This really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Many of the recent issues being reported in regards to Comcast Digital Video Recorders ( DVR ) have been problems off and on for some time now. Yesterday the problem was series recordings set to only tape new shows decided to tape all episodes of the set program. I saw this for the Storm Chasers marathon. I’ve also seen this happen at various times for other shows. I didn’t make a list of all the shows this affected. But this weekend there were several series recordings that didn’t function in the way they were setup to. On a positive note the problems with certain high definition ( HD ) channels seems to have solved itself for now. That issue was covered in several articles in March of this year. So after almost five months someone finally fixed something to solve my problem.
It should be kept in mind that in the past I have seen various explanations for channel distortion issues. The explanation I have read related to certain temperatures creating these types of problems. Or signal strength cabling issues etc. All I know for a fact is that for months now we have had several HD channels that were not functioning as they should. To the point of being unwatchable. For various reasons and not wanting to add stress to my life a service call was never scheduled. I explained this a bit further in the previous articles. Right now all channels seem to be working properly. But we have seen the problem others are reporting in a popular online forum that covers Comcast Cable service.
The various problems I have seen over the years with cable DVR’s have been numerous. One of these has been around since our cable provider was Insight Communications. Lag or the frozen DVR box has been widely reported for years. In all that time I have only seen one decent technical explanation given for this. Granted that doesn’t make the issue any easier to deal with. The way I have described this in the past is that it’s like a computer with not enough RAM trying to complete a large number of task. You get no response at all from the unit and you are left wondering what is going on. When the DVR comes out of it’s funk all the commands you gave it will process at once making for a less than stellar customer experience.
It would take hours for me to list all the ease of use and functionality issues with the Motorola DVR units used by Comcast and other cable providers. Below I will link to forum threads that cover some of what I have seen. I’m always left to wonder who beta test these products. Or what well paid engineer really thinks this is a logical way to accomplish a task. These people must have no idea of the frustration and aggravation they are causing customers. The sad part of all of this is that many of these problems and functionality issues have been known for ages but not fixed.
While I understand the thought process a developer might have in regards to how the scheduled recordings are processed on a Motorola box. The attempt at customer convenience or functioning in a logical manner is the biggest product failure I have seen in a long time. In the end the customer has no control over what gets recorded unless they practically fight with the machine. Honestly I’m surprised I haven’t thrown the dumb box out into the drive and destroyed it yet. I guess someone wanted to give the unit the chance at a thought process. What these developers did was create a royal ease of use problem. Simple beta testing with a decent number of average customers in a non controlled environment would have easily show this to be true.
Once again this a key example of engineers and developers thinking they are showing you how brilliant they are. When in fact they are just showing they have no clue about real world interaction, function or just basic common sense.
In the world of firmware and hardware problems fixing one problem can lead to two others. Firmware updates that are supposedly rigorously tested before being applied always seem to break more than they fix. What is really aggravating to me is even though there is choice of product. The competition seems to have their own set of issues as well.
Personally for me it’s frustrating to see Comcast employees and some customers acting as if these problems being reported haven’t been a constant occurrence.
To Comcast credit it does looks as if they are actively trying to research and resolve the recording issue being reported in the forum at this time. So no matter how they may feel about what I have said above. I will say there are employees trying to track the problem down for customers. Doing so can require a lot of questions to find the common denominator. At least one person is passing the blame onto another company.
“This is mainly an issue with TVGuide, who supplies the data.”
While that very well may be true. It’s a problem that happens all to often. Data missing or box glitch doesn’t really matter to the paying customer. What matters is the device does it’s job in the least intrusive way possible. With the least amount of aggravation trying to get the hardware to do what you want.
Twitter users are reporting these problems as well.
Sometimes it is over a minute before you get a response.
The problem above seems to happen to us at least once a week.