DCT6412 Hard Drive Upgrade? - Page 12 - AVS Forum
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post #331 of 438 Old 02-05-2012, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyhelling View Post

will it retain my series recording settings?

No, the Series Recordings are stored on the hard drive. So if you swap in another hard drive, you'll need to reprogram all the series recordings. I have noticed that it appears Comcast is storing the Auto-record search info on internal non-volatile memory (not on the hard drive), so you may not need to reprogram the auto-record search stuff (if your cable company has that feature).

When I swap hard drives in my DVR I must reprogram all the Series Recordings, but I don't have to reprogram the Auto-record search stuff. I initially thought that Comcast might be storing the Auto-record search stuff on their servers, but then I swapped out my DVR and had to reprogram everything, so it probably is stored in flash memory or something...
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post #332 of 438 Old 02-07-2012, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

No, the Series Recordings are stored on the hard drive. So if you swap in another hard drive, you'll need to reprogram all the series recordings. I have noticed that it appears Comcast is storing the Auto-record search info on internal non-volatile memory (not on the hard drive), so you may not need to reprogram the auto-record search stuff (if your cable company has that feature).

When I swap hard drives in my DVR I must reprogram all the Series Recordings, but I don't have to reprogram the Auto-record search stuff. I initially thought that Comcast might be storing the Auto-record search stuff on their servers, but then I swapped out my DVR and had to reprogram everything, so it probably is stored in flash memory or something...

Thanks for the information. I was set to swap in my 1TB drive this morning until I realized there's special screws and a security tab. I just need to source the special bits and some security tabs and I'll make the swap.

Jer

'Build a man a fire and he stays warm for one night. Set a man afire and he stays warm for the rest of his life.'
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post #333 of 438 Old 02-08-2012, 06:23 PM
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Hi all, proud to say this is my first electronic hack on this level of naughty also first post on AVS. I have purchased a HDD from ebay used but recently rma'd (MDL: WD10EVDS) aswell as 4.5mm gamebit and plastic anti-tamper tab and preped to go BUUUUUT am stuck on number 4 and 5 of the "Upgrading a Motorola cable box DVR to a 1TB hard drive" GUIDE. BTW I am performing the upgrade on a DCT6412/2305 phase 3 comcast. Is anyone having trouble downloading and copying the 1TB image from bitzipper? It may be that I am misunderstanding the procedure. What I am doing is once I am at the sendspace website and click on the download link, with my flash drive attached to my comp using firefox I option to download to the drive. If this is correct than how should this work because the file now on the flash drive is a bitzipper file and do not understand how this file will be accessed by a hdd without the bitzipper program (will this extraction be accomplished by the command bzip -d -c -f /media...etc?). Also have tried dragging and dropping the file into my flash drive but the bitzipper program freezes as evidenced by the "(Not Responding)" text in the program window frame. As you may by now be well aware I am a bit of a newb to this world so any tips or commiseration would be great!
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post #334 of 438 Old 02-09-2012, 02:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marc86 View Post

Hi all, proud to say this is my first electronic hack on this level of naughty also first post on AVS. I have purchased a HDD from ebay used but recently rma'd (MDL: WD10EVDS) aswell as 4.5mm gamebit and plastic anti-tamper tab and preped to go BUUUUUT am stuck on number 4 and 5 of the "Upgrading a Motorola cable box DVR to a 1TB hard drive" GUIDE. BTW I am performing the upgrade on a DCT6412/2305 phase 3 comcast. Is anyone having trouble downloading and copying the 1TB image from bitzipper? It may be that I am misunderstanding the procedure. What I am doing is once I am at the sendspace website and click on the download link, with my flash drive attached to my comp using firefox I option to download to the drive. If this is correct than how should this work because the file now on the flash drive is a bitzipper file and do not understand how this file will be accessed by a hdd without the bitzipper program (will this extraction be accomplished by the command bzip -d -c -f /media...etc?). Also have tried dragging and dropping the file into my flash drive but the bitzipper program freezes as evidenced by the "(Not Responding)" text in the program window frame. As you may by now be well aware I am a bit of a newb to this world so any tips or commiseration would be great!

Yes, the .bz2 file will be decompressed when you run the command bzip -d -c -f...

The download should be about 682 KB and is named "MotoSTB_1TB.bz2"
Don't use BitZipper (I've never heard of it before).
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post #335 of 438 Old 02-09-2012, 05:43 PM
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^^ By the way, it should not be a surprise that your "BitZipper" app was timing out when accessing the image file. Despite the very small 682 KB file size, that .bz2 file contains one terabyte of information in it (but to be fair, most of it is zeroes, so it compresses very, very, very well).

Most apps would choke for a good long while if you asked them to swallow 1 TB of data in one sitting.
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post #336 of 438 Old 02-12-2012, 01:37 PM
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I followed these directions for my Comcast / DCT 3412 i using a new WD10EARS. Worked like a charm. Thanks for your efforts!
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post #337 of 438 Old 02-12-2012, 09:31 PM
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You're welcome!
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post #338 of 438 Old 02-25-2012, 11:51 AM
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You're welcome! I captured the original disk image, which was from an externally formatted hard drive using my brother's DVR.

Most electronic items in my household have had firmware or hardware tweaks already... xbox (hard drive), computer, router (firmware) , video player (firmware), DVR (hard drive).

One of the most useful upgrades I've done has been to upgrade both my DCT6416-III DVRs. Will be nice to be able to catch up on all my recorded programs as I recover after surgery next month.
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post #339 of 438 Old 02-26-2012, 09:45 AM
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Thanks to everyone in this great thread. I have been following it for a month now. I risked upgrading to a 1TB Seagate drive that was not posted.

I have successfully upgraded to a 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 following your exact instructions. The image you guys posted was restored perfectly to this drive, and I got the exact capacity you posted in the instructions. DCT-6416III reports "Record Capacity Remaining 978491277312 B"

I have recorded to the new drive and the PVR seem to show the proper space remaining.
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post #340 of 438 Old 02-26-2012, 10:53 AM
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Few thoughts.

The leaders in this thread did excellent job with instructions on restoring the 1 TB image to a new drive. But I would have greatly appreciated if there was a detailed post on how to Generate an image of a hard drive, and how to post it for download. This would let other readers with means to generate and post similar images for other hard drive sizes. I have a 500 GB and 750 GB that I could have used.

I really appreciate the effort, dedication, and the know-how of all the people in this thread. Thanks again.
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post #341 of 438 Old 02-26-2012, 06:57 PM
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I had to dig way back into my archives to remember how I copied the original hard drive image (around page 5 of this thread).... My WD10EARS drive was externally formatted using my brother's DVR. I copied the original image from the drive using G4U that is found on UBCD: http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
"How-To" documentation for G4U can be had here: http://www.feyrer.de/g4u/
The image was subsequently shared with TNO821, who documented the process to prepare the hard drive.

Not all brands or models of hard drives may work in the DVR upgrade, so I thought it prudent to focus on the largest drives that are known to work (which were around $60 at the time). My brother tried to format a 1TB Seagate using his DVR which did NOT work (DVR did not offer to format the Seagate drive when externally connected). The incompatability may be on the initializing from DVR but since the drives are initialized from the computer using the 1TB drive image this may be a moot point.

Various models of Western Digital 1TB are known to work, documented on page 8 in this thread. As the drive format is basically unknown and proprietary (IBM GPFS), normal disk tools cannot understand the disk image sufficiently to expand or shrink the image to fit drives other than 1TB. So to accommodate other sizes of drives the whole imaging process would have to be repeated using a different size of source drive for each image. My brother has since changed his cable provider so I no longer have that resource at my disposal. So unless someone else sufficiently motivated steps forward that has Shaw (or another cable provider that allows the DVR to externally format a hard drive), I suspect the only available image will be for a 1TB drive.
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post #342 of 438 Old 02-26-2012, 07:53 PM
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I get the impression that there are many more upgrades than replies in this thread. Any other upgrade successes to report?

We heard from the following users in this thread but have not followed up to confirm (or deny) a successful upgrade:

tricky91, whetstone1, tluxon, dickintw, sldxstyle, detekinc, majiktrix9, jeremyhelling, marc86
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post #343 of 438 Old 02-26-2012, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeplake21 View Post

Few thoughts.

The leaders in this thread did excellent job with instructions on restoring the 1 TB image to a new drive. But I would have greatly appreciated if there was a detailed post on how to Generate an image of a hard drive, and how to post it for download. This would let other readers with means to generate and post similar images for other hard drive sizes. I have a 500 GB and 750 GB that I could have used.

I agree that having image creation instructions would be great, but I'm doubtful that those will be made. There are not many people that have both the ability (correct geographical location as well as technical ability) and time/drive to exhaustively document it.

Nobody in the USA will even be able to, because none of the cable providers here even enable the Motorola e-sata connection.
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post #344 of 438 Old 02-27-2012, 02:07 AM
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I have a Comcast Motorola DCT6412 III DVR and want/need to increase/upgrade recording capacity from 120 GB to at least 500 GB. So I think I have two options; stick with my current DVR (DCT6412) and swap out its 120 GB hard drive for a new internal 1 TB hard drive, or try to get one of the latest DVR's DCX3400M or DCX3501M (RNG200N) that includes a 500 GB hard drive by default and also has the functional ability to connect an external 1TB eSata Hard Drive to the eSata port (unlike the DCT Series cable boxes).

The latest DCX Series cable boxes Motorola DCX3400M & Motorola DCX3501M (RNG200N) is a lot faster than the previous DCT Series cable boxes thanks to increased processor power, additional flash and S-DRAM.

So why does anyone want to keep using the older, slower, outdated DCT Series cable boxes (DCT6412) instead of upgrading and moving to the newer, faster, latest DCX Series cable boxes Motorola DCX3400M or Motorola DCX3501M (RNG200N) with 500 GB and functional eSata port which will allow you to connect an external 1TB eSata Hard Drive expanding the recording capacity?

If it doesn't cost anything extra to trade in your old DCT Series cable box for a latest DCX Series cable box, why not?
Isn't it better to go with the latest DVR, with the highest default capacity of 500 GB, AND a functional way to easily connect an external 1TB eSata Hard Drive?
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post #345 of 438 Old 02-27-2012, 07:21 AM
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^
Ha! Somebody hasn't read up on the DCX threads. I wouldn't wish one of those POS's on my worst enemy.

The DCX has numerous software bugs, many of which have gone unaddressed for years.

Major DCX problems:
-Some recordings record nothing but a black screen.
-FireWire, the only way to off-load high-def recordings to PC, Mac, or Digital VHS, is totally and horribly broken on the DCX units.
-Simple tasks such as rewinding or fast-forwarding are buggy on the DCX units, sometimes causing the unit to hang and require a hard reset
-The DCX units suffer from an HDMI bug that causes them to lose their resolution info (720p or 1080i) when connected through an Audio/Video Receiver

Now this is not to say that the DCT and DCH units are perfect, but they are FAR more reliable than the DCX units!

In my experience (having had a DCT, DCH, and DCX unit), the slight increase in remote-control responsiveness comes nowhere near making up for the laundry-list of negatives. The DCT and DCH units are immune to all of those negatives.

So there are only two benefits to the DCX units, responsiveness (when it's not busy bugging out), and a larger hard drive (which is more than negated by the directions in this thread).
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post #346 of 438 Old 02-27-2012, 10:07 AM
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DCTneo:

Would you mind looking back at the command you have used to back-up the 1TB image to zip file (MotoSTB_1TB.bz2) and listing it here.

It must have been a one line linux command, and i am interested in learning it. It would be best if this command was also available in the Parted Magic CD and can be issued from LXTerminal.

Thanks.
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post #347 of 438 Old 02-27-2012, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randomjester View Post

I have a Comcast Motorola DCT6412 III DVR and want/need to increase/upgrade recording capacity from 120 GB to at least 500 GB.

So why does anyone want to keep using the older, slower, outdated DCT Series cable boxes (DCT6412) instead of upgrading and moving to the newer, faster, latest DCX Series cable boxes Motorola DCX3400M or Motorola DCX3501M (RNG200N) with 500 GB and functional eSata port which will allow you to connect an external 1TB eSata Hard Drive expanding the recording capacity?

I know my DVRs are stable and proven. They work well with and are fully supported by my cable provider. I spend more time watching TV than I do with the guide or menus. Guide or menu speed is acceptable. Video speed is great. No problems scrolling backward or forward through recorded programs, I hit the skip button about 6 times from when the commercials start and I'm watching more of my recorded program again. My upgraded 1TB drive is just about right at more than 6 times the original capacity of my DVRs, and over 8 times that of the 120GB models. I like that the drive sits inside the DVR and doesn`t add to the clutter like an external drive enclosure would. I've got lots of recorded programs to catch up on while I recover from surgery next month. I think that`s reason enough to stick with them.
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post #348 of 438 Old 02-27-2012, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeplake21 View Post

DCTneo:

Would you mind looking back at the command you have used to back-up the 1TB image to zip file (MotoSTB_1TB.bz2) and listing it here.

It must have been a one line linux command, and i am interested in learning it. It would be best if this command was also available in the Parted Magic CD and can be issued from LXTerminal.

Thanks.

Here is the process I used to create the 1TB drive image.

Prepare new drive(s) - Western Digital model WD10EARS.
I started by fully verifying the disk integrity for my new 1TB drive (both of them, one for each of my DVRs),
using latest version of Western Digital DLG (Data LifeGuard) Diagnostic software,
completed operations for both drives were Extended Test and Write Zeros to Drive.
Alternately, Writing all zeros to drive could be done using Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN "Quick Erase" method).
All that blank space is sure to compress very well and ensures maximum compression for capturing the drive image later.

Format drive externally from a cable provider which allows the esata port to be enabled (brother had a DCT3416 on Shaw cable).
Instead of the esata drive enclosure in the step below, I used a sata-to-esata cable and an external power adapter.

More useful info from this thread:
http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=21274
Get an enclosure and connect your drive via the external port.
Connect the external drive while the enclosure is turned off.
Turn on your external drive enclosure.
As it spins up, the DVR will detect it and you'll see an on-screen message.
Format the drive as requested on the screen.
You'll get a success message that the drive is formatted and ready for use in about 5 to ten seconds.
Turn off your DVR and Disconnect the external drive and remove your DVR formatted drive from your enclosure.
If you hot-plug the enclosure, you get a message that says remove the external drive.
It seems to work best if you just have your DVR on, plug in everything to connect the drive, then turn on the external drive and let it spin-up while pre-connected.
You should get the correct format screen this way.
Unplug your dvr and disconnect everything.
Get the security bit tool mentioned many times already and open the box, breaking the security tab in the process (unavoidable.)
Remove the old drive with a Phillips screwdriver - that's the only tool you need.
Install your larger drive in the unit reversing the process used when removing the old.
Put everything back together, close the box, connect the cable feed, plug it in. Do nothing. In about 5 minutes or less, the red recording light will come on. You may hear the drive whirring loudly for a few minutes - that's normal.
Turn it on and it will work. It will take a long time to load in the guide data and all your scheduled and series recordings will be gone of course.
Check your drive swap by going to the diag screen #13., i.e. power off and immediately hit the select button to bring up the diag screen. Use the arrow down button to scroll down to 13 and select. From there, you'll see a screen with your dvr capacity. Down arrow some more to scroll through the screens that report various data about your dvr. Power off to get out of the diag screen.

Create image using G4U:
http://www.feyrer.de/g4u/#imgcreate
As I recall, I set up an FTP server on another workstation to receive the drive image.
Install the formatted drive by itself in a computer.
Have the computer boot G4U from either USB or optical drive (I used Ultimate Boot CD or UBCD).
The command I would have used would have been something like the following (whole harddisk):
uploaddisk usernameassword@my.ftp.server.ca MotoSTB_1TB.gz sd0
I emailed the resulting file to TNO821, who successfully deployed the image to another drive and documented the process.

My cable provider will activate DVRs that are the same type as they use with their system (DCT6416III).
Because I own my DVRs (thanks ebay!) I did not replace the security tab, and replaced the silly security screws with normal screws from a computer case.
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post #349 of 438 Old 02-27-2012, 10:39 PM
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Thanks for the instructions.

I agree about DCT-6416 that it is a reliable machine. I have owned it for several years and it is a workhorse. I have also heard user complaints about newer PVRs from the same cable company.

One thing though is that this Motorola model records with MPEG2 compression. I wonder if the newer Motorola models (DCH or DCX) use the more efficient MPEG4 compression??
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post #350 of 438 Old 02-28-2012, 06:53 AM
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^ Yes, a key difference between the DCX units (versus the DCT and DCH units) is the ability to handle MPEG-4.

Notice I said ability. I am aware of no cable provider who has switched to MPEG-4, as doing so would require them to switch out all older units for DCX 's.
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post #351 of 438 Old 02-28-2012, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

^
Ha! Somebody hasn't read up on the DCX threads. I wouldn't wish one of those POS's on my worst enemy.

The DCX has numerous software bugs, many of which have gone unaddressed for years.

Major DCX problems:
-Some recordings record nothing but a black screen.
-FireWire, the only way to off-load high-def recordings to PC, Mac, or Digital VHS, is totally and horribly broken on the DCX units.
-Simple tasks such as rewinding or fast-forwarding are buggy on the DCX units, sometimes causing the unit to hang and require a hard reset
-The DCX units suffer from an HDMI bug that causes them to lose their resolution info (720p or 1080i) when connected through an Audio/Video Receiver

Now this is not to say that the DCT and DCH units are perfect, but they are FAR more reliable than the DCX units!

In my experience (having had a DCT, DCH, and DCX unit), the slight increase in remote-control responsiveness comes nowhere near making up for the laundry-list of negatives. The DCT and DCH units are immune to all of those negatives.

So there are only two benefits to the DCX units, responsiveness (when it's not busy bugging out), and a larger hard drive (which is more than negated by the directions in this thread).

Well apparently it's not the hardware but the service/cable provider/network node at fault. I was researching the Motorola DCX3400 and found a site discussing it for the Canada cable provider SHAW. Apparently they have no issues at all with the hardware and it works as advertised, way better than older units.
The motorola DCX series of cable boxes is VASTLY Superior to it's predecessors both from a hardware and software side of things. The DCX series of cable boxes are ALL DIGITAL and in order for them to work to their PEAK performance they need to be connected to a 100% digital network which is generally FIBER OPTIC based or at least has a FIBER OPTIC backbone. The older DCT boxes were analog/digital hybrids and worked on either fiber/digital (faster) and analog (slower networks).
The problems you were referring to are mostly network related and have little to do with the hardware itself.
SHAW in Canada did a network upgrade before launching the Motorola DCX series pulling FIBER OPTIC cable to all the nodes on the network which were to be serviced by the Motorola DCX, Arris Gateway and other DIGITAL Only products. Once the FIBER - 100% ALL DIGITAL Network upgrades were complete Shaw then required it's customers to upgrade or swap out their hardware to DIGITAL Versions to be compatible with the new 100% digital network, if they wished to reap the benefits and performance features. I would assume Comcast has not done this and is running a hybrid network Analog/Digital in some of the areas which these problems are occurring and hence hampering the performance of ALL their cableboxes and equipment.
It is important when analyzing and critiquing equipment problems to determine if the cause of the problem is NETWORK and SERVICE PROVIDER related or indeed an internal Hardware Issue with the box itself.
Information sourced from the following:
- Shaw's New Motorola DCX Series HDTV Cable Boxes
techtipsandtoys.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/shaw-hdtv-cable-boxes/
- Motorola DCX3400 PVR Cable Box Review
techtipsandtoys.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/motorola-dcx3400-pvr-cable-box-review/
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post #352 of 438 Old 02-28-2012, 03:57 PM
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^ well an all-digital network may help with the black screen recordings...maybe...I do a fair bit of programming and would think that proper error trapping should be capable of resetting a blacked-out tuner and retrying without causing a black-screen recording.

But there's simply no way that the digital-network-vs-hybrid-network stuff has anything to do with the FireWire or HDMI errors.
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post #353 of 438 Old 02-29-2012, 09:02 PM
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Shaw is not 100 percent digital.
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post #354 of 438 Old 03-02-2012, 05:29 PM
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I would like to start with Great Big Thank You to TNO821, DCTneo and dan74 for making this all happen.

Just switches to Comcast from Dish Network and took the HDTV plunge at the same time. Got the DCT6412 III and DCT3416 upgraded with a pair of WD10EARS's with no problem at all, thanks again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

I hit the skip button about 6 times from when the commercials start and I'm watching more of my recorded program again.

My remote has a skip back button, but no skip forward button, only a fast forward button. Am I missing something?
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post #355 of 438 Old 03-02-2012, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMTech3222 View Post

My remote has a skip back button, but no skip forward button, only a fast forward button. Am I missing something?

There isn't a skip forward button enabled by default; you must program it to your Comcast DVR remote manually.
Check the following link for more information:
How to use a Motorola DVR/Programming the Remote
> 1.2.5 Add 30-Second Skip
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post #356 of 438 Old 03-02-2012, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randomjester View Post

There isn't a skip forward button enabled by default; you must program it to your Comcast DVR remote manually.
Check the following link for more information:
How to use a Motorola DVR/Programming the Remote
> 1.2.5 Add 30-Second Skip

We use a couple of Logitech Harmony remotes with our 2 DVR setups and are quite happy with them, apart from the buttons not being backlit on the cheaper Harmony remote (used for TV watching in the bedroom). Both include the 30-second skip buttons without additional setup, although we only discovered this after already having used them for some time.
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post #357 of 438 Old 04-28-2012, 10:56 AM
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I hadn't read this complete forum, just the instructions on how to build the 1GB disk and that I found in a hyperlink on another forum. Nothing really mentioned which HD to use. So I did not realize everybody is using WD disks. I just order the 1GB HD from Newegg. It is a Samsung F3 1GB SataII. Any reason this should not work? Thank you.
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post #358 of 438 Old 04-28-2012, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by davekaye View Post

I hadn't read this complete forum, just the instructions on how to build the 1GB disk and that I found in a hyperlink on another forum. Nothing really mentioned which HD to use. So I did not realize everybody is using WD disks. I just order the 1GB HD from Newegg. It is a Samsung F3 1GB SataII. Any reason this should not work? Thank you.

The various WD drives are known to work, others may not. My brother tried a Seagate without any luck, the DVR would not accept it as a valid drive. If you find success with a different drive, please let us know....
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post #359 of 438 Old 04-28-2012, 08:13 PM
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Can someone update the download links that were on the step by step directions on page 5. I went to try to download and it says that they have expired. Sorry I can't quote it because I just made an account.

A HUGE THANKS TO ALL WHO DEVELOPED AND GOT THIS WORKING. MY HAT IS OFF TO ALL OF YOU!!!
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post #360 of 438 Old 04-29-2012, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by cj banks View Post

Can someone update the download links that were on the step by step directions on page 5. I went to try to download and it says that they have expired. Sorry I can't quote it because I just made an account.

I'm not sure what your "page 5" looks like compared to mine (I know that the mobile iPhone site lists page numbers differently than when I use my PC), but I think you're referring to old outdated posts where I was attempting to use some Windows freeware imaging utilities. They suck and can not get the job done reliably, so you need to use my step-by-step directions involving the Parted Magic Linux LiveCD. Those are on page 7 (at least it's page 7 for me on my PC). It's post #201: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...&postcount=201

I'll see about editing those older posts with a disclaimer and directing people to post #201.
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