At 10.5” wide, 3” high and 10.5 inches deep this compact cablebox will fit almost anywhere, above the TV, below the TV, behind the TV, in the equipment rack , shelf or cabinet just make sure to leave enough space for ventilation! (more on that in a minute).
The DCX cable boxes replace motorola’s aging DCT product line and with the new DCX model series comes a faster processor, larger memory and optional MoCA® networking capabilities. The processor speed and memory are noticably faster, the guide, menus, video on demand and other features load 20-60% faster than the older DCT boxes.
The DCX 3200 is Black in color and has a power button, USB port and digital readout on the front. On the back you’ll find an RF cable input, HDMI, Component Video (YPbPr), S-video and RCA Composite Video Outputs along with RCA L/R, Coaxial, Toslink audio outputs. There is a 3.5MM jack input for IR Control a 1394 Firewire 400 port, a USB2 port and a RJ45 ethernet jack. The DCX3200 also is M-Card ready and supports an M-Card interface. In order to reduce heat and keep the chassis as small as possible the power supply is external.
Note: There is NO RF output on the DCX3200 cable box, the TV you are connecting MUST have either a Digital input or composite or S-Video input.
The DCX3200 is capable of several resolution outputs including 480i/p, 720i/p and 1080i/p. Depending on the broadcast signal, the cable box will automatically adjust the proper output signal based on the cable connection and resolution capabilities of the TV you have connect to the cablebox.
On the audio side the Motorola DCX3200 decodes all popular digital audio formats including, Dolby Digital 5.1, AC3, PCM and Dolby 5.1 Prologic digital audio.
We tested out the Motorola DCX3200 cable box connected to the Shaw Cable network and found the set top box to be an excellent performer. As mentioned the guide and menus loaded quickly and the picture quality was excellent at all levels of resolution.
Any high definition cablebox priced under $200 is bound to have some limitations and the Motorola DCX3200 has several.
Most of the limitations of the Motorola DCX3200 could be eliminated if the first problem “Networking” was enabled.
Networking – MoCA®:
MoCA® is a networking platform similar to ethernet for computers which will allow Cableboxes to communicate with each other through the coaxial cable wires currently running in your home and will enable features like “PVR Anywhere” and “Follow Me TV” and “Remote Programming”. While all these features and more are built into the Motorola DCX3200 cablebox they are dependent on your cable service provider and currently ALL Cable providers (Shaw, Time Warner, Comcast) have disabled this innovative feature on the DCX3200. Perhaps sometime in the future these features will become available however we could not get a timeline from any of the cable companies we contacted so for now the Motorla DCX3200 is a basic HDTV cable box and that’s it.
Dual Tuner and PVR: The motorola DCX3200 has only one tuner and NO PVR or PVR expandability or networking (at this time). Although there are firewire, USB and RJ45 jacks on the back of the DCX3200 these ports cannot be used to connect an external hard drive and convert the DCX3200 into a PVR, I repeat the DCX3200 cannot be converted into a PVR (the Motorola DCX3300 and 3400 have PVR capabilities). Once MoCA® becomes available dual tuner and PVR convertibility will not be such a big deal, however in the intern, until you can network your cable boxes and have “Follow Me TV” and “PVR Anywhere” the option of NOT being able to hook up an external hard drive and convert the 3200 into a PRV is very disappointing.
While the Motorola DCX series of HDTV Set-top boxes are definitely an improvement over the aging DCT series 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 existing in the satellite industry for
more than 30 years. UHF, assign able 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 almost a must with a Motorola Cable Box until MoCa® is enabled.
2 – Caller ID: both Bell/Dish Network and Telus set-top boxes support on-screen caller id display.
This feature is more than 15 years on Bell/Dish Network satellite receivers and is simple
and easy to implement yet Motorola cable boxes continue to ignore this useful feature
3 – Online Programming: Once again both Telus and Bell/Dish Network and Direct TV 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
Heat Problems Reported:
Although the Motorola DCX-3200 is fairly new some users have already begun to report overheating problems with these units. Unlike the PVR cableboxes which have an internal cooling fan the DCX3200 cablebox relies on convention cooling and has only a heatsink and No Fan. If the cable box begins to overheat the picture begins to pixelate and break up. Pixellation is not always caused by heat sometimes pixellation is caused by the cable signal coming to the unit. If you experience frequent pixellation and picture breakup, feel the cablebox to see if it’s warm or HOT to the touch, if so odds are the box is overheating. Consider moving the cable box to another location (for example out in the open instead of inside a cabinet).
Heat Reducing Tip:
One ingenious way to reduce the heat and help keep the DCX3200 cool is to install a USB powered cooling fan. The fan can plug into the rear USB port on the DCX3200. There are several different types of USB powered cooling fans available and this trick really works!
We like the small compact size, the Black chassis color and the myriad of Digital and Analog outputs on the DCX3200 however we are very disappointed that the MoCA® networking feature is not enabled at this time which severally limits the functionality of the cablebox.
Until the MoCA® feature is enabled we cannot recommend the Motorola DCX3200 cable box at this time however we would recommend the Motorola DCX3300 or DCX3400 models both of which are PVR ready or PVR enabled for only slightly more money than the price of the DCX3200.
As systems integrators at DJ’s Sound City we design systems with your needs in mind, if you’re uncertain as to which equipment is right for you give us a call and we’d be happy to help you out.