Help Seniors in Your Family Use Comcast DVR Remote

We decided to install a Comcast Cable TV Motorola DVR (digital video recorder) for the senior in our family. Teaching him to how to use the remote control for the DVR and TV was essential. Including a DVR made it more technically challenging than just providing him with cable TV but the DVR allows him to watch 60 Minutes, Charlie Rose and other programs he likes, when he wants to, rather than being bound to real time (linear) viewing. It also allows him to pause and rewind during live viewing.

Comcast offers the option to pay a small additional fee with your monthly cable package to rent a basic or HD (high definition) DVR. This replaces your premium cable box.

We could not find a diagram of the remote, so we created a diagram similar to this one for him:

comcast cable tv dvr motorola remote diagram

Created by Ray Gordon for Boomer Tech Talk

For the first stage, we set some series recordings for him and gave him instructions on how to find and watch his recorded programs. We then gave him the basics for setting up recordings. Both sets of instructions are below for you to use with your family.

How to Watch a Recorded Program

1. Click My DVR
(top middle white square button)
2. DVR Menu appears
The default selection highlighted in yellow is My Recording
dvr menu comcast cable tv motorola remote
3. Click on My Recordings Using Red OK/Select Button
- A list of recordings appears.
- The default selection highlighted in yellow is the most recent
- TV shows in the same series appear in a folder with the number of shows in the folder following. In this screen shot, you see 60 Minutes with (13) in parentheses indicating there are 13 shows in this folder.
-At the top of the list, you will see percent full – something between 0 and 100% full. When you get over 90% be sure to delete out some less important recordings. Your DVR will automatically drop older recordings or fail to record new ones.
comcast dvr list of recordings
4. Click on your selection.
To click, press the Red OK/Select button.
If you first select a folder of shows, you will then click the same way on the specific show inside the folder. In either the case of folder contents or for individual shows, they will appear on your menu list in chronological order with the most recent at the top.
Recordings list dvr comcast cable tv motorola
5. Move Up and Down the List with Arrows to Your Selection
You will automatically be defaulted to the most recent recording, but you can move up and down this list using the arrow buttons that surround your Red OK/Select button.
6. Play Your Selection
By default, the right facing triangle (symbol for Play) is highlighted in yellow. Click on this using the Red OK/Select button.
comcast dvr remote steps - play
The symbols you see on this screen are from left to right – return to list; play; go to beginning of show; modify the save setting; the X for delete; and parental discretion lock.

If you are in the middle of watching a show and don’t finish, you can follow the same steps above to retrieve your show to watch more of it later. The Motorola DVR will remember where you were.


Select Shows to Record From the Guide or the DVR Menu

Recordings can be selected from the Guide or from other choices in the DVR Menu. To select from the Guide, click on the Red oval labeled Guide on the left middle of the remote.
comcast guide select show to record tv screen shot

To Select Shows Using My DVR Menu
1. Click My DVR
(top middle white square button)
2. DVR Menu appears
3. Use the right arrow next to the Red center OK/Select button to move one step to right to Set a Recording
my dvr menu - set a recording
4. Click Set a Recording by pushing the Red OK/Select button
You will get the DVR Scheduler screen.

Use the right arrow next to the OK/Select Red button to move to Find Shows to Record
Click on Find Shows to Record using the Red OK/Select button
5. Now you are on Search by Title

6. Click on Search by Title
Use the Red OK/Select button
7. Enter the name of your show letter by letter then click Search Now

At any point press Exit – middle left white button – to go to full screen version of your program.

Delete Programs You Have Seen
Yes, we wish the DVR had more space too. But we unless you are sure a show is important to watch again, it is best to delete it once you have seen it. At the end of the show, you will be given two choices delete now, or don’t delete. The default is delete. Hit the Red OK/Select button. If you don’t hit anything, it should not delete it.
Note that if you record programs in HD (high definition) they will take up more space per program on the DVR.

If you have someone in your family with cable TV service but not yet a DVR, why not give them a year’s worth of DVR rental payments to their cable TV provider for a gift. It is a very convenient device.

About Linda Sherman

International, multicultural marketing pro, Linda brings a distinguished background of international subsidiary CEO/CMO to her Social Marketing expertise. These include CEO Club Med Japan, Barilla Japan and CMO Wal-Mart Japan. Linda Sherman has been featured and quoted in Forbes, The New York Times, Christian Monitor and other leading publications. She devised and implemented an innovative guerrilla-marketing plan for ZIMA in Japan that produced a lasting, profitable success. Linda has hands-on technical skills in building and search optimizing WordPress websites and an influential on-line presence. Linda teaches social marketing for business at the University of Hawaii. Her company, The Courage Group, provides websites, digital film, branding and social marketing strategy and training.

Connect with Linda Sherman on Google+

  • Bsaylor_2000

    You missed two buttons. The up and down arrow buttonfaker you jump back and forward by 5 minutes at a time.

  • http://twitter.com/fairuse fairuse

    At first I didn’t get why. Then I thought, silly engineering kitty kat, mother is the audience not me. Nice work from, The Journal of a High Tech Cat.

    • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

      Hey kitty cat, thank you so much for tweeting this out. And yes, you don’t need this but possibly your mother would appreciate it.

      • http://twitter.com/fairuse fairuse

        You are welcome. Xfinity app for Android is fresh out of beta testing and is still a bit cranky due to all the different devices (shades of Microsoft’s dilemma but not that bad.)

        I just started a journal post on using it so I could track UI glitches – http://duddits-fairuse.blogspot.com/2010/12/journey-into-xfinity-android-land-g2s.html

        Be talking about & yes security is king.
        -dutch AKA @fairuse

        • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

          I’ll be testing the Xfinity app for iPhone. The 84 year old senior I’m talking about in this article loves his iPhone and is already proficient on some apps so I’ll see how he does on this app as well (after I get familiar enough with it to brief him).

          • http://twitter.com/fairuse fairuse

            Just been informed my mother in-law will visit in January. I wonder if I still have my teaching patience, has been a while since I instructed somebody that is not technical. The Android Xfinity App is fairly straight forward, however, the functions in myDVR Manager assume a person is comfortable with gadgets. Which she is not. I will give this test on someone more thought.

          • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

            Dutch @Fairuse It might be helpful to look at the step by baby step instructions here and in my http://boomertechtalk.com/how-to-comment-on-a-website No buzz words allowed and assume repetition will be required. I plan on short sessions to allow for overload/hit the wall stops. I follow-up using iChat.

          • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

            Dutch @Fairuse It might be helpful to look at the step by baby step instructions here and in my http://boomertechtalk.com/how-to-comment-on-a-website No buzz words allowed and assume repetition will be required. I plan on short sessions to allow for overload/hit the wall stops. I follow-up using iChat.

    • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

      Thank you Dutch @fairuse for tweeting to me about the Xfinity apps for iPhone and Android. I was completely unaware of these. I haven’t tested yet but the functionality looks very interesting. Accessing the DVR and the land-line voice mail remotely – nice!

      The security app also looks interesting but switching over from an existing security installation is not something I want to think about at the moment.

  • http://jeanetteFisher.com Jeanette

    Great article Linda. I need to get my mother away from the TV and back at her easel. I never thought about how techie she is at 85 until I read your detailed instructions! I think I need them more than my mom… I rarely watch TV.

    • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

      Thank you Jeanette! Your mom might enjoy one of @BertaArt’s Ladies Night In events. Interesting that she is so techie at 85. Figures smarts run in the family!

  • http://twitter.com/BertaArt Clara Berta

    Jeanette, I’m impressed that your mom at 85 is so techie, wow that’s impressive! I wish I could get my mom away from watching CNN so much… Thank God she loves her gardening!

  • http://twitter.com/tombunzel Tom Bunzel

    Wow, that’s a bit scary if you just look at the diagram–I’m impressed by anyone who gets it much less a senior. The step by step info is very helpful with the screenshots. I will say that my DVR from DirectTV is one of the most user friendly interfaces I’ve ever seen–they dropped a thick manual on my coffee table when it was set up and I never had to open it — very intuitive. Don’t know if Comcast offers it but I find recording directly from the Program Guide, when I see the shows in the grid visually, the easiest way to do it. But great topic and good guide.

    • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

      Yes – Comcast also offers recording directly from the Program Guide. You can choose from the doing it that way or the DVR menu. Similar to the Time Warner system but not exactly the same – so I really had to be there with the remote and the TV to sort it out for him. The @ComcastCares customer service team does a great job on Twitter and an interaction with @ComcastBill on Tuesday actually inspired me to write this article. My intention is to be supportive. But interesting to hear about the DirectTV DVR remote – good for them! Thank you for the good info Tom.

  • Anonymous

    This is really straightforward stuff, and some of it isn’t even in the manual…. I know just how painful that can be….

    • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

      Thank you very much Mike @MatchesMalone Very much appreciate your stopping by to take a look.

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  • @comcastcares

    Hey everyone, I wanted to comment on a few things about the XTV app and the new android app. The XTV app is great and you can find all compatible cable boxes here http://bit.ly/9KiyX0, also if you’re in a market with only Scientific Atlantic cable boxes this will be available to you in 2011. Also the XTV app for android will also be available in 2011. We did not forget about the blackberry users, and as soon as i get a time frame on this i will sure to post back. Also we did just launch our remote tuning from the Web this past week. You can access here http://www.xfinitytv.com. If you have any questions we can always be reached at we_can_help@comcast.com

    • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

      I really appreciate your giving us these XTV schedules, as well as the remote tuning from the web.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      How very cool that Comcast noted this great article and added to it!

  • Anonymous

    So I like the fact that Comcast really broke it down in this post and made it really understandable for someone who isn’t so tech savvy. Also the app that they have introduced is pretty neat if you want to turn your iPad or iPhone into a remote. There are some things that would be a little easier and a lot more functional. I work for and subscribe to Dish Network and we actually have a basic remote available for those who are less technically inclined, that can program it self and has larger buttons that are easier to read. Dish also has the Sling Adapter that with the Dish remote app allows you to stream live TV straight to your mobile device. Comcast says that their customers will be able to stream live TV on their home network by the end of 2011, but really why wait when its already out.

    • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

      I tried to break things down as simply as possible so that our sandwich generation Boomers could use it to help their parents and other older relatives in their family. I appreciate the information you’ve added.

  • Finverh

    all this info is interesting…but since the menu has been changed this past week, i can’t seem to record a NEW program when it airs for the FIRST time …for instance…hawiai 5-0…only on tues. nite at 10 pm…i get that show recorded EVERY time it airs….with the old menu it would ask if you just wanted this time and this station…called comcast and couldn’t get an explainable answer…can you help?

    • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

      Finverh, I usually turn to @ComcastCares on Twitter for help. They do a great job. Let’s see if we can’t get this solved for you. I am currently in Time Warner territory where they still do have a menu option for “First Run only on this channel”. So I am unable to just look at my own cable interface to see where that part of the menu may have moved.

  • Comcastcares

    Hi Finverh, I apologize for the trouble your having. Can you email me your account phone number so I can see what box you have? This way I can run you through the setup. William_gerth@Comcast.com

    • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

      Thank you so much Bill @ComcastCares for helping out our @BoomerTechTalk reader.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thank You Comcast!

  • Purplesky270

    How do you watch a show that is recording at the time? It doesn’t show up on my recordings until it is through recording. 

  • Comcastcares

    Purplesky270- I can look into what DVR you have but most now are Dual Tuner DVR boxes.  Which means you can either record two shows at once or record one show and watch another.  Even if you are recording a show you can still tune into it and watch as well.  Or you can hit the My DVR button on your remote and view the show from there once it starts recording.  If you have any further questions you can reach me by email william_gerth@comcast.com

    • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

      @ComcastCares Thank you so much Bill! Comcast really does care!

  • JG

    I don’t want these silly menus. I just want to watch TV. It says “watch in HD” and no button makes the blue light come on. Icons show in the upper left corner sometimes and I have to wait until they decide to go away by themselves.

  • Daniel Stir

    Might be an excellent teaching tool!

  • CLRAE1

    I AM FRUSTRATED AND MY BLOOD PRESSURE IS ABOUT TO POP. WITH MY OLD VCR I WAS ABLE  AFTER RECORDING SEVERAL PROGRAMS–TO TURN MY RECORDER ON–PUSH PLAY AND THEN—PUSH REVERSE–SO I COULD SEE ALL I RECORDED IN ”FAST REWIND”– IF THERE WAS SOMETHING I REALLY WANTED TO SEE/HEAR I PUSHED THE PLAY BUTTON–AFTER SEEING THAT I WENT BACK TO FAST REVERSE.  I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO SIT THRU 5 HOURS OF RECORDING AND THE FAST REVERSE IS A HUGE TIME SAVER.  WITH THIS NEW COMCAST BOX–I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM DOING–HAVE ALREADY DELETED 2 PROGRAMS I WANTED TO WATCH–AND IF AND WHEN I GET TO REVERSE–IT IS JERKY AND I CANNOT DO AS I DID BEFORE.  I AM ABOUT TO THROW THE HAND CONTROL THRU THE TV SET.    IS IT JUST IMPOSSIBLE TO DO WHAT I USED TO DO?  SEEMS LIKE A HUGE STEP BACKWARDS TO ME. 

    • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com/my-links Linda Sherman

      I am sorry you are having difficulty Clrae and JG. I’ll give a heads up to ComcastCares so that they can come answer this for you.

    • William_gerth

      Clrae1,
      If I am understanding correctly you want to skip ahead of recorded content.  The page up and page down button will allow you to do this.

      • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com/my-links Linda Sherman

        Thank you Bill!

  • Gastsby

    How do I change from a full screen picture to a regular setting?

  • churchlady

    I wish I could figure out how to play a regular CD .