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Tivo HD Pixelation Troubleshooting

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

  1. Jan 5, 2009 #1021 of 1597
    wm2008

    wm2008 New Member

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    Jan 2, 2009
    But again, seems different than my situation doesn't it? I've never had 30-50.
     
  2. Jan 6, 2009 #1022 of 1597
    gresc134

    gresc134 New Member

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    May 28, 2007
    wm2008, I'm equally frustrated but I'm going to try the attenuators and let you know what happens. If that doesn't work then it's back to Tivo. It's really hard trying to convince the fios folks that the issue is on their end. However, you may want to pursue fios first, my signal is always between 95 and 100. You're sounds a tad on the low end.
     
  3. Jan 6, 2009 #1023 of 1597
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    That was just one example. The hotter the signal to the TiVo, the greater the range in variability you will see.
     
  4. Jan 7, 2009 #1024 of 1597
    wm2008

    wm2008 New Member

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    Jan 2, 2009
    I'm going to try the attenuators also, but let's be clear. This is NOT a problem on the FIOS end. This IS a problem with substandard tuners which are excessively sensitive from Tivo. This problem is not restricted to only Fios, though it is more common with Fios. Other devices do not exhibit this issue. ONLY Tivo.
     
  5. Jan 7, 2009 #1025 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Well, that's simply not the case. A search of the AVS Forum will turn up all sorts of complaints about FIOS signals being problematic for folks that have never used TiVo. There are litterally dozens of threads, but this one is a good example. Other DVR/PVR A/V forums (including VZ's own forums) are littered with similar complaints.

    We all want improvments from VZ, TiVo, etc., but blanket statements like that are not helpful.
     
  6. Jan 8, 2009 #1026 of 1597
    wm2008

    wm2008 New Member

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    Jan 2, 2009
    I hate to disagree, but I have had multiple devices on Fios. They include: 2 ea TivoHDs, 2 ea VZ Moto 6416-2 HD DVRs (now only have one), 1 ea Tosh DLP cablecard equipped TV, 1 ea MS MediaCenter/ATI cablecard equipped PC.

    At this time I only have the TivoHDs and the one Moto live. I discontinued using the Tosh DLP and the MS Mediacenter PC (I ran a 5 month test of it). The ONLY devices to EVER have the pixelation issues on those channels were the Tivo HDs. No other device at any time exhibited these issues. At the time that the Tivo HDs were already experiencing the issue, the other devices were live and tested on the exact same cable segments, in the same room, etc. It is a very clear comparison.

    Also please note that my position is that it is obviously possible to design around the variation in signal strength. Obviously some devices have been very successful in doing so. Tivo has not.
     
  7. Jan 9, 2009 #1027 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

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    Jan 4, 2003
    I understand that you have two TiVo HD's that aren't working properly with FIOS...you obviously have company here. (It's also true that many others have TiVo HD's that are doing fine w/FIOS.) You also have other equipment that is working fine with FIOS...some are apples/oranges comparisons but understood.

    I was pointing out that your blanket statement "Other devices do not exhibit this issue. ONLY Tivo." is not valid. It may be true in your singular case. However the fact is that there are numerous posts on various forums by people having problems using FIOS with a multitude of non-Tivo A/V and DVR equipment. TiVo just happens to be the focus of this forum.

    Hope that helps clarify things and I also sincerely hope that your issues get resolved. I can imagine how frustrating it must be.
     
  8. Jan 9, 2009 #1028 of 1597
    wm2008

    wm2008 New Member

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    Jan 2, 2009
    I appreciate your clarification - no insult taken here. Just my 2 cents are this...

    My comparisons are in fact apples to apples. We're talking about tuner sensitivity issues on the exact same cable segment of the exact same provider on the exact same channels using the exact same cablecard technology. The only variable here is the tuners, and in my situation at least, the only failures are the Tivo units, and the failures are both long term and consistent. My experience is that Tivo has provided zero support for this, and continues to try and defer issues to Verizon rather than taking care of paying customers. Furthermore, I am seeing nowhere near the frequency of claimed similar issues on other devices being reported elsewhere.

    I would be far less unhappy with Tivo if they were even making the slightest effort to resolve this. However, they have to my knowledge and certainly in my situation made no effort whatsoever.

    Let's be honest. The VZ Moto units are not exhibiting this problem - in particular if they are connected to a 611 or newer ONT. So, the problem is capable of being solved. Perhaps the problem here is that resolving it requires replacement of the physical tuners, which is obviously out of the question for those of us having already purchased units, and Tivo just doesn't want to fess up because of the cost to remediate a defective design.
     
  9. Joe Q

    Joe Q New Member

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    Apr 21, 2004
    Annapolis,MD
    You helped me last month getting my TIVO HD XL to stop pixelating by telling me about this thread as well as using an attenuator.

    I did not have any on hand so I added a splitter in the line and this particluar splitter has 2 - 3.5 DB ports and 1 - 7.5 DB port.

    When I hooked my TIVO to the 7.5DB port, it cleaned everything up.

    That was early December.

    Now,I can not get a decent picture on ANY of my non local HD channels. They are breaking up so bad that (pixelating) that the recordings are unwatchable.

    Last night was a big night for end of season shows on SCIFI HD but I had to record all the programs on the Standard Defintion SCI FI channel for the above reason.

    I have tried about 15 HD channels and they all break up. I see the classic SNR/Uncorrected error in the signal strength display.

    The ONLY High Def ones that work are the Locals.


    Any Ideas?


    I just spent the past hour playing around with ganging splitters to add attenuation but all I succeeded in doing is ultimately losing the signal.
     
  10. substance12

    substance12 Member

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    Feb 6, 2008
    @joe q

    I don't have any advice but are you by any chance on FIOS and did this coincide with the channel realignment that occurred?
     
  11. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    I think you may need a little more attenuation.

    I've found that Verizon signal levels seem to vary during different parts of the year. I don't know if that has to do with falling temperatures, or simply the result of some configuration changes on Verizon's end.

    I now have ~18dB combined attenuation when you account for my attenuator + splitters. I have one of the original Motorola 610 ONTs, which output ridiculously high signal levels, so you probably won't need that much, but it definitely sounds like you need more than you have now.
     
  12. sandun

    sandun New Member

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    Dec 13, 2007
    Hi,

    Basically, one of my Tivo HD units shows symptons of pixelation. Lately, I have been having issues with audio as well (becomes garbled/distorted/codec issue after few seconds of play). This specific unit was a refurb from Tivo.com. The other one was brand new (2007) and works fine.

    I tried to capture a couple of minutes of playback and put it on YouTube. Since I have fewer than 5 posts, I am not able to post links - so, I had to put the link content in a code block.

    CNN Clip - minor case of pixelation:
    Code:
     www youtube com/watch?v=u2iL0_Ed__s
    Notice the pixelations (macro blocks?) - this is actually a minor case. I have seen it worse on some occasions. Is this what you all see as well?

    Revision 3 VBlog Clip - pixelation and audio issues
    Code:
    www youtube com/watch?v=iQGEHnE3LnE
    Notices the pixelation (blocks) and audio issues. The audio gets "garbled/distorted" after a few seconds of play. I can go back to the menu and then press play, the audio plays OK again for a few secs before it becomes a issue.

    I noticed the audio issue only in the last 2 weeks. Pixelation has been an issue for a few months.

    I am still not sure if my case is related to cable signal/tuner.

    1) I have tried 2 different drives - same symptons.

    2) Pixelation occurs on cable tv, downloaded content (VOD, RSS VBlogs) and sometimes on Netflix Watch now (see it only once though).

    3) Same symptons with or without cable card (M-stream, on Comcast).

    4) *Never* happens when watching clips that were transfered from another TivoHD (which does not have any issues). These transferred video plays without a single hiccup of pixelation.

    Anyone else notice pixelation on downloaded content?

    - sandun
     
  13. Ladd Morse

    Ladd Morse Member

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    Feb 21, 2002
    To add another data point to the discussion:

    I purchased a TiVo HD about three months ago and have had pixelation problems when recording shows OTA, but hardly any when recording via Comcast digital cable.

    Reading that has been some speculation that the TiVo HD tuner doesn't handle high signal strengths well, I checked the signal strength going into the OTA tuners (by viewing the appropriate page in the TiVo's settings) and found that both channels were showing 100% signal strength.

    I put two-way splitter on the line, with the unused split capped, and the signal strength still showed 100%. Same with swapping the two-way splitter for a three-way splitter.

    A four-way splitter finally made a difference -- signal strength dropped down to 95%.

    This has completely eliminated the pixellation problems, with no re-occurrence in the two weeks since making the change.

    Could be fact, could be coincidence. Either way, it's been a significant improvement in viewing pleasure.
     
  14. sirbob

    sirbob New Member

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    Apr 8, 2008
    I thought I would provide another point of reference for the pixelated Tivo HD users out there and maybe get some advice.

    Recently my cable provider RCN, switched over to all digital, and although this forced me to get cablecards, it did provide the benefit of all sorts of new HD channels. I have always taken my local HD channels via a small antenna that occasionally had some pixelation, but never so much that it bothered me. However, on a couple of the new HD channels (the travel channel most notably) the pixelation/audio drop out is extreme, often occurring every few seconds.

    Since it seemed to be just one or two channels that I noticed it on, I assumed it wasn't the Tivo or the connection, but something on RCN's line. I however checked this forum and it seems like the likely culprits for pixelation are generally cheap coax or two high of a signal strength.

    Signal strength on most channels seems to be 100, travel would drop down to 60 and have lots of uncorrected and corrected errors. I'm using a Philips power sentry as both a backup UPS and as a surge protector for the electric/ethernet/coax. After plugging the Tivo directly into the feed from the cable line, signal strength jumped up to 100 for the travel channel and the errors dropped to 0. I was excited that this seemed to be the answer to the problem but a bit dismayed that my very expensive piece of tech would have its tuner exposed to the harsh wilds of the world where surges run free. I tried a separate coax surge protector on the power sentry (it has 3 sets) and this time the signal strength for the travel channel went to around 90 and the uncorrected errors remained at 0, while the corrected errors jumped up by about 1000 every 10 seconds or so and pixelation seems to be nonexistent.

    My question to you out there who are more experienced in this matter, why in the world does this power sentry surge protection only seem to interfere with one or two channels out of hundreds? I must say it makes me rather curious. At this point, even though I can see from the data that the direct feed of the cable line provides a 'better' signal, my nonpixelated surge protected set up seems like it will be good enough, unless there is some reason to have the corrected errors low or something else that I may be missing. Anyway, I also wanted to provide another example of 'always check the cabling and set up' along with the signal strength/attenuation advice as a likely cause of pixelation.

    Ryan
     
  15. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Thanks for the additional and educational data points Ryan. :up:

    With regard to your question, not being an electrical engineer, I could only guess why your particular UPS is causing problems for only certain frequencies. More specialized folks can speculate or explain.

    However I do know that since the days of my Series1's it's long been an axiom here to always run coax directly to Tivo (or as directly as possible taking splitters into account, etc.) and to never run coax through a surge protector or UPS.

    That's not to say that some folks may be doing just fine with that setup, but the resulting signal corruption has been well-documented for years. AFAIK, no one has incurred damage to their TiVo from electrical spikes via coax.

    A UPS/surge protector or power conditioner is a very good investment to prevent hardware and data corruption due to power failures, spikes, surges and even brown-outs. Each of our TiVo's have always had their very own APC UPS and to date, no problems at all with the unit or signal (0 RS corrected and uncorrected errors).
     
  16. jeffw_00

    jeffw_00 Member

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    Sep 19, 2000
    Hi - I'm close to buying an HD-Tivo - to run on digital (COMCAST) cable, (no OTA), primarily for HD. I know my signal strength is in spec - is this thread likely something I'm going to need to worry about (hard to read through 35 pages)
    Thanks!
    /j
     
  17. sirbob

    sirbob New Member

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Thanks for the response. I can say from a physics point of few I certainly understand that all of these signals are capable of being sent simultaneously through the wiring since they each have their own frequency range and that there must be something in the UPS that is interacting at a certain frequency. Either a material that is harder for a select frequency to pass through, or the device itself emits interference at that frequency. However, the practical knowledge of the matter, why it's just this one or two channels, such a small range of frequencies, and the implications of that allude me. Perhaps there is an electrical engineer in the audience who can shed some more light on the matter.
     
  18. sirbob

    sirbob New Member

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Probably not. You've just come across a thread in a forum of particularly vocal and interested Tivo users and even in our group I would wager it is only a small subset that actually have much in the way of pixelation problems. I'm confident you'll be fine, and if you do run into an issue, you already know where to look,

    Ryan
     
  19. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    We've had Comcast feeding our TiVo's for a couple of years now. We see sporadic macroblocking/pixeization, but it's such a small amount and nothing that interferes with our viewing pleasure...certainly no more than seen using OTA or satellite (in fact far less than we saw using satellite).

    It's impractical to think that a digital signal will not be corrupted by any number of factors now and again IMHO.
     
  20. NatasNJ

    NatasNJ Bone marrow lover!

    11,555
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    Jan 7, 2002
    Philly
    I am still getting major pixel issues on certain channels. I see my error number climb as a I watch. Happening on both cablecards. I ordered the attenuation pack and if that doesn't work i am bailing from Tivo. This is bad business practice for Tivo.
     

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