DVR Questions

For those who don’t know, DVR is sort of like TiVo, but a box from your cable company.

For those who also have one, I have a couple of questions.

I am going to be on vacation for 10 days and will arrive after the Oscars are over. I want to record it, but DVR only lets you record things listed for the upcoming week. So I went to Manuel Record and have set my DVR to Every Sunday from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM (too long, but just in case). That was the only way I could think to get it recorded. Is there an easier way, or is that it?

Also, in another thread I didn’t want to hijack, Otto mentioned he is able to tape films when they are On Demand. Maybe it is my set up, but I have a DVD burner hooked up to my DVR and there is no way I can record while watching an On Demand movie - or am I missing a trick here as well?

And last question, of late I occasionally have the tone and image a bit off, so it looks like a badly dubbed Japanese film. If I rewind a second, it usually cures the lip-sync problem. Is this just my machine, or does this happen to others as well. It only happens occasionally, but enough to be annoying.

I have a DVR and to answer your questions:

  1. The manual record is the easiest way I have found to record a single event that has not shown up on the listing yet.
  2. I have no trouble taping On Demand movies on to a DVD burner. I can’t DVR On Demand movies, but y separate burner works fine.
  3. I’ve noticed this too, and the cure is the same, a short pause or rewind and the problem goes away. Changing the channel and coming back to the original works as well.

Thanks for the input.

I will have to fiddle with my DVD burner to see if I can do the same…right now, the way it is set up, I have to change my screen from Ypbr to S-Video, and change my amp from TV to DVD in order to record on my DVD burner…and this screws up a direct On Demand. Will be away from home for a few days, but when I return, maybe it is time to move the entire wall unit out and rethink the connections in the back. Thanks for letting me know it is possible…now let’s see, red cable to output three, and yellow cable to input x and…gee, can’t wait to do this!

  1. What Bill Door said. I just took a look on my Comcast DVR box, and you can manually set recordings up to 14 days in advance.
  2. No idea – never use On Demand (that’s another rant entirely, but the two times we tried it, Comcast charged us for the film twice. It even showed up on the bill that we were apparently watching the film two times simultaneously. :rolleyes: )
  3. Ours did that for the first year or so that we had it. Then they switched us to a newer, hi-def boxes became available about two years ago. Haven’t had the problem since. But before then, yeah, hitting the “8-second rewind” button was always the fix.
  1. Your DVR has Manual Record? You lucky dog, you. I’ll bet you have a Record Quality setting, too. :mad: [sub]Adelphia sucks![/sub]

  2. On Demand movies are now broadcast with a copy-protection signal similar to Macrovision. Nearly all DVD Recorders are programmed to block anything with that signal, but most VHS recorders are too old to even recognize the technology. (I’m sure there are ways to modify your DVDR to ignore that signal, but board rules forbid me from saying anything more…besides, it would probably void your warranty anyway.)

  3. Sounds like a bad box. I’d suggest swapping it out; if it’s still a problem, well then it’s a software problem on their end, and your cable company sucks even worse than Adelphia. :smiley:

  1. There’s no such thing as a quality setting on digital video recording. Standalone TiVos have that because they take analog video and encode it to MPEG. Digital DVRs such as on your cable, or DirecTiVo, simply record the digital bit-stream directly without alteration.

  2. Question is where is that copy-protection signal and does it survive the conversion to analog? The OP indicated that the output was S-Video which is analog.

  3. Not likely a bad box, as this is quite common with all equipment that deals with digital video in its various forms. There is no hard syncronization between the picture and sound and the processing on video is FAR more intensive, and more variable, than the processing for sound. There is no good way, at the present, to keep them in sync under all conditions in a guaranteed fashion.

Dang. I just got off the phone with my cable company, to tell them they’d want to park a truck outside in a few minutes, between my balcony and the ground, if they want to try to keep their TiFaux in one piece.


Latest? Freezes constantly. Usually just when I’ve hit F-F-F to zip through commercials. THen it freezes in triple FF until the whole dang show is over, and unfreezes just in time for me to have restart the whole show. Plus, any buttons you push while it’s frozen–thinking maybe it’s a problem with the remote–are queued up, and execute as soon as it’s unfrozen. So you’re in F-F-F, and you hit play. Nothing. You hit play again. You hit stop. You hit play. You hit Power Off. You bang the remote on the arm of couch and hit RW. Etc. Suddenly, the F-F-F unfreezes, and in rapid procession, it goes Play/Stop/Play/Off/On/Off/On/RW.

Really makes me wanna pull an Elvis.

is that the too-tight, sequined jumpsuit while failing to recapture lost glory elvis?

It’s the fat Elvis shooting at his TV from his toilet seat.

  1. I have Comcast too: Most of On Demand is free. Some good stuff buried in there. Worth a check.
  2. What is the 8 second rewind button is it the round arrow pointing counterclockwise?


Check the remote’s batteries lately?

Which CableCo do you use? I have comcast, and there have been innumerable problems with the DVR, but nothing as bad as you claim. Sometimes a hard reset will fix things (unplug the unit, don’t just turn it off). Then, never turn the power off again unless you have to do a hard reset.

It should be pointed out that there are many different models of DVR on the market, and they all use different firmware depending on the cable provider (or satellite provider), the version of the box, the type of program guide used (there are several competing ones) etc.

So making any categorical statement about what a DVR will or won’t do just isn’t useful.

I’ve got a Motorola 6412 hooked up with Shaw, and it can be really, really annoying. It’s a high-definition recorder, and the high def is beautiful. But the DVR playback sometimes stutters and freezes, the box drops audio occasionally, I get random pixelation, the volume changes from channel to channel can drive you nuts when you’re flipping around, etc. If you lose power, it can take several days to download the program guide in full, which is only about a week’s worth of programming anyway. But rather than fix these severe problems (which many customers have, judging from the support forums), Shaw just keeps piling on new ‘features’. The latest is Video On Demand, which almost never works. If you press the VOD button, you get about a 30 second pause before you get a, “Sorry, the service is temporarily unavailable” message. That happens about 9 times out of 10. Occasionally you connect and it works, sort of.

All that said, I’d never go back to watching TV without a DVR. It’s changed the whole experience. I’ve got series recordings set up for all my favorite shows, and so there’s always something I want to watch if I want to go relax for an hour or two. It’s awesome.

I use this archaic piece of technology called a “video cassette recorder.” It captures images from my television on, of all things, magnetic tape!

Beta or VHS? Oh well, thanks…

VHS. I still have my Beta machine somewhere but it’s nigh-well impossible to find tapes for it.

YES Comcast. And now I’m ready to fucking KILL! I called, they said they’d reset from remote (I’d already tried the unplugging thing). So I had to go out for a couple hours. I come back, DEAD. DEE EE AY DEE DEAD. No TV, no DVR, till the technician comes tomorrow at four. No Daily Show, no American Idol (I only watch the first few weeks; I don’t like it when the voiting begins. But tonight was the guys!) I’m seriously livid that I won’t get any of my DVR’ed stuff for like 24 hours. I’m practically in tears that I’m not gonna get to record the 1934 *Cleopatra *tomorrow. I’ve been waiting for that to show up on TCM for the year I’ve had my DVDR.

Yikes. Sounds like the idiots tried to “initialize” the box as if it were a regular cable tuner, which fried the DVR instead. Same thing happened to me the first night I got my own DVR, and I missed two episodes of The Amazing Race as a result. So I feel your pain. :frowning: (And now I know where those downsized Adelphia workers went after they got taken over by Time/Warner!)

I know this is true for DirecTV and some cable operators, but I don’t think Adelphia has mastered the technology yet. There’s a BIG downgrade in quality between using the DVR and merely plugging the cable directly into my TV set!

If it’s anything like Macrovision, the signal’s always there whether it’s analog or digital. One thing you can try is to record the movie on VHS, then try and copy it from VHS to DVD. If the DVDR doesn’t let you do that, then we’ll know the answer. :wink:

Don’t do the technician thing. Find out where your local office is and just bring the DVR back and get a replacement. It shoudl take 5 minutes to do the swap, max. I’m fortunate in that the local comcast office is about 2 miles from my house. I’ve swapped mine out at least 3 times in the last 18 months.

If you do get the tech to come out, be sure he checks the signal strength. If your signal is too weak, it can cause problems that you can’t fix at the box end.

BTW, you can still connect the cable directly to your TV if the box is dead. You can still get your shows, although you won’t be able to get HBO and other premium cable channels.

I too have grown to love my DVR, with exceptions.

My box also does the “hang” thing, and it drives me crazy, too. It’s very frustrating, especially as the problem seems to grow worse with time. A couple of times I have just unplugged the thing, since the loss of power seems to reset all the functions and takes care of the hang issue, at least for a while. Of course, then your listings disappear until everything downloads again.

On some channels the picture quality is not so great. This is mostly the broadcast channels on the low end of the range. When I first got the box I complained about the picture quality, and the Comcast tech said that it was because of the analog signal, and that it would be taken care of when they switched all their equipment and lines to digital “later this year.” Liar. That was early last year, and nothing ever happened. A lot of the broadcast stations still look shitty.

That said, I have to admit that I love watching the high def channels, even though my TV is not high def. The picture still looks much better, sharper and clearer, and the sound is noticably better, too.

Which brings me to a question I’ve had for a while: once in a while I’ve recorded a program off a high def channel, which I then in turn recorded onto a videocassette. Which kind of defeats the purpose of the high def picture. I was wondering, since I saw a slew of ports on the back of the box, if there’s any way of grabbing the recorded movie off the DVR’s disk and moving it to my computer. I don’t have a DVD burner that I can directly hook up to the box, as was mentioned above, but if I got the file out of the DVR and onto my computer, I think I could burn it to a DVD from there. Any suggestions?

(Note, I’m not looking to copy and distribute anything. I’d just like to keep certain shows for future viewing on a DVD instead of a videocassette, hopefully to preserve the picture quality.)

Overall, I agree with the “can’t watch TV without a DVR” crowd. I hate not being able to pause or rewind a show when visiting my relatives who just have plain, old cable.