Summary and Updates on Comcast HD DVR Deployment -- All Areas - Page 22 - AVS Forum
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post #631 of 885 Old 05-18-2004, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Since we appear to have no choice but to wait for the 6412 out west (Los Angeles area excepted), the following may be of some interest. Excerpted from multichannelnews, 5/3/04.

Quote:
Motorola Inc.’s cable equipment unit (debuted) its long-awaited dual-tuner, HDTV-capable DCT 6412 digital video recorder set-top at this week’s National Show, with availability scheduled by the end of the second quarter.

The vendor also will feature a voice-recognition product for its core line of digital set-tops that will allow cable subscribers to speak into their remotes and receive specific programming information on their TVs.

The DCT 6412 is a dual tuner, watch-and-record HD DVR that sports a 120-Gigabit hard drive, according to Carl McGrath, the corporate vice president and general manager of digital core gateway products. It has HD outputs, universal serial bus and Ethernet ports, IEEE-1394 Firewire ports, an integrated Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification modem and 500 millions of instructions per second of processing power.

The second tuner allows watching one channel live while recording on another channel.

The other big cable set-top vendor, Scientific-Atlanta Inc., said it has shipped 1 million units of its two dual-tuner DVR set-tops — the Explorer 8000 and the Explorer 8000HD.

Time Warner Cable said last week it has 458,000 DVR subscribers, all with S-A boxes, and has been averaging 100,000 new DVR installations for the past three quarters. Charter Communications Inc., Cox Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp., among others, have also introduced S-A DVR set-tops.

By contrast, Motorola has shipped 100,000 of the single-tuner DCT 6208 DVR boxes to Mediacom Communications Corp., Insight Communications Co., Comcast Corp., Armstrong Cable, Cable One Inc. and RCN Corp.

Motorola said it has shipped 1 million HDTV set-tops.

Motorola will showcase the 6412 with Gemstar-TV Guide, Pioneer and Motorola guide products, he said.

Although there are no official orders yet, “there is pent up demand from all the Motorola systems,†McGrath said.

McGrath believes most affiliates will migrate to the dual-tuner DVR. “There is a cost difference†of about $30 to $50 “but it’s not huge,†he said. Some have already said publicly they planned to go slow with Motorola DVRs, awaiting dual tuners.

The voice-recognition demonstration will feature Agile TV software.

“It’s voice recognition to navigate through the on screen guide product,†McGrath said. In two-way homes, a consumer would be able to speak into the remote and ask, say: What’s on ESPN2?
"... availability scheduled for end of second quarter ..." falls under the "I'll believe it when I see it" category.

Plus "availability" may only mean Motorola will start taking orders then, with shipments in sufficient quantity to occur who knows when. And to which cable companies and which locations within those companies? Then add the beta testing process and other delays to the timeline, and "end of second quarter" will be a distant spot in the rear view mirror.
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post #632 of 885 Old 05-18-2004, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by SonomaSearcher
"... availability scheduled for end of second quarter ..." falls under the "I'll believe it when I see it" category.

Plus "availability" may only mean Motorola will start taking orders then, with shipments in sufficient quantity to occur who knows when. And to which cable companies and which locations within those companies? Then add the beta testing process and other delays to the timeline, and "end of second quarter" will be a distant spot in the rear view mirror.
I agree. I'll bet this means it's still in Motorola's hands and won't be available for the Cable Co's to begin beta testing until Q2 which falls in line with what Comcast corporate is saying about a Q4 release. What struck me as interesting is them saying "...there are no official orders yet....". This, to me, would mean Comcast (or any other Cable Co) are not at all obligated to purchase/release the 6412 and could possibly release the Moxi box instead. Just a thought.
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post #633 of 885 Old 05-19-2004, 12:52 AM
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By contrast, Motorola has shipped 100,000 of the single-tuner DCT 6208 DVR boxes to Mediacom Communications Corp., Insight Communications Co., Comcast Corp., Armstrong Cable, Cable One Inc. and RCN Corp.
This is a very disappointing figure when you consider that D* added 200,000 Tivo subscribers in the Q4 '03 for a total of 670,000 subs by year end. (You would expect Comcast would need to add at least 400,000 to match D* based on total subscriber numbers). How can Comcast think it is even competing in the value added services field without a major effort to increase it's investment levels in DVR technology. I would have to guess that Comcast still believes that VOD is it's cure for the the subscribers curn blues.

IMHO the SA 8300 HD is the closest to reducing the subscriber curn rates. The DVR/cable box has the capability to support upto three TV's, using the existing cable to transfer content to DCT's (already deployed in the field ie. all the digital boxes they produce) located at the TV (Sounds a lot like the Moxi box). With a few more tuners in the box, I'm sure it could be the Killer App the cable companies seek but it is a really go starting point.

I can't wait until the Telco's are allowed to offer TV content (this will happen in the not to distant future IMHO due to the cable co's offering voice service). Just imagine the curn rates when that happens!!

Sorry for the Rant but I don't think VOD is the answer and believe we are being made to wait for a VOD rollout before we can get DVR's in the Bay Area.
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post #634 of 885 Old 05-19-2004, 06:27 AM
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Well I have had the DVR a month....Still love it......it has changed our TV habits significantly.....


We watch almost no HBO anymore so I dropped it.....we only watch HD material, the good network programming we like....CSI, L&O...


So I called comcast today...to try to drop to the package below digital......

I am being told that with the DVR you must have digital package for the codes to work on the DVR.....the CSR sounded like he was making crap up....

Is anyone able to use the DVR with out being on the Digital + or Silver Packages/GOLD/Whatever

What I want is just basic Cable/HD Channs/DVR

Thoughts?

Cip

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post #635 of 885 Old 05-19-2004, 07:06 AM
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I called Comcast and it is TRUE Sonoma.....

I schedule this Saturday for the installation....


FINALLY!!!
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post #636 of 885 Old 05-19-2004, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cipro
Is anyone able to use the DVR with out being on the Digital + or Silver Packages/GOLD/Whatever

What I want is just basic Cable/HD Channs/DVR

Thoughts?

Cip
While I don't have one myself, it's pretty well know that you must have digital cable in order to get the DVR -- no way around it.
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post #637 of 885 Old 05-19-2004, 09:58 AM
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Just called the Cherry Hill (South Jersey) office. They say the rollout here will begin in June.

Of course, in April, the rollout was to begin in May.

I hope they get Moxies soon!

Aibohphobia: The fear of palindromes
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post #638 of 885 Old 05-19-2004, 01:21 PM
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Got mine scheduled for tomorrow. I'm on the Elizabethtown system in North West Lancaster County Pa. They are still not advertising it yet and I was on a call list but I called and just asked for it. No install charge but I read that some had a install charge, So not much consistency. We are usually the last to get upgrades here so I was surprised it was available, still no On Demand.
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post #639 of 885 Old 05-19-2004, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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So looks like we can add the Harrisburg/Lancaster/Lebanon/York area to the list.
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post #640 of 885 Old 05-19-2004, 05:49 PM
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Comcast Atlanta started taking orders for their DVRs today. Installation scheduled for next Tuesday. $29.95 install and $9.95 per month.

The CSR said that will record HD so it must be the 6208.

Steve
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post #641 of 885 Old 05-20-2004, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dcfox
Got mine scheduled for tomorrow. I'm on the Elizabethtown system in North West Lancaster County Pa. They are still not advertising it yet and I was on a call list but I called and just asked for it. No install charge but I read that some had a install charge, So not much consistency. We are usually the last to get upgrades here so I was surprised it was available, still no On Demand.
It was installed this morning, Installer said he was told recently that the DVR weren't going to be released till September when the duel tuner DVR is released. Then this morning he was instructed on the 6208 for my install. He asked if he can have one and they told him no. Not sure but it seems Official release may not be till fall even though Comcast web site says mid 2004. Also, no install charge. Works great, much better guide then the 5100 but still not quite as easy as tivo.

One weird thing though now I have On Demand, I had no options for that with the 5100 with the same firmware.
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post #642 of 885 Old 05-20-2004, 01:13 PM
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Doesn't on-demand support PVR type functions (pause, replay)? Wouldn't a hard drive be required for that?
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post #643 of 885 Old 05-20-2004, 01:18 PM
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My local contact at Comcast said September release for the HD DVR in southwest Florida as well.

They said they actually have 6 or 8 of them on hand for the techs to play with. Didn't find out which model.
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post #644 of 885 Old 05-20-2004, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by David_Levin
Doesn't on-demand support PVR type functions (pause, replay)? Wouldn't a hard drive be required for that?
Not sure, but you can't record On Demand with the DVR. My installer called his Supervisor to double check and I later read that on the brochure he left. So I would think it has nothing to do with a hard drive. In playing with it, On demand seems to be system driven, not hard drive driven.
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post #645 of 885 Old 05-20-2004, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by David_Levin
Doesn't on-demand support PVR type functions (pause, replay)? Wouldn't a hard drive be required for that?
I believe the switching necessary for VOD features is done at the headend, not in the set top box.
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post #646 of 885 Old 05-20-2004, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by David_Levin
Doesn't on-demand support PVR type functions (pause, replay)? Wouldn't a hard drive be required for that?
On Demand is Server Based from the head end.

Ken
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post #647 of 885 Old 05-20-2004, 06:38 PM
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"I can't wait until the Telco's are allowed to offer TV content (this will happen in the not to distant future IMHO due to the cable co's offering voice service). "

The phone companies have been legally able to offer TV content since the 1996 Telecommunications Act. In the subsequent 8 years, they have not exactly blown the socks off of anyone.

At current, all the major regional "Bells" have deals to redistribute satellite service while only Verizon has plans announced to offer their own cable competitor -- and that only in limited areas for the next several years.

Mark

There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working. (Oh, and plasma didn't die because of logistics problems, nor does OLED ship in big boxes because it comes from Korea.)
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post #648 of 885 Old 05-20-2004, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
"I can't wait until the Telco's are allowed to offer TV content (this will happen in the not to distant future IMHO due to the cable co's offering voice service). "

The phone companies have been legally able to offer TV content since the 1996 Telecommunications Act. In the subsequent 8 years, they have not exactly blown the socks off of anyone.

At current, all the major regional "Bells" have deals to redistribute satellite service while only Verizon has plans announced to offer their own cable competitor -- and that only in limited areas for the next several years.
How will the Telco companies be able to offer the required bandwidth? Isn't most of the infrastructure still copper? Or are you talking about alternate means of distribution (i.e. satelite)?
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post #649 of 885 Old 05-20-2004, 07:15 PM
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The telco's won't be delivering the data using the cable broadcast system, rather using a ON-Demand system. This would use far less bandwidth and with WM9 it becomes easier to achieve.
If they run fiber to the local area and level copper over the last feet the data rate goes up even over the copper. It you have say four TV's for SD thats about 10 mb/s with WM9(or MPEG4) it would 4 mb/s. Remember the copper goes straight to the Telco exchange, no line sharing. The limitation with cable systems is that you share the copper with other homes in the area reducing the dedicated bandwidth each home really gets.
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post #650 of 885 Old 05-20-2004, 11:15 PM
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Fender: Right now, all they are doing is selling satellite TV. In addition to that, Verizon is >>also<< building new fiber-to-the-home networks.

Fitzwest: Unless they go to VDSL, it doesn't matter what codec they use. And the cost advantage of VDSL vs. fiber-to-the-home is not really appreciable, so I don't see that.

Once upon a time, it might've made sense to push closer to the customer to deliver 10 megabit DSL, but that's irrelevant in the HDTV era. You need to be able to give isochronous bandwidth of at least 25 megabits / second to compete with cable or satellite TV and also offer internet access.

The only ways to get that high bandwidth is with VDSL, not ADSL, or with a true FTTH infrastructure. I'd look for the latter, with 100 megabit type speeds. Then, you'll be able to buy the TV from an aggregator that might not even be the phone company.

Mark

There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working. (Oh, and plasma didn't die because of logistics problems, nor does OLED ship in big boxes because it comes from Korea.)
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post #651 of 885 Old 05-21-2004, 01:20 AM
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Mark

I agree that FFTH is the best solution and at a cost of about $1000 a sub. (I got this from an article on the verizon plans) it is relatively easy to justify the investment when comcast makes about 36% profit on digital subscriber. For me that is about $500 p.a. They can recoupe their cost in about three years, maybe more depending on the rest of the infrastructure costs.
All we need is the box in the subscribers home that acts as the gateway for voice/internet and TV. Of course what are you going to download with a 100mb/s internet connect I really don't want to know.

Then of course my predictions for fiber in 1992 when I graduated with a degree in Laser Physics will have come true. (Evil laughter !!!)

Andrew

PS
Have you seen this

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/p...uWinIPTVPR.asp

No I don't work for the evil empire.
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post #652 of 885 Old 05-21-2004, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
"I can't wait until the Telco's are allowed to offer TV content (this will happen in the not to distant future IMHO due to the cable co's offering voice service). "

The phone companies have been legally able to offer TV content since the 1996 Telecommunications Act. In the subsequent 8 years, they have not exactly blown the socks off of anyone.

At current, all the major regional "Bells" have deals to redistribute satellite service while only Verizon has plans announced to offer their own cable competitor -- and that only in limited areas for the next several years.

Mark
Ameritech (now SBC) offered cable service in our area a few years ago, but then they gave up on it and sold it to WOW (at least in my area). They ran new lines and everything. They didn't offer cable modems at the time, or else I might have switched from Comcast.
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post #653 of 885 Old 05-22-2004, 12:27 AM
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Andrew, I've seen some of the MS technology for IP TV.

Dfedders, I know. Pac Bell here built a killer system in part of San Jose. Then they gave up.

There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working. (Oh, and plasma didn't die because of logistics problems, nor does OLED ship in big boxes because it comes from Korea.)
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post #654 of 885 Old 05-29-2004, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by JoeInNVa
Got another email today and there is no timetable for the deployment of the SA8000hd in ALexandria or Arlington, Va
I called Comcast today and asked specifically if they had an HD box with DVR capabilities.

The CSR says yes.

I go to the Comcast office on Van Dorn St to trade in the 3100HD box for the HD w/DVR box. As the lady is writing down the serial number for the new box, I notice there isn't any component jacks or a DVI port on the back of the box. I ask the lady if they had the box with HD, and she says no.

She says they have the SA8000HD's in the back, but doesn't know why they haven't rolled them out yet. However, she did state they would roll them out either this coming week or the next. She even said she'd give me a call once they do. We shall see.

On another note, does anyone know if Comcast Alexandria uses the SA3250HD at all? If so, is the DVI port activated?? I'd really like to take advantage of a Comcast-provided HDTV box with an activated DVI port. I didn't bother to ask if they had the SA3250HD while I was at the office since I was a little peeved for being mislead on the availability of the SA8000HD.

js.
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post #655 of 885 Old 05-29-2004, 09:23 PM
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As far as the SA3250, there were a limited quantity available in the N. VA warehouse (at special request or to special customers) at one point. I don't know if there are any left.

The more programming you have, the better your chances of getting a newer box. They are in no hurry to hand out newer boxes to customers with basic or limited basic. DVR service from Comcast Arlington/Alexandria will require, at minimum, a subscription to digital classic. If you only have limited or extended analog cable and/or cable Internet, then you have a trap on your line that will prevent the HD DVR from working.
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post #656 of 885 Old 05-29-2004, 09:41 PM
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I am one of the "testers" with the SA8000HD in Arlington/Alexandria. I believe there are seven or eight of us.

Comcast is looking at some of the issues with the current software before deploying on a wider scale. Right now, the boxes have the older software --- with its softer HD picture, 2-4 second blackouts when using pause/replay/RW on live programming, no indication of remaining recording capacity, no support for first-run episode recording, no option to automatically delete older recordings to make space for new ones, no "auto" or native output mode, and no active SD outputs or VCR archival options. I'm hopeful they will deploy the newer software (discussed in this thread) before long.

The model deployed by Comcast in N. VA will be the SA8000HD with 160Gb drive, DVI, two Firewire outputs, and the SARA software. Neither DVI nor Firewire are likely to be active before late summer or early fall. The SD outputs are also inactive. The remote is similar to the Comcast DVR+VOD remote for Motorola 6208 boxes, but it adds five buttons for PIP at the bottom.

The current plan is to roll the box out in the second-half of June. CSRs had not had any training on this box, as of last week. The HD DVR will require a subscription to digital cable. It will not function with a limited basic or extended basic subscription.
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post #657 of 885 Old 05-30-2004, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by SonomaSearcher
Based on information from other avsforum members, beta testing MIGHT begin by October, if all goes well, but the actual deployment to customers will wait until after beta testing is successful.
I'm perfectly happy to wait for Comcast to come out with the 2 tuner model here on the West Coast. The single tuner model is handicapped. Considering D* just launched their HD PVR and want $1K for it, the wait for a $10/month HD PVR is easy.

Bill
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post #658 of 885 Old 05-30-2004, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by bfdtv
no support for first-run episode recording
Ouch! That would take the wind out of its sails. If Comcast deploys with that restriction, I can only hope another manufacturer can somehow compete. The idea of using a PVR is to timeshift whatever you wish to watch, to free you from the TV schedule. If the box won't allow you to record certain shows, it is useless.

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post #659 of 885 Old 05-30-2004, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by bfdtv
The model deployed by Comcast in N. VA will be the SA8000HD with 160Gb drive, DVI, two Firewire outputs, and the SARA software. Neither DVI nor Firewire are likely to be active before late summer or early fall. The SD outputs are also inactive.
The SD outputs are inactive?!? Argh. If that's the case, then there's no way I'll go with the SA8000HD. I have a Sony 40XBR800 monitor and I need to be able to utilize the S-video for SD channels so that it will fill up the screen. Otherwise, I'll be watching all SD content in a windowed box and that would defeat the purpose of having a 40" TV. :(

I was more interested in the SA8000HD not for it's DVR capabilities, but for it's DVI port. And seeing that the S-video and DVI ports are inactive, it makes it a no brainer for me to keep the SA3100HD.

Ah well.

js.
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post #660 of 885 Old 05-30-2004, 07:02 AM
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js, don't forget that bfdtv is talking about beta software. The restrictions he's listing are deal-killers for me too, but we can't be certain what will be enable/allowed once the major rollout begins. We can hope Comcast will realize the need for fully enabled software.

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Closed Thread HDTV Recorders

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