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TWC - Houston DVR Service  

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
All -- the 8000HD model is out today, has anyone picked up just the plain SA 8000? I have been waiting for this for sometime now, but the lady I spoke with at TWC Houston continues to tell me it is in testing.

The website has been updated showing it as available...

Thanks for any help!
post #2 of 21
I picked up the non HD model and a HD Model. Both work great. Initial impression is that the PQ quality on the HD model is not as great as the Motorola HD box it replaced.
To get your box just drop by one oft he many Houston service centers and let them know you want a PVR.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
I took a chance last night on the way home and swung by a payment center. I am now the proud new renter of a SA 8000!

I am testing the recording today on some less than stellar programming, but I want to make sure that all is well with the unit.

Might anyone know of a good FAQ on the features/use of this model? Also, this is very preliminary, but the picture quality in the lower channels 2-20 seem exceptionally worse then what I got running cable straight through to my TV.

I have an older Toshiba 61" non-HD television 2000 year model. Can't remember the exact model number..
post #4 of 21
I would agree that the lower channels PQ is worst. Did anyone call Time Warner Houston and got a resolution for this problem. Also the only output that seems to work is the HD components.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
I am just using the coax to the tv (i know i know...), but I only have one set of components into the bigscreen and the DVD takes those.

I listened through the RCAs out through the stereo which I have the wireless headphones setup on (my two year old sleeps on the other side of the wall of the living room -- worst decision we have made!!)
post #6 of 21
Today is September 2, 2004. I am anxiously awaiting TWC to come by and re-install cable TV for me. I have been a Directv customer for 3 years now, ans a RoadRunner customer for two years as well. When I learned of the High Definition TIVO price tag of $1,000, Time Warner's Scientific Atlanta 8000HD box, and digital package looked VERY GOOD to me. Therefore I am ditching the dish for TWC's HD package.

I have a properly tweaked Hitchai 50V500A, which is very much HD ready.

I will let you'all know how things go today.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
sounds great clint -- I did not know TiVo was going to be that pricey...

you will likely be a little disappointed in the lack of recording methods on the SA 8000(HD). no search by actor and I am still unsure of how to record a show like Law & Order that appears on multiple channels...

if anyone knows a little more on methods of recording, I would be interested!
post #8 of 21
Well, folks, it is now 6:00 PM, and all is WELL!

The TW technicians came by at around 1:20 today. They were EARLY! that has never happened in the history of all of my dealings with them.

Sure enough, they brought out the SciAl 8000HD, just as I had requested. I shoed the tech the input into where I wanted to plug the YPBPR cable. and I todl him to set it to "pass through" on the settings.

Once the box was hooked up to the cable, and the TV, and the Optical Cable was connected, then he turned on the PVR to download the latest firmware and data. Then a screen came up, which asked for him to call customer service. this was necessary so that they could enter the serial number of the DVR into their system, and activate things from their end.

That having been done, (all of 5 minutes) the fun began. There it was on my screen in 1080i. Channels such as PBSHD, TNTHD, DiscoveryHD, etc, in 16 by 9 and digital sound through my Dolby Digital system!!!

A majority of cable stations come in at 480P, but I can change the aspect ratio from the PVR remote on the fly. for the most part the PQ is stunning on my Hitchai 50V500A television.

I will be spending some of the evening learning How to work with the PVR functions. and then setting it to record my favorite shows, such as ST DS9, ST TNG, Trails of Intrigue, etc, etc, and Daria (for a good laugh)

But before I do that fellow Houstonians, I will be putting my Tivo on Ebay for sale.

BTW, I am starting an Ebay Seller Assistant business. Do any of you have stuff to sell, but don't want to bother with the complexities of Ebaying?

If so, let me know.

clinthall@houston.rr.com
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by clinthall
The TW technicians came by at around 1:20 today. They were EARLY! that has never happened in the history of all of my dealings with them.
Well, I had that happen once. They showed up hours earlier than scheduled...and then had the nerve to call me angrily 5 minutes before the appointment asking if I was home, etc.

The appointment was for them to be there at 5pm-7pm (meaning I would sli out of work a little earlier than normal....). Coming early when I'm still at work isn't my fault. I was home 15 minutes before the appointment.....
While they were working....they moaned and complained a lot more....because they didn't see me come home, etc. Well I work across the way behind my apartment....they were parked across the street in front of it.

The appointment was to replace a dead DVR....I was being inconvienenced and they just sat in an airconditioned truck for hours before my appointment doing nothing..... :mad:

The Dreamer.
post #10 of 21
I picked up both a standards and HD unit. I took them both back the next day. There is absolutely no comarrison between those units and a Tivo. The interface simply sucks. I would list the issues but a simple google search will do the trick. Those units are horrid. Might consider the HD one but for me the PQ, speed, usability was more important than the few times I would want to record HD.

Quote:
But before I do that fellow Houstonians, I will be putting my Tivo on Ebay for sale.
Let's see about that after you actually use it...
post #11 of 21
Hi,

I have had a ReplayTV and this 8000HD.

So far my impressions of it -


Pros:

CHEAP! $6 a month

No need for a direct line conection to internet/dial up

LED display is much more clear than my previous motorola box

HD recording is pretty decent

Versatility in screen formating

PIP works suprisingly well

Easy activation with a simply phone call to a automated system

No need for a tech to come out to setup


Cons:

Recording playback in Non-HD is not that great, compared to the replayTV maybe a medium or low setting.

User interface is cumbersome. Lots of hitting various buttons and confirmations even on one show you want to start recording.

iControl is slooooowwwww on this and disables the recording options.

Menu is UGLY, Purple, Pink, and Gray.

Outdated firmware, lots of features and ports disabled, cannot interface with your PC.



So far though for $6 a month this is a steal for what you get. If you want to go for better recording quality without a doubt get a replayTV or tivo. If you want something cheap that gets the job done with some quality loss 8000HD is for you.
post #12 of 21
Has anyone in Houston experienced that the unit turns itself off after a while?

Every evening I leave it on when I go to bed so that I don't have to do the trick to downconvert the 8000HD to work with my standard television.

When I awake the unit has actually physically shut itself off (the green power light is off - although the clock still shows).

This is a pain becuase I have to hold select, press Vol - then Ch + to re-downconvert the signal to 480p. Aside from this inconvenience I'm curious whether the unit works like a VCR and will turn itself back on to do an early morning recording - guess I could just go test it, but if someone knows the answer I'd appreciate your input.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
brim -- it will record when in the off position.

i have now had two major flubs -- one on a recording of the NBC show "Joey" Channel 12 which cut off at the end and another of Charlie Rose on PBS Channel 8.

Um. This pisses me off to no end. I had gotten to the point where I would record five minutes before and after a show to make sure I got the thing recorded on the VCRs -- I had hoped the DVR would eliminate this aspect of recording.

I do not want to manually record every show -- part of the convenience of the thing is to set up the all episode feature...

anyone know if I might be doing something wrong or missing a setting somewhere?
post #14 of 21
Got a SA8000HD Saturday - after much effort in making it work for my situation, I'm taking it back and will swap for a SD version. I previously had a Dish PVR501, and should have left well enough alone. The SA8000HD only has a component output for the primary display, and RF and s-video outputs only for the second (PIP) display. All guides and program info are active only on the primary display - can't even go up- and down-channel on the PIP, even though the remote has keys for it. Tried an X-blaster to convert component to RGB on an LCD monitor, but the picture was squashed and the colors were bad. Looked great on a 17" widescreen Sharp LCD TV at 480i (not designed for HD). Drives my wife nuts she can't get the same picture on all TV's - the PIP picture is displayed on everything but the primary TV. When PIP is off, there is no picture on the other TVs.

I got the SA8000HD primarily for the larger hard drive, HD (minor reason), and local channels - the total is cheaper than Dish since Time Warner has a $20/mo discount for previous Dish customers.

My situation is probably unique. I have s-video routed from my old DVR though a receiver, and out to an X1 projector and LCD TV in the den, and RF out to an LCD TV in the breakfast nook adjacent to it. With the Dish remote, being RF, I could do everything from any TV. Since the SA remote isn't RF, I have to be line-of-sight, but that isn't a major problem.

By the way, I am very pleased with the remote. It's by Universal Electronics and has the JP1 interface connector, so it should be very easy to customize. Has CBL, TV, AUD, DVD, and AUX buttons.

Update on 9/14/04:
I finally found a user's manual on-line and was able to configure the box for SD-only, which solved my problems. I'm able to output RF, S-video, and composite video in SD mode. This box is extremely sophisticated - you can change the color of menus, add closed captions, etc.
post #15 of 21
Update for me:

Taking this POS back. Yes it's cheap but man does it have problems that I just figured out.

Reasons:
1. Slow channel change
2. awful, and i mean AWFUL picture quality even in HD
3. Constant changing to/from 1080i<->420p and slow to do so
4. Loss of picture needing power off the cable and power on
5. Playback is slow, unrealiable, and pixelated
6. No way to change recording features (IE High, Low, Mid, Video quality, etc..)
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Rage2132
Taking this POS back. Yes it's cheap but man does it have problems that I just figured out.

Reasons:
1. Slow channel change
2. awful, and i mean AWFUL picture quality even in HD
3. Constant changing to/from 1080i<->420p and slow to do so
4. Loss of picture needing power off the cable and power on
5. Playback is slow, unrealiable, and pixelated
6. No way to change recording features (IE High, Low, Mid, Video quality, etc..)
For anyone else reading this thread and wondering if the 8000HD is for them, here is "the rest of the story" you need to have to make an informed choice:

1) Slow channel change is due to the pause-live-TV capability. SA could probably do a better job of this (does Tivo have this problem?), but at least right now it's one of the prices you pay for that capability. My PC's PVR solution does something similar. Even so, it's not *that* slow, and I haven't found it to be distracting. It's sure as heck a lot faster than the old Moto 5100 digital tuner I used to have, even if it's not as fast as the Moto 6200 this box replaced.

2) I wholeheartedly dispute the claim of awful PQ in HD. I'll agree the PQ may be worse for analog channels compared to the Moto 6200 box I replaced, but I can tell no difference on digital channels (SD or HD). Others have also reported no difference even using A/B compare with the boxes side-by-side. My HD PQ is as fantastic as it ever was.

3) The box only swaps formats when you switch between channels of different formats. Even when I'm channel surfing, I hit one swap at the beginning of the HD tier, and another swap when I go back to SD content. I'd hardly call that "constant changing from 1080i<>480p". Even so, if the swapping torques you off, there are options. The box can upconvert all signals to 1080i, for instance, and you could use the 8000HD's or your TV's various zoom features to compensate for the upconverted SD content.

4) I have not experienced this behavior, nor have I heard this reported by any other 8000HD users.

5) Playback is "slow"? I don't understand. If you mean "slow to respond to remote commands", it's true that it's not as responsive as my DVD player. However, it's faster than iControl was on my Moto6200. It could be better, but I don't find it to be a significant issue. I don't understand what "unreliable" means in this context. I will agree that recorded analog PQ is not the greatest. However, it's better than VCR quality (IMHO), and since VCR is my only other recording option, I still consider that an improvement.

6) It's true that there are no options for adjusting the recording quality. For digital channels, that wouldn't make sense, as the box simply records the original digital signal exactly as it is transmitted. It would be nice to have that for analog, but oh well.

In direct comparison to the Moto 6200 HD STB this 8000HD replaced at my house, this box is slower to change channels and seems to have poorer analog PQ. It's also slower to swap between 480p/1080i modes. However, the 8000HD's program guide is far superior, its ability to upconvert/downconvert formats is superior, and its dual-tuner capability which allows PIP via the STB is superior.

Then there's that whole recording capability thing...
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by brimagick
Has anyone in Houston experienced that the unit turns itself off after a while?

Every evening I leave it on when I go to bed so that I don't have to do the trick to downconvert the 8000HD to work with my standard television.

When I awake the unit has actually physically shut itself off (the green power light is off - although the clock still shows). ... Aside from this inconvenience I'm curious whether the unit works like a VCR and will turn itself back on to do an early morning recording - guess I could just go test it, but if someone knows the answer I'd appreciate your input.
I found this by accident, and thought it was interesting: SA's pamphlet touting their "DVR 1.1 software improvements".

Under the section titled "Enter and exit 'Power-Save Mode' ":
Quote:
During the hours of 1am and 6am, your set top will automatically enter power-save mode. ... In the power-save mode, the set-top is powered-down, but all programs scheduled to be recorded will still be recorded.
I can't imagine what drove them to do this, unless there are known heat-related issues associated with the box, and this is designed to reduce the long term heat stress the box is exposed to. Or maybe there's some California power-consumption regulation that says electronics manufacturers have to start including auto-off functionality in their devices... Who knows.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by brimagick
Has anyone in Houston experienced that the unit turns itself off after a while?

Every evening I leave it on when I go to bed so that I don't have to do the trick to downconvert the 8000HD to work with my standard television.

When I awake the unit has actually physically shut itself off (the green power light is off - although the clock still shows).

This is a pain becuase I have to hold select, press Vol - then Ch + to re-downconvert the signal to 480p. Aside from this inconvenience I'm curious whether the unit works like a VCR and will turn itself back on to do an early morning recording - guess I could just go test it, but if someone knows the answer I'd appreciate your input.
I have had the same experience. The problem, for me, is that it doesn't turn back on in the same mode (SD) or on the same channel. It's happened during the day several times, too. Have to turn it off, push the GUIDE and INFO buttons on the box, push the "A Triangle" when it changes to SD, then turn power on. The most aggravating thing about this is that it would be totally unnecessary if they had the SD outputs to display the same thing as the main screen instead of the PIP screen.
post #19 of 21
I've never had satillite service of any kind nor HD and I love the SD dvr so far. I think the picture quality is better than the digital box was.

My wife alreadys wants another one for our bedroom.
post #20 of 21
So, under what option do you find the settings to change the menu colors? Also, you can set the SA8000 to "pass through" meaning it will deliver the signal as is is comming down the cable. When up converting all channels to 1080i, what results have you all had with this setting?

This product certianly needs to undergo some changes and improvements. Therefore let us continue to mention our likes and dislikes here, and make them known to TWC. They read these forums too!

When it is all said and done, this product is a winner. In time they will activate the DVI port.
post #21 of 21
Using the remote, press the "Settings" button twice to get a menu with dozens of settings you can change. Scroll to "Set: Color Scheme" to change the menu colors. Just a bit further, look for "Set: Picture Format" to modify how the signal is processed en route to your TV. The Color Scheme settings are pretty straightforward.

The Picture Format is a little less obvious. There are four choices: Fixed, Pass-through, Upconvert 1, and Upconvert 2. Your results using these choices will differ somewhat depending on which TV modes you said were available during the SA8000HD's initial setup wizard. Pass-through will leave the signal unchanged, unless the signal coming in is not supported by your TV. In that case, the SA8000 will try to make the "best match" it can. Upconvert 1 means inputs of 480i or 480p are output at 480p. Inputs of 720p or 1080i are output at 1080i. Upconvert 2 does the same thing for 480i/p, but inputs of 720p or 1080i are output at 720p. Fixed locks the output format to whatever format you're using when you make that selection (i.e., to lock the output to 1080i, tune to a 1080i source, then select "Fixed").

Upconverting all channels to 1080i looks (to me) a lot like the SD content that's upconverted to 1080i on network TV like CBS or NBC. You get the black border around everything. Pressing the "#" key on the remote will apply stretch and/or zoom to the picture to help it fill the screen, but on my unit the full-screen zoom truncates the top and bottom of the image, so I don't use it.

(Edit: Here's a SA user manual that includes explanations of these and similar features.)

Jim
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