DSR530 vs SA 8000HD

I've had a Scientific Atlantic SA8000HD High-Definition PVR from Rogers for the last year or so, and I've been pretty happy with it. StarChoice just released their DSR530 HD PVR. I used StarChoice in the past, but I switched to Rogers for the HD PVR, but now that StarChoice had one, I ordered it. I'm two days into the DSR530, and so far, I regret switching.

Here are some of the problems I'm having with it:

  • Picture quality. I don't know if the Rogers box is receiving a higher bandwidth signal or if it's just doing a better job decompressing it, but compression artifacts are often visible in the StarChoice signal. Watching Jay Leno last night, as Jay was moving around you could see bits of his jacket updating at a different rate than other bits.
  • Usability. The DSR530's interface is fast, and looks great, but it's got some serious usability issues that make it a pain to use. For example, when you switch to a channel you don't subscribe to, it waits about 3 or 4 seconds, and then puts up a notice with an OK button that you have to push, and you can't do anything (even switch to another channel) until you push the button.
  • It takes a long time to change channels. When I press the Channel Up or Channel Down button, it's a good 2 seconds before the new program starts.
  • Bugs. There's a lot of them for a released product! The box has frozen on me a few times, it's gotten into a state where I've had no picture (had to hit the power button twice to get it back), and once into a state where I had picture but no sound. I had to power cycle the box (pulling the plug) to fix that one. Ouch.
  • 16:9 Aspect Troubles. I have an HDTV, and of course many stations are not in HD. When watching a non-HD picture, any time the box brings up the info strip at the bottom of the screen (like to show you where you are in a recorded program), it stretches a 4:3 picture to the entire width of the TV, which looks stupid. Didn't the folks making this box have an HDTV?
  • You can only record one program at a time with the DSR530, the SA8000HD can record two.  Doesn't sound like a big deal, but with so many programs on at the same time, it's very easy to overlap.  This is probably my biggest beef with the box.

I'm going to stick with it and hope for software updates to fix these and other issues, because StarChoice is cheaper than Rogers and gives me access to local channels in other cities (which I like), but if I had known about these issues in advance I may have waited before jumping.