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Discussion Starter #1
I picked up an Explorer 8300HD dirt cheap at a yard sale. It not only has an HD receiver, but a PVR with 160 GB hardisk. No remote, no cables, and so I figured it was probably dead, but low and behold, plugged it in and it appears to work! Rather than scavenge it for parts, perhaps I can actually make use of it...

First off I don't have a subscription to cable TV. By any chance, does the 8300 have an ATSC tuner? Right now I get OTA HD video through a Hauppauge card (hooked up to an amplified indoor antenna) installed in my computer, but I'd like to have a stand alone tuner for my old CRT TV.

Can I use it has a stand-alone PVR, without a cable hook up? Or anything else interesting for that matter? I have an old remote from a standard Illico box which allows me to access some functions of the HD PVR, but not all.

Finally, one of my friends has an Illico subscription (standard definition). Any chance they can use it as a basic PVR?

Incidentally, it was manufactured in 2006 and is a revision 2.2 unit. I can't really do much with it at the moment other than browse some of the TV shows and movies that were recorded with it.
 

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No ATSC tuner, only QAM. It won't do any of the things you ask and it may even stop working completely after a while since these usually need to be connected to subscribed cable to operate.

Your friend can't use it either since it needs to be activated - although if the unit is not stolen, perhaps a Videotron customer can get it activated (and pay for digital service). If it's stolen, then probably not. See:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=35032

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=64632 (also applicable to Videotron)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, it does search for an active cable connection at power-up, and when one isn't detected, it temporarily blocks access.

I'm wondering if this is normal behavior, here is what happens:

- Plug it in. Hardisk spins up.
- LED display on front of PVR says "Boot"
- Briefly see "PowerTV" logo on screen
- Goes into a sleep mode (waiting for timer? I see a clock symbol)

At this point, if I press 'Power' on the unit...

- Cisco logo appears on screen, then eventually goes black
- Pressing a button gets: "Not authorized... call this 800 # to active"
- After several minutes of waiting, I suddenly get this message... "Your DVR is now authorized to playback recordings anytime, without a cable input"

I can scroll through the list of pre-recorded video, play them back, check recording schedule, access the settings menu. Not much else.

Interestingly, if I hook it up through the HDMI output, my display complains it's an unrecognized input and I get a blank screen. RF, composite and s-video work, so would I assume component. Is there a digital-out setting, or is this a glitch with the unit?

There is a "Videotron / Illico" sticker on the front. My only concern is it could possibly be a rental unit that was never returned (or just still registered with the previous owner). Can I just call up Videotron, give them the serial number or MAC ID and check its status? Will I get in trouble if it turns out to be stolen? Are there Videotron staff on these forums I could check with?
 
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