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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just installed my HD-100 today. Tomorrow I'll install the HD dish, but so far I've noticed some significant differences between this and previous Sony's regarding functionality.


First, after just replacing the old box and running straight 480i it's quite apparent that this thing looks significantly better than my old A4. Some improvements have been made here, and there has been a significant change in the sound quality as well (for the better).


The bad news? This thing is SLOW and loses some of the functions I liked in my old unit. No more jump loops, no ability to resize menus/guides/windows, and no ability to do advanced programming searches based. For example, on the A4 you could select "Categories" and choose "Sports"; you then had a field of about 15 different sports you could select or deselect. As a race fan I could choose "Racing" then pick what time I wanted to search. No more, and I'm bummed. Guess I have to use just my ReplayTV for this ability, but the beauty of the old system was that I could access these functions anywhere in my house with the RF remotes (my ReplayTV box is dedicated to one room).


The look of the Sony's displays and guides is very nice. However, I believe this is part of what makes the system slow. All those lovely graphics, but whatever does the "graphing" is not fast enough. I'd say this unit is 50-60% slower than my A4 at changing channels and accessing menu functions. In this day and age I find this completely unacceptable.


The other problem for me has been the poor RF performance of the unit. It just doesn't have the range of my old box, oddly enough. I have 3 Sony RF remotes; out of these the new Sony remote has the worst range by a significant margin.


I've also been surprised, even with all the discussion on this board, that anyone could produce a unit this loud. Subjectively, it would appear to be about as loud as my Macintosh G4 tower, and that beast isn't known for it's silence.


The quality of the unit, at least from the outside, is not what I expect when I'm spending this kind of money for a DirecTV box. It looks great from ten feet away, but when you take it out of the box and handle it for the first time it looks rather wimpy. The casing is an argent colored plastic, and the finish on mine is uneven. The materials appear somewhat cheap, and the unit actually detracts somewhat from the outward appearance of my system sitting atop my DVP-S9000ES. That machine is a tank, and the little HD-100 looks a little flimsy in comparison...


Don't want to sound completely negative -- just the facts, ma'am. Tomorrow the HD dish goes up and I'll try to post more when I can speak about the quality of this unit with HD material.


Ray


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Ray,

The Sony is slower than your old Sony because of the APG (Automatic Program Guide), not because of the graphics. All of the new STBs with the APG are slower than their non-APG counterparts. There is a whole lot more info to be processed. Even the RCA DTC100 is significantly slower than the older non HD RCA boxes and it doesn't even have the APG.


I agree about the fan, it's amazing these guys can't put a quiet fan in there. If you think the Sony is bad you should hear the Panny STB...WOW!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just got the Sony up and running on HD. Went with a single 18x24" setup (I was considering two 18" dishes) and it went like a dream. If you do your prep correctly and get everything plumb up front I'm surprised how easy it went.


The Sony looks great, but now it's clear I need to reconverge my set. It's perfect but is losing some focus at the periphery. Also need to recalibrate some settings, but I've been impressed out of the box.


Now, if I can get OTA working I'll really have something. DirecTV needs way more HD content, although I am looking forward to seeing Tony Soprano in HD tonight...


Thanks, Ken, for the APG info. Still and all, with Moore's law you'd think they could throw more processing power at the problem and speed these things up. Just my two cents!


Ray


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Given the APG, at least on the Hughes OEM units, give schedule & detailed data on all analog & digital OTA (even without PSIP) & sat, it is quite an accomplishment.


Ken,


Does the Sony not have the "creeping" DirecTV new channel problem, i.e., when a new regional sports even or freeview comes on, does it keep it out of you primary guide if desired?


Tim
 

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After using the HD100 for a few weeks I don't think it is using the Advanced Program Guide. Here is my reasoning:


1.) Program guide info is only available for 36 hours. I believe the APG units have 14 days of info.


2.) No info for local OTA channels. On the Panny HDS20 I would get guide data for my local stations, even those not offered by DirecTV. On the HD100 the guide only lists "Local Programming".


3.) There is no place in the setup menu to designate a zip code for guide info. I also noticed that when powered on the HD100 does not download guide data like the HDS20 did.


4.) The annoying "Aquiring Guide Data" messages that appear. If the HD100 was storing the APG data then there would be no reason to aquire the data from the satellite so often.


I don't know how big of a deal this is. I have also noticed that the HD100 does not appear to be reading the datastream correctly from my local affiliate. It lists the channel call letters as DIGT1 when the HDS20 and DST3000 both listed the correct call letters. I have also been getting some weird dropouts on normal DirecTV channels that I never received on any STB before. Sometimes they last up to 5 seconds or until I change channels. I was also a little disturbed when a rep from Sony called me last week regarding the problem ticket I opened on the reception issue. She said that when a fixed was found that I would probably have to send my unit in for a firmware upgrade. This leads me to believe that the HD100 is not software upgradeable via satellite. All of this has me wondering if the HD100 is worth the $200 difference over a DST3000.


Gary
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rudolpht:
Given the APG, at least on the Hughes OEM units, give schedule & detailed data on all analog & digital OTA (even without PSIP) & sat, it is quite an accomplishment.


Ken,


Does the Sony not have the "creeping" DirecTV new channel problem, i.e., when a new regional sports even or freeview comes on, does it keep it out of you primary guide if desired?


Tim
Tim,


I think this is a problem with the APG datastream. The same thing happens on my DirecTV w/ TiVo combo box which is also using the APG datastream.


Gary

 

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Just as a note, all new Sony DirecTv boxes are using this new layout showing picture in upper left, description in upper right, and listing below. There are no options to modify this layout, except the color.


I had two SAT-A3s and actually preferred the older style guide because I could see 10 or so listings on each "page". Now I can only view 5. The old guide also allowed you to set the listings up to 7 and also view program descriptions. I also bought a newer SAT-A55 to accomodate the two satellites (101 and 119) and the guide and menu in the SAT-A55 is identical to the SAT-HD100, although lacks the HD setup items.


I guess my point is that some of what is included in the SAT-HD100 is the newer revised menu and guide, while other features are specific to the HDTV.


One interesting note is that with the SAT-HD100, I can now make out the DirecTv pixels and can view pixelization quite easily using the component video output. When I switch over the the S-Video, the pixels are not as clear and the picture is a little softer. My take is that the component output on the SAT-HD100 is much cleaner and clearer than the S-Video output and as a result, pixelization is much more visible. Viewing HD content downconverted to 480i produces a very clean picture without these pixels so I am convinced it is poor picture quality/compression of DirecTv.


[This message has been edited by Scott MS (edited 03-18-2001).]
 

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Quote:
I think this is a problem with the APG datastream. The same thing happens on my DirecTV w/ TiVo combo box which is also using the APG datastream.
Gary, that's a good guess. Mit's told me they were working on the issue and it appeared to be an APG guide issue with DirecTv.


If you're right about the Sony not using the APG (and your reasoning seems sound to me) then the Sony HD STB should not suffer from the "creeping" problem Tim mentioned.


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