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FIOS TV pixellation fix - attenuate to SNR 31

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by AbMagFab, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. Feb 13, 2008 #81 of 866
    ciucca

    ciucca New Member

    270
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    Jun 29, 2004
    Well, after literally hours of getting nowhere with DirecTV and having them send out a service tech (who replaced my triple-LNB+multiswitch) to no avail, I have finally found what is going on. If someone at DirecTV can get this to an engineer, I'd be thankful.

    To summarize the problem: Following the upgrade to some Series 2 DTiVos from 3.1.1c to 3.1.1d, the odd transponders would not function on one of the inputs. On mine, it was #1, on many people's it was #2. The problem is the same. Sometimes switching cables will solve or temporarily solve the problem. However, most people have not had success with this, including me.

    Here's what I believe the problem to be, and a workaround until D* figures out they created the problem with the software upgrade:

    The 3.1.1d rev of the software changed the "cobra" driver and removed an option "gHighPowerLnb" from the internals (this forum won't let me post the name of the other one, so you'll need to do a Google search to find where I saw this). In addition, I have built a signal attenuator (see below) that reduces the signal level on the input that cannot address the odd transponders that has worked. It looks to me like they now assume that ALL multiswitches and/or LNBs are "high power" and have increased the signal level. This excessive signal from the DTiVo to the LNB/multiswitch causes it to overload and not function properly.

    The solution is for D* to admit there's a bug, put the fire under the rears of their engineers to repair the driver, and get a fix out to their customers pronto. My experiences with them in the past week doesn't give me much confidence in this, but I can only hope...


    Anybody remember this fron D* in 2004? The FIOS Pixelation is very similar. I'll bet it is a software issue and it needs to be fixed in the next software release. the temporary fix was signal attenuation. :rolleyes: I guess TIVO is a quality software house.
     
  2. Feb 14, 2008 #82 of 866
    psuzebra

    psuzebra New Member

    19
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    Nov 9, 2006
    Limerick, PA
    Just wanted to share my experience...

    After a couple months of normal use, I started experiencing some issues with my FIOS TV + TiVoHD on Friday night.

    826 ESPN HD and 827 ESPN2 HD wouldn't show up. The THD just kept saying something about searching for a signal. 840 Food HD and 841 HGTV HD would experience a lot of pixelation and audio and video dropping. I had originally 13db worth of attenuators in the coax going into the THD to get an SNR of ~31.

    I went all weekend hoping the issue would just fix itself. Duh me.

    On Monday, I added another 3db attenuator to the line. After a few minutes, 826 and 827 both came in okay and the pixelation on 840 and 841 went away. The SNR is now about 28.

    Not sure what changed, but so far so good.
     
  3. Feb 14, 2008 #83 of 866
    ilh

    ilh New Member

    377
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    Dec 21, 2007
    I have 19dB attenuation (10dB attenuator plus 3.5dB 2-way splitter plus 5.5dB 3-way splitter) and am at SNR 35/36. I don't have any pixelation that I can see.

    I did see a bit on a few channels when I had only 12dB attenuation and SNR of 38/39.
     
  4. Feb 14, 2008 #84 of 866
    ochlocracy

    ochlocracy New Member

    5
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    Jan 18, 2007
    psuzebra & ilh What frequencies are those channels on in your area?

    Tune to channel > Tivo > Messages & Settings > Sys Info > Diag. make sure you're looking at the correct tunner and channel.
     
  5. Feb 14, 2008 #85 of 866
    jpeelers

    jpeelers New Member

    1
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    Feb 14, 2008
    Went the attenuator route and it has improved the situation but not eliminated it. Best SNR for us has been 34/35. Anything lower and we go to "FAIR". My question relates to errors, however. Uncorrected are pretty much nailed at 0 but correctable errors range from a few hundred to a four or five thousand. Excuse my ignorance - I am a newbie - but is this a problem? If so, what is my next step? Thanks!

    Judy
     
  6. Feb 15, 2008 #86 of 866
    gguillot

    gguillot New Member

    43
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    Sep 22, 2003
    Hill...
    I have been fighting the same issues with my Series 3 and my fiber-to-the-home provider (GVTC.) No one - I mean the cable company AND Tivo - seem to be able to fix the problem, nor do they seem to care. If you can live with the Verizon's DVR shortcomings, I suggest you get your money back for the Tivo - otherwise you could be like me and still fighting with it a year after you bough it.
     
  7. Feb 15, 2008 #87 of 866
    ciucca

    ciucca New Member

    270
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    Jun 29, 2004
    Lets face it. If you want to get rid of the pixelation you are going to have to use the attenuator work around, posted multiple times on this board. If the attenuator trick doesn't work then you are truly F*#$ed.

    I know enough about RF and DSP to know that the problem is not the service provider (verizon, comcast, etc), not the signal, it is the Tivo hardware circuitry. I don't care what others on this board think. A majority I believe don't want to face the truth and blame their beloved Tivo Corporation. It's my educated guess that the problem is the Tivo hardware and cannot be tweaked in software, or the QAM tuner driver, otherwise it would have been fixed by now.

    If Tivo cared about their customers they would admit it is their fault. They would redesign the QAM tuner circuitry and replace the tuner with a better one (more costly) and offer everyone having the issue an even exchange when the newly designed boxes are available.

    I'm sure Tivo is marginally surviving financially and is scared to admit the problem. This is probably the reason they opted for cheap crap hardware to begin with. It's time for the Tivo employees on this board to own up and admit the hardware is unfixable. We all like to rip microsoft, but at least they owned up to the problems in the xbox 360 design and are replacing defective xboxs with a refurbished unit that has an updated motherboard that fixes the issue. I understand that Tivo does not have the financial resources microsoft has, but pretending it is the cable providers problem and sweeping it under the rug is not the answer either. I know 10 people in NNJ having pixelation issues with FIOS and cable, and none are going to ever buy another Tivo again unless something is done. So sticking your head in the sand is not going to make your company last any longer.

    Time for TivoPony and other Tivo people here to admit and address the pixelation problem as the sev 1 show stopper issue that it is, and do something about it.

    Of course this is my rant, thank you for reading.
     
  8. Feb 15, 2008 #88 of 866
    ilh

    ilh New Member

    377
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    Dec 21, 2007
    I noticed a fair bit of pixelation and uncorrected RS errors on Discovery HD Theater today, channel 836 and 747MHz I believe. It looks like I'll need to try more than 19dB of total attenuation to drop from 35/36dB down to 31ish.
     
  9. Feb 16, 2008 #89 of 866
    kmalone576

    kmalone576 New Member

    24
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    Jul 1, 2007
    So although I posted earlier that I had fixed the problem by adding 11db worth of attenuation, after only a few weeks it appears I was wrong. Yesterday I started notice pixelation on the showtime channels 361,362, etc. Looking at the diagnostics, the SNR was ranging 29-33. I decided to experiment by adding less and more attenuation. Going from 11 to 9 made the RS uncorrected skyrocket... so I tried going to 12. This improved the RS Uncorrected errors (but they still did slowly accumulate). However this small increase in signal attenuation made other channels (e.g. 99 TWC) unwatchable due to pixelation. So with 11 db of attenuation I can watch TWC clearly with pixelation on Showtime and with 12 db of attenuation Showtime is a better (though not perfect) but TWC is unwatchable. The problem with this fix it doesn't fix all the channels. Fortunately I mostly watch the HD channels which all seem okay (right now) with either combination.

    This is really getting irritating however. I have a Verizon HD box hooked up to the same TV on a different input and it has no problems on any channel. I could call verizon again and I'm sure they would come out and check it out again, but I have to say if it works with their equipment I think the problem lies with Tivo more than there signal. Maybe their signal is not perfect, but apparently their STB can handle its fluctuations or strength.

    Maybe the problem lies with Tivo's ?low quality? tuner as someone suggested. But if I continue to have problems I can't keep playing with attenuators or spend a whole day waiting for a verizon tech to come out or spend hours on hold with tivo tech service only have them tell me the problem must be with Verizon. Nor should anyone have to after spending the money for a S3. I am getting more and more tempted to give up on Tivo and deal with a suboptimal DVR interface rather than a suboptimal picture.:mad:
     
  10. Feb 16, 2008 #90 of 866
    ciucca

    ciucca New Member

    270
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    Jun 29, 2004
    If you haven't called Verizon then do it if not then don't waste your time calling them again. They are very nice they will come to your house change everything (wires, cable cards, ONT, etc), but it ain't going to help. It's definitely the tivo, otherwise the tivo people who read this board would speak up and defend their product.
     
  11. Feb 16, 2008 #91 of 866
    kmalone576

    kmalone576 New Member

    24
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    Jul 1, 2007
    I agree - I'm actually quite impressed with the effort that Verizon has put out in order to try to make it work unfortunately there's not much more they can do.
     
  12. Feb 19, 2008 #92 of 866
    sturdydog

    sturdydog New Member

    11
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    Nov 23, 2002
    Annapolis, MD
    Sorry for any cross posting, I posted this in the other Pixelation thread and it was suggested that here might be a better spot as this is Verizon specific.

    I too am having pixelation troubles with Verizon FIOS. I have a question I have not seen anybody touch on. I have two TiVos. One Series 3, one HD. The Series 3 works perfect, hardly ever seen a corrected packet and never a an uncorrected one. While the HD has all kinds of issues and many channels are only useable only after 24db of attenuatuation. Believe me all things are equal between the units from a signal standpoint as I have swapped cable cards / cables / splitters everyway possible and the results are the same.

    The one thing that I find different between the two is the Series 3 shows Channel Bits: 30750 in the diagnostics screen, while the HD unit shows 30746. What does this number mean? Could this be the cause of my problems?

    Can everybody please share what channel bits their system shows and whether or not they are having this problem?
     
  13. Feb 21, 2008 #93 of 866
    NovaFIOS

    NovaFIOS New Member

    15
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    Feb 21, 2008
    I have had FIOS since July 07 and have had multiple problems with their Motorola Box. I am on my third box after the previous 2 died, 2 within a week of each other. The box stinks, the software stinks and it craps out way too much. The one thing is that the picture has been really good. The HD is flawless, the SD could be a bit better, but no pixelation or anything.

    Because of the problems, I finally decided the time has come to bite the bullet and purchase a TIVO HD to replace the crappy moto box. I have done some research regarding cable cards and attenuation etc, however after reading this thread, I am now really nervous whether the thing is going to work correctly with FIOS. IF i do not get the same perfect picture with TIVO that I was getting with FIOS and I spent nearly $300 on a TIVO, my wife is going to kill me. Did I make a big mistake????
     
  14. Feb 21, 2008 #94 of 866
    ciucca

    ciucca New Member

    270
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    Jun 29, 2004
    NovaFIOS,

    All I can tell you is if I spent time reading the posts concerning FIOS and TIVOHD I would NOT have purchased it. Everyone rags on the motorola HD boxes you rent from FIOS. I admit they have their problems, but at least they do not pixelate on any channel for me. IMO the pixelation outways all the other issues. Now you can "fix" pixelation if you want to go the attenuator route. It improved my problem 90-95%, but you are taking a risk, that you are one of the few the work around does not help. What area of the country are you in? From the multitudes of posts it's possible some FIOS areas may not have a problem (maybe just a theory).

    Again if I know now what I didn't know then, I would have waited, to see if a solution is ever found before spending $300 for the tivo and wireless gizmo, and $200 for the dvr extender. This is the opinion of 1 person.
     
  15. Feb 21, 2008 #95 of 866
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    0
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    I am in N. VA and had pixelization on a few SD channels. Adding an attenuator eliminated the pixelization on those channels.

    If you are really worried, then buy the TiVo locally -- I believe BB and CC both have it for around $250 -- so you can return it if you are in the minority with pixelization issues that an attenuator does not address. You have 30 days to cancel service and return the TiVo without any penalty, aside from the $25 Verizon CableCard installation fee.

    You could keep the Motorola DVR in the meantime, if you want. In N. VA, customers are now permitted to drop-off old equipment at Fair Oaks Mall (thus avoiding the pickup fee).
     
  16. Feb 21, 2008 #96 of 866
    brigont

    brigont New Member

    20
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    Jan 28, 2008
    Guys,

    Anyone know of an adjustable attenuation module of some sort.

    Sure, these fixed db attenuators are a cheap solution. What about an expensive box with an adjustable attenuator control that lets you dial in the exact amount of att you need for perfect reception.

    I also like lighting my firepalce with cash and wiping my A**with... well you get the point!

    BG
     
  17. Feb 21, 2008 #97 of 866
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    As in these posts from earlier in this thread? IIRC someone posted info about a more modern version from RS which included a signal amp but actually attenuated the signal however I can't seem to find it right now.
     
  18. Feb 22, 2008 #98 of 866
    sflippen

    sflippen New Member

    6
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    Mar 1, 2003
    Newport...
    DON'T RETURN any HD equipment to Verizon! They are now "out-of-stock" On their HD STB's and DVR's. I believe they estimate mid-March before they get more in, but they already have a backlog of pending installs.

    Hold on to them long enough to confirm you have any trouble, because you won't be able to go pick them up right away if you do!
     
  19. Feb 23, 2008 #99 of 866
    sturdydog

    sturdydog New Member

    11
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    Nov 23, 2002
    Annapolis, MD
    Thought I would give this a little bump as I have not seen any reponse.

    I have an HD and a Series 3, the Series 3 works flawlessly and the HD has a lot of pixelation problems. The one thing that I find different between the two is the Series 3 shows Channel Bits: 30750 in the diagnostics screen, while the HD unit shows 30746. What does this number mean? Could this be the cause of my problems?

    What Channel bits are the rest of you showing with and without problems?
     
  20. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    0
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    My TivoHD reports 30750 for N. VA FiOS.

    I had pixelization on a handful of SD channels but a 10dB attenuator (on top of my other splitters / existing attenuation) eliminated that.
     

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