Observer

DVR problems (DCX3600-M)

After a year using the ancient Motorola DCX3400 I was issued when I was forced to start service by my new landlord, with an interface that looks and performs just like the 2001 era when it was designed, I finally decided to upgrade to the latest box, the DCX3600-M. Six tuners, an improved HD interface, better HD handling, faster tuning between channels, I expected a far better experience. Wow, was I wrong. 

 

I've catalogued the issues that I've discovered with this new box.

 

While a few of these issues are specific to my situation, most of these are universal annoyances. Honestly, I would be surprised that at least some of these haven't been fixed in a firmware upgrade, had TWC not issued me an ancient DCX3400 just last year.

 

Perhaps it's that my expectations for performance and operation of any equipment in my home theater system are simply too high - perhaps I'm spoiled by all of the other equipment in my system, or my recent use of the DirecTV / Tivo combo I've used most recently - all of which have been consistently excellent, modern, and intuitive (DirecTV has been so for well over a decade!).

 

All of that said, here's the list of issues with this NEW box:

 

  • Audio sync is off for some channels (SD channels, particularly the SD Cinemax channels) - audio is ahead of the video by about 0.25 seconds (could just be TWC’s fault). VERY noticeable and really annoying. Though, this could be the with TWC itself, I don't recall seeing this before switching to the new box.

 

  • Pressing “Play” during playback of a recorded show doesn’t show the timeline (as you’d think it would, as it does with the DCX3400, as it does with the Tivo, and any other DVR equipment I've used before). Instead, it starts a slow-motion replay. In fact, NONE of the obvious buttons - rewind, forward, or pause - display the timeline, so you don’t know where you are in the timeline of a show. I can't tell how much time is left in a program I'm watching. This is totally bizarre and really hard to justify. How do I know if I started at the beginning of a recorded program? Did I start where I stopped watching last time? How much time remains in this program? Who knows? There is no way to tell.

 

  • There is no easy way from the MENU to review a list of recorded shows. One must either perform a six button press combination, or choose the “List” button - a dedicated button, which is really a drag for those of us with third-party universal remotes. In fact, while there is a way...

 

  • ...the Menu tree is so strange that it's usually by accident that I stumble upon the section and settings menu item that I actually wanted. Overall, the menu interface is just awful. It's so unintuitive. Whoever was responsible for the UI design should be fired for cause.

 

  • The “Info” on any given playing show is usually around 30 characters too long to fit on a single “page”, so one must scroll to see the rest, but those extra characters are totally unnecessary information. It could easily be shorter. But since it’s ever so slightly too long, you might as well use the extra page, right? And yet...

 

  • ...the show info shown in the guide neglects to show whether to show is HD or not, animation or live action, or the genre (drama, comedy, documentary, etc.). This is all valuable information - all of which, by the way, was available in the guide in the ancient DCX3400.

 

  • The box has six tuners (!) but there’s no PIP capability, though the remote has buttons for it. This is a no-brainer, and yet it's not there.

 

  • You can tell the box to “zoom” channels to fit an HD TV, but it doesn’t remember the setting, so you have to set it every time you go to that channel. Ridiculous.

 

  • The box breaks the previously working HDMI-CEC (ARC/Anynet+) on my home theater receiver such that I can no longer use the Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Pandora apps, or any of the other apps that are included on my really good TV. I solved this problem by inserting an HDMI adapter between the box and my receiver that disables pin 13 (CEC). Why would they send *ANY* CEC information down the HDMI cable, much less a signal that kills CEC for the whole home theater network? Reading the forums, I understand that this has apparently been a problem for a while - why hasn’t it been acknowledged, much less fixed? I just bought a device that blocks pin 13 and that has completely restored my ability to use these features on the rest of my equipment. Why do I need to buy something that prevents this box from screwing up my new, feature-rich home theather system?

 

  • The clock display is very bright and has not way to adjust it’s brightness. The ability to adjust the brightness of the display is, again, something available in many previous generations of cable boxes - for decades.

 

  • The guide has no timeout. It stays on the guide pretty indefinitely. Strange.

 

  • The device powers off periodically on its own overnight. Why? I don't much mind, but the inconsistency, it makes it hard to program my universal remote. There's no way to modify this?

 

  • While you need to use the cursor keys to adjust recording options for a series, you cannot arrow to the “save” or “cancel” options. You must use the dedicated (A, B, C, D - in this case, “A” to save, “C” to cancel) remote buttons. This is as unnecessary as it is lame. People who use universal remotes now must dedicate another precious button just for this purpose. Single-use buttons are such poor UI design, and no ability to use the arrow buttons to choose these options is beyond lame.

 

  • There is no 30-second (or any time period) skip. There is only FF. Perhaps this is a patent issue with Tivo?

 

Speaking of Tivo and TWC...

 

  1. Why doesn't TWC offer Tivo? I mean, really...
  2. And, rhetorically, why do we need a DTA to use a TIVO? Because even though TWC has given us a high-capacity cable directly into our home from their offices, they inexplicably aren’t able to fit everything onto it, so they have to deliver lower-demand channels via streaming IP. Yet DirecTV has no trouble delivering all and even many more HD channels by beaming me a signal, wirelessly, from SPACE. How can TWC claim that this is anything but an ancient technology?
  3. Can anyone give a straight answer about if I were able to purchase my own Tivo, a vastly superior interface with far better capabilities, is the digital tuning adapter a workable solution, or is it a disaster like the DCX3600-M box above?

 

 

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24 REPLIES
Moderator

Re: DVR problems (DCX3600-M)

Please reach out directly to TWC support via one of the following options:
Phone:1-800-892-4357
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/TimeWarnercable
Twitter:@twc_help

Trusted Helper

Re: DVR problems (DCX3600-M)


@adams wrote:

After a year using the ancient Motorola DCX3400 I was issued when I was forced to start service by my new landlord, with an interface that looks and performs just like the 2001 era when it was designed, I finally decided to upgrade to the latest box, the DCX3600-M. Six tuners, an improved HD interface, better HD handling, faster tuning between channels, I expected a far better experience. Wow, was I wrong. 

 

I've catalogued the issues that I've discovered with this new box.

 

While a few of these issues are specific to my situation, most of these are universal annoyances. Honestly, I would be surprised that at least some of these haven't been fixed in a firmware upgrade, had TWC not issued me an ancient DCX3400 just last year.

 

Perhaps it's that my expectations for performance and operation of any equipment in my home theater system are simply too high - perhaps I'm spoiled by all of the other equipment in my system, or my recent use of the DirecTV / Tivo combo I've used most recently - all of which have been consistently excellent, modern, and intuitive (DirecTV has been so for well over a decade!).

 

All of that said, here's the list of issues with this NEW box:

 

  • Audio sync is off for some channels (SD channels, particularly the SD Cinemax channels) - audio is ahead of the video by about 0.25 seconds (could just be TWC’s fault). VERY noticeable and really annoying. Though, this could be the with TWC itself, I don't recall seeing this before switching to the new box.

 

  • Pressing “Play” during playback of a recorded show doesn’t show the timeline (as you’d think it would, as it does with the DCX3400, as it does with the Tivo, and any other DVR equipment I've used before). Instead, it starts a slow-motion replay. In fact, NONE of the obvious buttons - rewind, forward, or pause - display the timeline, so you don’t know where you are in the timeline of a show. I can't tell how much time is left in a program I'm watching. This is totally bizarre and really hard to justify. How do I know if I started at the beginning of a recorded program? Did I start where I stopped watching last time? How much time remains in this program? Who knows? There is no way to tell.

 

  • There is no easy way from the MENU to review a list of recorded shows. One must either perform a six button press combination, or choose the “List” button - a dedicated button, which is really a drag for those of us with third-party universal remotes. In fact, while there is a way...

 

  • ...the Menu tree is so strange that it's usually by accident that I stumble upon the section and settings menu item that I actually wanted. Overall, the menu interface is just awful. It's so unintuitive. Whoever was responsible for the UI design should be fired for cause.

 

  • The “Info” on any given playing show is usually around 30 characters too long to fit on a single “page”, so one must scroll to see the rest, but those extra characters are totally unnecessary information. It could easily be shorter. But since it’s ever so slightly too long, you might as well use the extra page, right? And yet...

 

  • ...the show info shown in the guide neglects to show whether to show is HD or not, animation or live action, or the genre (drama, comedy, documentary, etc.). This is all valuable information - all of which, by the way, was available in the guide in the ancient DCX3400.

 

  • The box has six tuners (!) but there’s no PIP capability, though the remote has buttons for it. This is a no-brainer, and yet it's not there.

 

  • You can tell the box to “zoom” channels to fit an HD TV, but it doesn’t remember the setting, so you have to set it every time you go to that channel. Ridiculous.

 

  • The box breaks the previously working HDMI-CEC (ARC/Anynet+) on my home theater receiver such that I can no longer use the Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Pandora apps, or any of the other apps that are included on my really good TV. I solved this problem by inserting an HDMI adapter between the box and my receiver that disables pin 13 (CEC). Why would they send *ANY* CEC information down the HDMI cable, much less a signal that kills CEC for the whole home theater network? Reading the forums, I understand that this has apparently been a problem for a while - why hasn’t it been acknowledged, much less fixed? I just bought a device that blocks pin 13 and that has completely restored my ability to use these features on the rest of my equipment. Why do I need to buy something that prevents this box from screwing up my new, feature-rich home theather system?

 

  • The clock display is very bright and has not way to adjust it’s brightness. The ability to adjust the brightness of the display is, again, something available in many previous generations of cable boxes - for decades.

 

  • The guide has no timeout. It stays on the guide pretty indefinitely. Strange.

 

  • The device powers off periodically on its own overnight. Why? I don't much mind, but the inconsistency, it makes it hard to program my universal remote. There's no way to modify this?

 

  • While you need to use the cursor keys to adjust recording options for a series, you cannot arrow to the “save” or “cancel” options. You must use the dedicated (A, B, C, D - in this case, “A” to save, “C” to cancel) remote buttons. This is as unnecessary as it is lame. People who use universal remotes now must dedicate another precious button just for this purpose. Single-use buttons are such poor UI design, and no ability to use the arrow buttons to choose these options is beyond lame.

 

  • There is no 30-second (or any time period) skip. There is only FF. Perhaps this is a patent issue with Tivo?

 

Speaking of Tivo and TWC...

 

  1. Why doesn't TWC offer Tivo? I mean, really...
  2. And, rhetorically, why do we need a DTA to use a TIVO? Because even though TWC has given us a high-capacity cable directly into our home from their offices, they inexplicably aren’t able to fit everything onto it, so they have to deliver lower-demand channels via streaming IP. Yet DirecTV has no trouble delivering all and even many more HD channels by beaming me a signal, wirelessly, from SPACE. How can TWC claim that this is anything but an ancient technology?
  3. Can anyone give a straight answer about if I were able to purchase my own Tivo, a vastly superior interface with far better capabilities, is the digital tuning adapter a workable solution, or is it a disaster like the DCX3600-M box above?

 

 


I might be able to help with some of the things mentioned above.  I have indicated by number the responses to this customers' concerns.  Overall, I like the new box with the HD Guide, VOD Cover Art, and New DVR management system My comments are below:  (Some settings may require the use of a TWC remote for full box functionality.)  I have indicated this where I believe it to be true,

 

1.) Audio Sync-Customer should be able to get the audio back in sync with a cold reboot of the box.  Power off the box, unplug for one minute, plug back in and allow the system to reboot.

 

2.) Time-Line/Info Bar- Should also reappear following a cold reboot of the box.

 

3.) I find the List button to be easy to see recorded shows and series.  A critique that I have is that in the DVR Management Screen with the ODN build I have here in Wisconsin, there is no arrow or indicator when going through the list and setting up a recording or series.  Seems there should be something there.

 

4.) Menu Trees- can be confusing.  My biggest beef is that the keyboard search often does not return the search results seen in the Time Grid.  I find this often with live Boxing shows, and explain the issues I have with that in this thread here:

 

http://forums.timewarnercable.com/t5/Equipment/Cisco-9800-Guide-Search-Issue/m-p/80059#M6251

 

My comments are near and at the bottom.  I have an Arris box instead of a Cisco, but share the same issues as this other customer.  The advanced search keyboard  often does not synchronize with Time Grid data.  When the cloud data results for the keyboard change, they are often wrong and when data is correctly returned from the keyboard, it does not "hold." as I explain at the above link in more detail.

 

5.) This update does actually provided more detailed program information.

 

6.) I get detailed program information.  HD, category, cast members, air-dates for series at or after January 1, 1970.

 

7.) Picture in a Picture- is still available on Cisco boxes.  I did get inside word from TWC that it may be removed at any time as survey's showed that few customers used that feature.  Samsung removed it via there own decision and Arris/Motorolla does not support it

 

8.) You CAN tell the box to remember Output Settings:

 

a.) Press Settings on Your Remote

b.) Scroll to the High Definition Menu

C.) Select the Picture Size you want

 

Note the following in #8:

 

1.) You might need a TWC Remote to get to the Settings Menu if your Universal Remote does not work.

2.) The "Normal", "Stretch", and "Zoom" features apply ONLY to SD channels.

 

9.) Clock Display: It cannot be dimmed.  But if you press Settings on your TWC Remote and go to Display, there are Clock Options.  One of them is to turn the clock off.

 

10.) Power Save Mode- Using your TWC Remote go to Quick Settings and Timers.  Select Power Save Mode and turn it off.  For further details, watch this video:  (You may need a TWC Remote.)

 

http://www.audioadvice.com/blog/2014/12/13/tech-tip-time-warner-cable-box-power-save-fix/

 

11.) No Time Out- A screen saver of a TWC moving logo should appear within about 5-10 minutes of box inactivity.

 

12.) No Thirty-Second Skip- I have heard and read that this was removed at the request of several commercial advertisers for newer guide software versions.  It would be a nice option to have though!

 

Cannot help with Tivo issues, as I am not familiar with that product.

 

Satch

 

 

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Re: DVR problems (DCX3600-M)

I can't speak for all of the details, but my TiVo is working just fine. The problem was getting Time Warner to provide me with the correct equipment and someone who could connect it correctly. They told me I could do it myself, but somehow I doubt that. You can read more in my topic

 

http://forums.timewarnercable.com/t5/Equipment/A-DTA-is-not-necessarily-a-DTA-and-a-history-of-my-ex...

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Observer

Re: DVR problems (DCX3600-M)

I checked with TWC chat this morning and they also told me that it's not possible to dim the display. But if you do a Google search for DCX3600-M display dim you can find links to other forums that tell you to put the box in standby mode (turn it off from the button on the front of the box) then press Menu on the remote.  That takes you to the menu for the Arris box and you can dim the display. I tried that on my box for TWC and that didn't work. I was able to bring up the same menu when the box is powered on using "Settings/Display" but there's no dim, just an option to turn off the display. This seems like it would be an easy fix for TWC to implement, since the box has the capability.

 

Another issue is the SEL button on the previous box would bring up the Guide.  Now it doesn't and you have to push the Guide button.  Almost a non-issue but after years of pressing that button I have to train my fingers to use Guide.

 

I agree the menu is somewhat daunting and will take some getting used to, but I do like the new Guide program display.  It's a little confusing to set a series of recordings for a particular show but we're learning.  The new box is considerably cooler than the old one, which was a small space heater.

 

I did have to go through the menus and select the default format size and resolution. It took me a day to get everything the way I like it and we're pretty much used to it.  I just wish they'd add that 'dim' option to the Settings/Display options.

 

All in all, so far, I'm satisfied.

Expert

Re: DVR problems (DCX3600-M)

stick a piece of colored cellophane across the display.

 

Participant

Re: DVR problems (DCX3600-M)

I'd like to add my disappointment with my DCX3600-M enhanced DVR.  Junk!  The unit is extrememly slow and laggard in accomplishing most remote commands.  Going through the Guide is SLOW.  Looking up DVR recorded programs is SLOW.  Everything is just SLOW.  Yes, the 6-tuner capability is grand, as are the glittery features here and there.  But unless the DVR becomes more responsive, I must find some other option.

Trusted Helper

Re: DVR problems (DCX3600-M)


@EW wrote:

I'd like to add my disappointment with my DCX3600-M enhanced DVR.  Junk!  The unit is extrememly slow and laggard in accomplishing most remote commands.  Going through the Guide is SLOW.  Looking up DVR recorded programs is SLOW.  Everything is just SLOW.  Yes, the 6-tuner capability is grand, as are the glittery features here and there.  But unless the DVR becomes more responsive, I must find some other option.


I have the Arris 3510-M,

 

It seems to respond OK, but it is just about as slow as my legacy SA boxes.  The Cisco boxes are faster.  I had a Cisco, but had to swap it out, as it would get stuck in these three hour reboot cycles.

 

Satch

Participant

Re: DVR problems (DCX3600-M)

Thanks for the reply, Satch. If my DCX 3600-M doesn't get a "fix" from TWC soon, it may be enough for me to go Dish or DirecTV. Surely their DVRs are more efficient than these enhanced TWC slowpokes.
Trusted Helper

Re: DVR problems (DCX3600-M)


@EW wrote:
Thanks for the reply,Satch. If myDCX 3600-M doesn't get a "fix" fromTWC soon, it may be enough for me to go Dish orDirecTV. Surely theirDVRs are more efficient than these enhancedTWC slowpokes.

Sup EW?

 

I think the hardware on the boxes is fast, but a lot of times, the TWC in house software is what slows things down.  I really wish that TWC could just focuses on providing the services and signals to the equipment.  I honestly believe that programming these boxes, despite reasonable efforts is very stressful and overwhelming for their team.  The slowness of the guide and for me at least the unreliability of the advanced search keyboard with data there one day and gone the next are some of the issues with the boxes.

 

I have said for years, there are too many legacy SA boxes in the field.  TWC has to write program code for all the different makes and models of boxes across the footprint and work on backwards compatibility for the older boxes, some of which go back a decade.

 

Satellite has that one advantage over cable that there aren't all these legacy boxes in the field.  You get modern equipment by companies that are more up-to-date with program guide programing.  Where TWC kills the competition though is in High Speed Internet and Digital Phone.  Both amazing.  I could never go back to DSL, which is as high as dish systems can offer.  I don't know what phone services the competition has, but with Internet and phone, at least in my area, TWC is rock-solid.

 

Satch