Originally Posted by bigRoN
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).