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Rogers - Scientific Atlanta 8300 HD PVR Pixelation

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[OP]
Newbie
Apr 4, 2007
63 posts
1 upvote
Toronto

Rogers - Scientific Atlanta 8300 HD PVR Pixelation

Hi everybody,

Unfortunately, after 8 great years, my Scientific Atlanta 8300 HD PVR is starting to show its age. I am having issues viewing certain individual channels due to heavy pixelation. Most channels (except for about 10 or so) work perfectly with no pixelation, however these channels that are having issues happen to be the ones that I watch most often. I had 3 tech support crews from Rogers visit my house and they all told me that the cable connection is excellent - it's the box itself that has problems. All 3 concluded that the box is having trouble receiving certain frequencies.

The box in question is owned by me and I have been told by countless people to buy a new one however, the $499.99 price tag for a new one is a little steep and the $24.95/month rental fee is rediculous. I have looked into Kijiji as well but every time I ask for a serial number so that I can ensure that the box is valid to transfer over (that way I don't get ripped off), sellers stop responding or refuse to make the deal. Now I am looking into getting it repaired and was wondering if anybody knows through experience of a good, well priced repair company in Toronto and the GTA that can fix my cable box. Any response would be really appreciated!!
53 replies
Member
Oct 10, 2013
381 posts
582 upvotes
Toronto, ON
If you are interested in buying used, ask to meet at a Rogers store. No one will give you the serial no. over an email except those who don't know how to protect themselves.
Deal Fanatic
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Sep 8, 2007
9078 posts
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Way Out of GTA
Don't forget to save the HD when you retire your box, those particular hard drives are hard to come by for use in other 8300's with bad hard drives. The HD model has 160gb which you can sell off separately if it's still working properly.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
19680 posts
5766 upvotes
Toronto
What do you mean by pixelation? The Rogers streams are pixelated to begin with.

Or do you mean there are big areas of blocking with pauses and that sort of thing? If so, and if it's not a reception problem, it could very well be a failing drive. And if it's a failing drive, the drive can be replaced.

I own 5 Rogers boxes, including three of the 8300HD, and have owned multiple other Rogers boxes in the past. The issues I've encountered:

1) Failing drive.
2) Failing drive.
3) Failing drive.
4) Failing video port.
5) Just dead. Won't boot up.

I've also had signal reception issues, but that was because my line signal strength was bad. Rogers eventually replaced the entire line from the street to my house with RG11 (an uber thick cable, since RG6 was not enough), and my reception issues went away.

BTW, I've been able to keep all three of my 8300HD units alive by replacing the drives. My oldest one is over a decade old. In fact, IIRC at least two of them have seen multiple drive replacements. The ones that completely died or had video port issues were non-PVR Rogers boxes. Two of the boxes I bought were refurbs from The Shopping Channel (which is owned by Rogers).
Member
Dec 7, 2015
479 posts
104 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
My curiosity is getting to me - are these just generic 3.5" SATA or IDE drives or do you have to buy some special replacement part (also, can you change them to a larger capacity without a hassle)?
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
19680 posts
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Toronto
willilumplump wrote: My curiosity is getting to me - are these just generic 3.5" SATA or IDE drives or do you have to buy some special replacement part (also, can you change them to a larger capacity without a hassle)?
They are generic IDE drives since the 8300HD is so old. It came out in 2004. SATA drives won't work, and SATA -> IDE converters usually cause problems.

However, you need to use desktop drives that are NOT the green drives. The green eco features can wreak havoc with these players. 7200 rpm recommended and there are lists out there which indicate which drives are known to be compatible with the 8300HD. I've run various Seagate, Maxtor, and WD drives with success without necessarily always checking the compatibility lists, but again, NOT green drives.

The other issue you need to be aware of is how quiet the drive is. If the drive doesn't have acoustic management turned on already (most do), then you need to turn it on before installing it in the 8300HD. Otherwise the clicking will drive you nuts. And for very old loud IDE drives, the whine will also drive you nuts. I had an old 120 GB drive from something like 2001 and I lasted about 2 weeks before I took it out again, because it was way too loud.

500 GB is the maximum, but they are really hard to find these days, and generally are expensive. 160 GB seems common, but 250 GB, 320 GB, and 400 GB are also available.

I've also tried laptop 5400 rpm drives, but they just couldn't keep up. I'd get performance problems.
Deal Expert
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Mar 6, 2003
15536 posts
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Ottawa
Yeah, my 8300 PVR is dying too, studders or locks up playing back videos.

I have a 500GB WD Blue drive in mine
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
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warpdrive wrote: Yeah, my 8300 PVR is dying too, studders or locks up playing back videos.

I have a 500GB WD Blue drive in mine
This was common behaviour with mine before the drives just died. Sometimes it'd go on like this for a year or something before going completely.

BTW, some of you might wonder why my drives go so quickly. Well, when you think about it, it's not that quickly. These things are spinning 24/7 and if you do a lot of recording (esp. HD), it's actually seeing a lot of data transfer, so it's not surprising the drive might only last 3-5 years. But in my case I keep some of my units in AV cabinets with crappy ventilation, so the drives do deteriorate faster than if they were simply in open air.
Deal Expert
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Dec 12, 2009
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Toronto
I have a 9 year old 8300 that's still going strong. The original drive packed it on long ago. I tried getting a sata to ide adapter so that I can use a sata drive but the machine is finicky, not all adapters work. Each try costs around $5 and a month long wait for shipping from eBay sellers. I ended up installing an old 80 gig Maxtor ide drive that sounds as loud as a rock crusher. If this drive fails, my next option is a 40 gig ide drive. If anyone has success with using a sata drive, please share the secret to success. OP, sorry for hijacking the thread.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
19680 posts
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Toronto
A few SATA -> IDE adapters did work for the most part but IIRC a firmware update (which automatically gets pushed to the 8300HD) from a few years back caused them to have problems, even though they worked (somewhat) before. I dunno if more recent adapters work better with the current firmwares, but the best bet is to get a refurb IDE drive.

A few low end computer shops sometimes have used HD pulls from old equipment in a bin. If you buy one they guarantee it will work and if it doesn't, then they will exchange it, but really YMMV. I think I picked up an 80 GB drive once for like $25 a few years back. Otherwise you're often looking at refurbs for like $100-$200 (ouch) through places like Newegg.

Do those newer Nextboxes go on sale? The first 8300HD I bought was on a one-day sale at Future Shop for 40% off, so 299 or something like that. The next two I got were refurbs and less than $200 from The Shopping Channel. I'd consider buying a recent Nextbox if I could get it for less than $300 but so far I haven't seen it for that price. It sure beats spending $160 on a 320 GB IDE drive.

Actually if were up to me I'd just cancel my Rogers Cable service, but my wife wants to keep it.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 1, 2004
12862 posts
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Pickering
thegame27 wrote: Hi everybody,

Unfortunately, after 8 great years, my Scientific Atlanta 8300 HD PVR is starting to show its age. I am having issues viewing certain individual channels due to heavy pixelation. Most channels (except for about 10 or so) work perfectly with no pixelation, however these channels that are having issues happen to be the ones that I watch most often. I had 3 tech support crews from Rogers visit my house and they all told me that the cable connection is excellent - it's the box itself that has problems. All 3 concluded that the box is having trouble receiving certain frequencies.

The box in question is owned by me and I have been told by countless people to buy a new one however, the $499.99 price tag for a new one is a little steep and the $24.95/month rental fee is rediculous. I have looked into Kijiji as well but every time I ask for a serial number so that I can ensure that the box is valid to transfer over (that way I don't get ripped off), sellers stop responding or refuse to make the deal. Now I am looking into getting it repaired and was wondering if anybody knows through experience of a good, well priced repair company in Toronto and the GTA that can fix my cable box. Any response would be really appreciated!!
http://thecsi.com/contact/
Deal Fanatic
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Apr 4, 2009
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North York
I installed a 750GB IDE drive in one of my 8300HD PVRs. (Holds 90-100hrs of HD recording.)

Remember to turn off the PVR when not in use, otherwise it records the current program for pause, rewind, etc. That constant 24 x 7 would shorten the life span of the drive. (Especially, if it is a high speed 7.2k drive)
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 4, 2007
63 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
Thank you so much for the input everybody!! Every repair shop that I've called has said that its definitely not the hard drive - more like a tuner issue or leaky capacitors.
The SA 8300 is one of the best utility units in my house. Bought it in 2008 and it is in great shape - the harddrive has always performed really well without issues. With that in mind, I also strive to take good care of my stuff by shutting it off when its not in use and I try to keep it in a well ventilated area. When the harddrive does go, there is a list out there from Scientific Atlanta (or is it Cisco now??) for valid units that the 8300 can support but finding them can be tricky :( .

I will definitely look into AudiDude's suggestion. I tried calling Rogers to buy another unit but the new machines are really expensive and they refused to give me a deal.
Member
Dec 7, 2015
479 posts
104 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
EugW wrote: But in my case I keep some of my units in AV cabinets with crappy ventilation, so the drives do deteriorate faster than if they were simply in open air.
I cut two 5" holes behind the shelves of my AV cabinet and put 5v fans in there. The fans were pulled from a cheap(ish) laptop cooler. One is powered from the AV receiver via the rear USB charging port so the fan is only on when the AVR is on. The other is always on and keeps the STB cool. $20 and a couple of hours time to (hopefully) improve the life of the gadgetry.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
29383 posts
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If the internal drive is failing I'd say just replace it with as cheap a drive you can find that is around the capacity of the original. If you want more storage space, connect a drive to the eSATA port. No point trying to find large PATA drives to work with these, if you're just looking for storage space. They'll probably cost more than SATA drives and won't be worth it given you can just use the eSATA feature on the back.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
19680 posts
5766 upvotes
Toronto
cartfan123 wrote: This specific 320gb WD3200AAJB works. Listed on ebay as a pull. Not a bad price if you need one. Double the size of the stock 8300HD hard drive.

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Western-Digital- ... SwsN9XBSaW
I think the stock drive was 320 GB later on. (Initially it was 160 though.)
ES_Revenge wrote: If the internal drive is failing I'd say just replace it with as cheap a drive you can find that is around the capacity of the original. If you want more storage space, connect a drive to the eSATA port. No point trying to find large PATA drives to work with these, if you're just looking for storage space. They'll probably cost more than SATA drives and won't be worth it given you can just use the eSATA feature on the back.
I had problems with external eSATA drives, so YMMV. So I prefer to use PATA drives with some capacity. However, I've since trained the wife not to record every old episode of a rerun just because she can so nowadays I don't need that much space.
willilumplump wrote: I cut two 5" holes behind the shelves of my AV cabinet and put 5v fans in there. The fans were pulled from a cheap(ish) laptop cooler. One is powered from the AV receiver via the rear USB charging port so the fan is only on when the AVR is on. The other is always on and keeps the STB cool. $20 and a couple of hours time to (hopefully) improve the life of the gadgetry.
I just removed the entire back of my latest AV cabinet last night. However, while it does help with air flow, the main reason was just because the unit isn't very deep and doing this will not only help some components fit better without kinking the cables but also make connecting and disconnecting the components much easier.
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Jun 8, 2003
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Scarborough
I recently bought a 4250 from a RFDer, he gave me the serial number before I met him up.
TheWang wrote: If you are interested in buying, ask to meet at a Rogers store. No one will give you the serial no. over an email.
Member
Oct 10, 2013
381 posts
582 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Menace wrote: I recently bought a 4250 from a RFDer, he gave me the serial number before I met him up.
So this seller didn't know how to protect himself, but you can't expect everyone to do the same.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
19680 posts
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Toronto
It's not uncommon practice to provide the serial. Otherwise guys like me simply won't buy it.

Alternatively they'll agree to contact Rogers right when you're there to verify.

Way too many problems with Rogers boxes otherwise.

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