Why Doesn't the PIP Work in My Motorola's DVR?

By Elizabeth Falwell

A digital video recorder allows you to record and play back live programming. Motorola has multiple lines of DVR set-top receivers, including its 3400 and 6400 lines, which include dual-tuners. Even though the addition of a second tuner is crucial to your DVRs ability to broadcast picture-in-picture, no Motorola DVRs on the market support this feature at time of publication.

Dual-Tuner Capability

Motorola's DCT3416 and DCT6412 DVRs, which double as set-top receiver boxes, come with dual tuners. This means your can route two signals through the receiver, enabling you to watch one channel while recording another, or record two at the same time. With most receivers, the presence of two tuners also means your box can broadcast picture-in-picture. However, even though Motorola's DVRs have this second tuner, they do not support the PIP feature.

Single-Tuner Receiver

Motorola also sells a line of single-tuner DVRs -- its 6200 line. These receiver boxes have only has one tuner, meaning you won't be able to switch between live and recorded programs. The lack of a second tuner on the 6200 line also means this DVR receiver is incapable of broadcasting picture-in-picture.

PIP-Compatible TV

To use the picture-in-picture function on any DVR receiver, it must be connected to a TV that is PIP-compatible. Although most newer television models on the market can take advantage of this technology, not all can. To see if your TV can accommodate PIP programming, check the owner's manual that came with your television.

Cable or Satellite Provider

Comcast cable, which leases the Motorola DCT6412 to its customers, shares some of the blame for allowing Motorola DVR users to think they have the ability to watch PIP on their receiver boxes. Comcast uses the same remote, regardless of which make or model of receiver you have leased, and this remote includes several PIP buttons. Although the PIP feature works on some of Comcast's other receivers, it does not work when used in conjunction with the Motorola DVRs, which are PIP incompatible. Comcast says in its user's guide that the PIP buttons -- located on the bottom of its remotes -- are not functional, but may become functional at some point.