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Picture Quality of SA8000HD vs SA3100HD Not as Good??  

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I just swapped out yesterday my 3100HD Scientific Atlanta box for the 8000HD PVR unit at Charter in Glendale yesterday. Does anyone else having done the same, who has a large display feel the HD picture is considerably softer, and the Y/C output for 4x3 material nowhere near as good either?

I have a good, calibrated JVC DILA projector with 8 1/2' wide image, and was quite happy with the 3100HD non PVR unit, and quit messing around with OTA in my sketchy hillside neighborhood and also with a Direct TV HD setup. I even felt the 3100 had a cleaner Y/C output than the previous non HD box from SA.

Now, even the video originated HD on Discovery and HDNET do not look all that great and Showtime and HBO HD...wow...some of my DVD's look at lot better. I thought maybe to be able to put 80 hours of HD programming on the hard drive that the compression would be so great that was the reason, but a technician at Scientific Atlanta said that would only affect footage that was recorded. Picked it up for the Olympics, but think I will return it for the 3100HD unit for a better picture.

Any ideas or observations?
post #2 of 6

Older versions of the SA8000HD software had known issues with PQ. Newer versions have made significant improvement.

The SA8000HD records the original digital bitstream for the digital and HD channels, so on those, there should be no difference between live and recordings. The SA8000HD does have to convert analog channels (typically 1-99) from analog to digital before they can be saved to hard disk, so some degradation does occur there as a result.

In the future, you may want to post to the HDTV Recorders forum, as that is where you will find most SA8000HD discussion. I would suggest looking through this thread first.
post #3 of 6
By Y/C, I hope you mean component instead of s-video? You cannot get a high-definition picture from s-video, composite, or coax. Also make sure you have the SA8000HD in 1080i mode.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
No, by Y/C I meant the S Video out for standard definition 4x3 images. Was using the component of course for HD. I just returned the unit looking to pick up another 3100 HD but they had the newer 3250 HD which they gave me. Hope the picture is as good on it. I think the main difference is it has DVI out and an optical as well as coax digital audio out.

Well maybe it was the software on the 8000HD that poorly affected the PQ. And yes, the analogue channels did have that converted to digital look that I didn't care for on the "analogue" channels on DirecTV.
post #5 of 6
No, by Y/C I meant the S Video out for standard definition 4x3 images.
The SA8000HD does not support HD and SD output simultaneously. If you were getting anything though through s-video, then you were in SD mode, and downconverting the output from component to 480i too.

Or were you switching between 480i and 1080i using menu options?
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Yes I found that out about it not outputting the "S" or Y/C video at the same time as HD thru component out, and that you had to shut it off (pain in butt) and change through menu every time. Am sure that is due to recording info needed by the unit. And that too was a downer for me as I like to be able to just change the input on my projector with the remote, to Y/C when I want to watch 4X3 footage on the "digital" or analogue channels, instead of the HD digital channels on component 1080I in.

I took the 8000HD unit back in yesterday, originally thinking I would try swapping it out for another to see if I got better PQ out of it, but while talking to the customer service gal behind the counter, I changed my mind due to that fact above, and to the 8000HD's really slow response on channel changing / menu issues. So I took home a non PVR newer 3250HD unit instead. It was actually considerably smaller width-wise than the older 3100HD unit.

Last night tried out the 3250HD and yes the image was much improved again both on HD through component and standard def footage from the Y/C out. Also, something the 3100 would not do, is that it gave me a 16x9 image with grey bars around it (downconverted to standard def. interlaced) if I was on Y/C input and chose one of the HD digital channels. Before the screen would just go black until I changed inputs on the projector. Nice feature if just checking what was on those channels real quick while watching non HD.

The only oddity is that my nicely calibrated projector, which often can run at zero detent settings for picture on DVD's and other source material, including the old 3100HD often, now requires for HD to have the nice punch and brightness you would expect, that I boost the brightness level and the contrast way up, with saturation also increased. Then it looks normal and outstanding again. Go figure.

Moral of this story is if you are swapping out non PVR HD Scientific Atlanta box for the 8000HD, you probably should have someone make certain you have the latest software, especially if running large images, and then make sure you like the picture as much as your old unit when you get it home and fire it up.
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