere in the USA so if someone is selling one, it's stolen or abandoned and they have no right to sell it. Only a DVR supplied by your own cable company will work with your system. Mine doesn't work if i hook it up at my friend's house in the next town, and we both have the same cable company (but his home TWC office is 10 miles from mine). Many people buy one on EBay then come to AVSForum or the Explorer_8000 mailing list crying cause it won't work with their cable service. I follow this closely and so far nobody has gotten one to work yet because it's impossible. Some seek the advice of the forum or mailing list before bidding and we're able to steeer them away before they waste $100 to $500 (prices people have paid!!). Right now there are about a dozen SA DVRs on EBay, none of which will work for the eventual "winner". Pity.
4) I got a letter with my HD DVR stating that opening or tampering with the DVR is prohibited and doing so will incur a charge ($749 for HD DVR, $589 for DVR). I asked the cable guy that installed my SA8000HD about this and he said yes, if they determine that a turned-in box has been opened they will charge you, and will also make you sign an agreement and leave a large deposit before they'll rent you another cable box of any sort if you remain a customer or try to re-activate service. He seemed very knowldegeable so i have no reason to doubt him.
There are two guys on the Explorer_8000 mailing list who said they have successfully installed a larger hard drive and that it worked and they now have double the disk space, and discussed how they did it. Both units were SARA. Others have tried the same thing with their Passport DVRs but it did not work. I think one guy was in Canada where some cable affiliates let you buy the DVR from them instead of renting.
5) From what i remember reading they're supposed to be rented out by your cable company for a fee.