My Motorola DCT5100 died a few months back and I took the opportunity to go ahead and upgrade my Comcast package to include a DVR. When the installer came out he brought with him my shiny new box which happened to be a Motorola DCT3416. Of course I seemed to know more about installing the thing than the installer did and after a bit we finally got everything hooked up and working great. Like the old cable box page you may be wondering why I bother making a page about my cable box. The answer is simple, HDTV. If you haven’t jumped on to the HDTV bandwagon yet I highly suggest it. If your cable company offers HDTV take the plunge and order it (assuming you have a TV that can display HDTV, and if you don’t upgrade). HDTV simply looks amazing, if you think DVDs look good you are going to be absolutely blown away by HDTV. I realize that by now most people have seen HDTV so I may be preaching to the choir here but do yourself a favor and call your cable company and get yourself some HDTV.
The Motorola DCT3416 looks almost exactly like the Motorola DCT5100 that it replaced. It functions in the same way as well for the most part. It just has the DVR qualities which are nice. The 3416 has a 160 gig hard drive in it. I am currently recording 24 on it, I haven’t watch a single episode, I want to watch them all back to back and not have to wait. I have watched all the previous seasons on DVD and I can’t imagine having to wait a week to find out. Anyway, with the 160 gig hard drive I have around ~20 episodes of 24 recorded and they DVR is about 90% full. I am of course recording in HD. So, I should be able to fit 24 hours worth of programming on the DCT3416 but it’s going to be close. That should give you a good estimate though of how much HD material you can record, I would say somewhere between 22-26 hours would be a good guess.
For those of you familiar with my home theater setup you will know that I have a HTPC that allows me to record OTA HDTV and I have SageTV that allows me to record standard definition. Ever since I got the DCT3416 I have not used my HTPC for the recording of anything. While Sage worked ok for recording it was a bit flaky at times and just not as easy to use as this is. I actually just had to reinstall windows on my HTPC and I didn’t even bother installing Sage. I very rarely recorded HDTV with MyHDTV in the first place but now I doubt I ever will again. There is one advantage to recording with both MyHDTV and Sage though, you automatically have a copy in an easy to use format on the computer, the same can’t be said for recording with the Motorola DCT3416 unfortunately.
I have been very happy with the DCT3416 DVR, I love being able to record things easily in HD, I love being able to pause live TV, I love being able to rewind to a missed line, I love being being able to skip through commercials on recorded shows, overall I just love it and it has changed the way I watch TV.
I wrote a little guide on how to add a 30 second skip feature to your remote. This little hack is very safe and I absolutely love it. Check it out. Add a 30 second skip to your cable box.
Motorola DCT3416 HDTV DVR Cable Box Features
- Supports standard-definition (SDTV),enhanced-definition (EDTV), and high-definition (HDTV) television
- Out-of-band (OOB) data receiver
- Integrated DOCSIS-compliant 2.0 cable modem
- IR Blaster port
- On-screen diagnostics
- Dolby® Digital, Pro Logic, and stereo audio
- Digital Video Recording (DVR)
- Video On Demand (VOD) programming
- Macrovision copy protection
- DES-based encryption
- DigiCipher II access control
- Pass-through of VBI data services (closed caption,V-chip, and CGMS-A)
- USB 2.0
- HDMI digital audio/video interface (replaces DVI)
- SATA connector (provides additional DVR capacity with an external hard drive)
- IEEE 1394
- 160 gig hard drive