New Comcast Chicago HD sub--a couple of questions. (1 Viewer)

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shanewalker

Overall, an O.K. Guy
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Mar 15, 2005
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KC/MO!
Alrighty, so I was a happy E* sub until the 16th, when, after moving to our new home and attempting satellite installs (both E* and subsequently D*) left us with persistent insurmountable line-of-sight issues. After almost 10 years, hello again to cable.

Well, admittedly, I was a little reticent after having had some real probs w/ Chicago cable in the past (back in the 100% analog days). A couple of install hiccups notwithstanding, and missing the recently expanded lineup and the wonderful Dish 722/622 DVRs, I have to say that my initial Comcast digital cable experience is pretty good.

I do have a few questions. Here goes:

1) On Demand. So far, this is one aspect of the digital cable service that stands out as a great unique plus over satellite. From free HD movies, premium bonus and archive content etc, I can really see myself using this a LOT. Question is...how often is the content refreshed/updated? After watching Voom channels die a slow neglected death on Dish over the past year, I fear that OnDemand might be a slow-rotation gimmicky perk. Does it grow stale or do they add content regularly?

2) The Motorola DVR (we have 2 DCH3416s w/ HDMI). It (particularly the guide) seems quite archaic compared to the 622/722 models I was used to. No widescreen guide/interface, no way to set pillarbox grey for protection from WS burn-in when viewing SD channels (don't like stretching SD unless I have to), and don't see a way to archive content to USB or firewire drives, though the ports are there. Thoughts? Is there a way or plans to update these boxes to accomplish any of the above?

3) SD/Analog channel issues. I've noticed a bright green bar (in the overscan on the right side?) on a number of SD channels that is quite annoying. Never saw anything like this on satellite. Any way to get rid of it, barring stretching the SD content (which, as I said, I'd prefer NOT to do)? What causes this?

4) The big endless question...when is Chicago Comcast due for more HD channels? Both satellite carriers have had lots of new channels added this past year--what's the timetable for analog-to-digital switchover and more HD rollout?

Well...those are the biggies. Love to hear what folks have to say. Thanks in advance.
 
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jayn_j

Press On Regardless
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Sep 29, 2003
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Hi Shane,
I am also stuck with Comcast due to LOS issues.

2) The Motorola DVR (we have 2 DCH3416s w/ HDMI). It (particularly the guide) seems quite archaic compared to the 622/722 models I was used to. No widescreen guide/interface, no way to set pillarbox grey for protection from WS burn-in when viewing SD channels (don't like stretching SD unless I have to), and don't see a way to archive content to USB or firewire drives, though the ports are there. Thoughts? Is there a way or plans to update these boxes to accomplish any of the above?

I also have 2 of the same model (edit: no, I have DCH6416). WikkiBooks.org has a long article on the Motorola boxes that adds back a number of features. It also describes archiving to the firewire port. The one I use all the time was to add back the 30 second skip. reference: How to use a Motorola DVR/Online help - Wikibooks, collection of open-content textbooks

However, I have a list of issues a mile long, especially with the guides. For example, when you press the guide button, you get the full guide, not the custom list. If you push the button for the custom list, it goes to the lowest numbered channel. If you are in the custom list as the time passes the half or full hour, it will revert back to full guide, even though it still displays it as custom list. Five minutes before the half hour, it skips ahead to the next program, but if you select it, it tries to record. Sometimes it takes over 5 seconds for the box to react to a button push. The info screen is limited compared to what we are used to on DISH. It has occassionally skipped a program when I do NBR, and often it will record old episodes when new only is selected.

Turning it off and on can sometimes lead to problems with HDMI connectivity, so I just leave it on.

Closed captioning over HDMI can only be selected by turning the unit off and selecting it through the power off configuration screen, a giant PIA.

Several more, but those are the biggies.

3) SD/Analog channel issues. I've noticed a bright green bar (in the overscan on the right side?) on a number of SD channels that is quite annoying. Never saw anything like this on satellite. Any way to get rid of it, barring stretching the SD content (which, as I said, I'd prefer NOT to do)? What causes this?
I don't see this on my setup.

4) The big endless question...when is Chicago Comcast due for more HD channels? Both satellite carriers have had lots of new channels added this past year--what's the timetable for analog-to-digital switchover and more HD rollout?

Well, we just got a pile of new HD in Rockford. They seem to be rolling out a fairly nice set nationwide, but there is seldom any pre-announcement rumors from Comcast.
 
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shanewalker

Overall, an O.K. Guy
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Mar 15, 2005
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KC/MO!
Thanks for the response/insights.

Still scratching my head on the 'green bar' issue on the SD channels (seems to be primarily the analog channels).

Any way to adjust overscan on the Motorola box? How do you 'reset' the screen position adjustments btw?
 

jayn_j

Press On Regardless
Supporting Founder
Sep 29, 2003
10,690
3,295
Sheboygan, WI
Thanks for the response/insights.

Still scratching my head on the 'green bar' issue on the SD channels (seems to be primarily the analog channels).

Any way to adjust overscan on the Motorola box? How do you 'reset' the screen position adjustments btw?

That might explain it. My box has both analog and digital mirrors of the analog channels. I just assumed it was a mapdown, but I only placed the ones above 100 in my custom list.

I don't have directions for screen stuff here now, but a lot of the adjustments of the Motorola box are done by pressing menu with the box off. That brings up a basic setup screen.
 

shanewalker

Overall, an O.K. Guy
Supporting Founder
Mar 15, 2005
1,239
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KC/MO!
So, I finished hooking up the rest of my A/V equipment late last week (moving, having contractors in and out, and the premature birth of our baby boy delayed things a bit) and noticed an issue w/ the Comcast Motorola 3416 HD DVR receiver. Seems this is a known issue from my cursory searching, but wondered if anyone has a workaround.

Looks like you can't get proper 16:9 output from the analog outputs of the box (ie S-video), which screws up my ability to dump material to either my DVD recorders or properly view via my Slingboxes. The reciever imposes a needless letterbox on 1.85 HD material, which is tres annoying. I couldn't find any sub-menu in which to fix this...anyone?

Seems I stumble across a new dysfunction each week that makes my old beloved E* hardware look better and better. HDMI output standard jumps when going to DVR recordings or On Demand and digital audio output stability issues I've so far been able to handle as 'quirks', but this 16:9 issue seems like a deliberate crippling of the outputs or a major inexcusable oversight.

Anyone have a ray of hope to shine on this predicament?
 
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