Running List of "Features" and Expectations


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SatelliteGuys Family
Original poster
Jan 3, 2004
Dayton, OH

So, in reading through the other messages, I just want to clarify some pre-purchase points; and, I hope this thread becomes the official list of "features" and expectations for the 921. P.S. This isn't supposed to be a 6000 vs 921 guide, but in certain cases, my only other experience is with a 6000. Sorry.

I'd like to start by having those of you with 921's verify some points I believe I've culled from various lists (including other sections of this forum):

I am assuming that all of these issues may be addressed by a future software enhancement or additional vendor support.

1) 921 does NOT do HD picture-in-a-picture well. I couldn't pull from the comments whether this was when outputting HD, or when selecting an HD input as a source (or both input & output)? Is the issue output format, input format, or both?

2) 921 (just as the 6000) does NOT receive ANY local HD channel information for the program guide, primarily because it still lacks any method for indicating that a local HD channel is associated with ABC/CBS/NBC/other. This is even true when program guide information is available to E* (such as when local channels are available for your area).

3) 921 REQUIRES 2 Satellite inputs and will accept an additional Over-The-Air (OTA) connection - that's a sum total of 3 connections for most people. Can the 2 Satellite inputs originate with the same feed, after passing through a splitter, or must they be 2 separate runs back to a "switch"?
Subtle as this may be...let me paint a picture --> I have a Dish 500 + Dish 300 on my roof, which run separate cables into my attic, where they join at a switch -- don't remember model -- and then a single feed runs down through my walls to an outlet faceplate. Can I simply put a splitter on the cable coming off the faceplate, or must I run a new cable to a new double-faceplate from the switch in the attic?
3.01) If a splitter is sufficient, why couldn't they simply "split" the signal inside the 921 then? Or even throw in a transistor to allow a 2nd input source to override the internal split - thus achieving internal splitting when a 2nd input is not externally provided, but no internal splitting when the 2nd input is provided?

4) 921 can AT MOST "Tape" 2 of the 3 input sources (2 sat + 1 ota), and playback the 3rd source in NON-buffered, real-time mode (commercials and all)? (I realize this is a crude metaphor for what it is really doing - time-shifting content via hard-disk storage) And, if the 3rd source (to be viewed in real-time mode) is configured for buffered/PVR mode, it will either (depending upon code version):
A) Present a blank screen (ie. not work), with no additional help
B) Present a message indicating that you need to switch that tuner to real-time mode in order to see the input.

5) 921 can NOT currently use its Firewall/IEEE1394, USB, mic, speaker ports.

6) 921 HAS a 9-day Program Guide available to it, unlike the 2 hr guide for the 6000.

7) 921 HAS hi-def screen stretching similar to (but not as good as) the 6000, and it may be better for SD content to shift to 480i/480p mode (generally) and probably even to let your TV stretch.
Comment: I have a Panny 56WXF95A that has a very nice 480i anamorphic stretch, keeping the center in focus, and stretching the edges to 16x9, and have always been dissatisfied with the 6000 stretching for "normal" SD content, as it does a simple linear horizontal stretch. However, the 6000 HD zoom mode does a good job for letter-boxed SD content. For my tastes, it sounds as though the 921 will perform similarly to what I'm used to -- good from the perspective that at least isn't 'worse' than I'm used to, but bad from the perspective that I will still be shifting back and forth between HD & 480i mode just as I currently am, rather than being able to just stay in HD mode. ;-(

If someone would, please verify or correct these assumptions, and others, please feel free to add key "features"/expectations that I missed.
1. Input format
2. Correct
3. OTA not required, 2 sat feeds are. Sorry, no splitter! Run that 2nd cable. :(
4. So far my experience is that when 2 tuners are recording, there's no way to view a 3rd. (You can have 2 tuners recording and view a previously recorded program.
5. True
6. True
7. I'd say that the aspect ratio control on the 921 for 16x9 TVs is currently broken. Period. I think they'll sort this out in future download and I'd be surprised if it ended up being any different from the 6000.
1. it does not do PIP with HD or OTA channels at all.
2. true
3. ditto, you need 2 seperate lines formthe official Dish switch. Other comments recommend using ports 1 & 2 if usinf a 3:4 switch.
4. ditto. if you attempt to change to another program it will ask that you need to stop recording & switch to live mode.
5. true, there is a front & back usb port
6. yep
7. do not agree. I am set to 1080i & 16*9 dosplay for 921. The stretch mode is really useless. However, when an SD channels is a letterbox show or movie (thus 4 sided boxing), the Zoom works really well to fill in the 16*9 screen nicely. I watched part of C. Heston in good ole Solyent Green this way PQ very good. I tried different display settings with my Sony 50in LCD RPTV, and found no real major benefit to NOT staying with 1080i. Those who are switching display modes around must either live by themselves or have REALLY understanding wives!!!
7. OK, maybe I was too terse in describing this behavior.

L1.42 software, 16x9 1080i component out:
Pgm Aspect Result
HD Normal OK
HD Stretch OK
HD Partial Zoom Missing
HD Zoom Broken
HD Gray Bars Broken

SD Normal OK
SD Stretch Broken
SD Partial Zoom Missing
SD Zoom OK
SD Gray Bars OK

Given that Normal aspect is the baseline (and had betterwork), I count 8 special modes. Of these 5 are missing or broken. 'Nuff said. :)

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