DCT-6412 first impressions

I’ve spent a short while playing with the DCT-6412 since I got it. Here are a few random observations; I can’t really say this is a review, because it isn’t (and isn’t meant to be) comprehensive.

  • It does what it claims: provide DVR/PVR functionality for HDTV cable signals. On that grounds alone, I’m happy to pay the extra $5/month (which means that, after 200 months, I’d come out ahead buying an HDTiVo).
  • The iGuide interface is reasonably functional for watching live TV. It’s much faster, and better-looking, than the interface on the older DCT-6100 series boxes. As a bonus, you can choose a color scheme from a list of eight or so predefined sets.
  • In general, the TiVo interface makes it much easier to perform common tasks with fewer button presses.
  • There’s a popup “quick menu” that lets you quickly select from the most common functions; this appears as a thin strip at the bottom of the display superimposed over whatever you’re watching. Combine this with the “favorite channel” list and you have an easy way to jump between HDTV programs.
  • The program status bar (or what Moto calls the flip bar; it shows recording status, time remaining, whether the program is paused, etc) is remarkably ugly.
  • You can toggle the front-panel display between a channel display and a clock. This is a great feature, since the clock is bright and easy to read. However, when the unit is recording, or when you pause live or recorded TV, the display changes to “rEC” or “PAU” respectively.
  • Speaking of pause: if you pause a program, the 6412 will happily sit there paused forever. It still seems to record OK while paused, but it doesn’t jump back to live TV after a preset interval like the TiVo does.
  • The interface for choosing programs to record is fairly terrible. It’s easy to record a show you’re watching (just press the remote Record button) or one you see in the guide (press Select when it’s highlighted, then Select twice more to schedule and confirm the recording). However, the “search by name” function is buried, and it has a bizarre multiple-choice selection metaphor that I’ve had trouble getting used to.
  • There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to schedule a recording for a particular time and channel (e.g. Sunday, 8-9pm, channel 650). This is such an obvious feature that I just must not have found it yet.
  • No Season Pass feature, nor anything like unto it. However, there is a nice listing of HDTV programs.
  • The 6412 has a 14-day guide, but at least in some cases it’s missing programs. Example: yesterday (10 November) I wanted to record a program that airs on 22 November. It wasn’t in the guide yet. I haven’t reproduced this so I don’t know what’s causing it yet.

I’ll post more details and impressions once I’ve had a chance to use the unit more. So far, I haven’t spent a lot of time watching recorded programs because of Halo 2 work.


Filed under HDTV and Home Theater, Reviews

2 responses to “DCT-6412 first impressions

  1. Hey Paul, about the Season Pass thing you mentioned above. I have found a Series Recording, is that like season pass, on the box, which I love & you know from reading my post on the AVS forums. Thanks for the Samsung opinion as well.
    One more note about Halo 2: I’ll add you to my friends list when I get home, but will not able to talk until I pick up another Xbox headset tomorrow. Unfortunately my dog thought it was a chew toy and decided to have fun. That is the only thing the dog has ever chewed to & the last.

  2. dgutley

    We rec’d this from our cable company and are a little bit disappointed. The paper work on setting it up is atrocious.
    Does anybody know how i can use the “dual tuner” functions? I haven’t found any way to watch one thing and record another. How can you get it to send signal through the video “out” or do i need to use the S Video or something else?
    Is there any way to send one signal to the VCR and another to the TV?
    Are there any good manuals out there? The one that came with this thing is pretty poor.
    This whole questioning started when I tried to use PIP. Spent gobs of time trying to figure it out; to no avail. Can you help me or point me in the right direction?
    Thanks, Happy New Year.