Just wanted to update those with TWC about the newest STB options. I had mentioned earlier that there was talk about the SA 4200HD being available by the end of 1st qtr 2003. Well, obviously, we're past that point and I have bad news about the possibility - none.
After talking to the Divisional Managers, they have decided not to go with the SA 4200HD. I'm not sure at to the actual reasoning behind it, but there were hints about the unwanted Tech support issues from the integrated DOCSIS modem. They may not want to have to force a $45.00/month charge to those that just want HDTV, since they will also have cable modem access capabilities. But, that's just speculation on my part, so don't go quoting me
On to the good news: I was told that the management and engineering staff decided instead to opt for the SA 3250HD model. It is basically the same unit, without the DOCSIS modem integration, rather the normal head end modem for VOD and other stuff, yet still allowing online upgrade capabilities in the future. It will have more input capabilities, like 720P, and then, more importantly, aspect ratio control. This is the huge limiting factor to the SA 3100HD for many customers, especially those that have 4:3 HDTV sets.
I was told that they have 4200 units (actual number of unit ordered, not to be confused with the 4200HD model) on order for central NC, and they should be available aroung the middle of May. They could not tell me what options they opted for, such as DVI and Firewire. I was told that some of these options may come disabled, but upon request, could be enabled. I know this is a smart Tech Support move, and hopefully this is how it will come, as I really want the DVI and the IR Blaster would be very useful too.
If you are not familiar with the SA 3250HD box, or you just want to read more about it, go here for the PDF file:http://www.sciatl.com/customers/subs...fs/4003138.pdf
I also posted this news in the HDTV Hardware section: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=240990
Also, another possible reason for not opting for the 4200HD, is that they are also getting the SA 8000 PVR version STB. It is not the HD version, but I guess they're really getting hammered with requests for PVR capabilities. Unfortuantely, once people get these boxes, they'll quickly realize the limitiations of them. But, as long as I get at least one box that allows for Aspect Ratio Control, I'll be happy. I will keep using my HTPC for PVR functions.