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DVR External Hard Drive Port (eSATA)

An external hard drive allows you to expand the recording capacity of your DVR beyond the internal capabilities. Charter supports external hard drive connections via the External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (eSATA) port available on Cisco/Scientific Atlanta and Motorola DVR set-top boxes.

Note: Motorola and Cisco/Scientific Atlanta DVR's utilize the eSATA port for external hard drives. USB ports CANNOT be used to connect an external hard drive


General Information

The eSATA port supports the connection of external retail hard drives that are certified for DVR use. Your external hard drive should state on the packaging that it is compatible with DVRs.

Note: Charter recommends the Western Digital My Book AV DVR Expander 1 TB eSATA External Hard Drive

When an external hard drive is NOT compatible with a customer's DVR, an on screen message will appear.

MOXI DVRs (other than the 3501 model) utilize the USB port for external hard drive connections.

Non-DVR set-top boxes will not have this port active even if available on the back of the digital set-top box.

Ineligible Areas

Due to technical limitations customers in the following areas may not be able to utilize the eSATA port on their DVR to add External Hard Drive Storage:

  • Alabama
  • Curry
  • Merryville
  • Westover
  • California
  • Alturas
  • Thousand Oaks
  • Louisiana
  • Merryville
  • Nevada
  • Hawthorne
  • Yerington
  • New York
  • Berlin
  • Chatham
  • West Stockbridge
  • Oregon
  • Baker
  • Burns
  • Tennessee
  • McEwen
  • Stoney Creek
  • Texas
  • Carrollton
  • Washington
  • Colville



  1. Connect the AC power cord to the external drive and plug the external drive's AC power adapter into an electrical outlet
  2. Allow approximately 15 to 30 seconds for the external drive to reach operating speed
  3. Connect one end of the eSATA cable to the DVR
  4. Connect the other end of the eSATA cable to the external drive

Connection Diagram

Cisco/Scientific Atlanta

Cisco connection


Motorola Connection


When an external hard drive is connected to your DVR for the first time, the hard drive formats itself to work with that specific DVR.

You may connect multiple external hard drives, to a single DVR for increased recording capacity. Each device will be formatted to that specific DVR when connected.

When the external hard drive is disconnected, any programs stored on the device will not be accessible until reconnected to the same DVR.

Once formatted, if the hard drive is disconnected and connected to a different DVR device, the hard drive will prompt the customer to initiate the format process and will erase any existing content on the drive when reformatting itself to the new DVR.

Cisco/Scientific Atlanta

Cisco formatting message


Motorola formatting message

Recording Information

Storing and Accessing Recordings

The DVR automatically stores entire programs to the drive with the highest percentage of available space and will not allow you to specify the location of the next recording on the internal DVR drive or the external drive.  The drive with the most available space will store the next recorded program.

The DVR does not allow you to see where content is stored, either internally or externally (i.e. on the DVR or external hard drive).

A recording is never split between the internal and external hard drive.

The DVR unit will not allow you to move existing saved programs to the external hard drive once connected.

All recordings will be displayed within the DVR recording list.


eSATA Hard Drive Not Recognized

Ensure that you are not in an area that is ineligible for the eSATA feature. Click here to see a list of ineligible areas.

Pause During Fast Forward/Rewind

If your DVR pauses while you are attempting to fast forward or rewind content power cycle your Digital Set-Top box.

  1. Unplug the power cord from the back of the DVR
  2. Wait 15 seconds
  3. Plug the power cord back in

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