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Are your Tuning Adapters reliable?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by bdraw, Jun 19, 2010.

Are your Tuning Adapters reliable?

  1. My Motorola TA has never let me down

    3.0%
  2. My Cisco TA has never let me down

    7.6%
  3. My Motorola TA is nothing but trouble

    0.8%
  4. My Cisco TA is nothing but trouble

    22.0%
  5. My Motorola TA lets me down sometimes but mostly works

    2.3%
  6. My Cisco TA lets me down sometimes but mostly works

    33.3%
  7. I've had a few issues at first but things are good now

    4.5%
  8. I'm lucky enough to live where I don't need a TA

    26.5%
  1. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    6,998
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    Jul 6, 2006
    Near...
    How do you know your self-reboots are related to the TA?

    I'm very interested in that because I have spontaneous TiVo HD reboots every week or two and have started a thread on that topic **here**. I invite you to join that thread and post your experiences in more detail, especially how you can tell your reboots are caused by the TA interface.
     
  2. dcstager

    dcstager 1st Gen Tivo Owner

    573
    2
    Feb 16, 2002
    Skagit...
    There is just the one bug remaining on my (original) series 3 Tivo and I don't know if it has been pinned down to the TA or the Tivo software. It is a blank recording problem where the Tivo can't record a program because no video was present. It occurs on switched digital video channels exclusively and most frequently when two SDV programs are recorded at the same time. It has seemed to me as if Tivo software could address this problem, but it could be a TA bug or a Tivo software bug. I don't know for sure. Maybe Tivo wants a few bugs to be unresolved so that they can better complain about the TAs to the FCC.
     
  3. SCSIRAID

    SCSIRAID Active Member

    2,321
    0
    Feb 2, 2003
    Vero Beach, FL
    Same for me. Other than this problem... The TA's have been fine. I can go for weeks without seeing it. Ive had 4 failed recordings between 2 TiVo's in the last 2 days though. Hopefully it will go back into hibernation. Luckily, TiVo is smart enough to put the missed episode back into the To Do List so it will eventually get recorded (usually).

    Digging around shows that the TiVo ends up on the wrong frequency and will fail to find the desired program in the transport stream. Looking at the TA, it is on the 'right' frequency... so the issue seems to be in the communications between TA and TiVo. Ive been able to catch this problem where my S3 and S4 are both recording the same show... but one is on the right frequency and the other is on the wrong frequency. The TA 'sessions' screens look identical.
     
  4. Lrscpa

    Lrscpa Member

    319
    0
    Apr 20, 2003
    I'm pleased to see that this thread has gotten the attention of tivocommunity.com's best and brightest. I'm hoping that someone can answer a few questions -

    1. What can cause the TA to reboot? Is it something other than signal strength?
    2. What, if anything, can be checked in the TA diagnostics to proactively determine if there is a problem?
    I am one of the original TA users in the Cablevision network. Over 2+ years, I have had a rock solid CableCARD experience, but my TA experience has been marred by periods of frequent (sometimes multiple times daily) reboots causing lost or partial recordings. Also, SDV channels often could not be tuned or were severly pixelated.

    I have had multiple service calls from a supposed lead Cablevision tech related to these issues, but it is evident that this lead tech does not have any specific knowledge or understanding of CableCARDS or Tuning Adapters. He appeared uninterested with the TA or CableCARD Diagnostics available on screen, but instead focused on data from that almost shoebox sized contraption that all techs carry.

    In all cases, the tech was focused on signal strength - which had gotten as bad as -10dBmV to -15dBmV per the TA Diags. After having him rerun cables from the street to the house and through the house to the split that carries our two HDTVs (one TiVo HD, one non-DVR cable box), and replacing the splitters, the signal would range from -5dBmV to -10dBmV. Problem solved for about 2 months, at which time the TA would again to begin rebooting multiple times daily - again with no apparent change in signal strength.

    Approx one month ago, he added an amplifier to the mix and signals at both sets run +5dBmV to -1dBmV. The TA did not reboot for approx 2 weeks, but now, despite strong signals, the TA has begun to reboot every day or so. It hasn't yet caused a problem with a recording, but why do I think that will happen before too long.

    I would hope to find some definitive answers or at least get pointed in the right direction.
     
  5. SCSIRAID

    SCSIRAID Active Member

    2,321
    0
    Feb 2, 2003
    Vero Beach, FL
    What version of firmware is on your TA?

    I would expect a likely reason for a TA reboot would be an inability for it to communicate with the hub. If it cant 'call home' for some period of time it may reboot in an attempt to restore communications. I would check the reverse path transmit signal level (RDC) in TA Diags and insure that its less than 50 dBmV.

    Pixelation on SDV channels is not going to be something that the TA can cause outside of an issue with the coax pass thru (if you are using that).

    Can you describe your cable situation from where the cable enters the house and thru to the TiVo? How many splitters and where? If all you have is a single 2 way split, I would expect your signal levels to be higher than you describe.
     
  6. Lrscpa

    Lrscpa Member

    319
    0
    Apr 20, 2003
    Not using TA Passthrough. About 100' run from Pole to house to a 2-way split. 60' run from that split to amp then other side of house to a 3 way split. 20' into house to a split for the TA (one to TiVo, other to TA).

    Firmware is .1101. RDC is weird - shows as n/a, even when SDV channels are tuned with both tuners.
     
  7. SCSIRAID

    SCSIRAID Active Member

    2,321
    0
    Feb 2, 2003
    Vero Beach, FL
    Wow... Im surprised you need an amp. If RDC is n/a then the TA probably is unable to talk to hub. That is probably why its rebooting. If I unplug the rf cable to my TA it will indicate RDC as n/a.

    Did the amp come from cableco? gain? internal splitter? brand and model?

    If you really need an amp, it should be where the cable enters the house. I assume the first split is for a cable modem.

    You have a higher fw level than I do. Im on 1001. I noticed today that my RDC's have jumped up. Im going to have to do some wiring adjustments to get it back down in the 40's or very low 50's.
     
  8. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Jul 6, 2006
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    Another CableVision subcriber just reported version .1101, **here**. There have been rumors of a new version for months now. Or maybe CV needs a special version for their system. (I'm on TWC with .1001 also.)
     
  9. ChinaBull

    ChinaBull New Member

    17
    0
    Aug 11, 2008
    In 2 years since I got the Tivo, there has never been a problem with the Tivo rebooting by itself. Now in 2 months with the TA, there have been 2 reboots:
    1.) I was flipping through channels randomly just as 2 shows were scheduled to begin recording. Suddenly the Tivo stopped responding to commands from the remote. The "Info" screen was up, and the current channel video was still showing. Suddenly the Tivo rebooted. When it came back up, I saw that both channels were recording, and guessed that it was related. The Tivo never popped up the "Request permission to change channels" screen.
    2.) The channel change was slower than usual - about 2-3 seconds instead of 1-2 seconds. Finally it refused to go further, the TA blinked about 4 times as though it was receiving a command from the Tivo. About 1-2 minutes later it rebooted.
     
  10. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    6,998
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    Jul 6, 2006
    Near...
    I'm posting a link to your post (#29) in the **spontaneous reboot thread** since I think this is pertinent to that thread. If you have more comments on reboots, I hope you will follow up in that thread.

    Reboots due to 2 SDV channels scheduled to start recording at exactly the same time are a known problem and I have seen it myself. Of course one would have hoped it would have been fixed in 11.0g -- but apparently it wasn't.
     
  11. dcstager

    dcstager 1st Gen Tivo Owner

    573
    2
    Feb 16, 2002
    Skagit...
    I read Tivo's statement to the FCC and I think Tivo's credibility is questionable as long as this bug is unresolved. They know about this bug and going through everything here including your tests and your bang on technical solutions to Tivo problems, this last bug is a Tivo software problem. So aside from the one bug, the Tivo and Tuning Adapter works. Tivo reputation for total reliability is gone because of this one bug.

    It should be moved to the top of the Tivo list of todo things.
     
  12. SCSIRAID

    SCSIRAID Active Member

    2,321
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    Feb 2, 2003
    Vero Beach, FL
    Even without root cause and reguardless of whose ultimate fault it is, it should be easy for TiVo to workaround. All they would have to do is watch 'Program Lock' after a tune and if it doesnt go 'YES' after 10-20 seconds then execute a retune.

    And the one just below this one it is the 'Suggestions dont work with a TA attached'. That is #2 on my hitlist. It doesnt impact everybody but both my S3 and THD have the problem. Premiere doesnt have this problem so its clearly TiVo's issue.

    Fix these 2 problems and I will be a happy camper.
     
  13. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    6,998
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    For what it's worth, here is a copy of a TiVo email support exchange I had today:

    Me:
    Reply from TiVo Customer Support:
    So their position is that only a very tiny percentage of TA users have any of these problems, and that when the problems do occur they are entirely the fault of the TA.

    Maybe they're correct -- there's no way to prove otherwise. Note TiVo says they don't troubleshoot third party devices. And of course, the Cable Co. will say it's the TiVo's fault and they don't ... well you know. As far as the Cable Co. troubleshooting the TA ? That's a joke in my experience.
     
  14. Grumock

    Grumock New Member

    412
    0
    Dec 16, 2008
    Nowhere...
    Really? When you call those guys at NCCSD that is a joke too? LOL I guess calling them is a waste of time then. LOL

    I just am astounded that Tivo did not even acknowledge there are any issues, even though there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Makes me wish I had never bought into them. :(
     
  15. SCSIRAID

    SCSIRAID Active Member

    2,321
    0
    Feb 2, 2003
    Vero Beach, FL
    Well... It it hadnt been for TWC engineering, I dont think we would have gotten the SDV pixelation bug fixed... They put a lot of time and effort into getting to the smoking gun.
     
  16. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I would note that the SDV pixelation bug was a TiVo problem, and I take your point that TWC did not sluff it off as "third party". However, I think your case of working well with TWC engineering was exceptional, both on their part and on yours (thanks again!). The common cable co response, related by many posts here, is that when you have a problem some reps will know enough to try sending some signals but I've never run into a cable co rep, at least at the local level, who would, or could, talk intelligently about troubleshooting a TA, e.g., FDC and RDC levels, Sub Expires Date, etc. -- And I've had quite a few encounters. Also numerous posters have reported that the cable co was quick to blame TiVo (and suggest switching to a cable co DVR) rather than dig into troubleshooting.
     
  17. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Point taken. NCCS is TWC's National Cable Card Desk and it has been the best source of help for TWC people having TA problems -- and I have recommended calling them whenever local support doesn't get it done for you. However, although it's been available for at least a year, TWC has never trained their local support people adequately to take advantage of it -- some of them have argued with me that it didn't even exist! So given this is just one of the many cable companies, and even they don't use it intelligently, I don't think it's enough to counter the general statement that cable co. TA troubleshooting is a joke. Actually the last time I tried to get help from NCCS, on the same old 8-blink problem they've fixed (temporarily) so many times for me, even they didn't get it fixed.
     
  18. Grumock

    Grumock New Member

    412
    0
    Dec 16, 2008
    Nowhere...
    That's odd I thought they had been running some script to fix that every month renew issue. I have not personally had it happen in months. I agree with you about the locals & the way they support cards & TAs. I know that desk has been active now for over 2 & 1/2 years, it's sad really that after all that time they are still the only real source.
     
  19. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Jul 6, 2006
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    The 8-blink situation seems to have improved in TWC SW Ohio. I haven't had it since 5/4/10 and my Sub Expires date is getting updated automatically. Details are in **this thread**. Nobody really knows what has changed, although a script is probably involved.

    This is after having to call them every month for almost a year. And of course the 8-blink issue is not the only problem folks are having with TA's.
     
  20. dcstager

    dcstager 1st Gen Tivo Owner

    573
    2
    Feb 16, 2002
    Skagit...
    The suggestions not working with a TA is not a bug but part of the SDV protocol and is controlled by Time Warner. The spec allows the cableco to restrict "speculative" recordings. Since the bandwidth is supposed to be limited to what people are actually watching, this makes at least some sense in the scheme of things. However, this is squarely in the realm of Time Warner's control.

    Tivo is saying that the TA's don't work. I would say they actually do work if this one bug was fixed. They work inelegantly and it's a kludge to be sure. But Tivo can't tell the FCC they don't work in the manner they have. If the FCC needs an excuse to do nothing or rule against Tivo, some small matter like this is just the peg they will hang it on. It's better for them to demonstrate the workaround to the FCC to then argue that TAs are not the optimal solution. Besides, Tivo has to please their customers. A bit of error condition testing and a retune built into the Tivo software as you suggest will make their machines more reliable.

    Their entire new line of Tivos is jeopardized by this particular bug. I like many people with gadgets will move on to the next new thing if my current thing is unreliable. I'm personally waiting for the DirecTV HD Tivo. I'm dropping Time Warner immediately as it stands now and my Series 3 goes to the guest room with a UHF loop antenna. My OTA reception of HD is perfect and the Tivo is completely reliable recording that.
     

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