So I'm flipping through channels on my 8300 HDC HD DVR tonight and I decide to tune to 1102 (HD Showcase On Demand) to check out if there's any new episodes and it stutters and says it's temporarily unavailable. It seems to lock up so I turn it off, but the picture remains on my screen. I decide to unplug and reboot the thing to fix the problem, but I can tell it's doing something... weird...
Usually it says "boot" on the front panel and I'll see a "PowerTV" logo on my TV while it's booting. The box will go dark for a minute or two then the clock comes on, telling me it's OK to turn it on. Instead of doing that, it starts doing this weird countdown sequence of numbers and letters (pictured, top) for about five minutes. It goes dark again for a little bit, then starts alternating "cArd" and dnLd" (pictured, bottom) for about 10 minutes. It reboots itself and goes through its usual sequence.
Me, being the inquisitive soul I am, decide the Google this thing and see what might be going on, considering it's something I've never seen before, and I've had 8300HD's and 8300HDC's before. I come across this post on AVS Forum from about a month ago, talking about the 8300HDC and Comcast. It said:
Last night I tried to access VOD and it froze, so I rebooted my 8300 HDC (vol+, vol-, info buttons on the box, too lazy to unplug). The LED on the box alternated between "DNLD" and "CARD". So I turned the power on the box and the screen said it was downloading a firmware update for the CableCard. It finished in less than five minutes, then restarted my box. I only watched TV for an hour or so after the update, but there were no picture freezes or audio dropouts. I'm not saying that they may have fixed the problem with an update to the CableCard, but it is possible. I'll probably know tonight while watching the Red Sox game (3 hour chunk of time). If I have no problems then I'd have to assume the update fixed the problem.
Just to update, it's been three days now, and all of the problems are now non-existant. Nore more sound dropout, no more picture freezing, and no more VOD lockups. So it seems the problem actually is in the CableCard firmware, not the 8300 HDC. Keep in mind that in order to get the firmware update, I had to reset my box, which means powering it off and then back on. Might be worth a try to see if it's available in your area yet. Good luck all.
Now I don't work for Time Warner and I couldn't say 100% for certain, but I'm willing to bet that they are pushing some sort of an update to the 8300HDC. I didn't turn on the box during its update so I don't know what it might have said, but "cArd dnLd" seems like a pretty good sign." I'll have to play with it a bit more, but I can already tell some things are different. (Luckily, it's not Navigator...... yet.......) One of my biggest pet peeves with the 8300HDC so far had been the fact that it wouldn't hold your place when you watch a DVR'ed program and turned off the box. When you turned it back on, it would start from the beginning, which the 8300HD didn't do. Now, it seems to hold your place. I can't say for sure, but it appears like it's not skipping or dropping out audio like it used to on DVR'ed programs. I don't know of any shows on my box right now that did (as it was hit or miss before), but I've played a few different shows with varying times since they've been recorded, and nothing has skipped or dropped out.
If this is, in fact, a software update, I can tell you as a first-hand 8300HDC user that it's well overdue. If someone from Time Warner knows (and is at liberty to talk shop), send an email or comment our way and let us know. Hopefully this is a harbinger for good things to come.
Anyone else seeing this? This might be one you have to manually power down and reboot your box to see (at least from the AVS Forum post). Let us know!
UPDATE 1: After about 15 minutes of putting my 8300HDC through the paces, one improvement I'm seeing is in the speed of channel changing. Before, changing channels was sometimes slow, and was definitely slow when changing between an HD channel and an SD channel (or even between some HD channels to others). It would just seem sluggish and twitchy (yes, those are my technical terms). Now everything looks pretty snappy and fluid, no matter what channel you start on or switch to. I had thought that it was a bad reaction between the 8300HDC and a switched digital video platform in its infancy, but perhaps this is an indication that things are finally ready for primetime. (Again, purely my speculation here, but definitely an improvement!)