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Official AVS Motorola DCX series HD DVR Topic! - Page 156

post #4651 of 4764
I’m also on Shaw cable. I’m pretty sure that the technology Shaw and Comcast both use is almost identical.

I have been using a Motorola DCX3400-M for almost 2 years. I purchased this 500 GB HDD box brand new directly from Shaw. In the two years I owned the box I had almost zero problems with the Motorola DCX3400-M.

I do not have an external HDD (PVR expander) hooked to my DCX3400-M but I have heard numerous complaints from other Shaw subscribers that have a PVR expander hooked up. My guess is that this is more of a software problem and has less to do with hardware.

As to the memory and HDD size , I just went into the hidden diagnosis screen and my DCX3400-M also has:

System RAM: 512 MB
Flash: 64 MB
HDD: 500 MB

I think it depends on how your cable co orders the boxes with memory and HDD size. Same with the ports being enabled or disabled its up to your cable co to decide witch ports it activates.

Hardware wise I’d say the DCX3510-M is a slightly better box due to having more advanced hardware. Shaw subscriber lorac wrote”

“Obviously things do differ somewhat from provider to provider, but on Shaw cable in Canada the DCX3510 is a POS. It is just so bug riddled that the opinion of most people is that the DCX3400 is still the better unit”

I have heard the exact same reports BUT I think the DCX3510-M complaints are due to Shaw putting out a completely new bug ridden software package including a new guide and I believe the bugs/complaints are due to the new software, not the DCX3510-M hardware.

For future-proofing reasons I would stay away from older boxes like the DCH6416 because they do not tune in mpeg-4 channels and most cable cos are adding more and more channels that use MPEG-4 AVC (H.264). There are other outdated things with the older boxes. Oh and the DCX3400-M will indeed pass through native 1080p content, it just won’t scale 720p or 1080i content to 1080p.

As to having a fan, I always prefer having a fan in any piece of gear with a HDD. As to the power supply, since I own my box, I would prefer an external PS like with the 3510 because it would be easier to DIY fix.

In conclusion I’m very happy with my DCX3400-M but with the current software I’d be weary of adding an external HDD PVR expander. I’m pretty sure that eventually the cable co will get rid of the bugs that plague the new software running the DCX3510-M and at that time they will switch over the DCX3400-M customers to the new software. At that time I’m willing to bet that the DCX3510-M will run smoother than the DCX3400-M. By the way the “M” stands for “MOCA” but Shaw has not activated MOCA-Mode with these boxes – you need the gateway with portals if you want multi-room DVR with my cable co.
post #4652 of 4764
I don't know if that last post was intended for me, but I definitely appreciate the info. I'm on Time Warner Cable in Los Angeles, so I'm sure with the software being different and with certain hardware features being enabled/disabled, my experience with both the 3400-M and the 3510-M will be different than those who use Shaw or Comcast.

That being said, I'm still at a loss as to which box to keep! I tend to be more than a tad indecisive anyway, but when there are pros and cons to both options, as is the case with these two boxes, it makes the decision that much harder for me. I guess that's why I was hoping for some piece of information that would make the decision a no brainer...

One thing that my 3510-M has going for it - and I doubt anyone else would care, but let me know if you do - is that I picked up a brand new, still-in-the-shrink-wrap unit, complete with instructions, etc. The 3400-M was handed to me by the field tech who came by my apartment to check my cable connection. It's in pretty good shape, but it's got a couple of dents on the top and who knows how much it's been dropped or kicked around. The same guy gave me a 3200 (non DVR) for my bedroom and when I went to hook it up, I heard something rattling around inside the box and it turned out to be the heat sink which had become detached. So, perhaps getting a brand new 3510-M is a good thing??

So far, here's how I'm looking at it:

3400-M
Pros:
has internal power supply and internal fan and no top vents, so I can place other equipment (blu-ray, Apple TV, etc.) on top
may be more reliable than the 3510-M
has slightly dimmer display than the 3510-M, which is super bright

Cons:
fan could, over time, add noise
has less system RAM (512 MB vs. 640) - Does this really matter? If so, how?
used - could have been kicked around
doesn't natively support 1080p60 (TWC doesn't transmit 1080p, so I don't know if this matters... yet. Any thoughts??)

3510-M
Pros:
smaller, lighter, more power-effecient, more eco-friendly
natively supports 1080p60 (don't know if this matters now or if it ever will)
brand new unit - perhaps more reliable?
newer components may make it more future proof??

Cons:
newer/lighter doesn't always mean better or more reliable
has really bright clock/power display
other than power button, no front panel controls
external power supply and no fan so it seems to run warmer to the touch than the 3400-M

Speaking of the bright display on both boxes, does anyone know if there's a hidden way to dim the lights? I checked with both Time Warner and Motorola and both indicated that there was not. However, I've seen references made to a menu option on certain hidden menus that will allow the display brightness to be adjusted, but on my hidden menu (power off, then press "select") there is not.

Any other input/feedback/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
post #4653 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsulmeyer View Post

...does anyone know if there's a hidden way to dim the lights?
With my DCX3400-M

1) Turn off box
2) Within’ 2-seconds push the ‘MENU’ button

This will bring up a hidden menu with many features and near the bottom one feature is called:
Front Panel Brightness and has the following options:
Off / Low / Normal /High
After you select the feature turn off box then turn box back on.

If I were in your shoes I’d research to see if there are any Los Angeles Time Warner customer complaints more geared towards the 3400 or the 3510. If the complaints were even, I’d go with the brand new in box 3510. But that’s just me. If you do go with the 3400, I wouldn't stack any other gear on top of it.

Note that the 3400 also supports native 1080p but not at 60p like the 3510. The 3400 only does 30p or 24p at 1080p. Most movies are at 24p. Also the 3400 will only pass-through 1080p, it won't scale 1080i or 720p content to 1080p but its better to let the TV handle scaling and just let the cable box pass through native resolutions.
Edited by Super Eye - 6/1/13 at 5:01pm
post #4654 of 4764
Thanks for the help with the front panel lights. Unfortunately, on both my 3400-M and my 3510-M, when I bring up the menu you mentioned, there is no feature called "Front Panel Brightness." The last one on mine is "sleep timer." Are you with Time Warner Cable? I am, and I'm in L.A.. I'm not sure how to determine what version of the software is installed on my boxes - do you? If so, could you tell me how and which version you're running?

Thanks :-)
post #4655 of 4764
As I said previously, I’m with Shaw.

SW 78.55 – A28p0-5.1008.r-2
Firmware 24.33

My menu looks exactly like this







EDIT
Your cable co must be running a different FW or SW version.
What version are you running?
The info is under
SET-UP / CABLE BOX / CONFIGURATION
Mine is
SW SW 78.55 – A28p0-5.1008.r-2
Firmware 24.33

My menu does not have a sleep timer option - mine is exactly as shown in my above images.


Here is the wiki software/firmware page
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/How_to_use_a_Motorola_DVR/Firmware_and_Software
Edited by Super Eye - 6/1/13 at 9:28pm
post #4656 of 4764
Comcast recently pushed out some software and firmware updates to customers. On my DCX-3400-M, this fixed the longtime handshake issue preventing the 'Native' resolution setting from persisting. Also, I am now getting glitch free FireWire transfers.

It remains to be seen if the 'black screen' recording issue has been fixed. I have not seen it since the update, but i didn't see that very often in the past either.
post #4657 of 4764
Our 3501, which we got about 6 months ago, stopped working. (This is MIami.) Comcast sent a tech out, couldn't get it working, and replaced it with the 3400. (Not 3400M which we have in Oakland.)
Seems to have new software in that the menu now allows you to turn on closed captioning - which we couldn't do before and can't in Oakland.
So far, no black screen recordings. We are on 3rd 3400m box (which is used as a stand alone box) in Oakland and still have black screen issues. I'll need to check s/w ver. numbers on each location in the next week.
post #4658 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by snidely View Post

Seems to have new software in that the menu now allows you to turn on closed captioning - which we couldn't do before and can't in Oakland.

I would guess you will be able to turn CC on and off from the menu in Oakland now. Sometime during the week of May 27 new software was downloaded here in Albany.
post #4659 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemelinda2000 View Post

I would guess you will be able to turn CC on and off from the menu in Oakland now. Sometime during the week of May 27 new software was downloaded here in Albany.

Thanks. Last was in Okld. on 6/1 didn't know it might have been updated. Maybe that will cure the black screen recordings for us as well.

Now that Comcast has finally decided to give us a usable way to CC - I'd like a "Nerd" to come up with a way to program a button on the remote to quickly access CC w.o. several button presses - or, I guess we could get a simple programmable remote just to do one sequence of turning CC "on" and one "off". Should would be nice to just use the one remote, tho.
The FCC mandated stand alone TV's to have CC 10 or 15 years ago. I'm surprised Comcast (et al) got away without providing this. {There isn't one person in a thousand that could figure out how to turn it on by going into the "hidden" menus.}
Edited by snidely - 6/8/13 at 8:11pm
post #4660 of 4764
Snidely: Wikibooks has a page on programming the remote for a Motorola DVR.  I've never tried using macros, only reprogramming individual buttons, but it should be possible to make a macro for CC on and one for CC off; a single macro to toggle the setting, though, would be difficult, because when you get down into the setup menu, you need to send the signal for the cursor to go in a specific direction for ON and the other for OFF.

Also, every time the main options menu or the Setup menu is reorganized, you'll have to change the macro.  It might be more trouble than it's worth.
post #4661 of 4764
Dattier - Good points. However, I think the past set up menu was in effect forever. This function should be included if there is ever an upgrade to the remotes that come with these boxes. The most used button on my remote is the 30 sec. skip.
post #4662 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by dattier View Post

Snidely: Wikibooks has a page on programming the remote for a Motorola DVR.  I've never tried using macros, only reprogramming individual buttons, but it should be possible to make a macro for CC on and one for CC off; a single macro to toggle the setting, though, would be difficult, because when you get down into the setup menu, you need to send the signal for the cursor to go in a specific direction for ON and the other for OFF.

Also, every time the main options menu or the Setup menu is reorganized, you'll have to change the macro.  It might be more trouble than it's worth.

I've programmed a macro on my Harmony One remote to turn CC on and off, but it does require a macro for "on' and another separate macro for "off". With 7 button presses to complete each macro, it doesn't always work reliably though.

It would be great to find that there is a discrete remote command that could toggle CC on and off that could be added to the Harmony database, or programmed into the Comcast remote.
post #4663 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by scolumbo View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by dattier View Post

Snidely: Wikibooks has a page on programming the remote for a Motorola DVR.  I've never tried using macros, only reprogramming individual buttons, but it should be possible to make a macro for CC on and one for CC off; a single macro to toggle the setting, though, would be difficult, because when you get down into the setup menu, you need to send the signal for the cursor to go in a specific direction for ON and the other for OFF.

Also, every time the main options menu or the Setup menu is reorganized, you'll have to change the macro.  It might be more trouble than it's worth.

I've programmed a macro on my Harmony One remote to turn CC on and off, but it does require a macro for "on' and another separate macro for "off". With 7 button presses to complete each macro, it doesn't always work reliably though.

It would be great to find that there is a discrete remote command that could toggle CC on and off that could be added to the Harmony database, or programmed into the Comcast remote.
Do I assume the 1056B03 RC, that came with this DVR for TWC, can't do programming for macros? I also find this DVR's CCs ugly and annoying (showing up even in DVR menu screens). Argh.
post #4664 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by snidely View Post

The most used button on my remote is the 30 sec. skip.
The thirty-second skip is a single code; that's different from a macro.  I've programmed the skip also but never tried any macros yet.
post #4665 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by phildaant View Post

Do I assume the 1056B03 RC, that came with this DVR for TWC, can't do programming for macros? I also find this DVR's CCs ugly and annoying (showing up even in DVR menu screens). Argh.
There is no mention of macros in the MANUAL anymore. But it still does a power macro, so it should logically do other macros as well. Could you please try to program one anyway and let us know?
post #4666 of 4764
Is there a similar forum to this on AVS that discusses the new X-1 boxes that Comcast (and others?) is now offering in some areas?
post #4667 of 4764
Yes, Snidely, but you might have to search for "Xfinity" and "X1" rather than "Comcast" and "X1".
post #4668 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by snidely View Post

Is there a similar forum to this on AVS that discusses the new X-1 boxes that Comcast (and others?) is now offering in some areas?

This thread has some discussion of Comcast X1.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/542401/comcast-technology-topic
post #4669 of 4764
COMCAST now supports external hdd on the dcx-3400 in CT.
post #4670 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by mickinct View Post

COMCAST now supports external hdd on the dcx-3400 in CT.

Source?

In areas where the e-SATA port is active, you can use the feature on the DCX3400 despite the fact that it is not officially supported on that model. However, until a firmware update is available from Motorola, you use the feature at your own risk (i.e. you may experience lockups or other problems).

Are you saying such an update has gone through in CT? I hope you're right, but I haven't seen any official indication of this.
post #4671 of 4764
I have the Comcast Motorola RGN200N. When I first got it a few months ago, I had it set to native/pass-through. Some time since then, it reverted to 1080p. I went into the setup menu tonight, and I noticed what might be some new menu options (maybe a new firmware update -- menu says version 3.5).

Turning pass-through back to Native, there are settings to tell it what video signal formats the TV accepts (check boxes for 480i/p all the way through 1080p 24 / 30 / 60), set audio sync delay (auto, manual, increments of 50ms), and even a sharpening setting. The sharpening has settings of 1-5, default of 3. I turned it to 1, and up close there's less sharpening of compression artifacts around text on CNN/local news letters.

There's also an option for Dolby Volume, which I left at OFF, since I assume it's for volume dynamic range compression.
post #4672 of 4764
The Comcast Motorola RGN200N (DCX3501) does an excellent job of up converting material to 1080P and I prefer this setting. Usually it will default back to 1080P when you are using an HDMI receiver. Possibly a firmware update will allow it to retain the user preferred settings.
post #4673 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbri View Post

I have the Comcast Motorola RGN200N. When I first got it a few months ago, I had it set to native/pass-through. Some time since then, it reverted to 1080p. I went into the setup menu tonight, and I noticed what might be some new menu options (maybe a new firmware update -- menu says version 3.5).

There are posts in this thread about the failure of these units to maintain the "user settings". It usually happens when there is an A/V receiver is in the mix. There was a software update that I was hoping would correct the situation (and I believe did do so for some) but, alas, it didn't do it for me and I went back connecting the RGN200N directly to the TV with an HDMI cable and directly to the A/V receiver with an optical cable. My receiver is a low end Costco Yamaha.

As noted by PaulGo, the Comcast Motorola RGN200N is really a Motorola DCX3501. On the Motorola website there is a manual for the 3501 that explains all the user settings fairly well.

However, it just recently came to my attention that no matter what I am watching my A/V receiver inticates that it is receving a 5.1 audio signal through the optical cable from the 3501. The TV on the other hand will, at what seems appropriate times (like when watching Perry Mason) indicate it is receiving a simple stereo signal from the 3501 via the HDMI cable. Does anybody know what the 3501 is putting out, or is supposed to be putting out, through the audio optical out? It does not seem to be just passing the signal through.
post #4674 of 4764
So recently I replaced my COMCAST dcx3501 with another because the sound for some reason dropped and what volume I would normally have it on to was way too low to hear anything. It bugged me because going from PS3 or AirPlay I would have to lower the volume, then back up when I would switch back to watching TV. My setup is dcx3501->Denon Avr 1613->Panny 65vt60. I tried a new hdmi cable, tried another port on the receiver but still the same. Played with the audio settings and it's set to Auto. Last resort was to replace the box but still the same, is there a setting I'm missing?

And on top of that the "new" dcx3501 when I have my receiver powered off defaults back to 720p, I guess because it does not detect hdmi output. My "old" box used to default back to 1080i. Hopefully the box records doesn't record in just 720p, but in native. Does anyone know if I can get the box to default back to 1080i when my receiver and tv is powered off?

Thanks!
post #4675 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by vando45 View Post

Just noticed my box has been updated.

Old:
S/W Ver: 78.50 - a28p2-3.0911.r-2
Firmware: 24.55

New:
S/W Ver: 79.43 - R29.4.r-2
Firmware: 24.58

Guide now goes out 15 days

DCX3501m

Charter in West Michigan.


This new version is now being rolled out in the Hickory, NC area; my DCX3501-M just got the update.
post #4676 of 4764
I have a DCX3501-M (Charter Cable), which was a replacement for the horrible Moxi box. I am running HDMI (1080p60)from the 3501 through a Yamaha HTR-3063 AVR to a Samsung 46" 1080p LCD.

The only problem I have been having is it won't hold the 4:3 override for SD channels. I have tried every option (430i, 430p, stretch). It will hold the setting for a little while, then it will revert back to "off" mode (even while the 3501 is never turned off), which makes any SD channel an annoying small picture on the 46" screen.

I went through this thread and didn't find anything that would permanently resolve the issue.

Any ideas? I'm assuming this is a firmware issue?
post #4677 of 4764
I'm on Shaw Cable in Vancouver, BC.

I just recently got a new DCX 3510-M HDPVR - SN: M11246TF6###

I have it hooked up to my Panasonic 60UT50 Plasma via HDMI

I am curious about the other connection ports on the unit that I can make use of. None of the manuals or papers that came with the unit shed much info on them.

I would like to know if I can hook it up to my ethernet network and computer, and if so, what will that allow me to do?

I want to be able to pull recorded TV shows off the PVR hard drive and transfer them to my computer - what would be the best way to do that?

One issue that I am having is with a couple of SD channels. When it was first set up by the Shaw Tech, these channels filled the screen. I went in and made a few changes in the settings and came out and found these 2 channels are now floating in the middle of the screen with a black border around all 4 sides. I went back and reset the settings I changed, but it did not make any difference.

I may have to go and reset to default, but I don't want to do that unless I really have to. Any suggestions as to what I need to change?

Thanks! smile.gif

Sushihunter
post #4678 of 4764
My neighbor mentioned that his SD channels now are in letterbox whereas before they used to fill the screen. Although he has a hDTV I'm not sure why he watches SD channels but apparently some folks in his house do.

I noticed the same thing on my SD channels when looking into this for him. It wasn't this was until recently, so it looks like Comcast made a change.

I tried changing the 4:3 override but it didn't make a difference. No zoom options on the TV eliminated the bars either.

Is there any way to zoom out the letterbox on these SD channels, either through the TV options or through the DVR menus or service menu? Thanks!
post #4679 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingdvd View Post

My neighbor mentioned that his SD channels now are in letterbox whereas before they used to fill the screen. Although he has a hDTV I'm not sure why he watches SD channels but apparently some folks in his house do.

I noticed the same thing on my SD channels when looking into this for him. It wasn't this was until recently, so it looks like Comcast made a change.

I tried changing the 4:3 override but it didn't make a difference. No zoom options on the TV eliminated the bars either.

Is there any way to zoom out the letterbox on these SD channels, either through the TV options or through the DVR menus or service menu? Thanks!

Yes, I did try playing with the Zoom function - it just over-zoomed and cut off a lot of the picture as well as distorted it.

I'll probably end up contacting Shaw, but I've been reading various forums about the new 3510 HDPVR, and it does not look good - so far, I've not had any major issues, but it looks like the software/firmware on this model is a real pain-in-the-a$$ for many people who are recording shows. Lots of black screen recordings, no audio, etc. Looks like they are in Beta Test-3 mode right now.

Never fails - if there is a lemon, I get it! mad.gif

Thanks! smile.gif
post #4680 of 4764
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sushihunter View Post

I'm on Shaw Cable in Vancouver, BC.

I just recently got a new DCX 3510-M HDPVR - SN: M11246TF6###

I have it hooked up to my Panasonic 60UT50 Plasma via HDMI

I am curious about the other connection ports on the unit that I can make use of. None of the manuals or papers that came with the unit shed much info on them.

I would like to know if I can hook it up to my ethernet network and computer, and if so, what will that allow me to do?

I want to be able to pull recorded TV shows off the PVR hard drive and transfer them to my computer - what would be the best way to do that?
The only way your DVR is intended to feed an external [theoretical] recording device is via the firewire port interface.

But this would only be possible and possibly successful if:

(a) your firewire port was functional, which they always are,

(b) you are trying to record "copy-freely" programs (i.e. not marked "copy-once" by Shaw, in which case because of encryption it is IMPOSSIBLE to record DVR HDTV content to any other device but an old DVHS VCR connected through that same firewire connection),

(c) your recording PC is a 32-bit version of Windows XP/7 with proper firewire drivers and CapDVHS software installed (i.e. it will NOT work on a 64-bit version of Windows, as no 64-bit compatible version of the drivers or software has been produced),

(d) the firmware/software in your DCX-family DVR has been upgraded to the very latest versions which several users have reported have finally overcome the original and long-present bugs that seemed to make reliable and glitch-free firewire recording essentially impossible under ALL circumstances


Quote:
One issue that I am having is with a couple of SD channels. When it was first set up by the Shaw Tech, these channels filled the screen. I went in and made a few changes in the settings and came out and found these 2 channels are now floating in the middle of the screen with a black border around all 4 sides.
This is "letterboxed" presentation on a 16:9 screen, usually called "postage stamp".

This is simply how a 16:9 image is presented for broadcast on a 480i SD channel on 4:3 screen when "original aspect ratio" (OAR) is the intended appearance so that humans look human and are not "stretched" horizontally or vertically" in that 16:9 image window. This would have shown black bars only on the top and bottom.

But if you then display this 4:3 letterboxed image from the 480i SD channel on a real 16:9 TV screen while still doing it "non-zoom" (OAR) so as to retain the human-like height/width proportions, you now see two additional black bars on the left and right. Unavoidable in this situation if you want to see correct OAR 4:3 image of a 16:9 original image, presented letterboxed (so as to retain the complete rectangular 16:9 original content) on a real 16:9 screen.

If you're not happy you can try to use the various ZOOM settings on your TV to stretch out that "postage stamp" image in the middle of your 16:9 screen to better fill the entire 16:9 screen real estate. But it will not be PERFECT, nor will it be HD quality.

You're best bet is to NOT watch SD channels when an HD channel duplicate is available. In other words when available, and when SD and HD choices of the same station are available, you should ALWAYS choose to watch the HD version and just remove the SD channel from your "Favorites" Guide lineup so that you will NEVER EVER even be tempted to watch the old 480i low-quality SD version of something which is now available in glorious 720p/1080i HDTV.

Also, for best results you should set your DCX "settings" to put out "NATIVE" over HDMI, rather than selecting a fixed-resolution 720p or 1080i. Try this out and see how you like it, vs. the option of having the DVR do its own upscaling of everything to 1080p if your HDTV accepts that (as it probably does). Your HDTV may do a better job of upconverting 720p/1080i for display on the 1080p panel than the DCX can. YMMV, so experiment for yourself and see what you like.

Note that "native" will likely produce a small visual delay (black) on the HDTV screen if you browse your DVR through consecutive channels that alternate 720p and 1080i, but if you just use the GUIDE to browse for what to watch next, and then pick that channel, the small delay will only occur once and will probably not even bother you.
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