S

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Wednesday, July 12th, 2023 8:21 PM

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I'd rather lose VOD than my DVR!

This is really ridiculous. I've been with Comcast since the 90s and our current boxes are the Motorola DCX3400M DVR and two DCX3200M. I've had theae since 2010 and they still work just fine. On the DVR box I have had 2TB drive connected via eSATA since 2015. Over the years, I have a nice selection of movies and programs that I've recorded. I use the DVR all the time, usually to record a program then watch a few days later. And if I record a movie that's good, I might not delete it.

I hardly ever use VOD, maybe 1-2 times a month.

So with the message I got about losing VOD and needing to "upgrade" to X1 to keep it, I know that I won't be going that path. I did try an X1 box about 3 years ago and hated it. When I go to friends with X1, I don't like the layout and lack of customization that I have on my old (better) DCX boxes. 

But the main issues would be losing all my DVR recordings. And with X1, you can't connect an external drive to give you more DVR storage space. 

Ch 1 that goes to VOD has been around since my first box in the 90s, so I don't know why they have to get rid of it and move VOD over to IP based service.

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11 months ago

I am having the same issue--I also have a Motorola DCX3400/RNG200N. I don't have an external hard drive but I have managed to work with about 25% free space, periodically clearing more space after I'm pretty sure won't need the recordings (next to go--the whole series of Dexter 2, which I could never get into past the first episode). I never upgraded to X1, the main reason being they could not pass through the native cable signal to the TV, which I prefer to handle the conversion. I think that was part of their strategy to disguise what they did in 2016 to early 2017, which was to convert all the 1080i programming, which was 90% of it, to 720p--half the resolution--except, at that time, the local broadcast channels. I could they did this, one way being because I saw what was really coming in to my TV. A few years later they did the same thing for the broadcast channels which they had up to that point not reencoded. For years even their tech support agents did not know they had done this, even executive customer support was telling me I could set it to 1080p in the box, oblivious to the fact that it had already been degraded to 720p and that was just upconverting it, not restoring the resolution. Here's a tip for you to save storage space. Since everything through the cable is coming in now at 720p, you should set your box to native, or pass-through, not 1080p, which will save you storage space while not decreasing resolution, yet will still pass through a 1080i pay-per-view event or movie. Which brings me to my main question. They say OnDemand and Subscription OnDemand will become unavailable. But I've gotten contradictory statements from Comcast tech support as to whether I can still order a pay-per-view movie, or pay-per-view boxing from the main cable menu. The first rep didn't understand what I was asking. The second one told me I would not be able to order these things and she had already had a customer who who couldn't order pay-per-view boxing. But the last rep I had assured me I would be able to order pay-per-view movies and boxing, that that was different than OnDemand. I rarely watch OnDemand, maybe a few times a year, and although I never ordered a lot, don't order pay-per-view movies anymore because they do not show the full aspect ratio, as seen in the previews--I'm more likely to get the full aspect ratio version if I just buy the Blu-ray, which ofttimes isn't much more expensive. I do, however, occasionally order pay-per-view boxing, and this is the question I would like answered, that is, if I would still be able to order and view pay-per-view boxing on my TV.

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@NoBundle​ I've had Comcast since 1996, so I remember the outrage on here from customers that had all the 1080i channels being down converted by Comcast to 720p.

I have my DCX3400M set to Native Resolution for the output, so the Samsung Plasmas 43" does the conversion internally. 

But here's the thing, the incoming resolution (480, 720, 1080) is always what the DVR records regardless of what you have selected at the output resolution. So scheduling recording a 720p HD broadcast but selecting the output  at 480 still means the recording will be saved at 720, not at 480. So the only way to really "save" on drive space is to record a SD channel and not a HD channel.

As far as VOD, the show Outlander plays at 1080p/24 so that is the real native resolution, not what Comcast is broadcasting as HD on STARZ.

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@NoBundle​ Your question about PPV events, it is my understanding that it is sent over the same QAM frequency as VOD (ch1). So since Comcast is dropping QAM for VOD and is only doing IP for VOD, then you won't be able to order/watch PPV on a legacy box.

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18 Messages

@SammyFL​ 

Comcast, starting back in mid 2016 in some areas, and in February 2017 in my area, converted all the mpeg2 signals to mp4 which is a more efficient codec. But then weren't satisfied with that bandwidth savings, they had to convert all the 1080i to 720p (except the local broadcasts, which they did if years later) which cut the resolution by 50%. They did this for all the premium channels HBO, Showtime, Starz, Max, etc. I forgot that the DVR records the 720p regardless of the output. For a little while you can still get on demand in 1080, but after about a half year it may have said 1080i, but is had already been converted to 720p resolution somewhere previously. For a while the only hassle channel in the lineup that was still 1080i was NBC sports--seems like preferential treatment for their own company--but that two became 720p after a while. Pay-per-view movies and events are still 1080i. I'm not sure over what systems you can't get 1080p 24--I knowcontest has a box setting for that, but that's upconverting it--24 frames per second is a movie mode. I posted this in in response to andyross below, so I'll just put it here again:

Recently two different tech support Comcast reps, when I asked about it said they could send me an X1 XG1v4, although I am skeptical that's what I would actually get, but maybe I would. At least that would have the 500 GB hard drive on it. And it has supposedly improved performance over the earlier models. Although now that I think about it I remember reading a while ago that someone said it seems like sometimes they were showing a cloud or streaming version of the program, not the QAM Broadcast--is that true?

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@SammyFL​ I discovered after receiving a XG1v4 DVR box, which I never hooked up, that in fact the pay-per-view boxing channels, and other subscription channels, in the 500s, do continue to work after on demand is deactivated. After almost 4 months of having it I returned to the store later got three months credit from a tech customer support rep, and I so I assume I will not be charged for the fourth month since I returned it a couple days before the billing period started. I'll have to check on that.

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11 months ago

As somebody noted in another forum, if you have a device that supports Xfinity Stream (Roku, Fire TV, etc...), then you can use that for OnDemand.

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@andyross​ 

Would I are be able to watch on demand on the Xfinity website on my computer when I'm logged as I can my normal subscriptions? I tested the website for the first time a couple days ago. Not that I want to watch on my MacBook. I have a 60 inch Panasonic plasma TV that is about 12 years old--not a smart TV, but I could use Roku, I suppose, but I'd rather not bother. I also have a 58 inch Samsung plasma TV that is 14 years old, but has only had about 2 1/2 years of use, as luckily I had an extended warranty when a major component went bad just after the two year warranty expired. In the two weeks waiting for that part to come in, I bought the 60 inch Panasonic TV which I continue to use and have not used the Samsung. I never liked the LCD or LED LCDs, but I would get an OLED if I were to get a new TV. Recently two different tech support Comcast reps, when I asked about it said they could send me an X1 XG1v4, although I am skeptical that's what I would actually get, but maybe I would. At least that would have the 500 GB hard drive on it. And it has supposedly improved performance over the earlier models. Although now that I think about it I remember reading a while ago that someone said it seems like sometimes they showing a cloud or streaming version of the program, not the QAM Broadcast--is that true?

(edited)

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@andyross​ 

I forgot to ask, would I'd be able to use Roku etc. for Xfinity Stream If I don't have Comcast Internet? As I mentioned I can get it on my MacBook browser, but that's different than transmitting to the app on the Roku. I gotten contradictory and incomplete information from Comcast representatives about that, and also whether I could order pay-per-view boxing and watch it through my browser on the Internet when logged in.

I decided to order the XGV1v4 from a tech support rep, who assured me, when I asked, that it would be a new one. A couple days after I received it, after watching an unboxing video on YouTube from five years ago where are the unit was sealed in plastic, which mine was not, that it was not a new unit, and I could see some circular scuff marks and a tiny chip on one edge, so it was not new. I called back and talked to another tech support rep, and he said I should have gotten what I was promised, and he would send a replacement, specifically escalating it to request a brand-new one sealed in plastic. I had my doubts, and when it arrived a couple days later it also was not new, and in fact, seemed to be in worse condition than the first one, so now I have to return that to the store to avoid an additional $10 charge. I'm going to use my DCX3400 to order paper view boxing this Saturday, and will swap it with the new box after that. There is a forum thread where people report having a lot of problems with the XGV1v4, especially used ones, although maybe only the ones with problems get reported. If it doesn't work right can I hook up my DCX3400 again after activating the new box, or will they prevent that?

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11 months ago

In the service menu of the DCX3400 where you can select Native Resolution there's a place where you can select which resolutions are supported 480i/480p/720p/1080i (including 1080p pass through). The only time I've ever seen the TV show a 1080/24p program from Comcast was when using On Demand for Outlander. 

I remember the conversion to MP4 and how when you fast forward or reverse a recorded program, it's a bit more "jumpy" and difficult to control than when it was MPEG2.

But honestly most of the channels I watch are the SD version since it allows for a longer "live buffer". On a SD channel you can back up about 2hr 30min, while on a HD channel it's about 40-60min of a buffer. So I can actually leave the box on a SD channel, go out for a while, come back and just rewind the program without the need to record it. 

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@SammyFL​ Standard definition may be okay for a news program but I don't really like watching SD, especially on my 60" Panasonic plasma TV. My buffer on an HD cable news program seems to be about 80 minutes. Before the MP4 conversion it was about a third of that. I noticed there are some channels that are much more troublesome in DVR recordings--not in straight playback, but going forward or backward, it will jump sections. The other channels don't have that issue.

(edited)

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130 Messages

@NoBundle​ I had to do a full power pull reset of my DCX3400 DVR this week because it wouldn't show the list of my recordings (this happened about a year ago when it said 94% full). After a full reboot which takes 5-10 minutes and then turning on the external drive, about a total of 20 minutes later it showed all the DVR recordings. But I then went through and deleted a bunch of stuff I didn't need/want and brought it down to 82% full.

But since I was close to the box, I noticed that now even SD channels the box is up converting to 720p, even though I have Native Resolution selected in the service menu. So now SD and HD are both at 720p? This doesn't seem right to me.

*********

Update.:

So I went back into the service menu, and it was cha hwd to 720p output. I changed it back to native. After that I checked the SD channels and it was showing as 480i, and then went to check all Network HD and cable/premium HD channels and all of them were 720p. So no 1080i being broadcast at all. 

I checked th DVR recordings, and some HD recordings from years ago are 1080i before Comcast started to down convert everything. Recent SD records show they were recorded at 480i.

So really it's SD 480i and HD 720p with Comcast, which is quite sad. But having the box on Native, and changing channels, there is a 4-5 seconds no picture when going from a SD to HD channel as the box changes the output resolution. So having it just set to 720p Output of all broadcast eliminates this when going between SD and HD channels. And on my 43" plasma, it's fine for the box to do the SD 480 to HD720 upconversion.

(edited)

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They started the conversion from 1080i to 720p in the summer of 2016, and in my area it was done in February 2017. Except for the local broadcast channels--they were not reencoded from mpeg2 to mp4 and the 1080i converted to 720p until January 2020 in my area. Before, that after the initial cable lineup was converted, there was one channel that was still 1080i for a while--the NBC Sports Network.

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