SA 8300HD Problems and solutions thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 1283 Old 09-28-2005, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
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MODERATOR'S NOTE: This is a thread combining several threads about SA-8300 issues. Please post setup and operational issues and fixes that do not directly relate to the recording abilities of the STB here. There's an SA 8300 Tips and Tricks thread for the DVR functions of this box going in the HDTV Recorders and Players forum that contains a lot of information. Questions about recording functions should go into that forum. -Doc

There's also an older thread on HDMI audio issues here.

Some jump points for this thread:
Problem using 8300 with CRT HDTV monitor
Aspect ratios and stretch problems
Best way to connect
PQ: HDMI vs Component
Finding software version
Thin line showing down the edge of the screen
Changing default # of days to save a recording
Getting to the end of a recording quickly
Moving through a recorded show in 15 min intervals
Changing the output format
Will the 8300 do OTA? (no)


************************************************************ **
Hopefully someone can answer this question!

I purchased a Sony 50" A10 and hooked everything up. I'm running the cable through my SA 8300HD cable box.

I went through all the cables, and I couldn't to get the video to work. It worked fine using component cables, but just not with the HDMI.

I made sure that the TV was set to input 6 for the HDMI connector. I downloaded the instruction book for the cable box, and followed those instructions. It indicated that the box should normally be set up for pass-through, but when an HDMI cable is used there would be a separate option for that. When I went into the menu, the HDMI option was not there.

I called Brighthouse, and they said that they would send a "diagnostics" through and to then try it. I got home from work, and sure enough the HDMI port was working, and the "Set Picture Format" on the settings menua of the cable box recognized the HDMI.

Then a few nights later, the picture went blank. Sure enough, the port went out again. The next morning I woke up, and it was working again.

Two days ago, the picture went out again. I waited a day to see if it would fix itself again, and it didn't. I called Brighthouse, and the tech support person said that even though they have HDMI ports, they don't support them. Huh?!

He suggested I bring the box in, and swap it out for a new one.

I did that today, and hooked up the new box, and the port is still not working.

Anyone have any idea what is going on?
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post #2 of 1283 Old 10-01-2005, 10:10 PM
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[I'm getting this really annoying intermittent humming sound from my Scientific Atlantic 8300HD box. Originally I thought this was a problem with the speakers built into my TV but I recently bought a DVD player and the audio is perfectly fine at any volume when watching DVDs.

Both the DVD player and the 8300HD are connected to my TV via RCA cables. I've tried swapping the cables but that didn't seem to have any effect on the humming.

Anyone have any idea what could be causing this?
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post #3 of 1283 Old 10-02-2005, 04:04 AM
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My 32 CRT HDTV is just dandy. And my SA Explorer 8300HD-DVR cable set top box is a versatile marvel. But it's not cooperating fully with my 32 Panasonic model CT-32HL44 HDTV monitor.

I prefer to watch most HD programming in the full, standard screen 4:3 mode, the same way that I watch non-HD shows. (I know, that crops several inches off the sides of a 16:9 format image.) I use an HDMI connector between the set and box. The Auto DVI/HDMI picture format setting is recommended by Scientific Atlanta, to obtain the most automatic set adjustments for 1080i, 480i and 480p programs.

But there's a problem. The Auto DVI/HDMI software acts like it should on a widescreen set--despite my selecting 4:3 type set on the menu.
1) It shows non-HD programs inside both letterbox bars and side bars, at about the size you would get on a 25 TV.
2) But the worst part is, it won't show HD programs in HD on the full screen (while lopping off a couple of inches on both ends, of course). When I use the Panasonic remote to remove the set's letterbox bars, and use the SA remote's Stretch feature to fill the standard screen, the set shows a 1080i program in 480i.

QUESTION: Is there a software problem? Or, has SA decided that I shouldn't watch HD in the standard format? Or is it something else? (SA won't answer consumer questions, and Cox Cable doesn't know diddly.)

I'm using a workaround, but it requires that I keep my Panasonic remote handy to add or remove the set's letterbox bars. I changed the picture format setting to Fixed (1080i). By using Fixed, I can use the Panasonic remote to toggle between full screen and letterbox bars, and use the # sign on the S.A. remote to change between Normal 1080i (for widescreen) and Stretch 1080i (for full standard screen). With this method, I can get an HD program to fill the standard format screen.

A SIDE QUESTION, about the fine vertical lines, visible on the screen when you get up close and look carefully. Do they indicate 1080i, or simply any interlaced image--either 1080i or 480i? And, how about the fine grid of both horizontal and vertical lines. Do they indicate either a 480i or a 480p image?

Jim
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post #4 of 1283 Old 10-02-2005, 04:51 AM
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I want to thank those that have responded to my posts in the past. Its helped clear up some up the frustration Im having here. I have Adelphia cable with a SA 8300HD box and a Panasonic HD tv. In the boxes set up I chose 1080i and 480p sd for my screen selections and pass through for picture size. My problem is that everything is staying at 480. Nothing ever goes to 1080, even shows that are broad cast in HD( all CSI's). I can use Adelphias remote and switch to 1081 but only zoom1 and zoom2. I have to change the pic size to fixed to get 1080 normal. Does this mean I have a bad box ?
By the way I chose 480p as it looks better to me than 480i. When I had 480i as an option everything stayed on that.
I would apprecieate any help here - the cable company is useless.
Thanks
John
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post #5 of 1283 Old 10-02-2005, 03:02 PM
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Serbonze #1

When your screen went blank, did you try jiggling the HDMI cable's connectors at the input ports? According to an article in Sept 2005 PC World, The Cable Game, ALL BRANDS of HDMI cable lack a good, solid connection. They say Monster's are most prone to work loose--a case where their cables' larger size and weight works against them.

My AR brand HDMI cable is finicky, so I route it away from touching a room wall, or a cabinet wall, which may vibrate at some time.

Jim
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post #6 of 1283 Old 10-02-2005, 03:33 PM
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JRV331 #4

Our problems are partially similar, as you can see in my post precedning yours. In your Panasonic, do you have Mode set to Cable (not TV) in your initial general set-up? I realize this is basic, but my cable guy had it set to TV--which made problems until I changed it.

Jim
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post #7 of 1283 Old 10-02-2005, 08:53 PM
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jimhh,

I had not changed the mode to cable box. Actually Ive only had the box a few days and never even thought about it. I switched it a few hours ago and still no change, it never moves from 480. Just a question though - my cable goes into the box and I use RBG cables back to the tv. Why does it matter what the tv is set to?
Thanks John
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post #8 of 1283 Old 10-02-2005, 09:05 PM
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Serbonze #1,

I had a simular problem. Several posts talk infact its even in my tv manual) about the proper way to turn on/off the eqp. When turning on, turn the tv on first then cable box. For off its opposite. Some thing with handshaking. Once I did this no more problems. My problem was the family refused to do it and I would constantly lose settings and picture. Finalyy gave up and went to RBG cables. I dont really notice a difference.
John
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post #9 of 1283 Old 10-03-2005, 12:33 AM
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John #8 & #9

The TV setting is to use with an OTA antenna. I can imagine the wire from a roof or other antenna being connected directly to the set, and the Panasonic TV's built in tuner(s) doing the work from there.

With the Cable setting, of course, the cable is connected to the set top box, the box is connected to the TV, and the set's tuner(s) are bypassed.

If you don't mind, I'll add a twist to your post to Serbonze #1. For those who are as lazy as I am, there's a way to turn on both the box and TV with only one click. Here's how I set it up on my SA model AT8400 remote:
1) Press CBL key, then Power key, on the SA remote to turn on the box.
2) Turn on your TV with its remote or at the set.
3) Press the Power key on the SA remote. Both the box and TV will turn off.

You're all set. Now, when you hit Power, both the box and set will turn on. Hit Power again, and both will turn off.

Jim
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post #10 of 1283 Old 10-03-2005, 07:44 AM
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Jimhh,
If I have my tv on one of the auxilarly inputs(dvi-hdmi) aren't I by passing the tv's tuner any way?
I originally had my remote set up this way - the problem I had is that the the power up / down sequence turned the cable box on/off first then the tv. No matter what sequence I programed the remote to the cable box came on first. For my hdmi connection to not lose picture after a few moments my tv had to come on first.
john
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post #11 of 1283 Old 10-03-2005, 02:37 PM
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John #11

I guess you do bypass the TV tuner when you perform a general set-up for cable TV. I was just repeating what my Panasonic manual says--use Cable for the Mode setting.

BTW, my pair of Panasonic tuners did work to make a 50/50 split screen, when I used an S-Video cable between a Sony Direct TV digital receiver (non-HD) and my TV. There's a dish and OTA antenna on the roof, and they both feed down to me through the same cable. So, for split screen, I could get one channel from the dish, and another channel from the antenna. I had Mode set to TV, not Cable.

It's too bad your HDMI connection didn't cooperate better. I guess it's of no help to you, but here's what I can observe: I tap the Power key on the SA remote. The box's panel reads 1080i instantly, and I can hear a click inside the TV at the same time. The set's LED On light comes on a fraction of a second after that, there's a very short hum sound. I clocked it, and the picture comes up in 7 seconds. It seems faster, but who's counting? The picture stays on.

Strange that your set-up won't work the same way, huh? Wish I could help, but I'm just another consumer who can't get decent tech help from the cable company or Scientific Atlanta. So, like you, I'm hoping to get some solutions on the AVS Forum.

Jim
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post #12 of 1283 Old 10-04-2005, 12:30 PM
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jimhh and others ,

It wound up being my cable box. I got a new one and everything works great. jimhh one thing I forgot to mention is that I have a splitter on my line. One to the cable box and one to the tv. This way when Im recording two shows I can flip to an antenna and watch a third.
Thanks for all the help
John
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post #13 of 1283 Old 10-04-2005, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I've tried jiggling and wiggling everything.

I've also tried the proper steps in turning on and off all of the components.

I do get sound through the HDMI cable, just no video.
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post #14 of 1283 Old 10-04-2005, 08:40 PM
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John & Serbonze,

Whoopee, John! That's good news. Don't OD on all those recordings.

Serbonze, again, I'm no expert. But, going by your original post, it sounds like Brighthouse is your cable service provider. And they replaced the box, but that didn't help. You might have the HDMI connector tested locally. If it's okay, that only leaves your new TV. I would talk to the seller about having it checked, either by them or by a Sony technician. It's under warranty, right?

Jim
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post #15 of 1283 Old 10-11-2005, 09:39 AM
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Here's something that relates to 8300HD record/playback as well as non-DVR viewing. It appears that for most locations 8300HD resolution is limited to <1300 lines maximum resolvable detail. Posts from vegggas, involved with converter tech, suggests this is because the firmware for the 8300HD output chip may be generic code. Since one forum member, FredB, measured 1600 lines resolution by using a CableCard, perhaps revamped or 'tweaked' firmware for 8300HDs can deliver equivalent resolution. This assumes the hardware in the 8300HD is capable of ~1600-line outputs, which seems reasonable. Maybe someone consults with their local firmware upgrade techs and could find out if this is even feasible. -- John

Edit: This updated post indicates FredB's 1600 CableCArd measurement wouldn't have been possible with a 1366-line display panel.
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post #16 of 1283 Old 10-11-2005, 09:56 AM
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Ok, here is the deal. I have 65" Mits that supports everything except 720p. After going through the 8300 setup wizard in numerous combination, I am unable to output SD in 480p without having the 8300 stretching it!

I want it to output in 480p 4:3 so I can use the Mits's superior stretch modes!

I have tried everything including telling it I had a 4:3 TV!

I'm hooked up via Component and HDMI.

Sorry, I know this has probably been posted before but I searched and still could not seem to find the resolution (no pun intended).

Thanks,

Mike
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post #17 of 1283 Old 10-11-2005, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avmike View Post

I want it to output in 480p 4:3 so I can use the Mits's superior stretch modes!

I have tried everything including telling it I had a 4:3 TV!

Perhaps the remote is set to ZOOM or Stretch mode. With my setup, pressing # shows what mode you're in. I've set my system for 1080i out only on YPbPr, viewing SD mostly with side pillars on my 16:9 CRT RPTV, but zoom works nicely for letterboxed (and side pillar) images. Using S-video, etc. with 480i SD lets you stretch images with your set, which I sometimes use, but you have to change modes with the display. My RPTV won't accept 480i at YPbPr, and it reads like the Mits won't eiither. -- John
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post #18 of 1283 Old 10-11-2005, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avmike View Post

I want it to output in 480p 4:3 so I can use the Mits's superior stretch modes!

Superior??? What Mits do you have? I've always found their internal scalars to be awful compared with almost any external box. I do have any 8300HD and granted it is pretty pitiful as well.

rcliff
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post #19 of 1283 Old 10-12-2005, 06:43 PM
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ok guys this is my weekend....I hope!!!

I just took delivery of a 50" Panny plasma and I want to make sure I'm connecting it correctly. I have the SA-8300HD. What is the best connection from it to the TV, HDMI? Would connecting it this way affect the SD picture? Any other things I should look for or do? I'm gonna read the manual, I just want some real life recommendations.

Thanks in advance!
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post #20 of 1283 Old 10-13-2005, 04:03 AM
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jerome8283,
From my reading in the recorders forum, the difference between component and HDMI is mainly in the frustration level of dealing with the problems with the handshake for HDMI. I don't have HDMI capability myself, but very few people have claimed that the difference is worth the hassle.

TerryB
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post #21 of 1283 Old 10-13-2005, 05:43 AM
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Thanks TerryB, I'm being told this. I did buy a HDMI cable over the web anyway. It's a good thing I got good advice not to pay $100 for one.
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post #22 of 1283 Old 10-14-2005, 12:13 PM
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I became a forum member after purchasing my first HDTV this year. I'm guessing that the term handshake refers to a cable connection, with implied concerns about how good the connection is. I realize that much has already been posted on AVS about HDMI cables--their cost, and how they can be quirky to use. Nevertheless, I would like to pass on the following, which I wrote for a Morningstar.com forum. It describes PC World's and my own experiences with HDMI cables. According to the PC World article, the industry is aware of the HDMI handshake problem, and may actually try to fix it. Here goes:

Last July, a few of us teamed up against buying luxury-priced Monster brand HDMI connector cables. (See the tail end of ST #1451, "HDTV Question?".) In The Cable Game, PC World (Sept 2005) tested five brands, including Monster. It begins,

"Salespeople may tell you that exotic video cables deliver a better picture. But the results of our exclusive lab tests could save you money. ... the question is not whether a good cable is essential, but whether you need to spend a lot to get a good one.

"The HDMI cable prices ranged from $31 (CableWholesale.com) to $300 (Monster Cable). And since cable length is an important factor in testing--each additional foot has the potential to worsen the signal--we chose cables that measured about 4 meters (12 to 15 feet) each, long enough for the majority of home theater setups.

"Our conclusion: You don't need to spend a fortune on cables. The HDMI cables performed comparably in both our instrument tests and our visual tests. ... Once you get a good HDMI connection, our tests indicate, you can expect flawless performance from any 4-meter cable, regardless of price."

They noted that HDMI "digital cables are inherently more dependable than analog ones." My sole complaint is that they don't attach as solidly as many of my computer connections do. I was extra careful, so that none of the cable pressed against a room wall, or parts of the cabinet for my STB, that might vibrate over time. One little nudge can break the connection. There is a proposal to cure this by adding latches to make the connections more secure.

"One obstacle we did face involved establishing solid connections with our devices' HDMI ports. In some cases, we connected the cable but no image appeared. Sometimes wiggling the cable fixed the problem, and sometimes it didn't. But the trouble seems to stem from the standard HDMI connector design used by all cable vendors.

"If you jiggle an HDMI connector, one or two electrical lines in the connector might have intermittent connections," says Chad Nelson, an engineer with Maxim Integrated Products, which manufactures chips for digital and analog signaling.

"We don't believe that there is a fundamental problem with the design of the HDMI connector," says HDMI Licensing's Chad. However, he notes that his organization is evaluating proposals for a connector that latches in place.

"For now, the best strategy is to position the cable carefully so that it applies no stress to the connector. In our tests, we had the most trouble when trying to attach Monster's $300 M1000HDMI cable to the Epson's HDMI port. Easily the thickest, stiffest, heaviest model we reviewed, the Monster cable pulled away from the projector's HDMI port, often causing the screen to go blank."

Jim
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post #23 of 1283 Old 10-17-2005, 11:32 AM
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Hey,
I have the 8300HD TWC/Passport and it seems almost everytime I try PiP the dang thing freezes/locks up what ever and I have to either let it re-boot on it's own which can take 5-10 minutes of go pull the power cable and then wait till it finds the signal again, those blue dots which can take any where from 2-5 minutes.
The "cable guy" said when I first got the HD box and TV that the signal looked fine, "I was getting pixelation is why I called in the first place". Does anyone have an idea as to why this might happen, it's a real pain
Bad box?
Bad signal?
Bad luck?

Mark

Panasonic 42 G15
Sony STR-DE635
Panasonic DMP-BD60P-K
Aiwa Sub TS-W60
SA 8300HD/Passport
MCS Series Front
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post #24 of 1283 Old 10-18-2005, 04:20 AM
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I'm having an odd problem that just started. I was successfully using passthrough to view all of the programs for a week and then 2 days ago...I suddenly got no picture. I was messing around with the remote and noticed if I hit the zoom button the picture came up. It works in anything but "normal". I switched back to "fixed" and could see everything just fine....however, while HD programs work fine, any non HD recordings are offset on the screen. The border on the left side is now about 1/3 the size of the one on the right. The picture looks fine, just not centered. As I said until 2 weeks ago everything worked just fine. I've tried unplugging the unit to reboot it but still have the same issue.

Thanks.
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post #25 of 1283 Old 10-18-2005, 04:54 PM
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I just moved and switched to TWC. I have the SA8300 DVR and was wondering how to find out version software I have. I can't search, being all I now is dial-up and 26.4 speed.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - SUPER BOWL XLIV CHAMPIONS
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post #26 of 1283 Old 10-18-2005, 05:50 PM
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I had TW install an SA8300HD DVR last week and overall it is OK but the DVR functions can't compare to my 5-year old ReplayTV. But anyway, had to make the "sacrifice" to get HD recording capability for my new TH-42PX50U

Anyway, my question is this. Twice now, I've totally lost the DVR functions on the STB. Can't pause, rewind, fast-forward, skip back, return to live, etc - pushing those buttons does NOTHING. Everything else on the remote works.

If I change channels, or power cycle the STB, then all the DVR stuff starts working again. But both of those "fixes" kinda suck if I'm watching something delayed, cause then I lose all the buffered part I haven't seen yet.

Anyone else had this problem? Is it a known problem with the 8300 DVR? Or have I got a bad box?

Thanks for any input!
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post #27 of 1283 Old 10-19-2005, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgathright View Post

I just moved and switched to TWC. I have the SA8300 DVR and was wondering how to find out version software I have. I can't search, being all I now is dial-up and 26.4 speed.

Likely varies with the operating system (Passport, Sara), but with Passport here I press EXIT and SELECT simultaneously on the STB until 'diag' appears on the STB, release them, then press them again. This tunes channel 1999, the local diagnostic channel, and scrolling through the pages displays firmware versions and similar data. If availalble, a local forum thread might help with specifics, as would some of the FAQ-like threads about 8300HDs in the Hd recorders/players forum. -- John
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post #28 of 1283 Old 10-19-2005, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyHarry3033 View Post

Anyway, my question is this. Twice now, I've totally lost the DVR functions on the STB. Can't pause, rewind, fast-forward, skip back, return to live, etc - pushing those buttons does NOTHING. Everything else on the remote works.

If I change channels, or power cycle the STB, then all the DVR stuff starts working again. But both of those "fixes" kinda suck if I'm watching something delayed, cause then I lose all the buffered part I haven't seen yet.

Encountered that, too. Turns out I've somehow pressed another mode key atop the remote. Pressing TV (or CBL) mode restores functions. -- John
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post #29 of 1283 Old 10-19-2005, 11:32 AM
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Likely varies with the operating system (Passport, Sara), but with Passport here I press EXIT and SELECT simultaneously on the STB until 'diag' appears on the STB, release them, then press them again. This tunes channel 1999, the local diagnostic channel, and scrolling through the pages displays firmware versions and similar data. If availalble, a local forum thread might help with specifics, as would some of the FAQ-like threads about 8300HDs in the Hd recorders/players forum. -- John

And if you are on Sara, simply point the remote at the 8300 and press and hold the pause button until the message light starts blinking. Then press either the +/- keys at the top of the remote to cycle thru the diag. screens. At least thats how it works on Adelphia here in NE Ohio. PS, I once watched a tech person also press buttons on the box to get in to the diag. screens but cannot remember what he pressed.
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post #30 of 1283 Old 10-19-2005, 02:25 PM
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Encountered that, too. Turns out I've somehow pressed another mode key atop the remote. Pressing TV (or CBL) mode restores functions. -- John

Hmm, wish it was that easy, 1st thing I checked both times was to make sure the CBL mode was blinking when I pressed a DVR button, and it was.

In fact, while I was writing this I went in to check and the thing is happening AGAIN!!! No DVR functions And the CBL mode is selected. Pressing CBL again don't fix it. If I change to a different channel then DVR stuff works.

Only thought I have at this point is, I had NOT changed channels after powering on the 8300 for 1st time today when this happened. It was still on Disc HD which is where I left it last night when I turned the box off. Don't recall if that was the case the other 2 times, but maybe so. Don't see why that should matter though... I'll test it tomorrow by not changing channels before attempting a DVR function.

Thanks for the response though, John!

Lee
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