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Time Warner (WI) Cable Clueless about DVR HD expanders

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Hi.

I just called Time Warner (WI - Milwaukee area) and multiple people there had no idea what a SATA port (initially and then figured it out) or why their SATA ports were not active.

If you live in WI and have an SA8300HD, please call below to ask if the SATA ports are active for adding a DVR hard drive expander.

The WD 500GB My DVD Expander is listed as the Amazon.com Sales Rank: #204 in Electronics, so it's not a completely esoteric concept.
Obviously people in this foum know this, but apparently not my cable company.


http://www.timewarnercable.com/wisconsin/customer/...

Customer Service (24 hours/7 days a week):
Milwaukee Area: 1-920-738-3160
Appleton/Fox Cities: 1-920-496-2040
Green Bay: 1-715-735-6667
Marinette/Menominee: 1-920 233-2700
Oshkosh: 1-800-236-1704
Northeast Wisconsin (Rural Areas): 1-800-627-2288

Residential Sales: 1-866-2 ENJOY TV
(1-866-236-5698)
Business Class: 1-866-714-3401

Thanks.

Mike
post #2 of 50
Thread Starter 
My AVS search showed (don't have reference links) that cable companies may deny an active SATA so they don't have to support the SATA or external products.
But the SATA is usually active.
Is this true?
Any comments?

I realize I could just buy and external HD and try it, but I hate the hassle of returns etc if not needed.

Mike
post #3 of 50
No one should have denied that it is active but I totally believe the lack of support you received on this topic. The truth is no one ever goes into much detail on training lower level technicians on advanced setup as such. Most of the time the support staff's information is ONLY from on the job training and entirely based on experience. Sadly, HDMI is still a battle half the time. As per federal mandate, every port on the back of the cable box has to be active.
post #4 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sta11i0n View Post

No one should have denied that it is active but I totally believe the lack of support you received on this topic. The truth is no one ever goes into much detail on training lower level technicians on advanced setup as such. Most of the time the support staff's information is ONLY from on the job training and entirely based on experience. Sadly, HDMI is still a battle half the time. As per federal mandate, every port on the back of the cable box has to be active.

No, the firewire (IEEE 1394) ports on the SA DVR's have never been active. They are supposed to furnish an STB with working firewire, meaning any receiver they have in stock (used to the the SA3250; that stopped in August of '06). That's the FCC mandate you mentioned. They willingly ignore it. The FCC is too busy handing out fines for half-second booby shots or slipped profanities to bother with such trivial stuff.

The fact that the eSATA port works is simply a happy accident. They don't want to have to deal with problems with expansion drives that are privately purchased, not controlled by them. It's understandable. So they just say they don't know anything about them, which is true because the eSATA and firewire ports are not part of their training. Every TWC tech I've had come out here has been astonished at seeing my expansion drive and hearing I have nearly a terabyte of drive space. It's funny and sad at the same time.
post #5 of 50
I can tell you that not ALL of them are inactive. In the Central NY region that I'm in, I haven't come across a single one that hadn't been active. And I can also say that Support Reps have absolutely no problem telling a customer that they cannot help them with non-TWC equipment. In their defense, it's not that they're avoiding the topic, it's really that they just simply don't know.
post #6 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sta11i0n View Post

I can tell you that not ALL of them are inactive. In the Central NY region that I'm in, I haven't come across a single one that hadn't been active.

Are you saying that the firewire ports in the SA8300 are active (not eSATA which, to my knowledge, are indeed active everywhere)? They work with D-VHS recorders in terms of transferring HD content to tape? Really?? And your TWC division is running Navigator? Because that would be the first I've heard of them working with D-VHS in several years. That would be huge!
post #7 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sta11i0n View Post

No one should have denied that it is active but I totally believe the lack of support you received on this topic. The truth is no one ever goes into much detail on training lower level technicians on advanced setup as such. Most of the time the support staff's information is ONLY from on the job training and entirely based on experience. Sadly, HDMI is still a battle half the time. As per federal mandate, every port on the back of the cable box has to be active.

Sta11i0n (and Archiguy) -

Thanks for the useful info.
If they just said we don't know I wouldn't have minded, but it was the complete lack of understanding people were interested in HD DVR expanders that blew my mind.
This just seems like something that people would commonly think about -- "...wish I had more memory...".

I'll order a DVR expander HD soon (from someplace with a good return policy just in case).

Again thanks.

Mike

PS - I was also eyeing those firewire inputs and wondering about them as well.

PS2 - Is there any FCC mandate about the SATA (or FW)? If so, any links or references?
post #8 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_WI View Post

PS2 - Is there any FCC mandate about the SATA (or FW)? If so, any links or references?

Yes, the FCC says ANY and ALL ports on the box have to be active.
post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sta11i0n View Post

Yes, the FCC says ANY and ALL ports on the box have to be active.

Actually, it just says they have to provide an HD-STB with working IEEE 1394 ports if a customer requests it; it doesn't have to be DVR. But the point is, it's irrelevant because the cable companies (TWC, anyway) simply ignore it and the FCC has never, not once (to my knowledge or anyone here on AVS) issued an enforcement notice regarding this issue. When I used to bring it up to my TWC division, they just laughed at me.

And again, the eSATA ports are always active and working properly. It's the IEEE 1394 (firewire) ports that are not active and have not worked properly since at least August of 2006. I suspect this is also the case with Sta11i0n, since he hasn't specifically answered the question I posed (he would need a D-VHS tape deck to test it, or know someone who has one). Let's not confuse the two types of ports, please; they're entirely separate and do different things.
post #10 of 50
I understand what you are saying........I asked the Techs here in Greensboro, NC about the USB and eSATA ports and she told be that the USB wasn't capable of doing it but she wasn't sure about the eSATA ports as there were no notes on it in her library of FAQs...lol

would be nice if the eSATA works tho.
post #11 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sta11i0n View Post

Yes, the FCC says ANY and ALL ports on the box have to be active.

In some cursory google and FCC website searches, I couldn't find the FCC regulation.
Anyone know it?

Thanks.

Mike
post #12 of 50
Thread Starter 
I got a WD My DVR Expander 500GB tonight.
I used it for a SA8300HD and followed the instructions and storage went from 34% full to 8% full.
Nice!
Thanks for the info,

Mike
post #13 of 50
Mike_WI,

Please let me know the exact steps you used to get yours to work. I just got the My DVR 500GB drive from Western Digital. I want this to work!

I have Time Warner of course, and have the SA 8300HD model. I did the following steps:

1. Unplug the power to the SA.
2. Connect the eSata cable to the SA and the Ext HD.
3. Power on the Ext HD.
4. Wait about 30 seconds.
5. Power on the SA. Wait for it to boot up.
6. It never displayed any message about the HD.
7. I then pressed the Power button on the SA.
8. TV image came on like normal.

After about 1-2 minutes, a message comes up talking about I should only disconnect external hard drives when the power to the settop box is off. It also says to connect an external hard drive, wait at least 10 seconds after turning off the settop box power. I've done that. I turn off the power to the SA, wait 30 seconds, connect the eSata cable to both, then turn on the power to the HD.

Still, that message comes up after about 2 min, and the List of programs still shows the same % used.

What trick did you use to make this work?

Thanks!

Michael R.
post #14 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdreinders View Post

Mike_WI,

Please let me know the exact steps you used to get yours to work. I just got the My DVR 500GB drive from Western Digital. I want this to work!

I have Time Warner of course, and have the SA 8300HD model. I did the following steps:

1. Unplug the power to the SA.
2. Connect the eSata cable to the SA and the Ext HD.
3. Power on the Ext HD.
4. Wait about 30 seconds.
5. Power on the SA. Wait for it to boot up.
6. It never displayed any message about the HD.
7. I then pressed the Power button on the SA.
8. TV image came on like normal.

After about 1-2 minutes, a message comes up talking about I should only disconnect external hard drives when the power to the settop box is off. It also says to connect an external hard drive, wait at least 10 seconds after turning off the settop box power. I've done that. I turn off the power to the SA, wait 30 seconds, connect the eSata cable to both, then turn on the power to the HD.

Still, that message comes up after about 2 min, and the List of programs still shows the same % used.

What trick did you use to make this work?

Thanks!

Michael R.

Hmm.

I just followed the directions in the WD box, but basically it looks like the same thing you did.

My SA took a while to re-boot and had a countdown sequence (on SA display) that took a few to several minutes.
After that I got some message that sounded similar to what you said.
When I did "LIST" it showed the decrease in utilized % storage.
So I don't have much new to offer other than the common turn it all off and try again.

Maybe someone more techy than me can offer some insight.
Good luck.

Mike
post #15 of 50
Thanks for your input, Mike. But, I did try all these things.

I'm willing to suspect some of the boxes they give out will simply work and others won't.

Oh well, I'll keep trying.

Michael R.
post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdreinders View Post

Mike_WI,

Please let me know the exact steps you used to get yours to work. I just got the My DVR 500GB drive from Western Digital. I want this to work!

I have Time Warner of course, and have the SA 8300HD model. I did the following steps:

1. Unplug the power to the SA.
2. Connect the eSata cable to the SA and the Ext HD.
3. Power on the Ext HD.
4. Wait about 30 seconds.
5. Power on the SA. Wait for it to boot up.
6. It never displayed any message about the HD.
7. I then pressed the Power button on the SA.
8. TV image came on like normal.

After about 1-2 minutes, a message comes up talking about I should only disconnect external hard drives when the power to the settop box is off. It also says to connect an external hard drive, wait at least 10 seconds after turning off the settop box power. I've done that. I turn off the power to the SA, wait 30 seconds, connect the eSata cable to both, then turn on the power to the HD.

Still, that message comes up after about 2 min, and the List of programs still shows the same % used.

What trick did you use to make this work?

Thanks!

Michael R.

Try a warm boot! With everything on, hold the power button on the 8300 HD box for ten seconds. Then wait for a long boot.
post #17 of 50
Did the warm boot, and it still did not detect the drive at all when booting up. Guess I'll have to return it.

Shucks. Would've been nice...

Michael R.
post #18 of 50
I just installed an Apricorn DVR Xpander 1TB eSATA to my Time Warner Scientific Atlanta 8300HD and it works just fine. Setup was simple and went just as advertised.
post #19 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgolombowski View Post

I just installed an Apricorn DVR Xpander 1TB eSATA to my Time Warner Scientific Atlanta 8300HD and it works just fine. Setup was simple and went just as advertised.

Good to know.
I was thinking about that versus waiting for the WD 1TB MyDVR Expander to come out.

Give us any updates...

Mike
post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_WI View Post

Good to know.
I was thinking about that versus waiting for the WD 1TB MyDVR Expander to come out.

Give us any updates...

Mike

It has worked perfect so far. Haven't had any issues after a week or so.

You can get a great deal on this right now and Amazon and the manufacturer has a $50 rebate coupon on their website that is good through the end of the month. $143.99 net after rebate.
post #21 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgolombowski View Post

It has worked perfect so far. Haven't had any issues after a week or so.

You can get a great deal on this right now and Amazon and the manufacturer has a $50 rebate coupon on their website that is good through the end of the month. $143.99 net after rebate.

Wow!
I totally missed that you are in Pewaukee!

I drive by their daily to Waukesha.

So, basically just "plug and play"
It looks like more than $144 now after $50 on amazon (don't know what it was yesterday).

How is it for:
- noise
- heat

I have the WD in a family room TV cabinet and it is quiet and not hot.
My next one will be in a Middle Atlantic rack. There is active fans (if needed - temp controlled), but I'd rather have a quiet, cool unit.

Thanks again for the tips!

Badgerly,

Mike
post #22 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_WI View Post

I have the WD in a family room TV cabinet and it is quiet and not hot.

I put my hand on my WD MyDVR Expander last night and it was actually hot.
I'm getting a fan system for that cabinet.
Just thought I'd clarify that it was hot.
It is quiet (passive cooling) though.

Mike
post #23 of 50
Thread Starter 
I just unplugged by cable box (SA8300HDC) and the WD My DVR Expander and my SATA cord in order to move some stuff around in my family room AV rack.

I re-plugged everything in and it works; however, I lost the stuff stored on the WD My DVR Expander, but not on the SA8300HDC.

I didn't expect that.
I knew the external HD and DVR were "tied" together, but I thought that the data should still be on the HD.

Any comments?
Anyone know how to prevent that in the future?

Thanks.

Mike
post #24 of 50
I have the Time Warner DVR SA 8240HDC. Does anyone know for sure if the eSATA is functioning and an eHDD will work? I don't want to buy one and have to take it back.
post #25 of 50
Update from above post.

I just went to the TW local customer service center and exchanged my 8240HDC for a 8300HD. What a difference. I will not go back to that crappy box. I have had a 8300HDC and a 8240HDC. You can group them both together, they are both crap. Go with the 8300HD if you can get it from Time Warner....or whomever else you are getting cable through.
post #26 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_WI View Post

How is it for:
- noise
- heat

I have the WD in a family room TV cabinet and it is quiet and not hot.
My next one will be in a Middle Atlantic rack. There is active fans (if needed - temp controlled), but I'd rather have a quiet, cool unit.

Thanks again for the tips!

Badgerly,

Mike

I have it installed in a Middle Atlantic rack in a custom cabinet I built that is accessed from the rear in an adjoining room to our HT. I have dual fans in the bottom of the rack that keep things cool. It does not feel very warm and because it is in a cabinet it isn't any louder than the the DVR, fans and amps in there.

I have had it for a few weeks now and I love it. But now I have to deal with DVR guilt because I can't keep up with everything I have stored on it already. And it is only 42% full!
post #27 of 50
I just added one to mine but I put it together. I bought a Antec - Veris USB 2.0/eSATA Hard Drive Enclosure for 3.5" SATA Hard Drives and a 1tb WD Green drive for roughly $130.

Is the Apricorn DVR Xpander 1TB eSATA quiet?

I can hear mine when I don't have anything on - music/tv. This is in our living room.

You can get the Apricorn for 149 after rebate directly from there website - http://www.apricorn.com/product_deta...Fcse3godVTQwCw
post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_WI View Post

I put my hand on my WD MyDVR Expander last night and it was actually hot.
I'm getting a fan system for that cabinet.
Just thought I'd clarify that it was hot.
It is quiet (passive cooling) though.

Mike

How quiet is this one?


One of the reasons I avoided this WD was that I had two of these at work - not the MyDVR Expander - just external WD drives for back up stuff and both died on me.....
post #29 of 50
I just unplugged by cable box (SA8300HDC) and the WD My DVR Expander and my SATA cord in order to move some stuff around in my family room AV rack.

I re-plugged everything in and it works; however, I lost the stuff stored on the WD My DVR Expander, but not on the SA8300HDC.

I didn't expect that.
I knew the external HD and DVR were "tied" together, but I thought that the data should still be on the HD.

Any comments?
Anyone know how to prevent that in the future?

Thanks.

Mike "

_ _ _ _ _ _

I actually just had the same thing happen to me. Bummed.

Anyone know a way to re-boot your DVR without losing material on your external DVR Xpander? I have the Apricorn Xpander.

Thanks!
post #30 of 50
So, I'm also having issues getting my WD 500 gig DVR Expander to work in NYC with my Time Warner SA 8300 HD. And this is the second one that they've sent me. Also, I was a bit confused that someone mentioned the 8300 HD having a % full field as I don't have one when I view List..where it should be. Please note that before this, I had the SA 8300 HDC, which I believe is a newer version and that one had this field available..unfortunately, that too didn't work with the expander and waiting for channels to change off the remote was painful.

Anyway, I'm now 0-2 trying to get an expander working with ANY SA box

Not sure what to do.....
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