Okay here is my take:
I got my HD300 setup last night. My setup is a 51 inch Sony HDTV using the DVI cables with a PIII dish and a Terk44 OTA antenna.
First impressions were good. This being my first HD receiver I cannot really compare it to anything else other than my SD receiver. The setup was very quick and easy and the feel and use of the user guide and IPG was nice. It includes DVI, component, s-video, rca and RF connections which is very nice!!
Now on to the bad:
First: Something that has already been mentioned is that you cannot set the custom guide to be the default guide that opens when you hit the guide button on the remote. My older Sony SATB65 does this fine so the reason that they didnâ€™t want you to miss any new channels from D* is just an excuse for this oversight. The favorite channel is not really a substitute for this problem as it can only hold 50 channels and not the entire list of â€œfilteredâ€ channels that you have in the custom guide. This is a very annoying feature
Second: The picture preview in the IPG frequently gets distorted. By distorted I will use this example. If any of you have ever seen a computer monitor that is on its last legs and is just about to go bad you will know what I mean. There are scan lines that get compressed together into one big mess on either the left or right of the preview picture leaving a small slit to see the see the remaining view of the channel. Other times the colors become out of alignment where for example the red color scan will be way off base from the green. When this happens is kind of looks like a RPTV that has the convergence totally screwed up. The fix as I have found is to close the IPG, change channel away and back again and then open the IPG. This may be related to the aspect ratio that is used at the opening of the IPG but I have not been able to narrow that down.
Third: System crashes & resets. I first setup the unit on Friday 8:00 pm
Friday 9:30 pm Crash 1: After having the system running for about 1.5 hours I opened up the IPG from a digital OTA station. I then moved through the guide to HDNM and click on it so select that channel. The unit then appeared not to respond so I tried to select it again but found out that it was indeed frozen and not responding to any commands from the remote. About 10 seconds later I heard the system shutdown and next saw the startup screen indicating is was building the channel list.
Saturday 4:00 pm Crash 2: I was in the process of using the IPG to determine what was causing â€œproblem number 2 (see above)â€. I was moving between channels in the IPG. I left the IPG up on a digital OTA channel to stop for a minute and lookup something in the manual when again I heard the system shutdown. It again rebooted and when into the adding channels screen.
Saturday 4:45 pm Crash 3: I was in the IPG currently previewing ESPNHD and decided to move to HDNET and select it for viewing. After I highlighted, but before I selected it, I heard a click and saw that the receiver was powered off. There was no display on the front LCD and the powered off/standby light was on. BUT there still was a picture of the IPG on the monitorâ€™s screen! From the remove I tired to power the unit on but it would not respond to anything (I guess it the only thing is should respond to is a power on since it was in effect turned off, but the fact that the IPG was still on the screen AND the preview channel was still active and showing a current picture had me second guessing). I walked over to the receiver and click the power button but nothing happened. Next I hit the reset button which, then cleared the IPG and preview from the TV monitor and looked to be starting the restart/power on process I had seen twice before. But, this time it just simply reset and keep itself powered off without going through the adding channel list. I then proceeded to power it on again from the unit itself and this time it came up and did the whole adding channel list thing and powered up.
Now, I should add that there was no common channel or source for which these 3 crashes occurred. One was only on digital OTA, one was going between digital OTA to D* and the other was between D* and D* channels. Now to anyone that says that â€œresets will happen because of the providers and sourcesâ€ I say this. I work in programming and one that this is completely unacceptable are errors that would cause ones hardware to fail. Errors should be trapped and handled in such away as to eliminate any â€œsystem shutdownsâ€. Even if the error isnâ€™t know there are ways in which one can trap for â€œunknown errorsâ€ and depending on severity the can be handled in different ways, which do not include shutting down the entire system. Now the disadvantage we as programmers have the LG doesnâ€™t is that we didnâ€™t write the OS and in the case of electronics the OS and functionality are really build into one software package (or firmware). I believe the crashing I have been seeing is totally unacceptable! I am also completely disappointed as I held off on for over 2 months from buying an HD receiver because I was under the impression that the stability issues in the first 2 generations of the STB had been/or should have been resolved in this latest edition. I mean common they had 3 iterations to get this thing right.
So now I ask a question to you all. Being that this is my first HD receiver I am wondering if or when a firmware upgrade will be provided to correct these critical bugs? What has been the procedure in the past? I know with my old Sony SD receiver, in the 3 years I have owned it I have received 1 firmware upgrade and that it came after the box was 2 years old. Are we expected to wait 2 years for an update or am I being foolish in thinking an upgrade will even come? What are you thoughts?
On the positive side to all this, I should add that during my 3 crashes in less than 24 hours, the custom channel list & and favorite channels were all retained and available when the receiver finally recovered. Also, all timer events were retained so there does not appear to be any problem with the system remembering any settings.