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Tivo HD Pixelation Troubleshooting

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

  1. Oct 8, 2007 #301 of 1599

    edrock200 New Member

    Feb 7, 2002
    I have FiOS i the Northern VA area with 4 tivo HD and one of their moto dvr's. All 4 tivos pixelate, the motorola DVR does not. Swapping cables between the moto and the Tivo yields the same results, moto is just fine, tivo pixelates.

    Do not have 9.1 yet, just signed up for the priority list, we'll see what happens. However, at least for me, the problem is bad enough to where any HD show I record off the fios channels are pretty much unwatchable as pixelation occurs every 2-3 seconds. The odd part is a reboot fixes the issue for about 24 hours, but obviously thats not a solution.

    Got my fingers crossed that 9.1 fixes the issue, though all the 9.1 bug threads make me wish I had only signed up one tivo for the priority update.
  2. Oct 8, 2007 #302 of 1599

    benfiel604 New Member

    Aug 18, 2007
    I'm not sure what's worse - pixelization or dead tuners! I have fios and will stick with the crappy moto with the unbelievably crappy 2.0 interface until tivo gets their $#@! together. At least there's no pixelization or dead tuners and I can keep $550 in my pocket.

    What's happening lately with all these hd dvr problems???

  3. Oct 8, 2007 #303 of 1599

    cwoody222 Active Member

    Nov 13, 1999
    Buffalo, NY
    You have FiOS 2.0 and you think that's crappy?!

    From pictures and reviews I've read it looks fantastic. Better than ANY cable company box I've ever seen or used.

    You want crappy? Try what we have here. It's ancient and it runs on ancient hardware. But if you love purple, it's great.


    Consider yourself even lucky that you have FiOS as an option.
  4. Oct 8, 2007 #304 of 1599

    shamu20 New Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    I have a Tivo HD and just got the "coveted 9.1" system update. The tech at the help desk guaranteed that an upgrade to 9.1 would cure my intermittent pixelation. Well... I thought it did initially, but it hits once and a while. Not as bad, but not gone. This is only occurring on my digital channels.

    I was wondering if anyone else is still having problems?

    Here is my config.

    Verizon Fios.
    2 Moto S-cable cards.

    HD looks good, but not the digital.
  5. Oct 9, 2007 #305 of 1599

    soccercoach61 proud newbie

    Sep 15, 2007
    Jackson and...
    I am having worse pixelation issues since 9.1 installed. Well, to be honest, I didn't have any issues with pixelation with 8.3.

    I have:

    Comcast in Jackson MS

    Tivo S3 w/SA S-cards
    Tivo HD w/SA S-cards


    For example, on NatGeo HD I have pixelation on both Tivos, but not on the SA8300HD. Since this has been going on all morning, I've been able to look at all three together.

    The signal strength on the HD shows varying from 88 (pix starts) to 99 (pix ends at about 92). A couple of times it slipped to 77 and the picture froze.

    The signal strength on the S3 varies from 87 (pix starts) to 100 (pix ends at about 91). A couple of times it dipped to 70 and the picture froze, and once to 50 and the screen turned gray. Also, periodically, I get the CC host ID screen indicating that my cards are not authorized.

    Also, I get audio dropouts with any pixelation.

    Also, I've tuned the same station with both cards and get pixelation on both, although it occurs MUCH more frequently with the card in slot 2.

    On the SA8300HD, I get no change in the signal strength.

  6. Oct 10, 2007 #306 of 1599

    fizban New Member

    Feb 19, 2005
    Not sure if I posted this or not so I apologize if this is a duplicate.

    I had problems pixelation on my S3 tivo for a while. Cox cable with 2 Moto cable cards. Trouble was contributed to work being done in the area for a while, then not enough signal strength at last I was getting too much signal. Had at lease 10 calls for Cox to come out.

    I had the same problems with the signal jumping all over the place from 94 to 70 to 0. Pixelation on both cable cards and near the end it would only do it on one. Thought there was a problem with that one cable card but they replaced it and I had the same problems.

    Last tech to come out checked the signal strength coming in my house and found it to be WAY too high. He told me that normal signal strength was something like 6db +/- 3db. I had 18-20db coming in prior to my cable going into a 11db amp. Tech said that I had too much without the amp and put a device in to actually knock the signal down to tolerable levels. Haven't had one pixelation problem since. Everything works great.

    Hope this helps.
  7. Oct 10, 2007 #307 of 1599

    shamu20 New Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    Do you know what they bumped it down to? I don't know if they told me what my db is, but they did say something about 8... That could probably be this. I only have problems with my digital channels though, not my HD. Could this be the problem?
  8. Oct 11, 2007 #308 of 1599

    fizban New Member

    Feb 19, 2005
    I want to say it was knocked down into the 9 range. I was having problems on the HD channels though not the digital channels.
  9. Oct 11, 2007 #309 of 1599

    madoverlord New Member

    Jun 29, 2004
    Wilmington NC
    Like so many people, I've been having the 3-4 second sound/audio freeze 5-10 times an hour problem with my Series 3 ever since the summer software update. The only difference with 9.1 is that the freezups are now papered over by a "fast forward" effect. I also had the "cablecard lost all the digital channels" issue after 9.1 was installed.

    Thinking this latter was a cablecard issue, I got a service call from TimeWarner Cable -- and because I'd had them in to try and fix the pixelation issues several times before, this time they unchained their top guy from his usual post defending the headend and sent him off to see what was going on.

    The cablecard issue resolved pretty quickly - we tried removing and reinserting the card, and the channels came back immediately.

    The tech (hereinafter, "Deep Cable") then spent a lot of time trying to narrow down the pixilation issues. He tested the incoming signal out the wazoo, and took the time to show me, in depth, why the signal was good, going deep into the menus of his tester, etc.

    After confirming that my signal was nice and juicy, and 36db s/n, we watched for the problem, and it was still there. He was a bit annoyed by the FF effect TiVo has apparently added, because it did not let him see the actual pixelation - hey, TiVo guys who are not officially allowed to read this forum, make that a selectable option!!!

    We even watched his test meter for 10 minutes while it was checking both the raw and corrected bit error rates, both reading as <10-9 IIRC (ie: <1 error per gigabit).

    We checked the TiVo signal strength reading, and it was coming in at 87-92 depending on channel. At this point, there was not much else he could do, so Deep Cable suggested I call TiVo support and get some suggestions, and he'd swing by later in the day if they came up with anything.

    The call to TiVo tech support got a woman ("Deep Denial") who claimed that (a) she hadn't heard of the cablecard dropout problem and (b) she wasn't allowed to even consider the possibility of thinking about reading the posts on non-official forums. All she was able to do was (c) take down my report for posting in their tracking system and (d) repeatedly swear on a stack of TiVo manuals that I had to have a signal strength reading of 95 or better or the angels would weep for me.

    I duly reported the words of Deep Denial to Deep Cable, and he popped back within the hour (within the hour -- did I mention he arrived at 9am for an "all day" appointment?) with a small amp to boost the signal going into the TiVo (there is already one at the house junction box, btw). But that quick test fix boosted the signal too much, so he went down the street to the junction there and ramped the signal level up and down while I reported the TiVo meter reading to him, and tweaked it until it was maxed - at 93-95.

    The result, over the last couple of days, is that I'm still getting hits, but only 2-4 an hour, with some channels better (ie: 1 to 2 hits) than others. Of course, as soon as another tech even looks hard at the street box, it'll mess up again.

    Deep Cable is of the opinion that the issue is inside the TiVo but that the only way to know for sure is to hook up another cablecard TV side by side and see if they have significantly different behaviors. But he told me to let him know if I found out anything more, or if there was a resolution to the issue from TiVo.

    One final thing: in the TiVo diagnostics, when the tech's meter was showing 36db s/n, a line in the listing was showing TUNER 1 as having a SNR of 36db and the two cablecards as having (IIRC) an "OOB SNR" of 26db. Deep Denial said that her recently updated listings of the diagnostic screen did not show this line! Significant? If they are measuring the same thing, then a 10db difference is non-trivial!

    Anway, that's what I know so far - and I hope they clone Deep Cable so he can be available to help each of you.
  10. Oct 11, 2007 #310 of 1599

    T-Shee Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    Nice writeup, thanks. OOB stands for Out of Band, or the separate frequency that the cable card responds to for channel authorizations, channel lists, etc.

    I would be concerned with the lower DB reading only if your cable cards routinely lost authorization, etc. It's not related to the dropouts, AFAIK.

    fyi, I got my first taste of the audio drop - fast forward weirdness last night, and I find it less annoying than the V8.x's pixelization fireworks, but still indefensible.
  11. Oct 13, 2007 #311 of 1599

    RaviChopra New Member

    Apr 19, 2003
    While I'm glad not to have the other issues others have noticed with the 9.1 upload, I have definitely gotten quite a bit of pixelation.

    I've got an S3 w/ Wide Open West in Royal Oak, MI, 2 SA cards. 750 GB external HD hooked up via eSATA (working perfectly). Pixelation appears to occur on predominantly HD prime-time shows, both OTA and cable-based.
    Also have WOW's HD DVR, which is a piece of garbage, and on which we've seen pixelation once or twice, but not nearly as often as on the S3.

    I hope they can square this away soon. Quite frustrating in the face of an upgrade which brought no functionality I really wanted or needed.
  12. Oct 13, 2007 #312 of 1599

    johnnylundy New Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    An update - I was initially getting the "black Live TV - no TiVo background - cured by reboot" problem, but ever since I re-ran Guided Setup after the last reboot 5 days ago, I have not seen the problem, even with all kinds of switching tuners and jumping around menus.

    I never had the pixelation and still don't. I think that problem is signal-related, or SA card signal sensitivity.

    So, for those still getting the black screen, try repeating Guided Setup. Maybe it was choking trying to load corrupt Guide data or something - this is still at the superstition stage as far as thinking some action we took cured it...

    And for those with the pixelation, check your signal strength with the Settings/Channels/Signal Strength feature. I get 100% on all the 1-99 channels and 98% on MOST of the HD channels, but they all come in OK. Take splitters out and test the full signal.
  13. Oct 13, 2007 #313 of 1599

    houman New Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    Redmond, WA
    FYI, my pixelation problems went away post 9.1
  14. Oct 13, 2007 #314 of 1599

    Lenonn Member TCF Club

    May 30, 2004
    We've had some pixelation here (RCN in Montgomery County, MD, using a single M-card). I can't detect any rhyme or reason as to why it is occuring. It occurs for thirty seconds max in most of the recordings (usually hour-long shows). Our software is at 9.1 on the TiVoHD; it almost seems like the pixelation got worst with 9.1; we barely had any with the previous software (although, that was also pre-digital cable, so we were using standard cable and antenna and had pixelation via that).
  15. Oct 15, 2007 #315 of 1599

    gjlloyd New Member

    Oct 15, 2007
    i've been following this thread for several weeks, and have avoided purchasing an S3 because of all the reported pixelation problems. is there any sense of how widespread this is? i realize people posting to this forum represent a skewed sampling of all S3 owners.. but how can we tell if its 80% of people have pixelation or 10%? i have FIOS TV, and the new IMG is a total buggy POS!

    can we do a poll on this forum some now? maybe the forum admin can help?
  16. Oct 18, 2007 #316 of 1599

    Daxel New Member

    May 13, 2002
    Well, I guess I can put myself on the list of Pixelation and FF Wierdness.
    Here is the thing - it seems to only be a couple of channels on FIOS in Mass. Channel 4 and TNT. The others seem fine.

    Now, here is the kicker - I had Comcast until a few days ago. The pixelation and FF wierdness covered about 15 channels. 2 months before that, I had RCN - I do not remember a single incident with RCN (other than their hugely expensive service).

    So, is this a provider issue, a Tivo issue, or a bit of both?
  17. Oct 21, 2007 #317 of 1599

    Teeps Active Member

    Aug 16, 2001

    I can only speak for myself in saying I notice this problem only on second teir digital stations, provided by Time Warner, I.E. Speed, VS, and the provided HD stations. These are channel numbers above 200, channels below 200 do not have this problem.

    I record locals via OTA with no problems.

    The problem has changed since the 9.1 upgrade, not seeing pixelazation as much and the sound does not completely drop out.

    My opinion is the pixel problem is either band width or buffering... I say this based only on observations before and after the TiVo upgrade to 9.1.
  18. Oct 21, 2007 #318 of 1599

    bkdtv New Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    In other threads, some people have reported that 9.2 eliminates some pixelization issues with 9.1. Be sure to sign up for it @ http://www.tivo.com/priority/.

    Everyone should get 9.2 within the next month, but if you can get it by Wednesday if you sign up.
  19. Oct 22, 2007 #319 of 1599

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    I have had occasional pixelization on various channels since 1990, and I definitely had it at some level on the SA 8300HD. I still get it on my Series I attached to a standard SA set top. Qualitatively I would say my 2 Series III receivers do not have any greater amount of pixelization than the 8300 or the SA set top do. I have not noticed any greater amount in general under 9.1 than under 8.3. I definitely do have issues with a lost CableCard fixed by reboot since the push of 9.1, but note it sometimes takes 2 or 3 days or more for the problem to re-occur. When it does, the affected CableCard returns no video on any digital channel. Analog channels do not pass through the CableCards, and as such are not affected no matter what.
  20. Oct 23, 2007 #320 of 1599

    Robbomac New Member

    Oct 21, 2006
    Just had a Comcast M-CARD Cablecard installed in my new Tivo HD today, and discovered this pixellation trouble as soon as I watched my first HD programming. Live TV is fine, but watching from a recording or the buffer has lots of pixellation and brief audio stuttered.

    Initially thought my cable signal was bad, but I rarely had trouble with the Motorola 6412 DVR I am replacing. Signal quality is in the 93-100 range, and the S/N ratio on the cable input is over 35.

    I signed up for a priority push of the new 9.2 software, but interestingly the problem disappeared before receiving the update after a simple system restart. The only thing I can think of that may have affected the system was that I aborted the Tivo startup movie sequence (by pushing the TiVo button) when the cable installer was present - could that have caused glitches?

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