Originally Posted by lovingdvd
Currently I have the DCX-3400 which I thought was a nice improvement over the 3416 (silver) box.
If you had a silver/metal box (with heat slits on the top of the chassis) then you had a 1st-generation DCT* box. Came with a 120GB or 160GB hard drive.
DCH3416 family was 2nd-generation and was all black, with a closed top. They had improved handling for heat and didn't need the heat slits at the top. Also 160GB hard drive.
Your DCX3400 has a 320GB hard drive, and is a bit smaller than the DCH, but is mostly significant for the introduction of "native" format. This lets the box auto-change the output resolution of programs delivered to your HDTV via HDMI, to match the source resolution of the program. 720p is delivered "native" as 720p, and 1080i is delivered "native" as 1080i. There is no fixed output resolution (e.g. 1080i) that causes 720p to be up-converted to 1080i for delivery.
Also, theoretically the DCX model supports pass-through of 1080p source programs (e.g. pay-per-view, 3D, etc.) which might be available from your cable service, although normal 720p/1080i is not upconverted to 1080p.
But before I go switching out my DVRs I was wondering what is different with the 3501M. Anyone know?
Effectively only the multi-room client/server capability with "satellite" non-DVR client boxes in other rooms. Along with this, the hard drives are now 500GB.
But I am interested in things such as quieter operation (the drive in the 3400 is rather noisy), snappier response to FF/REW,
Can't speak firsthand about these subjects. Maybe someone else can.
expansion of HD capacity via eSata
Forget it. Unless you live in Canada and have Shaw Cable, the eSata expansion port here in the US from all cable services (as reported by users on this forum) is simply non-functional.
Only if you get a box with a larger hard drive (or swap it out yourself for say a 1TB drive, which is a no-no legally but apparently can be done fairly easily) will you increase capacity above the 500GB usually found in these DCX35* models.
Also is there any function for moving shows from an old DVR to a new one before turning the old one back to Comcast? I have many unwatched shows...
No here as well. You're just going to have to "view-down" that accumulation of unwatched shows before you return it.
Unless you have a DVHS VCR, in which case you might have been able to offload ALL of these programs to DVHS tape (digitally 100% copy, via firewire) and watch them from tape in their original HD form. Unfortunately, you say you currently have a DCX3400 box, which like all other 3rd-generaton DCX products has a BROKEN FIREWIRE INTERFACE that no longer works, and thus cannot be used to offload content to DVHS tape via firewire.
This is bothersome and frustrating history, since 1st-generation DCT and 2nd-generation DCH equipment did have 100% working firewire interfaces, and if you had a DVHS VCR you could offload content from DVR to DVHS, either permanently for posterity (i.e. your DVHS tape HD library) or just temporarly to free up hard drive space on the DVR. Unfortunately Motorola "broke" the firewire interface in the 3rd-generation DCX products and have never fixed it. So at least two years after DCX introduction, there still is no usable functional working firewire interface on any DCX product, even though the boxes still have a physical firewire port (that delivers garbage, for the most part).