The DVR’s programming guide and menu structure couldn’t be simpler, enabling one-time or serial recordings, exactly as scheduled or with customizable beforeand-after cushions built in for programs that don’t adhere precisely to the clock. The DVR presents warnings when disk space is low, and will delete the oldest recordings first when accommodating new programs. Scheduled recordings are all-or-nothing affairs, unless you happen to catch something in real time. Something that would greatly enhance the DVR’s utility would be a way to edit and archive recordings on a minute-by-minute basis. I’d love to assemble a library of favorite highdef Saturday Night Live sketches and musical performances, for example, but Comcast’s DVR won’t allow that.
Almost all my TV watching is off the DVR’s hard drive—sports and occasional news are the only real-time broadcasts seen in our household—and the commercialskipping button is in constant use. In fact, I believe it’s one of the great advancements of the late twentieth century.
The Motorola 6412 is leased equipment, a fractional element in a $77/month package. The benefit of total viewing control and commercial skipping for only $10/month is a tremendous bargain. Video quality is excellent—everything from Desperate Housewives and Boston Legal to Sunday Night Football looks fantastic. As of early December, our local Comcast service included.15 non-premium HD channels, plus many more on a pay-per-view or on-demand basis. Comcast’s high-def selection is smaller than TV fanatics might wish for—approximately half what’s available on satellite—but big enough to keep any part-time couch potato happy.