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SA 8300 HD Tips & Tricks -- SARA - Page 284

post #8491 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by flycaster View Post

Hey, my wife is a big gal...I may not want to take any chances getting her dander up (LOL).

BTW, could someone answer this previously question within my post:

"Going back to my format setup, 480p Standard and 720p, CVJ/HDMI Auto, am I right in that this forces a 480i signal into 480p and an a 1080i signal into 720p? And if so, who does this: the STB or the TV. If not the TV, then how can I use the TV's processor rather then the STB'S?"

The STB does the conversion. To force the TV to do the conversion, allow all formats on the STB.
post #8492 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

I always recommend trying the "hard" reboot (see First Post) vs a standard reboot before returning a unit. This will reset all internal indicators and force a download of the software if needed. If that doesn't help, then replace it.

A Reboot (see below) can also force a download of the software if needed. I have seen this happen several times.

Reboot. Unplug power cord for 5 or more seconds and then plug it back in.
post #8493 of 8829
Before I allow all screen formats, am I right that by using the TV's processing the TV's PQ would be better than if the STB did the processing? Also, when opening all formats, will one get more or fewer bars? I know that when using 480p standard and 720p, I don't have to mess with bars.
post #8494 of 8829
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flycaster View Post

Before I allow all screen formats, am I right that by using the TV's processing the TV's PQ would be better than if the STB did the processing? Also, when opening all formats, will one get more or fewer bars? I know that when using 480p standard and 720p, I don't have to mess with bars.

Well, the 8300 is at least 6 years old now, so I would imagine the chipset in your newer TV would do a better job. However, it's debatable that you will be able to see the difference even if it technically does do a better job.

You should see no difference with 480i vs 480p (unless you incorrectly select 480i widescreen).
post #8495 of 8829
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RussB View Post

A Reboot (see below) can also force a download of the software if needed. I have seen this happen several times.

Reboot. Unplug power cord for 5 or more seconds and then plug it back in.

That depends on what is wrong, so you can't always rely on a simple Reboot fixing a problem. To be honest, I'm not really sure how you know what it's doing, I sure can't tell. The only thing I can see is when it downloads the IPG data again. All I know is there is a difference between a Reboot and a Hard Reboot, I've seen problems fixed by one and not the other. Plus, I believe he already tried a Reboot and it didn't help hold the settings. I never waste time with a Reboot. The few times I've had to reboot, I just did a Hard Reboot to get it over with.
post #8496 of 8829
First, let me thank you folks for helping me with my "unable to get rid of 480i [b]only[b] problem." Secondly, let me apologize for not finding the (possible) solution(s) before starting this inquiry. The solution(s) appear within the first page of this very thread (http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...t=767661)...my bad, eh?

Anyway, as you can see, there are several approaches offered to this problem, all indicating that the STB is screwy, but manageable. Appearently, the most successful approaches have to do with setting things up first using component cable and the swapping back to HDMI cable (see url above). Well, you now know what I will be doing within the next few minutes (and hopefully not hours)... BTW, box swapping had nothing to do with the solution.
post #8497 of 8829
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flycaster View Post

First, let me thank you folks for helping me with my "unable to get rid of 480i [b]only[b] problem." Secondly, let me apologize for not finding the (possible) solution(s) before starting this inquiry. The solution(s) appear within the first page of this very thread (http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=767661)...my bad, eh?

Not at all, I forgot all about that Component cable stuff too until you mentioned it. It's been a pretty long time though since anyone ran across that same problem. Looking back, I probably should have also included a problem/solution section in the First Post, but there's only so much time.
post #8498 of 8829
So far, so good.

Well, I copied down about 5 different approaches to this "stuck on only one resolution" problem. Figured that starting with the approach that seemed to be most successful would be the way to go (set box to open with an SD channel-some felt this was needed, soft reboot, unhook hdmi, hook in components, check to see things are as they should be-and they will be, unhook components and rehook up hdmi, start box then TV-see url). However, there was no communication between the TV and the box when I tried to use the Wizard (info-guide), just got SD and then HD on the box display after pressing a few times. What I had forgotten to do was to switch the box's format from DVI/HDMI Auto to Pass Through. However, before I realized this error, I had already spent time exploring other reasons for the non-communication and eventually wound up, while in deep frustration, disconnecting the components and reconnecting the hdmi. I started the box (which kept my original settings: DVI/HDMI Auto and 720p and 480p Standard) and then the TV (also made sure that the box's remote's single click starter button would follow this sequence). Lo and behold, things were back to normal: Picture aspect at Full, no excessive bars on screen, SD channels were 480p and HD channels were 720p. Via the box's remote single click on/off button, I turned things off and on several times, all was still good. Waited about an hour and repeated, all is OK. Did this becasue some have reported that the good settings don't always hold up after a period of time. Well, we'll see how things go later on in the day...

What gets me is that I never completed the whole routine. Really just removed/hook in cables, and yet things are looking good...for the moment???
post #8499 of 8829
Thread Starter 
Sometimes that's just the way it is. Ask anyone who hooked up an eSATA drive back in the early days. Reboot once didn't work, reboot 3-4 times and things work. Sometiems just breaking the HDMI handshake completely does the trick. Go figure! That's one reason why cableco's generally don't support HDMI, just too many variables.
post #8500 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

Sometimes that's just the way it is. Ask anyone who hooked up an eSATA drive back in the early days. Reboot once didn't work, reboot 3-4 times and things work. Sometiems just breaking the HDMI handshake completely does the trick. Go figure! That's one reason why cableco's generally don't support HDMI, just too many variables.

I still think it is gremlins at work (LOL).

I guess if one goes to components, then we will have no real problems with TV/STB interfacing, eh? And, as for component cables, I have read that there are two sides to that coin: Some say there is no difference in PQ, while others argue there is. Would you care to jump in and give us your opinion?
post #8501 of 8829
Well, I gave up on HDMI. Just too many problems plus I hated the lengthy delay when switching channels. I am completely satisfied with PQ with component cables although I have never done a close test between the two. I could since I've got the both cables behind the TV with the HDMI dangling loose. However, I don't want to test and be tempted to go back to HDMI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flycaster View Post

I still think it is gremlins at work (LOL).

I guess if one goes to components, then we will have no real problems with TV/STB interfacing, eh? And, as for component cables, I have read that there are two sides to that coin: Some say there is no difference in PQ, while others argue there is. Would you care to jump in and give us your opinion?
post #8502 of 8829
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flycaster View Post

I still think it is gremlins at work (LOL).

I guess if one goes to components, then we will have no real problems with TV/STB interfacing, eh? And, as for component cables, I have read that there are two sides to that coin: Some say there is no difference in PQ, while others argue there is. Would you care to jump in and give us your opinion?

Doesn't really matter what I think, it's what things look like to you and how much you are willing to objectively evaluate everything. I have an older CRT-based display, so I don't believe there is a noticeable difference in PQ for me. Other folks with newer TVs probably see a difference, but I don't know if that is because of different settings on the HDMI input, etc. Technically, I suppose, it's all 1's and 0's, so there shouldn't be a difference, but different chipsets process things differently, so it is what it is.

My main concern with HDMI is the other problems there seem to be with it. I don't know if the standard is "loose" and everyone follows it within specs but with slight differences or what. All I know is that most folks having problems are using HDMI. Many of them are trying to use an AVR as an HDMI switcher to minimize cables. There is nothing wrong with that until they encounter problems and then want to blame the cableco,the easy target, instead of trying to understand what is going on. Sometimes the cableco is at fault, but most times the fault is in one of the other devices. For example, many TVs apparently don't cut all signal to the HDMI port when the TV is turned off. This messes up the HDCP handshake and prevents those folks from listening to the cable music channels with the TV off. Of course, they blame the cableco when the problem is the TV. Switch to Component and the problem goes away because there is no HDCP handshake for Component.

Also, so many channels and cableco's have lowered their bitrate these days that I don't think chasing that last ounce of PQ is very productive. Cable boxes tend to come with Component and Audio cables, so why not use them? Why spend more money on an HDMI cable unless there is a pressing need?

The bottom line is that I always recommend folks test things. If you like the HDMI PQ better, then by all means use it. If it causes you other problems, then revert to Component until such time as the problems have been fixed. I just don't think any of this is worth the complaining some folks do. I suppose that's easy for me to say since it doesn't affect me.
post #8503 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

... For example, many TVs apparently don't cut all signal to the HDMI port when the TV is turned off. This messes up the HDCP handshake and prevents those folks from listening to the cable music channels with the TV off. Of course, they blame the cableco when the problem is the TV. Switch to Component and the problem goes away because there is no HDCP handshake for Component


Yeah, this is my main problem with my Panasonic plasma: When hooked up via hdmi, and I want use the cable music stations to play music through my AVR (optical cable) with the TV off, it can't be done. All due to that mystical handshake. What a bummer!
post #8504 of 8829
Has anyone experienced intermittent audio drop outs via HDMI? Recently I purchased a new Sony KDL-40VE5 and connected the SA8300 STB via HDMI to the set. At least once a day, I experience an audio drop out on NBC local channel. Switching channels and returning, re-syncs the signal and everything is fine. The PQ is not affected only the audio. This STB was originally connected to my 3 yr 42" Phillips LCD and I don't recall experiencing long term drop outs, but occasional brief ones. I have noticed that on my other LCD sets connected to cable without STB have experienced occasional drop outs. I always attributed it to Comcast issue.

I have tried connected by component and audio cables, but the HDMI sound sounds clearer and has a higher volume level. I tried the digital input with component, but the sound was not in sync with picture.

I will try a different input with different HDMI cable and possibly a different wall connection off the splitter.
post #8505 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by yukon04 View Post

Has anyone experienced intermittent audio drop outs via HDMI? Recently I purchased a new Sony KDL-40VE5 and connected the SA8300 STB via HDMI to the set. At least once a day, I experience an audio drop out on NBC local channel. Switching channels and returning, re-syncs the signal and everything is fine. The PQ is not affected only the audio. This STB was originally connected to my 3 yr 42" Phillips LCD and I don't recall experiencing long term drop outs, but occasional brief ones. I have noticed that on my other LCD sets connected to cable without STB have experienced occasional drop outs. I always attributed it to Comcast issue.

I have tried connected by component and audio cables, but the HDMI sound sounds clearer and has a higher volume level. I tried the digital input with component, but the sound was not in sync with picture.

I will try a different input with different HDMI cable and possibly a different wall connection off the splitter.

I used to. Turns out it was a weak TimeWarner signal. They fixed/improved the signal to the side of the house, (improved signal by 50%) and then they even installed a free powered booster at the distribution point (I have "structured wiring") to bring the signals to 0.

It's easy to see the signal strength. Just bring up page 1 of the Diags screen. Takes the mystery out of it. You want signals as close to Zero as possible.

Bad coax cable, connectors, or over split signals can also cause low signals. All cable should be RG-6 or better. If all the "cable" stuff checks out and you are still having problems, it could be your HDMI cable. Be sure it's "high bandwidth" or 1.3b or better spec and as short as possible. MonoPrice has them cheap.
post #8506 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesla1856 View Post

I used to. Turns out it was a weak TimeWarner signal. They fixed/improved the signal to the side of the house, (improved signal by 50%) and then they even installed a free powered booster at the distribution point (I have "structured wiring") to bring the signals to 0.

It's easy to see the signal strength. Just bring up page 1 of the Diags screen. Takes the mystery out of it. You want signals as close to Zero as possible.

Bad coax cable, connectors, or over split signals can also cause low signals. All cable should be RG-6 or better. If all the "cable" stuff checks out and you are still having problems, it could be your HDMI cable. Be sure it's "high bandwidth" or 1.3b or better spec and as short as possible. MonoPrice has them cheap.

Thanks for you response. The Comcast system is optical cable up to distribution box, then copper coax to individual homes. I have a single coax copper input split 8 ways with an EDA-2800 splitter I purchased on-line. It seems to work fairly well, but one of the room outlets has problems with lower level analog channels (2 thru 4). Could be the wall connection, it has not been upgraded since house was built.

Last night there were intermittent drop-outs of very short duration, barely noticeable. I plan to visit the attic and switch some of the connections around. The wall connection, outlet cable and the HDMI cable are new. The HDMI cable is 6' long. I have had Comcast out several times to check out signal strength and most of the connections were well above minimum. One outlet was 10db higher than normal? I may ask for another check in the near future.

Comcast is switching from Scientific Atlanta boxes to Cisco boxes (since Cisco bought out SA). Cisco boxes are very compact, black in color and have no clock, sort of like my old Pioneer DVD player. Has anyone had experience with these?
post #8507 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by yukon04 View Post

...Comcast is switching from Scientific Atlanta boxes to Cisco boxes (since Cisco bought out SA). Cisco boxes are very compact, black in color and have no clock, sort of like my old Pioneer DVD player...

Just curious, What is the model number of these Cisco STB's? Is this a HD/DVR STB?
post #8508 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by yukon04 View Post

Thanks for you response. The Comcast system is optical cable up to distribution box, then copper coax to individual homes. I have a single coax copper input split 8 ways with an EDA-2800 splitter I purchased on-line. It seems to work fairly well, but one of the room outlets has problems with lower level analog channels (2 thru 4). Could be the wall connection, it has not been upgraded since house was built.

Last night there were intermittent drop-outs of very short duration, barely noticeable. I plan to visit the attic and switch some of the connections around. The wall connection, outlet cable and the HDMI cable are new. The HDMI cable is 6' long. I have had Comcast out several times to check out signal strength and most of the connections were well above minimum. One outlet was 10db higher than normal? I may ask for another check in the near future.

Comcast is switching from Scientific Atlanta boxes to Cisco boxes (since Cisco bought out SA). Cisco boxes are very compact, black in color and have no clock, sort of like my old Pioneer DVD player. Has anyone had experience with these?

Crappy, buggy boxes since 2007. Take a look at this Google: (http://www.google.com/search?q=cisco+dvr+comcast). Although, I might add, there was one post that said that ensuring a good signal level to the house may solve some of the issues.
post #8509 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by yukon04 View Post

Thanks for you response. The Comcast system is optical cable up to distribution box, then copper coax to individual homes. I have a single coax copper input split 8 ways with an EDA-2800 splitter I purchased on-line. It seems to work fairly well, but one of the room outlets has problems with lower level analog channels (2 thru 4). Could be the wall connection, it has not been upgraded since house was built.

Last night there were intermittent drop-outs of very short duration, barely noticeable. I plan to visit the attic and switch some of the connections around. The wall connection, outlet cable and the HDMI cable are new. The HDMI cable is 6' long. I have had Comcast out several times to check out signal strength and most of the connections were well above minimum. One outlet was 10db higher than normal? I may ask for another check in the near future.

Comcast is switching from Scientific Atlanta boxes to Cisco boxes (since Cisco bought out SA). Cisco boxes are very compact, black in color and have no clock, sort of like my old Pioneer DVD player. Has anyone had experience with these?

So, with the 8300HD's Diag screen, you can check the levels yourself (and not have to wait for Comcast or believe what they tell you ... or be able to check your work as you change things around). It's just as accurate as the handheld computerized checker they use. The handheld unit is nice because it's completely portable so it can easily be used on the side of the house where the service enters the residence. You can run a short piece of RG-6 or RG-6 quad-shield out the window to connect the 8300HD directly to the side of the house to check it there. Or, if the cable comming into the EDA-2800 is nice, new and perfect, short and comes directly from the side of the house ... you can just check it there (on the input side ... temporarily removing the EDA-2800 from the system). Again, the (QAM & FDC) signal that hits the house should be as close to Zero as possible. Slightly Positive is ok also to survive splitting and the addition of more coax (as it is split, it works it's way toward 0). If the signal is bad/weak, the EDA-2800 will only amplify and send a stronger bad signal. Most power boosters are only powered so that after IT splits the signal so many times, all the outputs can be close to the same as the original input.

Here are my levels:

Current Levels (with powered booster) 2-2010
Main Living Room DVR (original/oldest one)
Name Freq. Level
QAM 723.0Mhz .. +1 dBmV
FDC .. 75.0Mhz ... 0 dBmV
RDC 16.750Mhz .. +39dBmV

Range and Desc.
Tuner1 (QAM): -12 to +15 ... 256QAM or normal encrypted digital video
FDC: ............ -15 to +15 ... QPSK Software DL and program guide.
RDC: ............ +25 to +53 ... QPSK reverse carrier (error checking back-channel upload)

Notes:
FDC(Forward Data Channel) - RDC(Reverse Data Channel)
FDC: RoadRunner Cable Modem frequency is close to this one.
FDC: If out-of-range, your cable modem is likely also having a hard time holding a connection.
RDC: Verifies data and programming code was uploaded properly (probably by sending checksums back)
post #8510 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by flycaster View Post

Crappy, buggy boxes since 2007. Take a look at this Google: (http://www.google.com/search?q=cisco+dvr+comcast). Although, I might add, there was one post that said that ensuring a good signal level to the house may solve some of the issues.

Reminds me of what has happened since Cisco has aquired LinkSys. The old LinkSys stuff was good. Even the newer Cisco remakes of the old LinkSys router designs are good. But the newer stuff is pretty hit-and-miss.

You would think a big name company like Cisco could do better, but it seems they (like a lot of other companies these days) are running with the motto "Lets see how cheap we can make the consumer level stuff ... and hopefully it will still work properly for at least 70% of them".
post #8511 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesla1856 View Post

So, with the 8300HD's Diag screen, you can check the levels yourself (and not have to wait for Comcast or believe what they tell you ... or be able to check your work as you change things around).

What is the procedure for accessing the diagnostic screen? Last time the tech came out he showed me how, but I have forgotten. I would to check it out again.
post #8512 of 8829
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yukon04 View Post

What is the procedure for accessing the diagnostic screen? Last time the tech came out he showed me how, but I have forgotten. I would to check it out again.

Check the First Post.
post #8513 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by yukon04 View Post

What is the procedure for accessing the diagnostic screen? Last time the tech came out he showed me how, but I have forgotten. I would to check it out again.

There are a couple of different ways, but this is the way I use:

Press and hold SELECT on front of unit until Mail light starts to flash, then press INFO.
- VOL Buttons advance through pages
- EXIT Button to Exit
post #8514 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesla1856 View Post

So, with the 8300HD's Diag screen, you can check the levels yourself (and not have to wait for Comcast or believe what they tell you ... or be able to check your work as you change things around). Again, the (QAM & FDC) signal that hits the house should be as close to Zero as possible. Slightly Positive is ok also to survive splitting and the addition of more coax (as it is split, it works it's way toward 0). If the signal is bad/weak, the EDA-2800 will only amplify and send a stronger bad signal. Most power boosters are only powered so that after IT splits the signal so many times, all the outputs can be close to the same as the original input.

Here are my levels:

Current Levels (with powered booster) 2-2010
Main Living Room DVR (original/oldest one)
Name Freq. Level
QAM 723.0Mhz .. +1 dBmV
FDC .. 75.0Mhz ... 0 dBmV
RDC 16.750Mhz .. +39dBmV

I checked my levels and these are my readings,

QAM................675 MHz...............+5dbmV
FDC.................74 MHz................ 0 dbV
RDC.................20 MHz................ +44dbv

Is the QAM too high?
post #8515 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by yukon04 View Post

I checked my levels and these are my readings,

QAM................675 MHz...............+5dbmV
FDC.................74 MHz................ 0 dbV
RDC.................20 MHz................ +44dbv

Is the QAM too high?

Interesting (but not really surprising) Comcast is using similar yet different frequencies.

Those look fine to me (but I'm no expert). The QAM is within the acceptable range. I'm wondering if that QAM reading is from the side-of-the-house/booster-input or one of the booster outputs.
post #8516 of 8829
The QAM reading is at the output of the SA8300 connected to a wall jack off the EDA2800 (8 outputs) splitter amp.
post #8517 of 8829
Quote:
Originally Posted by yukon04 View Post

The QAM reading is at the output of the SA8300 connected to a wall jack off the EDA2800 (8 outputs) splitter amp.

If you think a weak Comcast signal is to blame for your problems, you really need to get a reading from the side of the house. Second best place would be the input to the booster (but only if that goes directly to the side of the house with a fairly short, single piece of RG-6 or RG-6 Quad).

A good booster can boost any signal, but that doesn't mean it will work well (garbage in = garbage out)

Once you are satisfied that the signal hitting the house it good, then you can move on to trouble-shooting other parts of the system to correct the original problem.
post #8518 of 8829
What page in the diagnostic menu are the QAM, FDC, and RDC levels found?
post #8519 of 8829
I believe I have isolated the problem - HDMI handshake between the SA8300 and my new Sony KDL-40VE5. The last two times I powered up, the audio began to drop out within less than a minute. It recovered after a brief interval, but It occured again when I was jumping around the channels. This is corrected by rocking between next channel number and returning. Sony may not be able to sync quite as fast as the 3 yr old Phillips. I recall reading a review ( which I have been unable to locate again) that the Sony has a processing issue upconverting 720p and 1080i to 1080p (its native resolution). Its great with 1080p, but not practical to watch Blu-Ray or HDTV all the time.
This is a major disappointment especially with a Sony which can command a $200 premium over a comparable set by other manufacturer. I could switch to Component inputs which matches the 1080i output of the SA8300, but the sound level is lower and does not appear to be as vibrant. I will live with it for a while then maybe return the set to Costco.
post #8520 of 8829
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flycaster View Post

What page in the diagnostic menu are the QAM, FDC, and RDC levels found?

Pages 1 & 5 contain the signal data usually discussed here.
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