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Tivo HD Pixelation Troubleshooting

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

  1. Aug 6, 2007 #61 of 1597
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    0
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Repost...

    Do you all see the pixelization when you rewind / instant replay?

    As I noted in another post, I see random pixelization on both live and recorded content from Verizon FiOS...but if I rewind / instant replay, I don't see it again. The problem isn't with the recordings since the pixelization never shows up in the same spot twice.

    In contrast, for many SA CableCard users, the pixelization issue appears to remains even with instant replay / rewind. So it looks like there are two different issues here -- 1) random pixelization unrelated to source signal, and 2) pixelization related to the signal or decryption of the signal, typically when using Scientific Atlanta CableCards. I bet some users -- especially those with SA CableCards -- are experiencing both issues.

    1) Do you use Scientific Atlanta or Motorola CableCards?
    2) Do you see the pixelization in the same place when doing instant replay / rewind on live and recorded programming? Always / sometimes?
     
  2. Aug 7, 2007 #62 of 1597
    TokyoShoe

    TokyoShoe Frustrated TiVoHD'er

    118
    0
    Jul 27, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    Well I got struck by it for the first time today. My Tivo recorded "Escape From New York" in HD off some channel in the 400's. Playback results in constant shots of pixelation at a regular interval of every 5 seconds. It also actually disrupts the audio too.

    This is the first and so far only recording I've got this on, and it's aweful. Made the recording unwatchable. I do actually see the pixellation during rewind as well.
     
  3. Aug 7, 2007 #63 of 1597
    jhershauer

    jhershauer New Member

    22
    0
    Jul 25, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ...
    I had my cablecards (scientific atlanta) installed today on my Tivo HD (latest software) and ran some tests tonight.

    First, with regards to the cablecard install, things went pretty well. One of the first two cards didn't take, so he popped a third one in and that one worked fine. It didn't take very long to get it all up and running. Unfortunately, there was a lot of pixelation. The signal strength was at 68 or so, with a SNR of 30. He had a truck come out and boost the signal across the street at the box that feeds myself and 7 other houses in the neighborhood, and that boosted the signal strength up to 90, with a SNR of 35. Unfortunately, there's still noticeable pixelation.

    So, tonight I decided to test out both OTA HD and Cox Cable HD signals. I put one tuner on Cox 705 (CBS HD), and the other on Antenna Ch 5.1 (OTA CBS HD), and set both to record. There was significant pixelation on both, with a little more on the cable. For OTA, I had varying numbers of pixelation "incidents", typically somewhere between 3 and 7 per minute. This was with a signal strength of between 97 and 100 in the diagnostic screen. On Cable, it was usually more like 6-8 incidents per minute.

    I was doing this between 7:30 and 7:45pm. At 7:45pm, I unplugged the Antenna from the Tivo HD and plugged it directly into my TV, being careful not to move the antenna at all in the process. I watched the next 15 minutes of the OTA CBS HD straight off the TV, and didn't see a single issue. Meanwhile, the Cable HD continued to record on the Tivo, and the recording was still filled with pixelation.

    I have noticed that I get occasional pixelation during Live TV that isn't there if I go back and re-watch it, but most of the incidents occur both live and in repeat. I also see occasional pixelation in the Tivo menus.

    It seems like the OTA pixelation got worse once the cablecards were installed. I've been watching it with just OTA signals for a week and a half now, and would see some pixelation, but not nearly as much as I do now.

    Overall, I'm extremely disappointed right now. My wife was fine with DirecTV. We have an old DVR with Tivo on it in the family room. We have an R15 in the bedroom, which she really dislikes compared to the Tivo. I thought this was my opportunity to move up to HD and still keep the Tivo interface that we both love. I was going to get another Tivo HD for our bedroom.

    I'm kicking myself a bit now for jumping on this so quickly, as even if I return the Tivo, I'll still be out a bunch of time, and some money to the cable company. I'll contact Tivo tech support, and hang loose for a little while longer (within my 30 day limit), but so far, things aren't looking good.

    I'm not trying to dump on the Tivo HD...I want to love it...just sharing my experience so far.

    Thanks,
    Jeff
     
  4. Aug 7, 2007 #64 of 1597
    jazmaan

    jazmaan New Member

    74
    0
    Aug 30, 2002
    What kind of cablecards are you using? Also is 90 signal strength really the best you can get on any channel? I have a rat's nest of splitters and I'm still getting a minimum of 93 and some channels at 100.
     
  5. Aug 7, 2007 #65 of 1597
    jhershauer

    jhershauer New Member

    22
    0
    Jul 25, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ...
    I updated my post. They're Scientific Atlanta cards, and yes, 90 is the best I can get...but it's a heck of a lot better than the 68 I was getting before they came out and boosted things outside. I originally stated that it started out at 50, but that was when I had a splitter between my cable modem and the Tivo HD. I moved the modem to another outlet, and that increased the signal to 68...then 90 after they came out.

    I might still have some hope that having them come out and boost the signal more would help, but my OTA test kind of put a damper on that.

    Thanks,
    Jeff
     
  6. Aug 7, 2007 #66 of 1597
    smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    20,455
    77
    May 24, 2003
    I tried recording a few programs tonight, both digital OTA. The first was 'The Singing Bee', which was unwatchable due to constant pixelation issues. Immediately following it (on a different OTA station) I recorded Hell's Kitchen, with almost zero pixelation.

    I didn't do a signal strength check as the Tivo was recording at the time, but on previous checks I've usually received signal strength in the 90-100 range for each of these stations. Therefore, I don't know if it was a signal reception issue, broadcast issue, or Tivo issue.

    I have no cablecards.

    A few times I have noted Tivo menu pixelation incidents. I have 10ft of HDMI cable between Tivo and TV.

    I wish recorded programs would log minimum, maximum, and average signal strength -- it would make diagnosis of these problems much easier.
     
  7. Aug 7, 2007 #67 of 1597
    jsmiley125

    jsmiley125 New Member

    16
    0
    Jul 27, 2007
    Columbus, OH
    What's considered good SNR? Average SNR?
     
  8. Aug 7, 2007 #68 of 1597
    Chimpware

    Chimpware New Member

    334
    0
    Jan 30, 2002
    Further trials;

    I tried a Philips Amplifier, which stated it worked for digital cable. No joy, actually made the situation worse. No matter how I had the gain adjusted the signal on my Tivo for a channel that had a signal strength of 88 prior to adding the amplifier, was no higher than 62.

    I might give the Motorola Signal Booster, as many people have had good success according to the CirtuiCity site for issues relatedto signal strength.
     
  9. Aug 7, 2007 #69 of 1597
    lessd

    lessd Active Member

    7,695
    5
    Jan 23, 2005
    CT
    This comment I posted on the other Pixelation Thread

    Pixelation has been reported on the TiVo menu system and I did see it once on the TiVo menu system, for such a short time if this thread did not exist i would not have reported it but the TiVo Menu takes the pixelation problem out the tuner system, cable system and CC, the issue must be in the output electronics/control. Does the output setting make any difference as I do not see this pixelation as much as other are and I am using 1080i fixed and HDMI.
     
  10. Aug 7, 2007 #70 of 1597
    Dogen

    Dogen New Member

    32
    0
    Jun 13, 2004
    Austin, TX
    I have some pixelation with simultaneous audio dropouts on random channels and also the menu. I would tend to assume it's somewhere in the Tivo hardware since it appears on the menu screen and I don't get pixelation with any other hardware (DVD player, game consoles, old Tivo2 plus cable box, etc.)

    It's not bad nor is it frequent, but it is there.
     
  11. Aug 7, 2007 #71 of 1597
    drew00001

    drew00001 New Member

    311
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    Jan 13, 2007
    Is 48C considered hot for either the HD or S3?
     
  12. Aug 7, 2007 #72 of 1597
    Chimpware

    Chimpware New Member

    334
    0
    Jan 30, 2002
    No, just wanted to see if this was a factor.
     
  13. Aug 8, 2007 #73 of 1597
    cramer

    cramer New Member

    430
    0
    Aug 14, 2000
    Raleigh,...
    Yes. I have no cable cards and it's not even connected to cable. I've seen the little glitch on OTA recordings (SD and HD), Tivo Casts, and Unbox videos.

    It is not a damaged data stream. MPEG errors are predictable and persist to the next I-frame. The glitch in the Tivo HD occur randomly and last for a few frames -- in my case, 1 or 2 -- and are almost unnoticable. (1/30th of a second isn't much time.)

    Is it annoying? Not really. I've seen far worse. Is it a reason to take it back? NO. Tivo, Inc. will eventually figure out what's screwed up and fix it. Even if it's a hardware issue, They. Will. Fix. It.
     
  14. Aug 8, 2007 #74 of 1597
    adrianblack

    adrianblack Gearhead

    50
    0
    Jul 2, 2000
    West...
    Yep -- I've seen the menu pixelization a bunch of times too. I in-place swapped my Motorola HD DVR for the Tivo HD and it has all the problems. Pixelization on CC channels. Random audio dropouts (which aren't recorded on the drive) and the menu thing also.

    The old Motorols HD DVR sucked badly but it never had these problems. I'm using the identical cables even. (1080i component, TOSlink, etc.)

    What a pain.
     
  15. Aug 8, 2007 #75 of 1597
    adrianblack

    adrianblack Gearhead

    50
    0
    Jul 2, 2000
    West...
    I have seen this problem. Instant replay and it plays fine. I've also seen a few times when the pixelization was recorded -- but my signal strength is only 68. (One feed split four ways.)

    I'm using Time Warner with motorola cable cards.

    Also, my audio drop outs are never recorded. Sometimes my stereo has a hard time locking onto the signal when it drops and I loose a few seconds of audio. Much more annoying than the pixelization problems.
     
  16. Aug 8, 2007 #76 of 1597
    Chimpware

    Chimpware New Member

    334
    0
    Jan 30, 2002
    Well just had the Tech at my house for another 2 hours checking the signal to ensure it was not a cable issue. Only potential problem was a spike intermitently in the signal ingress which we could not trace. He changed every connection on the house, and oustide and we even ran a dry line from teh drop at the street into my house to the Tivo and still intermitent pixelation. He is excalating the issue to Cablevision engineering, but I am not hopeful.
     
  17. Aug 8, 2007 #77 of 1597
    TiVotion

    TiVotion Early Adoptersaurus

    1,081
    0
    Dec 6, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    I totally agree with you on this. I have also seen far worse. The interruptions occur too infrequently for it to be a show stopper. It's minorly annoying, but that's as critical as I see it. Not worth returning the box over, and I do have faith that TiVo can come up with a software tweak to remedy the situation. I believe they've worked out most, if not all, similar issues that appeared with the S3 boxes (I have a S3 and it doesn't have the issue). If it's a hardware issue, it can probably be remedied with a software fix. Minor annoyance and I've love an answer, but I won't lose sleep over it.

    I think some people may be returning their boxes prematurely, but that's their choice - guess everyone has to make a decision they are comfortable with.
     
  18. Aug 8, 2007 #78 of 1597
    TokyoShoe

    TokyoShoe Frustrated TiVoHD'er

    118
    0
    Jul 27, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    Just an update on my performance of this situation:

    I am now consistently getting pixelization on anything HD. It's usually just a little shot of it once during the recording.. but I have now had 2 HD movies recorded that were completely unwatchable due to this issue. Never seems to happen in SD recordings.
     
  19. Aug 8, 2007 #79 of 1597
    bhaas

    bhaas New Member

    174
    0
    Aug 5, 2003
    MD
    just got cards put in slots 1 & 2. I do see some pixellating when using the 2nd tuner, not just HD channels. It's not consistent, and sometimes a channel does it, then it clears up, then it may show up on another, anywhere in the lineup

    FIOS in AA cty MD, Motorola cards, Tivo is using 8.1.7b, all signal strengths 97-100%, SNR 35-39dB. On the pixellating channels, SNR fluctuates ~2dB over a time period of several seconds.

    For my case I subjectively put it as no worse than watching OTA on a weaker station when there's a lot of multipath.
     
  20. Aug 8, 2007 #80 of 1597
    Chimpware

    Chimpware New Member

    334
    0
    Jan 30, 2002
    Almost definitive proof the pixelation problem lies within my Tivo. I sat down after a half day with the cable tech again to check out what was on Tivo and I saw a program listed in the main guide listing called Try Swivel Search Now, so I decided to check it out. While watching the Go on A TV Treadure Hunt selection I got the exact same pixelation I have been having on broadcast programs and when I rewound, it was repeatable, same pixelation in the same spot. so then I tried the same video on my other Tivo and it pixelated also, but in different spots, so it is not an issue with the source video.

    Anyone want to chime in and explain how this could be caused by the cable signal or cable cards? Thought not.

    Come on Tivo, its time to clearly admit the issue, not vaguely allude that some people are having a problem, and give us an ETA for the fix!
     

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