Originally Posted by oceangrace24
Yea, I guess I could spend 1-2 hours reading and searching. Not a huge deal. But maybe someone that knows off the top of their head could take 5 minutes and type out a response that has the info to help save time. On many of the other boards that i frequent, thats what I do all the time to help people save time..but thats just me.
The problem is you did not ask for just a suggestion; you wanted details. And details often cover many aspects of said machine (and trying to talk cogently about same often takes me a bit more than five minutes but then again I am slow). Searching is definitely hard yes (I have not tried here recently myself) but I know there is a wealth of information here in our forum because we have covered this topic numerous times before and I know I do not have all the answers. I might also suggest you visit the HD recording forum here at AVS plus Scientific Atlanta's own website.
However to expand slightly on Scruffy7's info (and Diana's too now for I am really slow tonight) ... there are two DVRs currently available from TWCSC. The older model is the the SA8000HD DVR and it has a 160GB hard disk (~20 hours of HD recording time available); (inactive it would appear) DVI and active Component/YPrPb ports. To my knowledge the analog ports (composite; S-Video) are not activated other than working thru the VCR out (a hassle and generally not worth trying). I believe it also has a Firewire port which is not active either. (TWCSC may have some SA3250 HD converters that have active Firewire if needed).
The 8300HD DVR is slightly newer, has HDMI with HDCP, active analog ports, better HD PQ (an opinion shared by most) and better upconverting capability as well. It too can only record about 20hours of HD. However, it does have a SATA port and some forum members here have been able to buy the requisite SATA hardware and connect it up and find it works. The 8300HD also has Component YPrPB outputs (what I use) and a more sophisticated menu of output resolutions. Unfortunately I am not well versed in how those work and would have to recommend you find the manual off of the SA site. I use 480i/1080i output myself I think. It is Set and Forget and I have definitely forgotten how to use it (but I do have the instructions printed out somewhere on how to set it up; they were downloaded from the SA website).
Both of these DVRs burp on occasion; the firmware has a few bugs. They frequently upgrade it (generally at o'darkthirty) sometimes they fix an old problem and invent a new one. They are also ocassionally add some new features though there are some areas that still fall short in the eyes of many users. However, it is still a worthwhile box to rent unless you are a TiVoholoic in which case I suggest you immediately go with DirecTV and don't pass Go. (I cannot speak how well it compares though to DirecTV in-house brand of DVR nor those provided by Dish Network). Most of us with the 8300HD definitely recommend all HD viewers go and get one.
Many viewers here use HDMI just because they can. The PQ improvement over YPrPb may be significant; may not be. Might be worth checking out and trying the Component outputs since TWCSC Component cables are generally very usable and they come with the DVR. Be advised that sometimes there are switching problems for those who wish to use a A/V receiver with HDMI. HDMI cables from local retailers are often very costly (reasonable priced ones are available over the internet). Starting out with Component cables may be a reasonable choice for the PQ may be fine and gives you a chance to mail order some rather than having to secure a second mortgage first so as to buy them from your local discount retailer. (yes; oxymoron there).
Now, if you go to your local TWCSC office and ask for a HD DVR they may try to give you a 8000. The stock number for a HD DVR is apparently the same for both. So ask for an 8300HD DVR. If they don't have one in stock and you are in Columbia... go try a different TWC office. The Greystone office usually seems the best choice to get one at. Sumterites and some other smaller markets generally have only one local office to visit and so are stuck having to keep trying to get one from that one location.
So, suggest you go get one pronto and give it a try. It will cost you about $5/mo more than a SA3250HD (regular HD converter) and if you don't like it you can swap back for the 3250HD box. Holler if you have further questions.