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Sacramento, CA - SureWest - Page 11

post #301 of 963
Well, I'm heading off to Industrial to pick up my DVR. I'm going to keep my 130 and turn in my 120. The 130 was feeding my HDTV and the 120 was feeding my Tivo. Now I'll just have my 130 feed the Tivo. At least this way my Tivo can now record HD content (albeit letterboxed in SD), while I test the ADB.
post #302 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

I don't know my passcode either. Didn't need to know it. All I needed to do was pack up the unit to return and walk in. They asked me my phone number when I got there in person (which they don't have on record, since I don't have phone service with them), so they then asked my address. They found me in the system and that was all I needed to verify who I was. The service center did no know I was coming, so the phone call was unnecessary, just walk in. I think the location at McClellan Park is another location if it is closer. Obviously, since I can see the Industrial site from the main street in front of our housing development here in Roseville, that was much closer for me.

I am seeing a lot more stuttering of audio and video, something I don't have with the AmiNET130 box. Channel changes are just as fast though. Also, I only have 48-hours of program guide, NOT 7-days like we were told. I hope that changes quickly. 7-days is already too short as it is!


The guide is going to be extended to 7 days soon. There are plans to make it even longer - the reason it is so short currently is because all of our IP STBs share the same EPG information and the A110 can't handle more than 2-3 days apparently.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTek View Post

Just got off the phone with Surewest as well. The rep told me that the device is a 160gb hard drive so you get 160 hours of sd and 40 hours of hd. Which is a lot different then their website states. Also your passcode would be the "password" that you use to login online. Which is by default the last 4 of the subscribers SSN. I talked to her a little about the device and right now you can only play recorded shows on the one TV however they have plans to add support for multiple TV's later on. Although she wasn't sure if it was the same device or a different device that would support that.

This password thing has gotten out of control though it is because of the new FCC rules that came into play 12/1. Companies can't store your SSN anymore and have to have a regular password for each and every account. I guess it's good in the end for sake of identity theft though it's such a drag.

I guess the cat is out of the bag on the playback on other TVs feature. Not sure when it's being added, but it is planned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ehubbard View Post

HA! they won't let me pick it up. They must roll a truck to "install" it...

I'm surprised a few people were allowed to pick up the DVR when this was made clear. There's some valid technicals reasons for this, unfortunately. Don't get me wrong, I know everyone posting here is more than capable of hooking up AV equipment themselves. Some people on the other hand..... are not. Main reason is that we have to remove media converters and make sure there's enough bandwidth etc. Two HD streams is 40mbps so if things aren't setup just right, you'll possibly get stuttering/tiling/black screen.
post #303 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by poomfasa View Post

I'm surprised a few people were allowed to pick up the DVR when this was made clear. There's some valid technicals reasons for this, unfortunately. Don't get me wrong, I know everyone posting here is more than capable of hooking up AV equipment themselves. Some people on the other hand..... are not. Main reason is that we have to remove media converters and make sure there's enough bandwidth etc. Two HD streams is 40mbps so if things aren't setup just right, you'll possibly get stuttering/tiling/black screen.

I guess a call to customer support right now to setup an install time would be the way to go...

Last time I picked up the 130 myself and still had to have the tech come out the next day because they had to make adjustments to the box outside.
post #304 of 963
poomfasa -

Do you know if the current DVR device will support multiple TV's or will it have to be a different box? This is a pretty big factor for me (well my wife). If you can answer I really appreciate it. Thanks!


Neo
post #305 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by quasi888 View Post

Well, I'm heading off to Industrial to pick up my DVR. I'm going to keep my 130 and turn in my 120. The 130 was feeding my HDTV and the 120 was feeding my Tivo. Now I'll just have my 130 feed the Tivo. At least this way my Tivo can now record HD content (albeit letterboxed in SD), while I test the ADB.

Well they are rolling a truck to install mine on December 11th. Let us know how it works out. I'll be canceling directTV once the new box has enough kids cartoons on it to sustain the toddler..
post #306 of 963
Got back from the Industrial location a few hours ago, with DVR in hand (or hands, rather). Had a pleasant chat with a few of the ladies that handled the exchange/upgrade, and they were curious to know what features were a priority for users like us. They even wanted my permission to forward my contact info to one of their marketing people!

Anyway. Got home and hooked it up. If you know your way around hooking up the Amino boxes, you'll have no problem with this, in terms of physical connections. Be aware, however, that it ships from the factory set up for SD, so you even if you are planning on using HDMI, you'll want to at least initially use the included RCA cables for configuration.

So, here is the configuration screen, accessed via the same hardware setup link from the Minerva main menu:



The TV configuration screen allows you to select aspect ratio and conversion mode:



Display screen allows you to select SD vs. HD resolutions, and output connection. Be aware, that once you set HD, it IMMEDIATELY switches to HD mode, and you have about 10 seconds to confirm it. Therefore, you need to already have your HDMI connection in place, and you need to set your TV's input to HDMI to even see the resulting confirmation screen, before it reverts back to analog/SD. All within 10 seconds. (Or, after it switches over and the screen goes blank on the analog side, you can just proactively click OK to make the confirmation.)



So after I made my connections and started flipping channels, I noticed I could not access any of the DVR functionality. I was puzzled for a few minutes, and was about to make a call to Surewest, when the screen went blank and the DVR display all of a sudden started counting to 100. I realized that this was probably a firmware update in progress, so I let it finish out. Several minutes later, it powered back on....but the TV (now on HDMI input) was still blank! I realized the the firmware update probably erased my connections settings, so I switched back over to analog SD and made my selections again. And sure enough, DVR functionality appeared as a result of the update.

Here is the unit on the top, while at 65% in its update mode. The unit is about 75% the size of a typical AV component.



Pausing live TV:



The interactive program guide looks the same as with the Amino boxes:



But if you highlight a show and hit OK, you get this popup menu:



Set Recording brings this up. As has been mentioned, this rendition of a series recording really just allows you set a recording based on time, with variable frequency. Just like the VCRs of yesteryear. Blech.



When you click Menu, there is a new "tab" at the top of the screen labeled DVR. Click that tab will bring you to this page, where you can review your DVR recordings:



So, after maybe an hour of use, I'm satisfied with it, for what it is (and that is, a basic DVR with very basic functionality that is worth exactly its current "beta test stage" monthly cost: free). I'm hopeful that they will have implemented the new features before they start charging for it.

And so goes life on the bleeding edge.
post #307 of 963
Nice pictures quasi888...

I had considered taking pictures myself, but I never got around to it... I had several other things I was working on today in addition to this. I had a few glitches in audio and video earlier, but I left and did several other things and when I came back, the device was NOT on the channel I left it on, but was instead on channel 2, or the default info channel. I'm not sure if something happened while I was gone or not. I have not had any of the previous glitches though afterwards. I'm not sure if there is a correlation or if it is just happenstance.
post #308 of 963
I picked up this ADB unit today...it definitely lacks the current generation of dvr features. Has anybody else noticed that the Patriots/Ravens game on ESPN HD is looking a little choppy? The other HD channels have looked good to me (after kicking and screaming at the tv until I realized that the default video setting was on 480i).
post #309 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddyad View Post

I picked up this ADB unit today...it definitely lacks the current generation of dvr features. Has anybody else noticed that the Patriots/Ravens game on ESPN HD is looking a little choppy? The other HD channels have looked good to me (after kicking and screaming at the tv until I realized that the default video setting was on 480i).

I have noticed that too... and I have mine set at 720p, which is native for ESPN. It was appearing to me that I was getting a reduced frame rate. ESPN puts out a 720p/60 signal, so motion should appear fairly fluid, but it was looking more like film at 24 fps. It was only noticeable during moments of action, but it is still noticeable.
post #310 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

I have noticed that too... and I have mine set at 720p, which is native for ESPN. It was appearing to me that I was getting a reduced frame rate. ESPN puts out a 720p/60 signal, so motion should appear fairly fluid, but it was looking more like film at 24 fps. It was only noticeable during moments of action, but it is still noticeable.

That's exactly what it seemed like. It was really annoying to me...it almost made me feel like I was watching the Blair Witch Project. I hope that this is not a recurring issue with this new STB.
post #311 of 963
Any new updates with the performance on the new box? Any issues with recording? If it's no worse than the 130 I'll be calling for an appointment.
post #312 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revolver View Post

Any new updates with the performance on the new box? Any issues with recording? If it's no worse than the 130 I'll be calling for an appointment.

I didn't have much time yesterday to try the box out further. So far, I have noticed that it seems to be a bit slower in responding to the remote than the 130...to me it seems somewhere in between the response time on the initial Amino HD box and the 130. The dvr features seem a little old-school (at least for now) and it takes a bit of getting used to, but the recorded material that I watched was good. I am hopeful that this will be a good dvr as more and more updates become available.
I did not have a chance to watch anymore sports since the Monday night football game, which I found a bit annoying to watch because the picture during the game itself was not fluid at all.
post #313 of 963
I too have not watched any sports since MNF... I don't know if the slow frame rate was related to SureWest, ESPN or the DVR... There was no visible artifact, it just appeared like the frame rate was just slow. I have had no issues with any of the other programming I've recorded. I did not have any time to watch any TV, nor will I tonight when I get home. I will have to check in to set some recordings for the next 48-hours, as the EPG is only 48-hours into the future. That is my biggest issue at the moment is not being able to set up a whole week at once for recording.
post #314 of 963
New Surewest DVR at the front door - Let's see if I made the right decision to give up Tivo.
post #315 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

I too have not watched any sports since MNF... I don't know if the slow frame rate was related to SureWest, ESPN or the DVR... There was no visible artifact, it just appeared like the frame rate was just slow. I have had no issues with any of the other programming I've recorded. I did not have any time to watch any TV, nor will I tonight when I get home. I will have to check in to set some recordings for the next 48-hours, as the EPG is only 48-hours into the future. That is my biggest issue at the moment is not being able to set up a whole week at once for recording.

What I should have done during the MNF game was check out my other hdtv that is still hooked up to a 130 box. That would have narrowed down the cause of the picture. I didn't think about it at the time because I was playing with all of the settings on the ADB box trying to get it to work right. If the football games this weekend suffer from the same issue, I will check the picture on my other tv with the 130 and report back.
post #316 of 963
Golden State Overnight dropped off the DVR on my porch this morning. Got home from work and proceeded to hook it up. The DVR did not come up right away, just the clock counting up. I power cycle the unit a couple of times but nothing happened. I was getting a little pissed off thinking I got a defective unit. I was just about to pick up the phone and call Surewest Customer Service to have them walk me through some stuff. The phone ranged and it was Surewest Cust. Support asking me how the DVR was working out. I told them what my problem was and the CSR stated that may DVR was not fully setup, it was missing the MAC address and and Serial Number. The CSR programmed all that and the DVR begin to load. Once loading was completed, it asked me for a "Activation Code" which I didn't have. The CSR did some stuff on his end and power cycle the unit and low and behold the DVR was up and running.

He advised me of some non-working functionality:

Watch and record 1 show at a time - to be upgraded to 2 shows at once by the end of year.
Error message that may occur during scheduling shows - Go back and try to reschedule the show again

I guess so far so good by what it can do, even tho the HD TIVO unit is nice but doesn't work with Surewest.

oh one other thing, I was getting some scheduled shows created, I thot I have 7 days of programming. I only have 2 days of programming to choose from, what gives.
post #317 of 963
I'm disappointed by reports that Surewest's first HD-DVR (ADB 5810WX) has USB 2, but no FireWire 400 ports, and that it does not have the ability to record two programs at once while watching a third (live or recorded) program. I also wish SureWest offered more storage -- a 250GB or 500GB hard drive would be a better match with 30 or more HD channels. I have some questions, if anyone is inclined to answer:

1. What do standard definition (SD) channels look like on this new ADB 5810WX DVR box?

I've only seen Surewest programming on one new installation (in Natomas) when I helped a friend set up a new Sony Bravia 40" LCD TV earlier this year (It was connected to the basic Amino box (120 or 130, I don't recall which one). I've reported this before, but Surewest's HD looked fine while the SD channels were terrible (worse than weak, over-the-air analog signals). Specifically, all the Surewest SD channels appeared to lack sharpness and contrast, and I concluded this was caused by poor scaling (rather than over-compression). We could not get the Aminio IPTV box to disable it's internal 4:3 Overide (scaling) setting so that the Sony could control the scaling for 4:3 SD channels. At the time, the Surewest installation techs did not even know what this setting was for, and were of no help.

2. I visited this home again this week, and the SD channel quality remains unacceptable to my eye. This time, I could not even find the 4:3 Overside Setup menu to try (once again) to turn off the Amino's internal scaling. So, how is the 4:3 Override set up and handled with the new DVR's software — and does it work? Ideally, you should be able to disable a cable box's 4:3 Override setting if your HDTV provides better hardware to scale a picture up to fit your screen...

3. Comcast has serious problems with obnoxious audio spikes in commercials that regularly sends us diving for the remote to change the channel or mute the audio during loud commercials. While this could be a network (or network affiliate) problem, I wonder if Surewest customers also are encountering this? Ironically, Comcast itself is one of the worst advertising offenders — their "Comcastic" and other commercials may be the loudest of all.

If the arrogant broadcast TV stations and/or cable (or IPTV) companies don't work together to get audio spikes in commercials under control, they are going to drive their video customers to switch to the downloadable, online content that soon will be coming from iTunes, Amazon, Netflix and Blockbuster.

4. We don't purchase $3.99 (older) or $5.99 (more recent) Comcast Pay-Per-View movies because of the high prices, and we prefer to pay a subscription fee to receive as many Blockbuster DVD movies by mail that we can wade through each month for a more reasonable flat fee. Traditional cable (and IPTV) outlets need to realize their monopolies are dead and that their high programming prices can no longer be justified. Heck, if you're patient enough to wait, you can purchase many DVDs for $5.99 at Wal Mart. Why would someone rent a single movie for such a high price? Most movies aren't so good or timely that they must be seen right away, and if they are, I'd probably want to see some in a commercial movie theater. So, has Surewest priced itself out of the Pay-Per-View market as Comcast has done? Finally, what about the Premium, channels? Are the available in HD, and are they overpriced (like Comcast's Premium subscriptions)?
post #318 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmwedding View Post

I'm disappointed by reports that Surewest's first HD-DVR (ADB 5810WX) has USB 2, but no FireWire 400 ports, and that it does not have the ability to record two programs at once while watching a third (live or recorded) program. I also wish SureWest offered more storage -- a 250GB or 500GB hard drive would be a better match with 30 or more HD channels. I have some questions, if anyone is inclined to answer:

1. What do standard definition (SD) channels look like on this new ADB 5810WX DVR box?

I've only seen Surewest programming on one new installation (in Natomas) when I helped a friend set up a new Sony Bravia 40" LCD TV earlier this year (It was connected to the basic Amino box (120 or 130, I don't recall which one). I've reported this before, but Surewest's HD looked fine while the SD channels were terrible (worse than weak, over-the-air analog signals). Specifically, all the Surewest SD channels appeared to lack sharpness and contrast, and I concluded this was caused by poor scaling (rather than over-compression). We could not get the Aminio IPTV box to disable it's internal 4:3 Overide (scaling) setting so that the Sony could control the scaling for 4:3 SD channels. At the time, the Surewest installation techs did not even know what this setting was for, and were of no help.



2. I visited this home again this week, and the SD channel quality remains unacceptable to my eye. This time, I could not even find the 4:3 Overside Setup menu to try (once again) to turn off the Amino's internal scaling. So, how is the 4:3 Override set up and handled with the new DVR's software and does it work? Ideally, you should be able to disable a cable box's 4:3 Override setting if your HDTV provides better hardware to scale a picture up to fit your screen...

3. Comcast has serious problems with obnoxious audio spikes in commercials that regularly sends us diving for the remote to change the channel or mute the audio during loud commercials. While this could be a network (or network affiliate) problem, I wonder if Surewest customers also are encountering this? Ironically, Comcast itself is one of the worst advertising offenders their "Comcastic" and other commercials may be the loudest of all.

If the arrogant broadcast TV stations and/or cable (or IPTV) companies don't work together to get audio spikes in commercials under control, they are going to drive their video customers to switch to the downloadable, online content that soon will be coming from iTunes, Amazon, Netflix and Blockbuster.

4. We don't purchase $3.99 (older) or $5.99 (more recent) Comcast Pay-Per-View movies because of the high prices, and we prefer to pay a subscription fee to receive as many Blockbuster DVD movies by mail that we can wade through each month for a more reasonable flat fee. Traditional cable (and IPTV) outlets need to realize their monopolies are dead and that their high programming prices can no longer be justified. Heck, if you're patient enough to wait, you can purchase many DVDs for $5.99 at Wal Mart. Why would someone rent a single movie for such a high price? Most movies aren't so good or timely that they must be seen right away, and if they are, I'd probably want to see some in a commercial movie theater. So, has Surewest priced itself out of the Pay-Per-View market as Comcast has done? Finally, what about the Premium, channels? Are the available in HD, and are they overpriced (like Comcast's Premium subscriptions)?

In response to #1, I have not noticed any problems with SD quality. I had previously had Comcast and I found SureWest's SD channels' quality far superior to Comcast's. I find no difference with the new DVR boxes in picture quality over the AmiNET130 I had before. My TV is a 52" JVC HD-ILA. My next door neighbor complained that he could not view SD channels via the HDMI cable, but I never went over to check out his settings... I had no problem seeing a decent quality SD over HDMI.

In regard to #3, it is due to dynamic audio range... HDTV has a large dynamic audio range, meaning it has many more volume steps between 0-max. KOVR ran a recent test of a device to even the volume levels and maintain 5.1 audio, despite having only 2.0 from the original source. See the thread in the OTA forum. The audio apparently just didn't sound right when it was being tested (I never watched anything while it was being tested to know first-hand.)

Finally, #4, I agree... I don't due PPV either. First off, SureWest does not have HD PPV and I see no point in paying for SD when I can get better quality from a DVD. Since purchasing my PlayStation 3, I have subscribed to Netflix for Blu-Ray Disc (BD) movies. I've also started building up a BD collection (only about 10 titles in my BD collection compared to about 400 in my standard DVD collection, but I guess I got to start somewhere.) When it comes to premium channel packages, each premium package costs $16.99/month and comes with the HD version of the primary channel (like HBO HD for the HBO package.) The Movie Channel package costs the same as the others, but only includes 5 channels (E&W of main, E&W of Extra and HD) where HBO and Showtime have 15-17 channels (also E&W feeds for most channels). I don't watch many movies, but when I do, it is either a DVD or BD.
post #319 of 963
Big RoN: Thanks for the feedback on Surewest SD quality. I have come to hate Comcast, but remain gun shy about switching to Surewest due to the poor SD quality I see at my friend's house. Perhaps he and I had better get a Surewest tech back out there to figure out if they can improve his setup. It sure seems to me that something is wrong and I just don't think it's his Bravia...

It sounds like Surewest has the commercial audio spikes as well and that no one really has figured out a way to fix this...that's too bad. Commercial TV and cable seem to be spiraling down the toilet together. I don't see how their could be a difference between 5:1 audio on digital SD channels and 5:1 audio on digital HD channels, so I don't see how that dynamic range explanation really flies. However, now that you mention it, I'll have to think about it some more and listen for audio differences between commercials on the SD and HD channels to consider your supposition. I tend to think it's either done on purpose to get a viewer's attention, or that it is just sloppy audio production.

I assume those of you with ATSC tuners who pull down over-the-air HD also encounter the commercial audio spikes as well? Is this correct? If so, that would mean that this audio problem is not necessarily with the cable outlets, but with with the actual commercial packages -- or the TV station broadcasts.
post #320 of 963
So is the DVR really free for now? Even though it's pretty crappy in functionality compared to a TiVo that I'm used to, it may be useful on the side to record HD shows. But I clearly don't want to pay $10/mo. for such basic functionality.

Can the DVR output to both HDMI and composite/S-Video at the same time like the Amino 130 box? I currently have my 130 box hooked up via HDMI to my Denon receiver (which nicely upscales 480i to 1080p) and also via S-Video to the TiVo to be able to record. I'd like to keep the same configuration and have both the DVR and the TiVo record exactly the same shows, just in case the SW DVR acts up.
post #321 of 963
SirDracula,

It's for free until the beta trial is over...whenever that will be. Probably a month or two into the new year at earliest.

Fresh out of the box, it defaults to S-Video only, but if you set it to HDMI, it will continue to output to S-Video as well.
post #322 of 963
[quote=bigRoN;12421039]When it comes to premium channel packages, each premium package costs $16.99/month and comes with the HD version of the primary channel (like HBO HD for the HBO package.)


I tried to switch from Surewest's $21.00/mo. "HBO The Works" package (28 channels of HBO & Cinemax, including one HBO HD channel and one Cinemax HD channel) to the $16.99/mo. HBO "a la carte" package, but found out that it did NOT include an HBO HD channel. The fine print on Surewest's website says this: "Premium HD channels are not available with Premium A La Carte subscriptions." Grrrrr. Have any of you been able to get the HBO $16.99 package with an HBO HD channel included?

It's great that the ADB DVR is free right now. But even when they start charging $10/mo. for it, the net increase to my current bill is only supposed to be $4. When I picked up the ADB DVR, I was told that I will eventually be charged for it and ONE of my other Amino STBs (since I am only supposed to pay a monthly fee for two of my three STBs). Previously, I wasn't charged for the Amino 130 but paid $6/mo. for my other two Amino STBs.

BTW, I just joined this forum. Stumbled upon your thread of comments about Surewest's HD DVR, which I have been waiting for since I got HD from them almost a year ago. Your observations have been invaluable -- THANK YOU!

I picked up the ADB DVR on Thursday. Very easy, error-free set-up. Works with no problems so far. I haven't used a DVR before (I've been using two DVD recorders -- SD, of course), so your comments about this DVR's shortcomings have been very helpful. I think they are hearing you, since I was told by their CSR that the DVR will soon be upgraded to enable you to watch one HD channel while recording on two (and later three) other HD channels. They are also working on an upgrade to enable you to watch the DVR output through any other STB (HD or not) in your home. Hopefully, "soon" will be defined as in weeks rather than in months from now.

I do notice a slightly lower image quality on my HD set (an HP 37" model) when watching HD programming with the ADB, as compared to the Amino 130. But there has been a noticeable improvement to the image quality of SD programming with the ADB.

I look forward to getting Comedy Central (just for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert) and the FX channels in HD -- that would cover all the channels I regularly watch. I wonder if they will be added in the next wave....

Thanks again to all of you.
post #323 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTek View Post

poomfasa -

Do you know if the current DVR device will support multiple TV's or will it have to be a different box? This is a pretty big factor for me (well my wife). If you can answer I really appreciate it. Thanks!

Neo


The plan is to allow for the shared recording to be accessible by any STB. At this time, I don't know anymore specifics beyond that. All of the IPTV STBs run software from Minerva. Very specifically, it's the operating system (essentially Linux to boot) and any STB running it should be compatible so to speak which happens to be all of them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lilsjon View Post

Golden State Overnight dropped off the DVR on my porch this morning. Got home from work and proceeded to hook it up. The DVR did not come up right away, just the clock counting up. I power cycle the unit a couple of times but nothing happened. I was getting a little pissed off thinking I got a defective unit. I was just about to pick up the phone and call Surewest Customer Service to have them walk me through some stuff. The phone ranged and it was Surewest Cust. Support asking me how the DVR was working out. I told them what my problem was and the CSR stated that may DVR was not fully setup, it was missing the MAC address and and Serial Number. The CSR programmed all that and the DVR begin to load. Once loading was completed, it asked me for a "Activation Code" which I didn't have. The CSR did some stuff on his end and power cycle the unit and low and behold the DVR was up and running.

He advised me of some non-working functionality:

Watch and record 1 show at a time - to be upgraded to 2 shows at once by the end of year.
Error message that may occur during scheduling shows - Go back and try to reschedule the show again

I guess so far so good by what it can do, even tho the HD TIVO unit is nice but doesn't work with Surewest.

oh one other thing, I was getting some scheduled shows created, I thot I have 7 days of programming. I only have 2 days of programming to choose from, what gives.

Yeah, the ADB simply wasn't provisioned. Just like any device that connects to the FTTH network, the mac address has to be added. That'd prevent the STB from even booting because it couldn't acquire an IP address. The activation code error is when the STB/DVR is not being found in the Minerva backend. There is no actual code that can be put in to bypass that error. No big deal, nothing that can't be done easily over the phone.

The inability to record two shows at once is apparently a bug since really the unit is already recording that second stream to the buffer as it stands. You just cannot save it for later at the moment.

The HD Tivo is far more feature rich than us at this point, there's no doubt or disagreement there. If only there were A) component/HDMI inputs B) IPTV cablecards...

The 2 day thing... see one of my earlier replies - it's *supposed* to be bumped to 7 days anytime now. Although honestly I think the bigger bugs are being tackled (recording/scheduling) before worrying about the EPG.



Quote:
Originally Posted by gmwedding View Post

I'm disappointed by reports that Surewest's first HD-DVR (ADB 5810WX) has USB 2, but no FireWire 400 ports, and that it does not have the ability to record two programs at once while watching a third (live or recorded) program. I also wish SureWest offered more storage -- a 250GB or 500GB hard drive would be a better match with 30 or more HD channels. I have some questions, if anyone is inclined to answer:

1. What do standard definition (SD) channels look like on this new ADB 5810WX DVR box?

I've only seen Surewest programming on one new installation (in Natomas) when I helped a friend set up a new Sony Bravia 40" LCD TV earlier this year (It was connected to the basic Amino box (120 or 130, I don't recall which one). I've reported this before, but Surewest's HD looked fine while the SD channels were terrible (worse than weak, over-the-air analog signals). Specifically, all the Surewest SD channels appeared to lack sharpness and contrast, and I concluded this was caused by poor scaling (rather than over-compression). We could not get the Aminio IPTV box to disable it's internal 4:3 Overide (scaling) setting so that the Sony could control the scaling for 4:3 SD channels. At the time, the Surewest installation techs did not even know what this setting was for, and were of no help.

2. I visited this home again this week, and the SD channel quality remains unacceptable to my eye. This time, I could not even find the 4:3 Overside Setup menu to try (once again) to turn off the Amino's internal scaling. So, how is the 4:3 Override set up and handled with the new DVR's software and does it work? Ideally, you should be able to disable a cable box's 4:3 Override setting if your HDTV provides better hardware to scale a picture up to fit your screen...

3. Comcast has serious problems with obnoxious audio spikes in commercials that regularly sends us diving for the remote to change the channel or mute the audio during loud commercials. While this could be a network (or network affiliate) problem, I wonder if Surewest customers also are encountering this? Ironically, Comcast itself is one of the worst advertising offenders their "Comcastic" and other commercials may be the loudest of all.

If the arrogant broadcast TV stations and/or cable (or IPTV) companies don't work together to get audio spikes in commercials under control, they are going to drive their video customers to switch to the downloadable, online content that soon will be coming from iTunes, Amazon, Netflix and Blockbuster.

4. We don't purchase $3.99 (older) or $5.99 (more recent) Comcast Pay-Per-View movies because of the high prices, and we prefer to pay a subscription fee to receive as many Blockbuster DVD movies by mail that we can wade through each month for a more reasonable flat fee. Traditional cable (and IPTV) outlets need to realize their monopolies are dead and that their high programming prices can no longer be justified. Heck, if you're patient enough to wait, you can purchase many DVDs for $5.99 at Wal Mart. Why would someone rent a single movie for such a high price? Most movies aren't so good or timely that they must be seen right away, and if they are, I'd probably want to see some in a commercial movie theater. So, has Surewest priced itself out of the Pay-Per-View market as Comcast has done? Finally, what about the Premium, channels? Are the available in HD, and are they overpriced (like Comcast's Premium subscriptions)?


1. The picture quality on some (a few though not many) SD channels is going to be bad, unfortunately. While most stations are satellite/fiber, some are OTA just like everyone else or it's a source issue. Best example I have are the local public access stations which look like crap anywhere. The majority of the SD channels though should be better than Comcast. I personally live outside the FTTH territory and have a Comcast HD and their SD looks considerably worse to me overall on my 42" Panny plasma.

You can disable the scaling on the 120 somewhat by going to settings--->hardware settings--->audio/video (forgot name..)--->Use SD to display 4:3 source (or something like that), save, powercycle.

130 is in the same location, but I believe the option is "native passthrough" or something like that. Also save and powercycle or use the reboot option in hardware settings.

2. Hard to say as it's not a final product. If anything it'll be worded in an interesting fashion that you don't know what it does - see above.

3. The commercial audio spikes are on the actual feed themselves, it's kind of hard to adjust them without repercussions.

4. While I agree with you on Netflix/Blockbuster being cheaper/better/etc there are a lot of people who purchase VODs regardless because of the convenience. Prices are set by the entities that own the movies not the provider. We could bitch about the MPAA/movie studios all day, but that'd go nowhere.
post #324 of 963
If you read back to messages Daddyad and I posted from Monday night, there was something just not quite right with the video from ESPN during Monday Night Football. At the time, I was thinking that we were not getting the proper frames per second.

ESPN and their sibling ABC, as well as Fox, broadcast in 720 progressive with 60 frames per second, unlike most other broadcasters who broadcast 1080 interlaced with 30-fields per second. The reason ESPN chose this format is that despite having less resolution, it has more frames per second, creating more smooth or life-like motion; this is more desirable with sports, but not helpful for drama-type shows. Movies, on the other hand, are done in 24 frames per second, far fewer than 60fps and even slightly slower than 30fps, which is why we are more accustomed to it for drama-type shows.

Now, this morning, I have watched the Raiders play on CBS (613) and had no problems, what-so-ever with video quality. The only problem was the Raiders had a poor game . This afternoon, I'm watching the 49rs game on Fox (608) and I'm having the same issue I was having with ESPN on Monday Night Football... the frames per second are way too slow. I've jumped back and forth between the Patriots/Steelers game on CBS with the Vikings/49rs game on Fox and see a huge difference. Fox SHOULD have a much smoother action, but in fact it is quite the opposite. I called technical support, but unfortunately they were not able to discern any difference... he checked with their DVR box, so it should have been a similar hardware issue... maybe he doesn't have a keen enough eye. He bumped the call up to the second-tier technical support and I just received a call about it. While talking with the second-tier technical support, I came up with a good definitive check... to see if it is with SureWest's signal or just the DVR that is causing the problem. I still have a AmiNET130 box a couple feet from my TV (it is connected via S-video to my ReplayTV for SD recording) and I have a HDMI switcher... I connected both the AmiNET130 and the ADB5810WX to the switch. I did this just as the 49rs game went into halftime. Tech support theorized that it may be due to the buffer on the DVR having issues with the faster frame rate. He said they'd look into that issue. As soon as halftime is over, I'll do direct comparisons.
post #325 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

As soon as halftime is over, I'll do direct comparisons.

In case anyone was curious, I did do a direct comparison between the AmiNET130 and the DVR unit and found that the decreased frame rate is ONLY a problem with the DVR. While I do not know all the inards of the software, I would also suspect that the buffer is having issues processing 60 frames per second.
post #326 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

In case anyone was curious, I did do a direct comparison between the AmiNET130 and the DVR unit and found that the decreased frame rate is ONLY a problem with the DVR. While I do not know all the inards of the software, I would also suspect that the buffer is having issues processing 60 frames per second.

I too did a comparison and, like bigRon, I had the same issue with the ADB HD DVR unit while the AmiNET 130 worked fine. The Sunday morning football game on CBS looked fine on both the ADB and 130 units, but the afternoon game on Fox and the MNF game on ESPN had the problem when using the ADB unit. I sure hope that this issue will be resolved because it is pretty annoying.

I find the ADB unit to be pretty good overall for watching SD and HD material (other than the issue discussed above). The DVR playback seems good as well. The trouble is actually being able to use the DVR to record something in the first place.

I find the DVR menu (including scheduling) to be entirely outdated. I am actually pretty shocked that this was put to market in this state, especially considering how long we had to wait. I was one of the people being impatient about the wait for an HD DVR, but I would have gladly waited another month or more if it meant getting a unit that actually is in the same ballpark as any of the other DVR units on the market (Comcast, Dish, Directv, etc.). I have used HD DVR units from those three providers and, while they each had flaws, they were lightyears ahead of this unit in terms of functionality and ease of use. I sure hope that this can be resolved with software updates, otherwise I will be switching service to either Dish or Directv very soon.
post #327 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddyad View Post

I find the DVR menu (including scheduling) to be entirely outdated. I am actually pretty shocked that this was put to market in this state, especially considering how long we had to wait. I was one of the people being impatient about the wait for an HD DVR, but I would have gladly waited another month or more if it meant getting a unit that actually is in the same ballpark as any of the other DVR units on the market (Comcast, Dish, Directv, etc.). I have used HD DVR units from those three providers and, while they each had flaws, they were lightyears ahead of this unit in terms of functionality and ease of use. I sure hope that this can be resolved with software updates, otherwise I will be switching service to either Dish or Directv very soon.

I too was anxious, but I am glad I didn't wait any longer... some HD recording function is better than no HD recording at all. I've beta tested many things in the past. I like to find flaws, theorize what the flaw may be and test my theory... as far as I am capable. Many times, as is the case with this, I can't do much more than report issues and hope they are being addressed. The issue we're having with dropped frames was something I have no control over, but I was able to isolate that it isn't a problem with the delivery of the signal and that it exists solely with the DVR. A few days ago, KOVR's HD encoder bit the dust. I could not get KOVR on 613. Was this SureWest's fault? No, it was a problem before it got to SureWest and SureWest has no way to correct that. If I had assumed that since I couldn't get it on my DVR, and therefore the DVR was flawed or some other theory, I would have been wrong. I can't get KOVR over-the-air, but I checked the Sacramento OTA thread and saw Bob (Bob Hess is the chief technician for KOVR & KMAX) reported having major problems and had to get a new HD encoder. That thread is a great thread for those interested in issues revolving around the broadcast industry, as Bob and several other technicians review that thread frequently.
post #328 of 963
Does anyone know whether the TiVo would be able to control changing the channel on the DVR via IR? I'd like to record both on the DVR and the TiVo as a backup, but TiVo needs to be able to change the channels.
post #329 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post

Does anyone know whether the TiVo would be able to control changing the channel on the DVR via IR? I'd like to record both on the DVR and the TiVo as a backup, but TiVo needs to be able to change the channels.

I would think it should be able, as long as you know what remote code to set the Tivo to use. The ADB remote uses different signals than did the Amino to do the same function. I have not attempted to hook my ReplayTV to the ADB unit, so have not experimented with finding the proper IR blaster codes for the two to communicate. When you set up a recording on the ADB DVR, it currently records it without affecting the channel changes made to the DVR. It is like nothing is happening, but it is recording, SO if you can get the TiVo to properly communicate and you have set the DVR unit to record one channel, the TiVo could change the channel to something else or the same thing. Again, this is just theory, I have not actually tried it.
post #330 of 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

I would think it should be able, as long as you know what remote code to set the Tivo to use. The ADB remote uses different signals than did the Amino to do the same function. I have not attempted to hook my ReplayTV to the ADB unit, so have not experimented with finding the proper IR blaster codes for the two to communicate. When you set up a recording on the ADB DVR, it currently records it without affecting the channel changes made to the DVR. It is like nothing is happening, but it is recording, SO if you can get the TiVo to properly communicate and you have set the DVR unit to record one channel, the TiVo could change the channel to something else or the same thing. Again, this is just theory, I have not actually tried it.

That's cool that it doesn't change the channel. So in theory I should be able to record two channels at the same time: one via the DVR and one via TiVo.

I just picked up a DVR last night but didn't have a chance to hook it up. Anything I should be aware of when it comes to setting it up?

Is HDMI enabled by default? Or do I need to hook it up to the TV via composite first in order to enable HDMI?

Also, do you know whether the HDMI passes through DD5.1 (when available)? The Amino 130 box did not so I had to have yet another hook up (optical) just to get the DD5.1 sound.
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