The information I have from the local Time Warner Cable folks is that the SA 8300 is being beta-tested in a couple of places - at least here in Syracuse, NY and in Austin, TX. One of the reasons for the beta testing is that there are problems with the HDCP handshaking.
(I found this VERY interesting): Apparently, HDCP is not actually a precise "standard" that everyone follows. Instead, the consumer electronics manufacturers each have their own unique implementation of it. As Time Warner learned with the Pace 550 STBs and is dealing with currently with the SA 8000 STBs, this requires figuring out the problems with EACH manufacturer and the SA 8300 is no exception. What has to be done through beta-testing is to find out which manufacturers' displays (and peripherials) are having problems, find out the nature of these problems and then get SA to create solutions. It appears as if some of these solutions can be done through software/firmware updating but others require modification of the physical STB.
The "fix" for the DVI port on the SA 8000s is apparently behind schedule (read: WAY behind schedule) so Time Warner (at least) is focusing on the 8300 now because it is HDMI and this is backward compatible with DVI. So, it appears as if those of you who are waiting for the DVI to be activated will probably find yourselves with an SA 8300 before that happens. NOTE: Some displays will work with the SA 8000 implementation of DVI but it doesn't look like there is going to be a national rollout of DVI for the SA 8000...
This is interesting because the delay isn't the cable companies' fault nor is it Scientific Atlanta, nor is it any individual manufacturer. What we have is chaos and no one to blame. Kind of makes you wonder why they wouldn't just tell us... We will just have to be patient.
On my own beta-testing of the SA 8300, the Samsung DLPs obviously have a problem with the HDCP handshaking. The first 8300 I tested would drop out of HDCP sync quite often, display the error message (see an earlier posting for the message), and then go back to the program after 30 seconds to 2 minutes. The new one I have not only has fewer breaks in the HDCP sync but also the breaks don't even last long enough for the error message to show up on the screen. (NOTE: This is quite intriguing to me. If anyone has any ideas why the frequency and duration of breaks would be different, please let me know). It is still quite distracting however and is not acceptable. The DVR has the same issue with HDCP sync.
The only other problem I have noted is a rather strange implementation of aspect ratio control. I have some fooling around to do, but currently, the 8300 shows 4:3 programs in a stretch mode (I HATE that and since I don''t have any burn-in concerns, I don't ever use stretch) because I have a 16:9 display. Because it is a digital HDMI connection, my display's aspect ratio control is disabled... I haven't finished trying to address this and will report back to you folks as developments warrant...