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Discussion Starter #1
Not wanting to pay Rogers prices, I'm trying to shop for a used PVR on kijiji. Mostly it's 8300HDs of course but there are a few 8642s. I'm not looking to upgrade the HD, not looking to hook up an external, I just want to find a used box, confirm it's not blacklisted, and plug it in. At the moment I'm hooking it up to a SD TV but hope to get an HD TV soon (for now I'm just trying to get dual-tuner capability).

Did the 8300 ever come with more than 160GB? I've never seen them listed with more. And did the 8642 really come originally with only 160GB? I think they later sold it (sell it?) with 500GB.

I was very surprised when I saw listings for 160GB because that's only ~20hr of HD. Would I really want a 160GB 8642 over a 160GB 8300? The latter seem to be as cheap as $50-$60 while the former are more like $100 for the same capacity.

Thanks!
=aw
 

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What I can tell you is that if you can get hold of an 8300 HDPVR that can be activated on you account - go for it. The latest Navigatr crap from Rogers is turning everyone off of either NB3 and NB2 (8642). Navicrap is not being rolled out to the 8300 PVRs as they still run on the SARA firmware.

I cannot recall for sure if the 8300 ever came with more than 160 GB though I do seem to recall an 8300 model being sold at Costco with either 300 GB or 500 GB but my memory is a little foggy on this one! What many did though was to either replace the Internal hard drive with a larger one or add an eSata external hard drive to increase capacity - something you might look into if you get an 8300!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I've seen threads about internal upgrades (which surprised me) and external (which didn't). My experience is more with TiVos (the analogue ones, one of which is still driving my Rogers SD box though as a single tuner now) and the Premiere HD on Comcast in FL. I've upgraded the HDs but TiVo didn't try to keep the system locked.

I did have experience with a relative's 8300HD on VDN (which was _not_ Videotron) in Montreal but it was mostly SD as VDN only offered about 14 HD stations total (excluding extra-cost add-ons) so we treated it as a closed system. Sadly Bell bought VDN and then shut it down in Dec 2012.

The 8300s are definitely cheaper and I suspect any 8642s on Kijiji are most likely 160GB if that was the size of the first units (same as 8300). I'm only on Rogers Digital Lite ($17/mo) plan and it's unclear whether I'll even get an HDTV in 2015 or wait for spring of 2016. It's the second tuner I'm really looking for (TiVo was dual-tuner as analogue but now it's just driving my 840 [?] SD box from Rogers). Works well as single-tuner though, the TiVo software is a pleasure compared to Rogers (or Bell Fibe).

=aw
 

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The 8300HD came with 160GB and nothing else on Rogers. Some people increased the size to 320 or perhaps 500 internally. These are PATA drives and difficult to find now. Watch out for 8300 (SD) units that came with 80 GB. I don't recall Rogers ever having 80GB or 320GB on the 8300HDs they sold.

The 8642s came with 160, 320 & 500 GB but easy to swap out since they're SATA. The 9865 has 1TB and Video Shrink, so there's lots of room.
 

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I did find an old thread on Red Flag Deals from back in 2009 where the 8300 HDPVR was sold at Costco with a 320 GB drive. Not sure how many of these are out there but there was a point in time where I think my wife and I considered buying one which is why I had a memory of that one.

HD-PVR at Costco (320Gb @ 409.99) - RedFlagDeals.com Forums

Apparently from one review, these were specifically made for Costco and not sold by Rogers.

Costco - Rogers? 8300HD PVR Digital Cable Box customer reviews - product reviews - read top consumer ratings
 

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Near the end of the 8300s being sold, many units (typically referb) were sold at 320GB and 500GB. But as discussed, many of us had done the internal upgrade and then added an external to max out around 1.5TB.
 

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Only other thing I can think, is that I believe the 8300 only uses the USB for external storage.. vs ESATA for the NB2 and higher?

Not a HUGE deal.. technically the writing speed would be faster across ESATA.. don't know if it would make a difference on the speed overall of the box (playback, etc)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all for the info and advice. I guess if the cheaper 8642s on kijiji are also 160GB, it's better to look for an 8300HD for now (and maybe by Spring there will be a newer PVR which will drive current models onto the used market).

=aw
 

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My concern regarding the 8300HDs is that they may become obsolete earlier and also they are quite old - most are now probably 10+ years old. Since the only thing that typically fails is the iHDD, then if you're handy and can find a PATA drive, then you'll be OK if it fails.

If/when Rogers rolls out Navigatr to other areas, then there may be plenty of 8642s and 9865s for sale. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks, that's a good point. I _am_ handy and not scared of swapping a HD. Actually when Bell shut down VDN I pulled the HD from the PVR before throwing out the box. Though I did it to trash the HD so it may be gone; if not I'll keep as backup.

I've seen a few of the WD5000AAKB on eBay for U$60-$80 (shipped to US) and might grab one when I'm on vacation. Might be a good compromise going forward.

Not clear on "Rogers rolling out..." is there a thread discussing that? In any event, a NB 3.0 might start being a good deal a year from now.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you. I guess there will be a flood of these as people move to Bell, though I'd only want a NB2 or NB3 if they improve (i.e. fix) the software later right?

This talk of upgrading the HD reminded me of the two PVRs belonging to my relatives who were on VDN. I pulled the HDs before disposing of the units, thinking I'd reformat then dump. But I still have the HDs (each 160GB) and I'm pretty sure I never destroyed them.

Would they potentially work in a Rogers PVR even though they're from a different cable company? Obviously they'd be reformatted in the process but I assume there's nothing tying the HDs to VDN? One of the PVRs was an 8000HD and the other was an 8300HD. I found two HDs in a box, one is a Maxtor QuickView RAMB1TUO (Oct 2004) and the other is a WD Caviar WD1600BB (Mar 2006).

I don't want to drift into the mechanics of the HD replacement (I know there's a sticky thread for that) but if I buy an 8300HD with non-functioning HD on kijiji, should I be able to pull whatever HD is in there and drop in one of these HDs I found? Of course I'm then assuming the fault is only the HD, but one seller says his still works as a cable box, just won't record. At <$30, one of those would be a good deal if I can drop in a non-Rogers 160GB HD pulled from another company's PVR.

Thanks!
=aw

[added: I see RAMB1TUO refers to a lot of sizes, but this one clearly says 160GB. =aw]
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I found two for sale with "bad HD". One says the box works as a cable tuner (just not pause, record, etc.); the other says it doesn't power up at all.

Does the latter suggest it's more than just the HD on his unit? I have a HD I can drop in (confident it's good but it's been in a box for 2yr), but if there's something wrong on the motherboard there's no point. OTOH maybe that's what happens when the HD dies. Trouble with the first one is it's priced same as the cheapest with working HDs.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks. I'm watching the supply of 8300HDs ebb and flow (mostly ebb, today) on Kijiji. Will stay away from anything that doesn't work as a tuner.

=aw
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for all the help! I picked up a dead-HD 8300HD for $30 and hooked up one of the 160GB drives I pulled from another PVR (from a now-defunct cable company).

It seems to be working fine, which surprises me because one if the PVRs was supposedly dead (but maybe it wasn't a HD failure). The story was the owned 8300HD PVR stopped working, the company had none in stock to sell as a replacement, and a friendly tech lent them an 8000HD until there were more available. Then Bell bought the company and shut them down. :(

I looked but can't find answers to these questions, so sorry for the redundancy: (1) are there any utilities hidden on the 8300 for testing the HD? I guess I could use a USB-IDE adapter on my notebook, but this would be easier; I haven't mounted the HD yet, it's still sitting on the other one with the PVR case open, (2) can I force the PVR to record in SD, the drive is almost full and I'm playing out through composite (yellow) to a CRT TV (when/if I go HD I'll move up to a 500GB).

Happy to discuss any specifics of my experience that would be helpful. Thanks again!
 

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1. No.
2. No, the recordings are bit for bit. You could record the equivalent SD channel, if available, to use less space. It's not good to go over about 80% of the HDD space - can cause issues.
 
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