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Syracuse / Utica, NY - HDTV - Page 3

post #61 of 3984
Hi Everyone,

FYI - I posted this boxed segment here yesterday.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OK. Here's the scoop.

Got the 8000HD DVR this morning. TWC would let me keep the Pace, but I'd have to pay for it, so we hooked up the 8000 via component, and I left my Pace hooked up as well. We hooked the 8000 to the cable and I compared the two. What a saw was a very slight softening of the picture on the 8000 via component. And, I do mean slight. In fact, it is not at all different from what I see whenever I go from DVI to component. I will say that the picture looks better than my old 3100, but I'm relying on my memory of about a year ago -- probably not a good thing to do. I did notice significant deviation between hi-def channels -- more so than on the Pace. As others have noted, some channels are very dark, while others are very bright and somewhat washed out. We all know that HBO is dark, but this was really dark. Still, I think I can resolve this issue with 2 of my memory settings on the P50.

So, as picky as I am, I will conclude that PQ is fine in my book, very close to as good as I have ever gotten via component.

The good news is that the 8000 allows a whole host of picture modes and allows me to pick the mode I want. This is particularly helpful for SD since I do not like the stretch mode of the 8000. I prefer the variable stretch of my Fujitsu. Also, SD pictures upconverted from 480i on my Fujitsu are cleaner than the 8000. I will have to go and readjust many of my memory settings though.

Remote control response is a little slow, but seems about typical for SA (why are they the only ones that can't get it?). I'll bet that they just don't have the HDCP working yet (software-wise or license-wise) and that is why it is not active.

So, I guess my worst fears did not materialize, however, I still think if you want the best picture going, it is definitely the Pace 550 box via DVI. In my humble opinion, I would call the SA 8000HD at about 95% of the Pace in PQ only.

But, now I get to record! And, I can get a DVI DVD player since the port is now free.

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Now, after playing with it for a day, I find it frustrating that all analog outs (composite, s-video, VCR Archive) are defeated except component (duh?). If that wasn't bad enough, we all know that the 2 digital video capable outputs, DVI and IEEE1394, are not activated. So basically you get a STB with 6 video outputs, of which ONE, UNO, 1, SINGLE, SOLITARY video output actually works. Or am I missing something?

I've also run into an analog audio out problem with pops and crackling as well. I run the digital audio out to my pre/pro and the analog out to my Fujitsu P50 so we don't have to fire up the whole stereo system just to watch the news. I did unplug the unit and it went away -- don't know if it will return.

I also wish there was a way to more seamlessly move from HD to SD. As it is now I have to change my P50 from "normal" to "Wide 1" to stretch the 4:3 picture (the stretch on the 8000HD is horrendous) and then change the 8000HD from 1080i to 480i.

NOTE TO PENZLY - You can go into the settings and customize the picture formats. I only saved 2 - 480i and 1080i - but you can save all 8 (480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i all with both 4:3 and 16:9 ratios) if you want. When I watch SD I select 480i and let my P50 do the upconversion and stretch. Looks way better than the 8000HD.

I've since downgraded PQ a little more as well, having had some more time to spend with it. Maybe it's more like 90% of the Pace's PQ due to greater variability across channels, a little less color saturation, and just a shade less crisp. I think I can compensate for most of these problems with judicious tweaks on the P50.

I really think TWC and SA need to get this unit up to spec and there is little reason why they cannot do it. Otherwise, in a few months, maybe a year at most, the competitors are going to drive SA right out of the market.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to be as complete as possible and include what I had posted in another forum thread.

Best Regards,
David
post #62 of 3984
Yes using both. Cheap radio shack booster. All Syracuse stations on the digital side come in perfect. Side note wtvh (cbs) is broadcasting diferent games bc on the analog and the hd game on their digital channel.
post #63 of 3984
Rick,

Do you get WTVH's program guide on your Samsung STB? It is the
only channel that I cannot get program guide.

Thanks.
post #64 of 3984
Yes getting all channels from syracuse 30 miles away. Samsung's signal strength only shows 45% but picture is perfect and no drop outs

Thanks
Rick
post #65 of 3984
Quote:


Originally posted by MarketingProf
You can go into the settings and customize the picture formats. I only saved 2 - 480i and 1080i - but you can save all 8 (480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i all with both 4:3 and 16:9 ratios) if you want. When I watch SD I select 480i and let my P50 do the upconversion and stretch. Looks way better than the 8000HD.

Once the desired picture modes are saved, how do you select what mode to use? Is there a way to select the mode from the remote?
post #66 of 3984
Yes, just hit the "settings" button on the left once and a short menu will come up. Don't hit it twice or you get many other setting parameters.

Once there whatever aspect ratios you saved will be accessible. It should be visiable and one scroll down after you hit the settings button.

David
post #67 of 3984
This is my pet peeve. I wish the ability to sequence through the resolutions was tied to that # key or any single hard button as an option. I never zoom/stretch but I frequently switch between 1080i and 480p.
post #68 of 3984
Quote:


Originally posted by MarketingProf
Yes, just hit the "settings" button on the left once and a short menu will come up.David

Thanks. Yeah, the SA manual said how to save the settings, but didn't explicitly state how to select what you saved. At one point, my SA started stretching everything, both 16:9 and 4:3 ratios, and changing the saved settings didn't make a difference (so I temporarily unplugged the SA, and things went back to normal).


Anyway, wish there was a way to directly specify what saved setting to use (i.e. discrete codes), so that it can be easily programmed from a macro (e.g. when using Pronto).

On the Pace 550 box, in addition to 1080i and 720p, there is also a pass through option. I assume that pass through means that the Pace shouldn't convert the picture. Presumably, the pass through option is preferred if the display has a better upconverter than the Pace (or, if one uses a 720p front projector, to be able to pass through 720p signals directly, and, for 1080i signals have the projector do the conversion from 1080i to 720p). Anyway, doesn't look like the 8000HD has a pass through option. Question: if my display has a native 720p resolution, and I set the 8000HD to output 720p, and I watch ABC (which uses 720p), that the 8000HD won't "mess with" the signal?

Thanks.
post #69 of 3984
That's correct to a degree, you are referring to a high def signal rather than an analog signal so the information is arriving as a digital stream. So while it doesn't need to be converted to 720p, it does need to be converted from a digital stream to a component analog stream. Then the TV, monitor, or projector further converts the component analog stream to it's internal native display format (for tubes that's analog also). A DVI connection would eliminate the conversion to analog (high definition component analog - but analog just the same) between the set top box and the display's internals.

In the case where the set top box (8000HD) is set to display one hi-def format and the inbound stream is another (say 720p in and 1080i out or 1080i in and 720p out), the set top box converts from one digital format to the other and then converts to analog for component output.

I hope that was clear enough to follow.

Bottom line - the 8000HD does not 'mess with' the signal when the inbound format matches the selected outbound format (in my experience with this box).
post #70 of 3984
Folks:
I have been waiting for TW to enable the DVI output on the SA 8000 HD for several months now. I was told by the head digital cable techie that this was "on the way" but he couldn't say when. As of yesterday, they still had no information on when that would happen. The only way to connect the SA 8000 HDs that they are deploying now is via a component connection (as some of you already know 8^).

I have tried component (SA 3100) and my current STB (Pace 550) via DVI is significantly better and much more convenient with my TV. So, even for the HD DVR function, I won't give up my DVI connection... Sigh.
post #71 of 3984
I'm also waiting for a DVI connection before going with the DVR service.
post #72 of 3984
I hear ya, mnilan and Komoto. I'm on trial with the HD8000 right now, and while I do love being able to time shift, last night I switched between the HD and SD CBS "King of Queens" feeds, and I would not be able to impress anyone with HD that way. The HD picture was just not that great leap we have all come to know and love. I think I will have to give up the timeshift to get a real HD picture.

But, I still maintain that it is not just because of the DVI connection. I think the SA 8000HD box is at fault here. My component feed from the Pace seemed to be better than this (before my DVI cable arrived), but it is only a memory now, so I am not certain.

Does anyone have both the Pace and the SA8000HD? I'd love to have someone connect the Pace via component and compare the component signals from both boxes. I'd bet the Pace picture is quite a bit better.
post #73 of 3984
I have both the Pace and SA8000HD. With the Pace connected via DVI, its picture is quite a bit better than the SA's. I recorded the Sopranos. It's quality is truly hi-def, but when watching a recorded version in the SA, its picture was very soft - not something I would use to demo my system.
But, it is nice being able to record in hi-def, and the picture quality is still better than using my old TiVo to record standard def (although the TiVo's user interface is, IMHO, far superior, but that's another story).

I'm currently using an NEC HT1000 front projector, whose resolution is 1024x576. This resolution is better than DVD, but not as good as 1080i and 720p (1280x720). Thus, the difference that I've observed will likely be even more noticeable with a higher resolution front projector. I plan on upgrading to a Marantz VP12-S3 soon. I'll see how they compare with the Marantz, using component and DVI from the Pace. I'll do this test in about a week or so, and report my findings.

One other problem that I have with keeping both boxes is that both the Pace and SA share the same remote control codes. I'll try to solve this issue by using my Pronto TSU3000 to send Pace commands via RF, and have the RF converted to IR, and send the IR to the Pace (while covering the Pace so that it doesn't get IR intended for the SA).
post #74 of 3984
Randman, Thanks!

Have you ever compared the Pace and 8000HD both via component?

My P50 is 1366x768 so I can see a clear difference that is not subtle at all.

Also, I don't mind a bit of softening when playing a recording, but the original feed should look the same from any hi-def box.

I may as well state what I really think -- I think the SA 8000HD has an inferior tuner compared with the Pace 550. If you can compare the 2 boxes both via component, it might provide some evidence.
post #75 of 3984
Folks:
I received an update from the head techie for digital TV at TWCNY on my query about DVI support for the SA 8000HD. It sounds encouraging and it indicates that they are listening to our concerns . I like that in a cable company!

"If I were to hazard a guess on DVI support for the SA [8000] HD DVR, I'd say another month or so. I'm testing a new release that still does not have DVI support, but does have fixes for things like recording just first runs of programming; activating the VCR outputs so that you can archive to VCR while watching another show; and auto erase of oldest programming if selected.

On some of the early releases there were issues with going back and forth between HD and SD. Some of that will be resolved with new software and some will be resolved with DVI support. However, a number of the issues that we see revolve around the quality of the content that is being sent to up, how it was converted to HD, and the final processing equipment. Without mentioning names, some of the content that is delivered to us is less than ideal.

Some of the DVI issues that we're dealing with involve how the individual CE manufacturer chose to implement the DVI/HDCP standards. Initial trials showed that there were issues with handshaking on some manufacturer's sets and they have been working in the various labs to find a way to release drivers that have a minimal number of issues once deployed."
post #76 of 3984
Well, I imagine that whenever an HD customer turns down the DVR service because of lack of DVI connectivity, that sends a message. Heck, I've turned down no less than 3 STB replacements for my overheating Pace box, because they aren't DVI nor toslink sound. That should send a message as well. But it relies on good interoffice communication....

As far as odd DVI/HDCP, about 10% of the time I fire up my Pace STB I get an error that my tv's interface doesn't properly support HDCP (it should, samsung hln617w). I call up the programming menu and it displays the image just fine. Wonkiness imo.
post #77 of 3984
WTVH does not turn on their digital signal on many, if not all, Sundays.

Is it just me or everyone is having the same problem?

On the good news front, WTVH finally fixed their program guide so that
my STB can pick it up.
post #78 of 3984
I have got the same problem out here in Clinton, NY. WTVH drops out for no apparent reason, even though the signal strength is same. It seems to happen just after some inclement weather and usually returns to normal w/in 24 hours. It happened just this last Sunday night.

All other channels are working normally. WSTM, WCNY, WIXT. Until today, I thought I was having an issue with my receiver.


I am using a Winegard PR9032, Channel Master 7777, Zenith HDV42
post #79 of 3984
I think the forum at www.rochesterhdtv.com is better for discussion of Syracuse HDTV-related topics. There are just too many threads here at AVS forum.
post #80 of 3984
Do I like I do, subscribe to this one
post #81 of 3984
Folks:
Last I heard, TWCNY was supposed to have the SA 8000 HD with DVR and a DVI connection in June. Anyone seen one? Anyone heard anything?
post #82 of 3984
I've had the SA 8000HD DVR for a couple of months now, but the DVI has not yet been activated. I've called but no confirmation on when it will be activated.

David
post #83 of 3984
Hi everyone,
I've been lurking for a while and now I see my chance to jump into the conversations! I've had the 8000HD since Februrary and it's worked pretty well. Recently, I've been checking the software version numbers and mine is still relatively old. The active SA 8000HD thread has some posts for people who have had software upgrades downloaded. I think one of the newer versions is 1.83.4.a4 and mine is still 1.82.something (I'm at work, so I don't have the actual number).

I think that newer version includes additional DVR features but it wasn't clear to me if the DVI is enabled for the release. In any case, I don't think TWCNY has pushed that version out in this area yet.

Mike
post #84 of 3984
Folks:
I got this update from my techie at TW when I asked him about the update on the SA 8000 HD:

"Not yet here, I believe that Austin is testing the newest release. We
will be getting the latest approved release out to customers this week
which will include the ability to record only first run programs, a gas
gauge for drive space, burn-in protection for people who pause their
videos, and a few other features.

We are, however, testing the newest HD product which instead of a DVI
connector has the new HDMI connector which has the digital video and
audio all in one connector. This connection is backward compatible with
DVI when used with an adapter. It also has some other features that I
can't discuss yet due to disclosure agreements, but they're features
that I think you'll like.

No word yet on additional HD channels."

Not sure what he meant by "ability to record only first run programs..." which doesn't sound good... Also doesn't sound like they are going to bother turning on the DVI but will opt for the next generation hardware with HDMI... That doesn't sound good either since I was offered the SA 8000 without DVI in January or February and I opted to stay with the Pace 550 and wait for a DVI connection. Sure would like an HD DVR tho... I will double check on these details and get back to you.
post #85 of 3984
I agree, mnilan. I'm still on the Pace box, despite it being an overheating nightmare: at least one reboot every evening, despite extra cooling measures I took. I tried to get a replacement several times but was only offered component boxes, and I stayed away from the DVR service to preserve my DVI connection.

I don't see much benefit in the audio component of HDMI, so that disclosure agreement removes any reason for upgrading imo.

You should make sure to reference this thread next time you talk to your tech buddy
post #86 of 3984
mnilan,
That sounds very interesting. I believe the "first run programming" is a feature where if you want to record a show, like Friends, it will record only shows that are new and not re-runs. Based on the (very) large SA 8000HD thread in the HDTV Recorders forum, that is a feature which other (unnamed) DVRs have and the SA box lacked.

Any info on an HDMI box would be great. Did they give you any indication if a new box with HDMI would simply be an HDTV box or an HD-DVR box? In other words, would that HDMI-enabled box be a replacement for the SA 8000HD?

Also, here's a question that has been bugging me since I got HD from TWCNY. The TWCNY webpage says that they can get all the ATSC signals but that they ouput only 1080i.

Quote:
What resolution will the HDTV terminal support?
Our High Def box can decode all 18 ATSC digital standards, however, it will convert HD programming to 1080i.

I know the SA8000HD has the ability to switch between different resolutions, 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i; you have to do it manually, but it can be done. Does that mean if I'm watching ABC and I choose 720p on the SA box, the signal comes in as 720p, then TWCNY converts it to 1080i, then the box down converts it back to 720p? Or does the 720p signal from ABC go straight through the box if 720p is selected? Does that make any sense?
post #87 of 3984
I think you are expecting too much from the web page marketing folks. I have the 8000HD DVR and near as I can tell it doesn't convert to intermediate resolutions (say 720p in then 1080i then 720p out). I believe it only messes with the signal if the inbound standard and the outbound setting don't match.

The thing that really matters is the ability to pass the signal through as is (pass-thru as it is referred to). Then whatever ATSC setting (4x3 480i, 4x3 480p, 16x9 720p, 16x9 1080i being generally recognized and supported of the 18 standards) would be decoded and presented as-is (your monitor or projector would deal with it natively).
post #88 of 3984
Folks:
mjf17 is correct about the "first run" issue. Here is the full message"

"Sorry for the confusion. I think that the timing will be close and the
new box with the HDMI may be available before full support is approved
for the DVI port on the existing port.

With the current code you can record one episode of a recurring show or
all episodes. With the new code you can choose to record just the
first-run episodes so that you don't get reruns. You can also set it to
record a program only in a specific time frame."

I will query him again on the HDMI box and DVR capability...

As far as I understand things, RaDiKal is correct on the way the STBs handle different resolutions. My display is 720p native and I have my Pace set for that output. I have experimented with both the Pace and my display doing the conversions and I don't see much difference.

More later...
post #89 of 3984
Folks:
Yes, the new HDMI set-top-box will have DVR capability. I asked for clarification on when but no definitive word yet... Sigh.
post #90 of 3984
mnilan,
That's great news! I'm glad you're able to get good info from the TW folks. Did they mention if the HDMI equipped HD-DVR will be another SA offering? Or is it from a different manufacturer? Just curious to see if they have a model number so that we can find specs online.

Mike
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