Greetings, Jay, Scott, and other Triangle-area TWC-over-DVI aspirants:
BIG disaster today on the TWC front. As noted in a previous post, I was also having the problem with the DVI cable connection and the Pace box reporting that it wasn't HDCP compliant. However, I discovered that by turning on the TV (Sony 34XBR910) and THEN the Pace box instead of leaving the Pace box on all the time, the DVI setup worked fine. The Super Bowl on WRAL HD last night over DVI with the Pace box was nothing short of stunning. My guests couldn't stop talking about how amazing it looked, particularly the promo montage of CBS HD programs at one commercial break. It was truly breathtaking, and I very rarely use such hyperbole.
However, being the perfectionist that so many of us are, I called a tech out today to iron out that "HDCP compliant" error message kink so that I could just leave the Pace box on and turn on the TV when needed without having to deal with the HDCP error message. It was working 95% perfectly, so why not iron out this last problem, I thought? I was at work when the tech arrived, but my wife was there to let him in, and I talked to him over the phone.
The tech said that the Pace boxes were lower quality than the Scientific Atlanta boxes, that he had had a Pace box in his home and had switched it back for an SA box, that I should let him do the same for me, that the DVI would work fine (danger Will Robinson), and that the image quality on the SA box would be better than the Pace box. Like a knuckle-dragging moron and against my better judgment, I allowed the tech to switch out the Pace for an SA box, hoping that he knew what he was talking about and that indeed the DVI would work without quirks, and that image quality would be even better as the tech claimed. BAD mistake on my part.
So I get home, and immediately notice the nice 5-foot rut in my lawn beside the driveway that the tech so considerately supplied. I head inside, and note that the DVI cable is connected to the Scientific Atlanta box, but so is a set of component cables. Not a good sign. Sure enough, the DVI on my 34XBR910 (Video 7) is not receiving a signal, the lower SD channels look like @#%@# over component, and HD channels don't look anywhere near as good as they did over DVI (no big surprise).
Further, there's grey pillarboxes on the sides of 4:3 content in normal mode instead of the Pace's less intrusive black pillarboxes, AND the wide modes of the TV have been magically disabled in favor of the SA box's wide and zoom modes! My spouse was already happy using the 910's wide zoom mode for 4:3, and now she can't access it--they're greyed out and inaccessible in the 910's menu. She (and I) are NOT HAPPY about this at all.
The first guy at TWC I talk to by phone tonight tells me that the fact that the DVI connection worked at all on the Pace box was a "fluke", and that NO HD boxes in the TWC network are supposed to support DVI until a large-scale software upgrade to their HD boxes at the end of March. That was not what I wanted to hear. Of course, I asked for my "fluke" Pace box back, but no dice. "So there's nothing that can be done about this?!?", I ask incredulously. "Uh, no." Freaking great.
After that, I notice that I was left no documentation for the SA box either. Thoroughly infuriated now, I call back and talk to a 2nd guy who welcomes me to either come exchange the box, or he'll send out another tech later this week to do it. I'm ripping out the SA box and will be down there tomorrow AM at opening to exchange it for another hopefully equally "flukey" Pace box.
So, moral of the story--if you've got a Pace box that has the HDCP compliance error message issue with a DVI connection, do what I did before, and turn your display on before powering up the Pace box--doing that, you should be fine, or at least that was my experience. Under no circumstances let TWC lead you to believe that the SA box will be a better option.
Thanks for reading all this.