Hacking Comcast’s Motorola DVRs

In a moment of extreme envy after finding out how much better AT&T’s service is better than Comcast’s—and the fact that I can’t switch—I wanted to make my life with Comcast a little better. A big problem I have is forwarding through commercials of recorded shows; there’s no way to gauge how far you need to go, and it’s a big pain to go way past, rewind back and so forth. My solution was to program a 30-second forward skip button onto the remote. 30 seconds is a key number, since commercials (and hence commercial blocks) are in multiples of 30 seconds.

The guide I initially followed is here, but it doesn’t work. I don’t know if it is because the firmware updates regularly or it was just wrong, but you need to skip the fourth step. In the spirit of laziness, I’ll reprint the steps here in the correct order. You’ll need to have Comcast’s Motorola cable box for this to work:

  1. Press “Cable” on the top of your remote.
  2. Press and hold “Setup” until the “Cable” button blinks twice.
  3. Type “994” on the number pad. The “Cable” button will blink twice.
  4. Press “Setup”.
  5. Type “00173” on the number pad.
  6. Press the button you want to map to 30-second forward skip.

And you’re done. I mapped the “A” button that’s under the 15-second backwards skip, since they’re in the same vicinity and until I did this hack, I had never used the button. Just in case, I take no responsibility for anything that might happen to you or your property as a result of this hack, but if it makes you feel better, I’ve been using this to the extreme delight of my housemates and myself.

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