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S3 + Plasma = Useless Remote?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by SLCMike, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Sep 18, 2006 #1 of 224
    SLCMike

    SLCMike New Member

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    Nov 18, 2003
    When I was setting up my S3, I had it sitting on the table that my 42 inch plasma is sitting on. I noted that my remote didn't work very well during setup -- only registering about 30% of my remote actions. This was true for both my old and new TiVo remote incidentally. I figured the problem had something to do with was the fact the S3 was sitting right in front of the plasma and the light from the plasma was somehow messing with the IR recevier on the S3. So I created a "hood" for my S3 with a blanket (high tech) and the remote immediately started working considerably better. I figured it was just a temporary fix until I moved the S3 next to my S2 under the TV.

    Now that I have the S3 under the television (the TV is on a table with a shelf underneath for AV equipment) with no rigged up hood, the IR reception on the S3 sucks worse than ever! I would say that I only register 5% of my remote actions. It's infuriating! It makes using my S3 next to impossible to be honest.

    It's very strange as my S3 is literally sitting right next to my S2. When I press the remote, I can instantly see the light on the S2 light up every time I press a key on the remote. On the S3 it lights up once in a blue moon. My first thought was "there's something wrong with the TiVo." However if I turn OFF my plasma, both the S2 and S3 light up at the same time -- every time -- when I press a remote button. This suggests that it is in fact the plasma that's causing problems.

    Now the question... Is it still a problem with the new TiVo? Or is this a common problem with some IR receptors? Again, I've used my S2 for many years with no such problems. I am incredibly bummed that I finally got my S3 functioning only to find it nearly useless due to the remote being useless!

    Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. Sep 18, 2006 #2 of 224
    eisenb11

    eisenb11 New Member

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    Sep 6, 2006
    Redondo...
    I've played with my S3 a little bit (more on Friday when I get my CCs installed)... I've been getting the impression that the IR sensor is not very sensitive.

    I haven't had a chance to try, but I wonder if you need to have a more direct line between the remote and the sensor.

    I also noticed that the remote seems to work better if I hold it so the top points towards the ceiling (but not straight up)...

    Weirdness...
     
  3. Sep 18, 2006 #3 of 224
    btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

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    Jan 16, 2003
    Mountain...
    It works for me, I have a Plasma display, but I also use a Pronto. The Pronto's IR is notably strong.
     
  4. Sep 18, 2006 #4 of 224
    SLCMike

    SLCMike New Member

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    Nov 18, 2003
    I've actually gone ahead and ordered another S3 from CircuitCity. (I have a store here locally, so it should be easy to return one of the two.) I will see if the new unit has the same problem or not. I'm guessing that it's some sort of IR related hardware problem on the new S3 given my S2 has / continues to work flawlessly. As ridiculously bad as the IR sensor appears to be, I have to believe something is wrong. There's no doubt there would be a load of complaints registered here if people were experiencing what I am. Will post again when I get the new unit and reactivate my CC's in it (arrrrrgh!)
     
  5. Sep 18, 2006 #5 of 224
    timmetro69

    timmetro69 Vegas Baby

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    Jun 11, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV
    Same problem here. Very frustrating. I, too, have a 42" plasma and my S3 is about 12 inches to the left of it in an open equipment rack. I'm probably eight feet away from the front of the S3 and the remote response is probably 50% at best.

    I think I'll try a few experiments and see if I can shield the front of the S3 from the evil rays of the plasma screen.
     
  6. Sep 19, 2006 #6 of 224
    SLCMike

    SLCMike New Member

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    Nov 18, 2003
    I actually just ordered another S3 due to this issue. Hopefully it will arrive either Friday or Saturday. I simply don't believe that this problem is not an IR related hardware problem in the S3. My S3 is basically unusable. =/ I've had no problem at all with my S2 which is sitting directly next to the S3. I guess I will know whether it's a hardware problem when the next S3 arrives! I will post my the results when I've got the new box. (I suppose I don't actually have to reactivate the CC's for that box to test whether it works better thankfully.)
     
  7. Sep 19, 2006 #7 of 224
    eisenb11

    eisenb11 New Member

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    Sep 6, 2006
    Redondo...
    Just for fun, try pointing your remote towards the ceiling (but not at 90 degrees) with the back facing the S3.

    This seemed to raise my success rate from about 50% to 80%... Let me know what happens when you try it.

    If this really has an effect, I'm thinking the problem may be with the design of the remote control....
     
  8. Sep 19, 2006 #8 of 224
    abobrow

    abobrow New Member

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    Jul 8, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I know that plasmas emit ir noise. When I had this problem with a different device I was told to make sure the ir receiver sits behind the plane of the plasma screen. i.e., even if it's on a shelf under the tv, scooch it back a few inches. Maybe that will help, FWIW.
     
  9. Sep 19, 2006 #9 of 224
    eisenb11

    eisenb11 New Member

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    Sep 6, 2006
    Redondo...
    Hmm, that could pose problems if the plasma is against the wall... can't move the tivo beyond that! :(

    Sorta odd though that out of all my devices with IR, the S3 is the only one affected by this...
     
  10. Sep 19, 2006 #10 of 224
    fergiej

    fergiej More hair, less 30lb

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    Atlanta
    Using my URC MX-850 and an MRF-250 with a blaster taped to the IR port, I am getting at least 98% success rate! ;) Still not entirely perfect, though. 'course not everyone wants to spend $500 for a remote...just sayin'...
     
  11. Sep 19, 2006 #11 of 224
    MikePeekskill

    MikePeekskill New Member

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    Apr 3, 2006
    It's definitely a plasma thing -- same thing happened to me. You need to move the Tivo around (if possible) so that it's far enough away (and preferably behind) the plasma. As someone else stated, I use an IR repeater and have the Tivo in another room. But plasmas are notorious for screwing with the IR signal especially if the Tivo is near the front of the plasma. Hope this helps.
     
  12. Sep 19, 2006 #12 of 224
    Stormspace

    Stormspace Electrocuted by TiVo

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    Apr 13, 2004
    Hartsville, SC
    A couple of things to consider.

    Is the shelf above the TiVo and below the plasma made of glass? That would allow the interference to affect the TiVo.

    Have you tried pushing the TiVo back further on the shelf so that it is shielded more from above? Or conversely moving it forward if it was back already?

    Does the remote work it you are right next to the TiVo, but not further away?

    Is the room very bright with lots of incandescent lighting, or sunlight?
     
  13. Sep 19, 2006 #13 of 224
    SLCMike

    SLCMike New Member

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    Nov 18, 2003
    Nope. 1/4 inch slate tiles. None of the light emitted from the plasma would be coming directly at or down on the TiVo. Again, my S2 is literally side by side with the S3 and has no problems at all -- nor has it ever! That's why I'm of the opinion it's a hardware problem.

    The plasma is essentially against the wall. Unfortunately moving it really isn't an option in our current house. Nor is moving the TiVo really, not without doing some significant rearranging anyway. For the sake of science and this post I did in fact move our plasma forward of the plane of the S3. The problem became worse actually!

    Notably, it does *not* work particularly well, even at the 3 - 6 inch range. It still has the same issues so long as the plasma is on.

    Not at all. It's a basement room, small windows. Very little ambient light, effectively zero ambient light at night if the lights are off. (I've tested in all conditions.) As long as the plasma is on, there's an issue with the S3's IR. When it's off there's very little. I would be happy to blame everything on my plasma if the S2 (or any other A/V equipment, all of which sits under the plasma) had similar issues, but there are none.

    To answer an earlier question about the remote... I know it's not a problem with the remote in my case, because the S3 exhibits the same behavior when I'm using either the old remote from my S2 or the new remote from the S3. Pointing the remote at the ceiling didn't seem to change my results any either.

    I guess I'll know whether or not the plasma is to blame when I get a replacement S3 later this week! Thanks for all of your replies... I guess I can get a repeater or something if it turns out my plasma is to blame. Frustrating!
     
  14. Sep 19, 2006 #14 of 224
    classicX

    classicX Don't scream.

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    May 10, 2006
    Miles away...
    Seems to me you've answered your own question. Try using an IR repeater system with a plasma-proof IR receiver.
     
  15. Sep 19, 2006 #15 of 224
    SLCMike

    SLCMike New Member

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    Nov 18, 2003
    Based on the fact my S2, DVD player, STB, TV, etc. have no such issues and are located in the exact same area as my S3, I find it hard to believe it's not simply a problem with the S3 to be honest. I've got another S3 on the way, so I suppose I will know whether it's a hardware problem soon enough.
     
  16. Sep 19, 2006 #16 of 224
    bferrell

    bferrell Now in HD!

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    Jun 22, 2005
    Cincinnati, OH
    I've got my S3 mounted directly underneath (less than a foot of) my 42" HD Hitachi Plasma, and don't have any problems.

    Brett
     
  17. Sep 21, 2006 #17 of 224
    Alcatraz

    Alcatraz Occasionally Helpful

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    Nov 22, 2000
    The title of this thread definitely caught my eye so I started poking around on Google for "ir plasma interference" and a quick review of the results shows it's certainly possible. I don't have either..S3 or plasma..yet, but this would make me worry about getting either.

    Is the interference a result of the TV shining directly on the S3, or is it coming from a reflection off the back wall? What happens if you turn the Tivo box and try to bounce the remote signal off the wall?
     
  18. Sep 21, 2006 #18 of 224
    onativo

    onativo New Member

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    Sep 21, 2006
    Had the same problem with my S3/Remote. Called TiVo support and they told me to do the following:

    Remove all other remotes from the room (or put them in a closed drawer/cabinet). See if problem is resolved.

    It worked for me. Something about certain remotes emitting IR signals (even when they aren't being used) and confusing the S3 box.

    Brad
     
  19. Sep 21, 2006 #19 of 224
    NJChris

    NJChris Kermie Loves Elmo

    5,373
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    May 11, 2001
    Riverdale,...
    Is the protective plastic removed off the front of the tivo? I don't know if this can interfere, but couldn't hurt to ask. :)

    The edge of it was hard for me to get a grip on.... I wasn't even sure it was there.. but it was. :)
     
  20. Sep 21, 2006 #20 of 224
    SLCMike

    SLCMike New Member

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    Nov 18, 2003
    Just to follow up... I've just received the secondary S3 I ordered to replace the one that I believed was having IR issues that were hardware related. I ran it downstairs, placed it on top of the first S3 and, in short, it works perfectly. No remote / IR issues at all. It responds to the remote just as well as my S2 and the rest of my AV equipment. The IR "light" lights up at the exact same time the S2's when I press a button on the remote. Now I get to go through the joy of getting Comcast to reactivate my CC's for the new S3! =)

    The build date on both my good *and* bad S3 are August 26, 2006 FWIW. If any of you are having IR issues like mine -- issues that none of your other AV equipment have -- I would suggest considering the possibility your S3 has an IR sensor problem. Mine clearly did. The original S3 goes back to CircuitCity tomorrow.
     

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