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Tivo HD Pixelation Troubleshooting

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

  1. Jan 15, 2008 #501 of 1597
    net114

    net114 Tivolitic Guru

    860
    0
    Dec 29, 2000
    florida
    I wanted to post an update to my issue. Just to recap, the TivoHD I originally had obviously had one bad tuner. This explained why some shows were fine and others were crap. After a lot of testing, I discovered that one tuner was always the one with pixelation. If you are having problems, make sure you isolate if it is happening to you on just one tuner or on both. I thought my problem was with my scards, but after switching them out (over a long and trying period with techs), I switched out my TivoHD.

    Now, I have no problems at all. All pixelation is gone. Occasionally I will still get a scard "hiccup" where one of my cards thinks it is not activated, but my pixelation issues have been gone since changing out my box.
     
  2. Jan 16, 2008 #502 of 1597
    cowboyshootist

    cowboyshootist New Member

    94
    0
    Oct 14, 2004
    Seatte, WA
    Here's what worked for me. I installed the HD Tivo this afternoon 1-15-08. The Cable installer was clueless but I managed to get an M-card installed. First thing I found out was the installer did not provide the proper information back to Comcast and I was missing some of the premium channels.

    Once I got that all worked out I still had pixelation on HD and non-HD channels. It was beyond terrible. I forced a network connection and the unit downloaded some sort of update and installed it. That also did not fix the pixelation problem. I tried to force a second network connection and Tivo told me that it could not connect due to a service update that was due to take place at 2am. I restarted Tivo and it began the download. Once that service update, whatever it was, was installed the pixelation problems went away.

    So in summary, there appears to be a major service update that can have some effect on new HD Tivo systems. You may have to restart or wait for the update to automatically happen in the middle of the night.
     
  3. Jan 16, 2008 #503 of 1597
    Roderigo

    Roderigo New Member

    531
    0
    Mar 11, 2002
    Brookdale, CA
    Unfortunately, your post doesn't really prove the problem isn't "a problem that is not their own."

    Every tuner has it's tolerances. The CableCARD spec/testing procedure makes sure all boxes meet the specified ranges. But, your cable box or the S3 may be handle poor signals better than the spec requires. So, while testing with other devices is useful (especially if all devices exhibit the problem), it unfortunately, doesn't prove the signal is within the spec's tolerances.

    I just did a google search on "qam troubleshooting", and came up w/ this document from Cisco.

    http://www.ciscosystems.com/en/US/s...s522/ns3/net_presentation0900aecd804bac8c.pdf

    You only mention the cable company checking the power level. Looks like there are a lot more analysis of the signal that the cable company could be doing that you don't mention them having done.
     
  4. Jan 16, 2008 #504 of 1597
    OvrrDrive

    OvrrDrive New Member

    213
    0
    Dec 13, 2004
    I've been on the forum long enough to know that "pixelation" is a coined term on this forum, but you guys do know the correct term for this behavior is "tiling" right?

    I've dealt with it on and off over the 3 or so years I've had my tivo and for the last few months it has been pretty terrible. It seems to come and go with various updates they push out, but the last update I got brought it back and it has stayed.

    From what I've seen, the issue is purely a tivo issue and while some of the cable techs you guys have been getting could have been a little more educated, it isn't their fault or problem even if they manage to lessen or even eliminate the issue.

    My current tivo is a Series 2 540 40 gig model that I piggybacked a 200 gig drive to that has worked relatively well for me over the years. This week the freezing and tiling got unbearable right before I went into a gsod. Since the first complete check I let it do the tivo refused to boot past the "just a few more minutes" stage and ended up a complete brick. Looking around on the forums I see there are quite a few more people that ended up in the same situation as I did, so I'm leaning towards there must have been some kind of minor update possibly to help with the issue but as I can't view anything anymore I will never know for sure.

    Not being ready just yet to drop the cash for a S3 or THD model, I figured I'd try an instantcake restore on the 200gig drive to see if I could salvage the tivo for $20 instead of a major investment. I'm happy to say that everything booted up just fine and the tivo is actually responding better than it has in years. And I didn't notice any tiling (ok pixelation... :cool: ) this morning but until I spend some time watching it I'm not prepared to concede victory just yet...

    It is encouraging though... I'm just p'od I lost 200 gigs of programming.
     
  5. Jan 16, 2008 #505 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

    121
    0
    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    Roderigo, thanks very much for your post. This Cisco document is excellent information and those of us with problems can use this to help point the cable company techs in the right direction with troubleshooting this. It certainly helps me see that the problem could, in fact, be with the signal since my issues are specific to just a couple channels. I just don't think the Cable Company will be able to fix this - they haven't yet. What continues to frustrate is the simple fact that other tuners and boxes are able to handle this. At the end of the day, I Have a Tivo HD box that is showing tiling on 2 channels that I am paying for, and we can't fix the problem.
     
  6. Jan 18, 2008 #506 of 1597
    jordanfrank

    jordanfrank New Member

    4
    0
    Jan 18, 2008
    I share a problem with ESB1981. And am glad to see I am not the ONLY one - since thats how Support makes me feel. I am in Providence RI and am on Cox Cable. Bought my Tivo December 2007. Hooked it up to HD Cable Cards and TV in June/July and noticed rampant pixellation in July or August. Since then I've spent WAY too many hours on Tech Support and doing pointless tests.

    The primary network channels are the worst offendors, but many of the HD channels, if you watch them long enough, will pixellate.

    The Cox guys have been out multiple times to test the signal, run a line directly to my box from the pole and so on. I've swapped cable cards and swapped the TiVO box. TiVO HD JUST DOES NOT WORK with the Cox HD channels. There must be a problem in the TiVO hardware or firmware.


    I have zero confidence that the folks at TiVO will solve the problem so am not sure what to do from here.
     
  7. Jan 18, 2008 #507 of 1597
    CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    3,646
    0
    Feb 28, 2001
    North...
    I understand your frustration, but thousands of people with TiVo HD and Cox do not have your problems; what is it that makes your situation different from their's?

    There's at least half a dozen people in Rhode Island here who have Cox, and presumably do not have your problems (Search the forum for "Rhode"). Have you checked with them?

    Have you tried attenuation? Cable techs often don't check well for too strong of a signal, but that poses much more of a problem for a TiVo than a typical cable company DVR.

    Do you have a friend in the same cable franchise but a different neighborhood that you can test your TiVo at? At this point it seems unlikely there's anything that TiVo (the company) can do, but there are still things you can do to test the signal. If it works at your friend's, then you have ammunition for arguing with the cable company. If it doesn't work at your friend's, then the solution will be harder:(.
     
  8. Jan 18, 2008 #508 of 1597
    jaquade

    jaquade New Member

    21
    0
    Dec 7, 2003
    Henderson, NV
    Thought I would chime in on the tiling issue as well and would appreciate any help or direction. I have a Tivo HD unit with an MStream card installed. The tiling occurrs on both tuners. It also occurs only on a select same chanels on either tuner. The channels are typically the ones that are not your typical network affiliate channels (ABC, NBC). I have tiling on ESPN, Discovery, etc. The signal strength on the channels of questions are approximately 44 on the tivo channel strength meter. What would be my best next steps:

    Call Tivo - See if they can resolve, get a box exchange?

    Call Cox - Send the same guys out that couldn't pair my mstream card and have them fumble around with no solutions
     
  9. Jan 19, 2008 #509 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Not sure what the exact cure will end up being, but signal strength around 44 is far too low. I'd get Cox involved first to resolve the low signal strength issue. You can call TiVo but that's pretty much what they'd probably tell you as well.
     
  10. Jan 19, 2008 #510 of 1597
    Rose4uKY

    Rose4uKY Member

    388
    0
    Mar 28, 2003
    Kentucky
    I just bought a new 40 Inch HD TV and another THD. My TV Has PIP on analog channels only and I asked Tivo if I could use a splitter and the guy said well test your signal strength but I was on like an HD channel I think and it was in the high 90's so he told me I could split it up. I found an old extra coaxial and was using the splitter. I don't really use the PIP but wanted to try it. Well this past week I keep seeing pixelation problems on some of my recordings and I read several posts here. I called Tivo just now and she told me to 1st by pass the splitter and hook the cable from the wall directly back into the Tivo box. My bedroom THD is hooked up directly to the Tivo Box and is fine never had any issues. She then said if that doesn't help take out my cable cards and it could be one of my cable cards. She said I doubt if it's a Tivo issue but I just read above where someone had a bad tuner. I dread the thought of returningmy Tivo or even having my cable company come out with new cards cause it's such an ordeal. But I don't know if my problem is on one tuner or both. But hopefully hooking my cable back into the Tivo will solve my problem will see.
     
  11. Jan 19, 2008 #511 of 1597
    jaquade

    jaquade New Member

    21
    0
    Dec 7, 2003
    Henderson, NV
    Thanks to this board I was able to resolve my tiling issue with the help of Cox. As I stated a couple posts back I was getting tiling on certain channels with a Tivo HD Signal Strength in the 48 range. Cox Tech came out and measured the signal and change my splitter to a "balanced" splitter and now have signal
    strength around 88. No tiling.... so I would look to signal strength and the type of rating of the splitter being used. Thanks for the help.
     
  12. Jan 20, 2008 #512 of 1597
    tjohnson

    tjohnson New Member

    1
    0
    Jan 18, 2006
    Hi All,

    I've been having this problem for some time with one of my two Series 2 Tivos. I know I'm posting on Series 3 topic but can't find a better place to post so I'll try it here.

    Similar to the problems many describe, I'm having pixelation issues with audio dropout. I've upgraded hard drive...no difference. Connect direct from cable box bypassing Tivo...no problems, so it's not signal strength (I also installed a signal booster just to be sure).

    I just can't find information on what could be affecting my Series 2. Any ideas?

    Thanks
     
  13. Jan 20, 2008 #513 of 1597
    jordanfrank

    jordanfrank New Member

    4
    0
    Jan 18, 2008
    With respect to COX, I am sure some cox + tivo HD customers are fine. But I am seeing three who recently commented on this thread who are having problems.

    I'd love to find someone in my area that has TiVO HD and Cox cable. I can't find any friends who have the combination. I am in Providence which I think is in the Warwick Cox area network. If anyone out there in Providence Rhode Island is doing just fine with TiVO HD and Cox cable -- please let me know.

    I am skeptical of the attenuation approach for three reasons:

    1. The cable guys did test to ensure the signal was in the right range. They cant leave the house unless its in the right range.

    2. The TiVO support guy couldnt tell me what attenuator to purchase.

    3. User ESB1981 tried an attenuator for this problem and only got limited relief: http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=5871386#post5871386
     
  14. Jan 20, 2008 #514 of 1597
    Michael1025

    Michael1025 New Member

    28
    0
    Nov 26, 2006
    Update:

    I had Comcast out today and we swapped out my Series 3 Tivo for a replacement unit from Tivo. I've had crystal clear HD on my two problem channels all day, which is great.

    I notice that the replacement unit is running the 8.0 software (my old one was running 9.2). So...I wonder if I had a bad tuner, or if this is software related. I would imagine that I'm going to get pushed the new update sooner or later...so I guess we'll find out.
     
  15. Jan 21, 2008 #515 of 1597
    Rose4uKY

    Rose4uKY Member

    388
    0
    Mar 28, 2003
    Kentucky
    I am not a 100% sure yet but mine had to do with signal also I think. And I was using a splitter that my cable company gave me and an old coaxial I found laying around to split mine up to use my PIP. But I would check strength from the Tivo and it was like 72 and I had a 40 something. In the beginning it was high 90's but may have been on an HD channel but Tivo is the one who said if you signal is that high you can use the splitter. But IO was previuosly told not to use it that the cable had to go into the back of the THD. That is why I was wondering Is the signal different on all channels or different on lets say Analog verses Digital or HD? Cause one channel said 72 one said 40 I think.

    I took away my splitter and put the good coaxial cable right into the Tivo. Last time my cable company came out to do my bedroom they had did something to my coaxials and put some tip on them for signal he said mine were old and there is some blue tip on them now. But I did this on Saturday but so far I haven't seen any pixelation but It's too soon to tell really. I'll wait it out till the end of the week. But I haven't checked my signal strength since removing the splitter.
     
  16. Jan 21, 2008 #516 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

    121
    0
    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    Signal strength can vary by the frequency the channel is on. In general, lower frequencies tend to be stronger and higher ones weaker. For digital channels, the number of the channel does not correspond to the frequency of the channel. For instance, I have channel 712 coming in at frequency 663 MHz, and channel 748 coming in at frequency 465 MHz. The channel I have coming it at 861 MHz is the weakest signal strength, at around 51. Analog channels are generall on the lowest frequencies (usually below 500 MHz).
     
  17. Jan 21, 2008 #517 of 1597
    Rose4uKY

    Rose4uKY Member

    388
    0
    Mar 28, 2003
    Kentucky
    Oh really so when you check your signal through the Tivo you also see the MHz number also plus the strenth like 70 or 90? Sorry that confuses me. I just know my friend told me to record my daily soaps on the HD channel #908 instead analog #4 ABC even though there not in HD it's still a better picture so I do that but I didn't really understand the frequency stuff. One time I was in the test signal and punched in channel #127 and it showed me a different channel. But I understand a little better now from your post. Thanks, I just hope my pixelation problem is gone.
     
  18. Jan 21, 2008 #518 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

    121
    0
    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    If you go to the diagnostics screen (tivo central, messages/settings, account/system info, diagnostics), for digital channels it will tell you the following:

    - Signal strength on a level of 1-100 (should be above 60)
    - Frequency that the channel is broadcast on
    - SNR (signal to noise ratio - should be between 31-36)
    - RS Corrected errors (should be low, but these errors do NOT affect your picture)
    - RS Uncorrected errors (every error represents a picture/sound problem) since you tuned to the channel.

    I'm not sure about analog channels since I don't get any, but it probably won't show much, if any of those diagnostics.
     
  19. Jan 21, 2008 #519 of 1597
    Rose4uKY

    Rose4uKY Member

    388
    0
    Mar 28, 2003
    Kentucky
    Ok thanks a lot I'll do that. I don't watch any analog channels even though I get 2-99 plus all my digital but thanks. Everything on my analog is on digital so I watch digital always. Thanks Again, Rose
     
  20. Jan 21, 2008 #520 of 1597
    CheezWiz

    CheezWiz ReplayTV->S3 Tivo

    211
    0
    Dec 29, 2006
    Middle...
    OK,
    I am having a hell of a time with Fox in Middle TN. on Charter.
    My stats are:
    Tuner 1 is on the channel in question:
    Signal: 100
    SNR: 36 dB
    RS Uncorrected: 0
    RS Corrected: 0

    That is in 700 seconds.
    I am getting pixelation with sound drops every at least once per minute and the two RS numbers are not changing to match this. I have seen two since I first typed in these numbers and they have not change. So I do not believe that they can be pegged directly to on screen events. Unless the glitches are on the source feed to my local provider?

    In any case I am PO'd because my recording of Terminator SCC's is completely worthless. There are no sound drops on the analog SD channel at all.

    Edit: I am getting the same signal drops and pixelation on my Cable Card equipped TV. I so rarely use it (built-in tuner) that I forget that I have it as a troubleshooting aid. I think I am seeing the channel as it is being broadcast from the local franchise.
     

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