Rant: The Comcast HD DVR Is Simply, Terribly Awful

This has been boiling in me for a long, long time, and I need to get it out. Why? Well, last night the power went out at my house, not uncommon here in Marin, where the homes are old and the weather rainy. It came back on in about…


This has been boiling in me for a long, long time, and I need to get it out. Why? Well, last night the power went out at my house, not uncommon here in Marin, where the homes are old and the weather rainy. It came back on in about five minutes, and nothing much changed in our world.

Until my wife and I got upstairs and snuggled up in bed, ready to watch our sacred 45 minutes or so of Tivo’d television.

Now, allow me to explain. I got Tivo back in the Series 1 days. I love Tivo. I have written about it here many times. I love its approach to user interface, I love its corporate attitude (I know it can’t keep it up given the reality of the market), and I even love its shortcomings. It’s the Macintosh of television.

And Comcast, Lord knows, is the Windows. And not Windows 3.1. Windows 1.0. Or worse, if there is such a thing. But back to the narrative. Or rather, the backstory.

A few months ago my spiffy Series 2 Tivo (my kids use the Series 1 downstairs) started sputtering and blacking out. It got so bad that I had to retire it to the guest room, never to be used regularly again. (I thought. But it turns out it was not working because I had turned it on its side, and the hard disk did not appreciate my realignment of its gravitational kharma. But I get ahead of myself).

Well, having put my second Tivo out to pasture, I thought I’d splurge. After all, I was having a good year – The Search was a bestseller! – so I bought my very first HD television set (on credit, natch, it takes years to see any royalties, and hell, who knows it they ever really come). And since I’m no fool (I thought), I ordered up Comcast HD service to go along with it. Even I know you need HD service to enjoy an HD set.

That’s when the trouble started. First of all, it took weeks to get the service hooked up, but as you are surely quite familiar with how hopelessly lame cable companies are when it comes to customer service, I won’t attempt to add to the literature in this post. The truly evil portion of the install process came when the cable guy unwrapped a new cable box for me – a box that I had to use in order to enjoy Comcast HD. It included Comcast’s very own DVR, their HD version of a Tivo. (That link, by the way, is to Comcast’s website. For a preview of just how lame Comcast is, try to use that site for more than two minutes.)

Now, I had read about Comcast and its ilk getting into the DVR game, and what I had read was not pretty. But I figured there was no point in buying another Tivo till I give this a test drive.


Good Lord, it doth suck. The interface is simply abominable. Unintuitive and careless, it copies the major features of Tivo’s approach but fails at every single detail – and in UI design, everything is in the details. No surprisingly, it utterly misses the core purpose of a DVR: to treat television as a conversation instead of a dictation. Without a doubt, this is an interface built either by Machiavelli’s cohorts, or by graceless bureaucrats, or both. No, wait, it’s worse. This is a product built by people who fundamentally don’t understand the computing paradigm. That’s it – they really don’t get television as a database. Imagine the folks at DEC trying to build a Macintosh. That’s Comcast’s DVR.

Not to mention, the damn thing is slow – beyond unresponsive. There’s no way you can accurately predict where and when the thing might stop and start when you are fast forwarding or rewinding. The Tivo is like an Audi, but the Comcast drives like a 1972 Gran Torino Station wagon. And the remote? My God, what a piece of sh*t!

But that’s not where the crappiness ends. No, not by a long shot. Turns out, the f*cking Comcast HD DVR *does not have a hard drive.* That’s right, when the power goes out, the f*cking box loses ALL OF THE SAVED PROGRAMS!!!! Are you KIDDING ME? The damn thing uses RAM instead of a hard drive!?

Yup. To close the loop on last night’s experience, that’s what my wife and I discovered when we turned on the television last night. Our entire lineup of shows was wiped out.

Those cheap bastards. Those unholy blasphemers! It took me about ten times as long as Tivo to use their crappy search to figure out how to program the damn thing to record my favorite shows, and in one five-minute power outage, I lost every single episode of Battlestar Galatica! Every Rescue Me! Every goddamn Daily Show, every Gray’s Anatomy, every random movie I thought “hey, I’d like to watch that sometime.” (I was halfway through The Guns of Navarone, for God’s sake! Oh, the humanity!!!!)

And when those programs were lost, Comcast, you lost me. I will never, ever use your box again. Tivo HD, here I come. And not a minute too soon.

There, I feel better already. Thanks for listening. Now, back to watching TV the old fashioned way…shiver. At least until I get my new Tivo HD….

Update: Hey guys, I NOW KNOW IT HAS A HARD DRIVE. I was wrong about that, I thought maybe it was some kind of client server thing with a bit of RAM inbetween. Still and all, it blows….thanks for all your great comments, and your helpful advice.

235 thoughts on “Rant: The Comcast HD DVR Is Simply, Terribly Awful”

  1. UPDATE:
    They exchanged the Moxi box for another and two days later I called them. I requested a 6414 or a 6416 and to make this short I now have a working 6416III and after one week it is working just fine. Rummer has it that they are “soon” to make a change…

    now back to my easy to see and use menus and HD TV shows.

    BTW I have used the internet to FIX problems that I have had under my HMO therefore posting what others do to me gets results.

  2. Just turned on my tv to find that my entire DVR (all shows and schedules) lost again. This is now the third time in as many months. Actually to the day. With thins information I screamed at COMCAST, to find they have a known problem. Every fourth Thursday, they resent the boxes nationwide. Some boxes (both old and new) are getting zapped and losing everything. As this is my third box, would seem this to be a serious problem. They have no solution, nor offered much suggestion. They did give me 100 dollar credit for my continued problems… however, they said to expect a complete malfunction again in four weeks. I intend to unplug all wires the Wednesday before. Comcast F**king S**ks!

  3. Yep, we have Tivo and comcast dvr, comcast is crap, slow everything John mentioned. And yes, we too have had the power outage / loose all your programming issue. even though it has a HD, it still poops on itself. given the option of having a comcast box or not, i would say don’t get one. its not worth the $4 a month dvr rental.

  4. I am not suprised by all these comments, I am on my forth comcast dvr which has died the first two overheated and could have caused a fire. I have two windows media center pc’s but to get the high def stations I need their silly box. Seems to me they are avoiding competition with a proprietary solution. We need to lobby our franchising officials to get comcast to open this up to other solutions (Tivo, Media Center, etc.)

  5. I too made a switch from Tivo to Comcast DVR when we finally bought an HDTV, and have been horrified ever since. One travesty that I didn’t see mentioned above is its notion of “New Episodes”. I’ve tried to set it to record The News Hour with Jim Lehrer each day, and when told to record new episodes it apparently records the first episode of each day: yesterday’s news which shows as a repeat at 630am!

  6. Wow, what a bunch of lame asses…I soon as I read that the his DVR “did not have a hard drive”…I just laughed…
    I bet you have “trouble” with almost all technology!!! Probably a typical MAC user/Dem/liberal hypocrite.

  7. I got my Motorola in January 2007 and while the interface is slow to respond, I think Comcast did a good job integrating DVR functionality into their channel listing menus. It is obvious they seriously cripple the HD box, but frankly, I expected as much.
    What I didnt expect was that I also experienced my shows disappearing from time to time. It’s happened 2x to me in the past 2 months and I’m not sure what sparks it. Both times, my system utilization was at or under 10%. Not a huge deal, but I was sad to lose a few Discovery channel shows I hadn’t watched yet.

  8. Returned from 2 week vacation yesterday. All recordings on comcast HD Dual tuner DVR are gone. Called Comcast and the rep said she never had heard of this happening before. She said she would send a signal to reset box but nothing happened. Should I call back and try again or are all recordings really lost? DVR says it is empty.

  9. I see i’m not the only one who regularly gets tech-rage frustrated over this immense piece of crap they call a DVR. I’ve been a tivo user for 6 years. I think i lost a show once in all that time. So far , the two comcrap DVR’s I have, i had to replace each one once so far due to permanent lockups (unplugging didnt help). Just last night one of them randomly lost all my recorded shows and schedule!

    On top of that, trying to re-do the schedule is a PITA. Why the hell does this turd of a box only hold 2 days of future programming? So now I have to wait a day or sooner before the show is on to set the series recording.

    I called comcast and asked for a month free service for my DVR due to the frustration. The best they said they can do is 2 days. LOL. Complete friggin idiots. I really wish there was a better alternative, but the HD Tivo price and cablecard annoyances are prohibiting me from sticking with that solution…. for now

  10. Hi John,

    I’ll chime in too. We’re on our third Comcast POS (stands for “Piece of S**t”) DT HD DVR now and woo-hoo…it’s just as irritating as the first two. It displays all of the above issues and then some. Right now it needs it’s own A.C. and it’s not even summer!

    We started with a TiVo S1 years ago…still have it in the closet for sentimental resaons I guess…and now we have two TiVo’s; an S2 and a DT S2 and love them to bits. But we wanted to wait and see if the TiVo S3’s would come down in price or what the Comcast/TiVo box will be like if that ever comes to pass so we opted for the Comcast POS DVR to record HD programming. (We still use TiVo for all of the other heavy lifting.)

    I’ve seen articles saying that TiVo is building boxes for Comcast (and Cox) and I’ve seen others that say they will just download TiVo programming for existing POS Motorola boxes. (If it’s the later, we’ll buy a new TiVo!)

    What a shame the largest cable company in the U.S. has opted to use a Yugo to deliver the latest technology.

    We may end up with an S3 and just tell Comcast/Motorola to keep their POS!

    Thanks for ranting and for everyone else’s posts…misery loves company!


  11. Hi John,

    I realize it’s been 8 months since your original rant about comcast’s HD-DVR. I just got my HD-DVR service set up and so far it’s not terrible. Now I must admit a little over a year ago when I was living with my mother, who worked at Comcast, we had a free DVR. That earlier model was terrible, changing channels was obnoxious.. program recording was unreliable. I’ve never experienced a power outage on the older models, or on today’s models, but I would imagine it’s to protect the program data from people connecting that beautiful 160GB hard drive to their PC and ripping it.

    How’s the S3 TiVO? 🙂

  12. When first got my Comcast DVR, I thought it was great to have 2 tuners and be able to record 2 programs while watching a third I had recorded earlier. Unfortunately, I’ve had constant problems with my Comcast DVR. Comcast even replaced my cable box, and I still have problems with it. After working for about two months my DVR is not working YET AGAIN. None of the DVR functions(pause, rewind record) work, it’s as if my cable box “forgot” that it is a DVR! I am about to call the cable company now and see whats up. Comcast’s Internet service & cable is pretty decent, but their DVR feature’s reliability is DREADFUL.


    Never mind the DVR, my cable TV’s been completely out for three days. Oh, and what I said about their Internet service being decent? You can scratch that – my Internet access has been out or extremely slow for about the same length of time, even thouh it seems to be OK right at this moment, knock on wood.

    Thank God, they are sending a technician out Friday. I just hope he knows what the hell he’s doing.

  13. Well, I’m pissed to the max that Tivo finally woke up and REQUIRED you to buy tivo service with their S3 HD boxes.I’ve been on Tivo basic with my Toshiba DVR and loving NOT having to pay monthly fees. Now, if you want HD, it’s either Tivo with $17/month service, or comcast (I don’t think I really want to go there after reading the above).

    The other dissapoinment is that Tivo is not making boxes with DVD players or recorders in them anymore. It was SO convenient to burn a recorded show onto DVD to keep or watch elsewhere. Does anyone know if Toshiba or Motorola or Panasonic are coming out with a DVR box with recording capabilities?

    And has anyone seen a comcast box with tivo guide and software yet??

  14. I have no idea what any of you are talking about. I’ve had the Time Warner/Comcast DVR for over a year – on two sets – and I’ve never encountered any of the issues I’m reading about here. I guess I’ve just been lucky. All of these malfunctions here should immediately indicate a replacement DVR that is in good working order. The power has gone out many times here, and I’m recalling stored programs from the hard drive I recorded 4 months ago. I think most of the issues here are “pilot error”.

  15. Ahhh…Dan, I know for sure that the loss of my recorded programs is definitely not pilot error. I didn’t do anything, everything was simply gone. I had no power outage, nothing. All recordings and my series recording info was lost. It was as if someone pushed a button and reset my box. I have a Motorola DCT 3416 I. It’s actually my second box. I had the Moto mentioned earlier first. It was replaced for this one for the same reasons. I too had Tivo with DirecTV prior to this. I never lost a single program from it. It’s almost as if the data base in which the information was stored became corrupt. When I called my cable company (Armstrong Cable) to try and get an idea as to why this was happening, they couldn’t tell me or offer any suggestions on how to prevent it. They could send a tech…not sure what that would do. Hoping for something different soon.

  16. Talking from a point of expertise and doing so wrongly is not exactly a good rant. I have had my Comcast DVR for about a year, without issue. Like anything else YMMV. Is it as good as Tivo… nope, but it is cheaper and I can live with that.

  17. hear hear!!! we switched from tivo when the new comcast (now time warner) boxen arrived… and man do i miss that tivo. we still make the noises ourselves when ffwding etc. just because we miss them so.

  18. I have the comcast DVR now for about 3 months and so far my recorded shows have been wiped out twice. This last time I came home from work and tried to watch my recorded shows and noticed the time was stuck on 2:25 (it was 7:30 PM) and the DVR was copmpletely locked. I unplugged it and plugged it back in and my guide slowly downloaded but there were no more recorded shows and all my future recordings were gone. The funny thing is that just the day before my mother had to have hers replaced for the exact same reason. I called Comcast and the woman there told me that it was normal to lose all recorded shows after the DVR resets. I was outraged. I really don’t believe that a device could be designed that way. How can a hard drive lose it’s data after a simple reset? And by the way in this short 3 month period we have experienced almost every symptom that was described here such as the 0% remaining when there is only 1 or 2 shows recorded etc…

    If you can’t depend on your DVR to retain the shows that you record for you to view what use is the device? Sure a dual tuner HD DVR at this price is great but it is useless if it doesn’t work.

    Apparently in almost a years time nothing has been fixed by Comcast.

  19. well, what else is there to add?
    Our POS Comcast box simply stopped doing series recordings without any explanation. One day, it just gave up, and no amount of resetting or rebooting the damn thing ever convinced it to come back to life. It records individual programs just fine, but I defy anyone to get this damn thing to record a series.
    Oh, and I *LOVE* the responsiveness of the menu interface! It’s AWESOME how I press a button and nothing happens… then I press another button and nothing happens… and again and again and again, and after about 15 seconds, all keypresses are executed in rapid succession. It’s a fun game, really.
    Ah, and the remote! Another spectacular piece of engineering. They were thoughtful enough to give us a big “ALL ON” button, but for some inexplicable reason, no corresponding “ALL OFF” button (or hell, just have the same button do 2 functions). No… instead, I hit one button to turn everything on, 4 buttons to turn everything off (select CABLE -> OFF -> select TV -> OFF)

  20. I find it unusual you’d compare a HD DVR of any kind with a Tivo Series 1.

    Tivo has a great OS installed, sure. It’s easy to use and responsive. But the fact is, the video quality has always been downright awful compared to any old-style SD cable box.

    What you’re really complaining about is software. I would agree if we were talking about a computer OS, or even an iPod OS, which beckons continuous input from the user. Your DVR shouldn’t – if you’re fiddling with the DVR, you’re not watching TV!

    I’ve used a S1 Tivo, multiple Moto boxes and a few other DVR type devices. I prefer the crisp picture from the Moto DVR to all the others.

  21. Technical people

    I have a Motorola Star Choice HD satellite receiver/recorder model DVR 530.

    I recorded a Star Choice music only channel 905. The length of the recorded music is 4 hours. I have since tried with out success to delete this recording. Please advise how to delete such.
    Please have the tech department actually record as I did and then have them delete their own recorded music program. It will be important that the techs actually duplicate exactly what I have done.
    In that way the fix given back to me will be tried and proven. I suspect this type of recording was not anticipated on the initial design.

    You can Email me

  22. First off, I have the Comcast Motorola DVR w/ the remote and I just have to say that after using Tivo I also find this a bit clunky and counter-intuitive.

    That being said, what is up with the guy who hasn’t figured out that the “All On” button is ALSO an “All Off” button? I have to wonder if some of the complaining isn’t because the Tivo is basically made for people like my techno-clueless father, while the Comcast Motorola DVR seems to have fallen into the the “Tecnho-Geek” category (albeit by sheer ineptness of design). Which means to use a Tivo you just have to be able to turn it on and be able to read. To use the Comcast DVR you have to be able to figure things out, do a few web searches, and basically be adaptable to new technology.

    One thing that I have to wonder, is how many of the problems with the Comcast box is due to overheating. Many people “stack” DVD players, DVR’s and Home Theater equipment in one small enclosed spot without much thought to “where will all that heat go?”. Most electrics are NOT designed to be stacked even though they appear to be. The venting is thru the top and side which just feed to the next items and then hot air settles into the enclosure. Anyone who has ever had heat issues with a PC will know what kind of havoc it can wreak, so why not the Comcast DVR? I installed a 120mm fan in the back of my entertainment system (not just for the DVR but to protect the Amp and DVD player as well…) and have had NO issues at all. Sure it lags a bit and the recordings do get repeated sometimes (I just delete them… it’s not very hard) but in general it does what it’s supposed to and only costs me $12 a month extra. I’ll take that any day over BUYING a Tivo (that BTW YOU have to replace if it goes bad after the warranty is up – Comcast will bring you a new one TO YOUR HOUSE free of charge ANYTIME…).

    It has bugs (lot’s of them) and I make a point of calling and talking with techs and even submitting ideas via the Comcast website. I have even fielded a call from a local supervisor about how I installed the cooling fan and what I used. In case anyone is interested I used a “Scythe S-FLEX SFF21” that is so quiet I can’t even hear it running which comes in three versions, an 800rpm, 8.7dBA, 33.5CFM, a 1200rpm, 20.1dBA, 49.0CFM and a 1600rpm, 28.0dBA, 63.7CFM version. It is 12V and requires an adapter (a 110v AC to 12v DC converter with a molex adapter on it). I used one 800rpm version and it works well. I am looking at putting a second one in just to be safe and move more air. There is an AC model available with a standard two prong plug but they are a bit louder (29dBA) and a bit more expensive ($50 as opposed to $17 a fan). The cost of the AC to DC converter is $14 and I will put a standard molex splitter in to accommodate the second fan. If anyone has any questions or wants info about where I purchased all this just email me and I’ll be happy to help out.


  23. I couldn’t agree more. I have had the comcast guys at my house 2 times trying to figure out why it looses sound and pixelates constantly! The HD DVR unit is total sh*t, and the menus are, as you said, completely unintuitive. I HATE COMCAST!

  24. At our house we call the Comcast HD DVR the TiFaux and I can’t even tell you how many ways I hate it.

    Ridiculously obtuse user interface aside, the principal problem is that we have had to replace our unit three times in less than a year! None of the boxes have been able to record programs without digital tiling and audio dropout that is so bad it renders the shows completely unwatchable.

    The tech who came to our house most recently told me he has had to replace the same customers units 5-6 times. He also admitted the unit was garbage.

    What is the opposite of Comcastic? Craptastic?!

  25. Comcast is definitely Craptastic. my Comcast HD-DVR has lost ALL programming twice now due to power outages. And last night’s was a 1/2 second loss of power, but enough to show 0% Full on the DVR screen. wonderful!!! especially since the 160GB drive was 90% full at the time of the power blip. as a software engineer, it is truly AMAZING to think that they don’t have a saved program index file saved on the hard drive. or a backup file. or ANYTHING to tell the machine what files are still on the hard drive, in the event of a power loss. yes, I’m sure that my box must be defective in some way, as not every customer loses all programming after a power outage, but this box was brand new about 6 months ago. amazingly bad technology, whether it is the hardware or software. and the customer support has no other clue other than ‘pull the plug and wait 10 seconds’. now that the HD Tivo is down to about $299, I think it’s time to leave this horrid land of ComCrap DVR’s. I supported Tivo from the get-go (Series I, DirecTV Tivo) but their lack of an affordable HD Tivo option 2 years ago sent me to Comcast w/o much of a choice. maybe it’s time to go back home to Tivo. only reason I’ve stayed this long was with that empty promise Comcast gave 2 YEARS AGO that Tivo was coming to their DVR’s. still waiting!!!

  26. To Bruce: The “ALL ON” button on my remote most definitely is *NOT* also an “ALL OFF” button.
    Maybe I have a defective remote, but I assure you, pressing it only turns the components on. Pressing it again has zero effect.

  27. I have had the worst experience with the new DVR software. We’ve had shows that don’t record, others that do but weren’t supposed to, terrible performance, runaway fast forward, and on and on.

    Since many people, including myself, signed up for Comcast service having been sold on the Microsoft guide software, and Comcast downgraded the offering without customers’ consent or price adjustment, is this material for a class action suit? Perhaps the half-million or so Washington Comcast customers would like to get $50 or $100 back? That would put a nice dent in Comcast’s bottom line and make them think twice about screwing the very people who make their executives rich, don’t you think?

    If you don’t think suing them is a good option, at least call their customer support and demand a day of service back each time you have a problem, it’s worked for me so far, I’ve got about 4 days of service (about $8 each time) back from calling with issues.

  28. well, what else is there to add?
    Our POS Comcast box simply stopped doing series recordings without any explanation. One day, it just gave up, and no amount of resetting or rebooting the damn thing ever convinced it to come back to life. It records individual programs just fine, but I defy anyone to get this damn thing to record a series.
    Oh, and I *LOVE* the responsiveness of the menu interface! It’s AWESOME how I press a button and nothing happens… then I press another button and nothing happens… and again and again and again, and after about 15 seconds, all keypresses are executed in rapid succession. It’s a fun game, really.
    Ah, and the remote! Another spectacular piece of engineering. They were thoughtful enough to give us a big “ALL ON” button, but for some inexplicable reason, no corresponding “ALL OFF” button (or hell, just have the same button do 2 functions). No… instead, I hit one button to turn everything on, 4 buttons to turn everything off (select CABLE -> OFF -> select TV -> OFF)
    Bayanlara Ozel Ne Varsa…!

  29. Talking from a point of expertise and doing so wrongly is not exactly a good rant. I have had my Comcast DVR for about a year, without issue. Like anything else YMMV. Is it as good as Tivo… nope, but it is cheaper and I can live with that.

  30. Altough I saw the word come up in a couple of comments, I shall speaketh it myself.

    Wouldn’t your gripe be with Motorola’s crappy design, and not Comcast? I, myself, am about to get into the game. In Rhode Island, we have Cox… which is Comcast under a different name. (Comcast recently acquired Cox.)

    I think that your shows are “saved” rather than recorded because you are renting the DVR, that when you are able to upgrade, you don’t lose what you have saved. It’s like Communism — beautiful in theory, horrible in practice.

    I think it’s pretty poop that you lost all your stuff in a minor power outage. If there was some way that Cox, excuse me, Comcast, could save what you had in like a list or something on their end… you could possibly retrieve what you’ve lost through their database of shows? I know it sounds like a longshot, and it may sound incredibly stupid coming from someone who has never owned a DVR (yet), but at least I’m trying.

    I’m sorry to hear about your experience. My sister and her husband have a Cox DVR, and have reported no problems. But, then again, they’re not as picky about their TV as you (and probably I) am. The speed and functionality I cannot report on — while I’ve used their’s, I’ve had no problems… because I’ve never USED a TiVo, nor have I seen one in action… but it didn’t bother me.


  31. This may be naive, but the Comcast box looks like it has a USB interface on the front. Is there any way to back up your DVR to an external hard drive? We had a power failure right before we went on vacation. It didn’t wipe out anything, but my husband tried to program it to record the first LOST episode before the “guide” had repaired itself. While we were on vacation, it recorded 82 short pieces of LOST, completely overwriting everything else that was on the disk. And, it never did record the LOST episode! It occurred to me that if I could periodically back up the hard drive in the machine, we would be protected against this kind of problem. Anyone know how?

  32. Our Insight cable service was just bought out by Comcast. This thread is pretty frightening. We have a TIVO series 2 that we’re currently using with Comcast. We just purchased a HD LCD and were thinking of getting HD from Comcast.
    Does anyone know if you can use one of the new HD TIVO’s with Comcast’s HD service? I reeeeeeeeally do not want to get a Comcast HD DVR.

  33. What a great set of rants regarding the Comcast DVR. Here in San Francisco, you can now trade your old (6412) Motorola DVR for the new (3416) version. I just made the switch a week ago, and I am very pleased. Not only has lag been brought way down, but HD and SD video (especially video with fast motion) has been greatly improved.

    It’s no Tivo – don’t get me wrong – but my stress level has been greatly reduced with this device. Simply put… it finally works. Now if Comcast would just give me a refund for the last two years of dealing with that crappy first edition.

  34. I searched for COMCAST DVR SUCKS to find this page so I can voice my opinion.

    I think they purposely make the remote act slowly so that customers do not use their DVRs. The remote button presses takes several seconds to react and the lag is unbearable.
    I simply cannot put up with this shit anymore.

    Comcast worthless innovation-stifling company that needs to be taken over by apple at 1$ a share and the designers fired.

  35. We are on our second Comcast DVR Box in a month and this one sucks too. We called to get TIVO installed and the technician that came to our house said the Comcast TIVO is awful. He said there is some problem with the software. Anway I try to tape programs while I am out or at work and the box freezes on me about 2 hours after I leave. He said he didn’t know what the problem was and we should experiment different ways to turn off our T.V. WHAT? So like a dummy I tried the two ways there are to turn off the T.V. and of course nothing worked. I am so sick of calling them since they are completely clueless. I’m so aggravated I’m thinking about just going back to my VCR except I want the HD picture. I am just praying that Verizon comes to my city soon!!

  36. My problem probably is that we never had Tivo to compare to Comcast’s DVR’s.

    We have four Comcast units in our house, all hi-def ones and they work fine. Sometimes they are a little slow or balky, but it’s never a serious problem. Once every few months one can get a little scrambled, and I simply un-plug it, wait about sixty seconds, re-boot it and it’s OK again. If it ever gets worse, we then un-plug the cable co-ax cable and repeat the aforementioned procedure and that always fixes it.

    We do have to sort of “aim” our remote a little more precisely at the DVR box to make sure it gets the commands.

    Never having seen the Tivo interface, we are completely happy working with the Comcast one.

    We love freezing shows, rewinding when we want to, recording new shows or whole series to our heart’s content. I usually do sporting events, and like being able to record 1-2 hours after a program has ended, just in case a game goes into overtime. We have no interest in saving shows like copying them to a DVD or keeping them on a hard drive.

    All of the anger and frustration expressed on this site is really misplaced given my experience with these units – we love them.

  37. I like the Comcast/Motorola box, but then I’ve never used a TIVO. The one big problem I’ve run into — confirmed by a couple of Comcast techs — is you never want it to get more than 90% full. I don’t know if the problem is file fragmentation or software bugs, but the playback becomes very glitchy at that point. Worse, on my unit, after I deleted programs to bring it under 70% it only ran for a couple of weeks before I started noticing glitches again. (Like the sound dropping out.) Then, bringing it under 40% eliminated the glitches, but I’m afraid there may now be bad spots on the disk that can show up anytime…

    And trying to get Comcast to replace it can be a bitch, because the techs don’t all have the same understanding of what the replacement policy is. (One tech said he couldn’t replace it unless he saw the problem during the 5 minutes he was watching it. Btw, that same tech tried to tell me the box had a “hard drive” but not a “hard disk”. Wow, where do they get these guys?)

    Oh yeah, if you lose power, you lose access to your saved programs for some period of time. The disk is OK, but apparently the software to access the files has to get downloaded from Comcast. (?) Probably helpful to have an UPS for it if you live where power is iffy.

    Well, anyway, I still like it in spite of the above.

  38. Comcast DVR makes the Yugo look like a masterpiece of modern automotive engineering. Truly the most horrid piece of software I have ever seen. There is no comparison to Tivo, they aren’t even in the same league.

  39. The only way to record video from your DVR to the PC is to use the HDPVR from Hauppague.

    The HDPVR takes component video (Yr,Yb,Cr) and optical audio in. It compresses the Video using H.264 and outputs it to your PC via a USB2.0 Interface.

  40. Just sit back and enjoy the damm thing. Unless you have 900.00 for a TIVO HD. Comcast Kicks ass I’ve enjoyed it for the last 5yrs. Thier on-demand is by far the best. Screw all the others…

    Just my opinion you bash this post and i’ll be looking…

  41. i dont know what all of you are talking about, i love time warner and i have never had a problem with my box.

    just kidding………………..

    just a few minutes ago i decided to pause “friends” so i could go get a drink. well apparently pausing my show is too much to ask because after i pressed pause, nothing happened so i thought “oh, i didnt press the right button” or something, so i pressed it again… still nothing. so i press it a few more times thinking that something is wrong with my remote, and still nothing. so i press some other random buttons to see if anything works…and no response.

    so a good 5 minutes later, all of the commands happen at once. oh how i LOVE time warner cable.

    i havent tried tivo yet, but i plan on throwing my twc box into the pool and watching it slowly drown. then i plan on getting tivo. if its anything like mac, i know i’ll love it.

    also, besides the fact that it takes 10 minutes to do anything, my box makes a loud buzzing noise. so loud actually that people can hear it when i talk on the phone. like i said… tomorrow it will be at the bottom of my pool.

    good luck everyone.

  42. I completely agree that the Comcast DVR does indeed suck. Trying to fast forward or rewind a recording is a joke. But you don’t loose your recorded shows after a power outage. I have unplugged my DVR many many times and have never lost anything except the program guide etc. What does happen is that you can’t get to your recorded shows until after the box finishes communicating with comcast and restores its guide and features, then you can get to your shows again.

  43. Wow! Two years of ineptitude; it seems as though Comcast hasn’t changed a bit. I can’t imagine if Comcast were any other type of company. Would you drive a Comcast Cimaron? Fly in a Comcast 747? Would you dare get major surgery at St. Comcast Hospital?

    I can’t make it through The Closer on DVR without missing at least five minutes. The Beijing closing ceremony turned my big screen into an expensive kaleidoscope for minutes at a time. I’m currently attempting to watch the Detroit Tigers play the Indians, and I’m getting the same damn thing: a choppy, pixilated picture, disappearing-audio, and an all around horrendous experience.

    I had Brighthouse Networks before I moved. Now I’m in an apartment and stuck with the suckiness that is Comcast; I have no other viable choice. Perhaps a digital converter box for February 2008 (and trust me; that’s a distinct possibility right now). Brighthouse wasn’t perfect, but it was so far above and beyond what I’m dealing with now. The few issues with Brighthouse were often quickly resolved through an automatic update to software or something. I’ve had my Comcast for about a week now and I’m ready to give up television altogether and start reading again.

    Comcast blows, it should be illegal for a company to have a monopoly on cable service based on where you live, and I think I’ll go write my Senator on this.

  44. Aaron, I had the same problem when I got my HD box. You just need a higher quality coaxial cable to protect the signal. I was getting a bunch of digital pixels, but once I put in the new wire, it works perfectly now.

    As for all the hating on Comcast, I understand that it’s not perfect, but I suppose it just depends on how you use it.

    Generally, I don’t fast-forward or rewind much, so I don’t have to worry about the non-responsiveness. I just save and watch. It’s not that difficult to hit ‘record’ and ‘play’. I suppose if you want to skim through alot of your recordings, the delay could be annoying.

    I will admit that the menus, at times, can be frustrating, but you just find your program and click and be done with it.

    Unlike most of you, I have no real problems with the Comcast one. Sure, the Tivo one runs much smoother, but you have to drop $300 on it? Are you kidding me? Comcast will just had you over one of those laggy boxes for free! It’s the same HD, it’s the same programming. If you want to pay $300 for a box that has faster menus and a slicker interface, then go for it. I’ll be sticking with my Comcast HD DVR box that records the same programs knowing that I saved $300 to wait 3 extra seconds navigating the menus. 🙂

  45. Here here! I have never been less satisfied with a product. The minute FIOS makes it to my neighborhood, Comcast is getting kicked to the curb.


  46. Good God … after years of bad comments about this DVR, I thought things would have improved some and these comments would be isolated incidents…

    Nope, this DVR sucks BIG TIME.

    I won’t get into the menufeature differences of this DVR and Tivo. Just understand that when you press a key on this thing, it may or may not do what you want it to do … key presses get queued and processed whenever it feels like it … what on earth is this thing doing all the time? Who knows, the key buffering happens constantly! I shut it off, even unplug it and it’ll be fine for a few hours.

    Comcast, your DVR service is simply the worst experience I have ever had. No more. Back to satellite and my beloved Tivo.

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