I got a Nextbox a few months ago. It has not be a pleasant experience. I've had to return it several times. Then I started having issues with my reception and various channels:
1. Pixelization. Usually in the evenings, the picture starts pixelating and the audio stutters. It started on one channel. I thought perhaps since it was a live feed from the US that there was a transmission issue. Unfortunately, it did not stay contained to one channel. It started happening on other channels and other times of day. I've had several techs out. They've replaced the connectors; they replaced the cable coming from the mainline outside to the house. They replaced the connections outside the house. It still persists. I finally complained up the chain and was told to go back to an 8300 box. This did not solve the problem. In fact, it caused new problems. Namely,
2. Blackscreens. I'll be watching tv and the screen will suddenly go black (no audio). At first, I though this was, again, a transmission issue from that channel. But it will be on a few other channels as well before returning to normal. I thought this might be the HDMI cable not being properly set. But I've chacked that and it doesn't seem to be the cause.
Other issues are:
3. PictureBoxing. On HD channels, I will see an image which is clearly 16x9 but instead of filling the screen it is picture boxed (black on on 4 sides -- as opposed to letter box or pillar box where the black is on 2 sides). I'm not sure why this happens. I can't believe that all these broadcasters are sending picture boxed images to Rogers.
4. 2:00am Reboot. 3-4 x per week. The box shuts down for a reboot. Allegedly this is to "upgrade" the software and to update the guide. However, nothing ever seems to change with the software. This lasts usually about 15 mins. However, many times, the "upgrade" gets hung up and I have to unplug the box and reboot it yet again. This means that the cable is out for a half hour to an hour. Then, in just the last few weeks before I downgraded to the 8300, it started happening again at 4:30am. If I am recording something overnight, it's ruined.
On top of this Rogers has recently dropped several channels without adjusting the rate we pay. It seems like a number of these issues have been known about for a long time and Rogers is doing nothing about them. They say the Nextbox is the cutting edge, but it really isn't. Nextbox can only record two shows at once -- several cable companies in the US are offering 4 or 6 shows. In many ways Nextbox (and the 8300) are inferior to the cable box I originally got in the 1980s. I can't log in to Anyplace TV. Rogers rates keep going up and the service quality goes down.
Does anyone have any thoughts or fixes for any of the above?
If something is broadcasting in SD, then its usually pillar boxed -- meaning black bars on both sides. Thats because the older format of 4:3 fist that size (Square-ish). HD broadcast is a more rectangular format (16:9). I'm on HD channels and the feed is picture boxed -- meaning there is a black box all the way around it. These arent older shows. These are new shows which I know are in HD. I can also tell that by the shape of the image. I should NOT be getting a picture boxed image when the image shape is telling me it's a 16:9 image.
Regarding issue 3, how do you have your box hooked up to the TV? Make sure you are using HDMI or at least component video to get the HD signal on your HD TV. Also, does this happen every time you watch HD? I noticed on my box that sometimes it will get stuck in that mode if I switch from an SD channel to an HD one. The fix is to hit the Guide button and then exit it once it pops up on screen.
I wish the calling in had yielded results. I've even gone so far as to complain to the President's Office. They don't seem to be too concerned about solving the issue. In one email I received, the writer wrote:
" I’m sorry to hear that you are still experiencing service issues. I appreciate your patience in this regard and apologize for the frustration you endured. At this time, the decision is yours as to what next steps you wish to take."
and in another email, they said:
"I believe we need to confirm and resolve your services issues or if we are unable to do so, I can assist with the cancellation of the cable services."
That doesn't sound like a company which is all that interested in really finding out what the problem is. In fact, it sorta sounds like they WANT me to cancel my cable service with them.
I have the 8300 now (but am taking it back). I've tried both 720p and 1080i (why Rogers doesn't offer 1080p is a bit of a mystery to me). So, for now, I keep having to manually change the picture size depending on the show and channel.
I have it hooked up with HDMI. However, I think the HDMI connector on the box I have may be faulty (that might the issue with the black screens). I've also notice that when I turn on the box/TV I get a message which says "Your TV does not support HDCP. Please disconnect the HDMI connector and use the YPrPB connection to continue watching TV." From my research this may have something to do with the HDMI -- although I don't have any of the other devices connected to the TV turned on when I get this message and I never got it with the Nextbox.
I have tried hitting various buttons (including the Guide). The only solution seems to be manually changing the picture size.