Motorola DCX 3501-M - New DVR Questions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-25-2011, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I recently moved into a new house - and had my Cable installed. I looked at U-Verse, but AT&T literally could not answer any of my questions. That organization just seemed incompetent. They ran fiber optics to the node (FTTN) - then ran copper wires to the home in my neighborhood. (I spoke to the installation engineer.) Evidently, here is AT&T's policy when it comes to fiber optic installations:

- Neighborhood with more than 50 homes ---> Fiber Optic to the Premises (FTTP)
- Neighborhood with less than 50 homes ---> Fiber Optic to the Node (FTTN) only

Unbelievable.

ANNNNYWAY - sorry for the walk-around - but I thought some of you would be interested to know that about AT&T's new product.

I had Charter install my Cable and Internet. I was pleasantly surprised to get one of the new Motorola DCS 3501-M boxes for my DVR. So far, the performance on it has impressed me a ton. Here are some things I have noticed:

1) No "delay" when I delete something off of the DVR. - Like when you press the "Delete" button,.. and it takes 3-5 seconds for it to come back to the Menu.

2) Fast Forward and Rewind are awesome. No lag. None.

I have a couple of questions in regards to the DVR - as I am getting my internal network set up. I have a Acer Aspire easyStore AH340-U2T1H Home Server, which I am going to be installing over the next couple of days. Additionally, I have a Motorola SB6120 Modem, along with the new ASUS Black Diamond Router. With this in mind, here are my questions:

1) Can I download content from my DCX 3501-M DVR to my Home Server?

2) If Yes to 1, what is the format?

3) Has anyone tried to utilize this content on a Digital Media Server (DMS) - and then make it available remotely, using say,.... an iPad, iPhone or Laptop?

I would really appreciate any input you guys can provide on this topic? - as I would love to access the DVR remotely, manage/move the content - and then watch it remotely.

I travel a lot for work, so ideally what I want to do is be able to acces my Home Server while I am in a Hotel - and then watch content on my laptop while I am traveling.

Thanks very much in advance!
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-25-2011, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PickleDude View Post

1) Can I download content from my DCX 3501-M DVR to my Home Server?

In theory, yes. All cable boxes are required by law to have a Firewire (IEEE1394) output. And it must be enabled (in other words, it is illegal for the cable company to turn that port off).

This port allows for the transfer of the MPEG2 Transport Stream that the cable company sends to the cable box. The FCC law was intended to allow consumers to buy a Digital VCR (DVHS) and connect it to the cable box via Firewire in order to capture High-Def television onto DVHS video tapes. But DVHS never caught on and hasn't been sold since 2005 or 2006. The law still requires that every cable box have a working firewire port.

There does exist a Windows tool called CapDVHS which emulates a DVHS VCR. You can connect your x86 (32-bit) Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista/Home Server/2008 Server/Win7 computer to the cable box and transfer shows to it (You can not do this with any x64 64-bit versions of Windows...there are only drivers for the 32-bit versions). I've created a Windows Installer MSI package that bundles CapDVHS with the required drivers and properly installs them...you can download it from here. *Note: There is a bug that causes the install to fail on Windows 7 with SP1. I've identified the cause and have a fix, but am adding other new stuff before I release it. In the meantime, I discuss a verified workarond here.

Now for the bad news: The Motorola DCX3400 (and earlier DCX cable boxes) have always suffered from a bug which makes the Firewire output unstable. The story behind this is that Motorola changed hardware vendors for the Firewire chipset when moving from their DCH cable boxes to the DCX cable boxes...apparently they aren't very good at coding the required Firewire firmware for the new chipset. However, there is a recent rumor that Motorola has finished and released a new version of the firmware which they believe fixes the problem...nobody here has confirmed this. (You could be the first!)

To my knowledge, nobody has reported about whether the firewire firmware bug has been fixed in the DCX3501...one of the issues is that nearly nobody understands the firewire stuff (90+% of consumers have no idea what that port is and have never tried to hook their computer to it)


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2) If Yes to 1, what is the format?

It creates a .ts file. You can rename it to .mpg and quite a lot of software will recognize it. It is the very same format that is transmitted to your cable box. It is also the same format broadcast by Over-The-Air networks, such as NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, etc.

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Originally Posted by PickleDude View Post

3) Has anyone tried to utilize this content on a Digital Media Server (DMS) - and then make it available remotely, using say,.... an iPad, iPhone or Laptop?

No doubt. I haven't bothered to do this, but it would be trivial to script a re-encode that would wind up in the appropriate format and container.
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-28-2011, 05:27 AM - Thread Starter
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TNO821: Thanks very much for your response.

I'm going to get my setup finished this next week, hopefully. Once I get everything set up, I'll try and connect to the DVR - and then go from there.

This all sounds like it is do-able, but the real question will ulitimately be, "Is it too much of a pain in the ass to be worth it?"

I guess we'll see.
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post #4 of 15 Old 05-04-2011, 09:46 AM
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I recently had Charter install a Motorola DCX3501-m DVR. For the most part, I really like it, but I am baffled that this state of the art DVR has no capability to be programmed online or to have a port for a wifi dongle to hook up to my home network. I contacted Charter and they said only their Moxi boxes could be programmed from charter.net. Seems strange to me. I'd love comments.
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post #5 of 15 Old 05-04-2011, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterboo View Post

I recently had Charter install a Motorola DCX3501-m DVR. For the most part, I really like it, but I am baffled that this state of the art DVR has no capability to be programmed online or to have a port for a wifi dongle to hook up to my home network. I contacted Charter and they said only their Moxi boxes could be programmed from charter.net. Seems strange to me. I'd love comments.

Wow, that's F'd up. I schedule my DCH3416 to record stuff all the time (usually using my iPhone to schedule it). This must be due to your cable company.
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post #6 of 15 Old 05-07-2011, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

This must be due to your cable company.

Yep, Charter only allows online recording scheduling with Moxi, which are slowly fading away. I hope they start offering it for the Motorola DVRs some day and don't know why they don't currently. Sounds like a convenient feature to have. I think I'll ask CharterDirect if there are any plans for that to occur.

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post #7 of 15 Old 05-14-2011, 11:45 AM
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I don't understand why they would not make that available. The device has a USB port and an ethernet port. I'm not all that intetested in pulling stuff off the box (although,that would be nice too), but I'd like to be able to send a record request over the internet.
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-14-2011, 11:51 AM
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I agree. This is the answer I received from CharterDirect:

Quote:
From CharterSteve:

Thank you for contacting us again with your inquiry.

We agree the option to program your DVR online is an extremely convenient option.

Unfortunately at this time we don't have any plans to make that feature available on our Motorola DVR's.


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post #9 of 15 Old 05-14-2011, 06:30 PM
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I just got another update from CharterSteve today. This one is more encouraging.
Quote:


We received a reply to our inquiry and wanted to pass along the information as promised.

We are in the developmental stages of a web DVR solution that we hope to deploy in Motorola markets by year end, possibly sooner.


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post #10 of 15 Old 05-23-2013, 10:04 AM
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Does anyone have any details on the actual hardware specifications of the DCX3501? Does it actually support HDMI-CEC 1.3 or 1.4? I'm assuming no since my TV and AVR don't see it as a CEC enabled device.

-Steve
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post #11 of 15 Old 05-23-2013, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by smfrazz View Post

Does anyone have any details on the actual hardware specifications of the DCX3501? Does it actually support HDMI-CEC 1.3 or 1.4? I'm assuming no since my TV and AVR don't see it as a CEC enabled device.

http://moto.arrisi.com/staticfiles/Video-Solutions/Products/Video-CPE/All-Digital-Set-Tops/DCX3501-M/_Documents/_Static_Files/365-095-14357%20x.2_US-EN.pdf
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post #12 of 15 Old 08-20-2013, 03:04 PM
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Recently resubscribed to Comcast and now have a DCX3501-M. Quick question regarding the front panel display. There is an illuminated "dot" between the first and second digits of the display when displaying the time (eg; 12:3[*]4). I used the[*] to demonstrate its position.

With a flashlight I can see that there is a place for a light to display and according to the Motorola manual using the diagnostic menus will cause such a display to notate the transferring of data, but is there a reason for it to be illuminated while only watching TV?

Strangely enough it does not illuminate when displaying the channel, only when displaying the time.

Thanks in advance for the assist.
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post #13 of 15 Old 08-20-2013, 07:51 PM
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I think this means it's receiving data, not sending, like guide data for example from the head end while in standby. Mine would stay on for weeks at a time. Nothing to be concerned about.


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post #14 of 15 Old 12-15-2013, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocCasualty View Post

I just got another update from CharterSteve today. This one is more encouraging.
Quote:
Quote:
We received a reply to our inquiry and wanted to pass along the information as promised.


We are in the developmental stages of a web DVR solution that we hope to deploy in Motorola markets by year end, possibly sooner.

I am ressurecting this post on purpose, since CharterSteve said this was being worked on in 2011, I am wondering where we stand now?

I had several moxies over the years, which if they had cooled properly could have been the best cable box ever, and I kept them virtually refrigerated to try and extend their lifetimes. The last one finally died and I was given a dcx-3501-m

Anyone have any useful info on what I can do with this box?

Will it take an external drive? Online scheduling - both of which I could do with the moxie many, many years ago...

One has to wonder what the executive meetings at these companies must be like... The moxie failure rate is incredibly high. Let's use Motorola 3501's. Should we enable external hds and online programming? No, too difficult for blah blah blah reason. What will we tell customers who were used to doing this six or seven years ago?

Lol.
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post #15 of 15 Old 12-15-2013, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsteele93 View Post

Will it take an external drive? Online scheduling?
Yes to both. Have had online scheduling for a couple of years now, and more recently via an iPhone and Android app.

Even so, I still see no reason to live with crappy cable company DVRs when Windows Media Center is so much better and cheaper. My 5 room whole-home DVR system costs be a whopping $2/month versus $40 for the same service/equipment from my cable company. I've got 4TB of recording space plus local photo/video/music and netflix integration and a far better interface.


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