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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have a Time Warner (used to be Comcast) HD DVR from Motorola (DCT-3416). It has been working OK for the last year or two, recording things fine for the most part. I have about 65% of the available space full on the DVR.


But yesterday when trying to access any DVR functions - the listing, pause/ff/rew, etc. - either nothing happens or I get a message like "DVR services are not available or not in service. Contact your service provider at 866-TW-CABLE".


I thought it must have been some sort of problem with Time Warner, but today it still wasn't working. So I called and they walked me through a reset (unplug, plug-in, they send a reset from their end). After a few minutes, the guides finally reset and appeared again, but the DVR still does not work!


They said I'd have to exchange the box or possibly have a technician come out.


- Anyone have this happen before?


- Is there ANY way to get my recordings off the box? I have some important recordings I'd hate to lose.


- I'm open to creative solutions.


THANKS!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jethrodesign /forum/post/18247080


Is there ANY way to get my recordings off the box? I have some important recordings I'd hate to lose.

If it won't play, you can't get the raw video stream off the unit. The filesystem isn't anything standard that you could read on a PC, and the video content is stored encrypted, so even if you disassembled the unit (DO NOT DO THIS unless you want to get billed the full cost of the unit, and possibly have your service terminated with extreme prejudice, no seriously), you wouldn't be able to get anything out of it. Sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
B-U-M-M-E-R-!


Well thanks for the heads up. So the only interface that does anything is the firewire port? And that is only for streaming the video that's playing (ala camcorder)?


I wonder if they have any tools to access the hard drive directly that home users don't know about. I was kind of thinking if I could only clone the drive to a new DVR drive I might be OK, but I'm guessing this is way to risky to be worth any reward (if even possible)?


Thanks again.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jethrodesign /forum/post/18253104


B-U-M-M-E-R-!


Well thanks for the heads up. So the only interface that does anything is the firewire port? And that is only for streaming the video that's playing (ala camcorder)?


I wonder if they have any tools to access the hard drive directly that home users don't know about. I was kind of thinking if I could only clone the drive to a new DVR drive I might be OK, but I'm guessing this is way to risky to be worth any reward (if even possible)?


Thanks again.

The firewire is for live capture, and it hardly works(if at all) on SA/TWC boxes. The only people who really have had some success with it are Comcast Motorola boxes. And that's not even mentioning that most channels would be encrypted so it'd be moot anyway.


By "they", you mean Time Warner? They could care less about your recordings, sorry. You can't "clone" a drive, they are coded to an individual box and any new drive put into a DVR is just formatted right away. If the box detects any "corruption" on the drive it reformats it as well.


The only way is to dub them off to a VCR or DVD recorder via composite outputs, and of course that would be limited to SD only. But if your DVR functionality is not working, then you screwed.


Sorry, wish I had a better prognosis for you.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jethrodesign /forum/post/18253104


Well thanks for the heads up. So the only interface that does anything is the firewire port? And that is only for streaming the video that's playing (ala camcorder)?

Yes, that's the only access it provides. If the unit itself can't boot or can't access the drive, then you're SOL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jethrodesign /forum/post/18253104


I wonder if they have any tools to access the hard drive directly that home users don't know about. I was kind of thinking if I could only clone the drive to a new DVR drive I might be OK, but I'm guessing this is way to risky to be worth any reward (if even possible)?

They might, but it's rather improbable. They generally don't deal with the internals of the cable boxes anyway - they either work or they don't, and if they don't, they go back to the manufacturer; I'm sure it's not worth it to them to be ripping them apart and poking at their internals from a money/time cost evaluation POV.


Also, cloning the drive would require opening the unit - the units are set up to be tamper-evident, so if you opened it, they'd know, and almost certainly charge you the full cost of replacement for the unit (and likely tell you "and go away, we don't want your business" and term your account in short order). You really don't want to attempt this. It will *not* turn out well for you.


Edit: And of course, as was pointed out above, the encryption keys are unique to the individual boxes, so drive swapping/cloning wouldn't help you, because the new box wouldn't be able to decrypt the stored content anyway.


Sorry, but whatever content you had on there is toast.
 
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