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Tivo HD Pixelation Troubleshooting

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

  1. Joe Q

    Joe Q New Member

    114
    0
    Apr 21, 2004
    Annapolis,MD
    I have been having REALLY bad pixelation on JUST the High Def Channels ever since I installed the Tivo HD XL which I bought in December of 2008.

    Thanks to this thread and a particular poster, I have it licked (almost)

    I got that atennuator pack today and just finished with them.

    I ended up with a total of 16 DB attenuation. 13 with a 10DB and a 3DB attenuator connected to a 3.5 DB splitter.

    I have not checked all of the HD channels but the ones that I had found and marked on my program guide printout are working perfectly now.

    The one exception is 583 (Speedhd). It had the worst pixelation and still pixelates albeit not as badly.

    I also found that the pixelation problem IS tuner dependent. Ie. SpeedHD is MUCH worse on Tuner 0 than on Tuner 1.
     
  2. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Thanks for the info. :up:

    The tuner difference is an interesting datapoint. Historically if there was a cable card problem with the original TiVo HD (particularly when first introduced and more so with SA cable cards), it was almost always with tuner 0. Curious. :confused:
     
  3. NatasNJ

    NatasNJ Bone marrow lover!

    11,558
    3
    Jan 7, 2002
    Philly
    Can someone explain this to me. I have 2 cablecards in my TivoHD. When I go into CableCard menu I see the two cable cards (though one is called SCard and the other is CableCard or something) I clearly have 2 working tuners since i can buffer two shows or record two shows. But when I go into DVR Diag screen I can ONLY see CableCard 1 information. If I select Cablecard 2, then go into DVR Diag it still shows me Cablecard 1 diag information. WTF?
     
  4. esb1981

    esb1981 New Member

    121
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    Dec 2, 2007
    Connecticut
    You need to scroll down on the screen - either push the down arrow key or channel down button.
     
  5. NatasNJ

    NatasNJ Bone marrow lover!

    11,558
    3
    Jan 7, 2002
    Philly
    huh? I know how to scroll. Are you saying the Error and signal rates are shown on the same diag screen just further down? Cause I don't believe that is true.
     
  6. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Yes, only some of the info is shown on the first screen you come to. You need to continue to page down (scroll) to see the rest of the info for the first tuner and then further for the second tuner. DVR Diagnostics on my TiVo's are listed on eight total screens. You need to access this info directly: Messages and Settings > Account and System Information > DVR Diagnostics.
     
  7. wm2008

    wm2008 New Member

    62
    0
    Jan 2, 2009
    An update after about a week of attenuator attempts.

    Pixelation is far less bad than it was before, but I can't get rid of it. I've tried multiple combinations of attenuators on both TivoHDs to get the SNR to just below, right at, and just above 31. I'd classify the pixelation as bad enough when it happens to really tick me off, but not so bad that the entire content is worthless and unviewable. It's still not acceptable. Don't know what the next steps will be. Moto unit has still never exhibited pixelation through all of this. I've got the moto unit still temporarily moved so it's sitting next to one of the TivoHDs and it's recording in parallel. When we play back a show on the TivoHD that shows pixelation we then switch to the Moto box to see if it shows the same problem. It never does.
     
  8. hmm52

    hmm52 New Member

    405
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    Feb 25, 2008
    Lower...
    I've been off this thread for some time - busy, and no tiling/pixelation issues of any real bother. This has been the second longest clear stretch with Fios after the initial run following contract with VZ in 11/06; 7/08-1/09 versus 11/06-7/07. A few anecdotes that may be useful to new HD TiVo owners as my equipment and provider have remained unchanged, except for software updates to the S3 and occasional cablecard replacements:

    I had severe pixelation problems on a Toshiba cc Tv and the S3 periodically between 7/07 and 6/08, the most horrific being July '07 on the Toshiba (before purchase of S3); 3 cc Sonys have been almost completely fine throughout. The Toshiba and S3 always tiled in tandem though the S3 has usually had more difficulty dealing with line errors than the Toshiba - worse pixelation, greater number of channels aflicted. I'm convinced that the issues were always caused by the signals sent out by my central office and tuners unable to manage them. This was confirmed several times by top VZ techs. The best check on feed quality is ahead of the ONT but in my experience only the "Big Boss" carries the equipment necessary for this. When such a check was done and report made to central office 7/07, pixelation totally vanished within 36 hours. (for four months).

    I've had a few Motorola cablecard failures but I've never seen them cause pixelation - through 5 different devices using them. Swapping cards during rough stretches made no difference whatsoever; makes sense as tuning appears to be taking place ahead of decryption; rate of uncorrected errors is the same whether or not card is in place. Perhaps it's possible but I've been using a minimum of 3 cards since 10/05 and I haven't seen it yet.

    The expanded number of tiling channels I had on tuner 0 last year was my fault. The gain on a distribution amp in the antenna feed was too high for the S3. It caused pixelation on 0 but not on tuner 1; certain cable channels clustered on several frequencies. - no explanation why only 0. Though UPS/line conditioners are great, I wouldn't run the coax through any surge suppressor to a TiVo without suspicion. The only thing disturbed by the dist. amp gain was the S3, tuner 0.

    I'm glad that the Fios signal remained good through channel realignment. I expected the worst. With any luck my CO has finally gotten its act together. I can live with the S3 rebooting itself every two weeks or so. The last time was strange. During Eagles-Giants game, the picture occasionally tiled, froze, then released. Diagnostics showed no uncorrected errors however. One such freeze ended in a reboot. Recording of game on Sony DVR made as backup displayed exactly the same problems, except for reboot. (The Sonys are all but immune to tiling.)

    9db of attenuation has been clipped into Fios feed just ahead of S3 since June; something less for the Toshiba; nothing for the 3 Sonys. Not sure what's really needed now but tiling is rare and minimal.

    Bottom line: Based on my observations, both tuners and signals are at fault with pixelation. For whatever it's worth, it's possible to have extended periods without any macroblocks on the same vulnerable device which had truly hellacious tiling previously; all dependent on the provider's feed as delivered to your home of course.
     
  9. JoeTaxpayer

    JoeTaxpayer Member

    526
    0
    Dec 23, 2008
    I have a Series 3 (with the 2 M cards from Motorola) and watching a FX recorded show (Damages) from a few night ago, the pixelization was horrible, yet other shows, HD, recorded before and since have been just fine, as was the prior Damages. I'd take it this was a bad cable day, and had nothing to do with my TiVo, correct?
     
  10. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    That's a valid assumption IMO. I've seen the same thing happen with ours, also with OTA, cableco DVR's, etc., etc. Digital signals are subject to problems now and then for a myriad of reasons. If it were happening on a regular basis to multiple recordings, then I'd be more concerned about a "localized" issue...but even then it might still be a cableco problem. That's not to say that TiVo's can't go south, but there can also be a number of other factors to look at if problems arise.
     
  11. ciucca

    ciucca New Member

    270
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    Jun 29, 2004
    I've been away sorry for the late reply: :D

    I will agree that some Motorola boxes may pixelate or have other issues, but all you need to do is call Verizon, or visit one of their stores and get a replacement. I'll let you in on a secret, there are about 5% failures with Moto DVRs that will cause a customer to call in and get a replacement. After they receive it the problem disappears 100%.

    I will assume since I do not have numbers that people who have a moto DVR and a TivoHD in their house will experience pixelation and need attenuators on the Tivo, but NOT the Moto, at a rate of about 99%.

    The problem with some people on this board is that they refuse to admit to evidence that is staring them in the face. It makes me think that they are technically inept, or covering something up. Probably either possibility is equally likely but since the most vocal ones are on this board so much, it makes me wonder what their motivation is.
     
  12. ciucca

    ciucca New Member

    270
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    Jun 29, 2004
    No I'm not! Are You?
     
  13. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    I made an attempt at using a Motorola DVR as a "backup" once upon a time. After having and returning three bricked boxes in as many months, (not to mention the pathetic GUI and concerns that they were going to burst into flames at any moment) I'm startled and amazed when someone actually (seriously) recommends them to TCF members as being superior to TiVo...that's all. :rolleyes:
     
  14. rickwagner50

    rickwagner50 New Member

    20
    0
    Jun 30, 2008
    Still running strong without pixelation after a couple of months. The replacement cablecard definitely did the trick *for me*.
     
  15. Feb 2, 2009 #1055 of 1597
    NatasNJ

    NatasNJ Bone marrow lover!

    11,558
    3
    Jan 7, 2002
    Philly
    Well I put a 20db attenuator on my TivoHD and that seemed to HELP the problem but I still get frequent breakup from time to time on the same channels. But it went from unwatchable to a very annoying on occasion. Thinking of tweaking mine a tad more but I am lazy.
    :)
     
  16. Feb 2, 2009 #1056 of 1597
    substance12

    substance12 Member

    69
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    Feb 6, 2008
    I use a 3db & 8 db attenuator, a splitter ( can't remember the attenuation on it), and a diplexer. It's improved my pixelation on Nat Geo and DiscHD... and just about eliminated all on FLN. Natgeo (NGC?) is still the worst. On some days NGC is great and on others it's bad as ever. All 3 of these channels are near the same frequency. If there were a way to add attenuation to a specific frequency I think that might actually solve my problem. this all happened to me after the channel realignment.
     
  17. Feb 4, 2009 #1057 of 1597
    oregonman

    oregonman Member

    85
    0
    Jul 1, 2002
    Portland OR
    This raises a question that I have not seen addressed here. (I have tried to read the bulk of this thread, but it is so large, I may have missed some stuff.)

    Why does the behavior change over time? The above explanation does not make sense to me because the electrical signal that the Tivo is getting is only traveling from the ONT to the Tivo. Why would the signal change when the network that the signal is traveling over does not change? The above explanation would make sense in a classic cable TV model where the signal is coming all the way from the cable head end through distribution system that is changing constantly.

    So have any other theories been proposed as to why a configuration that works fine for a while, suddenly starts to pixilate?
     
  18. Feb 4, 2009 #1058 of 1597
    hmm52

    hmm52 New Member

    405
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    Feb 25, 2008
    Lower...
    The full FiOS network is [VHO]_________(a)________[CO]_____(b)_____[ONT]___(c)___[tuner].

    The pixelation I've encountered has never come from (c), nor to the best of my knowledge (a). Line errors out of the central office specifically have been the problem. Adjusting signal level in house was the main remedy last year - to help weaker tuners cope better with the errors - not 100% effective. Service calls to have CO get on the stick were the remedy in 2007 - 100% effective.

    5 cablecard devices for 2+ years with FiOS: Never a correlation seen between cablecard and pixelation. A very high correlation seen between pixelation and signal from street, and with brand of tuner. Within the bad periods, which lasted a week or more, tiling varied much hour to hour. No correlation with lunar or any other cycle either.

    ----my experience with FiOS. YMMV.
     
  19. Feb 4, 2009 #1059 of 1597
    webin

    webin New Member

    307
    0
    Feb 13, 2008
    Hillsboro,...
    Verizon FiOS uses fiber optic cables and lasers to send photons to your house. As we all know, photons are people, too, and as such can experience a wide range of emotions. For instance, in the winter, when the daylight is shorter and temperatures lower, many photons experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. When a photon is experiencing SAD, they may sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweets and starchy foods. They certainly have no inclination to work efficiently, which causes pixellation issues when they reach your television.

    The best treatment for seasonal affective disorder is light therapy. Send your photons to a psychologist, and hopefully they can use cognitive behavior therapy, or as a last resort, medications, to get your photons feeling better about themselves and their path through life (and fiber optic cables). Rest assured that come Spring, the photons should start feeling better, and you can expect less pixellation issues with your television signal.
     
  20. Feb 4, 2009 #1060 of 1597
    hmm52

    hmm52 New Member

    405
    0
    Feb 25, 2008
    Lower...
    Until last Spring I would have bought into your explanation; it had been the other three seasons which had bothered the photons serving me - SAD, Philadelphia humidity, back to school time, whatever. Perhaps 9 months ago they were just cranky over the approaching demise of the analogs. We'll see how they behave in a few months...
     

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