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TiVo HD - Information for SA CableCard Users

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by TiVoPony, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. Dr_Diablo

    Dr_Diablo Dr_Diablo

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    Nov 23, 2003
    Midwest
    The more people who report the issue and provide detail about their exact setup, the easier it will be for TiVo to recreate the issue in their testing areas. IMO, you need to believe Pony when he says they are making headway. I've been around here long enough to know that the man speaks with responsibility. He won't confirm something unless he's reasonably confident about it (and hey, I wouldn't either) - so if the guy says they are working on it and they see a resolution, I'd probably believe him.

    I couldn't agree more... If the people that complain here about the problem with their Tivo would focus on more productive measures, "calling Tivo" then report their on going problems at that time. All of this would/will provide us with what we seek... A Tivo that works as intended...
     
  2. dolfer

    dolfer Miles Standish Proud

    710
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    Nov 3, 2000
    Milford,...
    I am hoping (and assuming) that the update will also fix the various audio-related problems as well? Right???
     
  3. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

    17,877
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    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    Discussed in other threads. Perhaps late this year, in a limited fashion that will allow transfers of certain unprotected content.
     
  4. Blackjacker

    Blackjacker New Member

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    Aug 23, 2007
    Longtime lurker, but figured this near-and-dear-to-my-heart topic deserved my first post - thank you, TiVoPony, for keeping us updated on this!
     
  5. silypuddy

    silypuddy New Member

    56
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    Jun 4, 2007
    Minneapolis
    Well I just got my two SA cablecards installed by Comcast and now I have legos on my screen and audio drops. I'll be calling Tivo later today to open a case/file a problem.

    Hope this fix comes out soon...

    Can I just pop the cards out and return back to the basic world until the fix comes out?
     
  6. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    4,469
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    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    You misunderstand me. I haven't seen anything that indicates that the Tivo boxes have poor dynamic range.

    There's a very good post from the September/October timeframe that explains why some cable DVRs handle poor quality signals (or, if I remember correctly, hot signals) better.
     
  7. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    4,469
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    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Yes. Power down the box, pop the cards (but leave them in the slots so you don't mix them up), power up, rerun guided setup.
     
  8. silypuddy

    silypuddy New Member

    56
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    Jun 4, 2007
    Minneapolis
    Is there any way to power down other than putting in standy mode and then pulling the power cord?
     
  9. gespears

    gespears Member

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    Aug 10, 2007
    Phoenix
    Hey TiVopony, as a reward for all of us being so patient :) , or not so patient :mad: , please secretly enable the eSATA port. We won't tell anybody, Promise :D
     
  10. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    4,469
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    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Nope. Pulling the power cord is the "off" switch.
     
  11. RoyK

    RoyK New Member

    2,935
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    Oct 22, 2004
    SW VA
    Sorry I misunderstood you. It's just that your post maintains that the boxes have a problem with 'hot' signals (and your cable company DVR doesn't) and other posts indicate the same situation with lower level signals and since dynamic range is the means of expressing the spread of power levels over which a device operates satisfactorily I just jumped to the conclusion.....

    nevermind.
     
  12. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Active Member

    1,383
    18
    May 15, 2002
    OK, I'll say it. Your conclusion is correct. That is the general definition of dynamic range the way I was taught as well. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it's probably a duck. Except in the Tivo forums, where it's always the cable company's fault. :D

    Tivos does not appear to be using robust RF hardware. It feels like a design issue to me. If all other devices attached to your cable system (TVs, cable modems, other DVRs) are working just fine, and one device is not, guess whose problem it is? Even if the signals were slightly out-of-spec, you wouldn't design your product assuming each of the millions of installaton locations were exactly in spec. Probably what happened is that they tried to make it robust, but it just didn't end up being as robust as they wanted.

    You'd think the S3 would have been a lesson learned for the HD, but I guess if you're trying to make a cheaper DVR you're not going to improve on the RF design. Hopefully the S4 will have these problems fixed.

    I guess the real test will be these cable co. DVRs with CableCards in them -- we'll have to see how they behave. They are the closest things to Tivos.

    [edited to fix typo and add]:

    Yes, some people may have more than one issue. But unless you fix the known bugs first, why should you spend time and effort chasing down other possible causes? If Chimpware has a signal problem, even though he has had trained professionals go to his house several times and been told it's not, he won't know for sure what his Tivo's problem is until the SA card fix is rolled out.
     
  13. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    One week since this notice was posted. Let's hope for the release next week.
     
  14. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    4,469
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    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Just because the RF design is not what you apparently want it to be, doesn't mean there is/was a design problem.

    It's not reasonable for Tivo to expect a "perfect" signal, but it is also not reasonable to expect that Tivo will over-design RF to compensate for poor cable company practices (which is apparently what Motorola and the other DVR makers that sell boatloads of DVRs to the MSOs do).

    Running with a hot signal, even to boxes with greater tolerances, is not a good thing.

    I own the Tivo. I want it to have trouble if fed an out of spec signal - I want to CORRECT the root cause of a problem, not COMPENSATE for it, especially if I own the hardware!

    (And, if you read page 40 of the NCTA's filing with the FCC the other day, they pretty much admit they required the vendors to overcompensate for poor signal quality, though they put an entirely different spin on it)
     
  15. dolfer

    dolfer Miles Standish Proud

    710
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    Nov 3, 2000
    Milford,...
    You are worse than me! :D However, I agree that it sure would be great if someone could give us a more firm date... :rolleyes:
     
  16. Phantom Gremlin

    Phantom Gremlin New Member

    1,555
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    Jun 20, 2002
    Tualatin,...
    The TiVo HD cable RF front end is a P.O.S., at least the unit I own.

    Forget about over-design, my front end DOESN'T WORK WITH IN-SPEC SIGNALS.

    AMERICAN NATIONAL STANDARD
    ANSI/SCTE 105 2005
    Requirement 19: The Uni-Directional Receiving Device shall tune
    and receive digital 256-QAM signals over the RF input level range
    signal from –12 dBmV to +15 dBmV.


    I have posted previously how I had lots of trouble with an input of -9 dBmV and some trouble with an input of -6 dBmV. I'm now running about +5 dBmV and the box seems to work OK.

    My original signal was weaker than the "nominal" 0 dBmv, but the P.O.S. TiVo should have been able to decode it. My HDTV tuner has absolutely no problem decoding that signal level.

    If I were the CEO of TiVO, I'd personally escort the people who designed this product out the door. There are probably 10,000 engineers in Silicon Valley who could have done a better job with the hardware and with the software.
     
  17. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    4,469
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    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Then you should exchange your box under warranty.

    Unless ALL Tivo HD boxes fail to meet the spec, your comments seem a bit harsh and unfair.

    I don't think the Tivo should overcompensate, but it certainly should be able to handle in spec signals.

    In my case (with the original S3), my signal was out of spec, a Motorola box handled it, the S3 didn't. When the signal was corrected to in spec (+3 now IIRC), the S3 worked fine (and I don't have any issue with two THD boxes either)

    Obviously, Tivo could have designed a box more forgiving to poor RF. But at what cost?

    It's not that hard to get a good cable signal - why should Tivo have to jump through hoops to compensate for bad ones?

    If the THD doesn't work with in spec signals, it's Tivo's problem. If the signals are out of spec, put the blame where it belongs.
     
  18. Phantom Gremlin

    Phantom Gremlin New Member

    1,555
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    Jun 20, 2002
    Tualatin,...
    It's unwise to generalize from a sample size of one. (But that doesn't stop most people and won't stop me!)

    I believe my signal level was within spec. But the TiVo HD didn't work reliably until I boosted the level. The most likely cause is one of these:

    1) poor RF design
    or
    2) defective hardware not caught in manufacturing test
    or
    3) the unit broke after manufacturing

    For #1, it would have been very simple for design engineers to characterize the sensitivity of the RF front end. If the designers didn't do it, the validation team should have. Did this product have a written hardware validation plan? I'd love to read it!

    For #2, TiVo's subcontractor is building 1000's of these boxes. How hard would it have been for them to have some sort of RF test fixture on the production floor? This fixture would present various RF levels to the two RF inputs. Software would check proper tuning under multiple conditions. A test like this could be fully automated and only take a few seconds to run. But most likely this test isn't in place.

    For #3, I've spent many years designing hardware and writing software. It's possible the box broke after being built, but I'd take 100:1 odds that the correct answer is #1 or #2, and not #3.
     
  19. bdlucas

    bdlucas Right side up again.

    16,954
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    Feb 15, 2004
    Exurbia
    My sample size of one was the opposite of yours. My TiVo HD performed flawlessly with a marginal signal somewhere in the vicinity of -10 or -12 dbmV. There are other variables that are at least if not more important, like S/N ratio.
     
  20. JJ

    JJ TiVoPlantation Owner

    357
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    Jul 14, 2000
    Land of...
    Cable companies
    seem to know that they cannot deliver a perfect signal to every box, everywhere, every time. The boxes they buy and rent to customers are hardware setup to allow for these inconsistencies.

    TiVo chose to believe that thier boxes would always get the best possible signal. Since TiVo chose this method it is necessary to implement a software fix to compensate. Hopefully this fix arrives soon, so QAM mapping and SDV tuning can be addressed...
     

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