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post #181 of 973 Old 08-09-2007, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post


What a painful transitional period, trying to watch SD channels on an HDTV ... Can't wait for the day when all the channels I'm interested in are true HD. DirecTV claims to be offering 150 channels in HD by the end of the year - that's impressive, I'd like to see Surewest match that!

Technologically, I believe SureWest could offer that many channels or more. A lot of it has to do with contracts and additional hardware they are willing to invest in at the head-end, not with trying to squeeze it into the available delivery bandwidth. I'm wonder WHAT channels would be available. I didn't think there were that many nationally available HDTV channels at this time. Is DirecTV still decreasing the resolution of their HDTV? That has been, amongst other compression techniques, their way to increase capacity.
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post #182 of 973 Old 08-09-2007, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

Is DirecTV still decreasing the resolution of their HDTV? That has been, amongst other compression techniques, their way to increase capacity.

I don't think so, they launched a new satellite and they will launch a new one next year to give them plenty of bandwidth.
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post #183 of 973 Old 08-09-2007, 04:57 PM
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I tried an optical cable from the 130 box to the receiver and sure enough I get DD5.1

It really sucks that the HDMI connection only sends PCM 48kHz and there's no option to change it.
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post #184 of 973 Old 08-11-2007, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post

I tried an optical cable from the 130 box to the receiver and sure enough I get DD5.1

It really sucks that the HDMI connection only sends PCM 48kHz and there's no option to change it.

I just noticed something yesterday I hadn't noticed before. The program guide has a little logo to tell you whether the program is in Dolby Digital 5.1, similar to the HD for HDTV. Others may have known about this, but I just noticed it myself.
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post #185 of 973 Old 08-11-2007, 02:49 PM
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yes, i noticed the DD logo too and I'm now positive that over HDMI you only get PCM. You need an optical hookup to get full DD. But with the optical hookup, the volume is messed up, I need to crank up my receiver to get the same volume as over HDMI and also the sound is slow to come in when I switch channels.

While the 130 box is better than the 110, it's still a big disappointment.
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post #186 of 973 Old 08-12-2007, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post

yes, i noticed the DD logo too and I'm now positive that over HDMI you only get PCM. You need an optical hookup to get full DD. But with the optical hookup, the volume is messed up, I need to crank up my receiver to get the same volume as over HDMI and also the sound is slow to come in when I switch channels.

While the 130 box is better than the 110, it's still a big disappointment.

This is generally due to dynamic range. Higher quality audio has a higher dynamic range. It allows for explosions to be louder than talking. You have probably noticed commercials having louder audio than dramatic shows... this is due to commercials often use a shallower dynamic audio range. Except for needing to turn the volume up, it is a good thing.
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post #187 of 973 Old 09-06-2007, 11:02 AM
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SureWest to Launch DVR!
SureWest to Launch DVR!SureWest is pleased to announce that we are launching our integrated HD dual tuner DVR in late 2007.

With SureWest's new DVR you can combine the power of Digital Video Recording (DVR) technology with feature-rich SureWest digital TV. Pause, rewind or record live programming in HD or Standard Definition format with your powerful DVR. This new DVR will come standard with 160GB of storage to allow even more programming space than the competition.

With a SureWest DVR, TV will revolve around your schedule, not the other way around.
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post #188 of 973 Old 09-06-2007, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ehubbard View Post

SureWest to Launch DVR!
SureWest to Launch DVR!SureWest is pleased to announce that we are launching our integrated HD dual tuner DVR in late 2007.

With SureWest's new DVR you can combine the power of Digital Video Recording (DVR) technology with feature-rich SureWest digital TV. Pause, rewind or record live programming in HD or Standard Definition format with your powerful DVR. This new DVR will come standard with 160GB of storage to allow even more programming space than the competition.

With a SureWest DVR, TV will revolve around your schedule, not the other way around.

Very good. Any idea whether they are still looking for beta testers/early adopters or when the service is rumored to officially launch?
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post #189 of 973 Old 09-06-2007, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ehubbard View Post

SureWest to Launch DVR!
SureWest to Launch DVR!SureWest is pleased to announce that we are launching our integrated HD dual tuner DVR in late 2007.

With SureWest's new DVR you can combine the power of Digital Video Recording (DVR) technology with feature-rich SureWest digital TV. Pause, rewind or record live programming in HD or Standard Definition format with your powerful DVR. This new DVR will come standard with 160GB of storage to allow even more programming space than the competition.

With a SureWest DVR, TV will revolve around your schedule, not the other way around.

What is the source for this proclamation? Much supposition has been made about when the DVR will be released and to what capabilities the DVR will have. I've tried to pry info out of SureWest, but they just say "It's coming." As of yet, they I haven't gotten them to even provide a hint as to what month they expect a DVR to be released. Comcast has also been quite poor at customer communication. It would take quite a bit for SureWest to be as poor as Comcast. They apparently do not realize that this is BAD for business. With the hint of a new product on the horizon, I believe it is the best policy to let people know what that product will be. I have done quite a bit of research as to what the capabilities of IPTV HDTV DVRs from several different suppliers. If I knew exactly what SureWest is planning on releasing, I will less upset when I see what small an offering they are making. For one, IPTV DVRs have the capability of recording up to FIVE standard definition programs at once or up to three HDTV programs. The "hint" provided in the quote only reveals the capability of 2, which is the same as Comcast and LESS than Dish Network (Dish DVR with dual-sat tuners plus ATSC tuner for OTA, allows up to three programs). DVRs also have the capability of using an external hard drive to store/archive recorded TV shows (again, Dish Network allows this, albeit at an additional cost and programming must be copied to external from internal as opposed to saving initially to external). Are we going to get this? 160GB is quite small when you consider how much drive space is required for high-definition... especially when you consider the cost of hard drives now. I just recently went to Fry's Electronics and attempted to get the absolute cheapest hard drive they had. I was expecting around a 160GB hard drive. The absolute cheapest they had was $56 for a 300GB hard drive (7200 RPM with 16MB cache). I know that I will be disappointed in what ever is provided, but I'd rather know about it before I actually get it instead of hooking it up with high expectations and wonder where the features are.

Don't get me wrong, I think SureWest has excellent potential, I just feel they will be providing much less than they have the capability of doing. When it comes to HDTV quality, everyone else pales in comparison. I just wish for them to capitalize on their superior technology. By doing so, we as consumers will be the winners. Other competitors will try, but fail, due to limitations in their technology. This will force other competitors to revamp their technology, making things better for everyone.
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post #190 of 973 Old 09-06-2007, 09:58 PM
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As SureWest has been doing business with Amino Communications and Amino recently unveiled their new HD-DVR, it is my assumption that this is what we will be receiving. The new HD-DVR is the AmiNET530. If you look at the product specifications, it mentions that it has 3 USB 2.0 ports on it... will they be activated to allow for external storage? It says it will have the ability to "Record multiple channels simultaneously." Two is a poor excuse for the term "multiple". Another IPTV HD-DVR (from Scientific Atlanta) mentions the capability to record up to a 30 Mbps stream of data... up to 3 HDTV signals in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 HP@L4. Granted, hardware is one thing... what will Minerva Networks create to run on top of it. I again assume that Minerva Networks will be creating the middle-ware software.
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post #191 of 973 Old 09-06-2007, 11:43 PM
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Will SureWest move to MPEG-4 when they roll out their DVR?
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post #192 of 973 Old 09-07-2007, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post

Will SureWest move to MPEG-4 when they roll out their DVR?

I believe that is one of the issues at stake... the AmiNET530 at least only mentions that it records MPEG-4, not MPEG-2, although it can decode both. STBs before the AmiNET130 only did MPEG-2 (the 130 does both).
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post #193 of 973 Old 09-07-2007, 08:32 AM
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Hey guys,
All I could find on the Surewest DVR in a recent Googling was this Investors brief for 2007: http://www.surw.com/ir/analyst/SureW...wFinal0307.pdf

Page 15: "Assumes MPEG4 compression technology" and "DVR (1-3 streams) - 10-30Mbps.

SUREWEST - HURRY UP WITH IT ALREADY!
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post #194 of 973 Old 09-07-2007, 08:36 AM
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And improve the quality of the damn SD channels while you're at it or add HD channels that actually have interesting content (though the US Open Tennis over the past week has been great in HD!)
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post #195 of 973 Old 09-07-2007, 08:37 AM
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I also read in a recent SacBee article that AT&T was going to try and jump into the "Total service" game here locally as well. Surewest, still by far, had the best picture I've seen as compared to the other carriers.
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post #196 of 973 Old 09-07-2007, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

What is the source for this proclamation?

http://news.surewestupdate.com/Porta...&a=View&s=2498
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post #197 of 973 Old 09-07-2007, 12:07 PM
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No clue if they are accepting betas or what. All I have was that little snippet I got from surewest. Fiber comes to my neighborhood so very soon. I've been told they were putting it in, and just the other day the surewest guy was out there with his little table splicing fiber. Looks like the timeline might all line up for me.

I hope it is the Amino 530... or something similar... although 2 recordings at once.. is.. *shrugs* not the best.. I did really like the idea of a central DVR that all my TVs stream off of though.
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post #198 of 973 Old 09-07-2007, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ehubbard View Post

...This new DVR will come standard with 160GB of storage to allow even more programming space than the competition....

That sorta implies there would be a non-standard option? maybe a larger drive? as people have pointed out.. 160gb would be rather small for a central DVR. I have a 120gb for my standard definition DirectTivo and that is just about the right amount of data I'd like to store.
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post #199 of 973 Old 09-07-2007, 12:43 PM
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post #200 of 973 Old 09-07-2007, 04:43 PM
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oh and the 530 has a 160gb hard drive:

"160Gbyte hard disc for PVR, and other stored content"

Same size as in the announcement. Further evidence that its the 530
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post #201 of 973 Old 09-07-2007, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ehubbard View Post

oh and the 530 has a 160gb hard drive:

"160Gbyte hard disc for PVR, and other stored content"

Same size as in the announcement. Further evidence that its the 530

As I'd mentioned... I'm pretty sure it is the 530... I'm just not willing to bet the house on it. It makes the most sense to stay with the same provider. I believe I read somewhere that SureWest was Amino's biggest customer. I'm sure Amino would bend-over backwards to keep it that way. I have about the same confidence that Minerva Networks is writing the middleware, as they currently write the middleware for the other devices.
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post #202 of 973 Old 09-07-2007, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

As I'd mentioned... I'm pretty sure it is the 530... I'm just not willing to bet the house on it. It makes the most sense to stay with the same provider. I believe I read somewhere that SureWest was Amino's biggest customer. I'm sure Amino would bend-over backwards to keep it that way. I have about the same confidence that Minerva Networks is writing the middleware, as they currently write the middleware for the other devices.

Unfortunately this is not a positive. I have not been impressed at all by the 110 and 130 boxes and their limitations. What are the chances they will make the 530 a better box?
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post #203 of 973 Old 09-08-2007, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post

Unfortunately this is not a positive. I have not been impressed at all by the 110 and 130 boxes and their limitations. What are the chances they will make the 530 a better box?

I'm not saying the 130 (I have no experience with the 110) is perfect by any means, but I've become accustomed to after Comcast and I find this no worse. I'm curious as to what you find wrong with them. I find that the 130 is much more responsive and less prone to lock-up over my former Comcast Motorola 6412. Picture quality doesn't even compare on either SD or HD. SureWest blows Comcast away with picture clarity on both. I've read people complaining about SD quality with SureWest, but I have found quite the opposite to be true... at least when comparing to Comcast. Comcast's SD was unwatchable on a HDTV set. Obviously, it is still SD on SureWest, but there is less "blockyness" with the image. I don't have any option for OTA reception, so I can't compare SureWest to OTA and I have not connected any satellite system to my TV, so I can't compare to that either.

The only thing I liked better with Comcast's Motorola 6412 over SureWest's AmiNET130 is that the 6412 was a DVR. It was not a great DVR... in fact when it comes to DVRs, I'd rank it as one of the worst I've seen, but at least it was a DVR. I can't see the new AmiNET530 box being worse than the 6412.
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post #204 of 973 Old 09-08-2007, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

I'm not saying the 130 (I have no experience with the 110) is perfect by any means, but I've become accustomed to after Comcast and I find this no worse. I'm curious as to what you find wrong with them. I find that the 130 is much more responsive and less prone to lock-up over my former Comcast Motorola 6412. Picture quality doesn't even compare on either SD or HD. SureWest blows Comcast away with picture clarity on both. I've read people complaining about SD quality with SureWest, but I have found quite the opposite to be true... at least when comparing to Comcast. Comcast's SD was unwatchable on a HDTV set. Obviously, it is still SD on SureWest, but there is less "blockyness" with the image. I don't have any option for OTA reception, so I can't compare SureWest to OTA and I have not connected any satellite system to my TV, so I can't compare to that either.

The only thing I liked better with Comcast's Motorola 6412 over SureWest's AmiNET130 is that the 6412 was a DVR. It was not a great DVR... in fact when it comes to DVRs, I'd rank it as one of the worst I've seen, but at least it was a DVR. I can't see the new AmiNET530 box being worse than the 6412.

For the DVR part, I currently have a TiVo which in the world of DVR's is hard to beat when it comes to usability. Recording quality is a different story as it's hooked up to the 130 box via S-Video. It would be much better if it could just save the MPEG-2 stream directly. I used to use it with a cable connection in the past and loved it. Now with SureWest I also lost the dual tuner capability that my TiVo has, etc.

Anything DVR from SureWest that's integrated would be better than my current situation I guess. But SureWest better hurry and release it already.

As for the 130 box, here are the problems I have with it:

- Box freezes once in a while. I find it frozen in the morning, stuck on the same image. It seems to respond to commands, channel changes, etc. but the image is still frozen to the a static image. It happens on 2 boxes, both at the same time. This sucks if you are out of town, poor TiVo would be stuck recording the same static image for everything. I called SureWest, sometimes they claim they did "upgrades" to the servers overnight, etc. but the box itself should be able to recover or reboot itself if it detects the server was upgraded/went down, etc. This is just poor software, there's no excuse here.

- HDMI handshaking. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I have to sometimes reboot the box a few times to get HDMI to work again. This is a known issue, the tech guy who installed the boxes says he sees problems with HDMI every day, he recommended using component + optical instead, but that's just not a good solution. The problem is the HDMI part in the 130 box is dated, the rest of my equipment is very recent and I have no other HDMI issues.

- Sound over HDMI - you only get PCM, no way to get DD 5.1 There's again no excuse for this. Why would I need to also run an optical connection just to get DD5.1? What's the point of using HDMI then? I guess the did this way for cases when the box is hooked up to a TV directly via HDMI and the TV cannot decode DD5.1, so they went for always PCM. But that's poor software again, the box should have a configuration option, Raw bitstream or PCM over HDMI.

- Sound over optical connection. While it's nice that I can get DD5.1 the volume when hooked up over an optical connection is about 10dB lower than over HDMI (PCM) and lower than all other components. I have to crank up my receiver to have the volume at a "normal" level.

- Video options/upconversion. If "Native pass-through" is enabled why does it matter what's selected in the box above for HD channels? E.g. if I select 720p that's what the box will output which kinda defeats the purpose of "native pass through" To me this option should do just that, pass the signal as-is and not mess with it at all. On the other hand, if "Native pass-through" is disabled, you always get the black pillars on the sides of SD channels, there's no option to stretch the image, etc. The video processing capabilities are very basic, some options would be nice. For my main room, I let the receiver get the native signal and upconvert it to 1080p and it does a fairly good job at it (Faroudja chipset) because the TV cannot deal with 480i over HDMI, but for another room where the box is connected to a TV directly, I cannot use HDMI because of this, I have to use component hookup so that I don't have the annoying black pillars.

I just hope most of these issues will be addressed by the 530 box (and new issues introduced).
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post #205 of 973 Old 09-09-2007, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

As I'd mentioned... I'm pretty sure it is the 530... I'm just not willing to bet the house on it. It makes the most sense to stay with the same provider. I believe I read somewhere that SureWest was Amino's biggest customer. I'm sure Amino would bend-over backwards to keep it that way. I have about the same confidence that Minerva Networks is writing the middleware, as they currently write the middleware for the other devices.

Ya know though. The 530 is a centrally located box right? I can't imagine only being able to record 2 shows at once in my entire house. Since recording equates to "watching" (pause live TV!).. So does this means the 530s are going to be deployed as set top boxes instead of central boxes? *shrugs*.. maybe they'll need a unit on each TV. That would give the recording capacity, and not lose the room 2 room viewing.

I love my Tivo on my DirectTV box. I don't expect the 530 to be as cool as my Tivo... but I hope it isn't horrific..
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post #206 of 973 Old 09-09-2007, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post


As for the 130 box, here are the problems I have with it:

- Box freezes once in a while. I find it frozen in the morning, stuck on the same image. It seems to respond to commands, channel changes, etc. but the image is still frozen to the a static image. It happens on 2 boxes, both at the same time. This sucks if you are out of town, poor TiVo would be stuck recording the same static image for everything. I called SureWest, sometimes they claim they did "upgrades" to the servers overnight, etc. but the box itself should be able to recover or reboot itself if it detects the server was upgraded/went down, etc. This is just poor software, there's no excuse here.

- HDMI handshaking. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I have to sometimes reboot the box a few times to get HDMI to work again. This is a known issue, the tech guy who installed the boxes says he sees problems with HDMI every day, he recommended using component + optical instead, but that's just not a good solution. The problem is the HDMI part in the 130 box is dated, the rest of my equipment is very recent and I have no other HDMI issues.

I have not had any of these issues so far. I have had maybe 2 hiccups while watching a show, but I've never had a machine lockup or freeze except for those 2 hiccups in 1 month of service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post

- Sound over HDMI - you only get PCM, no way to get DD 5.1 There's again no excuse for this. Why would I need to also run an optical connection just to get DD5.1? What's the point of using HDMI then? I guess the did this way for cases when the box is hooked up to a TV directly via HDMI and the TV cannot decode DD5.1, so they went for always PCM. But that's poor software again, the box should have a configuration option, Raw bitstream or PCM over HDMI.

- Sound over optical connection. While it's nice that I can get DD5.1 the volume when hooked up over an optical connection is about 10dB lower than over HDMI (PCM) and lower than all other components. I have to crank up my receiver to have the volume at a "normal" level.

I find that the audio level off the optical connection is on par with DD and DTS from other sources... it is because it is a much higher quality audio... wider dynamic range. I find that the comfortable volume per my Yamaha sound system is between -19 to -24 dB. This is the same for DVDs as well as what I had with Comcast.
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post #207 of 973 Old 09-09-2007, 07:12 PM
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I have not had any of these issues so far. I have had maybe 2 hiccups while watching a show, but I've never had a machine lockup or freeze except for those 2 hiccups in 1 month of service..

I'll second that. No real problems here either. :shrug:

Quote:


I find that the audio level off the optical connection is on par with DD and DTS from other sources... it is because it is a much higher quality audio... wider dynamic range. I find that the comfortable volume per my Yamaha sound system is between -19 to -24 dB. This is the same for DVDs as well as what I had with Comcast

I actually still have yet to hook the 130 trough my AVR and try out the sound. I'll be curious to give this a few test in the near future. I guess I'm still used to good 'ole 2 ch sound from the TV for TV shows.
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post #208 of 973 Old 09-10-2007, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Revolver View Post

I'll second that. No real problems here either. :shrug:



I actually still have yet to hook the 130 trough my AVR and try out the sound. I'll be curious to give this a few test in the near future. I guess I'm still used to good 'ole 2 ch sound from the TV for TV shows.

It depends on what and who is watching. I have the HDMI connected directly to the TV and since it carries 2-channel audio, it works fine for my wife when she turns on the TV to watch cooking shows or "reality" TV shows. She turns up the volume on the TV. When I come to watch TV, I nearly exclusively watch HDTV channels, such as Discovery Theater or dramatic shows on either HDNet, HDNet Movies or the networks where DD5.1 is often used. I enjoy the higher quality sound. I therefore turn on the audio system and turn the TV sound off. Sometimes, when I just want to zone out, I've watched Sunrise Earth. This show has the absolute best audio and video, although not very exciting. It really shows off why dynamic audio range is used... There is very little narration or speaking of any kind, but it is very quiet with just sounds of distant birds chirping or other sounds of nature that are very subtle as well as nearby, louder sounds. There are many more levels of sound between zero and max. Very seldom is sound at, or even near max.
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post #209 of 973 Old 09-24-2007, 01:53 AM
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Just to add to the rumor mill...

I'm closing on my new house in Roseville later this week so I made the call to Surewest for installation the following week. The guy I spoke with (works out of the McClellan office I believe) indicated that the new DVR solution may likely be mostly their (Surewest's) innards, with Amino's interface.
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post #210 of 973 Old 09-24-2007, 01:37 PM
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I just talked with a SureWest technical support agent about it to. He confirmed that it IS going to be the AminoNET 530, as I previously stated I assumed it would be. He said they had an internal memo giving the date of November 22 as a release date. He had no information as to imposed limitations. We do not know how well Minerva Networks (creators of the middleware) will make the interface and I do not know contractual/legal limitations imposed. I believe the DVR is capable of recording up to a 30 Mbps stream of data (from bits and pieces I've gleaned around the net). This would allow for up to 3 HD shows or at least 5 non-HD shows at a time. I have not heard any statements from SureWest listing this capability, albeit that they have said very little. From SureWest's September newsletter, they inaccurately mentioned it had a "dual-tuner". I say this is inaccurate because it actually has... NO TUNER. A tuner "tunes" in a radio wave, IPTV is a bit different. Most makers of IPTV DVRs make it clear that they are not limited by tuner technology, which allows for recording of multiple channels with no additional hardware, as would be the case for a radio wave-based system.

The AmiNET 530 comes with a 160gb hard drive, which considering it is probably a notebook hard drive, is pretty good. Notebook hard drives are a bit smaller than a traditional hard drive (2.5" platter compared to 3.5" platter), which fits into a STB only slightly larger than the current AmiNET130. The STB does include USB 2.0 ports... 3 to be accurate. I do not know if they will be active for the purpose of adding external storage. If the USB 2.0 ports are active for storing recorded shows, I will be purchasing one of the largest external hard drives I can, 1 TB if allowed. (My brother has a Dish Network DVR that allows for external storage, but limits the size of the external storage.) With this much storage, I can finally have TV the way I want it. I can move my complaints on to demanding more HD content.
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