Pace Vegas TDC575D SD-DVR - AVS Forum
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Old 01-19-2007, 03:23 AM - Thread Starter
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The Vegas TDC575D is a new SD DVR from Pace that works on Motorola networks.

Pace Vegas Link

Pace Vegas TDC575D Technical Specification

Pace Vegas TDC575D Quick Start Guide

Pace Vegas TDC575D Operators Manual

Pace Vegas TDC575D Release Notes Thread

Would anybody who has one of these boxes, please post their cable company and area on this thread.

If you have any problems please post them here as previously Pace technicians have monitored AVS to ascertain difficulties and offer solutions .
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Old 02-04-2007, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Anybody got one yet?
I know GCI have them
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Old 02-07-2007, 09:23 AM
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I just got one this morning. I'm a Comcast subscriber in Massachusetts.

This is my first DVR, so I don't really have anything to compare it to as far as a DVR goes.

But to compare it to my previous motorola digital cable box I have two complaints with it so far:

1. There are *no* control buttons on the unit....not even power....meaning if you misplace your remote, you're screwed. I've got three small kids, so the remote frequently gets misplaced....This is gonna be a PITA.

2. The display on the front of the unit doesn't show anything useful. There's no Time or Channel display. Just a handful of lights indicating:

- Power
- Status of current recordings

Otherwise, it seems to be working ok
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Old 02-10-2007, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Congratulations brightdog. I think you're the first person in the world to have a Pace Vegas and to say so on the internet.
If you have any technical problems post them here, as Pace staff are aware of this thread.
What additional charges do you have to pay Comcast for the DVR and do you know what additional costs you would have to pay in order to get a HD DVR?
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Old 02-11-2007, 01:16 PM
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Comcast is charging $5.95/month for this Std Def DVR. This is a new feature choice as of Feb 1. I think they charge $9.95 for the High Def version (which was the only DVR choice prior to Feb 1).

I've been reluctant in the past to pay the 10 bucks a month, but for 6 bucks, I figured I'd give it a shot.
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:34 AM
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I also had a Pace DVR installed by Comcast last week. This is my first experience with a DVR and have noticed one issue in addition to the obvious issue of no time or channel display on the front of the unit.

I was recording a show ending at 10:02PM. The DVR stopped recording before the end probably about 10PM. My wife was not happy. Do other DVRs record past the hour and half hour?
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Old 02-18-2007, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livewire18 View Post

I was recording a show ending at 10:02PM. The DVR stopped recording before the end probably about 10PM. My wife was not happy. Do other DVRs record past the hour and half hour?

Livewire18,

You may want to look at the I-Guide site. It provides an overview on how to use the TV Guide Electronic Program Guide that runs on the TDC575D.

In your particular example, I'm guessing that the guide data for the program ended at 10PM. You can alter the scheduled recording to last 5 minutes extra for scenarios such as these.

Linden
Pace Americas, Inc. (note the views expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of Pace).
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Old 02-23-2007, 06:00 PM
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I received one just yesterday from Comcast. I was expecting the Motorola model, because that is the only DVR that Comcast refers to in their published and online material.

I initially had some issues with install due to a cheap VCR/DVD player combo that doesn't have all the jacks I need, so the setup is less than ideal...but I can't blame Comcast or Pace for that. Regardless, setup wasn't too involved...but I wouldn't recommend self-install for those not technically adept.

Having used and experienced how intuitive the TiVo interface is, as well as being an avid Macintosh user and former broadcast engineer, I'm very disappointed in the interface. It looks like the result of engineering designing an interface with some marketing dept. input, instead of working with professional interface and usability developers/designers. Ugh!

Also there are some bugs in the interface that cause it to get "stuck" in certain spots while navigating...exiting and retracing your steps seems to solve it.

The series record feature works sometimes, but all too often it records repeats and episodes in syndication, even if you set it to record only "new" shows. For example, if I were to set it up to record "The Daily Show with Jon Steward," it will record it at 11pm, 12am, and a number of other times throughout the next day that Comedy Central repeats the show. If I set it up to record "Law & Order" it schedules not only the showing on NBC, but also USA Network, A&E and anywhere else that "Law & Order" is shown.

This is probably due to a combination of the series scheduling engine not being smart enough and the TV schedule data not being complete and thorough enough.

The hard drive size is too small for my tastes (especially when you consider all the duplicate shows it can record as mentioned above). They could have used a more effecient codec than MP2 (such as MP4, DiVX, H.264) but for the price/performance point, I'm not sure they could achieve that.

My last complaint...certainly minor...is the size of the Vegas box. Based on the components and requirements, it could easily be half the width it currently is.

But...for the monthly service cost of about $6, it's a good deal.

USB is 1.1, but marked "future use" as is the ethernet port. There is an eSATA connector on the back of the box, but I don't have an ESATA drive to test it with.
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Old 02-23-2007, 06:25 PM
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FYI, There's a way to set the "series" recording so that it only records on the channel you specify. That should help to eliminate your "law and order" problem. I think you need to go into the advanced recording settings (or something like that) when setting up the series. It wasn't on the initial recordings settings page.

Were you able to determine how big the hard drive is? I couldn't find any reference to the size.
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Old 02-24-2007, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringtuckyMac View Post

Having used and experienced how intuitive the TiVo interface is, as well as being an avid Macintosh user and former broadcast engineer, I'm very disappointed in the interface. It looks like the result of engineering designing an interface with some marketing dept. input, instead of working with professional interface and usability developers/designers. Ugh!

At Comcast locations, the TDC575D (aka Vegas) uses TV Guide. This is the same Electronic Program Guide as the TDC775 (aka Tahoe). This guide also runs on Motorola settops deployed by Comcast.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringtuckyMac View Post

The hard drive size is too small for my tastes (especially when you consider all the duplicate shows it can record as mentioned above). They could have used a more effecient codec than MP2 (such as MP4, DiVX, H.264) but for the price/performance point, I'm not sure they could achieve that.

Your analysis was very insightful. The TDC575D is aimed at cost-sensitive opportunities. As such, it won't have some of the bells and whistles (i.e. HD, bigger HDD etc.) that its larger brother (the TDC775) has.

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Originally Posted by SpringtuckyMac View Post

There is an eSATA connector on the back of the box, but I don't have an ESATA drive to test it with.

The eSATA port is not activated at Comcast locations.

Linden
Pace Americas, Inc. (note the views expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of Pace).
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Old 02-24-2007, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog View Post

Were you able to determine how big the hard drive is? I couldn't find any reference to the size.

Its 80GB. You can find out the size of the HDD by going into diagnostics.

If you've not gone into diagnostics before, press the power button then press the select button very shortly thereafter.

If you go into the DVR page or the HDD status page, you can see the true size and free space of your hard drive.

To get out of diagnostics, press the power button twice.

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Old 02-25-2007, 08:23 PM
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Impressive diag page....thanks for the tip.

I've got a question on it. In the DVR Status (page 22) it lists the EST Time Left for the HDD to be "54/14 hours". What exactly do those values mean? Is it 54 hours or 14 hours?

Thanks again for the info. Its good to know that you guys care enough to not only monitor these kinds of forums, but to actually post useful and honest information. I've been reading through some of the posts on the Tahoe thread that you mentioned earlier and the time and effort you've put in there is truly impressive. I manage the technical support team for a small software company, and this is a great example of the kind of customer service that we all strive to provide. Keep up the good work!!
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog View Post


I've got a question on it. In the DVR Status (page 22) it lists the EST Time Left for the HDD to be "54/14 hours". What exactly do those values mean? Is it 54 hours or 14 hours?

What it literally means is 54 hours of SD and 14 hours of HD. Now given that Vegas doesn't record HD, you're probably wondering why this info is showing up in diags. The diagnostics code is common on all Pace platforms (both SD and HD). We need to tweak it a bit to not show this info on SD platforms. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Quote:
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I manage the technical support team for a small software company, and this is a great example of the kind of customer service that we all strive to provide. Keep up the good work!!

Thanks for your kind words brightdog.

Linden
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:10 AM
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Lindend Wrote: What it literally means is 54 hours of SD and 14 hours of HD.

Wow, I'm surprised the HD takes up so much more space than SD. I would have guess double the space, but that's almost 4 times. Thanks for the clarification.

One other question. My firmware version is currently 9.18 (At least I think that's what it was. I'm at work now and unfortunately not sitting in front my my television). Do you know if that's the latest and greatest firmware for the Vegas?

Thanks!!
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog View Post

Wow, I'm surprised the HD takes up so much more space than SD. I would have guess double the space, but that's almost 4 times. Thanks for the clarification.

Typical SD data rates can be anywhere between 1-6mbps. HD is normally in the ~18-20mbps range (with bursts of up to 80mbps) so all of these numbers are approximations of the amount of recording time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog View Post

One other question. My firmware version is currently 9.18 (At least I think that's what it was. I'm at work now and unfortunately not sitting in front my my television). Do you know if that's the latest and greatest firmware for the Vegas?

9.18 is the latest and greatest for Vegas. And the Comcast 9.18 firmware includes the updated guide that I mentioned on the Tahoe thread.

Linden
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Old 02-26-2007, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog View Post

FYI, There's a way to set the "series" recording so that it only records on the channel you specify. That should help to eliminate your "law and order" problem. I think you need to go into the advanced recording settings (or something like that) when setting up the series. It wasn't on the initial recordings settings page.

I finally figured this out, at least to restrict series recordings to the same channel. However, the series functionality is still undiscerning with respect to recording shows that are repeated later on the same channel. Examples include: Daily Show, Colbert Report, Dresden Files, Battlestar Galactica, etc. I either have to manually prevent the recording of each of the duplicates, or not set up series recordings for these type of shows. I'm leaning more and more towards the latter solution.

Again...The Vegas isn't bad in light of the monthly fee, and I'm able and willing to work around these issues. I'm not sure it would pass the "Wife" test, or average user test however: My wife is already peppering me with all sorts of questions due to the user interface requiring the user to adapt to it, instead of the other way around.

Short of an expensive CableCard enabled custom MythTV box, the Vegas is suiting my needs.
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog View Post

Wow, I'm surprised the HD takes up so much more space than SD. I would have guess double the space, but that's almost 4 times.


It really depends on the codec being used. If it's MP2, then that explains a lot. There are much more efficient and capable codecs available, but each have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost in licensing and hardware.

Take for example the up-and-coming, extremely efficient codec, H.264 (a.k.a. Advanced Video Coding, a.k.a. MPEG-4 Part 10). It has a very "expensive" encoding requirement, but is very "inexpensive" in terms of storage and decoding.

(Search on WikiPedia for H.264 for additional information.)

For the price/cost/ROI that I can only assume Pace was setting out to achieve with the Vegas, I don't think H.264 was a realistic choice. In some ways the Vegas is a "stop-gap" IMHO, for those wanting DVR functionality but aren't ready for HDTV.
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

Typical SD data rates can be anywhere between 1-6mbps. HD is normally in the ~18-20mbps range (with bursts of up to 80mbps) so all of these numbers are approximations of the amount of recording time.

MPEG-2 content at 1920x1080 traditionally runs at 12-20 Mbps, while H.264 can deliver 1920x1080 content at 7-8 Mbps at the same or better quality. With standard definition video, H.264 can achieve the same quality as MPEG-2 with half the bit rate.
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Old 02-26-2007, 05:12 PM
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Has anyone yet found documentation or reports of whether or not this box has the ability for a client-side "factory reset".

The tdc775d is able to have this performed, but I have yet to see how or if the tdc575d can do this operation.

(I work at GCI...we hate these boxes mainly because of the lack of interface for client-side trouble shooting. Hence the question.)
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stumps View Post

Has anyone yet found documentation or reports of whether or not this box has the ability for a client-side "factory reset".

Are you referring to a reset via front panel keys?

Linden
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringtuckyMac View Post

It really depends on the codec being used. If it's MP2, then that explains a lot. There are much more efficient and capable codecs available, but each have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost in licensing and hardware.

The incoming content is MPEG2 and its saved as MPEG-2. Vegas doesn't have an encoder in it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringtuckyMac View Post

For the price/cost/ROI that I can only assume Pace was setting out to achieve with the Vegas, I don't think H.264 was a realistic choice. In some ways the Vegas is a "stop-gap" IMHO, for those wanting DVR functionality but aren't ready for HDTV.

I view it as more than a stop gap.

I'll agree with you that on AVS, where most users tend to already have HD setups, it might not seem like a big market. But if you look at the DVR penetration rates, there's a massive number of people that aren't and won't be HD ready for a very long time, but would like to have a low-cost DVR solution.

Also, lots of cable companies are either already all digital or are doing ADS (Analog/Digital Simulcast) on the path to a complete digital cut over. Vegas enables them to complete this transition and offer a cost-effective DVR solution to all of their customers.

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Old 02-28-2007, 01:54 AM
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Are you referring to a reset via front panel keys?

On most set-top boxes with a front interface, yes.

On the Vegas, there isn't an interface.
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Old 02-28-2007, 08:06 AM
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Hey all, I just got this DVR from my local cable provider (Sunflower Cablevision. Lawrence, KS). My old standard cable box actually crapped out on me and I got this SD DVR for only $1 more per mo than what I was already paying for my old box. (Through Sunflower the Pace DVR is only $7.95/mo rental with no DVR service fee!).

Anyway what I am wondering is if there is any way to get the vids out of this box and onto a computer (preferably without having to physically swap out hard drives...)

On my cable system the Pace has the exact same menus as every other digi-box I've ever had from Sunflower, except that it adds the record button in show menus and all associated DVR settings menus.

Any word on firmware updates/mods that activate the ethernet or USB ports? On that note, why would they even bother adding a USB 1.1 port? As recently as this box was released you'd think they'd either go USB 2.0 or forget the whole port...

Overall I agree with the other posts I've read detailing that the average menu system on this thing is not idiot proof, but not exactly rocket science either...

With what I'm paying in rental for it, I think I'm pretty happy. I'd be hyper-ecstatic if I could either get recorded vids off this deck, or alternatively it worked with medial center in my xbox 360 to add tuner/dvr functionality there... (fat chance I know, but wouldn't it be sweet!!!)

Anyway, thanks for the site. I hope to hear more about my deck... TIA
B~
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Old 02-28-2007, 07:06 PM
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Anyway what I am wondering is if there is any way to get the vids out of this box and onto a computer (preferably without having to physically swap out hard drives...)

Not at the current time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpapa9013 View Post

Any word on firmware updates/mods that activate the ethernet or USB ports?

As mentioned earlier, 9.18 is the latest firmware revision and the SATA port is not active in that build. If/when a release is available that activates the SATA port, I will post here. Just be aware that SATA (and other ports) are MSO configurable options so the firmware may support the port, but your cable company may choose not to enable that functionality.

Note: when I say cable company in the above paragraph, I use the term generically and am not referring to Sunflower.

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Old 02-28-2007, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stumps View Post

On most set-top boxes with a front interface, yes.

On the Vegas, there isn't an interface.

Stumps,

This particular functionality isn't intended for the general viewing public since it can get their machine into a state where they will have to call a CSR to recover. Thus, I can't post the details here. However, I understand why you want the info. Someone should be contacting GCI offline and getting you these and other details.

If you haven't gotten the info by end of week, please send me a PM.

Thanks.

Linden
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Old 02-28-2007, 07:21 PM
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Old 03-01-2007, 07:25 PM
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Well I guess that I'm now amongst the growing ranks that have one of these boxes.

Suburb of Cleveland, OH.

Not sure what I'm thinking at this point. My first impression was that this was a cheep looking device, no front panel buttons as others have mentioned.

One thing not mentioned yet that I'm wondering about.

The previous box I had was a Motorola DCT3416. Seemed to be a nice device. 160Gb HD, front display/buttons to do anything you needed. I believe this box may also be the one my provider uses for HD. What I got used to was tuning to the HD channels and getting the 5.1 Dolby where SD channels just give Dolby Digital... Pace doesn't show the picture. Get the sound, no pic on those channels. That's disappointing.

What it seems like is my provider is looking for a way to get us the cheapest devices and cut their cost. Unfortunately for me, I look for the quality and this is one more thing on the list of why I don't care for cable...
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Old 03-02-2007, 01:09 AM
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The Vegas is not an HD box.

The Tahoe is the Vegas' equivalent HD box.

If you want HD capability and you have a Vegas, you might need to talk with your provider about other box options than the Vegas.

Until that time, you will have difficulty viewing HD channels properly.
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Old 03-02-2007, 02:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Well I guess that I'm now amongst the growing ranks that have one of these boxes.

What it seems like is my provider is looking for a way to get us the cheapest devices and cut their cost.

Who is your cable provider?
Is your monthly box rental less for the SD-DVR Pace Vegas than your HD-DVR Motorola DCT3416

Low cost DVR's allow more customers to rent.
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Old 03-02-2007, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darrin1471 View Post

Who is your cable provider?
Is your monthly box rental less for the SD-DVR Pace Vegas than your HD-DVR Motorola DCT3416

Low cost DVR's allow more customers to rent.

Armstrong Cable.

That's the thing, it's the same price. That's why I'm figuring they're looking to save some $$.

Guess I was just spoiled!
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