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External Hard Drive for Non-X1 DVR FAQs

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Answers to frequently asked questions about external DVR expanders/external hard drives.

See information on how to get an external hard drive compatible with Comcast DVR TV Boxes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much additional storage will I have once I connect the Western Digital hard drive to my Comcast DVR box?
This depends on the size of the external hard drive that you have connected. A 1-TB (1,000-GB) hard drive is equivalent to approximately 1,200 hours of standard-definition (SD) programs or 240 hours of high-definition (HD) programs. A 2-TB (2,000-GB) hard drive is equivalent to approximately 2,400 hours of standard-definition (SD) programs or 480 hours of high-definition (HD) programs.

Will I lose the recordings on my Comcast DVR box once I connect an external hard drive?
All recordings on your Comcast DVR will still be available after you connect an external hard drive.

Why am I receiving a message when I plug in my external hard drive that the drive is not compatible for DVR box use?
You may not have the right size external hard drive for the Comcast DVR box that you have. Cisco and Scientific Atlanta DVR boxes support external hard drives that provide up to 1 TB of storage capacity. Motorola DVRs support external hard drives having up to 2 TB of storage capacity.

If you have the correct size device and are still seeing this message, please contact the manufacturer of your external hard drive.

How do I connect my hard drive to my Comcast DVR box?
Just plug in your external hard drive to the eSATA port on the back of your DVR, follow the on-screen prompts to format the drive and you're ready to go.

Why didn't anything happen after I plugged in my hard drive to the eSATA port on the back of my Comcast DVR box?
Check to make sure that your television and DVR box are powered on and the cables of your external hard drive are fully inserted into the back of your DVR box. If your DVR box is not powered on, disconnect the external hard drive, power your DVR box on and then reconnect the external hard drive. Once you connect your external hard drive to the DVR box, a message should appear on screen prompting you to begin formatting the drive.

If a message is still not appearing, it may be because your external hard drive is too large for what is currently supported. If you have the correct size device as outlined above and are still not seeing this message please contact the manufacturer of your external hard drive.

How will I know if my external hard drive is working properly with my Comcast DVR box?
Once the formatting process is completed, you will receive a message on screen that the external hard drive has been connected and is available for use. Also, the DVR % full (indicated on the DVR recordings screen) should significantly decrease once the external hard drive is properly connected.

How will I know how much recording space I have once I connect my external hard drive?
Your DVR Recordings screen will indicate how much recording space is available (% full).

How can I specify what programs I want to record to my external hard drive?
Your DVR automatically determines where to record a program based on which drive (your DVR hard drive or external hard drive) has the most space available at the time of recording.

How do I watch programs recorded on my external hard drive?
Programs recorded to your external drive will automatically be included in your DVR recordings list. Simply select a recording and play as you normally would.

How do I know which programs have been recorded on my external hard drive?
All recorded programs are included in the same DVR recordings list; the DVR does not indicate which programs have been recorded on the external hard drive. Your DVR box automatically determines where to record a program based on which drive (your DVR hard drive or external hard drive) has the most space available at the time of recording.

Can I move my external hard drive to another Comcast DVR to watch recordings in another room of my home?
Once your external hard drive has been formatted with a specific DVR box, it cannot be used to watch recordings on other DVR boxes in your home. If you plug your external hard drive into another DVR box once it has already been formatted, you will be prompted to reformat the external hard drive which will erase all of your recordings.

Can I watch shows recorded on my external hard drive on my computer?
Once your external hard drive has been formatted with a DVR box, it cannot be used to watch recordings on another device. If you plug your external hard drive into your computer once it has already been formatted with your DVR box, you will be prompted to reformat the external hard drive which will erase all of your recordings.

How will I know if I'm almost out of recording space?
When you have 20% or less recording space remaining, a message will appear on screen when you schedule a new recording.

How will I know when my external hard drive is full?
A message will appear on screen when both your DVR hard drive and external hard drive are full.

I am no longer using my external hard drive and have disconnected it from my Comcast DVR box. How can I remove the recordings that were stored on the external hard drive from my DVR recordings list?
When you attempt to play a recording that is stored on a disconnected external hard drive, you will receive a message that the external hard drive is not connected. A Help button will be included on this message screen. Select the Help button to display a list which should include your previously connected external hard drive. Select your external hard drive and then the Delete button to delete all the recordings stored on this drive. Once you confirm that you want to delete all the recordings, your DVR box will restart in order to update your recordings list. Audio/video, program listings, and scheduled recordings will be temporarily interrupted for a short time while the DVR box restarts.

I replaced my Comcast DVR box with a new one. Will I be able to access my recordings stored on my external hard drive on my new DVR box?
Once your external hard drive has been formatted with a specific DVR box, it cannot be used to watch recordings on another device. If you plug your external hard drive into your new DVR box, you will be prompted to reformat the external hard drive, which will erase all of your recordings.

Note

DVR service requires an XFINITY TV®: subscription and DVR TV Box. A monthly charge for DVR Service applies. XFINITY®: service not available in all areas.
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https://www.xfinity.com/support/cable-tv/external-dvr-storage-faqs/

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