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Official AVS Motorola DCX series HD DVR Topic! - Page 151

post #4501 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

It should be pointed out that other eSata implementations that worked (e.g. using the Scientific Atlanta DVR's, if you were in Charter Cable areas for example) also had an encryption method used which "protected" that externally recorded content from being usable other than by the current DVR.
So if you had to return the DVR for a replacement, all of your current external recordings would no longer be usable if the eSata drive were simply attached to the new DVR. Instead, everything would be lost as the eSata drive would have to be formatted again for use with the new replacement DVR.
Likewise, your external eSata drive could not just be disconnected and brought to someone else's DVR and played there. It was only usable with the "recording DVR" (much like Windows Media Center and DRM within Windows, and the encryption used for copy-once WTV recordings to hard drive).
I don't know firsthand that this is the case with Comcast's in-progress implementaion of active eSata, but I would intuit that this is the story.

Comcast's FAQ agrees with what you describe. No surprise there.

The FAQ also points out that the external drive cannot be larger than 1 TB. Supposedly, attaching a larger drive produces an error message indicating that the drive is not compatible.
post #4502 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdmth View Post

Comcast's FAQ agrees with what you describe. No surprise there.
The FAQ also points out that the external drive cannot be larger than 1 TB. Supposedly, attaching a larger drive produces an error message indicating that the drive is not compatible.
What if you purchased multiple 1T drives and attached them one at a time? That is, filled one up, detached it, and attached a different one. Could you go back and forth between drives by manually detaching and attaching, watching the programming stored on one drive, then switching and watching programming stored on the other?
post #4503 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by crossbeaux View Post

What if you purchased multiple 1T drives and attached them one at a time? That is, filled one up, detached it, and attached a different one. Could you go back and forth between drives by manually detaching and attaching, watching the programming stored on one drive, then switching and watching programming stored on the other?
Don't know without trying it, I suppose.

In the case of the Charter Cable implementation of eSata with the SA DVR's, there appeared to be an "index table of contents" of all recorded program maintained on the internal hard drive, no matter which drive was actually used to house the physical recording (which was seemingly done using a "load balancing" algorithm, trying to spread both storage and activity across the internal and external drives).

So, if you temporarily disconnected or powered-off your external drive the "recorded TV" listing would still appear the same. But if you tried to play a program which had been recorded on the external drive you'd get an error about it being "inaccessible" or something similar.

Now of course we don't know whether access to content on the external drive is "physical" (i.e. by sector location) or "logical" (i.e. through a file name, and a "table of contents" index on the drive implemented through NTFS or FAT32 or some other Linux-based file system or whatever). This would be crucial to support your idea of having multiple external drives, each of which would also need to be hot-swappable to the DVR itself, such that the DVR software itself would need to be tolerant of external drives being plugged in and out dynamically rather than simply assumed to the one and only drive which was present at power-on boot time of the DVR itself.

And then of course the DVR software/firmware that supports eSata external drives would need to have been written to support MULTIPLE external drives (i.e. with portions of the "recorded TV" index being dynamically accessible and other portions being dynamically inaccessible) in a graceful way. That's asking a lot, I suspect.


Honestly, if you want more than 1TB of external recording space (over and above the 500GB capacity of the internal drive, unless you do your own mod up to 1TB for that one as well) you should consider a WMC setup as we've already discussed.

As I've previously described, my recent capacity issues for recording the Olympics involved some "fast dancing" to upgrade both my internal and external storage. And I also have TWO separate Win7 machines on my LAN, each of which has an operational WMC where the "Recorded TV" libraries can be defined to share the storage (both internal and external) of the other machine. So while only one WMC machine can play copy-once recordings made on that machine, both WMC machines can play copy-freely recordings made on either machine.

On one machine I have a total storage of 5.25TB on four internal hard drives(250GB Sata-III, 2TB-Sata-III, 1TB Sata-II and 2TB Sata-II) as well as 4TB on two external USB 3.0 drives (2TB and 2TB). I could increase the data drives to 3TB or larger but for the moment I don't want to fool with GPT and current capacity is fine. Obviously not all of that storage is available for "Recorded TV", but as much IS available as I care to define and make available. No limit, really.

And all of that recording storage which contains copy-freely content is also playable on the second WMC machine (actually, even just Windows Media Player on the second machine can be used to play copy-freely WTV recordings but I prefer the user interface of WMC for watching TV and media).

And finally, I can also "offload" any content (both copy-freely and copy-once) content from the recording WMC machine onto the other WMC machine's drive storage anywhere that it's available (as shared storage to the primary machine)... just to have even more auxiliary storage capacity for playback if I needed it. And of course the second machine could also play any of the copy-freely content being stored on its own drives on behalf of the other machine.

The unlimited "Library" (e.g. "Recorded TV" being one of them) notion provided by Win7, where you can define any number of storage locations on any number of drives on any number of network-associated machines... this has pretty much opened the door to unlimited storage capacity for Recorded TV located on one or more drives of one or more machines. And with WMC on each machine, and a properly defined "Recorded TV" Library defined on that machine to cover the "entire pool of storage locations", that means any machine can play any copy-freely content recorded by any of them and stored anywhere. Only copy-once content is restricted for playback by the recording machine (or a Windows Media Center Extender connected to the recording machine).

And of course you could have more than two machines on your LAN.

The only true "inconvenience" is that a given WMC Extender (e.g. Xbox or Linksys DMA2100 or Ceton Echo) can only be connected to one Windows Media Center AT A TIME. That makes it possible to only play back copy-once content through that Extender from the recording machine it was originally made on.

Just the limits of practicality, along with the fact that I really only have one Ceton-enabled WMC machine anyway, generally I have one of my Extender/HDTV combos associated with the Ceton-enabled recording machine where the copy-once content is created. So on that particular Extender/HDTV I can watch ANYTHING... copy-once or copy-freely.

On the other two of my Extender/HDTV nodes, I've connected them to my second machine (at least for now) so that I'm restricted to watching just copy-freely content on that machine (reading from the "Recorded TV" library storage on the primary HTPC). I did that just for now, because this second machine previously was the actual recording machine during the Olympics, and I've now upgraded the primary machine to new hardware and a brand new Win7 install. So I temporarily moved all of the copy-once content (originally recorded by the now-second-machine from MSNBCHD and NBCSNHD during the Olymipcs) to reside on this second machine which was actually the original recording machine for this copy-once content. Hence in order to watch the rest of this copy-once Olympics content, I have to use the now second machine or its connected WMC Extenders.

Eventually, when I finally finish watching all of the copy-once content from the Olympics through this second machine and its Extenders, I will re-associate the two Extenders to the primary HTPC as it originally was. Then I can once again watch ANYTHING... copy-once or copy-freely... at ANY of the Extender/HDTV's in my house.
Edited by DSperber - 11/4/12 at 3:23pm
post #4504 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdmth View Post

It appears parts of Michigan can now use the eSATA port on Motorola DVR's (excluding the DCX3400). Comcast has updated their list of markets where the feature is available, which now includes portions of Indiana and Michigan.
More info:
http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/external-dvr-storage/
From what I've seen on Comcast forums, many areas are supposed to have the feature before the end of the year, and Comcast is also expecting to add the DCX3400 to the list of supported models before year's end as well.

This also worked in my town with the city-owned cable provider.

I called them to tell what I wanted to do (attach an external 1TB, eSata drive). The lady put me on hold for a brief period then came back on, and said 'just hook it up and turn it on!' Apparently, she had remotely activated the box to accept the drive. I connect the drive with eSata cable, turned it on, and the DCX3400 found the harddrive and --after confirmation--formatted it.

FWIW, the internal drive (Drive 1) is a 160GB,and I had filled it a time or two. The external drive (Drive 2) is shown as 1000GB, and the percentage full is now at 0%.

Your mileage may vary. Just sharing my experience.

Hope this helps,
Kelly
post #4505 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdmth View Post

Comcast's FAQ agrees with what you describe. No surprise there.
The FAQ also points out that the external drive cannot be larger than 1 TB. Supposedly, attaching a larger drive produces an error message indicating that the drive is not compatible.

Now I have a use for the 1TB drives I have laying around, hurry up Comcast and bring this to New England!
post #4506 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdolen View Post

Now I have a use for the 1TB drives I have laying around, hurry up Comcast and bring this to New England!

How can I tell if external HD support is available in my area? Is there a list somewhere? Does it have to be an eSata drive or will a USB 2.0 drive work?
post #4507 of 4764
Latest and greatest DVRs from Comcast?

What are Comcast's latest and greatest DVRs? And what are the max sizes of the internal drives available? I currently have the 500GB version of the DCX-3400M. Is there anything better available through Comcast?
post #4508 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingdvd View Post

How can I tell if external HD support is available in my area? Is there a list somewhere? Does it have to be an eSata drive or will a USB 2.0 drive work?

Currently available in Michigan and Indiana: http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/external-dvr-storage/
post #4509 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdolen View Post

Now I have a use for the 1TB drives I have laying around, hurry up Comcast and bring this to New England!

Supposedly, only a specific Western Digital HD is supported according to Comcast: http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/external-dvr-storage/
post #4510 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingdvd View Post

How can I tell if external HD support is available in my area? Is there a list somewhere? Does it have to be an eSata drive or will a USB 2.0 drive work?

It has to be eSATA; USB will not work. For availability on Comcast systems, check here:

http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/external-dvr-storage/

Where you see "Motorola DVRs support external hard drives in select markets," click where it says "select markets" and a PDF will load with the markets and ZIP codes where the feature is available.

The A30 I-Guide software is required for eSATA support. You can check to see if you have the A30 software as follows:

1. Press MENU twice to access the main menu.
2. Select "Setup," then "Cable Box Setup."
3. Select the last option (I think it's called "Configuration" or something like that).
4. Look at the software version (near the top of the left column). If you have the new A30 software, the version will be 80.xx (instead of 78.xx for the previous A28 software).

Be advised that Comcast does NOT turn on the eSATA port immediately after updating the software. From what I've read, Comcast has to perform additional steps on the head-end side of things before they can enable the feature, so there will be a delay of a few weeks (I know, they're really slow) before the feature is turned on. Also, at this time they are NOT supporting the DCX3400 or DCX3400-M, so if you have either of those models, you may have to wait longer (or swap it out for a different model, either a DCT, DCH, or the newer DCX3501 or RNG200N).

There may also be a way to check the status of the eSATA port in the diagnostics menu (press OK immediately after turning the box off).
post #4511 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by BSTNFAN View Post

Supposedly, only a specific Western Digital HD is supported according to Comcast: http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/external-dvr-storage/

That is the only hard drive model with "official" support (i.e. the one tested and approved for use). Pretty much any eSATA drive should work, as long as it's no larger than 1 TB.
post #4512 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdmth View Post

It has to be eSATA; USB will not work. For availability on Comcast systems, check here:
http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/external-dvr-storage/
Where you see "Motorola DVRs support external hard drives in select markets," click where it says "select markets" and a PDF will load with the markets and ZIP codes where the feature is available.
The A30 I-Guide software is required for eSATA support. You can check to see if you have the A30 software as follows:
1. Press MENU twice to access the main menu.
2. Select "Setup," then "Cable Box Setup."
3. Select the last option (I think it's called "Configuration" or something like that).
4. Look at the software version (near the top of the left column). If you have the new A30 software, the version will be 80.xx (instead of 78.xx for the previous A28 software).
Be advised that Comcast does NOT turn on the eSATA port immediately after updating the software. From what I've read, Comcast has to perform additional steps on the head-end side of things before they can enable the feature, so there will be a delay of a few weeks (I know, they're really slow) before the feature is turned on. Also, at this time they are NOT supporting the DCX3400 or DCX3400-M, so if you have either of those models, you may have to wait longer (or swap it out for a different model, either a DCT, DCH, or the newer DCX3501 or RNG200N).
There may also be a way to check the status of the eSATA port in the diagnostics menu (press OK immediately after turning the box off).

Thanks! Does anyone know how the DCX3501 compares to the DCX3400? My DCX3400 is pretty loud (relatively noisy fan). Any chance the newer units are quieter?

It seems that the DCX3501 may be the same thing as the RNG200N, just under a different name. So multiple manufacturers making the latest box. Any ideas on which ones are superior even if functionality equivalent (i.e. one may be known to be quieter, etc). Thanks!
post #4513 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdmth View Post

That is the only hard drive model with "official" support (i.e. the one tested and approved for use). Pretty much any eSATA drive should work, as long as it's no larger than 1 TB.

While that makes perfect sense, I'd like to see some user reports that it is true.
post #4514 of 4764
I really wished Time Warner Cable would support external HDDs like Comcast does. I am almost 100% full in disk usage!! Grr!
post #4515 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingdvd View Post

Thanks! Does anyone know how the DCX3501 compares to the DCX3400? My DCX3400 is pretty loud (relatively noisy fan). Any chance the newer units are quieter?
It seems that the DCX3501 may be the same thing as the RNG200N, just under a different name. So multiple manufacturers making the latest box. Any ideas on which ones are superior even if functionality equivalent (i.e. one may be known to be quieter, etc). Thanks!

I do not have any experience with the DCX series, but I do know that the 3501 is supposed to be more energy efficient than the 3400. It also apparently does a better job recording shows (i.e. the "black screen recording" problem is apparently unique to the 3400).

Comcast uses the name RNG200N for the newest boxes from Motorola (DCX3501), Pace ("Dallas"), and Cisco. They all support AnyRoom DVR, but AFAIK they are not purely interchangeable - the Motorola RNG200N is still a Motorola box with Motorola firmware, the Pace RNG200N is a Pace box with Pace firmware, and the Cisco RNG200N is a Cisco box with Cisco firmware (and only used on Cisco cable systems). If you're in a Motorola market, you will not see a Cisco RNG200N, but you might see a Pace one as Pace's boxes are designed to work on Motorola systems. As for which box is better, I have no idea.
post #4516 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdmth View Post

I do not have any experience with the DCX series, but I do know that the 3501 is supposed to be more energy efficient than the 3400. It also apparently does a better job recording shows (i.e. the "black screen recording" problem is apparently unique to the 3400).
Comcast uses the name RNG200N for the newest boxes from Motorola (DCX3501), Pace ("Dallas"), and Cisco. They all support AnyRoom DVR, but AFAIK they are not purely interchangeable - the Motorola RNG200N is still a Motorola box with Motorola firmware, the Pace RNG200N is a Pace box with Pace firmware, and the Cisco RNG200N is a Cisco box with Cisco firmware (and only used on Cisco cable systems). If you're in a Motorola market, you will not see a Cisco RNG200N, but you might see a Pace one as Pace's boxes are designed to work on Motorola systems. As for which box is better, I have no idea.

Thanks so much for the great info - I really appreciate it.

Regarding the AnyRoom DVR - personally I like to have a full DVR in my main rooms, so I would not want to have one master DVR and then dummy boxes in the other rooms that were not full DVRs. HOWEVER - I really would like the ability to watch something from DVR 1 when sitting at DVR 2. Is that possible with these latest boxes? Or do you have to have one master DVR and then dummy boxes in order to watch things from one DVR in the other rooms?
post #4517 of 4764
I just picked up a DCX3501 today after having a DCT3412 for a couple of years. I have a few questions which I have searched for for a while but can't seem to find answers.

I am having issues with the box not forwarding, pausing, or rewinding live video which I saw a few posts on, but changing channels has not fixed it. Also, some suggested to swap tuners, but when I hit the swap button it looks like it flips over, but then I change the channel to something different, hit swap to go back, but it always stays on the same channel. So it doesn't seem to be switching tuners either. Does anyone know how to fix either of those or if I'm missing something? Also, is it possible for me to update the firmware on the machine somehow from home without taking it back in? I am currently on S/W 78.54 - a284.1005.r-6 and firmware 24.55 which I think is pretty old?
post #4518 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tronner View Post

I just picked up a DCX3501 today after having a DCT3412 for a couple of years. I have a few questions which I have searched for for a while but can't seem to find answers.
I am having issues with the box not forwarding, pausing, or rewinding live video which I saw a few posts on, but changing channels has not fixed it. Also, some suggested to swap tuners, but when I hit the swap button it looks like it flips over, but then I change the channel to something different, hit swap to go back, but it always stays on the same channel. So it doesn't seem to be switching tuners either. Does anyone know how to fix either of those or if I'm missing something? Also, is it possible for me to update the firmware on the machine somehow from home without taking it back in? I am currently on S/W 78.54 - a284.1005.r-6 and firmware 24.55 which I think is pretty old?

Let me add one more thing. I just recorded a couple of minutes of a program to try out the DVR. I hit STOP to end the recording, went into MyDVR and tried to play the recording. I got the following error:

Program Currently Unavailable - This recording cannot be played at this time. It may have been deleted. Please check its availability on your main DVR.

Is it trying to record them somewhere else? This IS my main DVR. Is it possible it's still looking for my old 3412 somehow? Very confused.
post #4519 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tronner View Post

I just picked up a DCX3501 today after having a DCT3412 for a couple of years. I have a few questions which I have searched for for a while but can't seem to find answers.
I am having issues with the box not forwarding, pausing, or rewinding live video which I saw a few posts on, but changing channels has not fixed it. Also, some suggested to swap tuners, but when I hit the swap button it looks like it flips over, but then I change the channel to something different, hit swap to go back, but it always stays on the same channel. So it doesn't seem to be switching tuners either. Does anyone know how to fix either of those or if I'm missing something? Also, is it possible for me to update the firmware on the machine somehow from home without taking it back in? I am currently on S/W 78.54 - a284.1005.r-6 and firmware 24.55 which I think is pretty old?

Every once in a while I have this with my DCX3400. I can usually "fix it" by soft-powering it on/off with the on/off button. I can't recall exactly, but I think there have also been a few cases where I had to unplug it to snap it out of it.
post #4520 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingdvd View Post


Regarding the AnyRoom DVR - personally I like to have a full DVR in my main rooms, so I would not want to have one master DVR and then dummy boxes in the other rooms that were not full DVRs. HOWEVER - I really would like the ability to watch something from DVR 1 when sitting at DVR 2. Is that possible with these latest boxes? Or do you have to have one master DVR and then dummy boxes in order to watch things from one DVR in the other rooms?

Pretty sure Cisco boxes have the capability you want. Motorolas would too just to be competitive. Whether your provider/cableco provisioned boxes for that feature is another story. Give them a call?
post #4521 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arvy View Post

Pretty sure Cisco boxes have the capability you want. Motorolas would too just to be competitive. Whether your provider/cableco provisioned boxes for that feature is another story. Give them a call?
With Comcast, you cannot watch one DVR's recordings from a TV connected to another DVR. You can only watch from that DVR's TV or (in the case of AnyRoom) from a TV connected to an AnyRoom secondary unit. However, while doing my annual "complain to Comcast about their outrageous prices and get a better package price," the Comcast rep (who seemed genuinely knowledgeable) said that early next year Comcast would be rolling out a new series of DVRs with greatly improved features, including cloud storage and more. So perhaps some of these other features that we think we need because of disk limitations will soon go away or be improved. She would give me no more info than that, but since I was praising the Dish Hopper DVR and trashing the Comcast Motorolas, she felt compelled to say things were going to get better. Perhaps she played me, but I hope not.
post #4522 of 4764
Check this out. It's brief and to the point, even if not too detailed: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1435134/twc-whole-home-dvr-question

It's a shame these advanced boxes don't do what the ancient ReplayTvs do (I have 3).
post #4523 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by crossbeaux View Post

With Comcast, you cannot watch one DVR's recordings from a TV connected to another DVR. You can only watch from that DVR's TV or (in the case of AnyRoom) from a TV connected to an AnyRoom secondary unit. However, while doing my annual "complain to Comcast about their outrageous prices and get a better package price," the Comcast rep (who seemed genuinely knowledgeable) said that early next year Comcast would be rolling out a new series of DVRs with greatly improved features, including cloud storage and more. So perhaps some of these other features that we think we need because of disk limitations will soon go away or be improved. She would give me no more info than that, but since I was praising the Dish Hopper DVR and trashing the Comcast Motorolas, she felt compelled to say things were going to get better. Perhaps she played me, but I hope not.

I believe the CSR is referring to X1:

http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/21/comcast-x1-dvr-iphone-app-launch/
post #4524 of 4764
Tried to post earlier-guess I ended up elsewhere---the problem with Comcast boxes reverting back to 720 from 1080 appear to be over-no more DUI showing up -hope it was an internal firmware fix
post #4525 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by nic66718 View Post

Tried to post earlier-guess I ended up elsewhere---the problem with Comcast boxes reverting back to 720 from 1080 appear to be over-no more DUI showing up -hope it was an internal firmware fix
Can you please give us your cable provider, location, and hardware brand/model. Also the software and firmware version running on your DVR.

My own theory is that they simply eliminated any tampering with the user-setting for the resolution based on the results of the HDMI handshake (which when it doesn't complete normally or happily is typically what then triggered the reset and loss of "native"). In other words, if the user wants and sets "native" then leave "native"... even if there's what very likely is a temporary problem that prevents the HDTV from telling the DVR it can accept "native" (e.g. if the AVR is currently on before the HDTV is on, so that the HDTV cannot be seen when the DVR prematurely initiates the HDMI handshake). Just don't ever change it, because it's a user-setting!

Same would go for any fixed resolution other than "native". If the user sets it, just leave it that way.

It's unlikely that any modern HDTV cannot accept any resolution sent to it, so there's really no reason to go through this antique HDMI handshake protocol anyway. Whatever the user wants to send, just send it that way. Period. The only issue might be if the HDTV is an old CRT (e.g. Sony 34XBR960) which cannot accept 1080p, but they've probably decided that's a user problem to deal with.

That's my own theory about what they've apparently done to finally fix the problem once and for all after all of these years since the first DCX3400 came out and supported "native" for the first time, when the problem was first born.
post #4526 of 4764
Comcast in southern New Hampshire. The box model number is DCX-3400, firmware 24.37 and s/w version is 80.47. What a relief not having to hit the format button three times every time the TV or cable box comes on. Such a minor thing but it wore you you.
post #4527 of 4764
Hello.

I don't know what changed, but I noticed the 22" HDTV goes to SD instead of HD when using Motorola DVR DCX3400's TV Guide and On Demand even on HD channels. Exiting them go back to HD display.

Did Time Warner Cable (TWC) upgrade/change something on this DVR for Los Angeles/L.A. people or just me? DVR is using software v79.41-r29.0.r-4 and firmware v24.35.

Thank you in advance. smile.gif
post #4528 of 4764
Does anybody know what model(s) is Comcast using in the South Jersey (Burlington/Cherry Hill area)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingdvd View Post

Latest and greatest DVRs from Comcast?
What are Comcast's latest and greatest DVRs? And what are the max sizes of the internal drives available? I currently have the 500GB version of the DCX-3400M. Is there anything better available through Comcast?

I am switching out my DCX3412, (I need a box with HDMI and a bigger hard drive) with Comcast next week and was wondering the same.

I realize I might get whatever HDDVR box is at the top of the pile, but it would be nice to know if the box they give me is any good.

While checking the diagnostic on my current box, I noticed it listed the eSata port enabled but not active. I'll wait and see what my new box shows.
post #4529 of 4764
Enabled but not active means that the port should work.

Enabled AND active means that you have an external drive hooked to it currently.

So in theory you should be able to hook up an eSATA external drive to it.
post #4530 of 4764
^^
Also: you have a 3412 that doesn't have an HDMI port?
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