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MOTOROLA HD Digital Cable Box with
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How do I get
started with digital cable?
Getting started with digital cable means connecting your digital TV (or
old analog TV) to
the set top box converter your cable TV provider supplied to you and
setting up the cable box. There are many different models and makes of
Cable TV Set Top Box brands:
o Scientific Atlanta/CISCO
Set Top Box User Manuals
Your provider may even use two or more different
manufacturers for their cable boxes. Within each maker you will have HD
models or HD models with a DVR or dual-tuner models. Also, boxes can
have different jacks such as component video or HDMI. Make sure
you get a box that meets your needs. Digital cable is not always High
Definition, but to get HD you need a HDMI, or component video
cable connection as these are the only cable hookups that allow High
Definition video signals to pass to your HDTV and allow the on-screen
graphics you need to use the channel guide, DVR and other functions.
What is HDTV?
High Definition TV or HDTV means a digital television signal of 720p,
1080i or 1080p resolution displayed on a digital TV capable of
processing at least 720p or 1080i resolution. The HDTV must have HDMI,
DVI or Component video input connections and usually has S-Video and
Composite video inputs for lower resolution sources such as VCR, DVD
player or Game Consoles.
What is DVR?
DVR stands for Digital Video Recorder. A standard VCR records and
plays analog video. DVR records and plays digital video. Unlike an
analog cassette tape, the DVR hard drive allows recording and
playback to occur simultaneously.
DVR offers the ability to control your viewing experience by pausing
(time shifting) live TV and providing trick playback modes (pause, fast
forward, slow forward, fast rewind, slow rewind).
• Record Programming
Record hours of TV programming. The total hours of recorded content
will vary based on the storage capacity of your box and type of content
(digital, analog, or HD) being recorded. Disk capacities now are in the
range of 160GB allowing plenty of recording time, 50 hours, 90 hours of
TV shows recorded on disk for instant playback. You can archive shows
you want to keep to a VCR if you run out of disk space and you can
erase old shows you no longer want.
• Maintain a personal library of recorded programming,
accessed by using
the electronic program guide.
• Control Live TV
Pause, rewind, and fast-forward live TV.
HDTV display technologies today are Plasma flat panel, LCD flat panel,
DLP projection or even CRT with even newer display technology available
soon such as Organic
LED screens. HDTVs are
widescreen with a 16x9 aspect ratio instead of the squarish 4x3 aspect
ratio of older analog TVs. Plasma display panels are typically 50 inch
screen sizes while LCD run from 32 inches (some smaller) up to
typically 46 inches. Makers include Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Pioneer,
Sharp and more.
Your actual picture quality will be limited to the format that the
broadcaster chooses. Some broadcasters, rather than broadcasting in
high definition (720 lines progressive,1080 lines interlaced) will send
out their standard television signals in digital format, and this is
known as "Standard Definition Television" (SDTV), which is limited to
480 interlaced lines of resolution or about half that of High
Definition. Other broadcasters may choose the middle format known as
"Enhanced Definition Television" (EDTV), which delivers 480 progressive
lines of resolution. Our older analog TV broadcasts by comparison are
about 330 lines of resolution. A VHS tape from our VCR is about 250
You may be familiar with standard connections to your TV, such as from
your VCR, DVD player or game console. These include, from worst to
best, coaxial cable connection, composite video (RCA Type), S-Video and
Component Video cable connections.
panel inputs and outputs
With HDTV sources, you will need to become familiar with some new
digital cable connections that you may not have seen before. The
different digital connections may not be supported by your television
or HDTV decoder. You should check the manual or the rear of your HDTV
set or tuner to determine what connections are supported. Many of the
digital connections allow copy protection capability to prevent
The connectors are available in four and six pin configurations. The
six pin configuration contains power connections for powering external
devices. Firewire is a two way connection that is capable of
transmitting both video and audio. Firewire is able to establish a
connection with other devices linked on a home network. Firewire
connections on digital televisions and set top boxes also support a
copy protection scheme known as Digital Transmission Content Protection
(DTCP) which is more flexible than the HDCP scheme used with DVI and
HDMI. A broadcast transmitted in HDTV and sent over firewire to a
device for example could be embedded with special instructions to allow
a single, several or unlimited copies of a particular program, or they
can block the recording capability out entirely.
Firewire IEEE-1394 6-pin and 4-pin cables
DVI is an uncompressed digital connector used to pass digital video
signals one way from HDTV receivers to other source devices, such as
PVR, D-VHS or other devices. The DVI connection is found on televisions
capable of HDTV, and employs a copy protection scheme developed by
Intel known as High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) which
uses a special authentication protocol to protect programs from being
copied. When enabled, the end user device, such as a HDTV receiver must
first verify that it is licensed and allowed to be received and if it
is, a hardware handshake is exchanged and the program is transmitted.
HDCP allows a broadcaster to enable reception of a program on a digital
television, but can disable recording of the broadcast on digital VCR's
or personal video recorders. DVI requires separate audio connections.
VGA connections, also known as D-Sub-15, have been around for many
years in the computer world and also separate the video stream into its
red, green and blue elements. The 15 pin VGA connector is used to link
a personal computer with its monitor. Many HDTVs today support VGA for
The component video connection is the most common way to connect HDTV
set top boxes and HDTV cable or satellite decoders to high definition
televisions. Component video separates the video signal into 3 distinct
streams (red, green and blue), in which the video signal is carried via
three individual cables using RCA type jack connections. There are two
types of component video, Y,Cr,Cb (normal interlaced DVD players) and
Y,Pr,Pb (Progressive scan DVD players, HDTV decoders and DTV inputs on
televisions). Separating the video stream prevents color bleed through
and delivers a dramatic increase in picture quality compared to
composite video where the red, green and blue segments are compressed
together into a single channel. Requires separate audio connections.
Component Video cables
High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is the new connector on the
block and is the successor to DVI. It began appearing on new HDTV sets
in late 2003. HDMI, unlike DVI, which can only pass video, is capable
of passing both video and also multi channel audio (8 channels). Also,
the video portion is compatible with DVI devices if they are HDCP
enabled. The digital connection is also smaller than DVI. Eventually
HDMI connections will replace DVI on HDTV sets. HDMI is evolving and
has undergone several revisions. HDMI 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 can be
found on various hardware. The latest version, 1.3, is needed for the
very best high end audio found on some Blu-ray and HD-DVD movies. HDMI
has all the capability required currently for the highest quality video
and audio plus future expansion.
How you connect your components to your HDTV is an important
Setup your set top box to match your native HDTV video mode, 720 lines
progressive, 1080 line interlaced or 1080 progressive. Some set top
boxes have a switch located in the back of the unit and others have a
on-screen menu setting which performs this function.
Use the remote control to navigate the on screen menus. The arrow keys
(left, right, up, down) and the Enter or Select key should be all you
need to move around and select the option you want.
Check that the aspect ratio is set to 16:9 preferred, or "full screen
mode" on your television, set top box and DVD player. Most recent mid
range to high end televisions also now have the capability to "zoom in"
or "stretch" a 4:3 ratio broadcast to fill most of a wide screen
picture, although there will be a noticable picture distortion or loss
of some top and bottom details with 4:3 broadcasts.
Some HD cable TV decoders have the capability to record High Definition
broadcasts using a built-in hard disk. It is important to remember
however that the high bandwidth nature of high definition broadcasts
will significantly reduce your recording capacity as they consume many
times the amount of storage space compared to standard broadcasts.
HDTV hookup to digital cable box using component video.
Select proper INPUT on TV using TV remote control.
TV set-top-box hookup
TV hookup diagrams, cables
Note: If you connect your HDTV using HDMI but your TV is not HDCP
compliant, you may have to use component video connections instead.
Digital Cable boxes
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When first setting up your new cable box, never hesitate to call your
cable TV provider if problems arise. Your digital cable box is not
passive, that is to say the box is receiving information from your
provider other than TV programming. Your cable box needs to be
initialized, loaded, authorized, programmed as well as converting TV
signals. Therefore any problems you experience should be checked out
with your support staff at the cable TV company. Doing so may save you
time and effort. If you are not getting the answers you need, try the
internet. Search Google, try forums
and also read your owner's manual for the cable box.
3250HD Digital Cable box
Cable Box -
Scientific Atlanta Cable Box - Front Panel
Atlanta 3250HD Set Top Box initial setup
The latest software, programming information and service information
needs to be downloaded into the box from your cable TV provider. Plug
in the box but do not power it on. Wait several minutes until you see
the time of day or four dashes on the front display. Now power on the
box. Press and hold the SETTINGS button until the Message light blinks.
Now press the VOL -- key. HDSr should display on the front panel to
indicate picture format mode.
Your brand of cable box may offer the capability to change settings
while you are watching a TV program. You may also be able to do the
1) set a FIXED picture format so that all incoming programs are set to
a specific format for your TV.
2) set a PASS-THRU picture format so that whatever format the program
is in, it is sent on to the TV unchanged.
3) set a UPCONVERT picture format so that any program is upconverted to
720p / 1080i.
Keep in mind that your HDTV will convert or scale incoming video to the
TV's native screen resolution. So, if your HDTV has a native resolution
of 720p, a 1080i signal is scaled internally to 720p. For any
particular HDTV, you need to experiment with the settings and see which
combination looks best on your screen.
Do not assume that any jacks or ports on the cable box are operational
as many cable TV providers disable them. Also remember that the box is
operating under control of software which can be re-programmed or
changed at any time and downloaded to your box by your cable TV
provider. For these reasons, always call your cable TV provider when
needed for any issues or problems which arise.
8300HD Digital Cable box
SA Explorer 8300HD DVR
Your setup process will differ depending on what type of converter box
you have and what cable connections you use. Setup for High Definition
TVs and Digital Video Recorders will be more involved than standard
definition TV and a non-DVR cable boxes. You need to use your SA
Explorer 8300HD DVR remote
control for the cable
converter/DVR setup so become familiar with the buttons.
Press CBL button to ensure 'Cable Mode'
'A' button on the remote control
'B' button on the remote control
With your TV turned ON and the cable box turned OFF but plugged into
power, press the GUIDE and INFO buttons on the front panel of the cable
box at the same time.
SA 8300HD Cable box front panel buttons
For HD setup, press the 'B' button and for the SD setup press the 'A'
button on the remote control. For SD setup you can skip ahead to SET
Parental Control but for HD setup press the 'A' button to continue with
the SETUP WIZARD. You will press the 'A' or 'B' buttons on the remote
to make your selections at each step as the Wizard walks you through
the setup process. When you are finished, press the POWER button on the
remote to begin watching TV.
On-screen menu - select using the remote
If you want to make changes after using the setup wizard you can do so
by accessing the on-screen menus. Press the remote control SETTINGS
button once for QUICK settings or twice for GENERAL settings. Then use
the UP, DOWN and RIGHT Arrow keys to make your selections.
TV - Cable Box Setup - Scientific Atlanta 4250HDC
Motorola Set-Top-Box front panel
Cable Box Setup:
To access your HD settings:
1) Ensure that your cable box is plugged into a power outlet and is
2) Press the MENU key on the front panel. If your TV is on, the
on-screen display menu appears listing the settings you can configure.
Use your cable box remote control or the cursor keys on the front panel
to navigate the on-screen display:
Press the UP Arrow and DOWN Arrow keys to highlight the setting you
change. Press the RIGHT Arrow key to select an option for that setting.
To exit the setting and move to another setting, use the UP Arrow and
To exit the menu and save your settings, press the POWER or MENU key.
• If you are not using an HDTV, selecting a video resolution
other than 480i causes the on-screen display to go blank. If this
happens you can use the front panel of the cable box to change the
setting back to 480i.
• Some TVs cannot display 480i or 480p on their component
• There is usually a selection called RESTORE DEFAULT
SETTINGS. This will do a RESET to factory setup.
• On-screen graphics may not be available if you use the
IEEE-1394 Firewire hookup.
Motorola cable box rear. This box has HDMI, IEEE-1394, component video,
composite video Outputs
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