SA 8000HD - (SARA software) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2778 Old 12-31-2003, 03:06 AM - Thread Starter
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SA8000HD Time Warner Cable South Carolina
Starting 1/15/04 the SA8000HD is being distributed in South Carolina on TWC systems. Questions are welcomed. 160gb hard drive, DVI not active ,and no firewire ports. Composite video and S-video are not active also.


Updated 04/21/04 Updated to make a better thread starter post
8300HD are now being used in Columbia from TWC.
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post #2 of 2778 Old 01-04-2004, 03:32 AM
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YES!
AFAIK, A non-Beta, pre-release was / is being done in Wisconsin starting in December.

Announcement of SA8000HD DVR release

As far as the rest of the country, it will depend on buildup of units and distribution. All consumer HD DVR's are still awaiting final amendments to copy protection schemes and other assorted rulings before national releases are done. Until then, most users are testers, or limited groups with minimal impact for upgrades when mandated.

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post #3 of 2778 Old 01-06-2004, 10:46 AM
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Yes, I have been tapped to beta the SA8000HD for Time Warner Cable. I have had the unit for a couple of days now. I have not been given a manual from my local TWC office, but I browsed the User Manual pdf a few days back. So I am learning on my own.

So far I am liking it. It does run a bit hot, so make sure you've got plenty of clearance. It has a nice feature set and is straight forward in it's use.

I have found a few quicks, but by far the most major problem I have found is that the DVI port is not enabled, which that alone would stop me from paying for this unit. TWC says this could be corrected with a software upgrade though.

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post #4 of 2778 Old 01-06-2004, 12:03 PM
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Saydee,

How did you get on the beta?
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post #5 of 2778 Old 01-07-2004, 10:27 AM
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They called me. I was told that I am the only beta tester for my local TWC office.

I'd give your local office a call and see what they say...it can't hurt.

BTW - I was told that the VCR output option was disabled. I tried last night and indeed it was. I did notice though that if you have PIP turned on you can record the PIP channel to your VCR. Myself, I find this entire feature rather cumbersome and kludgey, plus why would anyone record to tape???

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post #6 of 2778 Old 01-07-2004, 10:42 AM
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Saydee - do you have a regular HD box? A regular DVR box? I am just trying to find out how they picked you.

Brown hair? Glasses? Live on North side of block? :) :) :)
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post #7 of 2778 Old 01-07-2004, 01:22 PM
 
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You might record to a VCR to make an offline archive to share. I would use the composite output to record to a PC with TV tuner card to burn on a DVDR.
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post #8 of 2778 Old 01-08-2004, 08:13 AM
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dkan24,

I've worked closely with my local TWC office since I got HD. Where I live there are apparently not a lot of HD subscribers. I had spoke with them the day before they called with some technical questions regarding HD signal strength, so perhaps I was on the top of someone's head when they asked about who would beta test???

What I'd like to find out is the capacity of the hard drive. I read on this forum in another thread www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=306084&perpage=20&highlight=8000H D%2080GB&pagenumber=3 posted by Jeff Williams that would seem to indicate that the unit I have has an 80GB capacity as the number on the 8000HD unit is 4004564.

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post #9 of 2778 Old 01-08-2004, 09:15 AM
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I hope I'm on the top of someone's list. I had my Digital cable before anyone else in my market. I was called the day the DVRs came, installed w/i 2 days. I've been bugging them for info for a week now on the HD DVR. If nothing happens, I have to see which I can't live without (HD or DVR). Having just bought an HD TV and not seen anything HD, I'm leaning towards keeping the DVR.
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post #10 of 2778 Old 01-15-2004, 06:08 PM
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No firewire at all or it isn't active?

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post #11 of 2778 Old 01-15-2004, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
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No firewire at all.
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post #12 of 2778 Old 01-15-2004, 06:50 PM
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I'm in Greensboro, NC and just got the new HD-DVR from TWC, the SA8000. I was using the Pace 550 box before tonight. Here's what I think so far:

1) No component loop-through like on the Pace

2) Slow to acquire/switch the HD channels just like the old SA3100 box I had before the Pace (the Pace was MUCH faster)

3) The SA8000 lets you set up your display choices, asking you if you want to "Save" 1080i Widescreen, 720p Widescreen, 480i, 480p.

4) I'm used to my TiVo, so the DVR seems a little antiquated in comparison, it's a little slow to react to pause, FF, RW, etc...

5) Being able to record HD on one channel while watching HD on another channel is incredibly cool.

6) The DVI output is NOT active, the guy didn't know about future plans.

7) [It has 2 Firewire ports, but I don't know if they work, I don't have anything to try it with.]
EDIT: The manual shows 2 firewire ports, but they are ABSENT from the actual box. Don't know if that means that TWC chose to leave them out or that the specs got changed after the manual was printed.

8) LAST, and I could be making this up or over analyzing things, but I don't think the picture is as good as the Pace box. It just doesn't seem as sharp and the colors don't seem as rich. Even my wife commented that it didn't look right. I mean, it's not a drastic difference by any means, but it just doesn't seem like a WOW HD picture. Now this could totally be a psychological thing because I've been used to HD for a while now and maybe I hadn't really been critiquing the pq lately and now all of a sudden I change boxes and so I start analyzing every little flaw, that's possible. But I really don't think that's what's happening. I also noticed that the peakaboo horizontal scanline artifact that is known to be an issue with my pj seems significantly worse with this box, and vertical banding seems worse also (LCD projector). I hope I'm not being a pq hypochondriac. But something just doesn't seem right.

When I went through the setup options, the text with 720p looked blurry so I even tried not saving that resolution (can't get ESPNHD or ABC yet anyway).

The guy took my old Pace box so I can't go back and do a head to head. Maybe I'll tell them I need one for another set so I can get it back.
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post #13 of 2778 Old 01-15-2004, 07:04 PM
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Edited the original post to show that the manual lists and pictures 2 Firewire ports, but they are in fact NOT present on the actual unit. There's just blank real estate where they are pictured in the manual.
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post #14 of 2778 Old 01-15-2004, 07:55 PM
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what size Hard Drive does it have?
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post #15 of 2778 Old 01-15-2004, 08:46 PM
 
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The firewire ports are options on the SA8000. Your cable company chose to order them without those particular options. I believe that there are about four different configurations that may be ordered.


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post #16 of 2778 Old 01-15-2004, 09:04 PM
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I live in the TWC/SC (Columbia SC) market area and I too had an 8000HD installed today (er yesterday). The hard disk in my DVR is a 160GB Maxtor which should give about 20hours max of HD recording time (just under 9GB/hour). According to SA, there are also 120GB and 80GB models available. DVI and IEE1394/Firewire ports are optional from SA (ours has only DVI; won't be activated until March timeframe). And... it appears our analog ports are not active at this time; TWC here is looking into that aspect. So far its operation is very similar to the SD version but with HD. Its operation seemed reasonable and the two HD PIP was nice. The remote is similar to the one with the SD version and IMO is poorly designed (lousy ergonomics). PQ seems fine and appears similar to that of the SA3250 it replaced.

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post #17 of 2778 Old 01-16-2004, 05:35 AM
 
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How much cheaper is the SA8000HD to the cable companies, than the Moto 6208? TWC Houston is still using the Moto 5100 for their HD, so we know the Moto is compatable with TWC, and the Moto 6208 has firewire and DVI, so it must be a decision of simple cost??? Right?

When are cable companies supposed to allow us to start buying and using our own boxes?
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post #18 of 2778 Old 01-16-2004, 03:14 PM
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The Time Warner in Minneapolis has the 160 GB model, and the DVI port is activated. This was what another person said on a local message board. I will confirm next week when I get mine.

I do know that the SA 3250 box I have does have the DVI port working. Happened about a month ago.
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post #19 of 2778 Old 01-16-2004, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I would be surprised if it is working. It took several months for the DVI to activated from its intial release.
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post #20 of 2778 Old 01-16-2004, 03:54 PM
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Anyone heard when San Diego TW will get the 8000hd? I called Customer Service but they had NO clue
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post #21 of 2778 Old 01-16-2004, 05:11 PM
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Anyone with this box, please tell me if you see any difference in pq from your old box. My wife and I keep looking at the picture and it just doesn't seem as sharp and punchy as the Pace box. The picture just lacks a little sharpness in detail, it's a little dark, and the colors aren't as bright. It's not a huge difference, but enough to go from Wow! to pretty good. Plus those artifacts from my pj look worse.

I think I may just ask for my old Pace box back. I love timeshifting HD, but not if it doesn't look like HD.
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post #22 of 2778 Old 01-16-2004, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jacksonian
Anyone with this box, please tell me if you see any difference in pq from your old box. My wife and I keep looking at the picture and it just doesn't seem as sharp and punchy as the Pace box. The picture just lacks a little sharpness in detail, it's a little dark, and the colors aren't as bright. It's not a huge difference, but enough to go from Wow! to pretty good. Plus those artifacts from my pj look worse.

I think I may just ask for my old Pace box back. I love timeshifting HD, but not if it doesn't look like HD.
Maybe you can just keep both and when you have to timeshift, just accept that it will be slightly worse.

Just Kidding! There is absolutely no reason that this box should be worse than the Pace. I would swap with another and see if improves. I am interested to hear if other people feel that the pq is worse as well.

Are you sure its not just mental? We are all expecting this box to be the best thing ever and maybe that is playing a role?
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post #23 of 2778 Old 01-16-2004, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by jacksonian
Anyone with this box, please tell me if you see any difference in pq from your old box. My wife and I keep looking at the picture and it just doesn't seem as sharp and punchy as the Pace box. The picture just lacks a little sharpness in detail, it's a little dark, and the colors aren't as bright. It's not a huge difference, but enough to go from Wow! to pretty good. Plus those artifacts from my pj look worse.

I think I may just ask for my old Pace box back. I love timeshifting HD, but not if it doesn't look like HD.
No difference at all from the SA3250HD that I was using.
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post #24 of 2778 Old 01-16-2004, 06:52 PM
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Well, I don't know what it could be. My wife says it looks like Fox widescreen or DVD quality now on the HD channels. I've tried setting it up every possible way on that setup menu. With the Quick Setup/1080i only, the Normal with 1080i/480i, and the Custom with 720p and 1080i and 480p/480i. Nothing seems to make any difference.

If it were just me, I'd think I was going crazy and making it all up, but my wife commented on it as soon as she walked in after the cable guy left. I didn't have ANY expectations regarding picture quality. I'm so simple I just assumed HD was HD and they'd all look the same. I don't remember any change in pq going from my old SA3100 box to the Pace box.

I don't have any theories as to what the SA box could be doing different than the Pace box. Is there any precedent for different HD boxes giving better/worse output than others?
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post #25 of 2778 Old 01-16-2004, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
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There are a lot of people who have and had issues with the SA3100HD. The main complaint was the lack of sharpness from the SA3100Hd.
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post #26 of 2778 Old 01-16-2004, 07:15 PM
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So is it a difference inherent to the SA models, or does it seem to vary from one box to another of the same model? I mean, have people changed one SA box for another and gotten any better or worse pq? Or is it that some folks just haven't seen a different model HD box and so they don't know what they're missing?

I might even ask them if I can have both boxes and use the component loop-through on the Pace box. That way I could use the SA box to record stuff at pretty good quality, but still be able to use the Pace box with better quality for live viewing.
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post #27 of 2778 Old 01-16-2004, 09:00 PM
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In the nearly 3 years of having HD over TWC, I have had a 2000HD, a 3100HD, a 3250HD, and now a 8000HD. The HD picture quality of the 2000HD sometimes had a light fog/haze aspect to it. The models since then have had essentially the same PQ on HD material... very good (and probably display limited). FWIW, I don't see any difference in PQ between my Samsung SIRT-150 receiver and the SA boxes though instantaneous A/B switching is not possible. Perhaps with a better display and a newer STB one might detect some small difference.

The 2000HD upconvert PQ over component was very poor (recommendation was to use analog output for non-hd material). The 3100HD's upconvert was better (fair). I still used analog output for non-hd. The 3250HD's upconvert is very good and one does not need to switch to analog for the non-hd material. And my initial feeling is the 8000HD is pretty much identical to the 3250HD (but our analog outputs are not yet active). I might add our system here uses Scientific Atlanta software in their headend; some TWC systems use Pioneer. Pace boxes are pretty rare and I know little about them. I don't even know if they run on Pioneer head-ends, SA headends, or both. Last, if your seeing major differences in PQ between the boxes, I might ask if you have swapped the component cables and ruled them out as a reason for the differences.

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post #28 of 2778 Old 01-17-2004, 06:45 AM
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They are rolling them out this week in Minneapolis. 160GB version. Got mine yesterday. I am very happy with it so far. Connections are component, composite, S-video, DVI, digital audio (coax) and digital audio (optical).
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post #29 of 2778 Old 01-17-2004, 09:07 AM
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The non-HD stuff looks fine, so it's not an upconvert issue. All we did was swap out boxes, not a cable was changed, not even the power cable since they used the same one. Again, I can't say it's a HUGE difference, and maybe most people wouldn't notice, but my wife and I do.

I recorded some Tonight Show and Insectia last nights since those usually have some of the sharpest HD images I've seen. It just wasn't right. I'm going to call and see what they can do.
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post #30 of 2778 Old 01-17-2004, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by fpo701
I hope I'm on the top of someone's list. I had my Digital cable before anyone else in my market. I was called the day the DVRs came, installed w/i 2 days. I've been bugging them for info for a week now on the HD DVR. If nothing happens, I have to see which I can't live without (HD or DVR). Having just bought an HD TV and not seen anything HD, I'm leaning towards keeping the DVR.
Wny can't you keep both
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