Advertisements I just got back from a week-long visit at my parent's house. They've recently moved, and DirecTV couldn't figure out how to run all the cables they wanted (two different technicians tried, and then their supervisor, and they still couldn't get it). As a result, my parents are now Adelphia cable subscribers, and have the SA Explorer 8300HD as their PVR. I got a chance to spend some time using it, thought I would document my impressions. I'm a DTiVo (and HD-DTiVo) user. Good: Only one cable needed for multi-tuner support Supports HD When setting up a repeating recording (i.e. Season Pass), you can limit it to a particular time-slot. Handy for shows with notoriously bad guide data. Don't have to purchase the hardware. Don't need an antenna to get locals in HD Indifferent (to me) PIP support 1/4 screen live picture when in Guide/Menu (actually, this is bad, see below). The provided remote is a universal remote Bad: The box belongs to the cable company, so you can't open it up and increase the recording capacity. Higher monthly fees (you must subscribe to digital cable, you rent the box for a fee, and you pay a fee for the DVR service (for each DVR). You can't get HD locals that aren't offered by the cable company, even if they are available OTA. For my parents, only CBS and FOX are available in HD from Adelphia, even though NBC, ABC, UPN, PBS, and WB are also available OTA. Way too many buttons on the remote. The A, B, and C buttons are only used in the menus. I like how TiVo just uses on-screen prompts which you can navigate with the arrow keys and press Select/OK. If I have to use the A, B, or C buttons, I have to take my fingers away from the navigation keys. Why have dedicated Page+/Page- keys (which are placed horizontally next to each other on the remote. Ughh.) instead of just change the meaning of the CH+/CH- keys when in the guide or a menu screen? Oh, the CH+/CH- keys are still active, so if you press them, not only does the channel change, but you are dumped out of the menu/guide to Live TV Because of the 1/4 screen live picture in the guide/menu screens, there are only 5 lines available for the guide/menu itself (as opposed 8 with TiVo). Searching for programs by title. You only get to select the first letter (but you have to scroll vertically to find it, only 5 letter visible at a time), then you have to scroll through the list to find the program you want (but only 5 are listed at a time). I set up a recording on "Phil of the Future" for my kids, and after setting the first letter to P, I had to scroll through five screens of "Paid Advertising" and then a handful more before I got to the program I wanted to record. Not keeping track of what you've done. Every time you press List to see the available recordings, it goes back and selects the oldest recording, rather than the last recording you selected. You have to navigate through the list (only 5 visible at a time) to find your recording. It only remembers one, the most recent, "resume-point", where you stopped watching a recording. If you stop watching a recording part-way through, then someone else watches a different recording, your resume-point is lost and you have to fast-forward from the beggining to get back to where you were watching. No tick-marks on the progress bar, so you can't jump ahead in larger time increments. You have to fast forward. This is a pain when it's lost your resume-point. Watching a recording "behind live". I was watching a program (from the List or recordings) that was still being recorded. I was well behind live, may 2/3 or the way through a 2 hour movie. When the scheduled end-of-recording time came, the darn thing jumped to Live TV. WTF? I thought that was bad, but just pressed List to go find the recording I was watching. The 'current' recording was the oldest one, so I had to scroll (only 5 programs at a time) to the one I had been watching. Ugh! Once I found the program, I discovered that it hadn't saved my resume-point, so I had to fast forward through 1:20 of the recording. There are no tick marks to jump to, so that took longer too. Really frustrating. No auto-jump back when fast-forwarding, so you have to press instant-replay or rewind a bit. That's all I can remember right now.