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Old 09-27-2006, 10:01 PM   #1
cwoody222
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How do I hate the SA 8300? Let me count the ways

Luckily I don't have one of these but my boyfriend does. Over the summer when viewing was light it wasn't that bad. But now it's showing it's true colors. We have the worst possible software too (whatever old Adelphia used to use). Some of the worst offenses:

Only 7 days of guide data. On Wed. you can't see NEXT Wed.

Constantly records next-day repeats (ie: recorded Heroes on Monday and then the same episode the next day)

Can't cancel single shows. Want to cancel that Tuesday Heroes recording? Too bad, you have to cancel the entire Heroes "season pass". Then you have to re-set it up later.

Can't limit recordings to just one day of the week each week (like "only on Mondays").

No "season pass manager". No way to see what "season passes" you have other than what's upcoming in the next 7 days.

No Undelete. No Wishlists. No searching. No "View Upcoming Episodes".

HD compression.

No way to hide channels you don't receive from the Channel Guide. No "favorites" either.


I know some of the software updates will make it better... but who knows when/if that's available.

I'm having trouble justifying $800 for a S3 since I don't have digital or HD cable myself, don't rent a DVR and don't even pay for cable (it's included in my rent). But if I was currently renting a POS like the SA 8300 myself, that $800 would be spent immediately!


Your thoughts?
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:08 PM   #2
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Oh my gosh, you haven't even plumbed the depths of this piece of crap!!!! Give it awhile, you'll come up with many more worse things. Ever try to watch a show while its recording. That's fun! Wait until it stops recording. Or, if you stop watching a show then want to start up where you last left off. Oops, doesn't do that either.

The bottom line with that boat anchor is, the only reliable way to make sure the shows you want recorded are actually recorded is to have a TiVo running side by side catching everything it misses. That's the only way my 8300 works.

But, I do not think it does any compression of the HD signal. If you are getting artifacts and such, that is your MSO's doing, not the box itself.

...Dale
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Old 09-27-2006, 11:22 PM   #3
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Oh yes! The 'watching while recording' is what prompted my original post.

We were watching Jericho while it was recording. When Justice began recording suddenly - without warning - Jericho changed to whatever was currently on CBS. Huh?

Also, naturally, it couldn't play from where we "left off" (more like "were abandoned"). Ugh.


As for compression, I get MUCH less artifacts on my OTA 26" setup than his cable 48" so it must be the cable co I actually prefer my HD to his because of it! And his is almost twice as big. (no pun intended )
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:46 AM   #4
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You are dead-on with your gripes about the 8300. I was all set to swap it for an S3, but then I was disappointed with the limitations of the S3.

Instead, I spent $250 and added a 500GB HD eSata drive to the 8300 for a total of 750GB in recording space. Now most of my problems with the 8300 have gone away. My biggest problem was that stuff seemed to just disappear. Now I have a lot more room and I can deal with most of the problems.

Here are my 8300 advantages over the S3.

- No install required
- No worries about future compatibility with switched video, etc.
- Picture-in-picture capability
- VOD / PPV capability
- Can view tv, while looking at guide or recording shows
- External storage enabled today

It's not perfect, but I think it's a better solution today given the limitations of the S3.
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Old 09-28-2006, 10:39 AM   #5
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I know my S3 with two cable cards is a bit extravagant but the limitations of and frustrations with the 8300HD made me take the leap to the S3. I now love having recorded HD programs that are in a user-friendly format. I still have the 8300 but I will probably return it soon for a standard, non-recording HD box (for PPV/VOD when necessary). I've cussed at that awful box so many times in the past year or so!
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Old 09-28-2006, 11:07 AM   #6
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No one can hate this box more than me. It's an impossibility of the human condition for anyone to surpass my dislike/hatred for this steaming turd.

Among all of the other grips that have been previously posted (kick to live, busted guide data, no wishlists, 6+ day guide data, etc), allow me to expand upon the list for your amusement :

- the craptacular "series recording" options, which limit you to recording a show :
1) every single showing at any time. This lovely "feature" tends to fill up this POS's feeble ToDo list quite rapidly on shows with multiple repeats per week.
2) showings only at a particular time. What they fail to tell you is that the day of the week isn't considered in this calculation. So, if you've got a two 10PM shows on Sunday, and one on Tuesday, you're SOL. Nice conflict resolution.... NOT!
- the multiple times where it decided to record 1 minute slices of a 1.5 hour program that I was recording, leaving me with the enjoyable task of having to delete every single 1-minute recording manually. Try hitting "list"+"select"+"down"+"down"+"select"+"A" about 60 times and see how happy you are after that joyous waste of time.

- the times where the box decides to repeatedly reboot while a recording of a particular show is occurring. Once that program's done, the box will finally stop resetting.

- The Fisher-Price GUI. It's a step above a Commodore 64, but not by much...
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Old 09-28-2006, 12:32 PM   #7
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Paul, it may be an impossibility of the human condition to hate it more than you but I will at least say I hate it as much as you!!!!

I'm going through hell in a hay basket to purchase and use a crippled S3 in Canada (no cablecard, no OTA guide data) just to minimize my reliance on the 8300 as much as possible.

It appears the forum owners have disabled the ability to search the archives here. I have posted long reviews/comparissons of this box and the TiVo siting all of the deficiencies of this box. Others have as well. Unfortuantely they all seem to have dropped into the unsearchable archives. ARgh!!!

Another thing that drives me bonkers is that you can set shows to EITHER (i) delete after a preset number of days; or (ii) never delete. That's it. There's no first in-first out option or any other way to manage your saved shows. So, if you chose option 1, your shows start disappearing after the set number of days - EVEN IF YOU HAVE LOTS OF SPACE LEFT ON YOUR HARD DRIVE. Or, if you choose option (ii) when the small hard drive is full, its full, and nothing else will record. How completely stupid is this!!!! I've chosen option (ii) so I have to babysit this sucker every freak'n day to make sure it isn't full. And as it gets closer to getting filled it becomes completely unreliable.

Hell, it is already completely unreliable. You can NEVER be sure if a show will record or not. For every show I care about, I literally have TiVo record the SD version simultaneously so that I won't miss the weekly unrecorded shows on this POS!!!!

...Dale
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Old 09-28-2006, 12:43 PM   #8
George Cifranci
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I hate my 8300HD DVR too and am counting the days until I am able to buy an S3. I have had to use a SA 8300HD DVR for almost a year now after I bought my HDTV. I need to wait a month or so until I finish paying off my HDTV.
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Old 09-28-2006, 01:29 PM   #9
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I'm a hater, too. How many times have I thought that I would like to have the source code to the SA8300, so I can spend about 10 MINUTES to fix 90% of the problems. The useability of the box is unexcusable. I can't believe I have an HD recorder which has no more functionality than a VCR!

When the Series 3 is verified by me to work with my local cable companies cable cards, I will be spending the money.
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Old 09-28-2006, 01:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arkham
I'm a hater, too. How many times have I thought that I would like to have the source code to the SA8300, so I can spend about 10 MINUTES to fix 90% of the problems. The usability of the box is inexcusable. I can't believe I have an HD recorder which has no more functionality than a VCR!

When the Series 3 is verified by me to work with my local cable companies cable cards, I will be spending the money.
+10000

As a coder myself, I can't believe how poorly this box was slapped together.

If you follow the 8300 threads elsewhere, you'd see why the cableco's are gunshy about rolling out new versions of the code and leaving us in the stone age. Each new version they get has significant bugs. It seems the SA coders can't fix one thing without introducing bugs elsewhere. Either #1) the code is incredibility sophisticated and complicated, or #2) they're just a bunch of monkeys with keyboards. I'm going with #2.
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Old 09-28-2006, 06:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dajad
It appears the forum owners have disabled the ability to search the archives here. I have posted long reviews/comparissons of this box and the TiVo siting all of the deficiencies of this box. Others have as well. Unfortuantely they all seem to have dropped into the unsearchable archives. ARgh!!!
Google may be able to help there. While they've configured the archives to static locked pages, unsearchable by the forum software, it appears the pages are at least external search engine friendly:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...=Google+Search

If you try changing the search terms around a bit, you can probably come up with what you're looking for.

Cheers,
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Old 09-28-2006, 07:38 PM   #12
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OH MY GOD, I hated that damn thing too, doubtless sent here directly from the gates of hell. My favorite feature, was this little number...

Both tuners are recording *the same show*, one in SD and one in HD. I stop the SD recording (and it leaves the recorded fragment, as though I'd EVER want to watch that - didn't I just CANCEL IT?), change the channel to what I WANTED to watch live - and if you decide to delete that fragment - it decides HEY - I'VE GOT A FREE TUNER, I'll go and record SOMETHING OTHER REPEAT, and annoy this man hugely by taking away the tuner HE JUST FREED UP, and WITHOUT ASKING if it was OK. Completely braindead. The guys that wrote that software clearly didn't live with one of these things for even a few weeks. Turd doesn't do it justice.

Now I have two shiny new S3s. Living the dream.....

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Old 09-28-2006, 08:37 PM   #13
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Me too
Me three
Me four
Me five
...
Me infinity

Jim
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Old 09-29-2006, 02:14 AM   #14
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For some clues as to what software is running on your box, see my sig.
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Old 10-11-2006, 01:24 PM   #15
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FYI: I was talking about the SARA software
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Old 10-11-2006, 04:24 PM   #16
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My 8300 doesn't have any of those problems. It even has a season pass manager.
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Old 10-11-2006, 07:34 PM   #17
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My 8300 doesn't have any of those problems. It even has a season pass manager.
Interesting. My 8300HD with Sara doesn't have a SP manager. I have a DVR List and a list of Scheduled Recordings, and in that list, I can't even prioritize the scheduled recordings.
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Old 10-12-2006, 04:26 AM   #18
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Interesting. My 8300HD with Sara doesn't have a SP manager. I have a DVR List and a list of Scheduled Recordings, and in that list, I can't even prioritize the scheduled recordings.
Well, it's not surprising there are differences given SARA is from Scientific Atlanta whereas cbordman's unit is running software from Aptiv Digital formerly Pioneer Digital Technologies http://www.pioneerdigital.com/passportecho/.
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:08 AM   #19
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My 8300 doesn't have any of those problems. It even has a season pass manager.
Same here . I have 3 SA Tivos and 3 DirecTivos (including an HR10-250), but for $5/month I decided to try the SA 8300HD with Passport Echo. I have been very impressed with it - contrary to what I read on these forums. No problems whatsoever. I won't be giving up any of my Tivos, but it's great to have an extra HD recorder for $5/month.

It is annoying to only have 7 days of guide data, but I only use it for season passes and special recordings anyway.
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Old 10-12-2006, 07:37 AM   #20
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I wonder how many calls and pleas to Cablevision it would take to get them to switch from Sara to Passport?
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Old 10-12-2006, 08:16 AM   #21
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No bugs here...

I must agree with everything except for the bugs. Luckily, I haven't had any problems with my two SA DVRs, but the software limitations are really annoying, to say the least.

I really hate my SA83000, but technically it does what I ask it, so I can't justify $1600 for two S3's, without any savings monthly (would be $19.90 per month for me, either way), and without being able to much more than the SA boxes.

So for now, I will "suffer" with my cable DVRs as I have for the past 2 or so years.
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Old 10-12-2006, 08:58 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwoody222
Oh yes! The 'watching while recording' is what prompted my original post.

We were watching Jericho while it was recording. When Justice began recording suddenly - without warning - Jericho changed to whatever was currently on CBS. Huh?

Also, naturally, it couldn't play from where we "left off" (more like "were abandoned"). Ugh.


As for compression, I get MUCH less artifacts on my OTA 26" setup than his cable 48" so it must be the cable co I actually prefer my HD to his because of it! And his is almost twice as big. (no pun intended )
Welcome to the "Kick to Live" bug! Enjoy your stay....

First things first. Try to remember the 8300 is not a TiVo. Do not try to use it like a TiVo, or you will quickly become frustrated. This includes expecting real conflict management, watching something while it's being recorded, and intelligent series recordings.

That said, the "kick to live" bug is a well known "feature" of this lovely box. When you're watching something that's currently recording, the box will kick you out of watching that recording and start showing live TV when the recording has completed. Logical ? No. Frustrating ? YES!

There are a couple of workarounds, but no real solutions. First is to not watch something while it's recording. Second, it to start watching it, hit "stop" (careful not to see what's on screen), and schedule the box to record the rest of the show that you wanted to watch. Extremely ugly, and not very convenient for sports (don't wanna see the score halfway through, do we?).

Yes, this box sucks hard....
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Old 10-12-2006, 10:42 AM   #23
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I hate the SA8300 too. Another point: if it somehow manages to try to schedule more than two shows to record at once, it will not give any indication of this until it's time to start recording. It will then pop up a dialog box and ask which of them you'd like to cancel. If you're not sitting there watching it at the time, too bad ... it won't record any of them!
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Old 10-12-2006, 10:55 AM   #24
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Last night we started to watch Jericho while it was recording. Started around 8:02 or so. Although the unit continue to record (red light was on), it refused to let us FF past the 8:06 mark. We could "play from current location" and it would jump us to "live" but that was it.

I forgot to check whether the full hour recording was saved and playable after 9pm.
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Old 10-12-2006, 12:01 PM   #25
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I hate the SA8300 too. Another point: if it somehow manages to try to schedule more than two shows to record at once, it will not give any indication of this until it's time to start recording. It will then pop up a dialog box and ask which of them you'd like to cancel. If you're not sitting there watching it at the time, too bad ... it won't record any of them!

Sounds like another software issue, not an 8300 issue. The PassPort software asks immediately which program you would like to cancel.
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Old 10-12-2006, 12:43 PM   #26
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I like pissing off the cable co. when I have to have my 83000 replaced every 2 months because the hard drive fails. Ask them next time "So got Tivo boxs yet?" Time Warner dont like that
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Old 10-12-2006, 12:47 PM   #27
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Sounds like another software issue, not an 8300 issue. The PassPort software asks immediately which program you would like to cancel.
Well, yes, it does ask immediately if you try to schedule a third program from the Guide. But let's say you schedule some automatic recordings for "all occurrences" and then three such shows end up being on at the same time. It won't let you know anything about that situation until it's time to record them.
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:07 PM   #28
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Here's another...

My friend with the SA box lost his cable signal the other day. Not only could he obviously not watch live TV he also couldn't access any of the hours of shows he had previously recorded!

How stupid!

I had also lost my cable but I was able to enjoy all the shows currently sitting on my TiVo!
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:16 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by cwoody222
Here's another...

My friend with the SA box lost his cable signal the other day. Not only could he obviously not watch live TV he also couldn't access any of the hours of shows he had previously recorded!

How stupid!

I had also lost my cable but I was able to enjoy all the shows currently sitting on my TiVo!
Very interesting.

I just tried an experiment with my Passport 8300. I unplugged the cable and turned on the TV. As expected, no picture, but I AM able to access and play my recordings.

Just shows you that there is good software and bad software. Hardware is not always to blame.
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:17 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbtom
You are dead-on with your gripes about the 8300. I was all set to swap it for an S3, but then I was disappointed with the limitations of the S3.

Instead, I spent $250 and added a 500GB HD eSata drive to the 8300 for a total of 750GB in recording space. Now most of my problems with the 8300 have gone away. My biggest problem was that stuff seemed to just disappear. Now I have a lot more room and I can deal with most of the problems.

Here are my 8300 advantages over the S3.

- No install required
- No worries about future compatibility with switched video, etc.
- Picture-in-picture capability
- VOD / PPV capability
- Can view tv, while looking at guide or recording shows
- External storage enabled today

It's not perfect, but I think it's a better solution today given the limitations of the S3.
Which software (SARA or Passport) and version do you have? I have Passport, I've been thinking of adding an external eSATA drive, not sure if it will work. My 8300 has been perfoming well, would love more space.
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