I'm a very recent convert from Bell to Shaw and was surprised to learn that you need to leave the PVR "on" if it's recording a show. On my Bell equipment turning the PVR "off" just put it into standby mode and that didn't affect recording one way or the other.
I also read some fairly old advice for older Shaw PVR models that recommended that you leave your PVR on to get the Program Guide updates - basically saying that the Program Guide wouldn't update if the PVR was "off". I also find this very hard to believe, but it takes so long to update the Program Guide after a reboot that I'm afraid to test it for fear of losing some recordings due to the guide not being updated in time.
Of course, there's probably not much difference between the PVR being "on" vs. "off" anyway in terms of power consumption or "wear and tear". Does anyone have any advice? I'm leaning to "on" for convenience sake.
Sorry, don't mean to hijack your excellent question...
We've been leaving ours On. You can have the unit turn itself Off after 4 hours by itself if you like but we have chosen to deactivate that feature and just leave the boxes on all the time. You can change the remote to just turn off the tv if you don't want it switching both units too, it's called 'Master Power' in the instructions.
Kshopper, it's not like the older DVRs cannot record scheduled programs if you leave the box off. The box is designed to turn on by itself, record scheduled programs and turn itself off afterwards, and it does the job well perhaps at least 90% of the time. However, experience from various users suggests that leaving the box off may increase the potential of recording issues. So people like myself leave it on to avoid the 10% or less.
Interesting you mention that. Last night I had an incident where I turned off the PVR at 10:50pm, then waited to see if it would turn on to record a program @ 11:00pm as programmed. It did not! So at 11:04pm I went it and the recording says it was terminated by the system or something like that. So i set the program to record manually and will leave the unit on all the time going forward. At least it's quiet and doesn't generate a lot of heat.
I also noticed in the setup menu (Pwr off then press Guide (I think) within 5 secs) you can dim or totally shutoff the front display if you want, even when it's on.
Having said that, being in the software industry myself, I am completely stunned that something as basic to the functionality of the device is flawed in this manner. How do these companies (Motorola, in this case) stay in business when they can't even get the basic features of the device reliable? Anyway, subject for another thread I suppose...
Sadly, it's not Motorola that writes the software that 'runs' the boxes. That is controlled by the IPG package that the Cable companies choose. The problems come when the Motorola Firmware and the IPG Software don't play nice together. As a software guy yourself, I am glad to hear you are as surprised as the rest of us that this doesn't work better than it does.
Traditionally turning the box off has introduced a myriad of problems, while leaving it on puts no more wear and tear on the box, so the answer is......?
Personally I left my 6412 on for over 4 years with absolutely no problems and I certainly have no intention of ever turning off my 3400. I will continue reading about all the problems that you 'turnoff-ers' are having though.
I leave my on all the time and recently I will come and the channel will be frozen and I have to change the channel to get a picture again - anyone else having this problem? (random freezing of the picture?)
This is happening to 2 of the three boxes we have, might be happening on the third too but the teenagers can't tell if it does or not. It happens several times a week. It happened while I was watching the main one yesterday. As someone else mentioned, you can also use the swap function to get the picture and sound back and still be able to 'back up' to where things left off. A very odd and annoying fault.
So if this is happening to your boxes, why do you leave them on? Even on my old 3080, if left on for a day or so, it would lose sound and I'd have to change the channel to get it back. Besides the Pace (which is a whole other story), I've never had a problem with the box being off from turning it off each time. This is why I do it, and because it's easier.
My old 6412 started missing series recordings when it was turned off so I left it on 24/7 and it hasn't missed a recording since. That happened just a few months ago. Before then, I always turned it off and never had a problem. I don't know what changed but something did. I figure it makes little to no difference if you leave the new box on or off so on just seems to make sense to leave it on. I don't believe this 'blanking' issue is related to how long the box has been on but it is an interesting thought. Could it be somehow related to the 'auto off' function even though that is turned off? Who knows? Since turning the box off makes little difference in power consumption, I doubt there is much to be gained. I know it is supposed to stop the buffering and should extend the HDD life but I think I will take my chances.
A new wrinkle has appeared to foil my plan to leave my PVR on all the time (to ensure recordings aren't missed).
For the last several days I've experienced an issue approx. once a day where there will be no sound coming from the PVR when I sit down to watch programs. I've read on other forum posts that simply changing the channel can fix this, but for me that doesn't work. The only thing that makes the sound start playing again is to turn the PVR off and then on again (just standby mode, not full reset). The problem with this is that if there are shows currently recording when I need to turn off the unit to fix the sound problem, it stops recording them (bad design choice IMHO) and the PVR isn't smart enough to start recording them again when it comes back on (another bad design decision). So then I have to manually restart each recording - PIA factor goes way up!
So to try to avoid the sound issue I'm going to keep turning off the PVR when I can (when something's not recording when I'm done with it) to try to avoid having to do so later, in the middle of a recording. Of course, if I start losing recordings altogether I'll have to reconsider.
Kind of caught between a bug and a poor design here.
@Kshopper: Sounds like the hard drive might not have been formatted properly from the factory. If you know how to format it that's what I would suggest. If not send me your account info and i'll have someone contact you.
I think people are turning a non-issue into a problem. Just leave the Master Power programmed the way it is and let it turn the box off when it wants to. You won't miss any recordings (I haven't yet and I bet neither have most people), and it's the easiest possible thing you can do. If you happen to turn off the TV while something is recording, oh well, the box will stay on when it's done, but chances are that you'll turn the TV on soon enough again anyway.
If you are missing recordings with the box off, it's probably because the HD sleep feature is turned on, and one of the first things the forums and Shaw told everyone to do is turn it off.
So going out of your way just to make sure the box stay on for some unknown reason is just asking for problems.
Missed another program Thurs. morning after turning the PVR off Wed. night, so leaving the PVR on all the time seems to be the way to go.
After more research I think I know why my sound is muted when I return later to watch a program. The PCX-3400 will auto-mute itself whenever it turns itself on to record a program (to avoid blaring sound through any possibly active audio system). Ideally, once the program is recorded it turns itself off again (which unmutes it). I think for some reason what I am seeing is that it is not unmuting itself (or turning itself off again), which is why there was no sound when I started to watch programs. I have the auto-off feature disabled (e.g. don't turn off after 4 hours), but at this point I'm not 100% certain whether or not the PVR is shutting down after recording. I need to do some more tests to see what exactly is happening there.
However, I did find this resource which seems to be comprehensive regarding the known issues, etc. with the Motorola PVRs and firmware releases, including the PCX-3400: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/How_to_use_a_Motorola_DVR. See the Bugs section for details on known issues and workarounds. This site seems to strongly recommend leaving the PVR on to avoid issues.
I'll post back when I figure anything out more concretely.
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