Cable box must be left on to use HDD/DVD recorder?
February 25, 2014 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Do we have to leave our Charter cable box on in order to use the timer on our HDD/DVD recorder?

---It seems so. When I turn off both the cable box and the recorder, the timer switches both on and records, but with no audio. If I leave the cable box on (a power hog), then programs will be recorded correctly, with audio. Is there a work-around for this problem? We recently switched from Directv in order to get one of those "telephone/highspeed internet/ cable tv" packages. With Directv, I was able to switch off both the satellite and the recorder, and the timer would kick in to record.
NOTE: This is not a "DVR" device we are using. It's a Toshiba HDD/DVD recorder-player. These are becoming increasingly rare, and are no longer made for the US, although they are on the market in Europe. These marvelous recorders offer a huge range of editing functions.
Thanks, metafilter techies, for any suggestions.
posted by ragtimepiano to Technology (5 answers total)
Knowing Charter, probably. [Disclaimer: I despise Charter with all my heart and soul. Like, unbelievably so.]

However, I think there's a couple of things we'd need to know in order to answer. First, how is everything hooked up?

I suspect the problem lies in the cable box, and might be fixable within the settings. How long is there between "timer turns things on" and "start recording"?

Finally, what specific cable box did they stick you with, and what model of recorder?
posted by neilbert at 5:59 PM on February 25, 2014

Response by poster: The recorder doesn't do HD; we use AV cables. (We have a separate dvd player that upconverts to a very good quality view.) It's a Toshiba RD-XS32SU. I haven't timed it but I think there's an interval of about a minute between "on" and "record." The box is a Motorola DCX3220e.

Thanks for your interest in the question.
posted by ragtimepiano at 6:25 PM on February 25, 2014

First thing I'd try (and I'm assuming it's an external timer rather than one built into the recorder, so I might be wrong right there) is letting the timer kick on earlier - maybe 10 minutes - under the theory that something hadn't kicked on in time for the cable box to detect the audio needs.

Second is what order the boxes are connected. Do we have a [WALL] --> [CABLE BOX] --> [RECORDER] --> [TV] scenario? Or something else?

Unfortunately, I don't have the same box as you so I don't know if there's anything in the menus of it that will help.
posted by neilbert at 4:36 AM on February 26, 2014

Response by poster: Neilbert, It's an internal timer, and I set it to kick in about a minute earlier before the program begins. Yes, the order is what you described. I'll try setting it even earlier---can always edit out the blank recording time.
posted by ragtimepiano at 9:26 AM on February 26, 2014

Response by poster: We did find a workaround, although I'm just a bit hesitant to write it out here----who knows, Motorola might be paying lackeys to patrol the Net looking for how people cope so they can revise their proprietary software :-)). We concluded that Motorola has installed such software into their boxes for charter, forcing people to use the Motorola DVR devices.
What we did is essentially modify our approach so that the cable box serves only as a tuner, and the recording is done by the Toshiba. If you want to know exactly how we did this, Neilbert, email me on metafilter and I'll lay it out.
Thanks for your interest!
posted by ragtimepiano at 10:29 AM on March 4, 2014

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