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nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1

[DTA] Can I change the TV channel without the DTA remote?

I installed and activated a digital adapter and now the only thing that can change the channel is the remote for the digital adapter. Can I use my TV remote or my universal remote to change the channel?

My TV came with 1 remote. I bought a universal remote, so I can control the TV myself and not have to ask someone else or wake them up and ask for the TV remote etc. Now the channel can be changed by 1 thing (the dta remote). What can I do? Can I program my universal remote to control the DTA? Does anyone know the code? The code for the DTA. The universal control can control a lot of things on the TV that the DTA control can't, so I'd like the universal control to control the TV and the DTA.


Chuckles0
Premium
join:2006-03-04
Saint Paul, MN
That depends on your universal remote. Does it have codes for what you want to control?

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
The remote control is a SONY RM-V310:
»esupport.sony.com/US/perl/model-···=RM-V310
This is not the remote that came with my TV. I bought it alone from Best Buy. It could control my TV before today.

I can't find a code for the Comcast DC50X DTA on the list on the page above or on the pdf:
»www.docs.sony.com/release/RMV310_codes.pdf

Is the Comcast DTA a clone from another DTA model?


Chuckles0
Premium
join:2006-03-04
Saint Paul, MN
reply to nick11
Is the box motorola or scientific atlanta? General instrument codes will work with motorola too.

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
How can I find out? Thanks.


Chuckles0
Premium
join:2006-03-04
Saint Paul, MN

4 edits
reply to nick11
Never seen that one before. I think that's a motorola. It might be neither

Ugly little thing. If the serial number starts with GI or M it's motorola, SA is scientific atlanta.

Edit: Google shows it's made by pace. I might be worthless to you. Some forums show people had to upgrade remote software to get it to work.

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
said by Chuckles0:

Ugly little thing.
You can say that again. I'm so frustrated with this thing:

1. I lost my picture-in-picture
2. I can't record a channel different than what I watch
3. I lost the channel control of my remotes
4. It takes a lot of time (compred to what it used to) to change channels
5. The volume decides to take some time off whenever it wants

This sucks...

If the serial number starts with GI or M it's motorola, SA is scientific atlanta.

Edit: Google shows it's made by pace.
yes, the serial starts with PAEH


owlyn
Premium,MVM
join:2004-06-05
Newtown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by nick11:

said by Chuckles0:

Ugly little thing.
You can say that again. I'm so frustrated with this thing:

1. I lost my picture-in-picture
2. I can't record a channel different than what I watch
3. I lost the channel control of my remotes
4. It takes a lot of time (compred to what it used to) to change channels
5. The volume decides to take some time off whenever it wants

This sucks...

If the serial number starts with GI or M it's motorola, SA is scientific atlanta.

Edit: Google shows it's made by pace.
yes, the serial starts with PAEH
The Pace box is not meant to do the things you are trying to do. It is a simple tuner designed to allow Comcast (and others) to migrate off of analog and reclaim bandwidth. It has nothing other than basic functionality. It gets most of the digital channels except premiums, does not support VOD, does not have a guide, etc. What do you want for free?


Chuckles0
Premium
join:2006-03-04
Saint Paul, MN
reply to nick11
How many inputs does your TV have? You probably can add a splitter before the box and run two inputs to your tv or one of them through your recording device then to your tv. Or add an a/b switch w/splitter to watch something besides what you're recording.

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to owlyn
said by owlyn:

The Pace box is not meant to do the things you are trying to do. It is a simple tuner designed to allow Comcast (and others) to migrate off of analog and reclaim bandwidth. It has nothing other than basic functionality. It gets most of the digital channels except premiums, does not support VOD, does not have a guide, etc..
premiums? vod? guide?

I didn't say anything like that. If you decide to quote my message and reply to it, please reply to my message

don't make up stuff I didn't mention just because you can respond to them

What do you want for free?
want? free?

I never asked for anything, much less for it to be free

I just don't want the stuff I have to be destroyed
my tv experience is very frustrating now

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to Chuckles0
said by Chuckles0:

How many inputs does your TV have?
two, the one is occupied by the vcr, the second by the dvd

You probably can add a splitter before the box and run two inputs to your tv or one of them through your recording device then to your tv.
this needs 2 free inputs, right?

Or add an a/b switch w/splitter to watch something besides what you're recording.
this would split the signal to two and then you decide what signal you want? needs 2 input yes?

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to Chuckles0
can I buy a better converter/adapter/box that'll allow me to switch channels like I used to?

maybe I need a new TV? or will a new TV need a box too thus rendering the tv remote's channel change function dead? maybe wait for a new generation of TVs?

I guess I'm looking for a TV that you connect the cable with the TV signals to and be done. is there or will be something like that or does everything need a box too now?

The Q

join:2008-06-26
Collegeville, PA
A standard Comcast digital cable box will be much better than the Pace DTA device for what you are looking to do. It will cost you $ per month as opposed to the free DTA device. No PIP through the box though. Do you use your VCR enough to justify the use of that TV input?

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
said by The Q:

A standard Comcast digital cable box will be much better than the Pace DTA device for what you are looking to do.
will it allow my tv remote to control the channel? if not, is there anything that will?

It will cost you $ per month as opposed to the free DTA device.
that's ok if it works

No PIP through the box though. Do you use your VCR enough to justify the use of that TV input?
I was using it enough before the DTA arrived
recording not so much, maybe 10 hours a week
but PIP a lot, pretty much any time the TV was on

now I can only record what I'm watching
not any point in that!

biglittlewil5

join:2009-04-02
Seattle, WA
reply to nick11
The answer to your question is no. Unless you can find a new universal with specific codes for that'll work for that box. You could always call the manufacturer of the remote that you have and ask them if they know of any codes that'll work or Google search. Do not call Comcast on this one because we don't deal with anything other than "our" equipment and wouldn't know how to program "your" remote.

I hope that answers it for you. Seems like you asked a question and never got the answer you were looking for.

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
said by biglittlewil5:

The answer to your question is no. Unless you can find a new universal with specific codes for that'll work for that box.
I can't find a code for this Pace box.

Do not call Comcast on this one because we don't deal with anything other than "our" equipment
the pace box is "your" equipment, it was sent by comcast along with an ultimatum: use it or lose your TV in 1 month

how can it be sony's fault that comcast's equipment is something that doesn't have remote codes

and wouldn't know how to program "your" remote.
my remote? My remote was working just fine with my TV until Comcast made it stop

comcast took away my PIP
comcast took away my recording programs other than what I watch
comcast took away my remote's ability to change the TV channel

I hope that answers it for you. Seems like you asked a question and never got the answer you were looking for.
I appreciate the answer. Doesn't mean I'm not pissed off about it. But I appreciate the reply.

biglittlewil5

join:2009-04-02
Seattle, WA

1 edit
said by nick11:

the pace box is "your" equipment, it was sent by comcast along with an ultimatum: use it or lose your TV in 1 month

how can it be sony's fault that comcast's equipment is something that doesn't have remote codes
Yes the DTA is Comcast equipment, which is why you were provided with a remote for it. I didn't say that it was Sony's fault. I said that since you use a Sony remote you should contact Sony about codes to work with that box. If you have a Sony product how could you expect Comcast to troubleshoot it?

I too use a Sony remote and when I couldn't find a code for my DVR I called Sony and they gave it to me.

said by nick11:

my remote? My remote was working just fine with my TV until Comcast made it stop
The DTA didn't stop your old remote from working. I'm pretty sure it still works.

said by nick11:

comcast took away my PIP
comcast took away my recording programs other than what I watch
comcast took away my remote's ability to change the TV channel
I can understand your frustrations but you're looking at this the wrong way. This whole reclamation was meant to give more. In the end there's much more gained than lost.

Here in the Northwest we've already been able to increase our HD channel count to between 100-110 and deploy 50m internet.

No matter the provider you go with those features would've been lost. We're finally starting to catch up with the rest of the industry and I for one am glad.

I appreciate the answer. Doesn't mean I'm not pissed off about it. But I appreciate the reply.
I'm sorry for that.


Georgia85

@bellsouth.com
reply to nick11
I know how frustrating this all is for you. I was in a similar situation and being an avid tv recorder couldn't fathom the idea of not being able to record a different program from what I was watching. First of all, Federal Law mandated the transition of national networks to digital...Comcast took it upon themselves to migrate their additional cable channels to digital throughout the remainder of the year. If you are still receiving the Analog Comcast transmission I'd suggest transferring over to digital (there is no additional cost) and using their digital set top box with remote (has On Demand, tv guide listings, show info button...). You enter in a code for your TV on the digital remote and if one is not provided on the list of codes there is a process to search for a code. No, your current tv remote will not work on the set top box - it will only work on your tv and since your tv needs to remain on channel 3 (or 4 depending on you settings) your current tv remote will be of little use other than controlling volumn. And yes, you will always need a set top box with digital cable (regardless of the type of tv you have) because these boxes unscramble the cable channels.

As for watching one show and recording another this can be done (up until the total migration by Comcast of all channels to digital) You will need a splitter and an A/B switch. The cable from the wall goes into the splitter. From the other 2 connections of the splitter attach cables. One cable will go into the "B" portion of the A/B switch. The other cable will go into the "in" connection of the digital set top box. The "out" connection of the digital set top box goes into the "A" connection of the A/B switch. There is a 3rd connection on the A/B switch and that goes from the switch to the "in" on the VCR. Then attach another cable from the "out" of the VCR into the TV. When you switch over to the B mode you have access to your VCR. You can set a program schedule it to record any of the channels you previously had that are still being transmitted via analogue. This includes the major national networks because even though Federal Law said they had to be sent via a digital format cable companies must still provide them in an analogue format for 2 years. You can also watch tv via your VCR's tuner (allowing you to use your tv remote and maintaining your picture in picture feature). And you can change channels on your VCR. You cannot watch one show while recording another while in this mode. This is where you switch over to "A" This allows you to watch TV (using your settop to change channels) while your VCR records the programs you have set it to record.

Unfortunately I don't know how to include a DVD player in this setup - I actually use a VCR/DVD Player combo. I'm sure it's just a matter of using RCA video/audio cables. You probably can find forums online that will discuss this.

So the above configuration will allow you to watch one show while recording another. It will allow you to use your current remote to change channels while in VCR mode. It will allow your picture-in-picture while in VCR mode. The bad news is this will only last as long as Comcast continues their analogue transmission...two years for ABC, CBS, NBC but a matter of days or months for their cable channels.

The final alternative - which is what I just did this past weekend - is bite the bullet and rent a DVR. I've already got my digital package and now with the DVR I can "record" 2 shows at the same time or record 1 and watch another. I didn't want the additional expense but what can you do?

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to biglittlewil5
said by biglittlewil5:

Yes the DTA is Comcast equipment, which is why you were provided with a remote for it. I didn't say that it was Sony's fault. I said that since you use a Sony remote you should contact Sony about codes to work with that box.
how can sony provide me with a code for comcast's box when comcast manufactured a box without a code?

If you have a Sony product how could you expect Comcast to troubleshoot it?
the product didn't need any troubleshooting. it could control the TV that it came with fine. it was the comcast box that stopped it from doing that

you are 100% right when you say 'why do you want comcast to fix sony's remote?' that's true if I'm the one that gets the new remote though. but I didn't go out and bought a sony remote that now I ask comcast to fix. I didn't bought anything. it was comcast send me a box that broke my remote.

The DTA didn't stop your old remote from working. I'm pretty sure it still works.
no, I'm pretty sure it does not

before I installed the DTA, when I pushed the button with the number 5, my TV started displaying channel #5
after I installed the DTA, when I push the the number 5, I get snow

I can understand your frustrations but you're looking at this the wrong way. This whole reclamation was meant to give more.
are you kidding me? I'm not exaggerating or trying to be funny, but I don't see what this "more" you're talking about

I see less, I see my stuff (pip, vcr, remote) not working

yes, I got some shopping and some japanese and some religious channels

that's like subtracting 1000 and adding 1

In the end there's much more gained than lost.
more? I'm seeing less

I don't have PIP anymore. This is huge. I used PIP all the time.

My remote doesn't work. I can't record something different than what I watch. Where is the more you talk about being hidden? I don't see anything more.

I'm sorry for that.
thanks

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to Georgia85
said by Georgia85 :

I know how frustrating this all is for you. I was in a similar situation and being an avid tv recorder couldn't fathom the idea of not being able to record a different program from what I was watching.
you can say that again!

First of all, Federal Law mandated the transition of national networks to digital...
ok, but I imagine it didn't say to do it in a way it takes away pip, vcr of others, channel changing

Comcast took it upon themselves to migrate their additional cable channels to digital throughout the remainder of the year. If you are still receiving the Analog Comcast transmission I'd suggest transferring over to digital
I don't have a choice. Comcast's letter says do it or lose your TV in one month

(there is no additional cost) and using their digital set top box with remote (has On Demand, tv guide listings, show info button...). You enter in a code for your TV on the digital remote and if one is not provided on the list of codes there is a process to search for a code.
why would I want to control my TV with that tiny, crappy remote?

but even if I want, that remote can control only channel, volume and on/off
the TV remote has more functions

No, your current tv remote will not work on the set top box - it will only work on your tv and since your tv needs to remain on channel 3 (or 4 depending on you settings) your current tv remote will be of little use other than controlling volumn.
that sucks, comcast breaks my tv remote and gives me a tiny, crappy thing, that takes much longer to change the channel too

any idea if I can get a 2nd remote at least? I don't want anything free. I want 2 people to be able to control the tv without one asking/waking up the other person

And yes, you will always need a set top box with digital cable (regardless of the type of tv you have) because these boxes unscramble the cable channels.
can't the guys that manufacture TVs include a DTA in the TV too? I would buy one of those TVs

As for watching one show and recording another this can be done (up until the total migration by Comcast of all channels to digital) You will need a splitter and an A/B switch. The cable from the wall goes into the splitter. From the other 2 connections of the splitter attach cables. One cable will go into the "B" portion of the A/B switch. The other cable will go into the "in" connection of the digital set top box. The "out" connection of the digital set top box goes into the "A" connection of the A/B switch. There is a 3rd connection on the A/B switch and that goes from the switch to the "in" on the VCR. Then attach another cable from the "out" of the VCR into the TV. When you switch over to the B mode you have access to your VCR. You can set a program schedule it to record any of the channels you previously had that are still being transmitted via analogue. This includes the major national networks because even though Federal Law said they had to be sent via a digital format cable companies must still provide them in an analogue format for 2 years. You can also watch tv via your VCR's tuner (allowing you to use your tv remote and maintaining your picture in picture feature). And you can change channels on your VCR. You cannot watch one show while recording another while in this mode. This is where you switch over to "A" This allows you to watch TV (using your settop to change channels) while your VCR records the programs you have set it to record.

Unfortunately I don't know how to include a DVD player in this setup - I actually use a VCR/DVD Player combo. I'm sure it's just a matter of using RCA video/audio cables. You probably can find forums online that will discuss this.

So the above configuration will allow you to watch one show while recording another. It will allow you to use your current remote to change channels while in VCR mode. It will allow your picture-in-picture while in VCR mode. The bad news is this will only last as long as Comcast continues their analogue transmission...two years for ABC, CBS, NBC but a matter of days or months for their cable channels.
sounds complicated but I'd do it at once if it gave me my remotes back
a question to everybody that's reading: can I do that without disconnecting my dvd?

I'd not hesitate at all, but then after 2 years the same problem pops up!

The final alternative - which is what I just did this past weekend - is bite the bullet and rent a DVR. I've already got my digital package and now with the DVR I can "record" 2 shows at the same time or record 1 and watch another. I didn't want the additional expense but what can you do?
if it works then I'm cool

do you have PIP? and can you buy the dvr or do you have to rent it from comcast?

now I can see comcast's thinking: knock out their VCRs so they rent ours!

biglittlewil5

join:2009-04-02
Seattle, WA
reply to nick11
I will do my best to address each of your objections.

said by nick11:

how can sony provide me with a code for comcast's box when comcast manufactured a box without a code?
Comcast doesn't come up with the codes for you Sony remote. That's what I meant. Sony does. That's why you had a code book when you bought the remote(new codes or unpublished codes are sometimes on their sites or found by doing websearches). There may be a code that works with it, there may not. Universals aren't guaranteed to work with all equipment, that's why you're provided with a remote when you get said equipment.

said by nick11:

it was comcast send me a box that broke my remote.
said by nick11:

before I installed the DTA, when I pushed the button with the number 5, my TV started displaying channel #5
after I installed the DTA, when I push the the number 5, I get snow
The remote is not broken. Your second quote attests to that fact.

Your TV has snow on it because the DTA is your tuner now and not the TV.
said by nick11:

are you kidding me? I'm not exaggerating or trying to be funny, but I don't see what this "more" you're talking about

I see less, I see my stuff (pip, vcr, remote) not working

yes, I got some shopping and some japanese and some religious channels

that's like subtracting 1000 and adding 1
When the whole reclamation is over you'll have the ability to have 100m internet and more channels(not just religious and Japanese).
PIP- has always required 2 sources. So if you want you can split the signal between your VCR and your DTA and input them both in the TV.

VCR- I'm sorry that you're losing this functionality but the reality is that the VCR is going the way of the 8 track, cassette player, and record player. Get yourself a TiVo, Moxi, Comcast, or any other DVR and I bet you'll be happy with it.

Remote- we've gone over this a couple of times already.

Again, I'm sorry that you feel this way.

As an employee I'm happy to see that we're finally moving in the right direction with our upgrades. For years competitors have been able to say "We have X or Y" and we've remained the same. Until now.

I'm not trying to upset you or argue with you, just stating what it is.

cdbma

join:2003-01-19
Bolton, MA
reply to nick11
I understand both sides. My [unsolicited] input is that Comcast should "over-communicate" wrt features (or lack thereof) on DTAs and STBs. I checked the Comcast FAQs, and that helped, but I think that "more is better" when it comes to this stuff.

The digital early adopters have a few years under their belts. Those of us that are still living in the analog age are just spinning up on the nuances of digital and the restrictions when hooking up legacy equipment such as analog TVs and VCRs. We need help from the veterans and from the service providers.

my $.02.

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to biglittlewil5
said by biglittlewil5:

I will do my best to address each of your objections.
thank you

Comcast doesn't come up with the codes for you Sony remote. That's what I meant. Sony does. That's why you had a code book when you bought the remote(new codes or unpublished codes are sometimes on their sites or found by doing websearches). There may be a code that works with it, there may not. Universals aren't guaranteed to work with all equipment, that's why you're provided with a remote when you get said equipment.
yes, you're absolutely right on what you say.

but it doesn't matter because that's not what you're disputing.
this is like me saying '2+2=5 is not right' and you responding 'no, 2+3=5 is correct'
yes, of course 2+3=5 is correct. but that's not what I said.

you are saying comcast doesn't have to come up with codes to make a remote I get work.
yes, I understand.
but I didn't go out and bought a remote and now I ask for codes from comcast to make it work.

comcast send me something with a note 'install it or lose your TV.'
and upon installing it my remote goes bye bye.
I didn't do anything. it was comcast that stopped it from working by telling me to use equipment they send to me.

The remote is not broken. Your second quote attests to that fact.
"broke." as not doing its job. as not working as it should.

the job of the remote is to change the channel.
I didn't said 'it is not doing anything.' it is doing something. just not its work.

When the whole reclamation is over you'll have the ability to have 100m internet and more channels(not just religious and Japanese).
"When the whole reclamation is over" and my TV life is a living hell you'll be able to order more channels

I don't care about the NON-REAL-YET I might be able to order IN THE FUTURE
I care about the VERY-REAL things I lost NOW

PIP- has always required 2 sources. So if you want you can split the signal between your VCR and your DTA and input them both in the TV.
I have two sources. my TV and the VCR. prior to installing comcast's DTA they were working fine.
not my fault if comcast knocked one of them out.

VCR- I'm sorry that you're losing this functionality but the reality is that the VCR is going the way of the 8 track, cassette player, and record player. Get yourself a TiVo, Moxi, Comcast, or any other DVR and I bet you'll be happy with it.
can I buy it? that'll be OK as long as it's something costing me $50-100-200. I'll go out and buy it tomorrow.
but I won't go higher nor do I like the idea of paying for it every month.

Again, I'm sorry that you feel this way.
thanks

As an employee I'm happy to see that we're finally moving in the right direction with our upgrades. For years competitors have been able to say "We have X or Y" and we've remained the same. Until now.
careful here. prior to installing the dreaded pace dta I was turning on the TV around 10am till 1pm and from around 4pm to 3am. that's about 14 hours a day.

now I open it around 7pm to catch a baseball game. then 10-12 for stewart-conan-ferguson. that's 5 hours.

I also used to record colbert-letterman-others and watch them after ferguson. now I just shut it down after ferguson. I don't have any urge to see what's happening on other channels. I just put it on a certain channel and leave it there. you see, I was used to the speed and convenience I had. now comcast makes it difficult. I don't have any will to stick around and work with it. I just fire up my laptop and surf the net.

should anyone care about what shows I watch? no
but my amount of total viewership is a something comcast cares. my TV watching is down and down by a lot.
and comcast better worry about how much its customers use its product. and about the 'leave the channel there' thing too.

you can improve your product's abilities by a lot. but if by doing so you ruin the experience of your customers and drive their usage of your product down, it doesn't matter much. you can have a product that can do what nothing else can, but if noone uses it, it doesn't matter.

I'm not trying to upset you or argue with you,
no worries. I'm not interpreting it as anything like that

just stating what it is.
same here!

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to cdbma
thanks for the post cdbma6. your points are all good.

and your advice isn't unsolicited. I posted on a public forum!


Arnieh

@comcast.net
reply to nick11
Comcast wants you to rent a DVR. I solved the DTA/VCR/TV issue using a "splitter" and "a-b switch". Go to »www.ascbiz.com/DTA to see a sketch of the solution.

nick11

join:2005-07-17
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
Thanks for the reply.

Looking at the diagram I get the understanding that after the signal gets splitted, one part goes to the VCR while the other goes to the DTA and then the TV. Am I close?

The letter from comcast says "your Expanded Basic cable channels 29-75 will be transmitted exclusively in digital format starting on 9/29/09." If they are digital-only after 9/29 will the VCR be able to record anything since the signal to the VCR isn't decrypted by the DTA?

Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
reply to owlyn
said by owlyn:

said by nick11:

said by Chuckles0:

Ugly little thing.
You can say that again. I'm so frustrated with this thing:

1. I lost my picture-in-picture
2. I can't record a channel different than what I watch
3. I lost the channel control of my remotes
4. It takes a lot of time (compred to what it used to) to change channels
5. The volume decides to take some time off whenever it wants

This sucks...

If the serial number starts with GI or M it's motorola, SA is scientific atlanta.

Edit: Google shows it's made by pace.
yes, the serial starts with PAEH
The Pace box is not meant to do the things you are trying to do. It is a simple tuner designed to allow Comcast (and others) to migrate off of analog and reclaim bandwidth. It has nothing other than basic functionality. It gets most of the digital channels except premiums, does not support VOD, does not have a guide, etc. What do you want for free?
it does not get most of the digital channels only the older analog ones for now. Some starter and high ones need a full box or cable card.


Arnieh

@comcast.net
reply to nick11
Hi Nick,

I think the VCR will record because it now records whether the a-b switch is on the DTA or VCR side.

earletp

join:2004-02-03
PDX

1 edit
reply to nick11
If this was covered and I missed it I apologize,

but since Comcast policy seems to be 2 free DTA's in areas that have converted to digital, instead of going through the trouble of splitting the signal and using an A/B switch, why not add a splitter and a 2nd DTA, one for the TV and one for the VCR.
(edited to add...) That way you'll still be able to watch one show and record another and your PIP should work again too.

As to the remote issue, the simplest solution would be to buy a learning remote like the Harmony line, that way if there is no preset code available the universal remote can "learn" to control the device from the OEM remote.


Georgia85

@bellsouth.com
reply to nick11
Nick, you will not be able to record your channels 29-75 on your VCR if you use the splitter and A/B switch because those channels are going to be transmitted digitally and your VCR will be receiving an analogue signal. You know all those little notices that are scrolling across the bottom of the screen that are saying "Effective Sept 29 this channel will no longer be accessible unless..." Once those channels are digital when you try to record one of those channels - bypassing your set-top - you will just have a blank screen.

As for buying a DVR - I wish we could. I would rather paid a one time fee and own it then pay $15.95 a month to Comcast and have to return it when I was done. However, DVR's are only provided by cable and satellite companies on a rental basis. Even if you bought one off of E-bay it would not be guaranteed to work because the DVR is also a de-scrambler for Comcast signals.

Finally, no I don't have a remote that does a picture in picture thing - well actually I do. The remotes for the DVR have that button HOWEVER it is not functional yet.