Shaw’s New Motorola DCX Series HDTV Cable Boxes

Tips and information on Shaw’s New Motorola DCX Line of  HDTV Cable Boxes:

This post is long and includes information on Shaw HDTV Cable Boxes including the Motorola DCT Series, Pace and New Motorola DCX Series of Cable Boxes.  This post is the entire article, however for users looking for specific product information should check out our product reviews on each individual cable box.

Shaw Cable just introduced a low priced, entry level, HDTV Digital Cable Box to their product line up but before you go out and by one there’s a few things you should know.

There are basically three product lines of digital HDTV Cable Boxes currently being offered by Shaw Cable, two are Motorola Products while the other is manufactured by Pace.

The two current Shaw Motorola HDTV Cable Box model series are the DCT Series of products and the newer DCX Series of cable boxes.

DCT Series Motorola Analog/Digital HDTV Cable Boxes:
The older Motorola DCT Series of cable boxes are easily identified by their champagne silver body color.  These HDTV cable boxes have been around for a couple years now and have been proven performers with varies glitches.  Essentially these cable boxes have been discontinued however Shaw still regularly installs refurbished DCT boxes especially the Basic, Non-PVR model in commercial and some residential locations.  The Non-PVR DCT Series Cable Boxes are frequently used to replace the Problematic “Pace” HD Cable Boxes which are now being phased out by Shaw due to their troubled history and unreliable performance… More on the Pace HD Cable Boxes in a minute.

The Motorola DCT-3416 HD-PVR is by far the most popular HD-PVR Cable Box among Shaw’s installed base.  The unit features dual tuners and a 160 GB PVR Hard Drive.  The HD set top box comes with both HDMI and Component Video outputs and an eSata jack for connecting a PVR Expander Hard Drive….. see tips for money saving tips on DVR compatible eSata drives.

The standard 160GB Hard Drive included with the DCT-3416 HD-PVR will allow you to record 22-26 hours of HD programming or approximately 6.5 GB/hour.  Twenty two hours of programming isn’t much (10, 1 hour shows and 6 movies) so the HD on the DCT-3416 will fill up fast which means you either will need to monitor your hard drive space and erase recordings frequently once they’ve been watched or connect an external PVR Expander Hard Drive to the eSata jack on the back of the set top box and expand your hard drive space by 500GB to 1TB of space.  Adding the external hard drive will gain you and additional 150+ hours of HD recording space allowing your DVR to record 150-180 hours of HD programming ….. now that’s more like it!

Now here’s your money saving tip!

While Shaw, Future Shop and Best Buy all sell dedicated, branded 1TB hard drives labeled PVR Expander’s for $150-$200 dollars what they don’t tell you is that these so called PVR Expander hard drives are just Western Digital Branded hard drives and that any external eSata hard drive enclosure which has a Western Digital brand hard drive inside will work with a Shaw/Motorola digital cable box.  This means you don’t have to buy the premium priced, special “PVR Expander Hard Drive” but any External Drive with an eSata port and Western Digital HD inside will work and cost substantially less.

We tested an $85 dollar,  MicroNet 1TB Fantom External drive with an eSata port ,  it worked perfectly with both the Shaw/Motorola DCT and newer DCX series of HDTV digital cable boxes.  We saved 45-100% over the cost of the specially branded PVR Expander.  We haven’t tested it yet … but we’re wondering if a 2TB Micronet eSata external drive will also work?  We expect it will however a word of caution … the larger the hard drive the more likely it is to fail especially when it will be continuously recording and re-recording over and over again.

Pace Branded HDTV Cable Boxes:
In a word …. Don’t Buy These!  The Pace DC758D cable boxes have been on the market for about a year now and they’ve been plagued with problems from day one.  We like the design and features of the Pace DC758D cable box, especially the ability to connect and eSata drive up and  convert it into an Instant PVR, our experience with these problematic boxes seems to indicate that 20% of the boxes work great and the other 80% are riddled with problems even after the latest firmware upgrade.  Cable providers and some retailers continue to sell the Pace DC758D HD cable box until they deplete their inventories, once that happens it will probably be replaced by the New Motorola DCX3300 which offers similar features in a more robust platform.

DCX Series Motorola HDTV Digital Cable Boxes:
The DCX series is the latest HDTV Digital Cable Box product line from Motorola.  Shaw Cable and it’s retailers are now selling two versions of this HDTV set-top box, the Entry Level DCX3200 and the Dual Tuner PVR Model DCX3400.  It’s odd that Shaw is not offering the middle DCX3300 Model, which has similar features and would be a direct replacement for the problematic Pace DC758D box.  While Shaw officially wouldn’t comment to us that they will be offering the DCX3300, we anticipate that once the Pace inventory is sold the Motorola DCX 3300 will also be available for Shaw Customers.

So what’s so great about the new DCX Series of cable boxes from Shaw.  We’ll for starters they’re a lot faster than the DCT Series thanks to increased processor power, additional flash and S-DRAM.  The new DCX set-top boxes also decode both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC services while their predecessor only handles MPEG-2.  Add support for both support 2-D and 3-D TV, Dolby Digital and Digital PLUS audio and automatic video formatting for 480i/p all the way up to 1080i/p via HDMI and you’ve got a cable box ready for the next generation of HDTV….. but wait there’s more… how about an optional MoCA® Home Network Interface!  allowing DCX Series set-top boxes to communicate with each other for “PVR Anywhere” and “Follow me TV” services through existing coaxial cabling.

That’s right,  the new Motorola DCX Cable boxes will eventually be able to offer networking through existing home coaxial cabling to allow you to watch your DVR in any room on another DCX series MoCA® equipped set-top box.  You may not have heard of MoCA® yet but you will be hearing it more and more in the coming months.  MoCA® stands for “Multimedia over Coax Alliance” and it is a new technology and protocol which will allow MoCA® enabled devices to communicate with each other in a local area network over coaxial cable at similar speeds to what currently exists with Cat5 and Cat6 lan networks. Because there is so much existing coaxial wiring installed throughout the world and wireless bandwidth is limited and expensive MoCA® is the technology that is going to propel IP HDTV to the next level.  Shaw is in the process of upgrading their network to full digital and once that is complete sometime next year we can expect them to eventually roll out the MoCA® capabilities of these new Motorola DCX set-top boxes.

Now for some specific information on the New Motorola DCX3200 and DCX3400 set-top boxes.

Motorola DCX3200:
Just in time for Christmas Shaw introduced new Motorola DCX3200 All Digital HDTV Cable Box.  At a list price under $180 the Motorola DCX3200 cable box is sure to be a top seller but with the low price come some disappointing limitations.  At 10.5” wide, 3” high and 10.5 inches deep the DCX3200 will fit anywhere.  Above the TV, below the TV, behind the TV, in the equipment rack , shelf or cabinet the small size and light weight will allow you to install this set-top box anywhere you want.

The DCX3200 has the same processor, memory, digital outputs and optional MoCA® capabilities as other DCX set-top boxes however it is missing two key features which are sure to disappoint many.  The first feature missing from the 3200 is the Dual Tuner which leads to the second missing feature, PVR expansion.  Unlike the basic Pace set-top box which was instantly converted to a PVR by connecting an external hard drive the Motorola DCX3200 does not,  I repeat Does NOT, have an external eSata port and therefore cannot be converted into a PVR.  Once MoCA® becomes available dual tuner and PVR convertibility will not be such a big deal, however in the interm, until we can network our cable boxes and have “Follow Me TV” and “PVR Anywhere” the option of being able to hook up an external hard drive and convert a cable box into a PVR is very enticing.  Just to be clear Motorola does make a PVR convertible dual tuner set top box – model DCX3300, however Shaw cable does not offer the 3300 at this time.

Motorola DCX3400 PVR:
If you’re only going to by one HDTV Cable box this one should be it.  Irregardless of networking every home cable system will need at least one (1) digital HDTV PVR cable box.  Once again the Motorola DCX3400 PVR set-top box offers all the features of the DCX product line.  In addition to the improved processor power and speed the biggest and most noticeable improvement of this DVR over its predecessor  (DCT 3416) is the internal built in hard drive size has been increased from 160GB to 500GB.  That increased hard drive space means out of the box the DCX3400 can record 60-80 hours of HD video, three times more than the previous model.  But wait there’s more,  the DCX3400 has an eSata port so you can connect an additional 1TB external hard drive expanding the recording capacity to 200-240 hours of HD recording.

Cons:
While the Motorola DCX series of HDTV Set-top boxes are definitely an improvement over the aging DCT series and Pace boxes there are still some things we wished Motorola would have included which other HDTV providers have on their set-top boxes.

1- UHF Remote Control: UHF remote controls have existed in the satellite industry for
more than 20 years. UHF, assignable remote controls are necessary
when more than one cable box is housed in the same equipment rack or when
a single PVR is used throughout the house as a media center or hub.  A harmony
remote is a must with any Shaw Cable box.

2 – Caller ID: both Bell and Telus set-top boxes support on-screen caller id display.
This feature is more than 20 years on some satellite receivers and is simple
and easy to implement yet Shaw cable boxes continue to ignore this useful feature

3 – Network – Media Center – Hub: As the Telus slogan says “The Future is Friendly” well
the future is NOW!  Telus already offers “Follow Me TV” and “PVR Anywhere”
while built in support for MoCA® is great,  Shaw you really need to activate this
feature and soon!  The tech savvy public is ready for Networked PVR’s

4 – Online Programming: Once again both Telus and Bell set-top boxes have the
capability to be programmed On-Line via the internet or smart phone apps.
It would have been great to see similar features on these new DCX series
cable boxes.

Shaw continues to be one of the most reliable providers of HDTV programming and distribution.  As you can seen their new Motorola cable boxes are a great improvement over previous product offerings but there are still a lot of features and options missing from the Shaw hardware line-up offered by other providers.

There is no, one best HDTV content provider or method of transmission.  Each content provider and method of transmission has it’s pros and cons the challenge is to find the right fit for your needs.  As systems integrators at DJ’s Sound City we design systems with your needs in mind, if you’re uncertain as to which content provider or equipment is right for you give us a call and we’d be happy to help you out.

A note for our American Readers – Shaw Cable is a cable service provider in Canada,  Motorola DCX Set Top Boxes are also used in the United States buy Time Warner,  Comcast and others.  The equipment information found in this article is applicable to all service providers using DCX set top boxes, however some features and hard drive sizes may change depending on the cable service provider.

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86 Responses to Shaw’s New Motorola DCX Series HDTV Cable Boxes

  1. Robert in Canada says:

    I bought a Shaw DCX3200 2 months ago and is connected to a 46″ Sony LED TV. Being quite dumb regarding hi-tech equipment (my excuse is that I’m 59 y/o) I have some questions that cannot seem to find answers to:

    1. If I move outside of North America will my DCX3200 work on another cable system in another country?

    2. Is there any way to hook up something to record movies when the TV is turned off so I can watch them when it’s convenient?

    3. If there is a way to record and watch later like a PVR, can it be set up to be very simple and easy to use? (If it’s hard to figure out and use like the old VCR’s were, then I’ll have to give up on this idea)

    Thanks for your help,

    Robert in White Rock, BC, Canada

    • djsedm says:

      Hi Robert,

      In answer to your first question – If you move outside of Shaw’s broadcast system your Shaw (Motorola) DCX3200 will not work. The Shaw HDTV Cable box is like a Cell Phone and needs to be connected to a network, in order for it to work, Various other cable companies in the US (Comcast & Time Warner for example) use the Motorola DCX3200 however the programming and features will be different depending on each cable companies broadcast and network infrastructure. Each cable company has different specifications for their network and Motorola manufacturers each cablebox to the specification of the cable provider, so cable companies for example offer MOCA networking on their systems and that feature would be turned on, Shaw does not offer MOCA yet so that feature is not available on their cable boxes to date. You didn’t mention where “out of the country is” If your planning on moving to Europe for example they broadcast on the PAL system as opposed to NTSC in North America so a North American cable box wouldn’t work their either for various reasons.

      The GOOD NEWS if your planning on moving out of the SHAW CABLE network broadcast territory (Alberta/BC) is that your DCX 3200 is the newest version of the SHAW HDTV Cable box and would retain most of it’s original value and you would be able to easily sell it USED to another Shaw Customer for 50-75% of what you paid for it and the Buyer would be able to transfer the cable box into his/her name and use it anywhere in the Shaw network territory.

      I see you posted amendments to Questions 2 & 3 so I’ll answer them on the next post

  2. Robert in Canada says:

    Sorry, my last 2 questions need clarification, I shouldn’t have hit the send button so quickly:

    2. Is there any way to hook up something to my TV and/or DCX3200 to record movies when the TV is turned off so I can watch them when it’s convenient?

    3. If there is a way to connect something to my TV and/or DCX3200 so I can record and watch later like a PVR, can it be set up to be very simple and easy to use? (If it’s hard to figure out and use like the old VCR’s were, then I’ll have to give up on this idea)

    Thanks for your help,

    Robert in White Rock, BC, Canada

    • djsedm says:

      Q.2) The Shaw (motorola DCX3200) is a digital only cable box with NO PVR capability on it’s own. It also incorporate Digital copy protection which would prohibit you from recording any HDTV or DIGITAL Channels through the HDMI or Component Video outputs. You may be able to connect a VCR and record through the composite video output NON HD and NON Digital channels but that would defeat the purpose of the HDTV output. The MOCA
      (Multimedia over COAX) Feature on the cablebox “IF ACTIVATED BY SHAW” would allow you to watch RECORDED TV Program and Movies on a SHAW DCX3400 PVR Cable box, ON the DCX3200 but in order for that feature to work SHAW would have to activate it and B.) you would need a DCX3400 PVR Cable box also.

      Q.3) Similar to Question 2 there is no way to hook up anything to your TV or Cablebox to allow you to record HDTV Digital programs, the copy protection in the HDMI cable would prohibit the recording and the Analog outputs most likely have Macrovision Copy protection or something similar.

      The GOOD NEWS is – you could sell your DCX3200 on the used market, get 50-75% of your money back and then BUY a NEW Shaw DCX3400 PVR model which will DO EVERYTHING you want it to and Would be VERY EASY to operate and RECORD Shows and Movies. The bottom line is you purchased the wrong model of Cable box, not to worry – many people make the same mistake.

      The Shaw DCX3400 PVR cablebox has a built in 500GB Hard drive and would allow you to record shows and movies by just pressing the record button on the remote control when viewing the program you wish to record on the guide. If you wish to set up a series of recordings to record the same show every week, pushing the record button a second time will allow you to do that, once a series recording is set up, the DVR will record the same show every week. Pressing the list button on the remote will bring up a list of all your recorded programs and with the press of the select button the recorded program will begin to play.

      The Shaw DSX3400 PVR is really the cablebox you need and the one I recommend everyone should purchase if they are only going to have 1 cablebox in the home. My father’s 72 years old and not a techie, and he’s able to watch and record movies and show conveniently with the Shaw DCX3400 PVR cablebox.

      Sell your DCX3200 on kijiji or craigs list, you’ll get most of your money back and then go out and get yourself a DCX3400 PVR.

      On a closing note I should let you know too, if you are planning to move out of the Shaw Cable broadcast range, Shaw does RENT the DCX3400 for a monthly charge, this is a great way to “Try Before You Buy” and test the equipment out or if your unsure and think you might be moving then renting may be the way to go.

      I hope, I answered your questions and Thanks for reading “Techtipsandtoys”

  3. Robert in Canada says:

    Thank you very much for answering my questions, you were a big help.
    Thanks,
    Robert

  4. pacific222 says:

    Great tips, thanks for being so knowledgable!

  5. Alan says:

    I’ve got a new Shaw DCX3400. I seem to be having a glitch when changing channels ocassionally.
    It seems to be only in the HD channel range. I’ll change from one HD channel to another and the screen stays black but you can hear the program. If I cycle through several HD channels the picture still won’t come back but the sound is there for all of them. If I change to regular channel the problem corrects itself and I can then go back to watching HD channels again.

    • djsedm says:

      How is your TV connected by HDMI or Component Video?

      If it’s connected by HDMI try disconnecting the HDMI and connect it by Component and see what happens? If it works on Component the the problem is not with the cable box but rather the Syncing of your TV and HDMI Handshake. You may wish to try a different HDMI cable (that’s a long shot but sometimes works) also if you have the set top box connected through a receiver you may wish to try to connect it directly to the TV. Another problem may be with a CAT5 cable and balun if you are using those or an HDMI splitter or amplifier if it is connected that way.

      The best way to troubleshoot is to connect directly to your TV input using Component Video (RGB) cable and see it that works – if so the problems are not with the cable box but elsewhere.

      Good Luck

  6. Alan says:

    I’m hooked up directly with Component Video cables. Do you think I should try the HDMI hookup instead? I’m hooked up to a Toshiba 62″ DLP (Model #62MX196). Also I’m using the IR antenna with the remote…. didn’t have this problem with the old DCT Series Motorola.

    Thanks.

  7. Peggy S. says:

    I’m in Saskatchewan and wanting a HDTV PVR for Shaw satellite. Have seen the DCX3400 advertised in stores and on-line (some note not in SK???) and Shaw web site notes that for Sask, it has an HDPVR 630 by Motorola. I wonder which is better? And if my being in Saskatchewan makes a difference for which I buy? Want it simple to use, having a series link, electronic program guide, twin tuners so I can watch and record at the same time.

    What I’d really love is a PVR & DVD recorder together that is compatible with whatever PVR I get for Shaw satellite here.

    • djsedm says:

      Hi Peggy – you’ve got me a little confused since your comment talks about Shaw Satellite and the DSR630 Motorola Satellite Receiver and then also references the DCX3400 Motorola Cable Box.

      First let me begin by saying that the Motorola DCX3400 PVR Cable box is used by Shaw Cable while the Motorola DSR630 PVR is used by Shaw Direct (Formerly StarChoice) for Satellite Reception.

      While both boxes are PVR units they they are dramatically different in operation, function and cannot be compared against each other since the DCX3400 is used for CABLE while the DSR630 is used for satellite. It’s like comparing a CAR and a Airplane, both are modes of transport but one travels on land and the other flies in the air.

      I am going to assume your inquiry has to do with Satellite since you reference Shaw Direct more in your comment.

      As far as Satellite is concerned the comparison you need to make is between Shaw Direct and Bell. Both offer PVR Satellite receivers however in my opinion and experience Bell is a far superior system to Shaw Direct and their PVR dual tuner satellite Receiver is better than the Shaw Direct unit. Bell also has a superior guide, menu, PVR programming capability, built in modulator for transmitting programming to other TV’s and on screen display of caller id info.

      I have installed both systems and just last week installed 20 Shaw Direct DSR600 receivers at a location of ours. I have also installed some Bell satellite systems in cottage country in North of Lloydminster SK last summer so I know Bell works well in Saskatchewan.

      If your location has the ability to receive both Bell and Shaw Direct – I would strongly recommend the Bell Satellite over Shaw. If Bell does not have coverage in your area or there is no installation services available then Shaw may be you’re only option.

      Both systems are Good it’s just Bell is much better and more intuitive and easy to use.

      As far as you’re dream machine a PVR with amplifier and DVD recorder that doesn’t exist – in fact due to HDMI HDCP (high definition copy protection) you will not be able to record any HD from the satellite receiver to a DVD recorder using HDMI. The Shaw DSR630 does have component video outputs and if you’re sneaky enough to know how to get around the copy guard on Component Video then you might be able to record HD onto a DVD recorder however that will take a bit of work.

      I think what you were really asking for is an Amplifier/Receiver with built in DVD Player ( and recorder). Once again these units do not exist. There are several Amplifier/Receivers out there with DVD or Blu-ray players built in but non with DVD Recorders. DVD Recording from off air sources such as cable or satellite is difficult to do because of various digital rights management and copy protection. In the digital world all your recordings will have to live on the hard drive of your Satellite receiver and not on physical DVD’s. Recording or burning of DVD’s is most often done illegally from torrent download sites and not from Satellite or Cable set top boxes.

      In regards to a all in one system or as we call them Home Theater In A Box system, Samsung and LG both make excellent units which will work well with your Shaw or Bell Satellite. My preference is for the higher end Samsung HTIB (Home theater in a box) which should cost you around $500 dollars. I’ve used several of these systems and found them to be great sounding and good value for many applications. Sure they’re not THX certified home theater amplifiers but they do a great job for many people.

      In summary, if you’re choice is between Bell and Shaw Direct Satellite – go with Bell, you’ll be glad you did. As far as HTIB, my first recommendation is Samsung and then LG and don’t by the entry level units spend about $450-$600 and get a good sounding system.

      Disclosure: I am a systems integrator and not affiliated in any way with Bell, Shaw, Samsung or LG. I personally had Bell Satellite in my home for 8 years and switched from Satellite to Shaw Cable in 2008. There are still things I miss with Shaw cable that I did have on my Bell Satellite however the cost savings from bundling cable tv, shaw phone and internet service far outweighed the performance enhancements from Bell satellite. You lose a little with Shaw Cable but you save a lot. I have installed all three systems Shaw Cable and Bell and Shaw Direct Satellites. With respect to Samsung and LG HTIB audio systems, once again I have installed numerous Samsung and LG TV’s, DVD’s and HTIB systems. I personally have a Samsung HTIB system in a small home theater room in my basement while my main system is Denon powered. I have installed more than 25 Samsung HTIB and 10 LG and Sony systems, all have been good but the Samsung features and performance is superior to the competitive offerings from LG and Sony.

      On the TV side I install more LG than any other brand with Samsung coming in second followed by Sharp. My personal TV’s include LG, Samsung, Sharp and Toshiba.

      Peggy – good luck with your new satellite purchase, take a look at Bell before you purchase Shaw. If you get a chance actually do a HANDS ON touch and feel of each system and lastly don’t sign any long term contracts without a 60 days trial period.

  8. Ashley says:

    I currently have a diamond dvd player and a shaw digital box, that wont combine so that i can watch dvd’s on the same tv as i have my shaw box on. Is there anyway I can fix this? The only options that are in the guide are for VCR’s which at this point are almost non-exsistant.

  9. djsedm says:

    There are a number of different ways to connect both a DVD Player and Shaw cable box to the same TV. It’s difficult to say which was will work best for you without knowing all the different inputs and outputs on your equipment and how your Shaw Cable Box is currently connected to the TV.

    The most common way to connect both devices to your TV is to connect the cable box to the TV with an HDMI cable and the DVD player with either an HDMI or Component Video Cable assuming your TV has HDMI and Component Video Inputs.

    If your TV does not have HDMI then the next way to connect is to Connect the cable box to the TV using Component Video cables and the DVD to the TV using Composite Video Cables.

    If your TV does not have HDMI or Component Video then the third way to connect the cablebox and DVD is to connect the Cable Box into Composite Video Input 1 and the DVD into Composite Video 2, assuming your TV has 2 composite (Red, White and Yellow RCA input jacks).

    Ashley these are the three (3) most common ways to connect your equipment.. If you have difficulty you can call Shaw at 780-310-Shaw for assistance and they may be able to send a service tech out at no charge to hook you up.

    We also do TV and cable box installation and hook ups. Our fees are $90 for the first hour and $75 thereafter, plus materials (Cabling if required) Most basic TV/DVD installations such as described would be able to be completed within the 1st hour charge.

    Note: While the Shaw Cablebox manual or hook up diagram may refer or show a VCR you can substitute the DVD player for the VCR and use the same wiring diagram and connection – the two types of equipment are interchangeable for the purposes of this example.

    You can also consult your DVD player instructions for directions on how to connect it.

    If all else fails like I said we can always come to your home and do a service – installation call for $90. To book an appointment in Edmonton call 780-489-5522

  10. Brian says:

    I’m going to be buying a second PVR soon for a new TV, I currently have a DCT3416. I’ve seen that BestBuy and FutureShop have both the DCT3416 and the DCX3400. Since you’ve stated that the 3400 is essentially the replacement for the 3416 and it’s superior, I’m wondering why the 3416 is priced at $350 while the 3400 is $200. It seems very unusual considering you’ve stated the 3400 is faster, has more options and has a much larger hard drive. Is there any explanation for this?

    • djsedm says:

      Brian – here’s the explanation – I assume you were researching the products on-line and didn’t notice that the DCT 3416 listed on Futureshop and Best Buy says Unavailable On-Line – check store stock, – if you do that you will also find that THERE is NO STORE STOCK of this Model. The DCT3416 is 4+ years old and the original HDTV PVR for Shaw with 160GB Built in Hard Drive. The DST3416 originally sold for $699. The DCT3416 has not been available for more than a year as a new product but is sometimes sold as a Refurbished model for $49-$99 dollars.

      The DCX series of Motorola cable boxes replaced all DCT Series and as the blog post says the DCX3400 has a way faster processor, ALL Digital Tuner and 500GB hard drive standard. The DCX3400 recently sold between boxing day and January 14th for $147 and depending which retailer you select you should be able to still purchase it at that price.

      When the DCX originally came out it sold for $599 however as stated the going street price is around $150.

      Right now until Superbowl most televisions and electronics are not sold at heavily discounted prices – if you can wait till after the Superbowl look for better deals on TVs and accessories and demand begins to drop until the hockey playoffs start.

      The Motorola DCX3400 is the most reliable shaw cable box out there and their current product offering.

      Shaw also has the gateway system however I don’t recommend it at this time (see reviews and other blog posts here at techtipsandtoys)

      • Brian says:

        Thanks for the reply. You’re right, I was doing an online search and was simply stunned how one was more expensive since I didn’t know the DCT was discontinued.

  11. Mardi says:

    I wish every company like yours would answer questions like you do – well thought out, understandable and non-condescending. Kudos! (unfortunately the big box stores sales staff are lacking in these skills IMHO).
    My Q is: is it possible to transfer recorded media from the DCX 3400M HD to an external HD to be played back on the home PC? Thank you in advance!

    • djsedm says:

      Thanks for the kind words

      In reference to your question regarding transferring recordings from the DCX3400 to an external hard drive and then play them back on a PC – unfortunately it can’t be done. All set top cable boxes are locked down in several ways. Although it’s possible to expand the recording capacity of your PVR by adding an external hard drive the recordings on that drive can’t be played on another device including a PC but not even another DCX3400 PVR. Here’s some of the ways the cable companies prevent PVR recordings from being played on another device.

      1 – Directory: When you connect an external HD to your PVR it writes a directory to the new HD however the directory it writes cannot be read by a Windows computer since most DVR’s are running Linux for starters and most DVR’s write code identifying the parent DVR which is the only one which can read the directory and access the drive.

      2 – Mac Address or SN or Board Number: As described in #1 most PVR’s encode the directory and external hard drive and recordings to the Mac Address, SN or Motherboard Number of the PVR which allows the recordings on the external HD to be read and accessed only by the Parent DVR. Other devices can’t read the directory and even if they could they still can’t get past the copy protected recordings which requires the original DVR to playback the recordings.

      My wife and I tried this ourselves by recording several movies and shows on the external HD connected to our PVR. We then went to the lake cottage and took the hard drive with us and connected it to the Motorola DCX3400 (same model as at home) the cablebox at the lake could not read the hard drive or access the recordings and asked if we wanted to format it, which would erase it and write a new directory so the HD could be used with that cablebox. We said no, unhooked it and when we went back home reconnected it to our DCX3400 at home which could read the drive and playback the recordings. The directory and recordings were paired with the original PVR.

      3 – Encryption – Copyguard: Most DVR’s use some sort of Encryption or Copyguard to protect the recordings on their hard drives and prevent pirating or duplication. Without a method of first reading the directory and hard drive and then decoding the encryption or copyguard the recording on an external PVR hard drive are useless unless connected to the original DVR.

      4 – Proprietary Recording Formats: Similar to DVR used for security camera recordings PVR set top boxes often record in a proprietary format to prevent duplication or pirating. Some security camera Digital recordings can be read by a regular PC however when you go to play the MP4 videos they are flicker, stutter our have double images or color and picture brightness which drops in and out – this is because there is some form of BASE file alone with the MP4 recording which needs to be processed by the player to allow the security camera video to playback normally. This encryption or proprietary format is to prevent alternation or photo shopping of the video since it is used for security purposes. Most security DVR’s also download a player with the video file to allow playback on other PC’s – the same would have to be done for PVR’s and external HD’s or files, with out the special player file the video won’t work.

      In order for cable companies to have access to copyright and licensed content they have to insure that their broadcast and playback equipment will prevent unauthorized duplication – without such controls, rights holders would not allow the cable companies access to their material and hence there would be nothing to watch on cable television. DRM (Digital rights management) existing on almost all cable broadcast shows, the days of recording anything you want on your VCR are over. Some cable boxes will allow you to record some broadcast shows using an external HD recording or DVD recorder however if you try to record movies or PPV events onto an external HD or DVD recorder in HD it won’t work. Some STB’s will allow you to record to external universal HD or DVD recorders or VCR’s in standard definition but not in HD (with HDMI or Component).

      Cable companies and DVD manufacturers are slowing learning that the old days of sitting in front of your television in your living room and watching TV are long gone. Most cable companies are developing different methods to allow streaming of live and recorded programming to mobile devices and other TV’s. The new Dish Hopper comes with a built in Sling Box to stream apps to PC and Tablet devices, Other cable companies offer Streaming to iPads and android tablets. DVD manufacturers are also including Mobile only files with there DVD releases which have a file specifically for mobile devices. Eventually everything will get pushed to the could and viewable on and device at any time with full control cross platform – this of course is still in development but I’ve seen working distribution systems which will allow this type of streaming and much more including matrix streaming where you can watch several streams all at once and others can also watch play and pause the same video streams at the same time.

      The way we watch TV and interact with TV and our cable or STB’s will dramatically change over the next few years … get ready!

      • Mardi says:

        Thank you so much for answering. I did not know how complicated these STBs are. I was looking for convenience and it is understandable why the encryption technology is necessary. I am still impressed with the DCX 3400M (especially at the sale price of $147.00 CDN). We could never go back to watching TV the “old way” again – Cheers!

  12. Ian says:

    I have a new dcx3400PVR with Shaw. Everything works fine, except there is an annoying little white dot situated at the top between the minute numbers on the clock display. It’s not a matter of life and death, but does distort the time display and is thus annoying. I called Shaw and they had no idea what it was or why it was there. Any ideas?

    • djsedm says:

      Sorry – I have know idea? If your DCX3400 is new, you could take it back to the store you bought it at and exchange it for another one.

      • Ian says:

        Thanks. It disappeared last night at midnight and reappeared today at noon, so I suspect it is related to AM/PM notifications. Any ideas how to delete the AM/PM settings?

  13. Gerardo says:

    I just found your site and really surprises me how well you answer to the questions people have. I wish there were more sites like this one. I never get to ask or comment anything over the internet but given how nice you handle the questions it “pushed” me to ask something about the DCX3400.
    Just got one, never had a pvr before and really like it. Since this is my first pvr not sure if it is normal the sound it makes when it is off, it;s like it is recording. Sometimes the sound is very noticeable and sometimes you really need to pay attention to hear it but it is always there. I understand when it is on the sound is normal as the hard drive is recording all the time in order to pause, rewind, etc, but when it is off shouldn’t it stop making noise?. I compare it to a computer, while it is on the hard drive is spinning and “working” pretty much all the time. Once it’s off, that’s it, no more noise. Like I said this is my first pvr and maybe this is a normal situation, just want to make sure it is okay now that I’m still on time to exchange it.
    Thank you for help and congrats for an excellent job on this site.

    Gerardo

    • djsedm says:

      Gerardo, Thanks for the positive comments on the site and here’s the answer.

      Your PVR is essentially a computer and the sound you’re hearing is the hard drive spinning OR the cooling fan (the PVR has both). Usually with a brand new PVR the hard drive and fan noise is very faint however it is still noticeable in a quiet room which is why we don’t install them in bedrooms since most people find the fan and HD noise too loud to fall asleep.

      The Hard Drive and cooling fan on the PVR RUN ALL THE TIME, even when you’re not actively watching a TV show the hard drive records and buffers 1 hour of the channel the tuner is currently set to even when the PVR is in sleep mode. When you wake the PVR up from sleep you can rewind up to 1 hour of programming as long as you don’t change the channel. The recording buffer on the PVR is FILO, (First in, last out) for the 1 hour buffer. Another reason you continue to hear the hard drive and fan running even if the PVR is turned off is that streaming video information and programming guide information is constantly being sent to the PVR even while it’s asleep or shut off. This is why when you turn your PVR back on or wake it up from sleep the guide is always current and the TV shows you had programmed did record.

      Going back to your computer analogy (a good one) When your computer goes to sleep or you shut it down, the hard drive stops spinning and the fan generally stops because the processor is no longer working and the hard drive is not receiving data. When your computer is sleeping or off, you no longer receive emails or incoming data. When you wake your computer from sleep or boot it up and launch your email program, the computer than goes out to the server and fetches all the emails and data which it missed while it was sleeping or off. After a few seconds your inbox then shows you have mail which was received during sleep or off mode.

      Many people complain about the fan noise on most PVR’s whether cablebox, satellite or telco based – All PVR’s have hard drives and cooling fans. Sometimes when the bushings on the fan wear out or the fan gets clogged with dust the fan noise increase. Also I’ve had 5 PVR’s over the years an on one Bell Satellite PVR the hard drive became so noisy after two years you could hear it spinning and whirring constantly even when the TV was on. I also installed a PVR in my bedroom once thinking that if I just turn the power off the HD would stop – NO Luck the spinning hard drive seemed so loud in a quiet room when trying to sleep.

      There are several alternatives and ways to minimize the HD noise on your PVR.

      1 – Locate the PVR remotely, inside a closet, cabinet (With proper ventilation), utility room or adjacent room. Most of the people who hire us to do custom installations want their equipment hidden so we routinely install cable boxes and satellite receivers in cabinets, closets and other server or AV rooms. We just completed an install last week where the client had us install the equipment for his bedroom TV, including the AV receiver, blu-ray player and Motorola PVR cable box outside the bedroom in a hallway closet. Using an IR repeater system or Harmony RF remote control allowed up to remotely control all the components and leave the bedroom installation looking clean and noise free!

      2 – Install a Non-PVR in bedrooms and other quiet rooms. Another option when the fan and HD noise is too loud is to opt out of the PVR and choose a standard cable box for those rooms. The Motorola DCX3200 is convection cooled and does not have a cooling fan or hard drive. It of course is not a PVR, so the trade off is Noise with HD vs No Noise and no PVR.

      3 – Networked PVR Systems – Gerardo, you didn’t say where you were located or who your service provider is however there are a number of WHOLE HOUSE NETWORKED PVR Systems which use a centrally located PVR somewhere in your house or utility room and then Thin Client or Portal Boxes as they are often called which stream media from the central networked PVR box to the client or portal. The benefits of these networked systems is that the Client or Portal contains no HD or Fan therefore is silent while all the processing and noise occurs at the central main Hub PVR. Networked PVR systems usually run on regular COAX Cable under a platform called (MOCA – multimedia over coax alliance). MOCA is a networking method like ethernet (Cat5). Technically the Motorola DCX3400 is capable of being networked with other Motorola DCX3200 boxes using MOCA however only a handful of cable companies are implementing this technology. Comcast cable in the USA I am told offers networked Motorola PVR’s using MOCA however there are no cable providers in Canada offering this technology on the Motorola platform at this time. Dish network in the USA just introduced the HOPPER and JOEY System this month in the USA which is an excellent Networked PVR System using satellite and highly recommended. The HOPPER is the central PVR while the Joey’s are the Thin Clients which stream data from the HOPPER HD. The JOEY’s are small and silent! The HOPPER PVR has 6 tuners so you can record several programs at one time, if you’re in the USA you might want to check it out. In Canada Telus TV (telco) offers a networked PVR called Optik TV. The Optik PVR acts as a hub and once again the thin client or portal boxes are fanless and do not contain HD. Lastly here in Canada Shaw Cable offers a problematic network PVR solution called the Gateway. The Gateway System is built by Arris consists of a Hub and Portals. The HUB contains the noisy HD and fan while the portals are quiet and steam from the HUB. While the concept of the Gateway system is GREAT the actually real life, hands on use and experience of the product is very disappointing and therefore NOT RECOMMENDED.

      Networked PVR Systems are the way of the future. Current systems are networked using Coax (MOCA) or Cat5 (Ethernet) however systems of the future will be Slingbox based and allow you to not only stream to connected network Thin Client or Portal Boxes but to any internet connected device via hard cable or wireless Wi-Fi or LTE (4G). Networked PVR’s will have multiple tuners and will allow you to record and watch more shows and best of all the Thin Clients should be convection cooled without HD’s and therefore silent.

      Summary;
      In summary to your question on the noise from your Motorola DCX3400, the noise you are hearing is the fan and hard drive and even when it is sleeping or turned off, it is never really turned off completely as the DCX3400 is constantly receiving a data stream from your cable provider and updating the 1-2 hour channel buffer and programming guide. Your remedies are to 1 shut the power off and unplug the DCX3400 from power which will stop all noises however when you plug it back in – all guide information will be lost, the guide will have to reload and buffer, no records will be made if the unit is unplugged and the channel streaming and programming will have to reload – this of course is not really an option. Another suggestion is to located the PVR elsewhere (cabinet or closet) where the noise level would not be prevalent. Lastly, look to other technologies and alternative Networked PVR systems from your cable providers or telephone or satellite companies – Networked solutions will have quiet Portal or Thin Client servers without HDs or Fans.

      Good Luck!

      • Gerardo says:

        Thank you for your answer. Couldn’t get a better explanation anywhere else.
        Just to clarify, the pvr is in the living room, which is good now I know the pvr doesn’t really stops “working” even when it is off. Knowing this sound is a normal thing I’m going to get a better sleep now.
        Thank you again and all the best.
        Gerardo

  14. Peter Dakin says:

    Thank you for your comprehensive and very detailed responses; they are very enlightening and informative and provide a welcome change from the virtually useless answers I typically receive from not only the big box electronic retail store salespeople but also the tech support staff at my cable service provider.

    I recently purchased a Shaw (Motorola) DCX 3400 PVR and a Shaw PVR Extender with 1 Tb of storage from Future Shop to add to several other DCX 3400 units purchased from my cable company. I live in Hamilton, Ontario and my cable company is Sourcecable. I set up the Extender with one of the 3400 units and received an error message, “External storage is not authorized with this account”. When I spoke with Sourcecable I was informed that the external storage service was not available because they would have to purchase expensive firmware/software from Motorola in order to activate it. I returned the extender to Futureshop and explained the situation so that they could inform future potential buyers of the problem. Since your explanations are clear and concise, I am hoping that you might be able to explain the firmware/software story and how it works. For example, I wonder if it would be possible to download the firmware/software upgrade over the Internet at a later date, or even purchase it from another source. I believe that Shaw cable subscribers in Hamilton CAN utilize the external storage option.

    Again, thanks for your very informative posts!
    Peter

    • djsedm says:

      Peter, I must first preface my reply by saying that I am not a Motorola or Shaw Cable tech or employee but rather an Independent Systems Integrator which has 20+ years experience in the field working at the end user side. I have no direct knowledge or experience from inside the source provider (cable company nor manufacturer Motorola).

      Motorola will manufacturers it’s set top cable boxes to the specifications of each Cable Service Provider similar to the way you would order an automobile and then choose options such as air conditioning, automatic transmission and navigation etc… Each car is capable of having all these features installed however the purchaser or in this case the cable companies choose which options to include and which to opt out.

      Your comment indicates that your Motorola DCX3400 comes with a 1TB expander while the same unit supplied by Shaw Cable out west comes with a 500GB HD and still others have only a 320 or 250GB HD, so there is definitely Hardware differences between the same cable box similar to the same cars having different engines (6 or 8 cylinder). While there are different hardware options my understanding based on talking with techs and some motorola reps at tradeshow conventions is that options like the USB external Hard Drive Port and MOCA, Ethernet Networking and PVR Anywhere features are software programmable and driven by the Cable service providers operating system and network configuration. The hard drive issue you speak of is interesting since unless the PVR units is networked, external storage should be isolated to the specific PVR unit itself and therefore the only thing needed to be done by the cable company is to enable the external USB port on the DCX3400 and enable it to program and write a directory to the external drive. On thought I have regarding external storage is that perhaps your cable provider Sourcecable does not have adequate encryption applied to your their video stream which would allow files stored on external devices to be played on other cable boxes for perhaps even downloaded as open source unencrypted MP4 files to a PC. This would be a legitimate concern of the cable provider and would mean they would have to change their method of streaming and encrypt their data stream which would definitely be and expensive upgrade for the cable company. This of course is only a guess but certainly a good reason to disable the external hard drive option on the Motorola DCX box forcing all storage to remain intact only on the internal hard drive of the DCX3400.

      I’ve had questions from other customers asking “Can I buy a cablebox in Alberta and use it in BC or if I go to a comcast or cox cable city in the US. The answer is NO so even if you could purchase a DCX box in Alberta if wouldn’t work on another cable service provider or even the same service provider in a different area since the network and nodes of each cable network may be set up differently then the city or territory which you purchase the equipment.

      My best suggestion to you is one of two: If PVR hard drive expandability is of paramount importance to you you may wish to

      1 – Check with Shaw Cable in your area and see if they offer this feature on their system (I assume you can’t get Shaw which is why you selected Sourcecable)

      2 – Check with Bell and explore the option of choosing Bell as your service provider, Bell’s current PVR offers external storage and their new Hopper – Joey system available later this year will offer a whole house networked PVR System which may or may not have external HD storage capability.

      Regardless if your cable company is giving you the straight answer on enabling the external PVR USB Storage on your Motorola DCX3400 or not, the bottom line is for whatever reason they are not turning that feature on therefore your only options are to either live with the limitations of your service provider or look for another service provider who will be a better “FIT”.

      Thanks for reading techtipsandtoys.com

  15. Peter says:

    Thanks for your quick response and helpful comments! It appears that I’m stuck with the situation as it is. I have about $2000 worth of PVR’s and selling them at 50% or so of their value and starting from scratch with Bell doesn’t have much appeal to me right now. Two of my DCX 3400 units each have 500Gb internal drives so I can store a fair amount of movies etc., but it’s unfortunate that, without MOCA, I can’t share them between TV’s. I guess that’s the price of keeping up with technology!

    You’ve been very helpful . . . Thanks again!
    Peter

  16. RandomJ says:

    Does anyone know about the (newer?) Motorola DCX3501M (also referred to as RNG200N) DVR? Is it any different or better than the Motorola DCX3400M?

    Also, is anyone aware of the DCX’s numerous software bugs, many of which have gone unaddressed for years?
    Major DCX problems:
    – Some recordings record nothing but a black screen.
    – FireWire, the only way to off-load high-def recordings to PC, Mac, or Digital VHS, is totally and horribly broken on the DCX units.
    – Simple tasks such as rewinding or fast-forwarding are buggy on the DCX units, sometimes causing the unit to hang and require a hard reset.
    – The DCX units suffer from an HDMI bug that causes them to lose their resolution info (720p or 1080i) when connected through an Audio/Video Receiver.
    Now this is not to say that the DCT and DCH units are perfect, but they are FAR more reliable than the DCX units…
    In my opinion, the DCX’s slight increase in remote-control responsiveness comes nowhere near making up for the laundry-list of negatives. The DCT and DCH units are immune to all of those negatives.
    So there are only two benefits to the DCX units, responsiveness (when it’s not busy bugging out), and a larger hard drive (which is more than negated by the ability to swap out an internal DCT hard drive (120 GB or 160 GB) for a 1 TB hard drive.

    • djsedm says:

      Curious where you are located? Canada or USA? Who is your cable service provider?

      Your comment mentions Motorola DCX Problems which have gone on for YEARS? that’s really odd since the Motorola DCX3400 has only been available in our are since 2011 which is just a little over a year ago – not YEARS???

      Previous to the DCX model lineup was the DCT lineup both which have been very solid performers with our local SHAW Cable service provider.

      I have never heard of any of the problems with the Motorola DCX3400 or DCX3200 series of cable boxes … actually you’re the first person who I’ve encountered with a list of problems pertaining to the DCX set top box and that’s saying a lot considering more than 75,000 readers have read this specific blog post, and more than 300 personal customers of mine over the past 5 years have never mentioned any of the problems with their Motorola Cable boxes.

      Cable Set Top boxes are like cell phones they only work when connected to a Network and I believe the comments you’re making and the so called MAJOR PROBLEMS you are identifying have more to do with your Cable Provider and Network or perhaps even the wiring and connection to your house from the ped or wiring within your home. I have more than 20 years experience in the field I’ve yet to encounter the Major Problems you claim.

      1 – Black Screen Recordings – I’ve never seen, heard or experienced this
      2 – FireWire output port – The recording on all cableboxes are copy protected and not designed to be off-loaded or downloaded to another device. This isn’t a Major problem or a feature gone Horribly Broken, it was never designed with that purpose in mind.
      3 – I personally am a HUGE PVR Viewer and daily rewind and fast forward at least 30 times a day or more on my DCX3400 – I’ve never had any problem with fast forward or rewind or having the unit HANG and do a hard reset from fast forwarding or rewinding and that’s in one and a half years.
      4 – DCX Units suffer from an HDMI bug that causes them to lose their resolution info when connected through an Audio/Video Receiver. Once again I must dispute your claim that this is a MAJOR Problem, I don’t dispute that it may be a problem for you, I’m not saying it’s not happening for you however I can say in more than 300 installations including my own personal system I have never had a Syncing Issue or resolution issue attributable to the Motorola DC3400 unit. HDMI carries HDCP (high definition copy protection) and there are various version of the HDCP and HDMI Spec (1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and most recently HDMI 1.4) In addition there are variations of HDMI cables as well as different specs for HDMI Receivers. I have used Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha and Pioneer A/V receivers in more than 300 installation without a single incident of HDMI resolution or syncing due to the Motorola DCX cablebox. I have experienced various HDMI issues with some incompatible receiver models and some Samsung TV’s which don’t sync and handshake properly when changing resolutions as well as some bad HDMI cables but I’ve yet to encounter a problem with handshaking, syncing or resolution settings attributable to the Motorola DCX set top box.
      5 – DCT and DCH set top boxes were both analog/digital hybrid boxes with analog tuners and only some late model DCT boxes had HDMI out @ 720p while most had component video and DVI outputs instead of HDMI.

      I would assume from the laundry list of negatives that your refer to and the fact that the DCT and DCH cable box units seemed to work better for you that your cable service provider did not upgrade their network configuration and network node to FULL Digital transmission which is required for proper operation of the ALL DIGITAL DCX Series of cable boxes.

      Please write us back and let our readers know what area of the country you live in and who your cable service provider is? This information would be very helpful to all readers to know that Motorola DCX Cableboxes don’t seem to work that well in your area while in most other areas they seem to be rock solid, reliable and problem free.

      Thanks for reading techtipsandtoys and sharing your experience

      • RandomJ says:

        Hey thanks for the response, djsedm.
        I just came across this link Googling on the DCX3400. I am in the US (East Coast) and my cable provider is Comcast, which is apparently the problem…? I saw that this had to do with Shaw cable provider but thought all Motorola DCX3400 hardware should/would function the same no difference to a cable provider. I have never owned a DCX Series unit. I just own a Comcast Motorola DCT6412 III DVR (120 GB) and was researching the DCX3400 as a possible upgrade for more recording capacity.

        For Comcast, the DCT’s are the oldest, the DCH’s came next. The DCX’s are the newest and the 3400 came out in 2008.
        The DCX problems are well known at the Comcast forums (which have gone unaddressed for years) and AVS Forum. I just copied & pasted the problems list to see if anyone here had any problems.

        So I don’t get this now… Is the Motorola DCX3400 hardware different at all for different cable providers or is the hardware identical for all/any cable provider but any problems/issues like above are due to a/the cable provider?

        Somehow outside this site the latest DCX’s are notoriously buggy.

      • djsedm says:

        Thanks for the reply brother, your comments make more sense now.

        Cableboxes are like computers or cell phones they need a network (Cable service provider) to connect to otherwise there useless.

        Think of Comcast (your cable provider) like a cell phone carrier like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, now think of your Motorola DCX Cablebox like your cell phone let’s say Samsung Galaxy S – 4G capable cell phone.

        Now let’s talk performance on the network, software and hardware side of things …..

        1 – Cell phone carrier – provider – network: Because your cell phone (ala Cablebox) needs to connect to a service provider to work, which network you connect to will be the BIGGEST FACTOR on the performance of your cellphone (Cablebox). AT&T is notoriously known as a bad network in many areas of the country while Verizon is generally considered a better performing network and T-Mobile and other are somewhere in between. What this means as different users, own different networks will have different user experiences on and performance using the SAME PHONE (Cable box) on different networks, different carriers, and even in different areas of a city. IS this difference in performance because of the HARDWARE? or because of the NETWORK? – the answer almost 99% of the Time is the NETWORK and the same holds true for Cableboxes.

        In the cellphone example – The Phone HARDWARE is the same, same CPU, Memory, Antenna, Battery, yet each network will yield different performance experiences and even sometimes within different areas of a city (network node) the cellphone in our example will deal different performance. If you’re going to RATE the Manufacturer of the cellphone based on Network Performance that’s unfair to the Manufacturer since they only built the device much like a CAR Manufacturer can’t be held responsible for a bumpy ride or poor steering it the road you’re driving the car on is uneven, bumpy and full of pot holes and debris, that’s not the car manufacturers fault! Sure a Ferrari might be able to do 240mph but not on some of the roads up here in Canada. Back to the cell phone … so in this example the Samsung Galaxy S is a 4G phone but that means it only will work on 4G if your carrier offers 4G performance and further if 4G performance is available in the area your using the phone in. So if you say the SAMSUNG Galaxy S 4G phone is crap is that the phones fault or the network, what if the network you’re connected to doesn’t offer 4G or LTE? What if it doesn’t even offer 3G? What if the spot (Network node) you’re in offers only EDGE (2G) performance, based on network performance and speed if you were connected to 3G or Edge you would say the new Samsung Galaxy S 4G is a piece of crap and no better or faster than a 3G phone but that would be GROSSLY Incorrect since the phone is better and faster BUT the network your connected to does not offer the coverage and performance equal to the phone. Further it is possible that you will have different speed and performance on the Galaxy 4S in different areas of the city. Let’s say you drive down the block where there is 4G coverage – NOW the Phone performance is AMAZINGLY FAST – WOW … you think this phone is GREAT! The hardware and software in the phone didn’t change, even the network didn’t change – however the spot that you connect to the network (node) changed and “THAT SPOT” offers better performance which is why your phone works better.

        This phone example is exactly the same with cable boxes. The motorola DCX series of cable boxes is VASTLY Superior to it’s predecessors both from a hardware and software side of things. The DCX series of cable boxes are ALL DIGITAL and in order for them to work to their PEAK performance they need to be connected to a 100% digital network which is generally FIBER OPTIC based or at least has a FIBER OPTIC backbone. The older DCT boxes were analog/digital hybrids and worked on either fiber/digital (faster) and analog (slower networks).

        The problems you were referring to are mostly network related and have little to do with the hardware itself. The fact that you cut and pasted these comments from various forums and have not actually experienced them yourself means that you really don’t know for certain HOW WELL a Motorola DCX cable box would operate at your home connected even to Comcast since your home would be on a different NODE of the network than any of the comments you’ve read on a blog post or forum. The forum posts you’re reading could be from Comcast subscribers in a completely different city or in a part of the city which is serviced by OLD COPPER and Not FIBER. There is a strong likelihood that many of the performance issues you’re identified (and are network related) would not even occur at your particular street address?

        SHAW Cable here in Canada did a network upgrade before launching the Motorola DCX series pulling FIBER OPTIC cable to all the nodes on the network which were to be serviced by the Motorola DCX, Arris Gateway and other DIGITAL Only products. Once the FIBER – 100% ALL DIGITAL Network upgrades were complete Shaw then required it’s customers to upgrade or swap out their hardware to DIGITAL Versions to be compatible with the new 100% digital network, if they wished to reap the benefits and performance features. I would assume Comcast has not done this and is running a hybrid network Analog/Digital in some of the areas which these problems are occurring and hence hampering the performance of ALL their cableboxes and equipment.

        Just quickly another example would be computer and network performance. You can purchase a new computer with GIGABIT Ethernet and N Speed Wi-Fi however if you connect it to a 10 Mps network or G speed router or Internet Service Provider (ISP) with only a 3 Mbs performance then your shinny, new, speedy, ultra fast computer would absolutely SUCK and the internet and network performance would be as slow as dial up… Is that the fault of the New Computer? Is it the hardware manufacturer’s fault? Of course not. The computer manufacturer built the computer to have 1000 Mbs Gigabit wired ethernet speed, it also built the computer to have 100-150 mbs Wireless Wi-Fi performance however in order to achieve these specs and performance your network cabling MUST be Cat6, your network switches MUST be Gigabit Speed, your Wi-Fi Router MUST be N speed and your ISP Modem and Network Node MUST have 15-100Mbs speed – if all these MUSTS are not done – the performance of your shinny new computer will suffer and slow to a crawl and this degradation in performance has nothing to do with the new computer and everything to do with the Network, Peripherals, Network Node and ISP the same holds true with set top cable boxes which are essentially computers connected to a network.

        All this dialogue is not to say or dismiss that there are NO Issues with cableboxes including Motorola DCX units – there are hardware related problems, features which are enabled by some cable companies and not others, hard drive noise issues, and audio processing issues just to name a few we are aware of and have verified often in our years of experience. It is important when analyzing and critiquing equipment problems to determine if the cause of the problem is NETWORK and SERVICE PROVIDER related or indeed an internal Hardware Issue with the box itself.

        Thanks for your reply and letting us know where you’re located and who your cable service provider is. Comcast is a very large company who services a very large customer base and area, we all have love/hate relationships with our cable providers but I’m certain there are Comcast customers out their who are on a GOOD NETWORK NODE who don’t experience any of the problems you’ve identified and whose personal experience with Comcast and it’s equipment including the Motorola DCX3400 is a positive one. I also have no doubt that the problems and issues you have identified are REAL, and for all those Comcast customers who have experienced them the problems are 100% real and should be fixed either by upgrading the network or the customers looking for an alternative provider.

        There is no ONE RIGHT solution for everyone and each service provider, cable, telco or satellite has pros and cons to each system and service area. Each customer needs to weigh there options to determine which service provider has the right hardware and software solution that fits their lifestyle best and works well in the area which they live. For some that’s cable, for others it a telco or satellite service provider the great thing is in most cases we’ve got options.

        My best advice to everyone is to DO Your HOMEWORK, research all providers, weight the price/performance/features and lifestyle and pick the one best suited to you and your family. Lastly never sign up for a long term service until you’ve tested it for at least a month and if possible 3 months. Most service providers offer discounts for long term contracts however ask them if you can go on a month to month deal for a couple of months to test and try the service, if it works for you and meets your needs you’ll sign up for 1,2, or 3 years after you’ve verified it’s a working solution. This may cost you a little more up front however in the long run you’ll be better off and not stuck into a long term contract with a service that is problematic, frustrating and difficult to use.

      • pacific222 says:

        Djsedm, thank you so much for your (long) explanations! I have learned so much, and I thought I was a ‘tecky’ myself ( ! ) There are many areas that I can still learn more. You analogies are excellent. It’s been very educational.
        I live in western Canada, and when talking to a Shaw technician a few months back, about the Motorola 3400, he said it was an excellent machine. They have few problems with it. It is far superior to the older versions. So going by that positive recommendation, I waited until it came on sale (London Drugs boxing week, $150) and have been very happy with it. It has changed the way I watch TV – I watch the shows I am interested in when I want to – not necessarily when they are scheduled.

  17. RandomJ says:

    djsedm, Thank you very much for taking the time to respond with a very detailed response, I really appreciate it.
    I completely understand your explanations. I’m definitely going to have to bring this information to the attention of those who are having issues/problems and who are solely blaming the hardware and not addressing the cable provider/network side.
    All I know is Comcast has really gone down in quality of services/functions. The US sucks and so does its over-sized mega corporations (Comcast). Just another thing Canada does better. Their cable providers implement the latest technology/services and actually advise their paying customers to upgrade to better hardware for better performances. The US/companies are always behind the lead…

  18. Andrew V says:

    I have a DCX3200 hooked up to my 46 inch Sony Bravia LCD TV that supports 1080p, and when I watch the HD channels alot of them are only 720p, how come, do you have any ideas?

    • djsedm says:

      Sure the answer is simple the programs you are watching are only broadcast in 720p – not 1080, hence 720p is all you’ll get if that’s the native resolution of the broadcast. Think of it like a Blu-ray Player. Sure the blu-ray player is capable of outputting 1080p “IF” your playing a 1080p blu-ray disc, however if you’re playing a regular DVD the highest resolution you’ll get is 720p and some DVDs are only 480p.

      Cable boxes, satellite receivers and other set top boxes are all capable of receiving, streaming and outputting signals in 1080p however in order to output 1080p the show must be recorded in 1080p, then broadcast and streamed in 1080p.

      Only about 20% of all the HDTV programming currently available is broadcast in 1080p. The vast majority of HD programming is 720p and many non-prime time and other cable specialty channel shows are only shot in 480p.

      Another example would be if you owned a Ferrari that could do 250mph. Well just because the car is capable of 250mph doesn’t mean you can do it. A number of factors have to be in place in order for you to MAXIMIZE the performance of the car including premium gas, special tires and a smooth, flat – road with no potholes, Good luck finding that in Canada! With out all these factors being just right the performance of the Ferrari won’t be any better than a Dodge Ram truck truck.

      Same holds true for 1080p television. In order for you to have 1080p broadcast television, first the show has to be shot in 1080p, next it has to be streamed and made available to your cable, telco or satellite provider in 1080p, then the content provider has to have the network infrastructure in place to broadcast 1080p to your house. At your home you need all the right wiring and electronics for 1080p reception and if ALL these things are in place then you will get 1080p. If the source is not 1080p then all bets are off and if your service provider doesn’t have the bandwidth to provide you with 1080p on all channels – all bets are off. Lastly if your equipment, wiring and cables do not support 1080p all bets are off.

      So there you have it – 20% or less of broadcast TV is 1080p, 50% is 720p and 30% is still 480p regardless of your TV, cables, wiring, service provider or equipment.

      The only true source of 1080p programming is Blu-ray.

  19. SirErk says:

    We recently recieved a DCX3400 for our cable. We have had several issues since getting it and we are now trying to work the issues out. We have Charter Communications for our cable provider. They will be looking at the main line in a month or so but we keep losing out channels in the 100’s. It is connect with a HDMI cable and to the TV. We had a MOXI box that had a Coax connection and HDMI connection to the TV. There were no issues when switching between HD and the Coax but now I have no Coax running to the TV. Can I still set the box up to run both like the MOXI box? Thanks.

    • djsedm says:

      I am not familiar with your Cable provider or their network configuration or mapping but from your description “keep losing channels in the 100’s” I am going to assume that channels in the 100’s are DIGITAL channels and below 125 are analog. It sounds like your cable provider may still be running a hybrid analog and digital cable transmission system and network and perhaps haven’t upgraded their transmission equipment to provide proper DIGITAL signal to your area.

      The problems you are having with reception are not related to the wiring between your cablebox and tv so you can rule that out. The problems with reception are due to the main cable signal coming into your home and then elsewhere on the cable companies network outside your home.

      The motorola DCX3400 is an all digital set top box and requires 100% digital transmission. Similarly the outputs on the motorola DCX series are also ALL Digital or analog Component or Composite Video but there is NO RF modulated output (COAX). Unlike your moxi box which may have had an analog tuner and RF output (COAX) the motorola DCX does not have either of these therefore the only ways to connect the cablebox to your TV is HDMI, component or composite video cables.

      You will not be able to connect a COAX Cable as referenced “Like the MOXI Box”.

      Sounds like your cable service provider has some upgrading to do – hopefully they’re not charging you full price for your cable package if you’re having problems

      Good Luck!

  20. SirErk says:

    It’s Charter Communications. They’re always charging full price no matter what the circumstances. Thank you for explaining everything. It makes perfect sense to me. Keep up the great work about helping people keeping them informed.
    Thanks again.

  21. Mark says:

    Hi,

    How do you download a program you have on your PVR to either and external drive, or even a flash drive. We have a show coming up on a local TV Show that we want to send to family.

    Thanks

    • djsedm says:

      Due to copyright laws all DVR’s are locked down and do not allow you to download, copy or transfer recordings from the internal hard drive to and external device. Depending on the cablebox, you can record to an some programs to and external device such as a VHS VCR using the composite video output and then convert the analog VHS tape to digital and then burn the digital version to a CD or DVD Rom or flash drive however you cannot directly export any data from the internal hard drive or even an external PVR expander to another Hard Drive or device. If that were the case, everybody would just record onto an external hard drive (PVR Expander) clone the drive and then copy the files as many times as they wanted. All DVR recording are encrypted and paired specifically to the motherboard of the original recording DVR. Even if you copy and external PVR Expander HD it will not play on another cablebox because the file structure and directory will be different.

  22. Bruce Pentecost says:

    In late March, Shaw replaced my Pace DC758D and 1TB Expander which had crashed with a Motorola DCX3400-M. I have since been experiencing major remote control responsiveness issues, which I have concluded grow worse as the light in the room dims. Controlling rewind and fast forward can be a nightmare. Entering a 3-digit channel number frequently requires repeated attempts before all digits register. In extreme cases, even the power button will not respond to turn the unit off. What seems to be required is a sniper’s precision with the remote, which is achieved only by trial and error. The slightest deviation breeds failure. Of course, any trouble-shooting conversations with Shaw occur in daytime, when the remote works reasonably well. Any ideas?

    • djsedm says:

      It’s difficult to diagnose your IR problem without seeing your equipment location and layout, room and other electronics, lighting and various other factors. Ambient light will have NO Effect on the IR sensitivity therefore the darkening of the room is strictly coincidental to the problem and not directly or indirectly causing it. The light spectrum of IR controls is way beyond the visible light spectrum.

      There are two factors which are likely

      1 – Bad IR receiver inside your DCX3400. While I have not personally experienced and bad IR receiver eyes on DCX3400’s I have experienced bad IR’s on Shaw Direct Satellite (DSR600’s) receivers. I have had two Shaw DSR600 satellite set top boxes which would not receive IR signals similar to the way you describe – you either have to be right next to the unit or in a precise spot in order for the IR to work. In both these cases replacing the Shaw Direct Motorola Satellite receiver with another on SOLVED the problem.

      You did not mention if Shaw has switched out your receiver with another one, however if they did and the problem still persists obviously it’s not the IR receiver however if they haven’t swapped out the DCX3400 that should be the first recourse.

      2 – Ambient Interference from other sources. Sometimes Plasma and LCD Panels can cause interference with the ability and range of IR targets, it this is the problem it should be happening all the time and the easiest way to solve it – is to more the DCX cable box away from the TV. Another common problem we experience in Bars and Nightclubs is RED NEON Lighting. Red Neon lighting is on a very similar frequency of the light spectrum as Infrared and often in bars and lounges when the neon lights are turned on – especially RED the sensitivity and operating range of IR components drops off significantly and in some cases the IR doesn’t work at all. Another problem we’ve had with IR repeaters is Compact Fluorescent lighting. Once again similar to neon CFL emits light on a frequency that can interfere with some IR components. There are a host of other scenarios such as the ones mentioned that can be interfering with your IR signaling however without being able to see the room and access the possible sources of interference it’s difficult to diagnose the problem.

      If you’re saying that the remote works fine in the daytime when ambient light fills the room, yet has problems at night or dim lighting then something in your home is interfering with the IR signalling at night, most likely Light bulbs, neon, or Power supplies from LED lighting etc …
      The thing you need to do is analyze the environment the equipment is operating in and determine all the factors that are different from the daytime to dim light or night time. It is one or more of these factors that is interfering with the IR Signally – if everything works fine in the daytime. IF that is the case stopping looking for problems with the cablebox and start to focus on the room and environment.

      If you’re located in Edmonton, I’d be happy to come buy and have a look just call or email our office.

      Good luck and please let us know if you find a solution

    • djsedm says:

      Bruce – one other thought would be to replace the remote control with another Shaw remote or perhaps a universal Harmony Remote, if the problem still persists then you can rule out the remote control, however there is a possibility that the remote could be the problem however the worsening at night time is the symptom that throws a curve ball at the remote control theory and again focuses back on the environment.

      Of course using a different remote or universal Harmony would quickly confirm or dismiss the remote being the problem.

      Your question mentions conversations with Shaw occur in the daytime however Shaw tech support is also open at night time as well so if you feel this is a NIGHT Time issue – give Shaw a call then.

      Further in all honesty the problem you are experiencing isn’t really one that can be diagnosed or remedied over the telephone but rather with an in house, in person service call from an astute technician. Basically all Shaw can do over the phone is say Push the number 1 button, what happened, now push the play button, did that work …. and so on, obviously you’ll either confirm the button pressing works or doesn’t with each request however that really doesn’t troubleshoot anything.

      I am confused with your qualifying comment “The remote works REASONABLY WELL” this again infers that perhaps it should work better even in the daytime?

      Either the remote works 99-100% of the time day or night or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t work 99-100% of the time including the daytime then again it’s an equipment problem and not environmental.

      Lastly and simply it goes without saying – I assume you replaced the batteries in the remote control with BRAND NEW Ones and are certain that the voltage in the batteries is good.

      With troubleshooting it is very important to have a step by step method so you can confirm or dismiss a potential problem with each step.

      1 – Batteries
      2 – Remote – change remote with a different Shaw Remote
      3 – Remote – try with a Harmony Universal Remote
      4 – Receiver – change receiver with a different one

      These 4 steps will confirm or rule out and equipment failures

      Environment steps:

      1 – Move Shaw DCX cablebox to a different location or use it in a different room with a different TV – this will tell you if there is a problem with the proximity to the TV, interference from the TV or a problem with the room

      2 – If you determine the problems are environmental then you have to assess those factors to determine which environmental factor(s) is causing the problem – this trouble shooting list is too long and variable to go through on this forum. Suffice it to say if step 1 moving the cable box to a different room with a different TV solves the problem then you’ll need to narrow down exactly what environmental factors are causing the problem in the room the cablebox is currently in and correct them appropriately.

      Once again good luck and let us know how you make out!

  23. Virginia says:

    This may be a dumb question, but should I leave my Motorola DCX3400-M on 24/7, or turn it off when I’m not watching TV? I’ve had a few problems (3) with the PVR not turning on after I attached a Shaw expander about a month ago. If I leave it on constantly, will that reduce the life of the PVR?

    • djsedm says:

      Virgina – I get asked this question a lot, I recommend leaving cableboxes, satellite receivers, DVRs, PVR’s and set top boxes ON ALL THE TIME. Personally I leave my cableboxes on all the time.

      About 50% of our commercial clients leave their satellite or cableboxes on all the time and 50% turn them off each night. Looking back over 10 years of data there is no increase in service work or premature equipment failure to either group with the exception to those locations with poor equipment cooling and ventilation and excess heat build up. Locations with HEAT Issues do experience higher equipment failures than installation with proper cooling.

      Most electronics these days run warm to the touch, however if your equipment is running HOT to the touch where is uncomfortable to touch the top or sides of the satellite receiver or cable box – in these cases I would recommend turning the equipment off at night to give it a chance to cool down. This usually happens when several pieces of equipment are located inside a cabinet with poor ventilation.

      Keeping the power on to your cablebox or satellite keeps the guide and programming up to date and in the case of PVR’s will give you a 1-2 hour buffer on the channel the PVR is currently tuned to which allows you to rewind live TV when you decide to wake the PVR up from sleep mode.

      Speaking of sleep mode – most PVR’s, DVR,s cableboxes and satellite receivers are like computers and go into energy saving, minimal power use sleep mode when powered on and not used – so even if you leave the PVR on it will eventually go to sleep mode.

  24. Paul says:

    I have a Motorola DCX3400-M and have had problems fast forwarding certain recorded HD shows for the past month. On some channels like the CBC fast forwarding is very smooth, on other channels fast forwarding means a mad jumble of broken up pictures with no way of knowing if you are back to the show. If I fast forward >> it is almost as slow as real time, if I FF >>> then I get the bits and pieces I mentioned. A technician replaced the box for me last week but the new, identical one is acting the same way. Now they are coming around tomorrow to check the connections and wiring etc. but is this not a wasted effort if some channels fast forward flawlessly and others don’t?

    • djsedm says:

      I don’t personally use the FF>> or FF>>>, most of our installations include a Harmony Remote control and are programmed for the SKIP BUTTON, pressing the SKIP 6-8 times usually skips all commercials back to TV programming.

      I have used the FF>> or FF>>> occasionally to fast forward to a specific portion of a show but haven’t really compared FF functions between individual channels.

      I am assuming you are comparing HD to HD channels and recordings and not HD to SD since standard def video would have less pixels and information and hence would yield rougher more pixelated images when FF. Even if you’re comparing HD to HD channels you have to keep in mind the even HD channels have many commercials and some programming which is only recorded in SD, if you ask me that’s what you’re seeing, The HD streams are smoother while commercials and programming shot and broadcast in SD even on an HD channel become jagged and pixelated.

      If my above explanation does not adequately explain the phenomenon you are viewing then for the most part it sounds like a waste of time, to trouble shoot the cabling and wiring, after all All the programming, streaming and transmission to your cablebox and from the cable box to the TV is the same – therefore the problem should occur 100% of the time, which is not what you’re saying.

      The cable company could also be COMPRESSING some HD Channels more than others and some HD channels are only broadcast in 480i/p and not 1080i. Once again if you are comparing 480i HD to 1080i HD it is reasonable that you will have very different images when FF.

      Once again my best guess to the resolution problems you are experiencing are just as explained, there’s most likely nothing wrong with your cable box – it’s functioning as it is supposed to and there is nothing wrong with your cabling, wiring or transmission and streaming from your cable company that too is working as designed.

      It all programs were SHOT, Filmed, Recorded, Transmitted in the same RAW format you could make the comparisons between channels
      No two cable channels and in fact even the same program streamed on two different cable TV channels in HD can be transmitted at different HD resolutions and compression rates making a one channel to another channel comparison impossible!

      Keep us posted if they find something ….

      • Paul says:

        Thanks a lot for your immediate reply! I am truly impressed. Well, the technician was here and could find nothing wrong .. he relayed this to his boss who has thorough training when it comes to this particular DVR and he claims that it is a Motorola software problem and that they are working to fix the various bugs especially the one concerning my Fast Forward problem. Thanks again,

        Paul

  25. Robert says:

    I have the DTC3400 model Motorolla box and wonder if it will need a separate digital cable box when we go to all digital cable next month?

  26. djsedm says:

    Robert that’s a question you will need to ask Shaw, it depends on their Network Configuration in your area,

    Some Shaw customers can keep using their analog/digital cable boxes even when Shaw upgrades to full digital while others must upgrade their boxes. Shaw usually notifies their customers if new cable boxes are needed and offers them a Trade Up to upgrade.

    Best advice is to give Shaw a call and see what they tell you.

  27. Max says:

    I live in a building that has security cameras that you can see on a Shaw cable channel but we can get that channel only by hooking the cable directly to the TV. My DCX3200 won’t show the security channel because it’s analog, I guess. If I were to pick up an old DCT3416, would I be able to display and record analog channels including the security one? (Thanks for all your excellent explanations.)

    • djsedm says:

      Max, Your understanding of the DCX3200 is somewhat correct, however an older DCT3416 Cablebox wouldn’t work since it is a dual tuner analog/digital model but may not be supported by Shaw for Digital Only network transmission and secondly depending what channel the security camera is being broadcast on the DCT3416 while analog may still not decode or pass through your security camera channel. Odds are most likely not. Without knowing how your building is wired and the security cameras are modulated a simple solution that might work would be to use a 2 way high frequency cable splitter at your coaxial cable outlet in your apartment. Take the first feed and send it directly to the RF input of your TV and the second feed to your DCX cable box. Connect the cable box as usual via HDMI or Component. To watch the cablebox select the appropriate input on the TV (HDMI/COMPONENT) to see the security cameras switch the TV input to the TV Tuner and select the analog channel which the security camera is being transmitted on. This will work depending on the wiring configuration of your building and how the cameras are being modulated. for more detailed explanation and understanding you can read on

      More Detailed Explanation:
      The security camera in your building is Analog and connected through the cable network using a Black Box called a Modulator. The modulator injects a signal back into the analog cable line on a clear unused cable channel (most often between channel 66 – 125). In order to “Modulate” the security camera on the specified channel a special NOTCH FILTER is added to the cable line coming into the building which filters out any cable transmission or interference on the specific channel the security camera is going to be Modulated On. In this example will say the security camera is being transmitted on Channel 88. The notch filter will clear usually a spectrum of channels say 80-90 to be used for security cameras or a private TV network for example in a hotel which might have PPV movies on these channels. In an analog only world what would happen is you would get regular cable from channels 1-79 and then Modulated Channels from 80-90 and then perhaps more regular cable channels from 91-125.

      Now when digital gets involved this all changes because Shaw transmits both digital and analog signals in the same bandwidth and frequency therefore if you insert a notch filter into the line while blocking out the analog transmissions to allow your camera system to work you will also mess with the digital signals being carried (multiplexed) on the same channels. Further your digital cablebox on the other end is going to be looking for those DIGITAL Signals and not receiving them.

      The way we solve this problem as integrators is to install a DUAL Stream cable system to each TV location. Standard so called “SMART WIRING” protocol since 1999 was to run a minimum of two coax and two Cat5 cables to each TV location and in your case to each apartment drop. If your building is wired this way then the building owner should be wiring the security camera system up to the second Coax to distribute the CCTV signal throughout the building to the tenants. There are ways to do this over Cat5 also but won’t be discussed here.

      If you have two COAX streams – 1 for digital cable, 1 – Analog camera the connections to the TV would be Digital Cable to Cable box then to TV via HDMI or Component video and the second Analog camera COAX cable would go directly to the RF antenna input on the TV and the TV ANALOG tuner would be programmed to receive the Modulated analog channel … in our example channel 88. If wired this way, you would watch Shaw Digital Cable TV via the cablebox and HDMI input and when you want the security camera you would switch inputs on the TV to the TV’s built in Analog Tuner and view the camera on Channel 88, you wouldn’t be able to use the Tuner in the Cable Box regardless of DCT or DCX series.

      If your building does not have the wiring infrastructure to support the above solution there is another solution your building owner can implement to enable you to view your security cameras and that is to convert your analog cameras to IP or install new IP Cameras. IP cameras and analog to IP converters will allow you to view your building security cameras through most web enabled smart phones, tablets and computers. If you can view your cameras via IP, then you could also stream or connect your various devices, smart phones, tablets or computers to your TV to view the security cameras on the TV. The IP solution does not involve any additional wiring to each apartment or bay in the building and also has the added benefit of Remote Viewing which would allow you to view the security cameras off site and remotely form most web connected devices.

      Max the solutions I’ve recommended need to be done on a building management or owner level and not at a tenant level. You should consult with your building manager or owner to see how the security cameras can be integrated into the new digital world.

  28. Cableguy3000 says:

    Excellent answers, thank you for taking the time to help people. I am a cable TV tech in northern Alberta and we use a copper network. Digital and analog channels. Seems that the DCX models don’t work as good as they should on our system, your explanation about being designed for fiber makes sense. Nothing too noticeable just lag when changing channels. The DCT boxes have a few issues I noticed, the 6208 model will lock you onto an HD channel and not give you access to the guide etc. Anyways my question is this, how do you hard reset the DCX models, Im trying to load a DCX3200 from out of town and it doesn’t seem to want to take the authorization hit. Guessing its loaded for another channel map and needs to be hard reset not sure how this works exactly, tech support is clueless. We have not had any come in our doors but they are starting to trickle in. We have loaded a DCX3400 successfully before but could use that info too. Thanks for the help and keep up the good work.

    • djsedm says:

      I don’t know how to reset the DCX models, Shaw has them “locked down” to work with their network similar to a locked cell phone. The channel map is not downloaded to the box until installation and activation occurs since boxes will be installed on different nodes on the network. Shaw and Motorola will not provide Unlocking instructions for the same reasons Rogers, Bell and Telus will not disclose info on how to unlock their phones.

      My best suggestion is to keep searching the net – you’re bound to find a site with some unauthorized Hacking info.

  29. Cableguy3000 says:

    Got it figured, in the diagnostics menu in out of bound status ” D03 ” some companies use 72mhz we use 75mhz to change frequency you press menu while on this screen. We use the Shaw programming and equipment. Thanks

  30. Colin says:

    Dcx3200m
    I have this cable box hooked up to a toshiba HDTV and have tried to get the picture to fill the whole screen. I can use the toshiba hand control to change the viewing size but whenever I turn the system off and then on again the picture view defaults to box size. Any suggestions?
    Thanks….

    • djsedm says:

      You need to adjust the default system output setting on the Motorola DCX Cable box to 480p from Native. This menu is not viewable or accessible when using the remote control and menu options … the setup menu for the receiver only appears when the DCX is turned off and you press the menu button on the receiver or remote (with the receiver turned off)

      A grey background screen will appear with various video and audio settings. This menu is normally only used by the cable tech or systems integrator to set up the cable box when installing and not really a user interface.

      From the setup/configuration screen you can adjust audio and video outputs including what the default output is for NON-HD Programming.

      Switching this setting to 480p or 480i will solve your problem and the program will display as “Wide Screen” or “Full Screen” on your Toshiba TV without adjusting the “Aspect Ratio” directly on the TV which as you’ve discovered changes each time you change channel or turn the TV on and off.

      Shaw Tech support can also walk you through the settings configuration screen so if you need assistance give them a call.

      Bottom line is currently your Motorola DCX cable box is not set up properly for your TV Screen Size.

  31. Norm Rumer says:

    HI We have a Yamaha AVR RX A720 connencted to a Shaw DCX 3200P2-M and to a Sharp Aquos about 5 years old. We needed to improve the TV audio. All connected by tested HDMI cables.The AVR is set to 2 ch stereo mode, we have 2 Polk RT i4 speakers, hoping for a 5.1 system.
    Problem is we have no voice on many ch, sometimes background ie cars, shots, laugh tracks etc Some ch are always like that, in Vernon 13,25,29 and more, sometimes more that come and go, sometimes commercials are ok sometimes not. Audio is never right on any ch. The AVR was tested on a Telus system with good audio results. If we take the AVR off and connect to Shaw dir to TV all OK. Same if we use components and RCA with the AVR in the circuit. The cable box has been exchanged and a Shaw tech did a signal test and checked wiring etc with same results. He and others have said the HDMI versions in the box and AVRmay not be compatible. As local people have no answers or suggestions other than switch to Telus, which is not happening, I’m at a loss, any advice would help. Thanks Norm

    • djsedm says:

      The problem you are experiencing is NOT the Shaw CableBox but rather related to your Yamaha Receiver and the way you are connecting the various components – HDMI.

      Your description of the problem is confusing me because you say the AVR is set to 2 channel stereo mode connected to two (2) speakers however you’re hoping for a 5.1 system.
      Stereo or 2.1 audio as it’s referred is entirely different and mutually exclusive from a 5.1 surround sound system. There are speaker systems and soundbars which have special signal processing in them to decode 5.1 signals into 2.1 audio providing a simulated surround sound effect, but your Yamaha AVR receiver is NOT going to do that.

      If you are trying to feed a 2.1 stereo signal into a Yamaha AVR receiver with only two speakers connected and hope to get a 5.1 or simulated 5.1 result from just two speakers connected – that’s not going to happen.

      Similarly if you are sending a 5.1 digital audio signal into a Yamaha AVR receiver with only two speakers connected and especially NO Center Channel Speaker, you WILL Get the problems you are describing. 70% or more voice or dialogue in a 5.1 or 7.1 digital audio signal is sent to the center channel speaker in surround sound systems. The remaining other for channels are for effect (cars, shots, laugh tracks etc… just as your describing). Your description seems to indicated that your Yamaha receiver is either incorrectly set up for STEREO 2.1 channel signals or reverse without a Center Channel speaker, incorrectly set up for 5.1 surround sound signals or down converting them to 2.1 audio.

      Your reference to Telus not having the same problems as Shaw isn’t because Telus is better in fact in this case the reason you’re not experiencing this 5.1 Audio Problem on Telus on the same channels is most likely that Telus is not transmitting 5.1 Digital PCM audio on the channels your reference and therefore your Yamaha AVR receiver has no option to decode 5.1 digital audio but rather process 2.1 Stereo which sounds better since you are only using two speakers. Odds are to Save Bandwidth Telus is broadcasting on the channels you reference in 2.1 stereo rather than 5.1 PCM audio. While your perceiving this as a benefit, in fact its a lower quality signal for all those Telus customers who have 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound systems, they’re probably only getting a 2.1 signal.

      Shaw’s in the past, previous to their full digital upgrade in Edmonton where I live was also guilty of similar practices and may well still compress, or restrict the output of some of their channels to a lower HD resolution ie 480. 720 rather than 1080 and may also limit some of their channels to 2.1 audio rather than 5.1.

      Of course I am only making an educated guess on what’s going on based upon your description of the problem, but if accurate my hypothesis of why Telus audio works and Shaw’s does not is reasonable.

      HDMI:
      Your comments “The AVR was tested on a Telus system with good audio results. If we take the AVR off and connect to Shaw dir to TV all OK. Same if we use components and RCA with the AVR in the circuit.” identify the problem completely as an HDMI Problem and a Yamaha AVR problem, not really a Shaw or Telus equipment problem.

      While HDMI is a convenient solution to connect various A/V components together it is by far the most complex and problematic methods for a myriad of reasons which I won’t go into hear, there’s not enough storage room on my server to list all the problems, glitches, inconsistances, anomalies etc with HDMI cabling and the HDMI spec. HDMI is truly voodoo science and never exact.

      Without being able to look at your Yamaha receiver specifically to view some settings – it is difficult for me to speak specifically to the receiver however there are some setting which can and should be checked and adjusted on your receiver to insure proper operation and decoding.

      There are sound output settings on your Shaw Motorola DCX 3200 receiver which also should be checked and adjusted in order the the Shaw receiver to be more compatible with your Yamaha AVR.

      All the trouble shooting and settings are to complex and involved to write down in this forum, it would literally be a novel and without TRIAL and ERROR and IF you do this – Then What Happens troubleshooting and interactive feedback it is impossible to solve this problem over the internet in a concise written answer or list of instructions.

      With that being said – I wouldn’t necessarily throw in the towel and jump ship to Telus. While not perfect BOTH Shaw and Telus have their own issues and while you make solve one problem with Telus – there may be another problem or two equally annoying with Telus which makes you say – I wish I never did that, or I miss that ________ about Shaw.

      Since I can’t go into all the interactive troubleshooting on this forum – I can tell you some methods you can use to solve your problem and a couple probable reasons as to why this is happening.

      Solutions:
      You already identified two of your solutions BOTH of which you indicated work.

      1 – Connect the Shaw Box directly to your TV. Norm, HDMI is finicky so many reasons, but suffice it to say if going from the Shaw box through the Yammaha AVR with HDMI and then out to the TV doesn’t work but connecting directly to the TV does, then the simple answer is Connect the Shaw Box directly to the TV as well as any other components such as DVD players, game boxes etc… Let your TV do all the Video Switching and HDMI processing and then use the Audio Out Jack either RCA analog or Toslink or Coax digital and come back into your Yamaha AVR receiver for two channel audio. Problem solved.

      2 – If for some reason you don’t want to connect your components directly to your Sharp TV or if the Sharp TV does not have a RCA or Digital audio out, your problem description revealed the second answer Connect the Shaw Cable Box directly to the Yamaha receiver using analog output from the Shaw Motorola DCX3200 receiver. You indicated this works and for good reason – The analog signal from the Shaw Cable Box is strictly 2 channel stereo audio – No digital surround sound information is streamed therefore your Yamaha receiver has no choice but to play 2.1 Stereo audio.

      3 – COMPONENT VIDEO: Forget HDMI Norm, your state indicates that the Shaw Cablebox audio worked fine when using Component Video rather than HDMI. What’s wrong with using component video, why does it have to be HDMI. If component works use that – the resolution with component video for the Shaw Cable box is still 1080P … and if you still want to go through your Yamaha receiver for video processing and connect it to your Sharp TV via HDMI, the Yamaha AVR should be able to convert the Component Video internally and process through the output to your TV on HDMI.

      4 – Get a new audio receiver. Another option if you want to stay with Shaw would be to purchase a different audio receiver, perhaps a Denon or Marantz AVR or if video switching is not required then just a basic Stereo two output receiver, Onkyo, Denon and Marantz all make excellent stereo receivers. With the Stereo receiver, no audio or video switching or HDMI incompatibility would occur and all video processing would be done by the TV. Likewise if you require Video Switching and are stuck on HDMI the maybe a Denon or Marantz AVR would work better for you than the Yamaha. If you purchase the receiver from a reputable retailers with a good exchange policy you would be able to return the receiver if it didn’t work for your application. I only suggest this alternative as a suggestion however I personally won’t get a new receiver until I determined if the SETTINGS in the current YAMAHA receiver are correct for 2.1 channel audio. This included input settings, digital audio settings, PCM audio settings both in receiver and cable box, surround sound settings etc … There’s a bunch of settings which need to be checked and correct before jumping the gun to purchase a new receiver.

      5 – Norm if you want a 5.1 surround sound system from 2 speakers as you indicated in your opening description of the problem, the Yamaha AVR is never going to do that without 5 speakers. As mentioned there are soundbars and other two speaker systems which WILL give you Simulated 5.1 Surround Sound from 2 Speakers. Polk audio is probably the most popular and affordable soundbar. Some Polk audio sound bars can have very good simulated surround sound is certain rooms. Another great two speaker system for simulated surround Bouse is the Bose 3-2-1 or Cinemate speaker system. These little two speaker Bose systems can provide surprising surround sound results when properly set up and are very inexpensive.

      Summary:
      Norm without being able to troubleshoot the settings on your Yamaha AVR receiver, your HDMI cabling and the settings on your Shaw Cablebox it is impossible to walk you through a quick and easy 10 set procedure to resolve your problem however the three quickest and easiest DIY solutions are to either

      1 – Connect the Shaw receiver directly to your TV via HDMI and then to the receiver

      2 – Connect the audio from the Shaw cablebox to the Yamaha receiver via RCA analog cables

      3 – Connect the audio and video from the cable box to the Yamaha receiver or directly to the TV with component video and analog RCA cables.

      All three of these solutions should work and I believe from your description have already been tried and do work.

      If you want 5.1 stereo from your Yamaha receiver under the current configuration you are going to have to connect a center channel and two rear channel surround sound speakers.

      If you want 5.1 stereo from 1 or 2 speakers you are going to have to purchase a suitable Sound Bar or Bose 2.1 Cinemate or 3-2-1 stereo system.

      Lastly of not of these recommendations is acceptable and you think you would prefer Telus then you should consider switching, however remember the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. The problems you are describing are not Shaw or Telus related.

      • Norm Rumer says:

        Doyle Thanks for your advice.. I think I misled you about the 5.1, we are only hoping to add speakers later, the Yamaha is overkill for only stereo but has great sound and 4 year warranties for this model. It’s in 2 ch stereo mode because we’re only using 2 speakers, we don’t expect to get 5.1 out of 2. I have no intention of switching to Telus for anything but phone . The Yamaha retailer sells Telus and had no access to Shaw cable, I only mentioned the AVR audio worked on that system so there is probably a difference in compatibility. I understand the Yamaha is HDMI 1.4 and the cable box is 1.2 but the new versions are supposed to be backward compatible. Why some TV stations work just fine, audio and video but others don’t is beyond my understanding. The Shaw tech who was out to the house didn’t adjust any settings in the box, which you indicate is possible and the tech support in Calgary mostly just want to reset the box, which they have done 4 times,without improvement. For instance Feb 22, 9 pm Ch 4 HD Global Vernon, Touch, no voice, back ground track OK, Ch 8 not HD Global Vancouver, Touch, good voice, Ch 13 ABC HD Seattle, Shark Tank, no voice, back ground track OK. Just an example of what happens.
        I would like to take advatage of the digital capabilities of the AVR which I believe are mostly audio but the HDMI guys claim all sorts of stuff including better Video..
        I will try your suggestions. Costco has a Dennon 1913 similar to what we have and they are so good at returns. We’ll connect with HDMI as a test. I really prefer the Adventa series of Yamaha and user comments are away ahead of any of the other brands.
        Connect the Cable to TV With Component [analog] video or as a second choice HDMI and disable audio.
        Connect Cable to Yamaha with Toslink/Optical [Digital Audio] and hope for it to work. Will get a Toslink tomorrow.
        If the cabling works and or the Dennon works I will have quite a discussion with Yamaha.
        Many thanks Doyle I’ve got more info from you than from any of the local pros. I’m thankful I found this site.
        Norm

  32. Norm Rumer says:

    Doyle Just an update. We substituted a Dennon for the Yamaha and got similar results, no voice on some of the same channels and some different ones. Added a bookshelf speaker to the Center channel and low and behold the audio from the Shaw box was normal, on all channels and on both recievers. Only thing we have no sound coming from the center channel. Why the audio become normal with just putting load on the center is beyond me. Now we’re having discussions with Yamaha.
    Thanks Norm

  33. Sean says:

    Good morning. I have a specific problem that I’m not sure has a solution. I’m an installation technician and have never had a problem hooking up wired or wireless IR repeaters until I came into contact with this new cable box. Have there been issues with getting the remote frequencies to transfer properly through the repeaters? The remote will only work 1 out of 10 times pressed. Also, do you know of any way to change the box and remote frequencies to different wavelengths?
    That may just solve the problem. We have Time Warner Cable in eastern NC and the remote for the box is a standard TWC remote. Thank you so much for your time and expertise.

    • djsedm says:

      Unfortunately there is no way to Change the Remote Codes for the Motorola Cable Boxes …. I too wish there was. Motorola satellite receiver allow you to change the remote codes and so do most other satellite receivers however there is no such option with the motorola cable boxes

      As far as IR repeaters – we have had very few problems with IR repeaters and the motorola cable boxes. We use an Ion Dual Band repeater and it works great (search Ion repeater on our blog and you’ll find it). The only thing I can think of is some larger plasma TV’s may give you a problem with sensitivity ( you need to be closer 5-10ft) Also you didn’t mention if the cablebox is in a house or bar. RED Neon lights, or some fluorescent lighting will create interference hampering the performance of the IR repeater. That’s about all I can suggest

      • Sean says:

        Thank you for your input. I will look up that repeater promptly. Unfortunately, its located in a customers home so no neon nuisances. I had forgotten those signs could do that. Thanks again and I have saved this page to my favs, but am hoping you have a more general site for more technical questions that may not pertain to motorola. You seem to be very knowledgeable and could be an asset to other technicians like myself.

  34. Jeff says:

    Is there an aftermarket way to get the signal from my Shaw Satellite PVR to be broadcast on another TV in my home, other than the one that the HDMI cable is directly plugged into?
    I’d like the signal to be sent 1 floor up and to the far end of the house. I see things offered on ‘Tiger Direct,’ but I don’t know if anything will work to watch PVR recorded shows on another TV.

    • djsedm says:

      There are DIY wireless HDMI systems that will transmit about 30 Feet line of site reliably and with fairly good resolution @ 60hz, These wireless systems don’t work very well between walls or floors of a home. We’ve tried more than 10 different wireless HDMI streaming products and have yet to find one that works as advertised. We tried one unit which cost $1000 and was supposed to stream wirelessly over 100ft and we couldn’t get it to work more than 20 feet with consistent results.

      There are several Wired solutions which work with the existing COAX cable in your home and transmit HDTV to any TV in the home which has an HD Tuner built in. These COAX solutions start around $1600 and go up from there. If you have a COAX (cable) outlet in the room where your PVR is located and a COAX in the room where your second TV is located upstairs then there is a way to use the COAX to stream 720 or 1080 HD from the PVR to the second TV or all the TVs in your home … it’s reliable and works great …. it just costs around two grand.

  35. Meemo says:

    I get a message sometimes that drive 1 is not connected and have to unplug and reboot the HD receiver to recognize Drive 1 on the PVR shows. What is causing this is it a fault with the HD receiver or the expander

    • djsedm says:

      The PVR expander is most likely your culprit. I recommend contacting your service provider and have them hit or flash the firmware in your receiver to make sure the firmware is up to date and working properly.

      The next thing to check is that the HD you are using as a PVR Expander is approved to work with your DVR and cable company firmware. Not all USB or eSata HD will work with PVRs as expanders.

      If the firmware on the receiver is up to date and the PVR expander is an approved model then the only other option is to reformat the PVR Expander and set it up as a new HD or get an entirely new PVR Expander HD.

      There is something wrong with the file structure and boot directory with your existing PVR expander HD which is causing the PVR and Expander not to play nice.

      Good Luck

  36. kelly says:

    hello, you state the dcx3200 can support 1080p. the options on my settings go only up to 1080i. i understand not all broadcasts are 1080p, but i would like to see the 20% in 1080p, however the set top box autoscale does not list 1080p. any thoughts? is it a true 1080p box?

    • djsedm says:

      While the DCX3200 is technically capable of supporting 1080P, most cable companies in North American do not broadcast in 1080P only 1080i. All cable companies get their cable boxes made with FIRMWARE Specific to their network infrastructure which is why you do not see any option for 1080P on the Box. While the box is capable of doing it, the cable company does not broadcast in 1080p or has chosen to restrict the cablebox via Firmware to 1080i.

      Think of it like your 4G or LTE smart phone, while technically the phone is capable of receiving 4G or LTE speeds of up to 100mbs that is only if the Cell Phone provider has LTE service at those speeds …. if you only have 3G coverage in the area or thats the only option offered by your carrier, then the device (phone) is capable of higher speeds but your actual real life performance will only be 1-7mbs a far cry from the 100mbs the phone is able to offer.

      The same holds true with your cable service provider … due to bandwidth constraints most Cable Providers limit their broadcasts to 1080i … that extra 20% of data you’re looking for is just not worth it from the cable companines bandwidth point of view and therefore they don’t routinely offer it as a service …. hence 1080i is the highest resolution choice you have … the box can do 1080p however the cable company firmware or network does not offer it.

      • Mike U says:

        That is the answer I was looking for!!!

        Also, my DCX3200M is also having an issue in not outputting 1080i resolution which I have selected only. Looks like 480 to me. I have an old HDTV antenna up but only get a few stations with it and wanted to get more. I switch between TV mode and HDMI mode which is for my cable box and my antenna’s picture is more clear.

        Also, under the settings the 16:9 display setting I get standard TV display instead of widescreen so I am thinking wither the cable box has problems or Time Warner’s download has errors but they retried that once already.

        Going to return it and get another one. Hope it is defected.

  37. Dwayne says:

    Hi, I have a DCT3416 that seems to have issuea when in playback mode. The recording plays for a few seconds, then the screen freezes for a few seconds, and continues doing this…pretty much making recording with the unit useless. It was purchased in 2007 or 2008. Do you think it might be possibly the Hard Drive crapping out? I have purchased a refurbished 1TB Expander from Shaw, and was thinking maybe I could just swap the HD out from the Expander as it’s already formatted for the DCT3416 unit. Is this a valid option for me at this time.

    • djsedm says:

      Yes it sounds like your hard drive is failing.

      Unfortunately swapping out the Hard Drive with the one from the PVR Expander will not work because the directory and file structure between the Main Hard Drive and external PVR Hard Drive will be different. When you boot up your PVR it will still be looking for the missing original Hard Drive and will not boot, your DVR will become a Brick and will not function at all.

      • Dwayne says:

        Well I went ahead with removing the 1TB HD from the expander and installing it in the PVR just after I posted. After the swap I went ahead and reformatted the HD again and got Shaw to give me a hard reset from their end. The result is that the PVR works just fine, and the playback freeze has vanished. I have recorded a few short programs only so far and all good. When I go through the menu screens in maintenance mode it tells me that I still have only about 160GB of free space, however when I check further on the on screen HD info it does recognize that it is a 1000GB HD. It remains to be seen however, if it will actually be able to record more than the 160GB. I’ll have to wait and see. I will be watching for a good deal on another 1TB HD and reinstall it into the expander so I’ll have the storage anyways. Now my PVR works and I’m happy. In my mind it was worth the gamble to try it anyways because I’m sure an Repair shop would have charged me that much just for an estimate.

      • djsedm says:

        Thanks for writing back and letting us know that it worked. Shaw was the one that told me it won’t due to the hard drive ID’s being different. It will be interesting to see if you can use the full 1TB or just 160GB of hard drive space since the original DVR only came with a 160GB HD.

        Please update us and let us know about the usable HD space.

        I’m sure your comments will help others who have similar problems with their DVRs & HD’s.

        Some DVRs have very noisy hard drives … perhaps this is a solution to that problem as well.

        Thanks again for sharing your experience.

  38. Dwayne says:

    I am thinking that maybe I got one step wrong, and that is why it is indicating only 160GB of free space. I am going to redo it later today. This time I am going to swap back the Hard Drives to their original positions and reformat them, then swap them back again but not reformat after the swap. See what happens then, and if there is no change I’ll get Shaw to give me another hard reset. But not do a reformat after the swap.

  39. Dwayne says:

    So far I haven’t changed anything back. After recording a few programs, it seems when i check the HD info on maintenance mode, the report is that it is now showing still almost 982GB of free space. Before it was only showing about 150GB. Even though it also reports being 37% full on the PVR List menu, I am going to leave it & fill the PVR all I can….record all I can to get it to 100%, then see what happens. I’ll report back then.

  40. Dwayne says:

    OK mission complete! So the mistake I made was reformatting after I put the 1TB HD in the PVR. So swapped the 1TB HD back into the Expander, and the 160GB HD back into the PVR….reformatted, then swapped the two back again without further reformatting. Now the PVR totally sees the 1TB HD as it’s primary HD. Next step is to get another 1TB HD from NCIX, etc…then I should be good to go with 2TB of space. Success!

  41. Marc says:

    Is there any information on the setting required to work with the XBOX one?
    I have a DCX3400m and I have it run to my XBOX one. From there it goes to my Panasonic TH-50PX6U plasma tv. While it works fine directly connected to the TV. When the xbox is in the middle I get a flicker. Screen goes black every second for about a 1/2 second then recovers. Like a slow strobe effect. I have the DVR output set to 1080i as indicated on the front panel of the DVR. But it works with all settings. Yet the flicker persists no matter what I set the format too. Any help would be appreciated.

    • djsedm says:

      The problem you are experiencing is not with the settings of the PVR, and there are no settings you can adjust.
      The problem is with HDCP (High Definition Copy Protection) and EDID (Extended Display identification data). The cablebox has two methods of copyright protection to prevent it from being connected to a device which can record or extract digital information or files from the PVR or HD. HDMI contains HDCP and EDID to ensure the security of digital data, when you connect the PVR directly to your TV the bidirectional communication of the HDMI cable tells the set top box that your TV is a PLASMA display (with make and model information) through HDCP and EDID. The cablebox recognizes this information and allows the digital data to flow from the PVR to the TV through the HDMI Cable.
      When you connect your PVR through the XBOX one the EDID information is corrupted since the XBOX one is not a display device. The HDCP kicks in and stops the signal from traveling through the cable because it knows that it is not going to a display but some other form of HDMI device. The HDMI Handshake keeps occurring as the PVR tries to connect with the display however it encounters the XBOX one each time and them terminates the signal.

      This same problem can occur with AVR Receivers, HDMI Switches and other equipment which connects via HDMI. HDCP and EDID issues can also occur when HDMI 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 and HDMI 2 devices are mixed together. HDMI was invented to provide a secure HD interface and protect copyright media. Previous to HDMI, component video was used to transmit HD video and as an analog platform carried no copy protection.

      The HDMI interface was designed to be a SOURCE to DISPLAY connection with nothing in between. A/V Receivers (AVR) and other equipment is often a hit and miss scenario such as the problems you are experiencing with the XBox One.

      The bad news is for the time being the XBox one cannot be used as a switch or hub for your PVR receiver to connect to your display. The most reliable way to connect and switch HDMI components is to connect them all to the DISPLAY – TV and use the TV inputs to do the switching. If that cannot be done the next best solution is to connect all components to a good AVR Receiver with HDMI Switching built in and preferably HDMI 1.4 or HDMI 2 spec firmware.

      I do not know the exact configuration of the HDMI Passthrough or switching with the new Xbox one. HDMI is a living spec and can be updated or changed via online firmware updates. Depending on the firmware and hardware configuration of the Xbox one switching there may be a firmware update sometime in the future to allow EDID passthrough via HDMI switching. I’m not saying this will happen, I am saying on some AVR receivers and HDMI switches firmware upgrades can enhance operability and compatibility.

  42. Tim says:

    Thanks for all the useful information. I have recently installed a DCX3400 here in the US on Service Electric Cable TV and the picture output to my 70 inch TV is great. One thing I have noticed is that the fast forward function on the DVR is very poor and will back up to far when stopped. For example when watching a hockey game last night I would fast forward through a commercial and in doing so see the game come back on. When I press play it seems to go back several seconds and play the end of the commercial. This is very annoying and I have to believe it is programmable in the DVR but not sure where?

    • djsedm says:

      Hi Tim: the fast forward and rewind settings are usually programable in the setup menu or settings menu of the PVR. Sometimes these settings can be locked out of the user menus by the cable providers but generally they are accessible.

      The factory settings for the Motorola PVR supplied by my cable company are 5 minute FF and 1 minutie Rewind. I have changed theses to 1 minute FF and 30 sec rewind. This allows me to press the FF button 4, 6 or 8 times to skip commercials and if I over run the commercials then once or twice on the Rewind Button brings me to the start of the program after the commercial break.

      Click the menu button on your PVR and then search up or down for a settings menu.

      If all else fails give your cable service provider a call and ask them

      Good luck

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