8300HD and External SATA - It Works!! - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 9018 Old 03-17-2005, 08:52 AM
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Hey just wanted to say thanks for the posts! I was thrilled to hear someone gambled it and tested the connection. I will be purchasing a cable today and have the other stuff already (I tried hooking it up a couple months ago but could not find the correct cable). My hd is 250GB so I will let everyone know if it works, as soon as the cable gets here....
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post #92 of 9018 Old 03-17-2005, 09:01 AM
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LOL...I just called and ordered the cable, the person laughed and said they had 20 orders from NY/NJ in the last few days, so I enlightened her as to what was going on. So all you other folks testing this, let us know how it goes!
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post #93 of 9018 Old 03-17-2005, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Look what I've started :-)
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post #94 of 9018 Old 03-17-2005, 10:09 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by DMILANI
Look what I've started :-)

You should be asking for some kinda commission over there...
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post #95 of 9018 Old 03-17-2005, 11:48 AM
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Little pricey for a cable ~$30 with shipping but I have wanted to do this since I got the box. Thanks to the original poster for finding the cable.

I have a 8300 w/ Passport on Brighthouse Cable here in Melbourne FL. I am willing to bet this will work. I am going to use a 160 GB drive. Not sure which enclosure to use yet.

whos going to be the first to hook up a 2 TB RAID array to their box..drool:

http://www.siliconimage.com/products/product.aspx?id=49
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post #96 of 9018 Old 03-17-2005, 11:52 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by Rieper
You should be asking for some kinda commission over there...

When I ordered, I asked about the break even point to get rid of the $5 handling fee. She said it was 50 cables. I briefly entertained the thought of buying 50 cables (and external cases as well) and selling them to AVS forum members at a reduced rate (not looking for profit, jut to break even). Eventually, it seemed like too much of a hassle and I paid the extra $5.

Now that Cruz Systems / Comax knows that the cable is in demand, I wouldn't be surprised if the price goes up.
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post #97 of 9018 Old 03-17-2005, 12:07 PM
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Yeah, $7 Shipping and $5 handling on a cable DOES seem a bit excessive doesn't it?! Guess they know they've got us....
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post #98 of 9018 Old 03-17-2005, 12:36 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by GoBig
Little pricey for a cable ~$30 with shipping but I have wanted to do this since I got the box. Thanks to the original poster for finding the cable.

I have a 8300 w/ Passport on Brighthouse Cable here in Melbourne FL. I am willing to bet this will work. I am going to use a 160 GB drive. Not sure which enclosure to use yet.

whos going to be the first to hook up a 2 TB RAID array to their box..drool:

http://www.siliconimage.com/products/product.aspx?id=49

The Passport software on the 8300 for Brighthouse Cable has not yet activated the SATA port.

Is anyone using Passport software have an active SATA port?

Visit the orlandodigital.tv website
Central Florida ISF Calibration

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post #99 of 9018 Old 03-17-2005, 02:03 PM
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Barry are you sure? Guess we will find out. I needed a new HD anyway.
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post #100 of 9018 Old 03-17-2005, 04:46 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by GoBig
Barry are you sure? Guess we will find out. I needed a new HD anyway.

I am sure, but we welcome your test of the SATA port. Please join our discussion in the Orlando BHN thread.

Visit the orlandodigital.tv website
Central Florida ISF Calibration

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post #101 of 9018 Old 03-17-2005, 08:42 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by MoG
Hi,
I'm in Austin too and just got an 8300HD from TWC here. Were you abeot find out if the external SATA feature works here?
thx.

Only that it's in testing at TimeWarner and there are a couple of issues -- mostly having to do with what happens if the external drive suddenly powers down. Apparently you can lose recordings on both the external and the internal drive.

I received the cable from Cruz yesterday but wasn't able to hook it up until tonight. I unplugged the SATA drive from my PC, took it downstairs, connected it and a message box flashed on the screen -- something about the drive having an invalid format. I looked through the menus and didn't see any items about formatting it, and the drive clacked once every while so I left it alone for an hour.

After an hour, nothing changed, so I rebooted the SA8300HD with the three-finger salute (info+volup+voldown or info+channelup+channeldown -- my fingers know). When it came back up it complained about a disk with an invalid format, and again no options other than "Ok". So I left it alone for another hour (watched the DVR during this period). Finally, I rebooted it again.

This time, it took a long time to reboot (10 minutes) and I could hear the external drive seeking every few seconds. Not good, I thought. Finally, the clock came back on, I turned on the SA8300HD and lo and behold it said

"There is an external storage device attached that will work with the DVR. Warning..."

I can't remember the text of the warning, but it had something to do with losing programs if I power down the external drive or unplug it. Both the SA83000HD and DVR are on a UPS so hopefully that won' t be an issue.

So... it appears the SATA port is functional in Austin. This is SARA 1.85.19.1. My DVR was 50% full before, and now it reports being 13% full! Just in time for the March-April reruns...

BTW, both the SATA cable that came with the Apricorn case and the SATA 1.0 end of the Cruz cable lock onto the Apricorn case really tightly. If the only difference between SATA-1 and SATA-2 is the connector, then that's kind of silly.

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post #102 of 9018 Old 03-18-2005, 04:50 AM
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It's interesting that you were willing to try rebooting 3 times and let it go for over 10 minutes. Most folks would have simply thought the SATA port was inactive and given up.

Regarding the intitial problems, did you by chance take the drive off a PC running Windows XP? I think someone posted that XP does a "special" format or something and this could be part of why you had to try several times, though I'm surprised rebooting would eventually get past the problem of recognizing/formatting the drive. Very interesting.

Cheers, Dave
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post #103 of 9018 Old 03-18-2005, 05:21 AM
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i wonder if we could swap the internal HD for a bigger one? You see i am on Videotron and we can Buy the unit so maybe thats an option.
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post #104 of 9018 Old 03-18-2005, 06:57 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by sgr
i wonder if we could swap the internal HD for a bigger one? You see i am on Videotron and we can Buy the unit so maybe thats an option.

No one knows what else is on the drive. Maybe the whole DVR software is on the drive. When you swap out the hard drive, you ended up with a paper weight just like you swap out a HDD on a PC without reinstall the entire OS.
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post #105 of 9018 Old 03-18-2005, 08:20 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by DoubleDAZ
It's interesting that you were willing to try rebooting 3 times and let it go for over 10 minutes. Most folks would have simply thought the SATA port was inactive and given up.

I figured the SA83000HD had to prepare the drive -- it takes a long time to do a non-quick format of 300GB on NTFS so I was willing to give it some time -- especially since the drive was showing some intermittent activity.

Quote:


Regarding the intitial problems, did you by chance take the drive off a PC running Windows XP? I think someone posted that XP does a "special" format or something and this could be part of why you had to try several times, though I'm surprised rebooting would eventually get past the problem of recognizing/formatting the drive. Very interesting.

I did have it on XP. I posted about the problem with XP marking a drive and ruining a TIVO file system, but that shouldn't have been a problem in this case. I was just expecting a message saying "external drive detected, would you like to format". It did finally do that without asking. So I'm thinking it did detect the foreign file system but reformat until a couple of reboots. I don't know why it didn't just take over the drive immediately after the first reboot. It did flash something on the screen, but it was gone before I could read it.

My first concern was that the SA83000HD did have a built-in list of drives it could use and Maxtor is their official vendor. But unless the Seagate 300GB is in that list, it appears that it can use any SATA drive.

BTW, here's a 160GB SATA drive for $69 after rebate:

http://www.microcenter.com/single_pr...duct_id=168265

I found that on BensBargains.net.

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post #106 of 9018 Old 03-18-2005, 08:55 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by Foxbat121
No one knows what else is on the drive. Maybe the whole DVR software is on the drive. When you swap out the hard drive, you ended up with a paper weight just like you swap out a HDD on a PC without reinstall the entire OS.

Several people have reported success swapping out the internal drive ... for a drive of the same size (or smaller). However, putting in a larger drive has proved problematic.
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post #107 of 9018 Old 03-18-2005, 10:03 AM
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Purchased the Seagate 300GB and the Box / SATA Wire as skilfully specified by DMILANI. The setup worked great once I followed the proper power up sequence. My cable provider is TWC in Rochester NY with SARA V1.85.17.3. I'm very happy to have more storage space. But I just don't like the fact that the HD is continuously spinning (getting closer to it's death I guess and wasting electricity) Seems like SA could spin down the external HD just like the internal. Am I missing simething?

Thanks again DMILANI...really enjoyed making this addition to the HT
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post #108 of 9018 Old 03-18-2005, 11:36 AM
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I figured with the five year Seagate warranty, keeping the drive spinning all the time hopefully won't be a problem. I never shut off any of the stuff in my office and it's been a long time since I've had a drive fail, or even start making bearing noise (that dreaded whine).

The external case I have stays cool to the touch, unlike all the other external cases I've used. The fan noise is a little more audible than I was expecting (my home office is pretty noisy with equipment so it was masked in there, even up close), but when it's shut away in my cabinet, I can't hear it, or at least it's quieter than the SA8300HD and the cooling fan in my TV.

I'd also like to thank DMILANI for blazing this trail.

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post #109 of 9018 Old 03-18-2005, 06:51 PM
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Another success story. Works fine with WOW cable in IL. SARA 1.85.19.1.

Also as an FYI, it works with an IDE to SATA external case, I pulled a 160GB IDE HD from one of my PC's just to test. Plugged it in, powered on, screen popped up saying something to the effect of a drive with a damaged file system was found do you want to format? After about 5 mintues, a second screen popped up saying a usable external device was found, don't turn it off or you'll lose your recordings.

Great job DMILANI!!! Thanks for being a trailblazer!! Maybe you could update your initial post with a list of cable companies and reported firmware that works. Might make it easier for new people checking out the thread.

Andy

Not a single Monsterously over hyped cable to be found in my system.
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post #110 of 9018 Old 03-18-2005, 10:07 PM
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How can I see which SARA version I'm running? I have a TWC 8300HD and tried pause for 7 seconds and Page Up but see nothing. Thanks
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post #111 of 9018 Old 03-18-2005, 10:28 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by borrell
How can I see which SARA version I'm running? I have a TWC 8300HD and tried pause for 7 seconds and Page Up but see nothing. Thanks

It takes mine more than 7 seconds. Hold pause until the mail light starts flashing on the front of your 8300HD (about 10-12 seconds for me). Then press page up or page down.

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post #112 of 9018 Old 03-19-2005, 05:01 AM
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On older SA boxes (3250HD) it used to take only 5-7 seconds, but as indicated in the Tips & Tricks thread (LaZy Man's DIagnostics Mode) it now takes 10-15 seconds or more. As InvaderZim mentioned, the key is to hold it until the Mail light comes on, not just a certain number a seconds.

Cheers, Dave
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post #113 of 9018 Old 03-19-2005, 10:35 AM
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Or just get up off the couch and walk up to the front of the STB and hit the center select button for 3 - 5 seconds...

A couple of notes:
Internal drive size is limited to internal firmware. anything larger than the original will still only show up as the original size.

The OS is actually on the internal drive. The location is dependant on the version of OS your MSO is using. In some, it is located in the center of the drive, in others, it is located on the inside, etc. It is a special OS called PowerTV, not Linux or any other consumer related OS.

Items recorded on external (or internal) drives are not accessible and viewable on PC's, or other devices. The encryption is done on the streams, and decrypted through the STB. Each decryption algorithim is dictated by your account with a valid MSO. This means that as you have a subscription, a changing, rolling, two way key is sent along with the data streams to your STB. A stored recorded stream is also dependent on decryption and parity, which is stored in the internal memory for a limited time, after which a handshake with the MSO is needed to generate a new key for decryption and parity. This means the external recorded streams will not work without the parity of the internal STB and the decryption key provided by the mso.

Attempts to decrypt a stored stream will result in a non valid file format because of the parity of the original STB (or link with the MSO) needed to complete the streams. It is unknown if a replacement STB can be used to read used external drives, but technically is possible. It is unlikely an external drive not authorized by the MSO will be acknowledged at this time, since nobody has started supporting this feature yet.

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post #114 of 9018 Old 03-19-2005, 02:06 PM
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Does one absolutely needs a "native" SATA drive? In other words, can I use a 250GB Ultra ATA drive (that I happen to have laying around) and plop it into an enclosure that provides a SATA interface? As far a the 8300HD is concerned, it sees a SATA drive, but under the covers there is a SATA to ATA conversion.

The only req's I saw in the SA docs were speed reqirements (7200rpm) and 133 MB/s.

Hoping I can make this work...

-Rajiv
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post #115 of 9018 Old 03-19-2005, 02:45 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by rajivarora
Does one absolutely needs a "native" SATA drive?

Not necessary. See the success story above posted by LYU370. And the link to such enclosures I posted a few pages back.
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post #116 of 9018 Old 03-19-2005, 02:55 PM
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Oops, missed that one. Didn't register when I read it. Sorry.

-Rajiv
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post #117 of 9018 Old 03-20-2005, 09:29 AM
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Hold the phone -- I finally tried to watch some of the HD movies that are now presumably recorded to my external SATA drive and found that frequent skips, stuttering and pixellation. The artifacts appear to be recorded because when I back up and play a segment again, the artifacts are the same. So I can't say for certain yet that this isn't in the source -- I pressed the record button today to record some HD I was watching and it was fine on playback. Then again, pressing record might always record to the internal drive because it tries to capture the buffer, so that maybe didn't prove anything.

There is a 2 hour recording scheduled for noon today, so I'll monitor it during recording. If it stutters, I'll try to reinitialize the external drive -- does anyone know how to do that? I don't want to initialize the internal drive because playback of older recordings is fine and there are still a few things on it I want to see.

Also, I know how to reboot the box but is there a way to shut it down cleanly so I can unplug the external drive?

Is anyone with an external drive seeing the pixellation?

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post #118 of 9018 Old 03-20-2005, 10:16 AM
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Heck, I see pixellation all the time even with only the internal drive.
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post #119 of 9018 Old 03-20-2005, 07:38 PM
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I may have written too soon. Today, about noon, I recorded "Mimic" off HBO-HD or Showtime-HD (can't remember which) and watched it later in the afternoon. No artifacts of any kind: no pixellation, dropouts, stuttering -- just perfect. While we were finishing that, the DVR was recording "Malcom in the Middle" on FOX-HD at 6:30, and that was also perfect, as was "Arrested Development". So I may have been too quick to blame the drive upgrade. It's possible something else was going on overnight. I didn't do anything to fix it (not even a reboot).

Regarding this:

Quote:


Originally posted by Foxbat121
Heck, I see pixellation all the time even with only the internal drive.

There have been periods that have been bad, but they are infrequent and have quickly been fixed. Other than the overnight recordings to test the new drive, I can only recall one time a show was unwatchable, and that was an E.R. episode a couple of months back. I do get occasional pixelation (or macroblocking or whatever it's called), but it's very fleeting and not bothersome.

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post #120 of 9018 Old 03-21-2005, 06:52 AM
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I do mean occasional pixelation, not bothersome, but irritating on almost all the shows I recorded. Cox here does have a pretty old firmware, xxx.14.1. I don't know that has anything to do with it or it's just the hardware glitch. What I guess is that sometimes the harddrive can't keep up with the data stream and cause the occasional data drop. Since MPEG2 encodes differences between frames (except for i-frame), what you see on screen is pixelation of a small area, usually a dark region.

I know there are special types of hard drive out there just for digital video editing. The main benefit of this kind of hard drive is to guarantee the constant feed of digital video data without being interrupted by the hard disk's internal house keeping and thermal calibrating.
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