Explorer 3100HD problem when using component video



My Explorer 3100 HD recently failed and was replaced by my cable company with another Explorer 3100HD.

The connection to my Mitsubishi 16:9 HD TV has always been via Component Video cables. I preferred this connection because the Explorer box correctly formats (16:9 or 4:3) the video signal based on HD or non-HD viewing.

My problem started the instant the Explorer 3100HD was replaced with another 3100HD. I noticed that when viewing the non-HD channels, the picture was very strange (pixilation, tiling chunky blocks...) skin tones were very noticeably incorrect, and color was definitely off. When viewing HD channels, the picture is fantastic as before the replacement.

I called my cable company back and they sent a technician out to my home and he said that I couldn't view the non-HD channels through the component video connection. I told him that I could with the other box, and he had no explanation for this.

The cable companies solution was to run an S-Video connection from the Explorer 3100HD to my High Def TV for viewing on non-HD channels. This is very annoying and unacceptable. When switching between HD and non-HD channels I must also switch TV input from Component Video to S-Video!

Can anyone explain the inconsistency to me?

How I can solve this problem?

My cable company is Time Warner.



I think Time Warner is giving you the run-around! I too own this 3100HD decoder box. Our cable service (Cox Communications) does not rent or loan these boxes to its customers at all. Instead, we have to visit a retail outlet and purchase it ourselves for $499.99.

Once purchased, not only did the Retailer RECOMMEND overwhelmingly the use of componenet cables, but also the retailer where I bought my HDTV, AND Cox Communications when they arrived to configure my box, HDTV, and component connections.

I've never heard of such a theory. And, the mere fact that Time Warner is telling you this blows my mind. If it were me, I'd contact Scientific Atlanta and explain your problem to them. Perhaps you can gleam some information from the manufacturer.

If it were me, I'd try a new component cable. Perhaps you can track down a defective cable or even a misplugged connection.

Once again...I would definatly NEVER settle for S-Video when you've spent good money on decent Component cables. Something is not right and I have a feeling it's the 3100HD.

Good luck,

With the Explorer 3100HD box, you shouldn't get any sort of tiling or black screen on your picture. You need to call Time Warner and have them come out to check the signal levels most likely of the signals that are getting to the set top box. In terms of running the S-video cable, that is what you need to do when you want to watch a standard definition program. If you keep it on the component cables, you will normally get the black bars on either the top and bottom, or the sides, or a picture frame effect. The only way to correct this is to adjust the aspect through your actual television. Therefore, the only time you will ever use the component outputs is when you are watching programming that is actually broadcast in HD. With anything else, it should go through a standard definition input such as coax, composit, or S-Video. Please email me if you have any questions.

Pat is correct, if you wish to adjust the format to fit the screen s-video would be best. But if you prefer the native format, bars and all, then component video cables are all that are needed.
has the recommended wiring diagram for all setups. They only show component vid to the tv.

You may have a configuration menu on the 3100HD to adjust but if not then it is defective. It will probably be hard to get to as the cable companies do not want service calls because customers want to play with settings.
Unfortunately in my experience cable installers do not know the equipment very well so do not expect technical questions answered correctly. As Timba says, I would contact Scientific Atlanta.

Dick Hertz
There are also claimed disadvantages to upconverting a 480i (NTSC) signal to 1080i (the 3100HD outputs everythings as 1080i on the component cables). Some people prefer switching to the S-Video output for NTSC 480i and think it gives better quality in that case (I do not know from experience, however I am actually having one of these units installed tomorrow morning).

As far as the original issue goes, the 3100HD is spec'd to provide the NTSC 480i signal as 1080i on the component outputs, so the cable compny tech is in error with his statement. Since you have an acceptable signal with HDTV 1080i, I would suspect that your component cables are fine. The problem most likely is with the 3100HD unit you have. I am not familar with the 3100HD electical layout, but I think I may safely assume that HDTV is processed by different Integrated Circuits than is NTSC (480i). The action your should take is to obtain a replacement 3100HD from your cable company.

I Have an Explorer 3100 HD as well and am not recieving any video at all through the component input. Tested it with my DVD and it works fine but just a black screen and No sound with the cable hooked to it. Time Warner claims as soon as work order is processed the correct signal will take car of this problem. Stll do not even see my HDTV channels on my guide and has been three days past install.. Sounds fishy figured even if they were not transmiting a HDTV signal to me the digital calbe channels would be recieved. Any help would be great.

Does anyone know how to reset the explorer 3100HD Scientific Atlanta box from Time Warner? I was told this should help with the picture.

Simply unplug the box from the outlet

Marvin Ripples
I just purchased a Mits 48" ws-48413. I am going to update to digital cable and the 3100 box for HDTV. Will I need to switch ant inouts for the non-HDTV stations?
Hard to see what that answer is here.

Crispen Reltaxic
I was pissed off because the Time Warner Cable rep told me that HDTV was 24 X 7 in the 500 channels and it's only when broadcasted. Complained to much I got 10 free indemand movies, But still BS is BS.

I bought a 3100 from E bay and tried at my sister's house, where Dig cable is hooked up. I got a message to contact the cable company. I don't want to pay rent to Time Warner. When I get dig cable, is there a way to activate the box without cable having to do it.?

I just got a 3100HB, and I think it blows. There is no way to adjust the output format (my HDTV is 720p native) or adjust the color of the pillarboxing (which varies from black to dark gray - I think it's a bug). Has anyone had this problem?

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