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Tivo HD Pixelation Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Chimpware, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. Sep 19, 2007 #261 of 1597
    ChrisPA

    ChrisPA New Member

    8
    0
    Aug 2, 2007
    Bucks...
    An update to my situation: I have FIOS and have had pixelation problems on certain HD and SD channels. My Verizon HD PVR has had very, very few problems with the same channels. Last week, after the Verizon tech came and went without helping me (he said the signal levels were fine), I brought the two boxes together and swapped the cable input back and forth. The TivoHD was definitely having pixelation issues when the Verizon box was not.

    I then called Tivo, who had me bring up the signal strength meter, which was fluctuating wildly between 50 and 75. They said 95 is the level you need to get a solid picture. So... I called Verizon back and told them what was happening and that the tech told me the signals were fine, but my Tivo (and Panasonic TV) said otherwise. They apologized many times and were going to have another tech remotely check out my box and call me back.

    I haven't heard back yet, and doubted they could do much remotely, but lo and behold, last night my problem channels are suddenly in the upper 90s and the Tivo is no longer pixelating.

    Its still too early to be sure things are corrected, but I'm beginning to draw a few conclusions:

    1. the tuner in the TivoHD is not as robust to poor signal level as the Verizon DVR.
    2. the signal levels for stations vary wildly across the band
    3. if Verizon/Comcast/etc is going to rent CableCards to receive their content (and the FCC says they have to), they need to provide sufficient signal strength for them to be tuned reliable by units made by Tivo, Panasonic, etc. My problems (at least after the most recent Tivo software updates) seem to have been caused by signal strength

    (as an additional data point, with a CC in my Panasonic TV, it also experienced difficulties with the same stations. However, unlike the Tivo, it generally just sets the screen to black rather than show the pixelated video when the signal strength is too low)
     
  2. Sep 20, 2007 #262 of 1597
    BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Active Member

    1,348
    8
    May 15, 2002
    1. If Tivo is expecting a consistent signal level of 95 or higher, that explains why they are having problems out in the field. That's almost unreasonable, but not quite. Your service provider, especially FIOS, should be able to provide it after some tweaking. But don't expect it to work out of the box.
    2. Yes, in some areas it may be difficult to get that high a signal for every single channel. It could take a lot of tweaking.
    3. Verizon is currently exempt from the CableCard regulations. Therefore, Tivos are not officially supported on Verizon FIOS. Verizon knows they will have to supply CableCards in the future, so they are beta testing them right now. Since both companies share many customers, they are unofficially supporting each other very well.
     
  3. Sep 25, 2007 #263 of 1597
    BillL

    BillL New Member

    86
    0
    Oct 6, 2004
    Has anyone posted a video of their pixilation problems? I was considering putting one out there with my motorola box side-by-side showing no pixilation. That would quiet some of the naysayers.
     
  4. Sep 25, 2007 #264 of 1597
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    0
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Are you in the DE/PA area? FiOS users have been reporting issues with ESPN-HD and ESPN-HD in those markets for the last week, even with the Motorola boxes.
     
  5. Sep 25, 2007 #265 of 1597
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    0
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    This wide signal variation -- accompanied by pixelization -- can also result when your FiOS signal is too 'hot' (strong). You might try sticking a splitter or attenuator between the coax and your Tivo to reduce the signal strength.
     
  6. Sep 25, 2007 #266 of 1597
    blhirsch

    blhirsch Tivo-riffic!

    290
    0
    Mar 1, 2003
    That's exactly where I am. Interestingly, it seems to have largely resolved, but I haven't watched it for terribly long to make sure.

    Unfortunately, my Comedy Central was all wonky last night. You can mess with my Sports Center but woe to the person who messes with my Daily Show.

    I'm getting a little frustrated because I NEVER had these problems with DirecTV. It's lending an air of unpredictability to it, and I didn't sign up for that.
     
  7. Sep 25, 2007 #267 of 1597
    randymac88

    randymac88 New Member

    78
    0
    Feb 29, 2004
    Has anyone on this board a) received the new 9.1 firmware update, and b) noticed an increase in pixelation? I ask as, last night I was watching and saw more pixelation than I had in previous weeks since the "c" update. Not sure whether I got the 9.1 update or not, but it was noticeable. I'll have to check my firmware when I get home today.
     
  8. Sep 25, 2007 #268 of 1597
    kpepling

    kpepling New Member

    21
    0
    May 10, 2004
    I noticed some bad pixelation on ESPNHD tonight. I tested the signal strength and it was a solid 97. I noticed that I had no problems with the picture while I was on that menu. After that I was able to have both cablecards tuned to ESPNHD and saw that I was only getting problems with one of the cards. Does that mean that I have a bad cablecard?
     
  9. Sep 26, 2007 #269 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Good chance that there's a least an issue with the CC's. Just a wild guess, but is the "problem child" is in slot #2?
     
  10. Sep 26, 2007 #270 of 1597
    kpepling

    kpepling New Member

    21
    0
    May 10, 2004
    It is slot #2 :). Does that mean anything? As far as I can tell it doesn't always have a problem. I'm going to look at it more closely tonight to verify that though.
     
  11. Sep 26, 2007 #271 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Ah ha! My theory holds. I rule! :D

    It seems like most of the posts about CC problems highlight the worst offenders as being loaded in slot #2 for some reason...even when the cards are exchanged with each other.

    I've no idea why (likely explained by some high-tech processing jargon), but based on absolutely unscientific evidence culled from massive input here on the forum (at least a dozen posts or so), it appears programs tuned to channels using the CC in slot #2 on the TiVo S3 and in particular TiVo HD have a greater chance of poor PQ if there's even a hint of a problem with the installed cable cards. Some folks have gone through three or four sets of CC's before things improved. :(

    Seriously, hope it gets straightened out...I know how frustrating these sorts of things can be! :mad:
     
  12. Sep 27, 2007 #272 of 1597
    cwoody222

    cwoody222 Active Member

    11,132
    0
    Nov 13, 1999
    Buffalo, NY
    I have a S3 (not a HD) running the new 9.x software. I have never had CableCARDs. I'm not using QAM. I get my HD via OTA only.

    Last year (my first year with OTA) I would notice minor pixelations here and there... due to loss of signal during bad weather, etc. Lately I'm seeing pixelation that looks... different.

    Instead of just little blurps of pixelation here and there on the screen, now the entire screen is almost gone. I can't quite explain it but it is definately different than signal loss.

    I only started to notice it after 9.x but that could just be because I'm watching more HD content this week (fall premieres). But again, I NEVER saw this at all last year. I'm worried pixelation is happening on OTA stations now, not just CableCARDs! Strangely, so far, I've only seen this on one channel. But I saw it on consecutive nights so I can't quite blame weather-induced signal loss.

    I took a picture of what I'm seeing. Is this what the pixelation discussed here and elsewhere in regards to CableCARDs looks like?

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Sep 27, 2007 #273 of 1597
    johnnylundy

    johnnylundy New Member

    77
    0
    Feb 2, 2005
    Installed my 2 single-stream Motorola CableCARDs this morning in my new TiVo HD. (TiVo HD needs its own forum!). As expected, I had to walk the Comcast installer through it, to make sure he didn't shove both cards in at once or get freaked out by the 161-4 error code, or remove a card while it was getting read or updated.

    All went smoothly and so far, after just a few minutes of viewing, I have no pixelation. If I do start to get it I plan to

    - make sure I am using card slot 1
    - use an HDMI cable instead of component
    - check the signal levels
    - remove the splitter I have that is still going to the Moto 3416 that I am keeping in case I have to return the TiVo HD.

    Will update on my experience.

    QUESTION: are the TiVo menus supposed to be 16:9 stretched horizontally? My TiVo HD seems to switch itself to 16:9 to display TiVo Central and all of the supporting menus. I have not found a combination of TiVo aspect/signal and TV settings that changes this.
     
  14. Sep 27, 2007 #274 of 1597
    cwoody222

    cwoody222 Active Member

    11,132
    0
    Nov 13, 1999
    Buffalo, NY
    In Settings there's a Display option to tell TiVo you have a a 16x9 set. In another menu you can set the output type (1080i, etc).

    Even set at 16x9 the menus are still stretch a bit. Some of the on-screen graphics (like the TiVo guy in the upper left) won't look stretched on 16x9. But on-screen text and other graphics will still be stretched. They don't have a whole 'nother set of menus for widescreen sets. :(
     
  15. Sep 27, 2007 #275 of 1597
    mazman

    mazman Member

    158
    0
    Nov 13, 2002
    Alamo, CA
    That's how it looks for me.
     
  16. Sep 27, 2007 #276 of 1597
    cwoody222

    cwoody222 Active Member

    11,132
    0
    Nov 13, 1999
    Buffalo, NY
    Yikes! TiVo... I think we have the dreaded pixelation problem bleeding into OTA on 9.x! Boo! :(
     
  17. Sep 27, 2007 #277 of 1597
    stmckin

    stmckin New Member

    32
    0
    Sep 23, 2006
    I'm using Moto cards in the S3 and had intermittent pixelation on a couple HD channels only....

    using the S3 cable strength meter I saw that level was low on those two channels only...

    I got all retro to the DirecTV days and went backward and checked each coax connection all the way to the underground coming to the house and found a connection that was getting rainwater dripping on it occasionally on the exterior.. cleaned, tightened, repositioned and tada.. problem solved...
     
  18. Sep 27, 2007 #278 of 1597
    johnnylundy

    johnnylundy New Member

    77
    0
    Feb 2, 2005
    Mine seems to change resolutions whenever I hit the TiVo Central button. I can't really figure out what it is changing from, as I do have it set to 16:9 and I have my TV set to 16:9 also. I currently have the TiVo video output set to Native, though my TV can only do 720p. All of the manuals and tip sheets seem to imply that the output settings are a matter of trial and error, so I will continue to try different ones and see if I can get a smooth transition. I would not mind if the TiVo HD would just default to 4:3 for its menus if that would prevent the resolution switch it seems to be doing.

    Or maybe it is the Component output that I am using. I still have my HDMI cable connected to the Moto 3416.
     
  19. Sep 27, 2007 #279 of 1597
    cwoody222

    cwoody222 Active Member

    11,132
    0
    Nov 13, 1999
    Buffalo, NY
    Do you have 9.x yet? Doesn't the HD unit "flicker" a bit when it switches resolutions? I don't know if that's fixed in 9.x for the HD's but I think it happened before... IIRC...
     
  20. Sep 28, 2007 #280 of 1597
    johnnylundy

    johnnylundy New Member

    77
    0
    Feb 2, 2005
    I haven't checked anything yet this morning - Springsteen is playing the Today Show and well, you know.. but I did let the TiVo do Guided Setup and sit for 2 days before installing the CableCARDs, and it did not say it was refreshing firmware... I will check the software version shortly.

    Changing to "720 mixed" (720p for HD and 480i for SD) fixed the delay in getting the TiVo Central menu. With "Native", it was outputting 1080i and switching back every time I went to the TiVo Central.

    BUT - now this morning I am getting macroblocking and breakup in sound ans picture. Dammit dammit - going to investigate that. I had a 93% signal on both tuners last night.
     

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