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Tivo HD Pixelation Troubleshooting

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

  1. Sep 11, 2008 #881 of 1597
    LDLDL

    LDLDL New Member

    88
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    Jan 12, 2002
    Brookhaven, PA
    UPDATE.....
    Received the new (refurb) TiVo yesterday. Connected it up, forced updates, called Comcast to give them new Host ID, etc. They initially had a problem getting the computer to accept the new information, but eventually it went through after 15 minutes. As of 12 midnight, there has been no pixelation at all. The RS corrected and uncorrected on both tuners are 0. So far, everything seems to be fine.
    I'll report back on Saturday to let you all know if things are still the same.
     
  2. Sep 11, 2008 #882 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    All of our fingers are crossed! :up:
     
  3. Sep 11, 2008 #883 of 1597
    Gregor

    Gregor Active Member

    46,758
    15
    Feb 18, 2002
    Lineup change here as well. Seeing some bits of pixellation, prolly spend more time on it this weekend...
     
  4. Sep 13, 2008 #884 of 1597
    ursa99

    ursa99 New Member

    35
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    Aug 21, 2005
    I'm currently dealing with the Tech dispatcher via email. Got his number from a tech who was told by the dispatcher to give it to me. This was after one call.
    I've detailed to the dispatcher my issues and always include pictures of the diagnostics screen with varying degrees of signal strength. I usually have one or two that show zero. I recently recorded a short video of the diag screen when it was particularly bad, uploaded it to Picasa and sent the dispatcher an invitation to view it. He emailed me that the has forwarded the information to the Engineers who work 'upstream' issues and he has been told they are quite interested in finding out why cable cards in the TIVO's are logging these RS Uncorrected errors. I also told the dispatcher that I thought Verizon was wasting a lot of time and money on useless fixes and that an upstream fix would help MANY people and reduce their trouble calls. That seemed to get his attention. Ask the Tech for the number or email of someone higher up and work with that person. The low level techs have a protocol that always seems to include low pass filters and attenuation and unless the problem is happening when they happen to be there you really don't know if it is fixed, which in my case was never...

    Don't give up. It seems many are in the same situation and since I doubt TIVO is going to fix their hardware it would seem a clean signal from Verizon is the best hope.

    -Ursa
     
  5. Sep 14, 2008 #885 of 1597
    LDLDL

    LDLDL New Member

    88
    0
    Jan 12, 2002
    Brookhaven, PA
    Sunday Morning now!!!!
    And I must say that I am absolutely :):up::D
    No pixelation at all, however I did notice that the RS corrected on tuner 1 sometimes hover in the low hundreds, not in the millions like before. I'm not going to worry about it as long as I have a perfect picture.
    Went out and bought an expander. I'm now up to 86 HD/810 SD. My only regret about purching this is that if they come out with a TB. It would be great if WD could find a way for those of us who purchased this to piggyback the devices so it wouldn't be a waste of money.
    If anything changes as far as the pixel problems are concerned, I'll post!!!!
    Thanks all!!!!!
    ---L
     
  6. Sep 14, 2008 #886 of 1597
    Gregor

    Gregor Active Member

    46,758
    15
    Feb 18, 2002
    I'm thinking I might do the same. I can't explain why the signal strength varies wildly at times.
     
  7. Sep 15, 2008 #887 of 1597
    weaverdrew

    weaverdrew New Member

    25
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    Dec 23, 2003
    I'm struggling with pixelation as well. Had a FIOS tech out for four hours today. He finally had to leave, very frustrated, and promised to return tomorrow. He replaced EVERYTHING from the ONT down to the cable cards. No change. (He did not try a low-pass filter or diplexer yet.)

    Interestingly the issue is very bad on my S3 (SNR in mid-to-low 30s, RS errors galore, signal strength bouncing between 100 and 60) and very rare on my Tivo HD box.

    I take it from reading all 800+ posts here that the filter/diplexer tricks do not always work -- even though Tivo characterizes them as a quick fix:
    http://www.tivo.com/setupandsupport...quality_issues_with_Verizon_FiOS_service.html

    -- but I will have the tech try them tomorrow.

    I'll report how my issue gets resolved, or doesn't.
     
  8. Sep 16, 2008 #888 of 1597
    psuzebra

    psuzebra New Member

    19
    0
    Nov 9, 2006
    Limerick, PA
    I experienced a ton of pixelation at my old house, but since I knew we were moving soon, I just dealt with it and occasionally played with the attenuation when it got really bad.

    The first couple of weeks, didn't see much pixelation at all at our new house, no low pass filter, no attenuation. One six-way splitter in the basement right after the ONT (model 612), one two-way right before the TiVo.

    After a couple weeks, saw pixelation on ESPN/ESPN2 HDs and some local HDs. Call up Verizon and a tech came out. Of course, the day he comes out, I experience zero pixelation. He pretty much blamed the TiVo but was willing to try out anything. He checked the signal (it was fine), left a low pass filter (put it right before the input into the TiVo), and left a bunch of attenuators (he said with the splitters I had, I should use 11db of attenuation).

    The low pass filter didn't work for me. I still got pixelation a couple of days later, it always seems to be the same channels. I put on the 11db of attenutation, and the pixelation went away for the most part. However, it reared its ugly head last night while watching the MNF game on ESPN HD. Played with the attenuation again, but couldn't get rid of it 100%.

    Attenuation/LPF obviously doesn't work all of the time, and can't be passed off as a permanent fix. TiVo needs to come up with something else for their below-grade hardware.
     
  9. Sep 16, 2008 #889 of 1597
    webin

    webin New Member

    307
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    Feb 13, 2008
    Hillsboro,...
    It will be interesting to hear if any reports come in from Tivo HDXL owners using FioS... the hardware platform is essentially the same, but did tivo do anything (with the tuners?) to mitigate the pixellation issues?
     
  10. Sep 16, 2008 #890 of 1597
    pkrasicky

    pkrasicky New Member

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    Sep 16, 2008
    I'm having some pixelation problems with my TivoHD as well, but I suspect it is due to low signal strength. I'm on WOW cable and I had rampant pixelation problems even with my old cable box + Series 2 Tivo. The problems seem isolated to the premium channels, and not just the HD premium channels.

    Where in the TivoHD menus can I look at signal strength and what are normal readings? If I was looking in the right spot, it seemed like both tuners had a pretty consistent signal strength of "40", whatever that means. Is it 40/100, or is there a unit there? I have the same questions for SNR, what's normal, what's bad, and what's good?

    I suspect my signal strength is too low and I want to make sure that WOW won't balk when I ask for an amplifier.
     
  11. Sep 16, 2008 #891 of 1597
    esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

    121
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    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    pkrasicky, 40 is the signal strength out of 100, which is definitely too low. I've found with low signal you might get by without problems in the mid-50's, but if it fluctuates below that you will see pixelation. SNR is your signal-to-noise ratio. This is my opinion, but if it's below 30 you might be in trouble. A strong signal with low noise will give you SNR of maybe 34-38. If you were on Fios, you'd probably want to keep the SNR closer to the low-30's.

    I would definitely have WOW come out and get them to boost your signal one way or another. They may do it with an amplifier in your house, or by some other means further down the line.
     
  12. Sep 21, 2008 #892 of 1597
    ktulu858

    ktulu858 New Member

    2
    0
    Sep 21, 2008
    Hi --

    I've got a Tivo HD, and the pixelation occurs only on one of my tuners. I've got a m-stream moto cable card.

    Can I set my tivo to only record off of one of the tuners?

    If so, how?

    Thanks,

    Chuck
     
  13. Sep 21, 2008 #893 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Welcome to the forum but sorry to hear that it's under problem circumstances. AFAIK you can't specify which tuner TiVo will use to record programming. There are probably work-arounds but what an unnecessary pain. Has this been a problem since day one or did it just start happening?

    Either way it's likely one of two things; either a faulty cable card or faulty TiVo tuner. You could just have your cableco replace the cable card, re-run Guided Setup and see if things are better. Or you could also have them install two "S" cable cards to determine if it's the cable card or the tuner. Another option is to go to the diagnostic screens and view the RS corrected and uncorrected errors on both tuners (which you may have already done). Document if errors are occurring only on certain channels, all channels, which tuner, etc. Then have your cableco replace your "M" cable card and take another look to see if things are better, the same or worse. If things remain the same it may be time to have TiVo replace your box (assuming it's under warranty).

    Best of luck and let us know how it goes.
     
  14. Sep 22, 2008 #894 of 1597
    ktulu858

    ktulu858 New Member

    2
    0
    Sep 21, 2008
    New to me box. I bought a refurb unit off of Tivo.com, so it's covered by a standard warranty.

    I've monitored the SNR, and when it's pixelating heavily my SNR and signal strength are all over the map. I'm assuming it's related only to the cable company(cox). The interesting thing to note is that, I've watched programs as they were being recorded, and distinctly remember NOT seeing any pixelation. When I REWATCHED it, it pixelated. I'm thinking I've got problems on both ends, but if there was an easy workaround, I would easily use it.

    For cox cable, I'm guessing it's just too much bandwidth needed to maintain two full lines in one outlet in a apartment complex.

    Regardless, thanks for the help. I'll keep this updated.

    Chuck
     
  15. Sep 22, 2008 #895 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Hey Chuck. It does sound like a signal/cable card issue if you're seeing the SNR and signal strength vary a great deal.

    However, the other part of your post doesn't match up. If it's a signal issue you should see pixelization/macroblocking while you're watching the program as well as during playback of the same program. If you're only seeing it during playback that would point to another problem which would mostly likely be your hard drive. Hmmm...:confused:
     
  16. Sep 23, 2008 #896 of 1597
    TAsunder

    TAsunder Debates Ghee vs Gi

    17,074
    50
    Aug 6, 2003
    Madison, WI
    Ever since I moved to a new apartment, pixelation problems have been progressively worse. It does not happen on all channels and only happens on the problem channels some of the time. It started with USA and Fox, where it would pixelate or skip for a few seconds every once in a while. Lately Fox has been consistently dropping / pixelating about three or four times per hour. Worse, CBS has intermittent problems wherein it is nearly unwatchable due to constant pixelation. Only once in a while.

    Every time I go to look at the cable signal strength, it seems ok, although occasionally it drops below 80.

    Fortunately, I get great antenna signals in the new place (98% on CBS, 80+ on Fox and CW) so I have switched over my season passes to antenna anyway.

    I would like to call my cable company, but I want to do as many troubleshooting steps as possible. Here's what I've done so far:

    1. In Cable strength mode, switched out all cables with new ones. I noticed that I get about 5% improvement in strength when I disconnect the cable modem from the splitter. I can do this permanently and eliminate the splitter, but it will require a Tivo Wireless USB adapter in this case and I don't want to go this route if it's not necessary.

    2. Rebooted. Seems to help with USA but no others.

    3. Swapped tuners during problem times. No difference.

    4. Moved tivo S3 to a cooler area.

    What else can I do? I tried to look at the cable card diag screen but it doesn't make much sense to me and it doesn't seem to report any obvious problems.

    From other threads here, you may all know that I am considering switching to satellite and dumping the Tivo on eBay or keeping it until my next move. If this sort of problem doesn't likely go away over time, I will probably just abandon hope and switch.

    At the old place, I did not have my cable line hooked into a splitter.
     
  17. Sep 23, 2008 #897 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    It certainly sounds like a signal issue and if you're seeing it on both tuners likely an incoming signal issue, so probably not TiVo's fault. There are a number of things you can do to trouble shoot and others will chime in (sorry, short on time) but one obvious one to me would be to replace the splitter with a new, good quality model. Splitters can be a real problem for TiVo as some do an awful job with signals. If your signal is marginal coming in and the splitter is low quality or faulty it can cause what you're seeing. I'd have the cableco come out, ensure that your signal is strong and as pristine as possible and replace the splitter to see if that helps.
     
  18. Sep 24, 2008 #898 of 1597
    jgerber

    jgerber New Member

    12
    0
    May 15, 2007
    My 15 month old S3 has started with these symptoms over the weekend. I'm on Cox San Diego, with 2 cablecards, and on any HD channel get bad pixelation, long pauses, failure to respond to remote or panel input, etc.

    I just got off a 45 minute call (most of it hold time of course) with Tivo tech support and was advised by the uncomfortable sounding tech (uncomfortable, I think, that I had a lot of technical detail to describe about the problem) that he believed it to be a "problem with the motherboard, probably the tuner" and suggested I purchase a $149 refurbished exchange unit (plus tax, plus return shipping).

    He also told me that the kickstart 57 program was to fix problems with "a corrupted file that affects the phone line configuration" and that if I wanted to I should run the kickstart 54 disk diagnostics instead. And that in k54 to run the programs individually, and not the "smart" program because it usually didn't work.

    It seems there's far more clue on this forum than on the Tivo support payroll, so I plan to follow the advice here instead. I'll run the diag programs and replace the hard drive. Tivo Tech's idea that it is a problem with the tuner chipset seems rather far-fetched. But, I figured I'd throw it out there.

    BTW the HD channels when I can get the box stable long enough to look have a signal at 90-95, RSSI 34dB. SD channels work just fine. And of course the box works at normal performance when the input signal is disconnected. I had Cox re-hit the cablecards last night with no effect.

    Any other advice or guidance would be most welcome. TIA.
     
  19. Sep 25, 2008 #899 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    3 months after the warranty runs out? Sigh. :rolleyes: Yours does indeed sound more like a hard drive issue if it works when the coax is disconnected, particularly if it becomes non-responsive to remote input otherwise. Let us know how it goes after replacing the hard drive.

    Worst scenario is that it remains the same in which case you could return the hard drive you bought, put the original back in your TiVo and return it for an exchange.
     
  20. Sep 26, 2008 #900 of 1597
    jgerber

    jgerber New Member

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    May 15, 2007
    It's actually looking promising that my extended warranty claim to American Express will be approved (not totally easy since Tivo refused to provide any documentation at all unless I paid for the exchange/RMA, but they ended up confirming the hardware failure verbally on the phone to Amex).

    So I'm hopeful that despite all the effort and irritation that things will come out OK. So far Tivo is -1 on customer service and Amex is +1 with me.

    Thanks again for the advice. I still may end up doing the hard drive in the end if Amex doesn't demand the original box back.
     

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