In the modern world of high-definition TV, most people get their feeds from either digital cable or satellite. I have chosen cable. The 8300HD is the best box my Brighthouse Networks provider offers. An HD cable receiver and HD DVR offering a 160-gigabyte hard drive that allows up to 20 hours of HD recording or 90 hours of standard-definition recording, the SA 8300HD offers composite, S-Video, component and HDMI outputs, as well as both optical and coaxial digital outputs and even stereo analog outputs and, of course, an RF input and output, too.
The 8300HD includes two tuners, so you can watch one show while recording another and, when you are recording two different shows, you can still watch movies in your queue. The unit outputs Dolby Digital 5.1 for your receiver or AV preamp to decode for surround and has stereo analog outputs, too. From my company, the box costs an additional $7 per month for the HD DVR feature. The DVR in this unit is pretty simple. You need to go through the program guide and select the shows you want to record and highlight them. There is no search feature like those on the older ReplayTV and TiVo, but you can select to record only first-run episodes or record the show any time it airs. The included remote is basic, but handles all the functions well.
Competition and Comparison
To compare the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD cable receiver to its competition read our other reviews, including the AT&T U-verse DVR and service review by Andrew Robinsn and the Tivo Premiere HD DVR review by Adrienne Maxwell. You can find information on all kinds of products by visiting our Satellite Receiver and HD DVR section.
Read The High Points, Low Points and Conclusion on Page 2
• While only HDMI 1.0 spec, the HDMI output does have HDCP copy protection, so it will work with all current displays and receivers.