How is the Scientific Atlanta 3100HD cable box?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by brianacook, Apr 3, 2002.

  1. brianacook

    brianacook Stunt Coordinator

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    My cable company will be providing HDTV service in the near future. I got this off of their website and I was just wondering if the set-top box they are offering is a good one. This is a bit premature as I do not even have an HDTV (yet). Anyway, here is what they are saying.

    "When you subscribe to HDTV service on Blue Ridge Digital Cable, you will receive an Explorer 3100HD from Scientific-Atlanta. This new digital set-top is designed to meet growing consumer demand for high definition television (HD). It functions as a network computer capable of presenting programming at HD resolutions through the component outputs. The Explorer 3100HD not only tunes analog channels, but also is capable of decoding all 18 ATSC high-definition formats. It also up converts all content to 1080i to present out the analog component outputs. This allows the subscriber to watch any channel without having to switch between inputs on the TV."

    Thanks,

    Brian
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Since this question concerns equipment, I'm moving it to Audio/Video Sources. I'm also editing the thread title in the hope of catching the attention of people who have Scientific Atlanta HD boxes.
    M.
     
  3. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Ultimately, whether it's a good one or not is irrelevant, since it's likely the only thing they offer.

    Having said that, I've had the 3100HD in my system for about a month, and it's pretty good. There are a few minor issues with it, but overall, not too bad.

    You will want to hook up HD component for viewing HD, but use S-Video for the analog and digital channels. The upconversion at the HD component out is a little blurry.

    Overall, the box is much better than either of the two 2000HDs that I had. Both of those would frequently (sometimes 2x/day) lock up. The 3100HD hasn't had a hickup yet.

    Most importantly, it's essentially FREE, so I really can't complain anyway.

    I get eight HD channels from TWC (HBO, Showtime, PBS, NBC, ABC, CBS, WB, and Fox). WB is all upconverts, NBC has only Leno (and Crossing Jordan), and Fox shows only 480p in primetime.

    Todd
     
  4. tony randall

    tony randall Stunt Coordinator

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    The first SFA box my cable company gave me would not pick up the digital stations at all. They sent out a replacement (3 weeks), and seems to work ok. There is no alternative choice for for cable box. Also, I do not have a HDTV set up with it, so I can't comment that far.

    I split the signal, and only use the box for premium channels. I did this for two reasons - 1) P-I-P would not work and 2) could only tape the channel the box was set to.

    As far as the P-I-P goes, several 'customer support' technicians could not help me get it set up properly. They said the 'old' guide book told how to do it, but they can't find one! The new ones omit that information. Now I do not know if the old guide books went with the SFA box or a different box, because this is my first box with this company.

    As far as the taping issue goes, I usually only tape a show if there are 2 things I want to watch on at the same time.
     
  5. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Screenwriter

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  6. Matt Taylor

    Matt Taylor Stunt Coordinator

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    Time Warner in Kansas City is coming to my house today to replace my two 2000HD boxes with "new" ones. I assume after reading this thread that these "new" boxes will be the 3100HD boxes. That is great news because my two 2000HD's would lock up ALL the time!

    I hope the upconvert really is better, becuase it was awful with the 2000HD's.

    Matt
     
  7. JonBouche

    JonBouche Agent

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    It has to be better than the 2000HD box I currently use from TWC. It locks up fairly often, which then requires a re-boot. The stations that it up-converts are not that good, but the true HD broadcasts are great!

    Good luck!
     
  8. Andrew Pierce

    Andrew Pierce Stunt Coordinator

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    I just posted some comments on 2 problems with the Explorer 3100HDover here
    Basically:
    1) It's not friendly to 4:3 HDTVs (windowboxing + letterboxing = big black all encompasing box), which is crazy since I have 200 4:3 channels and 5 channels which are occassionally widescreen. Don't get me started on standard channels showing letterboxed widescreen content. I realize that 4:3 and HDTV don't mix, but there are a lot of them out there and my 43" 4:3 TV is also a 39" 16:9 TV, and I got it for $1000. You find me even a 36" 16:9 TV for that money.
    2) The on-board graphics engine can only handle 640x480, so it can't superimpose graphics on 1080i content. No big deal, Just if you're checking out what's on the other channels, your program goes black and you just see the navbar at the bottom.
     
  9. Michael Lomker

    Michael Lomker Stunt Coordinator

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    Like the others mentioned, the upconvert from an analog channel to 1080i is bad...you'll want to use S-video to watch analog channels. I find the upconvert on digital channels to be acceptable but S-video is still better.

    I don't really care, though....I've been watching nothing but HDTV since I bought the set. It spoils you in a bad way.
     
  10. Michael St. Clair

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    If you want to watch something like Fox 16:9 480p/480i, does allow you to watch this digital broadcast through the s-video instead of the 1080i component?

    If so, does it downconvert it to letterboxed, crop it, or is it still anamorphic?
     
  11. Andrew Pierce

    Andrew Pierce Stunt Coordinator

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    All of the standard definition digital channels we have pass through the SVideo fine, but are not widescreen. (Our fox channel is not broadcasting in 'Fox Widescreen' yet Actually, our PBS does put some widescreen content on their 480(p?i? Not sure!) channel which gives me problems. It's clearly 16:9 content, yet the 3100HD windowboxes it to 4:3, so basically it wouldn't look good on anyone's TV. I can view it too tall with the 16:9 squish (which is how it would appear on a 16:9 TV), or WAY too tall without it. I end up having to watch it leterboxed on the analog channel. The Evolution series which is currently playing is one program with these issues. I don't know if the cable box is to blame for this, or if my PBS station and TWC need to get their act together.

    Is there a way for me to determine what format I'm receiving on the digital channels? It would have to be on the cable box because the TV will only get it as either 1080i or standard NTSC on the SVideo.
     

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