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Tivo HD Pixelation Troubleshooting

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

  1. Jan 9, 2008 #481 of 1597
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    6,924
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    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    Not directly, no. The RF signal never reaches the CableCard. It is possible, however, that a marginal signal for an unencrypted channel coud cause an encrypted channel to croak. It's pretty unlikely, however.
     
  2. Jan 10, 2008 #482 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

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    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    Thanks so much for your reply. I'm really about at my wits end! Now that you mention this, before we had Digital we had occasionally noticed some PQ issues on analog channel 11 - it turns out the closest broadcast station to us is 8 miles away and broadcasting on channel 11. So when I got home today I tightened all my connections. Analog 11 looks fine on all TV's, but sure enough, the pixelation on the two digital channels continues. I will try pulling at the cables to see if the connectors come off.

    We never had problems when we had Cox's DVR - only the Tivo. I replaced splitters, replaced cable cards, have had Cox out 3 times and they've said the signal is "fine," I've removed splits, added attenuators at various levels, and even tried a tilt compensator. The only thing that has shown any improvement is attenuating, but I can't attenuate any further without losing other channels due to low signal strength. I don't know what to do. I feel like I've been spending more time troubleshooting than enjoying the Tivo, and both Cox and Tivo customer service have not been helpful. I'm almost ready to give up...
     
  3. Jan 11, 2008 #483 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

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    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    I tested my cables and they seem to be crimped well. Any other thoughts? Anyone? Please?
     
  4. Jan 11, 2008 #484 of 1597
    SCSIRAID

    SCSIRAID Active Member

    2,321
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    Feb 2, 2003
    Vero Beach, FL
    Are you seeing the RS Uncorrected count incrementing with the pixelations? If not, the issue may be elsewhere.

    EDIT: Looked back and saw that you already said RS Uncorrected was spiking.....
     
  5. Jan 11, 2008 #485 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

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    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    Yep. And I should add that it is happening irregularly. Sometimes I'll tune to one the channels and it'll be fine for a while - no Uncorrected and just a couple Corrected errors - and then all the sudden they start incrementing and pixelating. Other times I'll tune to the channel and it'll start happening right away. It did seem to become less frequent when I started attenuating, but my signal is now so low that I am close to losing my 800 MHz channels. Thanks for your help...
     
  6. Jan 12, 2008 #486 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

    121
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    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    Here's a thought as to ingress causing my picture problems... is it possible that the open RF connection labeled "antenna" on the Tivo HD could lead to some interference? I mean, if I have a 3-way splitter and an open port that isn't terminated, that could cause noise in the line... so is it possible that the antenna connection on the Tivo is picking up interference from my one nearby VHF broadcast station? I'm sorry if this sounds like a silly question... I'm just throwing stuff to see if it sticks, at this point.
     
  7. Jan 12, 2008 #487 of 1597
    CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    3,647
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    Feb 28, 2001
    North...
    I would say it's worth investigating since you have the nearby VHF transmitter. Cable terminators are cheap and might help.

    I would find the frequency of the affected channels (use the diagnostic screens on the TiVo), and learn the frequency of the transmitter before spending a lot of time on this possibility though. I think antennaweb.org (if I have it right) will give you the transmitter frequency.
     
  8. Jan 12, 2008 #488 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

    121
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    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    Just tried the terminator - no luck. The nearby VHF station is at channel 11, and the problematic channels on the Tivo are at 645 MHz and 661 MHz, which is much higher. So... it's probably not the issue.

    I think the only thing left for me to do is exchange the Tivo for a new box since I'm still within my return period. Of course that probably still won't solve it and it'll create a major hassle as I lose all of my recordings and then have to go through the cable card installation again, and from experience I'm sure Cox won't be able to pair them correctly. Could both tuners possibly be bad? I just don't get it. Maybe I should just go back to Cox's DVR. :(
     
  9. Jan 12, 2008 #489 of 1597
    beno

    beno New Member

    11
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    Jan 3, 2003
    Naperville, IL
    :mad:
    I've been reading the various problems people have been having with Series 3 and HD Tivo's and can confirm that I see the same issues on my Series 3. My question is, how come the Series 3 performed flawlessly until 9.x rolled out. Since then I have experienced every glitch mentioned in the threads. If pixelation is being caused by poor RF you have to ask yourself what you changed in your home wiring to introduce the problem. I find it hard to believe that we all changed our cabling and brought these problems upon ourselve. Anyone else agree? :mad:

    BTW - I have been lurking for a long time but haven't posted very many times. I have (1) Series 3 with a 1TB E-SATA drive plus (3) Series 2 TiVos networked together so I have am quite familiar with most things TiVo.
     
  10. Jan 12, 2008 #490 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

    121
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    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    That's a great point. I mean, I've been reading these forums and I know the Tivo HD, in particular, has tuners that are "more sensitive" to signal strength issues than other tuners. But if I never had any problems with Cox's DVR, made no changes, and Cox has been out 3 times and said that my signal strength was within specs...
     
  11. Jan 12, 2008 #491 of 1597
    CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    3,647
    1
    Feb 28, 2001
    North...
    You must be kidding! That's such an incredibly wrong statement. There were many people extremely upset at all the problems of the S3 with 8.x software. Bicker (you may know him) was strongly upset at TiVo, mounting a campaign saying the S3 shouldn't have even been released because it had so many problems.

    Most (not all!) of the problems people have attributed to software and 9.x were there long before 9.x. The actual number of complaints back then was fewer, but that's because there were many fewer HD TiVos being sold. I would guess the number of HD TiVos has increased by a factor of 10 in the last year. Any time you get that many more units sold, you're going to get that many more complaints.
     
  12. Jan 13, 2008 #492 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

    121
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    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    Okay, so here is my take on this, please let me know if you all think I am on the right track...

    There is something wrong with my cable signal that is causing the Tivo HD tuners to overload at a couple frequencies and causing pixelation. The cable company cannot figure out what the problem is or will not admit to the problem, and therefore they will not fix the problem. The problem does not occur on cable company's Motorola boxes. We know that the Tivo HD tuners are more sensitive to signal strength or signal issues -- be it too strong or too weak a signal -- than other boxes.

    So my question is this... should I return the THD to Best Buy and order the Series 3 for $399 off TivoCommunity's store. Could this possibly help?? Is the Series 3 a more "robust" box with stronger tuners that are less susceptable to signal strength imperfections? If I could know for sure the Series 3 would clear up the problem, even for the additional $150 it would cost me, I would go for it in a heartbeat. What do you guys think?
     
  13. Jan 13, 2008 #493 of 1597
    Michael1025

    Michael1025 New Member

    28
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    Nov 26, 2006
    I've had a post on this issue (separately), but it's gone unanswered. Maybe I can get some help on this thread.

    I've got Comcast (in CT) with a Series 3 Tivo, and get severe pixelation on the Fox and CBS HD channels (233 and 234). It occasionally happens during the week, but it primarily happens on Sunday during football. I'll be watching the pregame show, it will look fine, and as soon as the game starts the channel becomes unwatchable. I never noticed this problem before football season started (around the time of the latest software update as well). It seems odd that this would happen more when football is being broadcast.

    My signal strength is between 90-100 (until the pixelation starts, then it varies). The SNR is at 35 or 36 on each tuner. Both channels are on the 615Mhz frequency. The channels directly above and below them come in perfectly; it seems that only this frequency is affected.

    I've had Comcast out here 3 times. They checked the line (said it was fine) and swapped out both cable cards. This hasn't fixed the problem.

    If I check antennaweb.org, I find that the local fox affiliate broadcasts on Frequency 61. Interference maybe?

    "red - uhf WTIC 61 FOX HARTFORD CT 257° 8.9 61"

    So...that's all the information that I have. I am at my wits end...does anyone have any recommendations? I'm willing to try anything at this point. Terminating the antenna input on the Tivo? Attenuators? Anything.
     
  14. Jan 13, 2008 #494 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

    121
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    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    Sounds like your problem is identical to mine, except its happening on different frequencies - my problem channels are at 645 and 661 MHz. You could try attenuating - that helped somewhat for me, but didn't completely clear up the problem. Just be careful not to attenuate so much that you lose your higher frequency channels. I tried terminating the antenna port and it didn't make a difference. I've found that sometimes the channels will be fine the first few minutes I am tuned to them, but then something happens where the tuner overloads or whatever and the problems begin. So if you are watching a 3-hour football game you are more likely to have problems than if watching a half-hour sitcom.

    That you were able to notice a correlation with the software update is very interesting. But then again we know that correlation does not necessarily mean causation. I mean, for all I know the attenuation didn't even help, it could've just been coincidence.
     
  15. Jan 13, 2008 #495 of 1597
    Michael1025

    Michael1025 New Member

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    Nov 26, 2006
    I don't know if the correlation was with the software update or the start of football season (I'm not likely to be watching 3-6 hours of live HD on a Sunday otherwise).

    The Tivo is still under warranty - is it worth it to swap it out for a new one? Could this be caused by bad tuners? Has anyone had any luck doing this?
     
  16. Jan 13, 2008 #496 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

    121
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    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    Can't hurt to call Tivo and see what they say - maybe they'll send you a new box. When I called them about this awhile ago they were steadfast that the problem was related to signal strength. But you, like me, had the cable company out 3 times and they've found no problem. So how can it be signal strength? Good luck, and definitely keep us posted on what happens. My box is still within Best Buy's return window until 1/31, so I'm still considering swapping mine out there.
     
  17. Jan 13, 2008 #497 of 1597
    Michael1025

    Michael1025 New Member

    28
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    Nov 26, 2006
    All - update. I called Tivo this evening and they are shipping out a new box. You have to put an $800 deposit on it (which is refunded once they get your box back), and pay a $50 return fee. I'll let you know if anything changes - in the meanwhile, if anyone has any suggestions, I'm happy to try them. The new box won't arrive for about a week.
     
  18. Jan 14, 2008 #498 of 1597
    DigitalJEM

    DigitalJEM New Member

    1
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    Aug 27, 2007
    The cable companies will not (and should not) admit to a problem that is not their own...

    I have 2 Series3's a 1 THD in my house. And to be specific, I have had 3 different THD's in the place of the 1 that's here -- can you say swaps :) ..

    The 2 Series3's are in the same room, and the THD is in another room.

    I have swapped box locations, cards between boxes, cables, splitters, amplifiers, etc etc etc. My neighbor is a Cox field installer/tech who did my install and who has helped with every step of trouble shooting I have done. In a sense of perfection, at this point, signal levels at all of my outlets is perfect according to Cox's standards. 0 to +5 db on the input and attenuated to 40-44 db on the return path (which doesn't matter now, since the Tivo's aren't 2way yet)... but the reason it's balanced perfectly is before I had Tivo's I have Cox's DVR's which are 2 way. So as I was saying, the install and everything is perfect.

    I never ever had pixelation on my Cox DVR's (except for when the DVR's HD itself started to go bad, *smile*... box swap fixed it).

    I bought 1 Series3, put 2 single stream cards in it and didn't have any issues with it for almost a year. Purchased a 2nd Series3, put 2 cable cards in it, didn't have any issues with it for 4-5 months. Purchased the TivoHD, Put 1 M-card in it and started having issues almost instantly with it. I can't say alot, but I can say that Tivo had it fixed at one point in time, then broke it again and it hasn't been well since. (All this time the 4 s-cards in the 2 S3's remain 100% stable). I had cox come out and try another M-card in THD, nada, still tiling. Had them come out and put 2 S-cards in.. nada still tiling.

    Then I got to thinking.... like I said, the 2 S3's are in the same room. I took one "offline" and put the THD where it was. Still had problems. Took the knowingly working S-Cards out of the 1st S3 (year long), had cox unpair from S3 and Repair to THD.. Immediately saw problems. Put the THD's cards in the S3, Paired them, No Problem on S3 (using THD's cards)... Swapped cards back, just because... problems still only on the THD..

    I've left alot of the troubleshooting out just because I've redundantly repeated it over and over to Tivo's tech support (and it's getting old).. but the conclusion i've come to is... it doesn't matter where I have the box or what cards I have in it.. I know via trial and error that the cable cards are working fine, and the cables, amps, splitters and Series3's are Fine.. it's the dang TivoHD box that has the pixelating issue (which as I said earlier Tivo had fixed at one point in time).

    Since the beginning of this problem to now, my neighbor (the cox guy) has started seeing more and more THD's out in the field that also have the same issue. He verifies signal is good at demarc, in and out of splitters/amps, and at the outlet and then promptly tells the customer to call Tivo and report the problem because there is nothing he can do to fix it (since he can't, and it's quite obvious)... that is, shy of convincing them to return the POS THD to the store and either get a S3 or rent a DVR from Cox :)
     
  19. Jan 15, 2008 #499 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

    121
    0
    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    DigitalJem, thanks so much for your post. It does help verify what I had feared - the problem must be the box. I mean, like you, I've done inifinite amounts of troubleshooting and nothing has cleared it up, Cox has been out 3 times and said the signal is perfect, etc etc. My question to you is did you have the problems on all channels or only specific ones? That's the one thing that doesn't make sense to me - why would it happen specific to just a couple channels.

    Also, you mention Tivo had fixed the problem at one point... how did they do that? I think my best bet is probably to swap out the THD box for another while it is still within my return period. TivoCommunity doesn't have any Series 3's in stock, and all other retailers have them priced out of my range. Thanks again for your help.
     
  20. Jan 15, 2008 #500 of 1597
    Michael1025

    Michael1025 New Member

    28
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    Nov 26, 2006
    I should clarify that the issue that I'm having is with the S3...
     

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