First, I don't own this box. My best friend does. He is an apple fan boy, and as such, knows nothing about anything computer hardware related. The week of the last UFC fight, he upgraded, as his old rented 8300 was giving him issues. A month prior to that, I just set him up with a 1TB external. I suspected an HDD issue, so I filled his onboard HDD, then plugged in the external and set it all up for him. Worked great.
The new box. In case some of you are wondering, no, you cannot carry over old recordings. You must format. However, I noticed the box didn't ask for the format the first time, it just loaded up and away it went. (With a reduced recording capacity, as he had about 200GB of recordings)
The format was done twice by me. The first one, it never did anything, much like the 8300. You have no idea when it is done. The second time I formatted, it rebooted on its own, and everything worked well. It does give the standard pop-up you see with the 8300 on power failure about the external hdd.
So far, he has had no picture issues, that being said, him and I both suffer from the audio drop out issue, and pixellation issue every few minutes with the 8300. So, he might not even notice it. I am not sure what size his HDD internal is. Whatever Rogers is offering out to renters would be his size.
I assume external drive compatibility is all the same as the 8300HD, but, who knows. I set him up with the same external drive and case that I am using. If anyone needs that info, let me know, and I will find it and pass it on. Tested and works.
Again, I am not an owner, but thought I would pass along my experiences setting this up for someone else. Hopefully, something insightful.