Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Gloucester, Massachusetts
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Here's my first night review:
1. It is, in fact, the SciAtl 800SD box.
2. It does not receive HD programming (even though I'm an HD subscriber). You must use your HD box from Adelphia
3. It is pretty damn cool!
I have never used tivo before, but I always wanted one. It was always too hard to justify the cost, and I knew that I'd eventually either switch to satellite, or my cable co would offer it. Now that it's here, I can see why so many people love it. It's extremely easy to use, and it's awesome to be able to record shows with no effort at all (sure as hell beats a vcr).
I didn't delve too much into the features, but from what I can tell, there's no way to set different levels of quality for your recordings - one quality fits all. The playback looked identical to the regular program.
The only way that I could tell it to record a season of a show is to find that show in the guide (if I want to record a show that isn't on until tomorrow, I just scroll the guide to tomorrow's shows). I don't know how far out the guide goes- maybe a week.
The box gives you picture in picture, and I think the brochure said you can record 2 shows while watching another.
I don't think the box can distinguish between first runs and re-runs- I think it will record every single episode of a show if that's what I choose. I guess I'll find out soon enough when my HD starts filling up.
You can hear the hard drive spin up and down. It's slightly disconcerting to hear that sound if you've never had a computer hooked up to your tv before. It's not loud enough to bother when you're watching something, but it was noticable when we first powered up the box.
The box doesn't seem to have any capability to suggest programming - it records what you tell it, and that's it.
Channel 800 just shows you a list of the programs you've selected to record. You can get the same display by pushing the "list" button on the remote.
The remote is large, and the buttons are a bit scattered. It will take a while to build muscle memory on this remote.
That's it for now. So far, I think this is worth far more of my money than HD. I may actually cancel HD until more channels show up. I can't see paying for two boxes in my living room, especially if the only additional use I get out of the HD box will be watching the 6 HD channels that are available. Those channels don't have enough true HD programming yet, and there are numerous kinks to be worked out to justify the extra $$ for me.
Good luck and hopefully it's in your area. Don't rely on a phone call - if channel 800 shows up in the guide in your area, then just head to your local office and ask for it.