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Tivo HD Pixelation Troubleshooting

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

  1. Oct 17, 2008 #921 of 1598
    hkancyr

    hkancyr New Member

    67
    0
    Jan 20, 2002
    CT
    I installed the My DVR Expander when I installed the TiVoHD, last October. It had been working fine, and still recorded SD programs without a hitch. I did the TiVo tech troubleshooting and somehow didn't find the problem. Then, after much thought, I tried doing a much more complete uninstallation of the Expander drive, since it was now attached to the brand spanking new HDTiVo, and therefore, pretty much empty.
    As I recall when I troubleshot with TiVo on the line, I never lost anything from the Expander. While this seemed marvelous at the time, I see how improper it was now.
    So in the process I disconnected the Expander from the TiVo and restarted it and ran it without the Expander and it ran beautifully. Hmm, I says, this would seem to indicate an Expander HDD problem. I plugged it in again and set it up and the HDTiVo ran as screwey as before.
    I immediately jumped on the Western Digital page and typed in the serial number of my Expander, it was still within the guarantee period and I arranged for an RMA swap and they sent me another Expander and it has been working as advertised. I don't know what the problem with the original drive was, but I used my original eSATA cord with the new drive, so that wasn't the problem.
    The interesting bit is that when I called TiVo to tell them that I had it all figured out, I told them that I had purchased the Expander from them and I wanted another one, the rep advised me to hold on and he was going to check on that, then they disconnected. I haven't even called them back as I had already done the RMA with WD. I thought it was interesting that they didn't immediately shut me down on the Expander RMA question. I thought I had read here that they don't service the My DVR Expander, maybe they do.
     
  2. Oct 20, 2008 #922 of 1598
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,897
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Sorry to hear that your old My DVR Expander gave up, but excellent to hear that your new one is working as advertised. :up:

    There are several posts indicating that TiVo stepped up to the plate and replaced Expanders that had been purchased from them, but others have said that they directed them to WD. :confused:

    Just good to know things are back in order though. Enjoy!
     
  3. Oct 20, 2008 #923 of 1598
    Timster-MA

    Timster-MA New Member

    4
    0
    Oct 1, 2008
    Holliston Ma
    Another followup for me. We had a visit from a tech who replaced the ONT on Friday 10/3. We saw a bit of improvement immediately but it was nowhere near being resolved. We went on vacation for the next 2 weeks but recordings done since that visit seem to show marked improvement as does live tv.

    I am wondering if something happened at the central office to improve our problem? I am seeing quite a few less RSC errors and almost no RSU errors on the affected channels.

    Tim
     
  4. Oct 20, 2008 #924 of 1598
    substance12

    substance12 Member

    69
    0
    Feb 6, 2008
    I didn't have any pixelation issues until the olympics then it was bad on nbc. Then I started noticing it on PBS HD. Now with the latest FIOS channel update the pixelation is much more common.

    1) am I alone in this?

    2) is the attenuator fix the solution?
     
  5. Oct 21, 2008 #925 of 1598
    Timster-MA

    Timster-MA New Member

    4
    0
    Oct 1, 2008
    Holliston Ma
    Of the 7 things that the Verizon tech tried the one that worked the best for me was the attenuators. It didn't go to zero, but the pixelization problem got much better once we added them.
     
  6. Oct 21, 2008 #926 of 1598
    substance12

    substance12 Member

    69
    0
    Feb 6, 2008
    i forgot to add that I have audio drop outs when the pixelation occurs. I'm not sure if I should assume that everyone knows that or if those are 2 specific issues.
     
  7. Oct 25, 2008 #927 of 1598
    V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

    479
    27
    May 28, 2005
    New Mexico...
    Hey all, it's been a couple of months since I was on here - doing a lot of traveling and stuff - so I'm not sure what all I missed. From a quick review of just a couple of pages in this thread and one other, the status of most things looks pretty much the same. But I DO have some new experience to report.

    You may remember me as the one who did a lot of the yelling a while back that most FiOS pixelation was caused by dirty signals, and I had been 100% successful in forcing them to find and fix the problems without resorting to attenuators. Well, FiOS did the channel realignment in my area several weeks ago, and my life is not as simple any more. :eek: I don't have all the answers yet, but I do have some detailed observations and comparisons to report.

    Immediately after the realignment I began having major problems on all channels over about six different frequencies, just like I have reported in the past (and the FiOS STB showed errors on those same channels too). This time FiOS was MUCH better at listening to me and taking my documentation to locate and fix the problem; it turned out to be identical as before, and they fixed it within two days at the central office. :up: But alas, not everything is perfect.

    About a week later I stated noticing bad pixelation on a few channels on my S3. After spending the huge amount of time again to test and make notes on every channel and frequency, I was NOT seeing the same pattern of all channels on a specific frequency being bad, so this was a different problem. In addition, the FiOS STB was not reporting errors on the channels where I had problems on the S3. I need to note here that the S3 is my MAIN box - I rarely watch the STB or my TiVo HD in the bedroom. But now that I had a new pixelation problem on the S3 that didn't match the past symptoms I started doing more testing and comparisons. In short, the current problems are ONLY on my S3 and they seem to be related to the tuners.

    In trying to isolate the problem I swapped both cable cards between the S3 and the HD (all four are identical Motorola single stream cards). The problems did not follow the cards. Then I physically moved the S3 to the bedroom to hook it up to the same cable feed the HD had been using. Problem remained identical in the S3. It seems unlikely to me that it is a bad signal this time if the HD and STB don't report any errors on the channels the S3 is choking on. So now I am convinced the problem is internal to the S3 and not related to the drives (since it is only on specific channels). I did open the box and re-seat the tuner cables just in case they had developed some surface contact issues, but that made no difference. For now I am scratching my head and trying to come up with some new ideas to try other than dumping a very expensive two year old S3 with lifetime service. :mad: Thankfully most channels still play perfectly.

    Just thought I'd share those experiences. Any ideas will be appreciated!
     
  8. Oct 25, 2008 #928 of 1598
    Timster-MA

    Timster-MA New Member

    4
    0
    Oct 1, 2008
    Holliston Ma
    Most of my problems occurred on my S3 after the channel realignment and most of the problems seem to have gone away now that I'm running with attenuators to get the SNR set to 31.

    I feel your pain. I have bought a WD 500G drive so my investment is now
    well over $500 for the S3 with a 3 year contract and the external drive.

    Since our problem was on the local channels I toyed with using Verizon's DVR to record the local HD channels or getting an OTA antenna to bypass using cable for the local channels.

    Thankfully, the problem for us has gotten much better so we see only 4-5 glitches in an hour. This is manageable considering that we at one point had nearly unintelligible dialog for minutes at a time.
     
  9. Oct 25, 2008 #929 of 1598
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,897
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Welcome back! It's great to have so much detailed information. :up:

    It does indeed sound like that specific S3 is having problems and if it's only on a select few channels I'd agree it's in the tuning. I guess I'd go back and try the attenuator fix. The only other remedy would be to get them to replace the cable cards and see if that helps...although if you already swapped cards with your TiVo HD it seems like that's not it. It also doesn't seem like it would be a hard drive issue as you should experience problems across the board, at least with most or all of the HD channels.

    If all of that doesn't work I guess the next stop would be calling TiVo to get a replacement. Spending another $149 would be aggravating, but it looks like you've done your homework (and then some) and I'm at a loss as to what else to do. Perhaps sharper minds can prevail here.

    Best of luck and let us know what you end up doing.
     
  10. Oct 28, 2008 #930 of 1598
    JacksTiVo

    JacksTiVo TiVo User since 2001

    451
    0
    Jan 7, 2006
    New Jersey
    I have an S3 unit. As I reported on another thread (http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=407509), I had video freezing and audio stuttering that I traced to my DVR Expander or the eSATA cable. The problem seemed to clear up when I adjusted the eSATA cable so I assumed that was what had caused the problem, but over this weekend the problem reappeared. I replaced the eSATA cable yesterday, but it did not help. Tonight I remove the My DVR Expander and the TiVo S3 has been working trouble free without it. I bought the WD unit from TiVo last Nov. 6 so it is still under warranty. I spoke with TiVo tech support and they have no history of this issue. Since hkancyr and my My DVR Expander hard drives are about one year old, then perhaps these units start to fail after one year.
    Per TiVo the warranty is from WD and I have requested an RMA and replacement from them.
     
  11. Oct 29, 2008 #931 of 1598
    billbutter

    billbutter New Member

    8
    0
    Oct 1, 2007
    I've been reading through this read (well it's LONG so I've been skimming) because I am having stuttering/audio dropouts ever since the Olympics started.

    I've uploaded a video of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inAKLCHTp6Q

    Here are the details:
    - I have a Tivo HD with a 500gb MyDVR Expander, 1-year old
    - Problem is with both HD and SD Channels
    - Major HD networks are fine (NBC, ABC, etc.)
    - My signal strength is very strong for all channels
    - Reboot fixes problem for about 20 minutes
    - Problem is there both watching live and watching recorded shows, consistently in the same spots
    - Does not randomly just freeze or reboot like a lot of the other Tivo's are doing in this thread

    I am really about to kill myself here. From watching the video, is this what everyone is experiencing?
     
  12. Oct 29, 2008 #932 of 1598
    JacksTiVo

    JacksTiVo TiVo User since 2001

    451
    0
    Jan 7, 2006
    New Jersey
    You may be suffering with the same problem I described in last evenings posting. If you are willing to lose all of your recorded shows, then try disconnecting the My DVR Expander and see if that fixes the problem. My pixelation and sound stuttering disappeared after removing it.

    Before removing the My DVR Expander, I too also had the problem clear up after a reboot and then reappear 20 or so minutes later. Perhaps as the 30 minute buffer fills the problem reoccurs.
    I am replacing the WD - My DVR Expander since it is still under warranty. I received an RMA from WD.

    It was a pleasure last night to watch TV without the stuttering and pixelation.

    BTW, during my conversation with TiVo tech support, I confirmed with him that when checking the channel strength, the TiVo bypasses the buffer and hard drive. (That is why you get a warning message that any recordings will be interrupted when doing the test.) Since during the channel checks there was no stuttering, it gave me a clue that it was possibly the external hard drive.
     
  13. Oct 29, 2008 #933 of 1598
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,897
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    That's a very good tidbit of info and would indeed be helpful to anyone troubleshooting these kinds of issues. :up: :up:
     
  14. Oct 29, 2008 #934 of 1598
    billbutter

    billbutter New Member

    8
    0
    Oct 1, 2007
    That is very helpful, thanks for sharing that. Do you know how long the warranty lasts? I won't be able to get my serial number until I get home tonight. I've had it for a year and 3 days.
     
  15. Oct 29, 2008 #935 of 1598
    JacksTiVo

    JacksTiVo TiVo User since 2001

    451
    0
    Jan 7, 2006
    New Jersey
    It is one year. However, if you did not register it, they assume it was manufactured Dec. 2007, at least with my serial number.
     
  16. Oct 30, 2008 #936 of 1598
    billbutter

    billbutter New Member

    8
    0
    Oct 1, 2007
    So just an update to my post yesterday:

    - I disconnected the MyDVR Expander and rebooted the Tivo
    - Worked fine for over an hour, although I didn't change the channel from TBS
    - Changed the channel and then when I changed back to TBS the problem resurfaced

    At this point I did a signal strength test to see what was going on. Here's the weird part: On the channels that had the stutter the signal was at 81%. Meanwhile the good channels (NBC, CBS, etc.) were down to 55%. I don't know what to make of it. I made sure all the cable connections were tight and nothing changed. What else could the problem possibly be?
     
  17. Oct 30, 2008 #937 of 1598
    JacksTiVo

    JacksTiVo TiVo User since 2001

    451
    0
    Jan 7, 2006
    New Jersey
    Your problem is probably due to low signal strength. Pixelation can be caused by a weak signal. Per a tech at Verizon FiOS the signal needs to be in the 98-100% range for HD reception. With Verizon FiOS service the ONT converts the optical signal to electronic digital and the signal strength should be constant on all stations.

    If you have traditional coaxial cable service then any deterioration of the service cable into your home or within the house can cause signal drop at different signal frequencies due to leakage. Has your cable provider visited your home to check their signal?

    How many splitters are in your system?
     
  18. Oct 31, 2008 #938 of 1598
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,897
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Yep...what Jack said...it's the signal. Probably a bad coax cable, splitter, etc. It's surprising that you're seeing anything at 55% even if they appear okay. If all else fails, get your cable company to come out and test everything from the box outside in...or vice-versa. At some point the signal is breaking down.
     
  19. Nov 1, 2008 #939 of 1598
    JacksTiVo

    JacksTiVo TiVo User since 2001

    451
    0
    Jan 7, 2006
    New Jersey
    I received my replacement Western Digital - My DVR Expander yesterday. I reported the warranty problem to WD on Tuesday evening and they shipped it Wednesday "2nd Day Air" from California. Now that is what I would call excellent customer support.

    My S3 with the replacement My DVR Expander is so far working just fine.
     
  20. Nov 1, 2008 #940 of 1598
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,897
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Nice! It's not your grandfather's WD anymore it seems. :up:
     

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