Although it's not terribly informative, I did locate a PDF "basic" user manual for the 8742HD
on the Cisco site.
According to the instructions at the bottom of page 5:
Set up your set-top for HDTV or SDTV by completing the following steps:
• Make sure the set-top is Off and the TV is On.
• On the front panel of the set-top, press GUIDE and INFO at the same time. This will activate the HD Setup Wizard.
• Follow the on-screen instructions to choose HD or SD mode and wide screen (16:9) or standard screen (4:3) depending upon your TV type. See page 11 for more information on the scan rate.
• At the conclusion of the on-screen instructions, press POWER on the set-top to begin watching TV.
I guess it is this "HD Setup Wizard" which is what I'm looking for, and which will presumably provide the same type of "hardware setup" options I'm accustomed to seeing on Motorola boxes.
Important Notes Regarding the HDMI Interface on the Set-Top
The HDMI interface automatically configures the audio output for a format supported by the television. Because not all TVs support the Dolby Digital input, the HDMI interface may automatically select a 2-channel stereo audio configuration instead of Dolby Digital, which it carries over to the other digital audio outputs of the set-top. This prevents your home theater system or Dolby Digital decoder from providing the full Dolby Digital surround-sound effect.
You can override this configuration by completing the following steps.
1. Press SETTINGS twice on the remote control to open the General Settings menu.
2. Press MOVE UP or MOVE DOWN to select the option Audio: Digital Out.
3. Press MOVE RIGHT to select Dolby Digital. This setting will send Dolby Digital audio to the HDMI, DIGITAL AUDIO OUT, and OPTICAL AUDIO OUT connectors on the set-top.
So I'm guessing there is this additional HDMI settings path when the DVR is in its normal powered on state. If there is this Audio options ability (by first pressing Settings twice on the remote to open the General Settings menu), I'm guessing there may also be a Video options ability presented on this General Settings menu.
I will talk my friend through both of these paths tomorrow. Could be what I've been looking for.
Too bad the "user guide" manual doesn't actually have pictures or written details about what you will see when you get into both (a) the HD Setup Wizard and (b) the General Settings menu. A picture's worth a thousand words, but in this case either one would have been very informative (and seemingly appropriate for a "user guide" manual).