Motorola 34xx &64xx DVR "Official Thread" - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2061 Old 08-30-2007, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Just wanted to start a thread similar to the Moxi BMC90xx for people to put their questions and answers for Motorola DCT and DCH DVR boxes. With these boxes the last two numbers are indicative of Hard drive size as so:

xx08 = 80 gig
xx12 = 120 gig
xx16 = 160 gig

The majority of Motorola DVRs will be one of the following:

Motorola DCT 34xx
Motorola DCT 64xx
Motorola DCH 34xx
Motorola DCH 64xx

Other Usefull Links
TV Guide "I-guide" interactive Demo
Charter Remote Page
Motorola's Digital Video information Section

**To my knowledge no system has enabled the USB or eSATA ports on these DVRs for external hard drives.**


Please Note: This thread is not in any way, shape or form, official representation for Charter Communications. All opinions are those of the respective posters etc. This thread does not encourage any activities that may be construed as Hacking or Cable Thieft.

This is by no means a Charter only thread

Views & opinions stated here are strictly those of Me and not Charter Communications.

I no longer work in Tech Ops as such I can only advise & suggest.
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post #2 of 2061 Old 08-30-2007, 08:57 AM
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A lot of info about these here:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=604142
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post #3 of 2061 Old 08-30-2007, 01:10 PM
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im glad we have a separate thread for this now
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post #4 of 2061 Old 08-30-2007, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharterJames View Post

While I work for Charter in Digital Operations as a DAC (Digital Controller) Administrator and as a Digital Operations Troubleshooter. -This is by no means a Charter only thread

Comcast representatives have stated on this forum that Motorola recently released a firmware to support encrypted eSATA drive expansion. It was also stated that Motorola has no intention of ever supporting USB drive expansion.

Have you heard anything about that firmware, or the possibility of Charter using it this year or next?

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post #5 of 2061 Old 08-30-2007, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

Comcast representatives have stated on this forum that Motorola recently released a firmware to support encrypted eSATA drive expansion. It was also stated that Motorola has no intention of ever supporting USB drive expansion.

Have you heard anything about that firmware, or the possibility of Charter using it this year or next?

I've pushed some of our higher management on that issue, especially since the Moxi platform supports expansion - afterall it's much more difficult to market a service if the most availible format (6416) doesn't have all core features of the older boxes (BMC90xx)

Generally there are two ways of controlling the box hardware - one by having tags that are associated with features or authorizations or directly in the firmware. I have yet to find a "tag" for turning on or off the USB and eSATA like you would the Serial port on the old boxes (if turned off it was set up for moto diagnostics, if turned on it was availible for TIVO and other serial based control) As such I figured there's a Firmware control for it - with Comcast gurus pointing to eSATA as firmware controlled, USB would most likely be the same.

The general documentation implies that USB *could* be used for external hard drives in the same manner of the moxi - but given performance I can see why might might opt to only put eSATA out for expansion. - it's kinda like the DOCSIS modem - they've been building them into the DCTs and DCHs since the phase I 5200s - but I've yet to see them enabled so they could be provisioned and used for data. - More than likely they built that hardware in should a platform like the Moxi require a data connection.

The manuals for the boxes show the USB ports and icons for Hard drives, keyboards, joysticks, printers etc - and then spins it in our direction saying features may be MSO dependent.

In the mean time the only uses I've found for a DCT/DCH usb port have been powering decorative lights (I used to keep a USB Lava Lamp on one here at work) and other devices (USB battery chargers are great!)

Definitely let me know if you hear of a comcast system using eSATA - and I'll definitely post here if I hear of a base firmware that supports eSATA in usage.

Views & opinions stated here are strictly those of Me and not Charter Communications.

I no longer work in Tech Ops as such I can only advise & suggest.
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post #6 of 2061 Old 08-30-2007, 02:30 PM
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I have the DCH 3416 and am generally pleased with it. It seems to start recording programs about 1 or 2 minutes late. I think the clock is wrong, but doesn't the cable company (TWC in SoCal) control the clock? Also, I set it to record the series Weeds, and indicated only first run programs, but it's recording it every time it airs. Any solutions?

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post #7 of 2061 Old 08-31-2007, 05:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by markt170 View Post

I have the DCH 3416 and am generally pleased with it. It seems to start recording programs about 1 or 2 minutes late. I think the clock is wrong, but doesn't the cable company (TWC in SoCal) control the clock? Also, I set it to record the series Weeds, and indicated only first run programs, but it's recording it every time it airs. Any solutions?

In a Motorola system the time is synched by the DAC - a specialized "digital controller" server which coordinates and manages many aspects of the video equipment, particularly the boxes. Generally most systems will sync their DAC with a time server, but sometimes that time server can fail and no one will notice it (or they have not sync'd it) You might be able to get someone's attention to this if you talk to you're local office's technicial department.

You can also work around this by adjusting your Start Recording time - In your series options select the recording and go to Modify - then go to View All Settings - Here you'll see an option to set the recording to Start OnTime - or anywhere from 1 to 15 minutes early.

Remember if you've got any back to back shows you might want to set them to end earlier too so you don't tie up both tuners.



With the "Record First Run" - there are several possibile reasons why it might keep recording

1) If the recording is set to Record Programs on "All Channels" (in the All settings) - This would give duplicates in the case of episodes airing on two different channels - particularly if there's an HD feed and an SD feed

2) Watching and Deleting the first instance while the "first run" is still up - The box is reliant on the guide to tell it if an episode is a repeat - if the guide does not say an episode is a repeat, it will re-record it unless you already have one of the same title. So say if Weed's airs Saturday at 10pm and Sunday at 1am is a repeat of the new episode - if you watched it and deleted it at 10pm - it's likely to re-record it at 1am.

3) Gremlins - I joke about this, but occasionally the 34xx/64xx series will act a little "wonky" - I've seen it incorrectly report 100% usage, quit recording shows it should have - start recording shows it shouldn't (like in your case)

Generally a power-cycle will clear up some of this behavoir in the short term -and it doesn't seem to be particular to a box or model (My first DCT6416 PIII did all three of the above, my current DCH6416 has done none of it - but I have a co-worker who's had those same problems on a DCH6416 but never had them on his DCT6416) - if this drives you too batty, let your local office know and get it swapped out with a different box.

Getting the box "Cold Initialized" may also clear out such bugs - a cold init wipes all existing firmware and reloads it - HOWEVER be warned this means you'll also lose your Screensaver settings, PIN codes, Favorites etc. DVR settings are not affected by this (they aren't stored in the same memory as the firmware)

Also for anyone experiencing the false 100% error - if you'd rather not power cycle you can also delete any one title to "reset" the counter.

Views & opinions stated here are strictly those of Me and not Charter Communications.

I no longer work in Tech Ops as such I can only advise & suggest.
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post #8 of 2061 Old 08-31-2007, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharterJames View Post

With the "Record First Run" - there are several possibile reasons why it might keep recording

2) Watching and Deleting the first instance while the "first run" is still up - The box is reliant on the guide to tell it if an episode is a repeat - if the guide does not say an episode is a repeat, it will re-record it unless you already have one of the same title. So say if Weed's airs Saturday at 10pm and Sunday at 1am is a repeat of the new episode - if you watched it and deleted it at 10pm - it's likely to re-record it at 1am.

This is exactly what happens on my Comcast DCH3416. As soon as you delete the first recording, if there's another showing of the same episode, it records it. The guide info the box uses if horrible at differentiating between true new episodes and re-runs of that same episode in the near future. Very annoying.
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post #9 of 2061 Old 08-31-2007, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vstream View Post

This is exactly what happens on my Comcast DCH3416. As soon as you delete the first recording, if there's another showing of the same episode, it records it. The guide info the box uses if horrible at differentiating between true new episodes and re-runs of that same episode in the near future. Very annoying.

I've noticed there seems to be no perfect listing for information - TV Guide's I-guide is complained about for not having much info on who's in a title and only recently started doing info for Repeat or first run. I've also noticed that frequently titles will get confused - for example "Dark Water" - I-guide would list the new (Americian) version while the channel was showing the origional Japaneese version (IMHO the better version)

Tribune (who does the data for Moxi's guide as well as many websites) tends to suffer from similar but different innacuracies.

I've even had a customer who had Dish and our box on an AB switch and would complain about both of them being inacurate

It's gotten better in the last few years, I think alot of programmers are working more with TVG to get it right, but there will always be errors and some are intentional as some sneaky programmers want to "fool" your DVR into watching their show.

Biggest thing I can recommend is not to immediately watch and delete a show in a major series - give it a few days so the extra "first run" showings will air. Showtime particularly doesn't like to call an episode a "repeat" until the next episode airs (I'm a big Dexter fan myself )

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post #10 of 2061 Old 08-31-2007, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by CharterJames View Post

In the mean time the only uses I've found for a DCT/DCH usb port have been powering decorative lights (I used to keep a USB Lava Lamp on one here at work) and other devices (USB battery chargers are great!)

I have a USB-powered laptop "fan pad" plugged into a port on my Moxi. It's cooling a ChannelVision stereo modulator that tends to get hot.
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post #11 of 2061 Old 08-31-2007, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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That's one of the best uses for the rear ports - I know the Digeo NOC had advised some of Charter's customers (through our techs) to use USB fans for when the box gets too hot

the DCT 6416 isn't too bad about heat, but I've noticed the DCH6416 gets WAY hotter on top - I'd like to think it's because it's disappiating the heat better (the DCH boxes are Mesh / Grill type airholes on three sides) - but if the metal gets that hot, that means the boxes *HAVE* to be generating more heat.

Under Stress Testing (stacking 2 DCHs with a couple of DCTs and a moxi with all running) none of them crashed, so I don't think many customers will experience overheating (I'm rough on these suckers!)

But for all those people who've returned boxes with melted wax in the top grill - you definitely don't want to be setting anything that melts easy on top of a DCH!

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post #12 of 2061 Old 08-31-2007, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharterJames View Post

Biggest thing I can recommend is not to immediately watch and delete a show in a major series - give it a few days so the extra "first run" showings will air. Showtime particularly doesn't like to call an episode a "repeat" until the next episode airs (I'm a big Dexter fan myself )

Given these boxes only have 160GB HD (20 HD hours), not a viable solution.
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post #13 of 2061 Old 08-31-2007, 03:19 PM
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so is there any connection that will allow for recorded shows to be transfered to pc other than using a video card capable of video capturing while the show is being watched/recorded?
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post #14 of 2061 Old 09-04-2007, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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so is there any connection that will allow for recorded shows to be transfered to pc other than using a video card capable of video capturing while the show is being watched/recorded?

So far as I've found - no
The MPAA has put alot of pressure on MSOs (Cable Companies) as well as box providers to ensure that there's no passing of digital programming without encryption and that raw MPEG feeds and files are not allowed to be directly accessed.

Hard drives are not only encrypted, but keyed by the hardware ids so that only the box that partitioned it will be able to read the content within. furthermore attaching any drive not provsioned by the box will reformat the drive to it's encrypted format. (And in the case of the these boxes if you were to do this internally it would repartition it to a single 160 gig partition)

For now I've heard the eSATA should be availible in the immediate future - most likley once the base firmware is upgraded - but again, unless someone dares to incur the wrath of the MPAA, it will probably reformat the external into an encrypted partition that can only be read by the box it was formatted on. (As is the case with the BMC 90xx Moxi series on Digeo's 4.1 software)

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post #15 of 2061 Old 09-06-2007, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharterJames View Post

So far as I've found - no
The MPAA has put alot of pressure on MSOs (Cable Companies) as well as box providers to ensure that there's no passing of digital programming without encryption and that raw MPEG feeds and files are not allowed to be directly accessed.

Hard drives are not only encrypted, but keyed by the hardware ids so that only the box that partitioned it will be able to read the content within. furthermore attaching any drive not provsioned by the box will reformat the drive to it's encrypted format. (And in the case of the these boxes if you were to do this internally it would repartition it to a single 160 gig partition)

For now I've heard the eSATA should be availible in the immediate future - most likley once the base firmware is upgraded - but again, unless someone dares to incur the wrath of the MPAA, it will probably reformat the external into an encrypted partition that can only be read by the box it was formatted on. (As is the case with the BMC 90xx Moxi series on Digeo's 4.1 software)

I'm out in Comcast land, and on the current firmware on my 6412 III box, I can only get the unit to recognize there are 2 drives installed. My external drive is a Seagate eSata 320GB unit. The problem is the STB will not format the drive at all for use. Hopefully, this is fixed in the near future.


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post #16 of 2061 Old 09-06-2007, 03:28 PM
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That's because the E-Sata port is not enabled. It's a DRM issue. Maybe it will get resolved, maybe it won't......

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post #17 of 2061 Old 09-13-2007, 10:25 PM
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recently switched from Moxi to the DCH6416

Here are some issues I am having.
1) I set up series recordings to record only new episodes, but get repeats anyways. (I see was covered above)
2) I set up to keep only a certain # of episodes (ie, I record Seinfeld but keep only 1 ep) except it keeps multiple episodes no matter what the setting is.


What I would like to see is the ability to search for a subject or actor/actress. Instead all you can do searches for are show titles
Any idea why this is happening? Any way to fix it?
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post #18 of 2061 Old 09-14-2007, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
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The search is not as full featured as most would like to see it - particularly those who migrated from the Moxi DVR platform to the 6416.

I'll see if I can get someone @ TVG and push development suggestions

On the episodes, are you setting a keep number in the advanced options? What's your delete settings? (delete as I need space etc etc)

I know the box uses the guide for recording criteria, so if a channel marks something as new (even if it isn't) you'll record it. you can also get duplicates if you tell it to record from all channels (say Stienfield is on both the local SD and HD channel - you'd get both if you tell it to record from all channels)

sometimes the 6416 will get a little confused on DVR settings - it will incorrectly report 100% usage or it will have your series options but no show the program is to be recorded in the guide. I've learned not to fully trust the DVR and to double check my recordings in the guide.

Again, I'll see if I can get some answers from TVG on these issues. In the mean time I've noticed powercycling will frequently "jostle" the box into working better.

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post #19 of 2061 Old 09-14-2007, 09:41 PM
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I have it set to record
1) new and repeats of Seinfeld
2) save 1 episode
3) delete as I need space

To me, I think it should record one episode and if I don't watch it then delete it as it records another but only keeping one episode on the hard drive at all times.

Of course, I used to have Directv with Tivo then had the Moxi when I switched to Charter. I know that's how the Tivo used to function. I understand the whole if the guide reports it as new the 6416 will think it is new. Some channels are notorious for that. Comedy Central, E!, VH1.

Right now, even though I have it set to record only new episodes of Inside the NFL it will record it every time it's on. Had the same issue with Hard Knocks. Just minor annoyances I guess.

Another thing that was happening for awhile but no longer is that I would go into the future recordings and delete those that were duplicates and for whatever reason I would only be allowed to delete two. If I tried to delete a third show one of the previous two would go from the red circle with line through (not recording) back to full red circle (going to record)
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post #20 of 2061 Old 09-17-2007, 05:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polekat View Post

I have it set to record
1) new and repeats of Seinfeld
2) save 1 episode
3) delete as I need space

To me, I think it should record one episode and if I don't watch it then delete it as it records another but only keeping one episode on the hard drive at all times.

Of course, I used to have Directv with Tivo then had the Moxi when I switched to Charter. I know that's how the Tivo used to function. I understand the whole if the guide reports it as new the 6416 will think it is new. Some channels are notorious for that. Comedy Central, E!, VH1.

Right now, even though I have it set to record only new episodes of Inside the NFL it will record it every time it's on. Had the same issue with Hard Knocks. Just minor annoyances I guess.

Another thing that was happening for awhile but no longer is that I would go into the future recordings and delete those that were duplicates and for whatever reason I would only be allowed to delete two. If I tried to delete a third show one of the previous two would go from the red circle with line through (not recording) back to full red circle (going to record)


I'd agree with you on the first settings - that should record whatever next episode is there and record over it as soon as the next episode is there - definitely confusing - I've run into a few times on my box where it just seems to no longer want to record what it's been told - it seems particularly fond of it when we get into 10 to 15 different series... (usually in the fall when my Wife picks up all the CSIs in addition to my Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs and Ham on the Street... then add in Dr Who and Dexter... I guess it's a good thing that "Blade: The Series" didn't go on again or that would be there too *L*

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post #21 of 2061 Old 09-17-2007, 09:49 AM
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Well, I had deleted Seinfeld after it wasn't working properly and went and set it up again after posting above. It does seem to be working like it should.

I do have a question, since I seem to compare the moxi and now this to the Tivo. Would a Tivo work with Charter service? I see that leasing a cable card is only $1.50 a month and Tivo service is $13 - $16 a month. I'm paying $15 for Charter dvr service so it's not much of a price difference other than my initial purchase of the Tivo box.
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post #22 of 2061 Old 09-17-2007, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
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The TIVO Series III / HD works well, I assume this is what you're talking about since you mentioned cable card lease - the big thing when planning is assume you'll need 2 cards - I've fought with a few and they don't seem to like the M-Module (Multistream cable card) so I've had to resort to using two cards - one to authorize each tuner.

Picture quality has been good and of course you'll need to make sure you can hook it up to the Ethernet as well as RF network.

The biggest issues I've seen with them are getting the cards installed to begin with (with a TIVO you want to install the first card, send the pairing signal, give it about 5 to 10 minutes to update, then test - *then* repeat with second card) and with Channel Authorization (CCI authos require a CableCARD id, host ID and Data ID... many installers and techs forget to get that information or it does not get set up in the system correctly.)

Of course for now There's No VOD with Card... probably won't be for a while and you may have issues with SDV once it's out and common (Switched Digital Video)

Digeo/Moxi is working on a CableCARD DVR which should be in markets in time for the Holiday Shopping season... (initial release was slated for this fall, but being mid-September they are now saying the magic phrase "Before Christmas")


TIVO Series II is way lower on the intial equipment investment - being Free after rebate in many online retail outlets, however this box requires a connection to a cable box - so you're looking at at least one normal box if not two unless you are only recording analog.

Views & opinions stated here are strictly those of Me and not Charter Communications.

I no longer work in Tech Ops as such I can only advise & suggest.
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post #23 of 2061 Old 09-17-2007, 12:24 PM
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Yeah, if I go with Tivo it would be the HDTivo or series III. For now I will most likely stick with this motorola, but since I keep comparing everything to my old Tivo I wanted to make sure that was an option for me. Who knows, maybe Motorola will put out an update that will correct some of the issues I have with this unit.

Thanks for all your help CharterJames
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post #24 of 2061 Old 09-17-2007, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharterJames View Post

The TIVO Series III / HD works well, I assume this is what you're talking about since you mentioned cable card lease - the big thing when planning is assume you'll need 2 cards - I've fought with a few and they don't seem to like the M-Module (Multistream cable card) so I've had to resort to using two cards - one to authorize each tuner.

Only the TiVoHD supports M-Cards for now. Supposedly, this will be fixed with a software upgrade for the Series III sometime in the future. However, there doesn't appear to be any major issues authorizing M-cards from what i have read.
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post #25 of 2061 Old 09-18-2007, 04:02 PM
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I looked at the Tivos but became concerned about the digital switching issue. I'm not an expert on it, but as I undestood what I read, some cable companies are beginning to use (or are considering using in the future) a new digital switching system to save bandwidth. It involves moving the location of certain channels around to match demand to available bandwidth, and if your set top box or dvr isn't capable of communicating with the cable system's central computers, it won't be able to find the channels as they shift around. Again, based only on what I read (not any expertise or knowledge of my own), Tivo does not currently have the technology to function properly with a cable system that uses the digital switching, although Tivo apparently says they are working on a fix. I was concerned that I might be buying a $600 paperweight (up front box cost plus 3 year pre-paid service) if I were to buy a TivoHD only to have it unable to locate channels on my cable system.
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post #26 of 2061 Old 09-19-2007, 11:42 AM
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Is there any way to program the Charter 6416's remote to perform the "30 second skip" as I have read can be done with Comcast's model?

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post #27 of 2061 Old 09-19-2007, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocCasualty View Post

Is there any way to program the Charter 6416's remote to perform the "30 second skip" as I have read can be done with Comcast's model?

I find the 30 sec skip very useful for skipping quickly through commercials. Much less frustrating than FF and dealing with the remote lag when pressing play.

Give it a try--instructions here:
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/How_to_...ing_the_Remote

Add 30-Second Skip
The following technique can be used to map an unused or unneeded button on the "silver" remote to the 30-second skip command. Current versions of the i-Guide software will skip forward 30 seconds into a recording when this command is sent. A good choice is the 'A / Lock' button since many users don't need that function; you can feel both the '15-second-back' and '30-second-skip' buttons with one finger and move between them without looking. Another option is to reprogram the '15-second back' button, since PgDn already provides that functionality.

1. Press the "Cable" button at the top of the remote to put it into Cable Box control mode.
2. Press and hold the "Setup" button until the "Cable" button blinks twice.
3. Type in the code 994. The "Cable" button will blink twice.
4. Press (do not hold) the "Setup" button.
5. Type in the code 00173.
6. Press whatever button you want to map the 30-second skip command to (ex: A / Lock). The "Cable" button will blink twice if successful.
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post #28 of 2061 Old 09-19-2007, 01:52 PM
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Discovered new feature on the DCH 3416. I was not aware of this from anything else I read, but if you hit "pause," and then while it's paused, hit the FF key, it will go into slow motion, and the picture is very clear. Same think if you hit the RW key. Very nice feature which the Moxi could not do. In addition to the 30 second skip, is there anyway to program in a 15 minute skip function which Moxi did have? It's perfect for skipping half-time and resuming a movie where you left off.

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post #29 of 2061 Old 09-19-2007, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markt170 View Post

In addition to the 30 second skip, is there anyway to program in a 15 minute skip function which Moxi did have? It's perfect for skipping half-time and resuming a movie where you left off.

You have to do it with a macro. Effectively, you program the 30 second skip 30 times for a 15 minute skip. The instructions of how to do that are in the same wiki stated above.

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post #30 of 2061 Old 09-19-2007, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vstream View Post

I find the 30 sec skip very useful for skipping quickly through commercials. Much less frustrating than FF and dealing with the remote lag when pressing play.

Give it a try--instructions here:
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/How_to_...ing_the_Remote

Add 30-Second Skip
The following technique can be used to map an unused or unneeded button on the "silver" remote to the 30-second skip command. Current versions of the i-Guide software will skip forward 30 seconds into a recording when this command is sent. A good choice is the 'A / Lock' button since many users don't need that function; you can feel both the '15-second-back' and '30-second-skip' buttons with one finger and move between them without looking. Another option is to reprogram the '15-second back' button, since PgDn already provides that functionality.

1. Press the "Cable" button at the top of the remote to put it into Cable Box control mode.
2. Press and hold the "Setup" button until the "Cable" button blinks twice.
3. Type in the code 994. The "Cable" button will blink twice.
4. Press (do not hold) the "Setup" button.
5. Type in the code 00173.
6. Press whatever button you want to map the 30-second skip command to (ex: A / Lock). The "Cable" button will blink twice if successful.


Where is the "setup" button? I don't seem to have one on mine.
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