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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All


In Rochester NY, where I live, Time Warner Cable offers HD programming along with their Digital Cable.


To receive the siganals they set you up with a Scientific Atlanta Explorer 3100HD box to replace the 2100 series.


I ordered this and when the technician came, we hooked the 3100HD up to my Pioneer SD-643HD5 via Component cables for video, and I ran the audio through my Yamaha RX-V995.


Now my RPTV has several screen modes and I usually use Natural Wide for watching Cable programming, but when using the 3100HD everything on my screen was "Letter Boxed". Even the HDTV channels (all two of them).



Has anyone had a similar experience and if so how did you work around it?


Thanks in Advance


Greg
 

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If I am understanding you correctly you are watching everything through the component out on the 3100 box. This is a really bad idea since the internal upconversion of the 3100 results in a terrible picture. Hook up your TV through s-video and use that connection for everything but HDTV feeds. You mentioned that you receive two HDTV channels. I'd guess you are talking about HBO-HD and Showtime-HD. Bare in mind that these channels do not broadcast HDTV 24-7. So it is possible that you saw letterboxed content on these two HDTV channels if the content broadcasted was not in HDTV.


-MarcW
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
aahhhhhhhhh I see said the blind man.


You hit the nail right on the head at each point.


Neither I nor the TWC tech had any idea what was up with those two HD channels (yes they are HBO and Showtime) and why they were letterboxed.


I had them take the 3100HD back, I'll call them up and have them send out another and try your suggestion about using S-video.


Would you happen to know if those componet cables that come with the box are any good. They TWC guy said they cost $200.00 a piece and are of the best quality. They looked pretty cheap to me.


Thanks a bunch


Greg
 

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MarcW has exactly the right idea. I use the same box with my plasma display, using the SVideo to feed my Tivo and Monitor. The 3100HD actually does a much better job of displaying standard definition signals than the old 2000HD.


I think you'll be satisified if not pleased with the results. Good luck!


--Karl
 

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Quote:
Hook up your TV through s-video and use that connection for everything but HDTV feeds.
Excellent fix for bad pictures. Hate to think about how many folks are moaning about cable picture quality while viewing all channels upconverted to 1080i by 2000HDs, and more than likely, 3100HD mass-produced relatively low-cost scaler circuits. (Some new 3100HD users say it's better than the 2000HD at upscaling.)


But I'd take that output caution one step further. A filter in the 3100HD must split all analog cable signals (often channels
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Major and John;


Thank you both. I re-ordered the 3100HD and it will be here in a couple of days. With my SD-643HD5 automatically upconverting interlaced signals to progressive it will be interesting to see what happens.


I still don't think the cable companies have audio or videophies on their minds when rolling out products. Anything that is desgined for the masses usually is midrange in quality at best. But what can you do?


I would really like to know if such a thing as a pure digital video/audio signal into the home exists?


Cheers

Greg
 

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Prerecorded HDTV tapes for JVC's newest VCR appear to be the best current source for digital video/audio. (See "WSR's test of D-Theater and D-5 'U-571' tapes" ). Most home viewers, unless they have a graphics-grade display, probably couldn't detect a difference between images from a D-5 studio master tape and JVC's best consumer D-Theater tapes.


Your 3100HD, or a DBS dish picking up HDNet, could provide the next-best HDTV signals. HBO or Showtime programs vary widely in technical quality, primarily due to the original films. OTA HDTV, especially live broadcasts, can match or exceed DBS or cable HDTV, especially if your local station isn't multicasting several separate programs simultaneously. Other digital-cable or OTA digital programming varies widely in quality, too, depending on factors such as the how much digital compression is used for cable. Ten or fewer channels squeezed into each 6-MHz cable slot, with each channel consuming varying amounts of bandwidth as image details and motion changes, should average out looking better than 15 channels competing for the same bandwidth. -- John
 

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Re: the cables provided by TWC. Yes they look flimsy but the set that came with my SA2000HD work fine. Your mileage may differ but I would at least try them out. Cost... my guess is they are more like $2 than even $20 but who knows. -- Bruce
 

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Don't lose those cables. They will want them back when you return your box and they can charge you a big price for them. The customer rep mentioned the price when I exchanged my 2000HD for a 3100HD. Fortunately, she didn't make me make another trip or try to charge me, but I remember thinking the cost was a semi-crazy amount.


I never did try them out since I wanted to make sure I had good cables; they might even work fine for most folks. --Karl
 

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Yeah, I think $2 is more like it. One of the terminators on mine came off during a hasty cable pull, so I 'upgraded' by necessity. Couldn't even attempt a true a/b at that point but I can say that the picture is certainly not noticeably better or worse with the replacement cables.


TM
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Major Astro
MarcW has exactly the right idea. I use the same box with my plasma display, using the SVideo to feed my Tivo and Monitor. The 3100HD actually does a much better job of displaying standard definition signals than the old 2000HD.


I think you'll be satisified if not pleased with the results. Good luck!


--Karl
Yes, SVideo looks nice on my 3100HD box as well, but that output is blacked-out when I switch to one of HD channels. The only output I get from SVideo and composite while on HD channels is when Guide button is pressed. Do you have the same type of behavior on your 3100HD?


I called Scientific Atlanta for tech help and they told me I can have only one video output active at any time. That's nonsense as all video outputs (HD component, SVideo, composite and even RF) are active on SD channels. And even if that was true for HD channels, there is no option on the setup menu to switch off HD composite signals so I can get output on SVideo (for recording).
 

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I think that is the main reason these boxes suck. Many times I want to record HD downcoverted to SD on an s-video output. But I can't. I also can't switch the display so that it is 4x3 letterboxed. I have a 4x3 set, so everything is tall and skinny.
 

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I would imagine these boxes are an affordable solution for the cable companies to buy. Hence no simultaneous downconverting to 480i from HD sources is currently available. It would be nice though to have an upgraded model/sidecar scaler available (purchase/lease). I would not rule scaling out for the future though as prices drop and public awareness kicks in.


I am not sure what the problem is on your 4:3.... Are you asking for it to zoom in or squeeze down on some material? The HD output is always 1080i 16x9 so if your watching a 4:3 program on a HD channel (like HBO and SHO love to do) are you are getting four sets of bars or just badly stretched material vertically? Here on a WS set, to get away from the black windowbox bars (like with Six Feet Under or NFL Sports..." we switch over to a SD channel which gives me gray bars/stretch options though that might not be a good option with commercial stations (analog vice digital). The latter might be fodder for lobbying for future boxes to have scaling options for when the analog stations go away for 4:3 legacy material will be around for ever. -- Bruce
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Michael St. Clair
Does the box allow 480i/480p DTV (like Fox Widescreen) to be output via s-video?
SD (regular) Fox is available via svideo, but HD FOX is not. BTW, Explorer 3100HD sends out HD signals as 1080i, even Fox. I know it's just upconverted 480 -> 1080.
 

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I recently switched from the 2000HD to the 3100 and find that the upconversion of non-HDTV sources is pretty good. In fact I haven't even hooked the S-vid or composite outputs up to my Leeza yet. I wonder if this is more a function of the firmware the 3100 is running and we are all running different versions depending on our providers. I have to admit I don't watch a whole lot of non-HDTV source material. Just for comparision sake I agree the 2000HD component upconversions were unwatchable.


Tom
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by AlexG
BTW, Explorer 3100HD sends out HD signals as 1080i, even Fox. I know it's just upconverted 480 -> 1080.
That's a great shame. Most STBs pass along 480p signals as they are. A 480p signal should have significantly more color bandwidth--and better B&W resolution--than standard NTSC 480i (but not digital 480i, one of the ATSC formats ).


Wonder if anyone has also observed this 480p-to-1080i upconversion by 2000HDs/3100HDs. You'd have to know that the station is delivering 480p to your cable company and that they're relaying it unaltered. Figuring that out can be tricky, too. Our CBS digital station, for example, delivers all non-1080i-HDTV programs as upconverted (non-HDTV) 1080i. Had me fooled for a while thinking I was seeing 480p.


Also, Fox stations seem to convert the programming they receive to a wide variety of formats. We have a slot programmed into our 2000HDs for Fox's digital channel by NYC's Time Warner Cable. Rumor has it they'll finally pipe a digital Fox signal down the line soon. Some Fox over-the-air 480p programming I've seen (Star Wars) didn't look half bad, even though 720p or 1080i would be superior. But I really doubt 480p would survive an upconversion to 1080i by my 2000HD's cheap scaling circuit and still look decent. -- John
 
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