An external hard drive increases the recording capacity of your DVR beyond the device's internal storage capability. Spectrum supports external hard drive connections via the External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (eSATA) port available on Cisco/Scientific Atlanta and Motorola DVRs.

Note: USB ports can't be used to connect an external hard drive to Motorola and Cisco/Scientific Atlanta DVRs.

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  General Information

General Information

The eSATA port supports external retail hard drives that are compatible with DVRs. The external hard drive packaging should state whether it's certified for DVR use.

Note: The eSATA port function can only be used on Spectrum Receivers with DVR.

Ineligible Areas

Due to technical limitations, customers in the following areas may not have an eSATA port on their DVR:

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


  1. Make sure the external hard drive is plugged in and powered on.
  2. Allow approximately 15 to 30 seconds for the external hard drive to reach operating speed.
  3. Connect one end of the eSATA cable to the eSATA port on the back of the DVR.
  4. Connect the other end of the eSATA cable to the eSATA port on the external hard drive.
  5. A message will appear prompting you to format your external hard drive. Select Yes.
Note: If the external hard drive isn't compatible with your DVR, an on-screen message will display.

Cisco/Scientific Atlanta

Cisco/Scientific Atlanta Connection Diagram


Motorola Connection Diagram


When you connect an external hard drive to your DVR for the first time, it'll format itself to work with that specific DVR.

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

If an external hard drive is disconnected, programs stored on the device won't be accessible until reconnected to the same DVR.

Note: If a hard drive is disconnected and reconnected to a different DVR, the hard drive will prompt the customer to initiate the format process. Reformatting a hard drive for a new DVR will erase all existing content stored on the device.

Cisco/Scientific Atlanta

Cisco Attention screen


Save yes/no message

Recording Information

Storing and Accessing Recordings

All recorded programs can be accessed through the DVR recording list.

Recorded programs will automatically be saved to the hard drive with the most available space. A single recording will never be split between hard drives.

The DVR doesn't indicate where content is stored (internally or externally) and doesn't allow for you to move existing content between hard drives.


eSATA Hard Drive Not Recognized

Verify that you're in an area that supports the eSATA feature. See a list of ineligible areas.

Ensure that your external hard drive is certified for DVR use.

Pause During Fast Forward/Rewind

If your DVR pauses while you are attempting to fast forward or rewind content, power cycle your receiver:

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

Please visit our DVR Troubleshooting support page for further assistance.