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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

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I just got one this morning. I'm a Comcast subscriber in Massachusetts.


This is my first DVR, so I don't really have anything to compare it to as far as a DVR goes.


But to compare it to my previous motorola digital cable box I have two complaints with it so far:


1. There are *no* control buttons on the unit....not even power....meaning if you misplace your remote, you're screwed. I've got three small kids, so the remote frequently gets misplaced....This is gonna be a PITA.


2. The display on the front of the unit doesn't show anything useful. There's no Time or Channel display. Just a handful of lights indicating:


- Power

- Status of current recordings


Otherwise, it seems to be working ok
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Congratulations brightdog. I think you're the first person in the world to have a Pace Vegas and to say so on the internet.

If you have any technical problems post them here, as Pace staff are aware of this thread.

What additional charges do you have to pay Comcast for the DVR and do you know what additional costs you would have to pay in order to get a HD DVR?
 

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Comcast is charging $5.95/month for this Std Def DVR. This is a new feature choice as of Feb 1. I think they charge $9.95 for the High Def version (which was the only DVR choice prior to Feb 1).


I've been reluctant in the past to pay the 10 bucks a month, but for 6 bucks, I figured I'd give it a shot.
 

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I also had a Pace DVR installed by Comcast last week. This is my first experience with a DVR and have noticed one issue in addition to the obvious issue of no time or channel display on the front of the unit.


I was recording a show ending at 10:02PM. The DVR stopped recording before the end probably about 10PM. My wife was not happy. Do other DVRs record past the hour and half hour?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by livewire18 /forum/post/0


I was recording a show ending at 10:02PM. The DVR stopped recording before the end probably about 10PM. My wife was not happy. Do other DVRs record past the hour and half hour?

Livewire18,


You may want to look at the I-Guide site. It provides an overview on how to use the TV Guide Electronic Program Guide that runs on the TDC575D.


In your particular example, I'm guessing that the guide data for the program ended at 10PM. You can alter the scheduled recording to last 5 minutes extra for scenarios such as these.
 

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I received one just yesterday from Comcast. I was expecting the Motorola model, because that is the only DVR that Comcast refers to in their published and online material.


I initially had some issues with install due to a cheap VCR/DVD player combo that doesn't have all the jacks I need, so the setup is less than ideal...but I can't blame Comcast or Pace for that. Regardless, setup wasn't too involved...but I wouldn't recommend self-install for those not technically adept.


Having used and experienced how intuitive the TiVo interface is, as well as being an avid Macintosh user and former broadcast engineer, I'm very disappointed in the interface. It looks like the result of engineering designing an interface with some marketing dept. input, instead of working with professional interface and usability developers/designers. Ugh!


Also there are some bugs in the interface that cause it to get "stuck" in certain spots while navigating...exiting and retracing your steps seems to solve it.


The series record feature works sometimes, but all too often it records repeats and episodes in syndication, even if you set it to record only "new" shows. For example, if I were to set it up to record "The Daily Show with Jon Steward," it will record it at 11pm, 12am, and a number of other times throughout the next day that Comedy Central repeats the show. If I set it up to record "Law & Order" it schedules not only the showing on NBC, but also USA Network, A&E and anywhere else that "Law & Order" is shown.


This is probably due to a combination of the series scheduling engine not being smart enough and the TV schedule data not being complete and thorough enough.


The hard drive size is too small for my tastes (especially when you consider all the duplicate shows it can record as mentioned above). They could have used a more effecient codec than MP2 (such as MP4, DiVX, H.264) but for the price/performance point, I'm not sure they could achieve that.


My last complaint...certainly minor...is the size of the Vegas box. Based on the components and requirements, it could easily be half the width it currently is.


But...for the monthly service cost of about $6, it's a good deal.


USB is 1.1, but marked "future use" as is the ethernet port. There is an eSATA connector on the back of the box, but I don't have an ESATA drive to test it with.
 

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FYI, There's a way to set the "series" recording so that it only records on the channel you specify. That should help to eliminate your "law and order" problem. I think you need to go into the advanced recording settings (or something like that) when setting up the series. It wasn't on the initial recordings settings page.


Were you able to determine how big the hard drive is? I couldn't find any reference to the size.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringtuckyMac /forum/post/0


Having used and experienced how intuitive the TiVo interface is, as well as being an avid Macintosh user and former broadcast engineer, I'm very disappointed in the interface. It looks like the result of engineering designing an interface with some marketing dept. input, instead of working with professional interface and usability developers/designers. Ugh!

At Comcast locations, the TDC575D (aka Vegas) uses TV Guide. This is the same Electronic Program Guide as the TDC775 (aka Tahoe) . This guide also runs on Motorola settops deployed by Comcast.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringtuckyMac /forum/post/0


The hard drive size is too small for my tastes (especially when you consider all the duplicate shows it can record as mentioned above). They could have used a more effecient codec than MP2 (such as MP4, DiVX, H.264) but for the price/performance point, I'm not sure they could achieve that.

Your analysis was very insightful. The TDC575D is aimed at cost-sensitive opportunities. As such, it won't have some of the bells and whistles (i.e. HD, bigger HDD etc.) that its larger brother (the TDC775) has.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringtuckyMac /forum/post/0


There is an eSATA connector on the back of the box, but I don't have an ESATA drive to test it with.

The eSATA port is not activated at Comcast locations.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog /forum/post/0


Were you able to determine how big the hard drive is? I couldn't find any reference to the size.

Its 80GB. You can find out the size of the HDD by going into diagnostics.


If you've not gone into diagnostics before, press the power button then press the select button very shortly thereafter.


If you go into the DVR page or the HDD status page, you can see the true size and free space of your hard drive.


To get out of diagnostics, press the power button twice.
 

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Impressive diag page....thanks for the tip.


I've got a question on it. In the DVR Status (page 22) it lists the EST Time Left for the HDD to be "54/14 hours". What exactly do those values mean? Is it 54 hours or 14 hours?


Thanks again for the info. Its good to know that you guys care enough to not only monitor these kinds of forums, but to actually post useful and honest information. I've been reading through some of the posts on the Tahoe thread that you mentioned earlier and the time and effort you've put in there is truly impressive. I manage the technical support team for a small software company, and this is a great example of the kind of customer service that we all strive to provide. Keep up the good work!!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog /forum/post/0



I've got a question on it. In the DVR Status (page 22) it lists the EST Time Left for the HDD to be "54/14 hours". What exactly do those values mean? Is it 54 hours or 14 hours?

What it literally means is 54 hours of SD and 14 hours of HD. Now given that Vegas doesn't record HD, you're probably wondering why this info is showing up in diags. The diagnostics code is common on all Pace platforms (both SD and HD). We need to tweak it a bit to not show this info on SD platforms. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog /forum/post/0


I manage the technical support team for a small software company, and this is a great example of the kind of customer service that we all strive to provide. Keep up the good work!!

Thanks for your kind words brightdog.
 

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Quote:
Lindend Wrote: What it literally means is 54 hours of SD and 14 hours of HD.

Wow, I'm surprised the HD takes up so much more space than SD. I would have guess double the space, but that's almost 4 times. Thanks for the clarification.


One other question. My firmware version is currently 9.18 (At least I think that's what it was. I'm at work now and unfortunately not sitting in front my my television). Do you know if that's the latest and greatest firmware for the Vegas?


Thanks!!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog /forum/post/0


Wow, I'm surprised the HD takes up so much more space than SD. I would have guess double the space, but that's almost 4 times. Thanks for the clarification.

Typical SD data rates can be anywhere between 1-6mbps. HD is normally in the ~18-20mbps range (with bursts of up to 80mbps) so all of these numbers are approximations of the amount of recording time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog /forum/post/0


One other question. My firmware version is currently 9.18 (At least I think that's what it was. I'm at work now and unfortunately not sitting in front my my television). Do you know if that's the latest and greatest firmware for the Vegas?

9.18 is the latest and greatest for Vegas. And the Comcast 9.18 firmware includes the updated guide that I mentioned on the Tahoe thread.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog /forum/post/0


FYI, There's a way to set the "series" recording so that it only records on the channel you specify. That should help to eliminate your "law and order" problem. I think you need to go into the advanced recording settings (or something like that) when setting up the series. It wasn't on the initial recordings settings page.

I finally figured this out, at least to restrict series recordings to the same channel. However, the series functionality is still undiscerning with respect to recording shows that are repeated later on the same channel. Examples include: Daily Show, Colbert Report, Dresden Files, Battlestar Galactica, etc. I either have to manually prevent the recording of each of the duplicates, or not set up series recordings for these type of shows. I'm leaning more and more towards the latter solution.


Again...The Vegas isn't bad in light of the monthly fee, and I'm able and willing to work around these issues. I'm not sure it would pass the "Wife" test, or average user test however: My wife is already peppering me with all sorts of questions due to the user interface requiring the user to adapt to it, instead of the other way around.


Short of an expensive CableCard enabled custom MythTV box, the Vegas is suiting my needs.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdog /forum/post/0


Wow, I'm surprised the HD takes up so much more space than SD. I would have guess double the space, but that's almost 4 times.


It really depends on the codec being used. If it's MP2, then that explains a lot. There are much more efficient and capable codecs available, but each have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost in licensing and hardware.


Take for example the up-and-coming, extremely efficient codec, H.264 (a.k.a. Advanced Video Coding, a.k.a. MPEG-4 Part 10). It has a very "expensive" encoding requirement, but is very "inexpensive" in terms of storage and decoding.


(Search on WikiPedia for H.264 for additional information.)


For the price/cost/ROI that I can only assume Pace was setting out to achieve with the Vegas, I don't think H.264 was a realistic choice. In some ways the Vegas is a "stop-gap" IMHO, for those wanting DVR functionality but aren't ready for HDTV.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend /forum/post/0


Typical SD data rates can be anywhere between 1-6mbps. HD is normally in the ~18-20mbps range (with bursts of up to 80mbps) so all of these numbers are approximations of the amount of recording time.

MPEG-2 content at 1920x1080 traditionally runs at 12-20 Mbps, while H.264 can deliver 1920x1080 content at 7-8 Mbps at the same or better quality. With standard definition video, H.264 can achieve the same quality as MPEG-2 with half the bit rate.
 

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Has anyone yet found documentation or reports of whether or not this box has the ability for a client-side "factory reset".


The tdc775d is able to have this performed, but I have yet to see how or if the tdc575d can do this operation.


(I work at GCI...we hate these boxes mainly because of the lack of interface for client-side trouble shooting. Hence the question.)
 
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