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New Time Warner Cable DVR interface sucks!

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hyde+    7
I hate my SA8300HDC, Time Warner, their channel line up, their Internet service, their customer service, their pricing... everything. Problem is, my only other alternative is dish and I have to pay my apartment complex out to the nose for the ability to mount one because they have a contract with Time Warner. My contract is up this month but I'm going to be forced to sign a new one if I don't come up with a better alternative.

Thank You. Exactly. I heard it is because TWC did not want to pay loyalties or rights to use the PASSPORT interface, so they forced their own SARA or EXPLORER on the newer (better) boxes HDC. Only if they had Passport/Aptive on HDC! :(

Hey, TWC called me, and offered a GREAT DEAL!! $4/month discount if I signed up with them for 2 years! Idiot said that would mean hundreds of dollars in savings.. I told him its like $80 (actually $96). What are they thinking? I am planning on going back there and demanding an older box with Passport in it.

There is a topic over at AVS forum for this, which has hundreds of posts, but who's got time to read them all...

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Danrarbc    1
^Where I am, I only get about 2 or 3 HD channels and they are ones not worth watching anyway.

I pay the same for basic cable and internet as my parents do and they get every premium channel and HD their service has available.

As much as I think DSL will suck, U-Verse is looking mighty tempting.

The problem with U-Verse is if you're looking at getting HD programming with it the bitrate is very low for the HD streams (standard def content is pretty good though), it's one of the worst-looking HD providers.

Chalk it up to ATT trying to save a small amount of money on their rollout by using more copper wiring. Verizon is running much more fiber for FIOS, as a benefit the TV bandwidth is much higher.

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bdsams    365

cant beleive i have missed this thread!

I cant stand the new interface, its slow as all hell and locks up the sound and picture for about 5 seconds when i hit the guide button....seriosuly, TWC, you shouldnt have pushed out this crapware until it was as smooth as the old guide

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Malik05    4

I'm not so fond of the interface myself, however, just downgrade the box to a non-DVR, but same channels, and hook it up to your Windows Media Center (Vista works great) and use MCE as your primary interface and DVR. I've had mine set up that way for about 4 months now and im loving it. In addition to this setup, you can have your Xbox 360 (if you have one) as an Extender and stream it all ( i stream everything in HD). Great thing about it, is that i can have my entire movie, music and picture library all in one. Best part, dont ever have to deal with the ugly interface.

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hyde+    7
I'm not so fond of the interface myself, however, just downgrade the box to a non-DVR, but same channels, and hook it up to your Windows Media Center (Vista works great) and use MCE as your primary interface and DVR. I've had mine set up that way for about 4 months now and im loving it. In addition to this setup, you can have your Xbox 360 (if you have one) as an Extender and stream it all ( i stream everything in HD). Great thing about it, is that i can have my entire movie, music and picture library all in one. Best part, dont ever have to deal with the ugly interface.

I was thinking about doing the exact same thing, but how is the "season pass" or guide information / time table on windows? Is the guide dependable? What do you use?

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hyde+    7

Here is what I posted in AVS forums.

=====================================

There is slow, then there is HDC slow... Compared to Passport, HDC's interface is very slow, by slow we mean the updates not responsiveness. It responds but it doesn't update as fast. For example the info box on guide (upper left corner where you see movie details/cast, etc.) on Passport I could fly through movies by just continuously hitting right arrow and only by looking at top right corner (movie name, star rating, etc.) on ODN/HDC there is no way you can do this, you would have to hit right for next show then wait for it to update that portion.

--------------

Just got hit with an HDC Sunday, and boy, this thing is laggy.

I started a thread earlier: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread....=1#post15410675, but just found this one (it never showed this topic when I was starting mine), anyway I am very disappointed with this box.

Lack of stars in guide, what where they thinking when they skipped on Navigator and went with this cartoonish crap? It is incredibly slow in response to remote commands. I have been using 8300HD for 4 years, and I loved it, I even had to sacrifice my recorded shows because HDD started giving me errors :( but I never expected this. My first impression was "cool, new box, new remote!" at the store, but when I got home, it was disappointing.

  • No stars in guide
  • You cannot browse the guide as fast as you could with older firmware (checking movies quickly one after another, this thing does not refresh the top left corner (info box) unless I stop for a second)
  • Swap does not work to swap tuners
  • You cannot record anything if you "Start Over", hey at least let me record it from the point when I tuned into it.
  • Some HD channels do not show up at all
  • There is an odd pause/freeze frame when it first tunes into a channel
  • List is very slow "Loading Data..." ??? Come on.
  • Takes long time when adding/deleting/modifying any recording or schedule, it shows that huge screen with /!\ exclamation mark "Attention" burning yellow!!!
  • Why did they have to move Exit to the top? I always used it to clear the OSD when I am ffwd'ing.
  • Is the distance when you hit PLAY from FFWD is longer? (when it resumes, before it used to go back 30 seconds or so after hitting play, but now it feels longer)
  • Access Menu? Seems useful but they shifted stuff around. And they could have added SAP and CC buttons on the remote.
  • NO Keyword Search or Recording Scout by Keyword.

And what do you get?

+Slightly better picture quality (colors are more vivid, and maybe less pixelization/mpeg compression artifacts)

+Start Over feature

+USB outputs that do not work

+Black Bars (finally)

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Malik05    4
I was thinking about doing the exact same thing, but how is the "season pass" or guide information / time table on windows? Is the guide dependable? What do you use?

Yea MCE has it very well set up! They call it Record Series, or something of that nature. I have Family Guy, Seinfeld, The Office and Smallville all on Series Record. If there are any conflicts, you can options right away when you set it up, and it will ask you if you want to Record anyways, Choose which to record, or Record only when not in conflicts. I have never had any issues. My particular setup is a bit more complex. I have a cable box, and 2 additional tuners attached to the computer. This way, if there are conflicts, i can still record with another tuner, and watch something else all at the same time.

One great thing i love about the Guide in MCE, is that i can select which channels to appear. Living in SoCal, there are more Mexican channels than English ones, so i edit my guide to only show English lol.

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hyde+    7

Which channels to appear? I love it. One thing i hated with TWC, they should just block those channels I did not pay for instead of showing "call company for this channel" or just change the color / gray out on the guide.. Also 2 tuners are still possible, even 3 with cable co, by splitting the coax. :) Did you just slap PCI tuners on the PC?

Anyway, could you please give me some guidance on how you did it? What software/hardware configuration? MCE version? Can you do keyword search? I can sell my PS3, 2 x 300GB drives I have, and get rid of $10/month DVR service from TWC and build a nice and neat MCPC.

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-Hiroshi-    0

Thank god Time Warner doesn't exist around here.. it's mainly Comcast, and I haven't had problems with Comcast at all.

I had Adelphia when I lived in Buffalo, then they went to Time Warner and we had quite a few outages.. drove myself and my many neighbors absolutely crazy, terrible service.

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DELTETHISACCOUNT    0

Eh, my mom signed up for TWC's crappy $10 (now $15, talk about greedy for no reason) 20 analog / 5 ClearQAM channel service and has stuck with it for over 8 years.

Very wise decision, the reason why nobody in our household is a couch potato.

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Malik05    4
Which channels to appear? I love it. One thing i hated with TWC, they should just block those channels I did not pay for instead of showing "call company for this channel" or just change the color / gray out on the guide.. Also 2 tuners are still possible, even 3 with cable co, by splitting the coax. :) Did you just slap PCI tuners on the PC?

Anyway, could you please give me some guidance on how you did it? What software/hardware configuration? MCE version? Can you do keyword search? I can sell my PS3, 2 x 300GB drives I have, and get rid of $10/month DVR service from TWC and build a nice and neat MCPC.

Keyword search, you mean for setting up like which program to record? Then yes, you can search for a program thru keyword, director, actor, look thru the guide, etc.

I am using a really old computer for mine. I have my xbox 360 in the living room which acts as an extender so i dont have an ugly computer out there, and the media server in my room. My system specs are 2GB RAM, AMD 64 FX-53 (2.4ghz).I have one PCI low-profile Hauppauge WinTV PVR PCII (which i had to modify in order for it to fit) tv tuner, and i have one USB ATI TV Wonder 600 tv tuner. I am running Vista Ultimate, but any Vista with Media Center will work. And you can use almost any tv tuner, long as MCE is compatible with it. I prefer the ones with ATSC tuner built into the tuner. I have 4 hard drives attached to the computer. 2 are internal, and 2 are external (USB). 1 is for recording TV shows, 1 is for my music library, 1 is for my movie library, and 1 is for Transcode360, which is a program that streams movies to the 360 media center environment. The reason i have a hard disk dedicated to that is because it converts as it plays, and leaves a very large temp(buffer) files, so i do not want that to get so large, that it takes up all the space on my other drives, so i have a separate drive dedicated to that, so it can get large as it wants.

All of my hard drives are networked so anyone on my home network can access the information. The great part of this is that, whether your on a PC or MAC, you can locate the recorded shows, and watch it on any other computer. If you dont have media center on it, then you can drag the files to VLC and it will play them.

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DaDude    46

I have to say, some of TW's HD channels look heavily compressed. And not many channels are in HD either. And there are only a handful of "real" HD channels. The rest are just upconverted and they look awful. The SD versions of those channels look better. $137 a month for this. Very disappointing.

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hyde+    7

Thanks Malik.

That sounds like a nice setup, a bit more elegant than what I would have. I was thinking about just having a small PC in my living room that has HDMI output to replace my cable box DVR.

How do you get the programs or channels to show up on your PC? Do you use cable card? Otherwise the TV Tuner only displays channels that are carried non-scrambled on the Coax, just like as if you plugged that co-ax to your TV directly (without cable card).

Thanks!

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hyde+    7
I have to say, some of TW's HD channels look heavily compressed. And not many channels are in HD either. And there are only a handful of "real" HD channels. The rest are just upconverted and they look awful. The SD versions of those channels look better. $137 a month for this. Very disappointing.

I agree on certain channels, also this depends on programming or source of the program as well. Sometimes they just stretch the movies that do not have HD format so they just stretch. As for national broadcast stations like 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 13 are all available in HD and the picture is near perfect, even in 720p. But otherwise some of them are just too compressed.

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Malik05    4
Thanks Malik.

That sounds like a nice setup, a bit more elegant than what I would have. I was thinking about just having a small PC in my living room that has HDMI output to replace my cable box DVR.

How do you get the programs or channels to show up on your PC? Do you use cable card? Otherwise the TV Tuner only displays channels that are carried non-scrambled on the Coax, just like as if you plugged that co-ax to your TV directly (without cable card).

Thanks!

I dont use a cable card. The way it gets the guide is all during the setup process. Once it detects the TV Tuner, it will ask you to entire your zip code, and it will give you different locations where it can download the guide from. So if you put in 90210, it will show up the cable programming in that area. Such as Comcast, or Time Warner etc. Then it will download the guide up to 2 weeks. and it will download automatically thereafter.

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DaDude    46
I agree on certain channels, also this depends on programming or source of the program as well. Sometimes they just stretch the movies that do not have HD format so they just stretch. As for national broadcast stations like 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 13 are all available in HD and the picture is near perfect, even in 720p. But otherwise some of them are just too compressed.

2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 13 can be found OTA and they look just as good. One thing I have to admit is that TNT is one channel that looks great in HD. The only fault is that when they broadcast 4:3 shows, they stretch the image. But when they broadcast shows like "Law and Order," the picture blows me away. I wish all channels were like that.

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I am Reid    45
I dont use a cable card. The way it gets the guide is all during the setup process. Once it detects the TV Tuner, it will ask you to entire your zip code, and it will give you different locations where it can download the guide from. So if you put in 90210, it will show up the cable programming in that area. Such as Comcast, or Time Warner etc. Then it will download the guide up to 2 weeks. and it will download automatically thereafter.

The reason for the cablecard is not for the guide, its for the digital channels you cant get without a tunner. All you can get with regular ntsc/atsc tunner is 2-70, and maybe some QAM channels. That means no channels like HBO, or ESPNHD, HDNET, and other digital channels.

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Malik05    4
The reason for the cablecard is not for the guide, its for the digital channels you cant get without a tunner. All you can get with regular ntsc/atsc tunner is 2-70, and maybe some QAM channels. That means no channels like HBO, or ESPNHD, HDNET, and other digital channels.

Yeah, I believe he/she was asking regarding the guide. I'm not sure the way a cable card works with MCE, but since i dont watch much TV except for the shows i mentioned, i do all my HD watching OTA since my shows are OTA.

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hyde+    7

Malik, yes I understand, but that was my main question, how can you get cable channels on your MCE. Without proper decoder (software or hardware -- since no cable companies provide software decoder options, it would have to be hardware, cablecard) it is not possible to completely replace the DVR from the cable co. So, with your setup you are only getting OTA channels on your PC (MCE).

If anyone knows how to set up a MCE with CableCard, so we can ditch cable company's DVR and make our own with more options and ability to actually store recorded content, i would appreciate it.

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Malik05    4
Malik, yes I understand, but that was my main question, how can you get cable channels on your MCE. Without proper decoder (software or hardware -- since no cable companies provide software decoder options, it would have to be hardware, cablecard) it is not possible to completely replace the DVR from the cable co. So, with your setup you are only getting OTA channels on your PC (MCE).

If anyone knows how to set up a MCE with CableCard, so we can ditch cable company's DVR and make our own with more options and ability to actually store recorded content, i would appreciate it.

Well i get my channels from 2 locations. one is OTA for digital HD, and the other location is from the wall. We have one receiver, which is a non DVR which sits in one of the rooms, and we paid like 5 bucks extra to get channels without the receiver. Now i believe this is from an analog signal, so i am not sure if it will still work after Feb. But i get most all channels, except the movie channels to come thru to MCE.

http://ati.amd.com/products/tvwonderdigital/specs.html

That is one Digital Tuner that works for Vista media center. But you would need to get the CableCard from the service provider.

Edited by Malik05

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I am Reid    45
Malik, yes I understand, but that was my main question, how can you get cable channels on your MCE. Without proper decoder (software or hardware -- since no cable companies provide software decoder options, it would have to be hardware, cablecard) it is not possible to completely replace the DVR from the cable co. So, with your setup you are only getting OTA channels on your PC (MCE).

If anyone knows how to set up a MCE with CableCard, so we can ditch cable company's DVR and make our own with more options and ability to actually store recorded content, i would appreciate it.

You have always been able to record analog channels with just a regular tuner without any adapter or software from the cable company. When you need a cablecard is when you want channels outside of the basic analog channels such as the HD channels. If you want, you can get a $30 tuner card, and set it up with MCE, but you are limited to the analog channels, nothing in the 100's. To do that you do need a cablecard, and the only way to get one of those is to buy a new computer with it in it as ATI dosnt sell them to consumers, or you have to get one off of ebay.

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acnpt    39

The same happens in the UK.

Virgin media's software/gui on older boxes(not sure about the newer ones) is awful! when compared with its rival, Sky.

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+warwagon    13,162

Dude if you are making a thread about how an interface to a Cable DVR sucks, at lease show some pictures. Take out your camera and take a picture of your TV.

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Elessar    45
Dude if you are making a thread about how an interface to a Cable DVR sucks, at lease show some pictures. Take out your camera and take a picture of your TV.

+1

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