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DVR's vs STB's

Former Employee

DVR's vs STB's

DVR's vs STB's


DVR (Digital Video Recorder) service is included for all customers ordering U-verse TV with U-Family or a U-200 package and above.Whenever we come across issues where we cannot record a program, lost access to the recordings, or any other DVR related issue, then we must identify exactly which receiver in the house is the DVR in order to resolve the issue. This can get confusing because of the visual and functional similarities that the DVR shares with the Non-DVR boxes. These Non-DVR receivers are called STB's (Set Top Box). STB receivers by themselves only have the ability to control Live TV.


Total Home DVR


Every customer with DVR service has ONE DVR receiver per household, the rest of the receivers are Non-DVR Set Top Boxes. However, with Total Home Digital Video Recorder (THDVR) service, all receivers in the home have the ability to manage recordings. This includes the ability to schedule and delete recordings from any receiver in the home, providing you with a nearly identical experience across all receivers (DVR and standard) So if you're in a bedroom with a standard STB and you need to pause the show or access a recording, the DVR receiver must be plugged in and powered (not turned on) in order to view the content on the DVR. Scheduled recordings are maintained on the network through your Gateway, but the receiver must be able to record it and save it locally on the DVR's Hard Drive.


Visual Differences


Let's take a look at the visual differences of DVR's and STB's. On all U-verse receivers there is a small "Model Number" placed on the bottom left hand side of the face of your receiver. This model number will be able to tell you whether the box is the DVR or one of the STB's. (Screenshot Provided Below) You may have noticed that those receivers in the example below have a difference in size. Your DVR (Unless it is the VIP2250 or ISB7500) will always be a bit larger in size. All DVR's are also heavier in weight because it contains the hard drive that is used to store the recordings.

DVR&STB Model Number.png


Which DVR do I have?


AT&T U-verse has several different DVR models manufactured by Motorola and Cisco. If the model number begins with "VIP" then it's a Motorola. If it's labeled "IPN" or "ISB" then it is a Cisco. Not all DVR's look the same. Here are the visual examples of all the DVR's AT&T offers at this current time. (Click image to enlarge)


Motorola Models:



Note: This DVR is the same size as the regular STB's

Motorola VIP2250.png


VIP1225 and VIP1216

Note: These two models look the same

Motorola VIP1216.png


Cisco Models:


IPN430 and IPN4320

Note: These two models look the same

Cisco IPN430.png



Note: This DVR is the same size as the regular STB's

Cisco ISB7500.png


Storage Capacity


There are four large hard drive DVR receivers, and two standard 160GB DVR's (Chart attached below)


DVR Storage Capacity.png

New U-verse customers who subscribe to U300 or above core video packages at the time of installation are guaranteed to be installed with one of the two larger hard drive DVRs. New customers who do not opt for either the U300 or above package receive the standard 160GB DVR.


How do I use my DVR?


There is an excellent "Help On Demand" video that will explain in great detail how to use your DVR. To access this video, tune your U-verse receiver to channel 411 for the help on demand videos. The following video is named "Using U-verse: Total Home DVR"





If you encounter any issues with your service or equipment, I recommend checking out our Troubleshoot & Resolve solutions to help diagnose the issue.
Message 1 of 11

Re: DVR's vs STB's

I have a VCR, will I still be able to watch those movies?

Message 2 of 11
Former Employee
Accepted by (Former Employee)
Accepted by beckyww
‎09-30-2015 1:39 AM

Re: DVR's vs STB's

Hi windowsyl39

Apologizes for the delayed response. VCR's are only able to play movies when you plug in a video cassette tape into it. The boxes that are shown here come from our AT&T U-verse TV service. It is an IP based service and allows you to access lots of shows and movies. If you are interested in ordering this service then click here if you would like more information on it. Thanks!

If you encounter any issues with your service or equipment, I recommend checking out our Troubleshoot & Resolve solutions to help diagnose the issue.
Message 3 of 11

Re: DVR's vs STB's

I have been a UVerse customer since 1997--one of the first to sign-up when it came to Houston, TX.  Until 3 months ago, I had the original DVR until, according to the technician, it was failing--it was losing recordings affecting the TV picture.  Both seemed to be remedied when the DVR was replaced until last night, I turned off the TV at about 11:00 pm, since I was falling asleep while watching an episode of a TV series broadcast on CBS  just taped earlier that evening.  When I woke up the next morning all of my recordings had vanished (about 20). A recording that was to start at 12:00 am started recording about 12:15 am.   The next recordiing was to be at 12:00 pm (recorded daily) and that recorded just fine.  I called Tech support and a soft-reboot was done remotely but none of the lost recordings re-populated.  Is the new DVR defective?  Should it be replaced?  I have read other community threads that state the ATT knows of this problem for a very long time and does not fix it.  This is a very expensive service--need I say more other than the price increases all the time.    

Message 4 of 11

Re: DVR's vs STB's

Hello freemancff,

I'm sorry you recently lost some recordings on your DVR. If you have multiple TVs and this is a regular receiver, the DVR access to your receiver may have been lost and the recordings may still be available. I can help you verify if your equipment is defective or if there are any line problems affecting your service. I have sent you a private message to help you test your service and coordinate a resolution.


If you encounter any issues with your service or equipment, I recommend checking out our Troubleshoot & Resolve solutions to help diagnose the issue.
*I am an AT&T employee, and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.
Message 5 of 11

Re: DVR's vs STB's

How do we get the higher storage DVR? I have been using the VIP 1225 since I started using Uverse w/ the 450 pkge back a few yrs ago. More storage has always been an issue in my household. You guys never inform the customer of all the options as they are rolled out. And that's very irritating!!!!

Message 6 of 11
Former Employee

Re: DVR's vs STB's

Hello PissedatFOX,


I apologize for the inconvenience but, I'll be glad assist you and discuss some options with you to resolve this issue. I'm going to send you a private message that will land in your inbox, and we will move forward from there. Thank you! Smiley Happy

If you encounter any issues with your service or equipment, I recommend checking out our Troubleshoot & Resolve solutions to help diagnose the issue.
Message 7 of 11

DVR coming on by itself

My DVR seems to turn on by itself and does not go off. When trying to watch TV a red X comes on the screen. I have to unplug the dvr and plug it back in to reset. This has happened 3 times in the last week. What gives?

Message 8 of 11

Re: DVR coming on by itself

My Motorola dvr turns on by itself. I’ve unplugged and plugged it and it works for  1 or 2 days and does the same thing all over again. And while it’s on without me noticing it for quite sometime, it doesn’t do any recording for my scheduled programming. I’ve tried unplugging and plugging back the gateway but it does the same thing. Do I need a new DVR? This happened after several power outages in our area due to storm.

Message 9 of 11
ACE - Professor

Re: DVR coming on by itself

Try the recovery process detailed below with your DVR. Note that the Non-Disaster Recovery preserves your recorded programs, while the Disaster Recovery will permanently lose all recordings and reset all DVR settings.



To avoid losing your saved programs, perform the Non-Disaster Recovery for DVR/Receivers:

  1. Unplug the receiver or DVR power cord from the wall or back of the box.
  2. Wait 10 seconds.
  3. Plug in the receiver and DVR.
  4. When three white dots appear on the screen, unplug the receiver/DVR again.
  5. Repeat this process two more times.
  6. Plug the receiver/DVR back in on the third time and leave in. Three white dots appear followed by a gear with a status bar at the bottom of the screen. If the Recovery screen does not appear, repeat the steps above.

If you are still experiencing issues with you DVR after that, perform a Disaster Recovery on the device.


Disaster Recovery for DVR/Receivers:
WARNING!: Disaster Recovery steps will cause your DVR to lose all pre-existing data such as: Recordings, Parental control settings, Aspect ratio settings


  1. Hold down the Down arrow key + OK key +Power key outlined in red at the same time to power down the DVR.
  2. Continue pressing these keys until a gear appears on the screen and release the Down arrow + OK keys.
  3. If the gear on the TV screen appears, wait until completion.
  4. If the gear on the TV screen does not appear, repeat the disaster recovery process. 
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*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 10 of 11

Re: DVR coming on by itself

Thank you davemize, hopefully this would do it for good.

Message 11 of 11
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