Problem with Cisco 9865HDC DVR-Long but Need Your Help. - Time Warner TV

This question is about "Problem with Cisco 9865HDC DVR-Long but Need Your Help.", with Time Warner Cable TV and apps. I put this in two places as I wasn't sure which location was most appropriate.

I went to the cable office on Wednesday and picked up a Cisco 9865HDC 6-tuner DVR. I signed up for Enhanced DVR service.

I've had trouble with this box from the beginning. The DVR functionality is fine. The speed and responsiveness of the box is fine. No freeze-ups, pixelation, a/v dropouts, etc. The picture quality is fine, with the exception of what I'll detail below.

My signal is fine. All lines, connectors, and grounding block were replaced in October, including the outside drop from the pole to the house. +10 dB at grounding block and +3 to +5 dB at all four boxes. My other three boxes are non-DVR's--Cisco 4742HDC. The box I swapped for the new DVR was also a Cisco 4742HDC non-DVR. I do not have Whole House DVR. Prior to the DVR, no issues whatsoever.

From the beginning, all my channels were available at this new box with the exception of TMCHD, TMCX, and TMCOD(660-662). I rebooted 4 times and they still failed to work, despite working on the other 3 boxes. A call to TWC/Spectrum cured that issue however.

These are the actual issues with the box. I'm not sure if they are problems or just unique operating characteristics of this particular DVR box.Typically, I don't stretch or zoom anything. I prefer to watch things the way they were intended to be seen. As a frequent BD/DVD viewer, black bars don't bother me. This box has several oddities, however.

When you turn to a channel that is in standard defintion, in the 4:3 aspect ratio, and playing a widescreen movie (think many of the premium movie channels), it will have black bars on the top, bottom, and sides, unless you stretch it. In other words, windowboxed, as it should be.

However, in this situation, the box displays the side bars as a dark, but noticeably gray color, while the top and bottom bars are the normal black. This doesn't happen on the other 3 boxes in the house and it didn't happen on the previous box that this DVR replaced Wednesday night. To confirm this, I swapped out the DVR with each of the other 4 boxes and they all displayed the side bars as the proper black on this TV and on their original TV sets. Only the DVR shows the side bars as gray. Any channel and program with letterboxing only displays them as the proper black. That is true for pillarboxed material as well. This is only an issue with windowboxed material.

In the menu, under devices, I do have the borders setting on "Dark".

Antenna TV(988) has the proper black bars at the sides but there is a 1" thick, blacker stripe that separates the picture in the middle from the rest of the black bars on each side. Odd. This doesn't happen on the other 4 boxes or when I switch to the roof antenna feed and check that channel.

The last issue concerns the Stretch function, which I don't use, but a particular family member can't live without. With this DVR, if you tune into an HD channel broadcasting something in 4:3, like BBC America with their Star Trek reruns or a pre-1953 film on TCM, the stretch function won't work. It will display the word "stretch" in the gray box when you push the # button, but it won't do anything. "Zoom" works however. This is also the same for SD channels that broadcast in a 16:9 standard def signal but show primarily 4:3 material, like Me-TV and Cozi-TV, which encode the black bars as part of their signal. This problem doesn't occur on SD channels that broadcast a 4:3 signal. This also doesn't happen with any of the other 4 boxes when hooked to this TV or their original sets, just this DVR box. The stretch function works on those boxes no matter what channel you're on.

Lastly, this box, unlike the other 4 boxes, seems to give me a lot of "channel unavailable" messages on the Showtimes, but no other channels. This also doesn't occur with any of the other 4 boxes hooked up in its place or at their original locations.

I know this is really long but I could use your help.

They have the 6-tuner DVR in Cisco 9865HDC, Arris DCX3600-M, Samsung SMT-H4372, and Technicolor. Is one better than the other? Should I try to find an Arris? Are the issues I described inherent to the Cisco or did I just get a bad one? I hate the idea of gray side bars and a dead stretch function for the other family member that wants it. My local cable office only has more of these Ciscos and the Technicolor. No Arris or Samsung and they say they will get no more.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

This topic covered Problem with Cisco 9865HDC DVR-Long but Need Your Help., and TWC cable tv service.