For years the two biggest request to Comcast were for higher broadband speeds and to be able to use an external hard drive with Comcast Digital Video Recorders ( DVR ). Comcast took a good amount of time – but finally delivered on the speed increases. This left only the external drive issue to be resolved.
Much of Comcast’s competition have allowed the use of external drives for more DVR storage for a number of years. I’d guess that copyright concerns have slowed the adoption of this consumer option. Not exactly sure why – anyone with eyeballs can see copy protection hasn’t stopped movies and television shows from showing up on file sharing services.
Comcast has slowly started to enabled external hard drive use for certain model DVR’s in a limited number of markets. This has frustrated a large number of customers who haven’t seen this option switched on in their town.
Officially Comcast only supports Western Digital’s My Book AV DVR Expander as an external drive for their DVR’s. In theory any hard drive with an eSATA cable should work – maybe with USB cable also. Comcast states to only use a maximum 1TB drive. Larger drive sizes are not supported and may or may not work.
This also may be true depending on what model DVR you are using. I am using a Motorola DCX3400 HD DVR dual tuner. The DCX3400 is not on the official support list at this time. During testing some issues were reported and a new firmware is being designed to provide a better customer experience when a external hard drive is used with a DCX3400 DVR. All that being said – some Comcast customers have had no problems running an external drive with a Motorola dual tuner DCX3400 HD DVR.
I made a Western Digital My Book AV DVR Expander purchase because it was the model that had official approval and had been tested by Comcast. As the video shows when I first tried to use it with our DCX3400 I received an error message. Even after a hard recent of the DVR nothing changed.
Although the drive and DVR wouldn’t play nice with each other – I left the hard drive plugged into the eSATA port in the back of the Motorola DCX3400 HD DVR. It’s been about a month since we received our My Book AV DVR Expander and I set it up.
Imagine my surprise early this morning when I saw a message pop up asking me if I wanted to format the drive. The DVR had been on all morning and hadn’t rebooted or shutdown. So I’m not sure what caused the drive to finally be approved for use. Someone must have flipped the right switch somewhere.
As far as I’m aware the Motorola DCX3400 is still not officially supported for external hard drive use. I’ll keep an eye on things the next few weeks to see if any problems or issues arise.
This customer option is many years overdue. Hopefully more markets will get the joy of having a choice for more DVR storage space very soon.
I have no information if any other Central Illinois markets now have this feature available. Normally when Springfield IL gets something new or updated – surrounding communities do as well. I think in most regions multiple cities are run from a shared network.
Yes I’m aware I that I own a very old television set – way overdue for an upgrade. Just never have the cash or it needs to get spent elsewhere.
I have NOT tested an SSD drive as an external = not sure if anyone else has done so – or if that would work at all. The Western Digital My Book AV DVR Expander is an old fashion IDE hard drive.
“Western Digital’s My Book AV DVR Expander is the external hard drive that has been tested and approved to work with Comcast DVRs, and provides an additional one terabyte of storage.”