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TWC 8300HD DVR eSATA port is now active! (external hard drive storage)

Started by Mark Strube, Tuesday Nov 07, 2006, 05:01:38 am

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Mark Strube

Last night I picked up a 2nd HD-DVR for the theater room from TWC's Mayfair office. I'll only be recording HD movies and some trailer shows on that one.

I also picked up an external Seagate 300gb eSATA drive... and it works with the 8300HD!

The DVR will say that there's a problem when you first hook it up (make sure the drive is turned on), but then I just did a reboot of the 8300HD. Once that was finished, about 10 seconds later a screen came up asking me if I wanted to format the drive. Works like a charm!!

About the drives: I don't know if any other SATA drives will work on this... I know some of the earlier versions of SATA (back in 2005) didn't work, or you had to buy special converter cables for them... but I know you should be pretty safe with the Seagate eSATA line of external hard drives. (If you're not shopping online, the only local store I've found to have a decent selection of these is CompUSA in Brookfield.)

About the 8300HD: This is a NEW box I picked up (the manufacture date printed on the bottom is this October), so I'm not going to make any gurantees about older DVR's working with this. However,  I see no reason why they shouldn't. As long as they have an open SATA port on the back, it should work - since I believe all the DVR's got the latest software upgrade. (No, I'm not talking about the new blue Navigator software.)

Just in case things don't work out, be sure to save the original box, manuals, cables... everything that came with it, along with your receipt... CompUSA accepts returns up to 21 days for pretty much any reason, as long as everything is included.

MDR

These drives have been available for awhile.

http://www.maxstore.com/qvx/

Will the SATA still be enabled with this new software they are rolling out?

Seems strange TWC isn't marketing this as an add-on for XX dollars a month. I mean they try to separate you from your money any way they can.
Cord Cutter


ChannelMaster DVR+
Samsung Ln40b550 HDTV
Samsung Ln32a550 HDTV
ONKYO TX-NR737 Rcvr
Sony SA WCT100 Soundbar
Oppo BDP83 Bluray
Oppo BDP93 Bluray
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Mark Strube

I'd go with the Seagate... in my experience their drives tend to be a bit more reliable than the Maxtor (especially when it comes to large external drives - Maxtor can be unpredictable)... plus, the 300GB eSATA Seagate from CompUSA is $270 before taxes... $30 less than the Maxtor. ;)

Will

You can probably put a bare SATA drive in an eSATA enclosure and save some $$$.

See this Seagate 300GB SATA at Fry's (currently $90).  And this eSATA box ($60).

It might be worth a shot, considering you would save about $140.

MDR

Here's a link to Scientific Atlanta. It has set-up and general info on adding an external drive.

http://www.scientificatlanta.com/ExplorerClubGuides/getting_started/4013171.pdf

Hope this is helpful, the relevant info is on page 17.
Cord Cutter


ChannelMaster DVR+
Samsung Ln40b550 HDTV
Samsung Ln32a550 HDTV
ONKYO TX-NR737 Rcvr
Sony SA WCT100 Soundbar
Oppo BDP83 Bluray
Oppo BDP93 Bluray
Twc Broadband
T-Mobile Phone

aaron

This is great news. I'm always pushing the limits of what the internal drive can hold, and having to delete stuff I haven't watched yet.

For anyone looking to do this, Newegg has a 320 GB Seagate drive for $95, plus an additional $5 off using the code 5offbarracuda, with free shipping. Link

They also have a couple of eSATA cases in the $25-30 range. So for about $125 you can add another 40 or so hours of HD capabilities to your SA8300.

mhz40

I'd advise that people wait for the upgrade to occur on the DVR's before you rush out and blow cash on an external drive.  Ya never know what will be supported on the new code.

Mark Strube

Quote from: mhz40;35837Ya never know what will be supported on the new code.

Wow TWC doesn't know what's going to be supported with their own code? :rolleyes:

Not blaming you mhz40... but that's kind of, shall we say, ridiculous.

RS922

I think the point is that no one knows if the SATA will be supported on the new guide.  Those of you posting on this thread will be the first to scream if it's not supported, even though it has never been promoted for use.

Mark Strube

Well, I need the storage. The whole reason I got that 2nd HD-DVR is to archive movies for viewing in my theater. If they disable the SATA, that box is going back.

Rence

Just to let folks know - we have an older 8300, had it for over a year.  I got the 500GB External Seagate drive, hooked it up as described and its working fine.

I realize that we're taking a risk with the new software update coming out, but we hae other uses for the drive if it stops working with the DVR.

Gadgetguy

Quote from: Rence;35880Just to let folks know - we have an older 8300, had it for over a year.  I got the 500GB External Seagate drive, hooked it up as described and its working fine.

I realize that we're taking a risk with the new software update coming out, but we hae other uses for the drive if it stops working with the DVR.

=======

I've done the same, 500GB Seagate eSATA on an older 8300HD .. Working so far and, if that fails, I'll install the included PCI board on one of my PCs and use it as an external drive.

But ... I do have some issues that are puzzling ..

1. Got a message on the LIST command that one of my recordings would expire in 2 days ... though I had plenty of space after adding the eSATA. It disappeared, of course, after I watched the show. So far, hasn't returned.  Theoretically, I shouldn't get such messages for quite a while.

2. Given that all my new recordings will be to the eSATA for a while since it has more space (that's the protocol), everything I've recorded in the last week should be going to eSATA. When I try to watch something that is still recording, I've had some glitches, including losing the remainder of the recording. I'd be curious if any of you have had such problems. If I wait until the recording is over, there is no problem watching the recording.
GadgetGuy@wi.rr.com  
Sony KDL-52XBR4 with TWC 8300HD & OTA
Sony KDL-40XBR4 with OTA
Sony KDS-R50XBR1 with TWC CableCard
Sony KDL-V32XBR1 with TWC CableCard
Sony STR-DA5200ES Receiver
& other Sony stuff ...

BMO

I have had Western Digital's eSATA drive since September.  It's worked flawlessly for me.  They have a drive specifically designed for the SA8300 boxes.   It's a bit pricey for a 250GB drive and its only available directly from WDC.Com but it has worked flawlessly right out of the box.  It's a bit noisy, but ...

Here is a link if anyone is interested -
http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=229

In reading on the AVSForum.org site, there were a number of posts that indicated the SA8300's can have problems with drives >250GB.

The port should have been activated with the Pioneer 2.5.1 (?) software revision.

BMO
---------------
Sondy KDL-46XBR3 with a TWC SA8300HD

Mark Strube

I kind of doubt there's anything too special about these eSATA drives allegedly designed specifically for the 8300HD. Since it states that it's designed for streaming video, perhaps it's pre-formatted for use with the 8300HD, so you don't get the pop-up asking you if you'd like to format the drive. The Seagate drive is very quiet, and I haven't had any issues with it even though it's a 300GB.

LoadStar

Quote from: Mark Strube;35998I kind of doubt there's anything too special about these eSATA drives allegedly designed specifically for the 8300HD. Since it states that it's designed for streaming video, perhaps it's pre-formatted for use with the 8300HD, so you don't get the pop-up asking you if you'd like to format the drive. The Seagate drive is very quiet, and I haven't had any issues with it even though it's a 300GB.

Well, the only food for thought is that the drives in question are in Maxtor's QuickView series, which is the series of drives that go all the way back to Quantum. It's said that they're specially designed for use with DVRs... it's the same series of drives that TiVo has always used in their units as well.

What makes them "specially designed for use with DVRs"? I'm not quite sure, to be honest. WeakNees, a distributor of upgrades for TiVo, lists these as the features of the QuickView series:
Quote*  Thermal Control: On board sensors monitor temperature and adjust characteristics as necessary to keep the temperature optimal.
    * Durability: These drives run at 7200 RPM - more than fast enough for every PVR (providing about three times the necessary peak throughput) but not fast enough to wear out sooner.
    * Acoustic Management: DVR-specific drives are specially tuned to run as quietly as possible.
    * A/V Streaming: DVR-specific drives have been optimized and tuned to provide consistent data to the PVR processor. Standard desktop drives can hang while retrying drive reads - QuickView drives know to move ahead and provide more data to keep video smooth.
    * Error Recovery: Desktop drives retry on errors to make sure that your Excel spreadsheet is exactly right - it's imperative. But when watching video, if one block of data is bad, you may not even notice a dark spot on one frame for 1/30th of a second. So these drives are tuned to move past errors faster, putting the stream of data as top priority. Where desktop drives often cause stutters, these drives run smooth.

The 7200 RPM is nothing special these days, nor is acoustic management. (And frankly, if the QuickView drive is what's inside the 8300, the acoustic management needs help.)

As for the A/V Streaming one - I can't find any more details. I'd love to learn just what makes the QuickStream drives better at A/V streaming than other drives. Thus far, just them telling me that it's better is as many details as I can find. The error recovery item is similar - no details, just them telling us "we're better." Thanks. That helps.

Whatever the advantages, Seagate also offers a DVR-"optimized" version, the DB35. Again, very few details are available past "we're better."