SA 8300 HD with DVI & DVR - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 1154 Old 08-06-2004, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Folks:
Anyone tried one of the new SA 8300s with HDMI and a DVR? I know that some Time Warner companies are currently testing them... Curious to see how they are working.

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post #2 of 1154 Old 08-08-2004, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Folks:
Apparently we're the first TWC area to test the new SA 8300 or else everyone else signed non-disclosure agreements and are keeping quiet.

I guess I'll just try and get one and report back...

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post #3 of 1154 Old 08-08-2004, 07:11 PM
 
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The ones here have HDMI - the DVI is history.
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post #4 of 1154 Old 08-09-2004, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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HDTVFanAtic:
I see - I was repeating info I got from my TW techie. HDMI works. How does the DVR work? How is the operating system? Any major (or minor) glitches in the implementation? Usability?
Thanks.

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post #5 of 1154 Old 08-09-2004, 02:28 PM
 
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Do they also have component video connections for HD output?
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post #6 of 1154 Old 08-31-2004, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Folks:
I got my local TWC to give me one of these to try out for a month in exchange for my comments. I will go pick it up as soon as I figure out what kind of connection cable I need (it has HDMI out and I only have DVI in) and order it from Pacific Cables. Then in short order, I will let you folks know what it can do and what its connectivity is like. I will also post pictures of the front and back sides (unless they expressly forbid it, but I would ask for permission first ).

More in a week or so...

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post #7 of 1154 Old 08-31-2004, 09:27 PM
 
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Gosh HDMI and not DVI - guess I might know what I am talking about
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post #8 of 1154 Old 09-06-2004, 05:41 PM
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I'm in Rochester and Time Warner just started general deployment of the 8300HD units last week. They have 700 people on a waiting list since mid June for these boxes. They had been stocking up on the 8300HD units waiting for a software update that just arrived last week. I understand the 8000HD units had a lot of problems. So I was able to return my 8000 non HD unit this past Friday to finally get an HD DVR. I ordered the HDMI to DVI in cable Friday for $31 from Pacific Cable and it will arrive tomorrow for me to hook up. I understand the software update TW got enabled this port.

HDMI to HDMI:
http://www.pacificcable.com/Picture_...ataName=HDMI-2
or
HDMI to DVI:
http://www.pacificcable.com/Picture_...Name=HDMIDVI-2

The box is very impressive so far and I'm using the Pass through mode with component currently till my HDMI cable arrives tomorrow.

The only problem I've seen to date now is that my box crashed twice. I was changing channels at a fast rate and it blew up. The second time I was watching one channel and using PIP when I was changing the channel again at a fast rate on the smaller PIP and the whole box crashed. Does anyone know of a way to report these crashes or bugs to TW? I know the system logs them within the unit as I could see the crash debug details.

I also want to find out if the SATA output is working to add another hard drive for storage. I understand SA was waiting for the SATA 2 specs to become final before enabling this port.

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/...1405051,00.asp

I just wished the interface would improve to be more like Tivo. It is so hard to find your shows to record and the guide only goes 7 days forward which can be a pain if your traveling.

Incase anyone wants the current software details of the SA-8300HD they are:
# ROM Image. . 1.85.8.5
# OS. . . . . . . . .6.8.6.5
# SARA. . . . . . .1.85.8.5
# PowerKEY LIB 3.6.1.3
# HAL2 Driver. .1.0.22.1010
# PHAL3 Driver. 3.5.9.1015

Also attached is a PDF of the 4 pages in the manual of interest to folks.

Craig

 

sa-8300hd.pdf 99.2861328125k . file
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post #9 of 1154 Old 09-06-2004, 09:33 PM
 
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Quote:


I'm using the Pass-thru mode with component currently

What is "pass-thru mode" with component video connections?

What display are you using with the DVR? If your display is CRT based(RPTV or CRT FP), you should find that the component output involves less A/D to A processes.
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post #10 of 1154 Old 09-07-2004, 12:48 AM
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I like that Serial ATA connection. I'd noticed this feature in S-A's PRs, but it looks as though they'll be qualifying a bunch of off-the-shelf drives for expansion. It'd be nice to just go to Fry's, pick up an external 320 GB SATA drive, plug it in and suddenly have another 40 hours of HD recording space.

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post #11 of 1154 Old 09-07-2004, 01:02 AM
 
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Mike,

I wonder if they can allow any connected media drives without some sort of highly restrictive CP and verifiable media playback connection? If component connections are a no-no, how can they allow HD movie jukeboxes without some serious CP involved?
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post #12 of 1154 Old 09-07-2004, 07:04 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by merc
What is "pass-thru mode" with component video connections?

What display are you using with the DVR? If your display is CRT based(RPTV or CRT FP), you should find that the component output involves less A/D to A processes.

In the settings you can change the default of Fixed to Pass Through (couldn't do this on the SA 8000HD). This mode will allow the signal to pass through the box without conversion. For example, if you are watching SD, a 480i signal coming in from the coax cable will be passed through to your output cables and to your monitor exactly as received. If you are watching a HD feed with 1080i, then it will be passed through without conversion. If you are watching, say HD ABC, the 720p signal will be passed through to your monitor without any conversion. So, there is no upconversion. This will keep 480i channels at 480i, so you can probably use your tv to zoom/set aspect from there and will likely handle the signal better than SA.

This ability is very advantageous since it can reduce the number of conversions of the signal, and hence, increase the PQ (at least in theory). Of course, it might get even better if it could be left in the digital domain which an active DVI or HDMI port supports.

I'm only currently using component because my HDMI cable didn't arrive yet. I just got the box on Friday and TW didn't supply any cables.
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post #13 of 1154 Old 09-07-2004, 07:11 AM
 
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In the settings you can change the default of Fixed to Pass Through

If I understand you correctly, pass through is an option, and you can still select 1080i output via component if you desire... right? Since my HDTV doesn't support 720p and that's what ABC uses, I can't use the pass-through setting.

I used to own a Panasonic HD STB which you could set for 1080i plus 480i/480p passthrough. All HD signals were output as 1080i but Fox 480p was passed through...
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post #14 of 1154 Old 09-07-2004, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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cdp1236 & merc:
I still haven't gotten my 8300 (TWC folks have been on vacation since last Wednesday...) so I can't confirm on my own but I am curious how the "pass through" works on HDMI/DVI. I understand how it works with a component connection but it doesn't quite work the same with my Pace 550 through DVI. On that STB, the display (in my case, a Samsung DLP) does not have the full range of aspect ratio settings when using the DVI connection. Is this because of the display or the Pace box?

I will report later when I (finally) get the 8300 and fool around with it for a while...

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post #15 of 1154 Old 09-07-2004, 08:39 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by merc
If I understand you correctly, pass through is an option, and you can still select 1080i output via component if you desire... right? Since my HDTV doesn't support 720p and that's what ABC uses, I can't use the pass-through setting.

I used to own a Panasonic HD STB which you could set for 1080i plus 480i/480p passthrough. All HD signals were output as 1080i but Fox 480p was passed through...

Yes, this is an option. You can select fixed and when you do that set fixed when your at 1080i and all output will be up converted to that signal. They also give you an option of upconvert-1 & upconvert-2 in addition to fixed/pass through within the settings menu.

However when it does the auto setup it scans all modes and tests. So if your HDTV doesn't support 720p it just wont allow that option. Then you can still use pass thru or just upconvert everything if you want. You will have to test and see which mode gives you the better PQ.
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post #16 of 1154 Old 09-07-2004, 09:24 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by cdp1276
So if your HDTV doesn't support 720p it just wont all that option. Then you can still use pass thru or just upconvert everything if you want.

Exactly ... if you enable everything BUT 720p in the 'setup wizard' ... and then use 'pass through' ... the box will automatically pass everything BUT 720p through. 720p will be converted to 1080i (by the box). This was how I had my 3250HD set up ... and I'm very much looking forward to being able to set my 8000HD up the same way.
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post #17 of 1154 Old 09-07-2004, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Folks:
I finally got my 8300 and set it up via the HDMI connection to my DLP. During setup through the digital connection, there is no option for "pass through" (which I was able to get on the Pace 550). In essence, I had to "accept" all the resolutions that I wanted for my display. I see no difference in letting the 8300 convert 1080i to 720p (my DLP's native resolution) or letting the DLP scale the picture.

NOTE: There is no firewire port on the back of the 8300. The manual shows two but the back panel is solid in the area where the firewire ports are supposed to be. Otherwise, it is as the images posted in the manual by cdp1276 above.

PQ looks as good as the Pace on SD analog, SD digital and HD. I am recording a couple of things to see how the DVR performs... More later...

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post #18 of 1154 Old 09-08-2004, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Folks:
I recorded an HD video program (Trading Places) and an HBO HD movie last night and the PVR worked great. I can't tell the difference between live and PVR.

I don't know enough about the OS since this is my first PVR, but the guide looks EXACTLY like the Time Warner program guide except you have an option to record a program in addition to tuning the channel in immediately or setting a timer. The guide only goes one week ahead. When you select record, you get a screen that allows you to fine tune the time, specify whether or not you want to record once or regularly, and how long you want to keep the recording for. When you invoke the "List" you get a list of recorded programs that you can play, rewind, block, etc. and when you play, there are three levels of fast-forward and fast-reverse.

Just a note - on live viewing, I am getting an HDCP error message (on various channels) that blanks out the picture and instructs me to hook up my display via component because my display doesn't support HDCP. This stays on for 30 seconds or so and then the picture comes back. Not sure where the problem is since my display is HDCP compliant.

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post #19 of 1154 Old 09-08-2004, 08:42 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by merc
I wonder if they can allow any connected media drives without some sort of highly restrictive CP and verifiable media playback connection? If component connections are a no-no, how can they allow HD movie jukeboxes without some serious CP involved?

I'm not entirely sure that it's a problem. If you're storing protected content, you have to store it in an approved encrypted form, whether it be stored on the drive in the DVR or one on the outside of it. Obviously, if someone wants to, they can pry the DVR's case open and scoop out the drive it comes with and try to get anything they're interested in off.

The same problem exists in storing any protected content to hard removable media, like D-VHS tape, Copy One Generation content can certainly be stored on those. Copy Never material can't be stored in any permanent file--just in the DVR's up-to-90-minute-long trick-play buffer, the end of which it has to continually erase after it fills up, and dump altogether if you change channels. That buffer would be on the internal drive.

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post #20 of 1154 Old 09-08-2004, 03:43 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by mnilan
Folks:
I finally got my 8300 and set it up via the HDMI connection to my DLP. During setup through the digital connection, there is no option for "pass through" (which I was able to get on the Pace 550).

I got my HDMI to DVI cable today and switched my connection from component to HDMI just now. The system settings automatically switched to an auto HDMI/DVI connection and now I no longer have a pass-thru mode like I did with component.

mnilan did you compare your software levels to mine? I was just curious if your box has the same revs and who did you get your HDMI to DVI cable from? I have never seen the HDCP error you have.

While watching TV tonight I now have a problem on HD channels it loses the signal almost like a flicker and goes black. I tried turning the box off and back on but no luck helping. I did go back and forth betweejn SD & HD which fixed the problem. It seems like the box processing chip using HDMI/DVI can't keep up with rendering the signal. I never had the issue with the component connections.

9/14/04 - Update I reported the black out issue on HD channels to TWC and they have it as a known issue. I hope to hear back from them soon on a fix that I hope will be software/firmware fixable.
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post #21 of 1154 Old 09-08-2004, 07:55 PM
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What's the story with the availability on these 8300's? Are they still in beta/trial, and how'd you guys go about grabbing one (I'm in NYC)?

I'm not at all impressed by the 8000HD that I got recently, having all sorts of issues with it, not to mention non-working DVI. Hoping this box is better.

Thanks!
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post #22 of 1154 Old 09-09-2004, 05:57 PM
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Are any of the 8000HD's able to use the pass through feature? I know my 8000HD doesnt have it as an option. I've heard that some of the cable companies boxes have this and some don't.

By the way, I live in the western new york area and have adelphia.
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post #23 of 1154 Old 09-09-2004, 07:28 PM
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post #24 of 1154 Old 09-10-2004, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Folks:
The user manual for the 8300 says that the pass through function is not available when the STB is connected through HDMI. Instead there is something called "Auto HDMI" but there is no explanation of what it does...

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post #25 of 1154 Old 09-10-2004, 03:38 PM
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Folks:
My 1st post to this thread.
I recently got a SA 8300HD
hooked up to my Samsung DLP hln617w.
I am with Austin TWC.
I see some motion artifacts when viewing live HD.
Whenever there is significant motion on close
ups, I see pixellation effects. I did not notice any
such effects with my previous 8000HD (that had other
problems = soft HD PQ)
Other than that, the HD PQ is as good as PACE 550 box.
Has anyone else seen similar effects on 8300HD?
Thanks
Ron

ronnie
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post #26 of 1154 Old 09-11-2004, 09:52 AM
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I am in Austin too and just picked one up. I will let you know what I see after watching some football tomorrow!
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post #27 of 1154 Old 09-12-2004, 02:30 PM
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For you guys in Austin, TX. Are you using the HDMI output? TWC in Austin is telling me that the HDMI output is not currently active on the 8300HD.
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post #28 of 1154 Old 09-13-2004, 07:51 AM
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I have not tested the HDMI becos I do not have a
HDMI-DVI adapter.
However a senior person with TWC austin has tested the HDMI
and we were told (on yahoo "cable" group) that HDMI
is not active, ETA approx. Oct 2004, same time frame as
DVI ETA on 8000HD.




Quote:
Originally posted by cinergi
For you guys in Austin, TX. Are you using the HDMI output? TWC in Austin is telling me that the HDMI output is not currently active on the 8300HD.


ronnie
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post #29 of 1154 Old 09-13-2004, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by cinergi
For you guys in Austin, TX. Are you using the HDMI output? TWC in Austin is telling me that the HDMI output is not currently active on the 8300HD.

I picked up an 8300HD last week here in Austin. I'm using a HDMI to DVI cable to connect the STB to an HDCP compliant plasma. Picture is excellent. Have not had time to calibrate or test yet.

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post #30 of 1154 Old 09-14-2004, 08:24 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by Deedle
I picked up an 8300HD last week here in Austin. I'm using a HDMI to DVI cable to connect the STB to an HDCP compliant plasma. Picture is excellent. Have not had time to calibrate or test yet.


Are you sure the HDMI output is active? The reason I ask is the yahoo cable group is saying it is not active until the new code comes out in October.
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