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Updated: 2 hours 38 min ago

Differences between AV hard drives and green drives

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 10:42
Since everyone is busy upgrading their Roamios, and this question came up in the previous thread, I'd like to address it in a separate thread. That way if this thread gets closed, at least the other thread can remain open.

I have actually worked at a company that makes hard drives, as an engineer. I can't publish the proprietary designs because I don't work there anymore. I could also get sued for divulging too much information. So I'm walking a tightrope here. If I'm too vague in some areas, it's because I'm in CYA mode.

In the very beginning (10 years ago), there was a difference between them. It had to do with thermal calibration. Normal drives would have to go offline for a few 100 ms to recalibrate themselves based on the temperature change in the hard drive. That obviously would be bad for a streaming application. But modern techniques make type of thermal calibration unnecessary. Modern drives can recalibrate for temperature on the fly.

Then there was a period where there was no difference between AV drives and green drives except profit margin and a longer warranty.

Before I left, they were actually developing different production lines for the two models of drives. Though mainly because they needed to add another green/AV line to keep up with demand for AV drives, and they just decided to make it a dedicated AV line to shift the AV demand off the other lines. So now there COULD be some differences between them mechanically, but I'm thinking the differences in hardware are trivial. All hard drives are designed more or less the same (except for the RPM and case height), and they all are designed (as best as possible) to run 24/7/365. No hard drive mfr. recommends powering down their hard drives a few hours a day to give them a rest. Even modern OSs are constantly doing some housecleaning, so a green hard drive will constantly be accessed whenever the PC is on.

The firmware differences were also subtle:

Acoustic mgmt: green set to normal, AV set to quiet.
ATAPI 7 streaming support: both had it, technical support provided and advertised only on AV drives. The AV drives had the latest bug fixes, while the green drives were a build or two behind but more stable. It seemed silly to intentionally disable that support in green drives -- it would have created more problems than benefits.

That's it for the differences. It turns out that most consumer PCs also want most of the AV drive features, including fancy read/write techniques to speed things up even more. Intel's RST is an example of this.

Regarding the streaming support (including the "don't report an error" feature), the commands for those are different than the typical hard drive commands. They are "extensions" in ATAPI 7 (and ver. 8). Download the spec. for free yourselves and try to stay awake reading them. You need substantial changes to the OS kernel and one or two levels up in the OS and the apps to support them. I left just before the MRDVRs became popular, but at the time I'm pretty sure no DVR was using those streaming extensions. We weren't getting any calls about those extensions, which was odd because we were pretty sure they didn't work that well and if anyone DID try to use them, they would have had problems and called us. But that might have changed since I left.

Besides, the Tivo kernel and its apps are available for download as well. You should be able to see if they are using those streaming extensions or not. I'll see if I can do that in my spare time, though I can't promise anything.

Regarding the whole "don't report errors" feature, we considered it very dangerous and totally useless. It gave too much control over our customers, who didn't know how hard drives worked. If an OS were truly tailored to an embedded DVR app, then it shouldn't freak out when an error is reported. What it should do is warn the user the hard drive is about to die. Errors occur all the time and are almost always corrected, but if the HD has trouble correcting the error that sector is normally moved from the bad spot to a good spot and not reported as bad to the OS. The hard drive only reports an error when it CAN"T correct the error or move the sector, which means the hard drive is circling the drain. I always thought DVR mfrs would use this feature to cover up defective hard drives and lower the amount of returns they would have.

Finally, I pulled the critical performance specs. from a WD Green drive and a WD AV-GP drive. This doesn't mean I used to work *there*, I chose these because they are used by a lot of people. I could also be comparing two generations of hard drives.

WD20EURS (AV) vs. WD20EZRX (Green)

Max. sustained transfer rate: 130 Mb/s vs. 147 Mb/s. The Green is FASTER. Note that one MPEG4 1080p stream only needs 22 Mbps, and one MPEG4 720p stream needs just 12 Mbps.

Both have 64 MB cache.

Neither published their RPM speeds. Dead giveaway they are lower than 6000 RPM.

Max. power: 4.4 Watts vs. 4.1 Watts. The Green is actually a little cooler. It may be spinning a little slower.

Noise: 24 dBa vs. 27 dBa. The AV drive is a little quieter, though at those levels you won't hear anything more than 3 feet away.

Warranty: 3 years vs. 2 years.

Price: $99 vs. $96.

For the extra $3 and an additional one year warranty, I'd currently recommend the WD20EURS drive over the WD20EZRX for DVR and PC use. But I'd base my decision solely on those two factors. I also think the Green drive is a newer design than the AV drive -- it consumes less power AND it's faster.

We're the Fugawis

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 09:24
New show airing on The History Channel Tuesday nights. Fans of Duck Dynasty and the like should get a kick out of this show. It's about a real motorcycle club (not a gang) located in New York state. Most of them have day jobs as contractors with a few other occupations thrown into the mix. They're all middle-aged, overweight, and generally a hoot to watch. The mother of the club leader is a real pistol and one of the show's highlights.

Two 1/2-hour episodes air back-to-back on Tuesdays around 10PM.

Can't get to guru giudes

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 09:23
With my XL4 in SD menus, I get a notice that there is a temporary problem when trying to access the guru guides. It has been happening for a week. Is there really a problem with the TiVo servers, or could it be my XL4?

The Bridge "The Beetle" 9/04/2013 S1E9

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 09:17
Nine episodes down, four to go. And every time the end credits roll, I find myself saying, "I didn't see that coming." A testament to the writers that they keep us on the edge of our seats, yet stay grounded in reality, while taking us in directions we don't expect.



"I know what it means"

No Cable Cards Tivo Roamio with Cable

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 08:31
Im using a a $199 tivo roamio with my wowway digital cable service without any issues and without installing a cable card. Since I have digital basic i get all 99 SD channels and the 10 local HD national network channels. Although initially it complains that a cable card is necessary to tune in most of the channels, a channel scan pretty much fixes that. I use the same setup with a Tivo Premiere XL-again no cable card and all works well as it does with three other Series 3 HD Tivos.

Im thinking about going to the plus for six tuners and streaming and wonder if anyone else has been successful in doing a similar setup with a Roamio and if it will work since it differs by the fact that it doesn't have a OTA tuner (even though my cable is in fact plugged into the cable input).

I remember once trying series 4 that no matter what i did, without a cable card, i couldn't get it to work without a cable card installed. I gambled and tried the Roamio and it worked, I'm hoping a plus will work just the same.

What will Comcast charge if I use a Mini?

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 08:19
Let me start by saying I despise Comcast and the exorbitant fees they charge for a cable box or cablecard ($9.95). I have 2 cable boxes in the house and 3 cablecards. The way they are allocated means I pay $9.95 x 3 for 2 boxes and 1 cc, plus $1.15 for a Cc installed in a 2-card Tivo S3 (to get them to acknowledge that price, which is on their website, required a complaint to the Illinois Attorney General's office, but it worked, and they even refunded 18 months worth of overbillings). But enough of my rant. Here is my question:

If I get a Roamio Plus and 3 TiVo Mini's (total of 4 TV's in the house), will I pay:

a) $0 for the boxes/CC since the first is free and there is only 1 CC in the house
b) $9.95 for a "digital outlet fee"
c) $29.85 because I have 3 devices getting signal, even though only one actually has a CC in it (assuming first one is free)
d) $39.80 because CC wants to charge for every TV in the house
e) something else, because Comcast has no idea what to charge and will make it up as they go along

Any thoughts? (and yes, I know to set this up is expensive initially, but I'd rather pay it to TiVo than Comcast).

Return to Amazon???

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 08:08
I am having a problem with my Roamio and 3tb HD, both ordered from Amazon.

Instead of troubleshooting, I am thinking to return both and reorder again with next day shipping, its only $7.95 as I am a Prime member.

Will TiVo know anything, if I cancel the one and add another????

Your wait for new South Park episodes is almost over

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 06:59
South Park will have new episodes on Comedy Central starting Sept. 25th at 10pm eastern time.

The League "The Bachelor Draft" S5E01 9/4/13

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 06:58
A decent kickoff to the season.

Do you like cream pies in your man cave? :p

1 Premiere XL, 3 TivoHDs for Sale

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 03:25
I have 1 stock Premiere XL and 3 TivoHDs for sale. All have lifetime service and the 3 TivoHDs have been running fine as far as I know. One has had intermittent networking issues which restarting the box always seemed to solve (could be a network switch issue outside the box). No known issues otherwise, though they would all be sold "as-is". I would be happy to validate anything you want me to check ahead of time.

They will soon have their cable cards removed soon, in case that matters. (I want to stop paying the monthly fee for them to Verizon.)

Roamio and Frontier FIOS

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 01:49
So back on the forum after 6 years of Dish and Direct. Now am moving back to Seattle area and going with Frontier for Phone, Internet, Cable (FiOS). I am wondering if anyone else with a Roamio and Frontier has had any issues.

I was told that although it's the original Verizon FIOS, you can not use Roamio on Frontier for VOD. Is there anything else I should be concerned with using Frontier? Should I just use Frontier for the phone and go with Crap (whoops) Comcast so I don't have to go the "Two Box" route for Tivo and VOD.

Thanks all, great to be back on the forum!!

4 or 6 tuner cable cards on time warner cable?

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 01:38
I just got a new tivo roamio with the hopes of being able to record more than two channels at a time. I went down to my local Southern California time warner cable store to get a cable card and they told me they don't offer cable cards that have more than two tuners. Does this make the 6 channel recording ability useless? Is there any solution to record more than two channels?

Back after 5 years, and so is the "Welcome! Starting up..." frozen screen

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 01:29
So I bought the Roamio today, my first new TiVo since the original model (14 years ago?). Totally thrilled to be back in Tivoland!

Except now it is frozen in restart with the "Welcome! Starting up..." screen. Holy cow, that is the same screen that froze 6 years ago on my old Tivo when I finally gave up. Do you mean to tell me that they have not been able to get a robust startup in place over 5 years!

Would love any advice. It is frozen. I installed it today, connected to Comcast with a CableCard, and it would not recognize the service. Called Comcast to activate the card, which they claim to have done. Rebooted the machine and I am now in frozen-land.

Any help appreciated.

Roamio Plus Skips 20 Minutes During Fast Forward

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 00:11
We recently upgraded from a TiVo HD to the Roamio Plus, and generally things have worked well.

However, "So You Think You Can Dance" on FOX (Comcast) records, but when we try to fast forward over a commercial, TiVo skips about 20 minutes into the show. When we rewind, it jumps back over the 20 minute section. There's no way to fast forward or rewind at any speed within that 20 minute chunk. It's like that portion of the show is off limits. This wouldn't be a big deal if it only happened once. However, this happens for another chunk of time in the same broadcast.

Figuring it was a bad recording, we've watched many other shows since that broadcast with no issues whatsoever.

But, when this week's episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" was recorded, we have the exact same issue. It's very frustrating and basically makes portions of the show unwatchable...that is, unless we never touch the remote. We've never had this issue with this show, and we've watched almost every episode since it began airing years ago (all recorded on various TiVos).

Has anyone else experienced this issue?

Bug on Roamio Plus to Premiere 4 tuner xfer

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 00:06
When I tried a xfer from my Roamio plus to my Premiere 4 tuner using a MoCA network setup the speed was great at about 110Mb/sec, BUT the Premiere would not play a recorded program without jerking and no sound when the xfer was going on. When the xfer was done all worked normally, I tried this a few times and got the same results, I know that I will not be doing much xfering this way in normal use so it is not a show stopper but I would like anybody that has both types of TiVos to confirm this as a bug.

tivo not picking up channels as well as antenna straight to tv

Wed, 09/04/2013 - 23:55
I just bought a TiVo roamio and so far I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it. When I connect to my antenna and scan for channels, it doesn't find as many as it should. I tried hooking the antenna straight to my TV, and I get a lot more channels. Whenever I try to go through the tivo, i get fewer channels and the reception is spotty. Why is this happening? Why would I get fewer channels through my TiVo? If anything, I thought it would actually improve the reception by buffering...

How to Delete MRV TiVo

Wed, 09/04/2013 - 23:28
When I purchased my Roamio, I transferred all the shows from my Premiere to the Roamio. I've since disconnected the Premiere from the network in anticipation of selling it on eBay.

For some reason the Premiere still shows in the now playing list.

Does anyone know how to delete it from the list?

Channel lineup changes

Wed, 09/04/2013 - 23:27
My Tivo's have stopped getting channel lineup change info, but the guide does show the correct info. What could have happened?

The Tivo's always make the daily calls.

Brighthouse CFL / Orlando Blackscreen

Wed, 09/04/2013 - 23:00
I've had the same black screen tuning issues reported by others in the forum. My issues appear to be tuning adapter related with SDV channels failing regularly. I've seen "Channel Not Available", "Problem with the signal..", and just the black screen with DVR diagnostics having resolution status pending indefinitely.

Tomorrow I have a truck roll to check signal strength. Unfortunately I've tried signal boosters, removing splitters, reducing tuner counts, swapping both cable cards and tuning adapters with no resolution.

Hopefully the tech finds something, but I'm curious if anyone is having success or similar issues on Brighthouse CFL. I'd love to hear that someones having success in this area b/c at this point I'm at a loss.

How to clear the Info Banner quickly

Wed, 09/04/2013 - 22:13
Just upgraded to a Roamio Pro from a series 3. I'm really enjoying the upgrade but one annoyance is that I used to be able to have the Info/Channel Banner clear quickly. This used to be a setting under Displays but on the Roamio it doesn't display. Any ideas?