Sunday, July 1, 2007

Switching from Motorola 341x/641x to Pace Vegas! (update 6/10)

Update Log

  • [6/10]: Added two more bullets under "Differences between this Pace and the Motorola 341x/641x".

    Differences between this Pace and the Motorola 341x/641x
  • The Pace has a 80gb, the Motorolas are 120gb (3412/6412) and 160gb (3416/6416)
  • The Pace TV Guide goes about 11 days in the future, while the Motorolas are at least two weeks long (I think 15-16 days but I am not 100% sure)
  • The Pace is an SD box, the Motorolas are available in both SD and HD (I am not 100% sure on Moto SD).
  • Pace issue with FF on ADS-"analog" channels (2-99). See Problem #3 in the "Day to day operations" post
  • This Pace has no buttons on the device. None! The Motorolas have a number of button on the front of the device.
  • Pace has a more digital-looking front panel LCD/LED screen, but it cannot display the current channel or current time. The Motorola can.
  • The Pace costs around $1/mo for 12 months on the current promotion. Not sure what the regular price is. The Motorolas cost $12/mo. (on Comcast). Another Comcast promo has this box free for 12 months.
  • When recording on both tuners and watching another pre-recorded program there is noticable slowness. This is a bit different from the Motorola boxes when they experience their remote control erratic responsiveness. Actually the Pace slowness is more organic than the Motorolas. The Motorolas seems to be a bit more erratic.
  • The audio levels on Stereo are lower than the Motorola boxes. Switching to TV Speakers makes it louder for the TV, but not for other sources. The audio level is also much lower from the RF cable output of the same channel, so it's clearly the box.
  • more coming soon

    Similarities between this Pace and the Motorola 341x/641x
  • Same software/user interface
  • Same power cable and remote control (including programmable buttons and macros!)
  • ADS and digital channel programs take the same amount of space (different percentage because of difference of hard disk space)
  • about the same size and shape
  • more coming soon

  • I previously had the Motorola 6412/3412 dual-tuner HD DVR boxes. Since I do not currently have an HDTV, I thought I would give the new Pace boxes a try because they are on a $1 per month special for 12 months. (Yes, I am cheap!)
  • This post only covers differences/comparisons between the two. For general information please check the First Impressions post.
  • I called the Comcast customer service and was told that I was eligible for the promotion/switch. The $1/month offer was only for the Pace SD DVR, not the Motorola HD DVRs, which makes sense since the HD DVR includes the HDTV service as well as the DVR rental/service. Not that I would complain if that was $1 as well :)
  • I went to my local Comcast office and switched the boxes. I was surprised to find that I can use the same power cable and the remote control! as the Motorollas.
  • If you want them to come to your house and switch them (instead of doing a self-install) there is a fee of around $20 or so.
  • Keep your Remotes if you have created any macros! Not only does the commercial skip button work on the Pace (programmed when I had the Motorola 3412), but the macros I created using the CM skip functionality also work (eg 2 minute skip macro)! This was a welcome surprise!.
  • During activation of the new box with the help of a telephonic (is that even a word?) customer service representative (CSR), the Comcast CSR told me to temporarily remove the splitter. This is the first time I was told this. I do not know if this has to happen for this box only or I just happened to get a detail-oriented CSR who goes by the book. The CSR did sound very process-oriented and thorough.
  • By looking at the pictures online I thought this would have been smaller than the Motorola boxes. Actually it is about the same size as the Motorola DVRs

  • It has no buttons on the unit. You have to use the remote control to control it. I thought this could have been an issue, but then again, from what I recall when using the Motorola DVRs, everytime the remote control is not responsive, the device's buttons are not responsive either. So you didn't really get any extra functionality with the Motorolas, but you do have the convinience of on-device buttons.
  • The user interface is also (surpring to me) exactly the same as the one used by the Motorolas`
  • This guy has a different display than the Motorola. Of functional interest, the Pace does not show the channel number or the date. It does show which tuner(s) are recording though.

    Advanced Topics
  • If you are coming to this from a non-ADS Motorola 6412 DVR, and you mostly record analog channels (eg standard cable 0-99), you will actually be able to about the same number of hours. This despite the fact that this guy has a 80gb while the Motorola has 120gb. The reason is that the analog channels take up more space per hour than the digital ones do.

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