My Motorola DCT6412 DVR Mea Culpa (Updated)

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Date: Tuesday, April 26th, 2005, 09:49
Category: Consumer Electronics

Motorola DCT6412 PVR on ComcastBack in April I was highly critical of Motorola’s new DCT6412 DVR (being distributed by Comcast in my area). I had a lot of problems with my first and second DCT6412 units (freezing, audio dropouts and missed recordings) but after swapping the second out for the third I couldn’t be happier.
Some background is in order here. I used to be a die-hard TiVO loyalist until my trusty 35-inch Mitsubishi cabinet television blew a picture tube. Like most families that enjoy TV this was both a curse and a blessing. It was a curse because TVs are expensive, a blessing because we got to have the “HDTV discussion.” Since it was December and the Eagles were on their way to the Super Bowl, it wasn’t much of a discussion, really – we were going HDTV. Ok, so it was again a curse because HDTV brings up a whole other debate – tube, DLP, or plasma. We decided on a Sammy DLP (a Samsung HLP4674W) but that’s a discussion for another time.
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Motorola DCT6412 PVR on ComcastBack in April I was highly critical of Motorola’s new DCT6412 DVR (being distributed by Comcast in my area). I had a lot of problems with my first and second DCT6412 units (freezing, audio dropouts and missed recordings) but after swapping the second out for the third I couldn’t be happier.
Some background is in order here. I used to be a die-hard TiVO loyalist until my trusty 35-inch Mitsubishi cabinet television blew a picture tube. Like most families that enjoy TV this was both a curse and a blessing. It was a curse because TVs are expensive, a blessing because we got to have the “HDTV discussion.” Since it was December and the Eagles were on their way to the Super Bowl, it wasn’t much of a discussion, really – we were going HDTV. Ok, so it was again a curse because HDTV brings up a whole other debate – tube, DLP, or plasma. We decided on a Sammy DLP (a Samsung HLP4674) but that’s a discussion for another time.
That being said, the move to HDTV was not a seamless transition (putting it mildly). Because HDTV requires a cable box (my previous setup didn’t require a set top box) I was required to install IR blasters on the TiVo to make it be able to change channels on the Motorola DVR. After about an hour on the phone with TiVo trying an endless parade of codes to get this setup to work I gave up. The last straw was when it finally sunk in that TiVo couldn’t record High-Definition programming.
Along comes Comcast offering a Dual-Tuner DVR (the Motorola DCT6412) that records HD programming with no hardware cost whatsoever for only $10 per month. Three features not available on TiVo (with the exception of the DirecTiVo which can record HD but is fantastically expensive). It was a no brainer, my TiVo was destined for eBay.
At first I detested the Comcast DVR interface but like anything new, I got used to it over time. It still pales in comparison to the slick TiVo interface and I initially missed TiVo’s keyword based recordings (Wish Lists) and Web interface (for shows you hear about at the water cooler at work) but I’ve almost forgot about them already. If you’re in the market, the most succinct comparison of DVR features is PVR Compare’s TiVo vs ReplayTV vs UltimateTV vs Comcast DVR feature comparison chart.
My Motorola DCT6412 Mea Culpa is this: it’s not perfect, but if you have HDTV, the Moto DVR simply a better option than anything from TiVo. The dual tuners let you do two things at once: watch a live program while recording another, record two programs that are on at the same time or even watch a recorded program while recording another. It records high definition programs flawlessly and the picture quality is gorgeous. Every Sunday INHD2 plays two IMAX movies back-to-back in high-definition and the quality is stunning. This alone is worth the price of admission.
I wish that Comcast would hurry up and improve the program guide or adopt the Microsoft TV Foundation Edition or license the TiVo interface. My other complaint about the Motorola DCT6412 is slow implementation of cool features like the USB port and FireWire hard drive expansion (the included 120GB drive fills up FAST with HD) by cable operators, but other than that my DCT6412 is an indispensable part of my home entertainment system.
If you want to read more about DVRs/PVRs check out the following sites:
DVR Chatter
PVR Blog
AVS Forum
High Def Forum
Satellite Guys
Broadband Reports
DSL Reports
TiVo Community

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