Official Comcast 6412 w/ iGuide Discussion - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10358 Old 11-01-2004, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, I'm not sure if there's some official "official" process but I'll give it a try. Sounds like iGuide on the 6412 is now out in the wild on Comcast networks so to avoid a train wreck of overlapping threads, I'm creating this one. I'll gladly cede the first post to someone who wants to write an FAQ. I will do an FAQ and official thread for FE 1.7 soon.

Looking forward to more 6412 users out there.

-Shan [MSFT]

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
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post #2 of 10358 Old 11-02-2004, 12:55 PM
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Sounds like from what I read, you will be starting that MSFE/6412 thread next week.


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post #3 of 10358 Old 11-02-2004, 02:29 PM
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I'll start with a first question. Time tracking bar stays on the screen too short in my opinion (about 3 seconds or less). I haven't found any settings to change it. Anyone else knows if there is a way to change how long is time bar displayed?
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post #4 of 10358 Old 11-03-2004, 12:26 AM
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No 6412 or i-Guide for me yet, but this is what I compiled relating to the i-Guide prior to Comcast deploying it:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=449214
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post #5 of 10358 Old 11-03-2004, 11:20 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by vj9999
I'll start with a first question. Time tracking bar stays on the screen too short in my opinion (about 3 seconds or less). I haven't found any settings to change it. Anyone else knows if there is a way to change how long is time bar displayed?

You can increase it up to 15 seconds using the Setup Menu. The item to adjust is called Flip Bar Timeout. This also makes the channel information appear for up to 15 seconds every time you change channels. I use the Exit button to clear the screen.

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post #6 of 10358 Old 11-03-2004, 11:36 AM
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Thanks. I thought that was just for the channel info bar that comes up when flipping the channels.
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post #7 of 10358 Old 11-03-2004, 12:29 PM
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I assume the answer is no, but is there a way to hide the channels I don't subscribe to in the guide? I loved this feature with my Ultimate TV.
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post #8 of 10358 Old 11-05-2004, 09:17 AM
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So now that I've had a chance to play with the new 6412 and i-Guide, here is my review.

General
First off, this is a HUGE improvement over the tan/blue guides. The guide has a much higher resolution, so a lot more information fits on the screen at one time. Having a 90-minute guide is great too. Second, it's pretty speedy. I don't know how fast it works on the 2000 boxes, but on the 6412 everything is pretty much instant. Channel changing speed also seems to have improved over the 6208/blue guide. Third, I haven't seen ANY ads. I'm so glad they finally realized this was taking up far too much valuable screen space. Fourth, the picture in guide and mini-guide are nice features; I like to browse while still watching a show. From what I understand, the picture in guide won't work on the 2000s but it will on all other boxes.

Gripes: There IS a way to have the guide display only your favorite channels, but it's much more difficult than it should be. First set up your favorites. Then go into the main menu and select favorites. The guide comes up and only your favorites are displayed. This is the ONLY way I've found to access the guide in this manner, and it's a lot more steps than simply pushing "guide."

One nice feature of the blue guide was if you pushed "guide," the guide by time would come up. If you hit guide again, it would switch to guide by channel. The i-Guide doesn't have this feature. I wish it did, because you could then easily switch the guide between time, channel, or favorites.

HDTV
It could just be my imagination, but there seem to be fewer picture errors. Also, having a true HD search option is great. On the blue guide, it would just show you what HD channels were available. On i-Guide it actually shows you what's on those channels.

VOD
The "new" and "last chance" flags are great, especially last chance. However, there seem to be a few bugs to work out. On my 6208s, VOD worked flawlessly 90% of the time. On my 6412s, I'm getting a lot of errors. First, the mini video window does not display when in the VOD menus (it's JUST the menus, and the current channel is playing in the background). Second, I often get communications errors when trying to start a program. Third, almost every program tiles and pixelates so badly that it's unwatchable. Fourth, the program info seems really confused. If I select a certain show, then select another, part of the first show's description gets carried over to all subsequent shows I browse.

Comcast must be working on these issues. I think I read somewhere they were having problems getting VOD to work on the 6412 and that's part of the reason it took them so long to release them. Obviously it must be a work in progress.

Gripes: There's no time bar as with DVR shows. You still have no way of knowing how far you are into the program (unless you stop it, of course). I was hoping they'd include this, but oh well.

DVR
Two tuners finally! Series recording finally! Time bar finally! No longer is this a glorified VCR. The blue guide was so limited in its recording abilities; most of those limitations are now gone in the i-Guide. The DVR functions are much more intuitive and useable now. Plus, contrary to rumor, the 30-second skip is alive and well with the 6412 and i-Guide. Also, there is now a 60x fast forward. I haven't found this rumored 15-minute skip function though.

Gripes:

1. No time compensation on fast forward or rewind. Whereever you press play is where you are left off.

2. The search option lacks the ability to search by director/actor and the ability to save searches. This may be related to gripe number 3: incomplete guide data.

3. The incompleteness of the guide data causes problems with series recordings. I've set up series recordings for shows like Lost, Desperate housewives, and Arrested development as "first-run only" and they're working as expected, probably because these shows aren't syndicated or repeated to death. However, I've also set up series recordings for shows like The Simpsons, Malcolm in the middle, King of the hill, and Trading spaces. All are set to "first-run only" but since these shows run multiple times per week in syndication, the box is still recording them. Some of these syndicated episodes record, some don't. To me, that indicates incomplete guide data or sporadic use of the "repeat" flag in the guide data.

4. Guide data doesn't seem to be stored on the hard drive. The box froze up and I had to unplug it. After plugging it back in, it had to download all the guide data all over again: a process that takes several hours. Well at least it doesn't erase your scheduled recordings and series recordings.

5. I don't like having to hit "swap" to get to the other tuner. If it's recording something on the first tuner and you try to change the channel, it should just know that you want to watch the other tuner instead of putting up a big warning box about changing the channel.

6. 120 GB hard drive?! You have to be pretty careful with how much HD you record. Otherwise it will wipe out older recordings to make room, even if you haven't watched them yet. I think a 250 GB drive would have been a much better choice. Also, external firewire drives should be permitted/enabled. I believe a company has already said they plan to make them, and 5c over fireware should shut up the content owners worried about piracy. Alternatively, someone needs to find out if you can clone the factory drive and replace it with a larger drive. Don't look at me...I'll wait for someone else to try it and post the directions.

Summary
All in all, the i-Guide is a MAJOR leap forward. However, as with any new software, I really hope this is "version 1.0" of the i-Guide. There are definitely some bugs and quirkiness to work out. But the completeness of the guide data should be the absolute number 1 priority. This is why TiVo works so well (95% of the time): the guide data is extremely detailed.
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post #9 of 10358 Old 11-05-2004, 09:32 AM
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Regarding ads, unfortunately the iGuide does allow for them. Comcast is simply not implementing any ads on the iGuide right now.


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post #10 of 10358 Old 11-05-2004, 09:42 AM
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I have a Seattle area question re: Microsoft Guides.

I was all excited about the i-Guide, because we will be replacing our Tivo (which has a pretty great interface, but no HDTV and no dual-tuners). Is it looking like the i-Guide will *not* be deployed in Seattle because we're getting the Microsoft guide?

If that's the case... this blows. Microsoft can't write DVR sofware at all, and the previews look terrible (slightly better than tan guides... but MUCH worse than i-Guide). Any word here?
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post #11 of 10358 Old 11-05-2004, 11:47 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by platbr
I have a Seattle area question re: Microsoft Guides.

If that's the case... this blows. Microsoft can't write DVR sofware at all, and the previews look terrible (slightly better than tan guides... but MUCH worse than i-Guide). Any word here?

I know a few UltimateTV devotes who would love to dispute that with you. The previews on the MS web site are for older versions. FE 1.5 (which I have played with) is way better than the tan guide (and faster). I would love to get 1.7 this month but will have to wait a few more months.
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post #12 of 10358 Old 11-05-2004, 11:53 AM
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Ok,

First I am grateful that I got one so early. They are not yet rolled out in my area completely.

That said, the following observations/requests apply:
1 - my box (and others, particularly a few in Chicago (see posts on Comcast Chicago thread) are rebooting constantly on their own after a few remote clicks. Either the box is bad or the software or something. I am sure this will work itself out.

The rest here is what I have been able to learn...
2 - two tuners rules. Auto switch during recording would be nice. Perhaps and A/B indication on the guide.

3 - I have a 16:9 TV, this gives me more real estate for the guide. I would like them to take advanatage and display and extra half-hour or something. Use the screen!

4 - Some channel changing has been slow.

5 - The analog stuff still looks pretty choppy. I was hoping for an improvement. HD and SD look GREAT!

That's my initial 24-hour version. Will add more as I learn it.

John

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post #13 of 10358 Old 11-05-2004, 01:21 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by jsheldon_us


That said, the following observations/requests apply:
1 - my box (and others, particularly a few in Chicago (see posts on Comcast Chicago thread) are rebooting constantly on their own after a few remote clicks. Either the box is bad or the software or something. I am sure this will work itself out.

That's my initial 24-hour version.

John

Mine also re-booted without warning several times the first day. I haven't had a problem since.

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post #14 of 10358 Old 11-05-2004, 01:50 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by stoli412
120 GB hard drive?! You have to be pretty careful with how much HD you record. Otherwise it will wipe out older recordings to make room, even if you haven't watched them yet. I think a 250 GB drive would have been a much better choice. Also, external firewire drives should be permitted/enabled. I believe a company has already said they plan to make them, and 5c over fireware should shut up the content owners worried about piracy. Alternatively, someone needs to find out if you can clone the factory drive and replace it with a larger drive. Don't look at me...I'll wait for someone else to try it and post the directions.


I tried a second time to peer through the cooling vents in the chassis of my 6412 to spot the hard drive size. As you point out, it is 120 GB. That's a 50 percent increase over the 80 GB Seagate on the 6208 ! The 6412 has a Maxtor. That means we should be able to record about 18 hours (9+ movies) from HBO or at least 12 hours from the highest resolution channels such as Comcast Sportsnet HD.

I've never seen this pointed out, but my guess is that the numbering convention of the Motorola converters is that the last two digits of the model indicate hard drive size; e.g., 6200 = 0 GB (no hard drive), 6208 = 80 GB, 6412 = 120 GB.

Maxtor now makes a 300 GB hard drive, so when can we get the Moto 6430?

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post #15 of 10358 Old 11-05-2004, 03:46 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by dneily
Mine also re-booted without warning several times the first day. I haven't had a problem since.

Make sure where ever the box is it is getting enough air flow.
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post #16 of 10358 Old 11-05-2004, 04:37 PM
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Comcast NJ - Union/Verona

stoli412 - Nice review. Thanks!

platbr - Are you kidding? The Microsoft Guide has to be the best Guide next to Tivo...

http://www.microsoft.com/tv/content/...tion_Main.mspx

http://download.microsoft.com/downlo...eet_051004.pdf
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post #17 of 10358 Old 11-07-2004, 05:15 PM
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Has anyone figured out how to get to the closed captioning settings on the 6412? My girlfriend is hard of hearing and she cannot watch TV with me on the television that I have hooked up to my DVR, she has to watch regular TV on the television that is hooked up upstairs. The regular captioning (through the TV) doesn't work. Motorola's user guide shows a menu that lets you choose captioning options (including font!!), but Comcast's menu system doesn't let you access those options...
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post #18 of 10358 Old 11-07-2004, 08:13 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by mogwaijeeper
Has anyone figured out how to get to the closed captioning settings on the 6412? My girlfriend is hard of hearing and she cannot watch TV with me on the television that I have hooked up to my DVR, she has to watch regular TV on the television that is hooked up upstairs. The regular captioning (through the TV) doesn't work. Motorola's user guide shows a menu that lets you choose captioning options (including font!!), but Comcast's menu system doesn't let you access those options...

When the 6412 is on, press Power then Menu. You can enable close captioning from that screen.
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post #19 of 10358 Old 11-07-2004, 08:19 PM
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any new info on the box's arrival to north jersey?

Comcast: GET HD-Net!
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post #20 of 10358 Old 11-08-2004, 01:48 AM
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Comments from my nephew in Chicago suburb, who just upgraded from his 6208 to a 6412:

"We've had the new dual-tuner DVR from Comcast for a few days. It's certainly a big improvement in all regards over the old DVR, but it's not Tivo. The software still comes from TV Guide, but it's a new version with most of the features one expects these days, such as the ability to follow programs as they get rescheduled. Really, except for a clunky interface, it does most everything I need. The dual-tuner functionality is very nice. Schedule conflicts aren't much of an issue now. Overall, the experience is tolerable."

Here in LA I've been holding off considering an upgrade to my 6200 until the 6412 became available. I guess it's getting close.
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post #21 of 10358 Old 11-08-2004, 06:11 AM
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Just got 6412 from Comcast here in NW Chicago burbs. Here is my $.02

Love:
- seamless dual tuner recording, no more scheduling conflicts
- HDTV recording / playback , perfect quality picture and sound
- pause / rewind live HDTV broadcast
- 2 weeks of guide

Hate:
- disk is too small for HDTV, only ~10 hours of HDTV recording
- only 15 minutes of HDTV pause time because of small disk
- no graphics overlay when in HDTV mode. I use modulator to send A/V to rest of the house, but can't use 6412 when on HDTV channel because there is no graphics overlay in 1080i mode on A/V outputs.
- VOD doesn't work most of the time. This is probably not 6412 issue, but Comcast problem on their VOD server, need to call and complain.

Overall, I'm happy with 6412, just need to find a way to increase capacity. I wish NBC would broadcast more shows in real HDTV like CBS does.
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post #22 of 10358 Old 11-08-2004, 08:38 AM
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I just had by 6208 box switched out for the 6412. While doing the swap, the installer was doing some work on the lines in the back of the house. He replaced a section of cable and removed an ADCAM (I think) filter/trap on the back of the house.

Now, the picture looks grainy or noisy. I don't think that it is the box, because the picture looks grainy on the other TVs and the main TV from the cable split directly to the main TV as well.

I also had the box spontaneously reboot last night, which I read was likely due to too much or too little signal strength. My question, then, is there a way to determine the signal strength the box is receiving.

What should I get if the signal is too low or too high? I'd call Comcast to bring that filter back, but I don't want to have to take another day off of work if I can fix it myself.

Any suggestions?

Thanks.
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post #23 of 10358 Old 11-08-2004, 10:36 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by stoli412
The incompleteness of the guide data causes problems with series recordings. I've set up series recordings for shows like Lost, Desperate housewives, and Arrested development as "first-run only" and they're working as expected, probably because these shows aren't syndicated or repeated to death. However, I've also set up series recordings for shows like The Simpsons, Malcolm in the middle, King of the hill, and Trading spaces. All are set to "first-run only" but since these shows run multiple times per week in syndication, the box is still recording them. Some of these syndicated episodes record, some don't. To me, that indicates incomplete guide data or sporadic use of the "repeat" flag in the guide data.

Just curious: has anybody else experienced this problem yet? I can't imagine I'm the only one! IMO, this problem seriously limits the usefulness of the series recording feature and needs to be fixed ASAP.
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post #24 of 10358 Old 11-08-2004, 12:08 PM
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The same thing happens with Tivo, at least in the DirecTivo version I have. Simpsons is a prime example. If I want to record just new Sunday night episodes and do a season pass for first run only, it'll go and grab everything because syndication doesn't get listed properly.

What I believe you need to do, mind you I haven't seen a 6412 setup yet or the new iguide, is to set it to record JUST a particular station so that'll cut it down some. But it's fox, so fox runs it a few times a day. Your best bet is to set a manual recording and just eyeballing Sunday nights once in awhile to make sure there are no changes to the schedule.

Simpsons was one of the shows with Tivo that was just sucky to try and record, much like the Daily Show on Comedy Central. Both got manual recording setups.
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post #25 of 10358 Old 11-08-2004, 12:42 PM
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I have a dual-tuner DirecTivo, and I rarely encounter this problem. Once in a while (maybe once or twice a month) the Tivo gets confused with syndicated episodes of The Simpsons or South Park, for example. However, the 6412 seems to be habitually confused with ANY show that has new episodes and syndicated/repeat episodes on the same channel (Simpsons, Malcolm in the Middle, King of the Hill, South Park, and Trading Spaces are prime examples).

On Tivo, I'd say the guide data regarding syndicated episodes is correct 90-95% of the time. On i-Guide/6412, I'd say it's correct 10-20% of the time.

This is not only an inconvenience, but an issue of recording space. First, most of my series I have set up to save only one or two episodes because of the small hard drive. So, for example, if it records the "new" episode of The Simpsons on Sunday, and then records the three syndicated episodes on Monday, the new episode gets deleted before I can even watch it! Second, I record Malcolm in the Middle on the Fox digital channel since I have an HDTV and the show is in widescreen (filmed 480p, broadcast 720p). That takes a lot of space itself. So, if the 6412 also records all the syndicated MITM episodes (which are 4x3 but still broadcast at 720p) on the Fox digital channel, then it takes up a LOT of space and still deletes the "new" episode before I get a chance to watch it.

The only work around is to go through the scheduled recordings list and delete all the syndicated episodes. This is time-consuming and inefficient. And, what if the show is on a special night and/or time, and I don't know about it when going through the list? If I assume it's a syndicated episode and cancel the recording, then I miss a new episode.

I don't think the problem is with the i-Guide itself; I think it's the guide data. Comcast or Gemstar/Tribune (the two main sources of guide data) needs to pass ALL of it to the box. Tivo gets its guide data from Gemstar/Tribune (I can't remember which), they don't add in new/repeat flags or anything else, and it works 90-95% of the time. So obviously the new/repeat data is almost always provided, just someone or something isn't passing all of it through to the software on the 6412.

The 6412 with i-Guide has the potential to be as good as or better than Tivo, but only if the guide data is complete! Garbage in, garbage out! (Can you tell I'm frustrated?)
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post #26 of 10358 Old 11-08-2004, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by stoli412
So, for example, if it records the "new" episode of The Simpsons on Sunday, and then records the three syndicated episodes on Monday, the new episode gets deleted before I can even watch it!

Comcast NJ - Union/Verona

Why does it get deleted? Is there no longer a setting to keep the show until you delete it?

I have this feature on my 6208 with the blue guide.
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post #27 of 10358 Old 11-08-2004, 02:26 PM
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After reading forums over the weekend about the 6412 availability in the Dallas area, I called Comcast this morning around 9AM to order my DVR. As luck would have it, they had an opening today, and the box was installed by 11:30!

Talk about your perfect timing!

I've been a ReplayTV user for three years now, and went through major withdrawals earlier this year when I upgraded to HDTV and had to move my ReplayTV to the bedroom.

I only had a few minutes to play before going back to work, but I noticed that the programming guide stopped at 6PM tonight. All of the program listings after that time were listed as 'To Be Announced...'. Hopefully, the full two week guide will be downloaded by the time I get home this evening.

Is this delay in the programming guide consistent with new installs?
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post #28 of 10358 Old 11-08-2004, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by JimmyA
Is this delay in the programming guide consistent with new installs?

Yes. It takes time for the data to load. The same thing will happen if you unplug your box. The data will be lost and it will take some time for it to re-load.


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post #29 of 10358 Old 11-08-2004, 02:57 PM
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Originally posted by markjrenna
Comcast NJ - Union/Verona

Why does it get deleted? Is there no longer a setting to keep the show until you delete it?

I have this feature on my 6208 with the blue guide.

It gets deleted because I have the series set to keep only 2 or 3 episodes (due to space constraints). So unless I go into the specific "new" episode and tell it to save until I delete, it will get deleted to make room for the offending syndicated episodes. It's just too much of a hassle to have to remember all of this stuff. I certainly could do it, but I shouldn't have to. The box should do it.

Plus, what about the less technically savvy members of my household? I'm supposed to tell them to remember to do all this when they're used to Tivo doing it for them? All Comcast has to do is fix the guide data...that seems like a much more reasonable solution than making me jump through all kinds of hoops to do what the box is supposed to do by itself. After all, the feature is called "first-run only." That's what it says, that's what it should do.
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post #30 of 10358 Old 11-08-2004, 04:18 PM
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Stoli, how do you do 60x fast forward? Four button presses only gets me approx 20x.

With the 30sec skip, this thing is pretty usable now.
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