SA8000HD (8010HD) Setup and Review - Las Vegas Cox cable running SARA software. July 10th 2004.
This is a comprehensive review and setup guide for the Scientific Atlanta 8000HD DVR. This information is specifically for users on Cox networks using SARA software, unless otherwise stated. To determine your software, you can reset the box and watch the screen as it boots. The hardware for the DVR is standard, but the software is radically different from system to system. This is a similar thread to the TWC SA8000 thread
but allowing for pertinent information to be presented up front instead of buried in 100 pages.Link to SA website and 8000HD PDF file
Because many of the features are software specific, here are the settings on my box from the diagnostic menu. Different regions and systems will have various versions for different reasons. The parallel OS from Pioneer is called Passport and will be discussed later since it has different software and functionality.
Diagnostic menu for SA systems is available by pressing the "select" button on the front of the box (2-3 sec) until the mail message indicator lights up, then pressing "info". Page up and down for more screens My Diagnostic screen for Component Information is on page 17.
- Original stable Ver DVR1.1. . Beta Ver DVR1.2 (Aug '04) . . Current Stable Ver DVR 1.3 (Nov -04)
- ROM Image. . 220.127.116.11 . . . . . ROM Image 18.104.22.168 . . . . . 22.214.171.124
- OS. . . . . . . . .126.96.36.199 . . . . . . OS 188.8.131.52 . . . . . . . . . . .184.108.40.206
- SARA. . . . . . .220.127.116.11 . . . . . SARA 18.104.22.168 . . . . . . . . 22.214.171.124
- PowerKEY LIB 126.96.36.199 . . . . . Powerkey Lib 188.8.131.52 . . . . 184.108.40.206
- HAL2 Driver. .220.127.116.11 . . .. . HAL2 Driver 18.104.22.168 . . . . . . 22.214.171.124
- ATI Driver. . . 126.96.36.199 . . . . ATI Driver 188.8.131.52 . . . . . 184.108.40.2060
- PHAL3 Driver. 220.127.116.11 . . . . . . PHAL3 Driver 18.104.22.168 . . . . 22.214.171.124
Instructions for the Advanced Setup Wizard to choose TV type and resolutions. Done after the box has gotten it's initial download from your MSO. These should be done using the HD outputs for true displays, but may be "falsely" viewed with SD outputs.
1) WALK UP TO THE BOX, Turn off power, then press both the GUIDE and INFO buttons at the same time - YOU CAN'T USE THE REMOTE FOR STEP 1
2) Choose Easy or Advanced setup - Easy selects 480i and 1080i outputs only - Advanced allows TV type (4X3 VS. 16X9) and user selected outputs
3) Follow instructions on the screen to set your output resolutions - READ carefully in advanced mode- If the screen goes blank, it is showing a resolution your TV does not support and you have to disable that output. It will cycle through all resolutions for 30 seconds each if no user input is given.
Instructions for BASIC Quick Settings to select output resolutions the TV accepts: Done after the box has gotten it's initial download from your MSO. These should be done using the HD outputs for true displays, but may be "falsely" viewed with SD outputs.
1) With power on, press the select button on the box and wait 2-3 seconds for the message indicator to light
2) Press "VOL-" to enter HD select resolution mode - The display will read HdSr - Times out in 20 seconds
3) Resolutions are set as follows: 480i = CH+, 480P = CH-, 720P = VOL-, 1080i = VOL+ and the display will show each resolution as the output is displayed over the HD outputs. Whichever output you select last will be the primary output when going into the setup wizard
The 8000HD I received was a fully loaded model. It has the following connections:
- 2 - 1394 ports - For later upgrade use
- 1 - HD DVI port - For later upgrade use - UPDATE Aug 31-Currently in Beta testing in SanDiego and select Beta testers for national release
- 1 - Coaxial Digital Audio Output connector - Analog audio converted to digital
- 1 - Optical Digital Audio Output connector - Analog audio converted to digital
- 1 - Set of Component HD outputs
- 1- Set of complete SD outputs with s-video, composite and stereo analog audio outputs
- 1 - SD RF output
- 1 - Set of Video input jacks - For later upgrade use
- 1 - Set of VCR Archive jacks
Output Mode Explanations:
FIXED- Displays all content at whatever resolution you selected, based on what you selected in the wizard. You force the output to a single output and the box scales to that input. Easily changed in the settings menu of the box. Although all the options WERE available during my beta testing, ONLY this mode is currently available at the time of this writing. I'm told they will enable the other modes in a future update. UPDATE AUG 31 - Passthrough and Auto DVI are in wide Beta release in SanDiego and select beta testers nationally
PASS THROUGH- Passes the input signal through to the output with no change, unless you disable certain resolutions. For example 480i in to 480i out, 480P in to 480P out, 1080i in to 1080i out, 720P in to 720P out. If you disable 720P, 720P in will go to 1080i out.
AUTO DVI- If you are using the DVI port, you will see this option instead of the Pass Through option. Resolution is automatically formatted to the scan rate supported by the TV. DVI not available until Sept/Oct. UPDATE AUG 31 - Passthrough and Auto DVI are in wide Beta release in SanDiego and select beta testers nationally
UpConvert 1 - All 480i and 480P signals get upconverted to 480P. All 720P and 1080i signals get upconverted to 1080i.
UpConvert 2 - All 480i and 480P signals get upconverted to 480P. All 720P and 1080i signals get converted to 720P.
Zoom and Stretch Modes:
Stretch Mode: In SD, it takes the 4x3 screen and stretches it to widescreen. In HD it does the same thing, but if the signal is already in widescreen, it stretches it even further, losing about 15% of the sides.
Zoom mode: Zooms the picture in both height and width in both SD and HD modes. Perfect for 16x9 in 4x3 window displayed on a 16x9 channel (window in a window or bars all around)
General notes:[list=1][*] Dual tuners to record two programs while being able to playback a third program at the same time.[*] 160GB Maxtor Hard Drive - Not upgradeable - Add on external drives to be available in the near future. At 160GB, it allows for roughly 20 hours of HD content, depending on the bitrate and content type as it is sent down the cable.[*] Picture Quality: This is dependent on the video driver in use and the adjacent software platforms running at your MSO. In my setup and local system, I can see NO DIFFERENCE in PQ between OTA and this STB. Those using systems that also have the PACE box will see a decrease in PQ for an unknown reason at this time.[*] Recorded Content is identical to live content if it is digital. The unit records the original digital stream so there is no degradation in digital PQ. Analog stations use an encoder at 640x480 and PQ suffers compared to other analog encoders from Tivo and Replay. Often the output is over HD inputs and the TV does no manipulation of the signal to clean it up, making the PQ appear even more gainy.[*] There is NO ability to have simultaneous HD and SD outputs active at the same time. To use SD outputs, you must change the output settings to 480i.[*] Audio dropouts are still occurring when using the Dolby Digital setting. They have been cleaned up and do not happen as often, but still happen from time to time. For me, they happen more often with local HD channels than the premium HD channels. They are recorded onto the digital signal on your hard drive, so they will show up on recordings too. The only current recourse is to go into the second settings, choose AUDIO: Digital Out, and choose OTHER if the problem appears worse on a specific problem.[*] Recordings are based on either manual recording times, or on the IPG interface. The current Cox IPG has search functions built in for Day, Date, and Channel as well as specific Title, browse by alphabetical listing or Themes. Searches by Actor or Director are not available.[*] Recording options are available for Record Once or All episodes. With All episodes, you are given the choice to save from 1 - 5 shows or all total shows. You can also set up to automatically delete after a certain amount of days go by, or only when you choose to manually delete. With the All episodes recording option, you are also given the choice to Record New First-run episodes on this channel, All Episodes on this channel in this time slot, or All Episodes on this channel at any time. During the recording selection with the IPG, you can also "pad" the start and stop times to suit your needs.[*]Jump forward and jump back are not current features with SARA software. Passport software allows the use of the right and left arrows while in FF or REW mode to jump. SARA currently only offers the FF or REW functions.[*]When recording a program and playing it back while it is recording, the program will kick you out when the original recording is finished, even if you are only 5 minutes behind the recording program. This causes you to have to restart the program, and FF to where you left off. If you start watching a recording already in progress, it will dump you into the current live portion of the program. You must REW back to the start to see the program.[*]Storage drives are Maxtor in either 80 GB or 160GB flavors.
In the diagnostic menu, you should find one of these (or equivelent) drives listed:
4R080L0 is an 80 Gb drive
4R160L0 is a 160 Gb driveMaxtor website PDF file
I will add to this page and this specific post as needed and try to keep it updated and current for at least a few months until the product is widespread and/or the release of the 8300HD multi room DVR this fall.
Screenshots may be added later.