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Time Warner cable boxes, input format

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Old 12-26-2005, 08:23 AM   #1
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Default Time Warner cable boxes, input format

I just got HDTV and TWC screwed up and didn't have me down for an HD DVR box, like I had requested. Luckilly, the cable technician had an extra one in his truck. It was a Scientific Atlanta 8000HD. I had requested a Scientific Atlanta 8300HD, but after calling customer service, TWC said that due to limited availability, customers can't request a specific model number. I will be able to bug the local office until they have one available, at which time I can exchange it.

I have a Sony KDF-E50A10 TV, which has two component inputs, an S video input, and a HDMI input. I still have to get a progressive scan (maybe upconversion) DVD player, but I will be watching way more cable on it than DVDs.

What are the advantages of the 8300HD over the 8000HD? I noticed they both have the same HDD size and my local division of TWC uses Passport, so the SATA option will probably never be available. Is there a noticeable difference on the signal from the 8300HD component out and the 8000HD component out? What about between the 8300HD component out and the 8300HD HDMI output? Is it as much of a difference as between component and HDMI out on a DVD player?

I'm mainly wondering if it is really worth the trouble of harrassing my local cable office to get the 8300HD.
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Old 12-27-2005, 04:28 AM   #2
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hi, i just want to say TWC people suck.they are a bunch of idiots from the people on the phone to the technicians that service your installations. they are poorly trained and they need better knowledgeable staff.
i have a 1080P 56"toshiba which has the TV guide program built in. unfortunately TWC renders that useless because they encrypt the signal so you have to rent their HD DVR box. (i had purchased toshiba's DVR which works with the TV guide program but i had to return it.) so i set up an appointment with TWC to install the DVR box and i got the run around with the time schedule. then when the technician came to install they said they don't install boxes they just came to see whats wrong. i was furious, and threatened to cancel actually told him to disconnect and cancel. all of a sudden he says hold on i have a box in the truck let me call my supervisor. so it seems like they do this all the time so it looks like they are doing you a favor. i believe thats how they make you feel that you owe them a tip or something.
i called customer service and asked if they provide HDMI cable since the installer says i can request it but for now i will have to deal with component cables. he says i can pick it up at the local office, i go to the local office and they say i'm on my own they don't offer it. i also asked that same rep about connecting an additional hard drive through sata and he said "whats that?"
it's just a shame that i have to pay my hard earned dollars to support a bunch of poorly trained employers of such a huge company.
as for the 8300 box the technician says there are "less glitches" ha ha . sorry i haven't had the experience with the 8000 to give you my comparison but from what i can see the 8300 work pretty decent. too bad it runs on passport. i haven't connected the HDMI cable yet because i ordered it online. but im sure it will be better than component. when i had it connected directly through cablecard the picture was better slightly so im anticipating a better picture through HDMI.
good luck getting the 8300 box.
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Old 12-27-2005, 08:07 AM   #3
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It's true what you said about the training TWC gives to its employees. I actually taught the phone support something about working with this box and HD. I was getting grey bars on the side of the screen and they had no clue how to get rid of them. I figured out how to do that after getting off the phone with them and then had a picture that was compressed horizontally on the 4:3 channels. While on hold, I figured that out (just before they picked up). I told the phone support person and she said she didn't know how to do it before and thanked me.

A note about TWC technicians. Time Warner Cable (and its customers) get what TWC pays for. They show little concern for their employees, having them work on Christmas Eve with no additional compensation. The employees that work on Christmas don't get paid additional overtime either. In talking with technicians on visits, they don't get paid much more than McDonald's employees. There are some areas where they get paid less than your average fast food worker. The guy that brought my box shared with me that 5 of the technicians in my area are leaving the same day for other jobs.

This I believe is just the tip of the iceberg of the greedy Time-Warner conglomerate. What a bunch of b*stards. Everyone should keep this in mind when talking with TWC technicians and phone support people, those poor people get crap from both ends because the company doesn't care about its employees. Note: I'm not a TWC employee. (Thank God!)
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Old 12-29-2005, 08:45 AM   #4
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Noodles. What is your location??
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Old 12-29-2005, 12:27 PM   #5
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I have the exact same Toshiba 56" 1080p (56HM195) and am curious if you also have to change the picture size everytime you change the channel? I have TWC and the HD DVR box. Also, does the HDMI cable really make a big difference?

Last edited by shelli; 12-29-2005 at 12:29 PM. Reason: forgot toadd something
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Old 01-02-2006, 09:14 AM   #6
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Default Compressed 4:3 picture

Tom NK. You say you fixed your compressed 4:3 picture. I have same problem. What did you do?
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Old 01-02-2006, 11:15 AM   #7
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It's kind of goofy but here's what I did:
Set the aspect ratio to 16:9, stretch on 4:3 pictures
Set your output formats to include the 480P at least.
If the channel is broadcast in 480i or 480p, it will be "stretched" by the cable box, but will still send it to the TV as 480p or 480i. One inconvenience to this is that the set will automatically select "Full", but I can quickly change the mode on the TV to "Normal" for images displayed as 480i. So basically, it gets stretched then squished back again, but I don't notice any difference in picture quality except for having black bars instead of grey.
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Old 01-02-2006, 05:25 PM   #8
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Tom_NK, since your set is burnproof, there is no need to distort narrowscreen images... leave them pillarboxed for best picture quality. Easiest usage is when the STB is setup to output all formats at a fixed 720p... no aspect adjustment needed and fastest surfing.
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:17 AM   #9
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Every since I bought my Sharp Aquos LC32D4U I've pretty much been on my own as far as troubleshooting goes. MOst of the problems I've solved from reading this site. TWC offers very poor customer service in Metro NYC. Technicians are poorly trained and oftentimes we get subcontractors sent out instead and these people have NO IDEA what they are doing. I actually threw one out of my apartment about a month ago because she was engaged in a personal cell phone call during her visit. She had no idea what i was even talking about when i was describing problems to her and didn't really seem to care and then showed me attitude when i asked her to make phone calls on her own time. If I lived about 6 blocks east of where i do I'd have Cablevision and most of their customers i know are very satisfied with their product and customer service.
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Old 01-05-2006, 01:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_NK
What are the advantages of the 8300HD over the 8000HD? I noticed they both have the same HDD size and my local division of TWC uses Passport, so the SATA option will probably never be available. Is there a noticeable difference on the signal from the 8300HD component out and the 8000HD component out? What about between the 8300HD component out and the 8300HD HDMI output? Is it as much of a difference as between component and HDMI out on a DVD player?

I'm mainly wondering if it is really worth the trouble of harrassing my local cable office to get the 8300HD.
Since nobody else answered this, instead choosing to bash on TWC techs, I'll do my best:
The advantages of the 8300 are as follows~ all output formats work on the 8300 (S-video, Composite, Component, HDMI, RF, coaxial and optical digital audio outputs) Whereas the 8000HD DVR only the component output works, without having to do a Vulcan mind meld with the converter to change the output from component to composite and THEN having to use the green component output as your yellow composite video plus switching the wires around on the back of your TV accordingly.
The 8300HD DVR has a more reliable HDD in it, and also doesn't have as many freezing and booting problems as the 8000HD DVR does. Personally the 8300 is a far superior STB when compared to the 8000, although it is not perfect the PQ is better on the 8300 then most of the other SA HD STB's when it comes to analog channels. Given the fact that you can use composite video or S-vid to view analog channels without having to move wires around or change the output formats on the STB, and the addition of the HDMI available on the 8300 is moving in the right direction. The SATA external HDD connection should already be active, so if you have some spare SATA HDD's laying around and know how to format them, you can increase the amount of storage available to you. I've shown a few techs I work with how to do this on their own, and everyone of them not only had success in doing it, they went out and purchased larger hard drives to increase the amount of storage capacity. Which is another benefit to using the external option, if your DVR crashes and burns, what was on the HDD is gone with it, anything on the external HDD can stays safe from box swapping lost programming. As for the differences between the component and HDMI output....well IMHO I've only noticed a difference in the audio when using the HDMI as it's passing digital audio directly to the TV, but haven't noticed any significant difference in PQ. Asking this question is like asking if Ford is better then Chevy...you'll never get a 100% consensus. There are people out there that swear by HDMI, and others that think component is better, you be the judge for yourself, after all it's your TV. As for the 8300, if you can get your hands on one get it, and get rid of the 8000 as fast you can.

Now, pardon my soap box, but I do work for TWC and I won't say there aren't problems with training, cause I've been introduced to new equipment with a "here's a new STB, have fun". I can not say that there aren't technicians out there that don't know what they're doing either....however....I draw a very fine line between company equipment and customer owned equipment. Most technicians that work at any cable company can't afford most of the stuff they are connecting to, and in most cases they don't get the time to learn because they are too busy dealing with installations or troublecalls on a full time basis. I have taken a different path in my cable mind set: I don't like to walk into a customers home without knowing what I need to do, so I've learned as much as I can, and still am learning as the equipment changes are fast and furious. There are plenty of techs that work where I do who take pride in their work, and come to me asking if I can show them some tricks or tips when dealing with HD/home theater set ups. I may not know all the answers, but I know enough to be able to hold an intelligent conversation with most of my local area HD fanatics, in some cases they were my teachers...I went out to fix a signal or equipment related problem, fixed it quickly and took some spare time to learn why they connected these things this way, and those things that way. I may be very different from any technician you've ever encountered but I can assure you that there are others like me out there. Just as certainly there are others out that don't care to take the time to learn about this new technology. Personally I like the challenges of going out to somebody's home and listening to them complain about the last 3 "idiots" that came out and leave his/her house with everything corrected and fully educated on how to use his equipment with ours to get the maximum usage out of each. As for the so called "idiots", keep in mind these are cable techs. They are not stereo specialist, HDTV geeks, DVD techs they are cable techs. By proxy all I am required to know is CATV signals, drop loss calculations, wiring coaxial cables and connecting to a TV. All the other stuff I learned because I got bored after I figured out how to install it and how to fix it, so I took on learning customer related equipment issues. As somebody correctly pointed out the average cable tech starting out only makes around 8-12 an hour depending on what part of the country they are in. When I started I was making less then $7 an hour so don't be shocked the next time some cable guy comes into your home and doesn't know all about your expensive equipment. There are more customers out there that don't about their own equipment they purchased then there are cable techs who don't know about that same equipment. I know for a fact most people who go out and drop $6000+ on the latest and greatest technology has to offer, don't have the first clue about switching inputs/why there is a need to switch inputs, differences between 480i/480p/720p/1080i formats compression issues/motion artifacts/scan lines and all the other things that most of the people in these forums know about. Yet the poor cable guy is expected to know everything???? Give me a break.
I also don't mean to offend anybody, as this was not my intention, but I can not and will not stand passively by while people take pot shots at the company I work for, nor my fellow cable technicians who bust their butts day in and day out. The old saying for the post office used to be "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." I think they should change that to cable guys...I've worked in attics on the hottest days of the year, and climbed poles in sub double digit temperatures in the winter time. So please do me the kindness in this forum of not making every employee of TWC an "idiot", it's an insult to those of us who do care about our customers and I hope you can understand that.~stepping off my soap box now~
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Old 01-06-2006, 10:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSawdey
Tom_NK, since your set is burnproof, there is no need to distort narrowscreen images... leave them pillarboxed for best picture quality. Easiest usage is when the STB is setup to output all formats at a fixed 720p... no aspect adjustment needed and fastest surfing.
Actually, I do leave it pillarboxed for SD, but I have black pillars instead of the distracting grey ones. The only drawback is that when I switch to an SD station from an HD one, I have to flip the TV back to "Normal" (pillbox). I just wish there was a way to compress a picture now. The local NBC affiliate stretches the image and doesn't give me the option to keep it pillboxed. It's funny, I've had HD for a couple weeks and already have a pet peave.

I did manage to exchange my 8000HD for an 8300HD and I did notice a slight improvement in PQ. There was a huge reduction in the skipping of the video/sound with the new drive. TWC neohio uses Passport, so there is no point in getting a SATA drive.

Now if TWC would only offer more than two HD movies on their HD On-Demand channel I'd be all set.

Hey Cable Guy, my Tuner 1 or 2 signal strength on HBO/HD channels is around -10/-11 dBmV. FDC is -7dBmV. I'm watching SciFi channel at -9dBmV. Are these acceptable signal strengths or should I request my signal be boosted?

Thanks to all.
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Old 01-09-2006, 06:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_NK
Hey Cable Guy, my Tuner 1 or 2 signal strength on HBO/HD channels is around -10/-11 dBmV. FDC is -7dBmV. I'm watching SciFi channel at -9dBmV. Are these acceptable signal strengths or should I request my signal be boosted?

Thanks to all.
For digital channels -10/-11 dBmV is low but not out of spec. The range for digital channels is usually between +15 to -16 dBmV. If the SciFi channel is analog in your system, -9 should be a little higher. It definately wouldn't hurt to have an amp installed, if you can find a 4 port amp go with that.
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Old 01-11-2006, 07:56 AM   #13
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Anyone know if the Pioneer HD receiver from Time Warner has HDMI? And is the Pioneer HD receiver better than the others mentioned here.
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Old 01-11-2006, 08:21 AM   #14
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These problems are UNIVERSAL!!!!

Someone on another thread just mentioned FIOS TV, from Verizon......a new alternative to cable and satellite. I thought "WOW!! GREAT!!!" I checked it out on their website, and it looked great too. According the website, it is not available in my area yet, so I wanted to call Verizon and find out when it might be.

Right now, as I type, I'm still on HOLD. This is my 4th phone call...I've been put through to about 6 different people, 4 different automated response machines, etc... Noone can just tell me about FIOS. NOONE. "OK, let me transfer you to...."

what a Friggin' joke. Absolutely a total joke.
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Old 01-11-2006, 08:37 AM   #15
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Cable Guy, thanks for the post. excellent post.

May I pick your brain for a couple of moments, please?

I just purchased the Panasonic TH-42PX50U (HD plasma TV)...and will have it delivered tomorrow. I want to to be prepared and up to speed to begin making the most of it.

I'm a long-time TW cable subscriber...for both Internet and TV (analog), and I've been quite satisfied. Very few problems. Recently my Internet connection had become troublesome, so they sent someone out, he replaced the modem, and tada, perfect service again. My only gripe has been the constant price increases. But where isn't there price increases, right? So for about $90, I get both. Not too bad.

But now, I want to "upgrade" my TV service to digital / HD / possibly DVR....and I can't seem to entice them into "offering" me anything. But "new" customers get an unreal 2 year price right now...especially when using more than one service.

so enough of that frustration, IF I decide to bite the bullet and just pay through the nose for all their services, what do you recommend? Full digital tier with HD and a box...? ? A HD DVR? Use the cable card (my tv is equppied)? also, what cables will be provided, and which ones sould I plan to go out and buy? thanks much!!!!

any comments?
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