1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Tivo HD Pixelation Troubleshooting

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

  1. turn_it_down!

    turn_it_down! New Member

    9
    0
    Sep 25, 2008
    Update:
    The unit performance has gotten worse. Now I have no picture and no audio during playback of stored shows. Even shows transferred from the living room S3 don't have sound. I'm think it is the hard drive and have ordered an new one to replace it.
    Hope it works...
     
  2. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Unfortunately it does indeed sound like a hard drive going south. The new one should resolve things. Since the HDD is the one thing that most often fails it'll be almost like having a brand new TiVo! :up:
     
  3. Phantom Gremlin

    Phantom Gremlin New Member

    1,555
    0
    Jun 20, 2002
    Tualatin,...
    Unfortunately some marketing pukes at TiVo have apparently prevented the software engineers from displaying a F***ing error message when the hard drive has a read error.

    IDIOTS!

    99% of the time a hard drive is failing, it will report that it had an error. So why, why, why does TiVo apparently ignore those errors and leave people guessing as to what is happening.

    I'll say it again: IDIOTS!

    99% of the "flaky TiVo" threads here would be completely unnecessary if TiVo had some decent error reporting.

    And once again: IDIOTS!
     
  4. Sep 8, 2009 #1284 of 1597
    turn_it_down!

    turn_it_down! New Member

    9
    0
    Sep 25, 2008
    Final Update:
    I installed a new hard drive over the holiday weekend and, as all the sages here said, the pixelation problems went away. I still need to get my cablecard re-authorized (can do over the phone with Cablevision, thankfully), but the channels I could get showed up with no pixelation at all. Would be nice if Tivo put in some error notification, but now I'm just happy to have a working box again.

    Thanks to all for you help and advice...
     
  5. Sep 8, 2009 #1285 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Glad to hear things are back to normal. Agreed, an error log (or access to one) would be helpful indeed but I suspect a majority of TiVo owner's treat it like a toaster and wouldn't have a clue how to use it. But for we "enthusiasts" it would certainly be a welcome addition.

    Enjoy!
     
  6. Sep 9, 2009 #1286 of 1597
    dwgsp

    dwgsp New Member

    150
    0
    Aug 27, 2005
    Perinton, NY
  7. Sep 9, 2009 #1287 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Kickstarts might be helpful at times. TiVo's diagnostic/repair programs (KS57 & KS58) are useful now and then if there is minor data corruption. But they are designed to fix boot/partition issues when TiVo doesn't want to start up or act normally. If it's gotten to the point of image problems, it's usually a much larger issue than TiVo can resolve by itself. KS54 is an MFS disk diagnostic (not written by TiVo) that may be able to tell users if the internal or external drives are having problems but it's far from fool-proof and gives false positives on a regular basis (reporting drives to be functional when they actually aren't). About the only way to truly diagnose a disk is to run an in-depth diagnostic like WD's Lifeguard. The downside is that if the recommended lengthy read/write/read test is run it wipes all of the hard drive's data.

    So for the folks experiencing more severe image issues, running the Kickstarts probably won't hurt, but probably won't help either.

    BTW, here's a link to a little more comprehensive and up-to-date list of Kickstart codes and what they do:

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=5643823#post5643823
     
  8. bpaulsen

    bpaulsen New Member

    4
    0
    Jan 1, 2004
    I'm not sure if I should use this thread or create a new one. In the past few weeks, I've started getting pixelation problems on some channels but not others. From what I can tell, it seems like it happens on high bitrate HD channels (e.g ESPNHD, OTA primetime network channels). Any low bitrate channels (such as Disney, NIKHD) record without difficulty.

    When watching these channels, the TiVo is fine for several minutes and then it starts pixellating and then it loses the signal completely. If I change channels and return back, the picture is fine again (for a few minutes)

    This happens on both the cable connection and the OTA connection.

    I don't think it is a failing hard drive because I can see all of the low bitrate shows, all of my old recordings play fine, and the kickstart 54 didn't find anything.

    Any ideas?
     
  9. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    6,995
    16
    Jul 6, 2006
    Near...
    Hard drive problems tend to show up first on HD channels because of the higher bit rates involved.

    As stated in the post just before yours, KS54 sometimes fails to find problems.
     
  10. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Agree with dlfl...odds are it's a hard drive beginning to fail. It sounds as if the I/O error correction cannot keep up. You could try running TiVo's built-in diagnostics and repair programs, Kickstart 57 and/or 58 to see if that helps.

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=5643823#post5643823
     
  11. mcmnky

    mcmnky New Member

    26
    0
    Nov 19, 2008
    Howdy,

    I haven't seen much pixelation while watching live TV, but I starting getting partial recordings about 3 weeks ago (Sep 27 to coincide with start of the new network seasons. joy!) and wonder if it's an issue related to the pixelation other folks have seen.

    I have an HD TiVo, WD external storage, no mods, 2 comcast cable cards. The unit is about 18 months old.

    So I starting getting partial recordings and it's now to the point where over half of scheduled records do not complete. I called TiVo support. The nice lady walked me through the DVR diagnostics and checking the signal strength.

    The signal was pegged at 100 (with SNR 35 dB and no corrected/uncorrected errors). The diagnosis was too much signal. (Go figure.)

    So I put in a 6 dB attenuator, which brings the signal down to 81. (TiVo lady said 80 to 99 is best.)

    Anyway, after a day with the attenuation, still having the same issue. It's happened when recording on one or both tuners, only on HD channels so far.

    I've managed to catch the issue in the act. When watching one tuner while recording on the other, I'll notice some pixelation and TiVo will stop responding to commands for 15 to 30 seconds. (Yellow LED shows unit gets the signal from the remote, but it doesn't do anything.)

    So then the show I'm watching continues; red LED stays on and the listing in 'Now Playing' both indicate the recording has continued. But if I switch to the tuner being recorded the screen is all black, and the recording only has up to that point.

    I did a code 57 kickstart--unit rebooted and started normally without any error messages.

    I've been thinking of getting a 1 TB drive and ditching the external storage, but if the partial recordings are not a hard drive issue, I'd like to get a fix before putting money in to the unit.

    So what do you folks think? Should I try more attenuation? Just go for the new hard drive?

    I'm going to follow up with TiVo support and let them know their advice didn't help. I'll let you know if they have any other suggestions.
     
  12. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Sorry to hear about your troubles with your TiVo HD. If the attenuation didn't help, go ahead and remove it.

    The symptoms you listed are often caused by something happening with the external drive. The biggest issue has been the eSATA cable. The first thing to do is to ensure that the eSATA cable is securely attached to both TiVo and the external drive. The connections have to be snug, not loose. Swapping the cable connections sometimes resolves the problem. If that's okay your next step is to test the drives and it sounds like you've already done that but if not try giving TiVo's built-in diagnostic and repair programs called "Kickstarts" a try...

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showpost.php?p=5643823&postcount=2


    If both drives pass you have a couple of options. The first thing to do would be to replace the SATA cable. The recommended SIIG Serial ATA external cable is less than $10.

    http://www.provantage.com/siig-cb-sa0111-s1~7SISE00F.htm

    If that doesn't resolve it the next step is to disconnect the drive from TiVo and see if TiVo returns to normal. If so, you could replace it or go ahead and upgrade the internal hard drive and remove the additional point of potential failure. Of note though is the fact that TiVo recognizes eSATA drives by the exact hard drive model number. Quite a few recent reports have indicated that the WD My DVR Expanders are failing because something is going south in the enclosure, not with the actual hard drive itself. Several folks have had success by removing the hard drive from the enclosure and installing it in a new one (such as the recommended Antec MX-1). Once re-connected life is good again. Something to keep in mind.

    Unfortunately if you do disconnect and divorce your eSATA drive you will lose all of the recordings made since the drive was installed. If you want to save any recordings you can use TiVo Desktop or one of the other transfer programs to move non-copy protected recordings to your computer.

    If you decide to remove the eSATA drive, be sure to follow the proper divorce procedure:

    http://www.tivo.com/mytivo/howto/getconnected/howto_add_recording_capacity.html

    If removing the eSATA drive doesn't resolve the issues that would indicate that the internal drive has a problem and needs replacing. Time to call TiVo or if it's past the warranty period you can replace the hard drive yourself.

    Hope that helps. More information about troubleshooting, how to fix things and replacing your hard drive can be found on the Drive Expansion and Drive Upgrade FAQ sticky thread:

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=5616160#post5616160

    Best of luck and let us know how it goes.
     
  13. mcmnky

    mcmnky New Member

    26
    0
    Nov 19, 2008
    Sounds great. Thanks.

    It's been 4 days with the attenuation in place and the issue remains. I poked around some threads on partial records, and there were some suggestions of tuner issues. I didn't like the sound of that.

    But drive issues I can handle. If removing the eSATA drive fixes the issue, a new big internal drive it will be.

    In the mean time, I'll transfer my saved programs to computer while waiting on a new eSATA cable.

    Thanks again, richsadams.
     
  14. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    There are a few reports of tuner issues, but actual problems are quite rare. Hard drives are the number one failure point by far and luckily somewhat easy to resolve.

    Keep us posted!
     
  15. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    0
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Partial recordings are almost always the fault of a failing external drive.
     
  16. mcmnky

    mcmnky New Member

    26
    0
    Nov 19, 2008
    Did the deed tonight. Ditched the 500 GB extender and OEM drive and popped in a WD15EVDS. While I was in the neighborhood, I replaced the case fan with an AcoustiFan and anti-vibration gasket.

    First thing I noticed: this community rocks! Compared to the process I went through to upgrade the drive in a Series 2, this was a snap. Worst part of the process was having to run out to Home Depot after remembering I lost my swiss army knife with the torx bits. (Damn, I miss that knife.)

    Second thing: that thing is quiet. Did the AAM, and I swear it makes less sound running than it does unplugged. Never should have picked up the external drive--I always thought it was too noisy. (I blame the wife. "It's brand new, and now you want to go messing with it?" Am I right, guys? ;) )

    Third thing: went from 93 hours HD to 198 hours. Wow. I know I'm not getting the full 1.5TB, but I ain't complaining.

    Fourth thing: I had transferred or downloaded all the recordings I wanted to save, except the 5 little intro videos that come with the TiVo. I've never watched them, but for some reason I liked having them around. I expected to lose them when I swapped the drives because of the truncated backup.

    I guess they count as configuration and not recordings, because they are still there! :up:

    Been up and running for almost 2 hours, and so far no pixelation. Even have a couple HD recordings finish with no issues. (knock on wood)

    I'll be away over the weekend. If I come home Sunday night to 198 hours of pixelated and partial recordings, I'll be right back here bitching about it :D
     
  17. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Congrats and welcome to the "Big Boys Club". ;)
     
  18. Nov 4, 2009 #1298 of 1597
    Fortynine

    Fortynine New Member

    28
    0
    Jan 7, 2006
    I have a Series 3 Tivo with an external WD expansion drive and have been experiencing similar pixelation, freezing, dropout, and partial recording problems. If a new SATA cable corrects this problem I will be one extremely happy customer....and with resulting lower blood pressure...

    One other problem I have is with the M card. This is now that second M card I had installed in my Series 3. The first one worked Ok for awhile but then defaulted to only a single stream. I called Cablevision (of Hauppage Long Island) for a service call and they installed a new M card. However they could only get it to produce a single video stream. At that point they claimed it must be a Tivo problem and left it as is. Any advice?
     
  19. Nov 4, 2009 #1299 of 1597
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Sorry to hear about your frustrating problems. First, do you actually have a TiVo Series3 or a TiVo HD? Although all hi-def TiVo's are from the Series3 line, they are different (at least for discussion purposes on the forum).

    TiVo Series3 (TCD648250B - the "original" HD TiVo):

    [​IMG]

    TiVo HD (TCD652160):

    [​IMG]

    If you have a Series3 do you have one or two M cable cards installed? If you only have one you will only have one tuner available. TiVo Series3's require two cable cards (S or M).

    If you have a TiVo HD you only need one M cable card to support both tuners.

    It's rare, but cable cards can go south, usually due to firmware problems. Now and then cableco's will update the firmware which can cause them to "disconnect" at which time they need to be re-initiated or "re-paired" to your TiVo. Usually a call to the cable company asking them to "hit" the cards will do the trick.

    Or it's possible the cable card has just failed and needs replacing. Based on posts here and other forums, Scientific Atlanta (SA) cable cards seem to have more issues like that than the Motorola brand.

    Hope that helps and best of luck!
     
  20. Nov 5, 2009 #1300 of 1597
    Fortynine

    Fortynine New Member

    28
    0
    Jan 7, 2006
    I have the original Series3 running software version 11.0d-01-2-648. (top picture) When I first purchased this Tivo it was set up with two S cards, one in each slot. I "upgraded"?? to a Multi-stream card so I could save on the monthly cost of having one card rather than 2. Unless I'm delusional, when the M card was installed it worked as advertised, two video streams from one card. However, it eventually defaulted to function in only a single stream mode. If I need an M card in each slot for it the TIVO to operate in a multi stream mode, why not just keep an S card in each slot?
     

Share This Page