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Tivo HD Pixelation Troubleshooting

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

  1. Dec 17, 2007 #441 of 1597
    brettatk

    brettatk Thread Killer

    11,325
    8
    Oct 11, 2002
    Smyrna, GA
    My THD started to have bad pixelation yesterday and it was driving me crazy. I could not even watch any of my HD channels it was so bad. I went down to the basement and messed around with the wiring and splitters. I then went back to the TV and switched inputs to my HD Receiver (yes I kept it in case I ever wanted to use VOD). I was surprised to see it have the same pixelation issues my THD had. I wonder how many of these problems have nothing at all to do with the THD but only with the cable company. If I had not kept my HD Receiver I would have never known my THD was fine.
     
  2. Dec 17, 2007 #442 of 1597
    net114

    net114 Tivolitic Guru

    860
    0
    Dec 29, 2000
    florida
    Hey, thanks for the responses. Fergie8, I think you win the bonus prize. (Wish I had one to give out ha ha). :)

    Ok, today they sent a tech out and we went through four scards, pairing them patiently one at a time, first in slot 1, then in slot 2. This guy is getting some real TivoHD experience!! Hopefully someone else in my area can use it. Coincidentally, this is the same guy that came to my previous residence I mentioned. He originally came by that residence three weeks ago and when he left, literally said, "whew! glad I am done with this one!". Little did he know, he would get the same customer, same TivoHd,same German Shepherd at a new residence!! Ha! It was hilarious. At first he didn't recognize me, so I didn't let on.

    Then he came into my new office (fourth room) and heard my dog in his crate going "police dog". The expression on his face, to be cliche, was priceless. He just goes, "OH NOOOOOO!"

    Anyway, Fergie8 you were right. Every card we had worked fine on "tuner 0", RS Corrected and Uncorrected 0/0. Every card we had on "tuner 1" was both RS's going into the thousands.

    So, my conclusion has to be that tuner 1 is messing up. Luckily, I bought the extended warranty from CC for $59.95 on the 29th day after my sale, the last day I could choose that option. I should be able to return this to CC and swap it out. (Now I am in the unfortunate position of having to start all over with updates, pairing cards, everything.)

    But - I will know how to test from the moment I get the new one.

    As a side note, I have Brighthouse here in Central Florida. The tech support on the phone, (even being kind), is not real good. When I was trying to repair the two cards myself, the techs kept balking and trying to tell me that I needed a tech to come out. When I say balking - I mean that they would go no further, to say they couldn't help me. I couldn't even tell them to just go over this on the phone.

    This ended with one tech shutting off my service completely in my entire house (by accident?). My next call was to try and re-explain the whole situation, just to get the other tv's turned back on without waiting for the tech to arrive the next day!

    Anyway, thanks for the responses. I will update when I get the new box and let you know if this solves my issues.

    PS: The tech confirmed that the "preferred" signal strength is 0db coming in, but often techs will allow up to +10db because its tough to get an entire house at 0db in every outlet. I asked him if he had an RF supressor as some people using FSO said worked for them, but he said they don't carry them. They just split the signal. Messy I guess, but that's what they do. Since my problem seems to be tuner, not "hot" signal, I wasn't concerned, but thought I would mention it for those who think this is their problem. Good luck!!
     
  3. Dec 18, 2007 #443 of 1597
    agoldberg

    agoldberg New Member

    10
    0
    Jan 17, 2003
    Queen Creek, Az
    I am getting pixelation on just a few channels. The channels are Disney, Food Network, and Discover. I am sure that it is on more, but these are the ones I watch a lot. It does not seem to happen on the HD channels, though.

    It seems to have started about a month after I added an external eSATA drive, but not sure if it is connected. I tried to remove the eSata to test it, but was afraid I will lose all the programs as per the warning screen.

    What can I do to check the system? Are there tests I can do? What suggestions do you guys have?

    Thanks!
     
  4. Dec 18, 2007 #444 of 1597
    brettatk

    brettatk Thread Killer

    11,325
    8
    Oct 11, 2002
    Smyrna, GA
    After some further investigating I did find that the feed through my HD receiver is less pixelated than the THD. I'm going today to buy some RG-6 quad shielded cable to replace what I have in the basement. I think it is a 100' run that is down there now and I can get by with 50', maybe even 25'. I also went ahead and ordered an Electroline 4-port amplified splitter off Ebay last night. I've read some good things about that splitter so hopefully I can boost the signal enough to get rid of the pixelation.
     
  5. Dec 18, 2007 #445 of 1597
    SCSIRAID

    SCSIRAID Active Member

    2,321
    0
    Feb 2, 2003
    Vero Beach, FL

    Do you know that you have a low signal level condition? Adding an amp to an already good signal level can make things worse. What does the TiVo indicate as signal strength and SNR on the channels that give you issues? Also what are are Corrected/Uncorrected counts?
     
  6. Dec 18, 2007 #446 of 1597
    brettatk

    brettatk Thread Killer

    11,325
    8
    Oct 11, 2002
    Smyrna, GA
    My signal strenth goes from the mid 50's up to the low 70's on pretty much every HD channel I get. I have not paid much attention to the SNR, but I believe it's around 36-37. When I had my CableCards installed last week my signal was 100 and I had no pixelation whatsoever. I do not know what happened between then and now. I'm going to try a few things myself and if it still shows a low signal I'll call the cable company to come out and take a look.

    Edit: I just bought me a 50' RG-6 Quad shield cable. I also ran by Radio Shack to get a 1' patch coax cable and decided to pick up one of their adjustable Bi-Directional Amplifiers. Might be trash but figured I'll hook it to the cable coming out of the wall and see what happens. Then when I get my Electroline I'll see which one works better. I think if I can boost my signal just a little I'll get much less pixelation.
     
  7. Dec 18, 2007 #447 of 1597
    net114

    net114 Tivolitic Guru

    860
    0
    Dec 29, 2000
    florida
    Just an update: I switched out my TivoHD box today. That was good, no problem just walked in with the old, out with a brand new one. However, Brighthouse will not let me change the cable cards without calling out a tech....again. Even though I explained how easy it was, and I just needed to read them some numbers, the CSR said (after confirming with a supervisor and someone else) that they don't even have that field "editable" on their screen. The number the tech calls to do it is with someone else.

    This sounds like one of those corporate decisions, where no one sees how much time and money could be saved by just letting the customer stick a card into a slot. But, I guess the vast majority of customers are using BH DVR's, not Tivos.

    I will (hopefully) complete my update tomorrow after the tech comes back. (I really hope its the same guy I mentioned before!!):D

    Edit: I do have to stop and pause, thinking to myself, how many more TivoHD's could be sold if people didn't have to go through all of this?! Its not all on Tivo's shoulders, BH could make things easier, but most consumers just won't go through all this to get their box working.
     
  8. Dec 19, 2007 #448 of 1597
    brettatk

    brettatk Thread Killer

    11,325
    8
    Oct 11, 2002
    Smyrna, GA
    Well as I figured the amplifier I bought from Radio Shack is junk. It did nothing to the signal. Even after running new RG-6U cable I still have a pixelation/tiling issue. I gave up and called Charter to have them send out a tech. I think something happened around the area that caused my signal to go way down. Hopefully they can figure it out today. I'll update later this evening after he leaves.
     
  9. Dec 19, 2007 #449 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Hang in there. We had the same issue once and it turned out that the some of the lines they were using were "leaking the signal(?!)" during heavy rains (all of the power lines, cable, etc. are buried in the neighborhood). They had to send a "big truck" out to replace some of it and after that things were fine. Of course at first they said it was all good and no one had complained. Uh-huh. :rolleyes:
     
  10. Dec 19, 2007 #450 of 1597
    brettatk

    brettatk Thread Killer

    11,325
    8
    Oct 11, 2002
    Smyrna, GA

    I believe you are right. Everything has worked fine for the past 6 months, ablsolutely no pixelation. This past Saturday afternoon we had the most rain we've had in about a year. I recorded something that morning that was fine and something that night that had pixelation. I've already removed some splitters from downstairs so they cant try to blame signal loss on that. I'm trying to prepare myself for any other excuse they try to give me.
     
  11. Dec 19, 2007 #451 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Yep, weather can really mess things up...ask anyone with a satellite dish.

    It's not unusual for weather disturbances (as well as sun spots) to cause signal problems, particularly HD, for the broadcasters as well. The local cableco and network feeds arrive over satellite as well so they are subject to problems. Admittedly they have much bigger/better dishes and processors, but mother nature can be nasty sometimes.

    Good luck and let us know what happens! :up:
     
  12. Dec 20, 2007 #452 of 1597
    brettatk

    brettatk Thread Killer

    11,325
    8
    Oct 11, 2002
    Smyrna, GA
    Ok, I figured I'd go ahead and post an update. Charter came out yesterday afternoon. From what the tech could tell he said it could either be an amplifier with too much strain or a leakage in the line. The problem is more prominent at night when there are more people using the lines, luckily I had recorded a show on my Tivo that had massive pixelation so I could show him. He is going to open a case with maintenance and see if they can come out and find the problem. Guess I just have to put up with it a little longer.
     
  13. Dec 20, 2007 #453 of 1597
    madoverlord

    madoverlord New Member

    38
    0
    Jun 29, 2004
    Wilmington NC
    I have a happy holiday update to my situation. My Xmas present this year was to replace my Runco 933 (old-school, superb HD CRT projector) with a JVC DLA-HD1 projector and a bigger screen (and which uses the HDMI output instead of the component outputs of the Series 3).

    After a few days, I noticed that the pixelation issues were about the same, not super-horrible, but not acceptable either. But then, when I was recording a program that was getting hits every 5-10 minutes or so, as I was looking through the diagnostic pages, I noticed that one tuner was reporting 35db of signal (Tivo signal strength 95), the other only 29 (strength 60), and the 29db tuner was the one getting lots of corrected and uncorrected errors, and the tuner being used to record the program getting hits; the other tuner was getting 0 errors across the board.

    When the program finished recording, I went looking at the connections, and noticed something. Between the cable from the wall and the TiVo I still had a small isolator installed (which I needed with the Runco because otherwise a hum bar would propagate through the TiVo to the Runco), but since the new signal path was all digital, I figured it wasn't needed anymore.

    I took it out and the 29db signal immediately jumped to 35, and since then, I only see digital hits a few times a week. Apparently the isolator was acting as a notch filter at some frequencies, so it only affected certain channels (like the higher up HD channels), or it was introducing distortion or something. It might also be a combination of that and a particular cablecard -- I do seem to see more corrected errors on one card than the other (just randomly checking the diagnostic page from time to time).

    Best,R

    PS: JVC has really hit the high-performance projector price/performance sweet-spot with the DLA-HD1. It's small, quiet, very bright, 1080p, has an excellent scaler/deinterlacer, has a huge contrast ratio (without an iris), and easy to set up (all you have to do is get it mounted so that the lens axis is perpendicular to the screen, then there are simple optical (not digital) adjustments (non-distorting!) to shift the image horizontally, vertically, focus, and zoom). To get a perceptually better picture, I think you'd have to pay 2x-3x the price. I love it -- it's even gotten me watching the stupid HD travel programs just because it looks so nice.
     
  14. Dec 20, 2007 #454 of 1597
    net114

    net114 Tivolitic Guru

    860
    0
    Dec 29, 2000
    florida
    An update: so far so good after changing out my TivoHD. It appears so far that I have crystal clear picture. It looks like it may have been that one of my tuners was bad afterall.
     
  15. Dec 21, 2007 #455 of 1597
    brettatk

    brettatk Thread Killer

    11,325
    8
    Oct 11, 2002
    Smyrna, GA
    I'd like to give a big :up: to Charter. I got home yesterday afternoon and noticed my pixelation was gone completely. My hopes werent real high because nighttime has been the real problem. Well I was happy to see that I did not have any pixelation through the entire night. My wife said she had noticed a Charter truck on the street yesterday morning. So it only took them one day to get out there and correct my problem. I saw atleast one temporary line ran so I'm guessing they found the problem. My signal strength is back to 100 and all is well. If anyone is having signal problems I strongly suggest you get your Cable provider out there to test the line.
     
  16. Dec 25, 2007 #456 of 1597
    srcohen

    srcohen New Member

    44
    0
    Sep 23, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I also have had a happy ending to my pixelation problem. Seems I had a 5-way cable splitter, but was only using 3 lines. Changed to a 3-way and picture improved dramatically, from 60s to 85-90 on the pixelated channels!

    I wonder: Is the cable card more sensitive to signal strength?
     
  17. Dec 26, 2007 #457 of 1597
    sgcrockett1

    sgcrockett1 New Member

    29
    0
    Apr 8, 2004
    SLC and La...
    I have 2 Series 3 Hddvrs. One has just developed pixilation problems (usually on frequencies around cnn). I switched inputs from 1 cable card to the other. It did not help. I called TIVO customer support and they had me remove the cards and reconfigure to just get basic cable. I did not have pixilation problems (at least for the 30 minutes of the experiment). I then replaced the cards, reconfigured, and immediately had the same problem. Tivo customer support told me it must be the cable cards (Motorola S Cards). I am suspicious because both cards probably would not go out at the same time after working for two months. Any suggestions?
     
  18. Dec 30, 2007 #458 of 1597
    ilh

    ilh New Member

    377
    0
    Dec 21, 2007
    I just picked up a TiVo HD. When I disconnected the QIP6416 that Verizon installed (hate it), I noticed they had put a 3dB attenuator on the coax even after a 2-way and a 3-way splitter. I guess their signal was too strong even for their own Motorola box.

    I've got the smarthome.com attenuator pack on the way for when I get my CableCards from Verizon.

    Thanks for the tips in this thread.

    --Lee
     
  19. Jan 1, 2008 #459 of 1597
    ckgoodwin

    ckgoodwin Remember

    38
    0
    Jul 2, 2001
    San Jose,...
    Hey All,

    I am a long time DirecTivo user and just helped my Dad switch from DTV to cable and install a new Tivo HD with Comcast cable card and running the 9.2 software.

    The unit is mostly working great but he is having pretty regular pixelation issues - which is frustrating him.

    I checked the info screen and it seems like his cable signal is pretty low - low 60s on most channels with some dropping into the high 50s. The S/N ratio seemed to be in the low 30s.

    Do those figures sound low for Comcast? This is a new cable install so I am trying to determine if he needs to have Comcast come out to deliver a better signal to the TiVo before we start troubleshooting other issues.

    Any other suggestions?

    - Chris
     
  20. Jan 1, 2008 #460 of 1597
    SCSIRAID

    SCSIRAID Active Member

    2,321
    0
    Feb 2, 2003
    Vero Beach, FL
    Those numbers are low for cable. I would expect Signal Strength in the 90's to 80's and SNR between 33 and 35db. I assume you are seeing RS Uncorrected values incrementing at a fairly high rate. This would correlate with your pixelation experience.

    What is your cabling scheme from where the Comcast feed enters the house until it hits the TiVo? Splitters? How many? Where?
     

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