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Old 08-05-2007, 10:11 PM   #31
lrhorer
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Trying things

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
Just wanted to start a thread with various troubleshooting measures that have been tested;

1. Manually rebooted - No Difference.
2. Upgraded connection cable between wall outlet to Tivo to RG6 from RG59 - No Difference.
3. Cooled system down from 48 C to 43 C using external fan - No Difference.
4. Changed from Component to HDMI Connection - No Difference, but resolution switching is more smooth on my Sony VBR2.

Additional planned testing:
1. Remove all other connections to my cable line including modem.
2. Power conditioning maybe.

Any other thoughts on what I could try?
Well, those are all easy things to do, so I can't say it was foolish to try them, but the chances any of them would affect any given problem in general is very low. The highest probablity of resolving a problem lay in replacing the jumper, but I would guess that has less than a 1% chance of causing a problem.

For a more effective run at it, call the CATV company and demand they come out with a spectrum analyzer, a distortion analyzer, and a signal flatness analyzer (sometimes called a sweep system). Some CATV systems use a single device which can do all this. Have them verify the signal levels at the back of the receiver across the entire CATVspectrum and look for ingress carriers with the Spectrum analyzer. No video carrier should be more than 10dB higher than any other video carrier across the entire spectrum. No video carrier should be more than 2dB higher than any adjacent carrier. The spectrum should be as free as possible of any ingress carriers, although in some areas ingress is unavoidable. The digital (high) end of the spectrum should be completely free of ingress carriers. The carrier / 3rd order distortion ratio should be no lower than 30dB on any channel. The peak video signal should be no more than 12 dBmV, and the lowest video signal should be no less than 0dBmV. Digital video will probably be run 10dB lower than the analog carriers, but after subtracting the differential, the same specs should apply. Finally, the spectrum flatness should be no more than 4 dB peak-to-valley after compensating for amplifier tilt and cable loss. If all these are good, then the CATV system is probably delivering a good signal to your TiVo.
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:18 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer
Well, those are all easy things to do, so I can't say it was foolish to try them, but the chances any of them would affect any given problem in general is very low. The highest probablity of resolving a problem lay in replacing the jumper, but I would guess that has less than a 1% chance of causing a problem.

For a more effective run at it, call the CATV company and demand they come out with a spectrum analyzer, a distortion analyzer, and a signal flatness analyzer (sometimes called a sweep system). Some CATV systems use a single device which can do all this. Have them verify the signal levels at the back of the receiver across the entire CATVspectrum and look for ingress carriers with the Spectrum analyzer. No video carrier should be more than 10dB higher than any other video carrier across the entire spectrum. No video carrier should be more than 2dB higher than any adjacent carrier. The spectrum should be as free as possible of any ingress carriers, although in some areas ingress is unavoidable. The digital (high) end of the spectrum should be completely free of ingress carriers. The carrier / 3rd order distortion ratio should be no lower than 30dB on any channel. The peak video signal should be no more than 12 dBmV, and the lowest video signal should be no less than 0dBmV. Digital video will probably be run 10dB lower than the analog carriers, but after subtracting the differential, the same specs should apply. Finally, the spectrum flatness should be no more than 4 dB peak-to-valley after compensating for amplifier tilt and cable loss. If all these are good, then the CATV system is probably delivering a good signal to your TiVo.
Thanks, that was actually helpful, I will give that a try this week. Only concern is that I undertand only about 50% (or less really) of what you wrote so I guess I ahve some studying to do before teh cable guy comes.
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:31 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer
I have a real suggestion. The source codes for the 8.1 software have been posted. I suggest someone point to me (and TiVo) where they think this code is faulty.
TiVo only posts the kernel and tools - essentially only the GPL stuff. The actual TiVo application you see is propriatary, as are the drivers for the hardware. You won't see the source for any of these unless you work for TiVo.
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:43 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Gremlin
IMO it could very well be hardware glitches that are causing this. And yes, at various points in my career I've been paid to write software and to design ASICs and to design systems.
Even if it is hardware, the hardware guys just get us software guys to work around the problem anyway. The line between hardware and software problem can be a little blurry. The worst case would be a hardware problem with no software workaround.
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:58 PM   #35
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TiVo Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
OK, top be honest I don't care where the problem lies, and it should not be mine to solve.
It also isn't TiVo's to solve if it's being caused by substandard CATV signals. Indeed, by law, it is not TiVo's to fix unless they are failing to meet CableLabs certification specifications, nor would it be possible for them to fix it unless that is the case. (Assuming the problem is in reception. One poster here was clearly having a problem in transmission, which is an entirely different matter.) If it were, it should have shown up and been flagged when the boxes were submitted for certification, unless they've had a bad batch of boxes produced in their manufacturing run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
The fact of the matter is that I as well as many others who have posted will be returning our Tivo HD units (2 in my case) if this issue is not remedied within the next 2 or 3 weeks.
You're free to do whatever you want, for whatever reason you want, but threatening TiVo they have to fix something which they have no power to fix or you'll return the unit doesn't help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
Posting that someone should sort through their code to find the issues is assinine
No, it isn't. You are claiming there is something TiVo should be able to fix in their code. I'm asking you where you think that code is broken. Otherwise, quit asking for software fixes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
as well as many of your other ridiculous comments such as pointing out that analog SD video can be grainy and therefore it makes a pixelated HD pictures from a Tivo HD acceptable.
That's not what I said. I said the local SD programming is all but unbearable to watch. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the best SD picture quality, some of the channels get a 3, and many only get a 5 or a 6. American Movie Classics, USA Network, Animal Planet, Fox, Sci-Fi, FX, CNN, WGN, and a number of others all look like hammered dog pookie.

The HD programming I am watching here even with the pixelization is fabulous - with an occasional glitch. If the pixelization on the HD material were happening ten times more often, then the HD content might get close to being unwatchable. It is just that on the Top Gun recording I mentioned, but there the video was pixelating every minute or so, and the picture would be jumbled and the audio gone for several seconds at a time. It would get a 2 at best, but most of the programming on the units gets a 14 even with the few drop-outs. Some get a 15, with no or almost no drop-outs. The best DVD gets a 10.

You asked, "...what is the point of having an HD device that has poor picture quality, when you could have an SD device with no pixelation, or a cable supplied box that works correctly?"
To which my response is, "Why would I drop a service whose worst typical offering is a 13 so I can go back to a service whose best possible offering is a 10, but whose typical offering is rarely better than 8, and often worse than 5?"

To the second half of the question I can only repsond that calling what the SA 8300 does "working correctly" is like saying the Spruce Goose could fly. The rate of pixelization I saw with it was not noticeably better than my Series III TiVos, and the user interface was completely unacceptable.
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:44 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
Thanks, that was actually helpful, I will give that a try this week. Only concern is that I undertand only about 50% (or less really) of what you wrote so I guess I ahve some studying to do before teh cable guy comes.
dB is a means of measuring power ratios. it is defined as 10 * Log (P1/P2), where Log is the logarithm base 10 of the power ratio. If one signal is 3.5dB higher than another, then it is twice as powerful. If it is 10dB higher, then it is ten times as powerful. A negative number indicates the upper number is smaller than the lower.

dBmV is a measure of the power of a signal relative to a 1mV signal across 75 ohms. A +60dBmV signal is 1 volt across 75 ohms.

An ingress carrier is a signal getting into a transmission line (in this case a CATV coaxial cable) from a source outside the transmission system. There are lots of signals in the air, from radio and television stations to paging system, aircraft communications, HAM radio, electric motors - you name it. If the levels of any carrier getting into a CATV cable are very high, they will cause problems there. For example, if a cable has a crack, then off-air channels will likely cause venetian blind or herringbone beats on the channels at which they reside. An ingress carrier can easily cause intermittent or persistent pixelization. Some receivers are better than others at rejecting in-band ingress carriers.

Second order distortion is not generally a problem in modern CATV plants because hybrid amplifiers very nearly completely eliminate 2nd order distortion, but composite 2nd order can sometimes be a problem for digital carriers, and if one side of a gain stage is bad, an amplifier can cause large amounts of 2nd order distortion. This is pretty easy to spot in analog signals, and can be readily measured by distortion analyzers. The effects of second order distortion increase by 1dB for every 1dB increase in signal levels.

Third order distortion is caused by a non-linear response in the output gain stages of an amplifier. No amplifier is perfect, and third order distortion increases as 20 * Log (# of amplifiers) in a cascade. By using fiber nodes, most CATV companies have greatly reduced the number of amplifiers in cascade to the user's house, but there are still often 3 or 4 in cascade before reaching the house - where there may be another amplifier. The effects of third order distortion also increase by 2dB for every 1dB increase in signal level, and more if the signals are not properly balanced. A small change in levels accompanied by a small change in tilt can devastate certain sections of the spectrum. As with ingress carriers, some receivers are better at rejecting third order distortion carriers than others.

Signal flatness is simple. The lower frequency signals are deliberately run at a lower level than the higher frequencies because the attenuation in the cable plant is lower at those frequencies. Typically at the amp, the high end video carriers may be 8 or 9 dB hotter than the lowest channels. After leaving an amplifier and moving down the CATV plant, the higher frequency signals drop in level faster than the lower frequencies. After some distance, the high end will have dropped to the point where it is the same level as the lower frequencies. The signal is still quite useable well beyond this point, however, so the plant will continue to run until the highest frequency carrier has dropped about 16dB more than the lowest carrier. At the back of your set, the high frequencies may be higher in level or the lower frequencies, may be, but the difference between the highest and lowest must not be greater than 10dB (don't forget to add the offset to digital carriers when comparing to analog carriers). Actually, come to think of it, that spec may be 9dB, not 10. It's been nearly 25 years since I've done any FCC compliance testing, so my memory is a bit foggy on the exact details. No carrier should be more than 2dB above or below its adjacent carriers. Again, distortions in the receiver caused by an overly tilted signal and common mode rejection of adjacent carriers will vary between receivers. One might do fine and another be sent mad.

Finally, spectrum flatness is also a simple notion. In a perfect scenario, every carrier would be injected at exactly the same level into the plant at the cable headend, and those signals would reach the consumer again with every carrier being exactly the same level. Of course, as I have already mentioned, the levels are actually set up so they leave the amplifiers with a tilt and that tilt is partially or completely obliterated or even reversed by the CATV plant along the way to the subscriber. The tilt and cable equalization can be compensated for in the test equipment, however, and in a perfect world a perfectly flat signal - with each carrier being exactly equal in level - would pop out. This is not the case, however. cable connectors, directional couplers, and amplifiers all have a unique frequency response which will cause some areas of the spectrum to be attenuated just a bit more than others. The overall response is called spectrum flatness, or in the vernacular peak-to-valley. After compensating for signal tilt and cable equalization, the maximum difference between the highest area of the spectrum (usually very distinct from the carrier with the highest level) and the lowest area of the spectrum is 4.0dB.

Last edited by lrhorer : 08-05-2007 at 11:52 PM.
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:50 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer
It also isn't TiVo's to solve if it's being caused by substandard CATV signals. Indeed, by law, it is not TiVo's to fix unless they are failing to meet CableLabs certification specifications, nor would it be possible for them to fix it unless that is the case. (Assuming the problem is in reception. One poster here was clearly having a problem in transmission, which is an entirely different matter.) If it were, it should have shown up and been flagged when the boxes were submitted for certification, unless they've had a bad batch of boxes produced in their manufacturing run.

You're free to do whatever you want, for whatever reason you want, but threatening TiVo they have to fix something which they have no power to fix or you'll return the unit doesn't help.

No, it isn't. You are claiming there is something TiVo should be able to fix in their code. I'm asking you where you think that code is broken. Otherwise, quit asking for software fixes.

That's not what I said. I said the local SD programming is all but unbearable to watch. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the best SD picture quality, some of the channels get a 3, and many only get a 5 or a 6. American Movie Classics, USA Network, Animal Planet, Fox, Sci-Fi, FX, CNN, WGN, and a number of others all look like hammered dog pookie.

The HD programming I am watching here even with the pixelization is fabulous - with an occasional glitch. If the pixelization on the HD material were happening ten times more often, then the HD content might get close to being unwatchable. It is just that on the Top Gun recording I mentioned, but there the video was pixelating every minute or so, and the picture would be jumbled and the audio gone for several seconds at a time. It would get a 2 at best, but most of the programming on the units gets a 14 even with the few drop-outs. Some get a 15, with no or almost no drop-outs. The best DVD gets a 10.

You asked, "...what is the point of having an HD device that has poor picture quality, when you could have an SD device with no pixelation, or a cable supplied box that works correctly?"
To which my response is, "Why would I drop a service whose worst typical offering is a 13 so I can go back to a service whose best possible offering is a 10, but whose typical offering is rarely better than 8, and often worse than 5?"

To the second half of the question I can only repsond that calling what the SA 8300 does "working correctly" is like saying the Spruce Goose could fly. The rate of pixelization I saw with it was not noticeably better than my Series III TiVos, and the user interface was completely unacceptable.
Just some quick simple points:

1. I am not asking for a software fix, that is what the Tech. at Tivo told me they were working on. I am asking Tivo to remedy the situation. Telling everyone that legally Tivo is not responsible is useless. No one is going to take the local cable company to court to get their Tivo working properly.
2. Many people including me are not happy with a picture that pixelates once every minute or so, and if Tivo cannot either remedy the situation, or provide adequate troubleshooting support to have the situation remedied a lot of Tivo HD unit will be returned, that is just a fact. I am in no way threatening Tivo, I am just stating a fact. At the end of the day the Tivo does not work properly for many people here. I have 2 SA 8300 HD boxes on the same lines as the Tivo HD units and never have had any pixelation issues. Do they work as well as a Tivo, No, but they work. Who the heck would want a Ferrari that stalled every mile, even though it was a great sports car?

If you are happy with a pixelated picture then you have no problems, no reason to post on any of the thread realted to pixelation then I guess huh?
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:52 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer
dB is a means of measuring power ratios. it is defined as 10 * Log (P1/P2), where Log is the logarithm base 10 of the power ratio. If one signal is 3.5dB higher than another, then it is twice as powerful. If it is 10dB higher, then it is ten times as powerful. A negative number indicates the upper number is smaller than the lower.

dBmV is a measure of the power of a signal relative to a 1mV signal across 75 ohms. A +60dBmV signal is 1 volt across 75 ohms.

An ingress carrier is a signal getting into a transmission line (ion this case a CATV coaxial cable) from a source outside the transmission system. There are lots of signals in the air, from radio and television stations to paging system, aircraft communications, HAM radio, electric motors - you name it. If the levels of any carrier getting into a CATV cable are very high, they will cause problems there. For example, if a cable has a crack, then off-air channels will likely cause venetian blind or herringbone beats on the channels at which they reside. An ingress carrier can easily cause intermittent or persistent pixelization. Some receivers are better than others at rejecting in-band ingress carriers.

Second order distortion is not generally a problem in modern CATV plants because hybrid amplifiers very nearly completely eliminate 2nd order distortion, but composite 2nd order can sometimes be a problem for digital carriers, and if one side of a gain stage is bad,m an amplifier can cause large amounts of 2nd order distortion. This is pretty easy to spot in analog signals, and can be readily measured by distortion analyzers. The effects of second order distortion increase by 1dB for every 1dB increase in signal levels.

Third order distortion is caused by a non-linear response in the output gain stages of an amplifier. No amplifier is perfect, and third order distortion increases as 20 * Log (# of amplifiers) in a cascade. By using fiber nodes, most CATV companies have greatly reduced the number of amplifiers in cascade to the user's house, but there are still often 3 or 4 in cascade before reach8ing the house - where there may be another amplifier. The effects of third order distortion also increase by 2dB for every 1dB increase in signal level, and more if the signals are not properly balanced. A small change in levels accompanied by aq small change in tilt can devastate certain sections of the spectrum. As with ingress carriers, some receivers are better at rejecting third order distortion carriers than others.

Signal flatness is simple. The lower frequency signals are deliberately run at a lower level than the higher frequencies because the attenuation in the cable plant is lower at those frequencies. Typically at the amp, the high end video carriers may be 8 or 9 dB hotter than the lowest channels. After leaving an amplifier and moving down the CATV plant, the higher frequency signals drop in level faster than the lower frequencies. After some distance, the high end will have dropped to the point where it is the same level as the lower frequencies. The signal is still quite useable well beyond this point, however, so the plant will continue to run until the highest frequency carrier has dropped about 16dB more than the lowest carrier. At the back of your set, the high frequencies may be higher in level or the lower frequencies, may be, but the difference between the highest and lowest must not be greater than 10dB (don't forget to add the offset to digital carriers when comparing to analog carriers). Actually, come to think of it, that spec may be 9dB, not 10. It's been nearly 25 years since I've done any FCC compliance testing, so my memory is a bit foggy on the exact details. No carrier should be more than 2dB above or below its adjacent carriers. Again, distortions in the receiver caused by an overly tilted signal and common mode rejection of adjacent carrioers will vary between receivers. One might do fine and another be sent mad.

Finally, spectrum flatness is also a simple notion. In a perfect scenario, every carrier would be iunjected at exactly the same level into the plant at the cable headend, and those signals would reach the consumer again with every carrier being exactly the same level. Of course, as I have already mentioned, the levels are actually set up so they leave the amplifiers with a tilt and that tilt is partially or completely obliterated or even reversed by the CATV plant along the way to the subscriber. The tilt and cable equalization can be compensated for in the test equipment, however, and in a perfect world a perfectly flat signal - with each carrier being exactly equal in level - would pop out. This is not teh case, however. cable connectors, directional couplers, and amplifiers all have a unique frequency response which will cause some areas of the spoectrum to be attenuated just a bit more than others. The overall response is called spectrum flatness, or in te vernacular peak-to-valley. After compensating for signal tilt and cable equalization, the maximum difference between the highest area of the spectrum (usually very distinct from the carrier with the highest level) and the lowest area of teh spectrum is 4.0dB.
Thanks appreciate the assistance. I already have an advanced degree in Chemical Engineering, gues I now need a PhD in Electrical Engineering to get my Tivo working.
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:32 AM   #39
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TiVo Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
Just some quick simple points:

1. I am not asking for a software fix, that is what the Tech. at Tivo told me they were working on. I am asking Tivo to remedy the situation.
Your posts - especially the first one - strongly suggest you do not think it is a hardware issue. The only other option is software, and you are asking TiVo to fix the problem, so the only inferreence is you are asking TiVo to implement a software fix. QED.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
Telling everyone that legally Tivo is not responsible is useless.
No, it isn't. The local CATV company is bound by law to make their CATV plant work with any CableCard certified device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
No one is going to take the local cable company to court to get their Tivo working properly.
I never suggested they should. A phone call or letter to t he FCC can do wonders. For that matter, a call or letter to the General Manager of the CATV company quoting the FCC regulation and promising to call or write the FCC can work magic. In the past the FCC has not hesitated to levy six and seven figure fines to CATV companies and even to shut them down cold for non-compliance with FCC regulations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
2. Many people including me are not happy with a picture that pixelates once every minute or so
Unless I missed it, I believe this is the first time you have quantified the level of interruption in this thread. It would have been helpful had you been more specific in previous posts. That said, I still find it unlikely the TiVos are the culprit, and even less likely it is a software issue. I cannot guarantee either, of course. I've worked with many, many devices which worked fine on the bench, but failed in the field. In most cases I was eventually able to pin the down the problem to something in the field. Sometimes it was something very subtle, and it was not at all unusual for another device - either similar or of the exact same type - not to show the problem. There are always exceptions, however.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
and if Tivo cannot either remedy the situation
That's impossible if it is not a problem with the TiVos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
or provide adequate troubleshooting support to have the situation remedied
What do you suggest? They can test returned units, but this will take considerably more than 2 weeks. Other than that, what do you think they should be able to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
I am in no way threatening Tivo, I am just stating a fact.
Of course you are. You are threatening to return the TiVo if the problem is not resolved. It's not a legally actionable threat - you have every right to return the unit under their stated warranty for whatever reason you like. This does not change the fact you are attempting to legally extort action from TiVo by legally threatening to impact their revenue stream.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
Who the heck would want a Ferrari that stalled every mile, even though it was a great sports car?
To extend your analogy, my point is you may be screaming at Ferrari because it stalls every mile when the reason it stalls is the cheap gas sold by your local filling station. Your beat up old Chevrolet may take the gas in stride, but the Ferrari may be choking on it. Returning the Ferrari will get rid of the problem, but so will buying better gas. If the gas costs the same, which is the better solution?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
If you are happy with a pixelated picture then you have no problems, no reason to post on any of the thread realted to pixelation then I guess huh?
So no one who disagrees with your point of view should post?

I am not happy with pixelization in the video. I wasn't happy with it the first time it started happening. (It was 1984, with the introduction of the Zenith Z-View converters in the local market, and I worked for the CATV company at that time.) I'm not happy with it now. A 90 minute movie with 3 or 4 drop-outs of not more than 2 seconds does not make the video less watchable than a grainy, snowy, beat ridden SD picture, however.
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:41 AM   #40
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Get real

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
Thanks appreciate the assistance. I already have an advanced degree in Chemical Engineering, gues I now need a PhD in Electrical Engineering to get my Tivo working.
All of that information should be readily deliverable from memory by every CATV technician. Very few CATV techs have even bachelor's degrees, let alone graduate degrees. Aside from the actual specifications for flatness, etc and the fact that hybrid amps eliminate 2nd order distortion, there is nothing there I did not know when I graduated high school. (Well, that and the single unit test sets. Those did not exist when I graduated high school.)
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:44 AM   #41
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No Source code

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn
TiVo only posts the kernel and tools - essentially only the GPL stuff. The actual TiVo application you see is propriatary, as are the drivers for the hardware. You won't see the source for any of these unless you work for TiVo.
OK, I apologize. I thought the code for the UI was available.
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:01 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btwyx
Even if it is hardware, the hardware guys just get us software guys to work around the problem anyway. The line between hardware and software problem can be a little blurry. The worst case would be a hardware problem with no software workaround.
The scenario I'm afraid of is precisely a hardware problem w/o a workaround. For two reasons. First, it would probably be widespread and expensive. So TiVo might be reluctant to "own up" to it. Second, I don't want a refurbished replacement like some of the horror stories I've read. Filthy inside because of smoke or pet hair, etc.

I'm willing to wait 3 months for a software fix but am very wary of bad hardware.
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:04 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by lrhorer
Then you have something else wrong. The menus are created internally to the TiVo and are not compressed and I do not believe they are encrypted. They do not pass through the Cable Cards or the Tuner, at all. Which TiVo output are you using?
Many others have reported problems with menus. I don't even have any cablecards. Using component output.

I think the main problem you are having with your posts is you are basing your responses on your experiences with an S3. We're talking TiVo HD here, a much different box.
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:38 AM   #44
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The only pixelation I see in mine is repeated when you view it again and is also there on my Comcast STB and my Series 3. I did see pixelation once in the menu but it was very fast an located on the bottom 20% of the screen. I haven't seen it again but I'm still looking for it. I'm not using cable cards. The analog picture is fine for me. But I'm also using an HDMI Flea with the TiVoHD output. I did finally get it dialed in to where the picture is close to the Series 3 setting going through the Flea HDMI. I basically had to turn off all noise reduction from the analog recordings on the TiVoHD to get the picture looking the same. It's as if the TiVoHD is doing some kind of noise reduction on it's own. The Series 3 still has more detail, but the pictures are close. I still have the audio problem with the analog though where it is outputting the stereo signal as a mono signal in both channels. So at this point I can only use the TiVoHD for digital recordings since I haven't listened to TV in mono since the 80's.
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Old 08-06-2007, 05:51 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by lrhorer
First of all, until the signal leaves the CableCard... With the exception of a post just previous to this one, I have seen no firm evidence either the TiVoHD nor the Series II are the source of the problem.
This doesn't explain the pixelation in the menus. First of all, I don't consider the pixelation bad enough in my case to be more than a mnor distraction.

However, the way it works really makes it sound like it to be something Tivo related. First, as has been reported by several people on this board, pixelation IS occuring in menu areas. Secondly, when pixelation occurs during LiveTV programming, when one (at least in my case and some of the others I have read here) rewinds to where the piexelation occured and plays again, the pixelation is not there.
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Old 08-06-2007, 06:30 AM   #46
hank12345
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My situation-

Started off with just analogue cable for about a week-- no macro-blocking on analogue channels or QAM, occasional very minor macro-blocking on menus

Two SA cable cards (s-stream) installed- still no macro-blocking on analogue channels, but now random macro-blocking on hi-def and digital channels, brief, but every 3-10 min, on every hd and digital channel.

I'm not a expert, but according to my cable tech, I have "excellent" signal strength (he checked it with some kind of meter, both outside, and at the line going into the Tivo box...

I can also confirm the Tivo shows 100% signal on all channels...

I don't know if this info will help the experts on the forum narrow down the cause, but I thought it was worth posting my experience--

I would hope a fix or official announcement from Tivo would happen soon, as everyone seems to be getting different answers from Tivo customer service... I tend to believe Megazone, as he has stated on his blog and in these forums:

"do note that TiVo is aware of them and is working on additional updates to correct them."

Hopefully sooner rather than later..... If not, I guess I'll have to return the box, and either live with analogue only, or switch back to D*-- yuck.
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Old 08-06-2007, 06:39 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer
Unless I missed it, I believe this is the first time you have quantified the level of interruption in this thread. It would have been helpful had you been more specific in previous posts. That said, I still find it unlikely the TiVos are the culprit, and even less likely it is a software issue. I cannot guarantee either, of course. I've worked with many, many devices which worked fine on the bench, but failed in the field. In most cases I was eventually able to pin the down the problem to something in the field. Sometimes it was something very subtle, and it was not at all unusual for another device - either similar or of the exact same type - not to show the problem. There are always exceptions, however.


That's impossible if it is not a problem with the TiVos.
Again you seem to be missing the point, but in this case you make mine for me. Saying it works on a bench and then if it does not work in the field it is someone elses issue is ridiculous, particularly without any support for this point coming from Tivo. Your suppositions are useless in this area. To take my analogy further, if I bought a Ferrari, it stalled every mile, I contacted Ferrari and they could not tell me why it stalled, but suggested to me (as well as others please read www.tivolovers.com for further info on teh Tivo issue) that they were working on it. I then post on the Ferrari board about the issue and some "know it all" simply claims, with no evidence whatsoever, that it is most likely an issue with the gas I am using and suggests a formulation required for the gas that is not in any documentation for the car, nor provided by the manufacturer. Yeah I can see how that is my problem.

I also do not want to get into writing letters to the FCC to get my Tivo working. This is not my issue alone others in many areas are having it. It is an issue Tivo needs to address.

If you feel it is a threat for a consumer to say they will return a product that does not work properly if the manufacturer does not provide adequate support to remery the problem, well I can't affect your view.
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Old 08-06-2007, 08:20 AM   #48
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This issue is not unlike the "stutter" problem of version 2.0, for those that have been around that long.

S1's were working great on 1.3, then the new 2.0 software came out and people started coming out of the woodwork claiming how the video and audio were stuttering every so often. TiVo's official word was that it was a sign of a dying hard drive, and the upgrade exposed areas of the disk that were previously unused (despite the TiVo having two separate partitions for the software, one lies dormant when the other activates, but the Videos are stored in a common area.)

A little while later 2.5 was pushed out and the majority of the stuttering disappeared. Those that still had it could pinpoint it to a dying hard drive.

If there's problems in the menus and problems that don't reappear with instant replay then it is obviously some sort of decoding bug. Hardware or software, I don't know. But TiVo will probably be able to fix it with a software patch / workaround.
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Old 08-06-2007, 09:08 AM   #49
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No one has mentioned power source as potentially contributing to this issue. Anyone think that is possible and a power conditioner would clear up the pixelation?
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Old 08-06-2007, 09:20 AM   #50
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I donít have a suggestion for curing the TiVo S3ís and, apparently, HDís, distressing tendencies to produce audio dropouts and video pixelizing. I post only to add my vote for the proposition that the problem is TiVo related and, in my case anyway, probably has nothing to do with CableCARDs.

My biggest problems with dropouts and pixelizing have occurred when I have been watching an OTA channel. At times this glitch has been so frequent and severe that the program was unwatchable. Unfortunately, I have had the problem on cable channels occasionally, too, but it hasnít happened nearly as frequently as it has on OTA channels.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:27 AM   #51
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I've got TiVoHD , using 2 Motorola CableCards with COMCAST Cable, Houston Texas. I get maybe.. and I stress this a LOT ... maybe 1 or 2 seconds worth of pixelation per 10 to 12 hours of watched TV.

It's so far only actually happened to me 3 seperate times.. in 3 seperate programs, all recorded on seperate channels across seperate days. In all 3 cases, the pixelation is a small segment of either the lower left or lower right corner.. only covers about 20% of the screen, and lasts a maximum of 1 second before disappearing completely.

It is SO mild that I basically forget about it, as my Scientific America DVR from TimeWarner had about the same pace of picture quality problems.

No other performance issues with my TiVoHD , no pixelation during the menus.. only option I wish it had that it doesn't, is TiVoToGo.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:38 AM   #52
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One or two such events over such a long period of time strikes me as a nonevent. To me, the problem isn 't really serious unless it is so disruptive that you can't follow the show you are trying to watch.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:52 AM   #53
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I have Verizon FiOS with two Motorola 'S' CableCards in my TivoHD.

I see random pixelization. Sometimes it effects the full screen, sometimes it only effects one corner of the screen. It occurs anywhere from once to 10 times per hour. It lasts no more than a half-second. If I rewind back to where the pixelization occurred, I do not see it again. So this appears a hardware or software issue unrelated to the recording that causes random pixelization. I have also seen the pixelization occasionally (not frequently) in the menus while the TivoHD, typically when it was doing a lot of background processing.

The pixelization only lasts fraction of a second...however, I never saw this with the Tivo Series3 (when I had it) or the Verizon FiOS DVR. It is annoying especially if you are accustomed to a relatively pristine picture. I intend to stick with the TivoHD, but will no longer recommend it if Tivo can't resolve this issue in a timely manner.

I have tried the TivoHD with and without a power conditioner; it makes no difference. I have tried the TivoHD with the stock hard drive and a 750Gb Seagate DB35; it makes no difference. I have tried the TivoHD with the ambient room temperature set to 76 degrees and 68 degrees; it makes no difference. I have tried the TivoHD at native, 720p fixed, and 1080i fixed; it makes no difference. I have tried the TivoHD with and without the OTA feed connected; it makes no difference.

Last edited by bkdtv : 08-06-2007 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:24 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv
I have Verizon FiOS with two Motorola 'S' CableCards in my TivoHD.

I see random pixelization. Sometimes it effects the full screen, sometimes it only effects one corner of the screen. It occurs anywhere from once to 10 times per hour. It lasts no more than a half-second. If I rewind back to where the pixelization occurred, I do not see it again. So this appears a hardware or software issue unrelated to the recording that causes random pixelization. I have also seen the pixelization occasionally (not frequently) in the menus while the TivoHD, typically when it was doing a lot of background processing.

The pixelization only lasts fraction of a second...however, I never saw this with the Tivo Series3 (when I had it) or the Verizon FiOS DVR. It is annoying especially if you are accustomed to a relatively pristine picture. I intend to stick with the TivoHD, but will no longer recommend it if Tivo can't resolve this issue in a timely manner.

I have tried the TivoHD with and without a power conditioner; it makes no difference. I have tried the TivoHD with the stock hard drive and a 750Gb Seagate DB35; it makes no difference. I have tried the TivoHD with the ambient room temperature set to 76 degrees and 68 degrees; it makes no difference. I have tried the TivoHD at native, 720p fixed, and 1080i fixed; it makes no difference. I have tried the TivoHD with and without the OTA feed connected; it makes no difference.
Sounds like your issue is slightly different than mine. I have pixelation once every minute or so for about a 1/2 to 1 second. Occurs when I rewind back to spot where it occured. Have never seen pixelation on the menus.

I am going to try a signal amplifier when I get home later today to see if that affects the issue. I also have a turck rolling from Cablevision on Wednesday to check all the aspects of the signal outlined by lrhorer in a previous post. I will keep everyone updated with results.
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:55 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TokyoShoe
I've got TiVoHD , using 2 Motorola CableCards with COMCAST Cable, Houston Texas. I get maybe.. and I stress this a LOT ... maybe 1 or 2 seconds worth of pixelation per 10 to 12 hours of watched TV.

It's so far only actually happened to me 3 seperate times.. in 3 seperate programs, all recorded on seperate channels across seperate days. In all 3 cases, the pixelation is a small segment of either the lower left or lower right corner.. only covers about 20% of the screen, and lasts a maximum of 1 second before disappearing completely.

It is SO mild that I basically forget about it, as my Scientific America DVR from TimeWarner had about the same pace of picture quality problems.

No other performance issues with my TiVoHD , no pixelation during the menus.. only option I wish it had that it doesn't, is TiVoToGo.
These pixelation and total picture drop-outs are commonplace with my Comcast Motorola box. In fact, sometimes I miss a good 2-3 seconds of a show because of them. My signal strength is excellent (I've had it checked) and we've kind of just accepted it.

I'm going to be picking up a Tivo HD later today, and really hadn't given this any thought until this problem thread showed up. I figured with my modem and cable tv coming out of the same line, this was a large part of the problem. I'll let you guys know what I experience once I hook everything up later tonight.
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:35 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimpware
No one has mentioned power source as potentially contributing to this issue. Anyone think that is possible and a power conditioner would clear up the pixelation?
Chimpware, my TiVo HD is connected to an APC UPS and I still see pixelation. So, I don't think power source is the problem.

I saw pixelation on the channels and behind the menu when connected antenna only (with good signal strength) and with cable & antenna. The TiVo HD is connected to the TV via component cables.

After I pick up my CableCARDs, I'm going to try recording the same show OTA and via cable to see if I still get pixelation on the channels. (This won't help the pixelation in the menus).

Do you see pixelation while using the Signal Strength screen? After experiencing pixelation on an HD OTA channel, I went to the Signal Strength screen to see if low signal was the cause. I didn't see any pixelation but maybe I didn't test it for long enough.
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:43 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvofan
Chimpware, my TiVo HD is connected to an APC UPS and I still see pixelation. So, I don't think power source is the problem.

I saw pixelation on the channels and behind the menu when connected antenna only (with good signal strength) and with cable & antenna. The TiVo HD is connected to the TV via component cables.

After I pick up my CableCARDs, I'm going to try recording the same show OTA and via cable to see if I still get pixelation on the channels. (This won't help the pixelation in the menus).

Do you see pixelation while using the Signal Strength screen? After experiencing pixelation on an HD OTA channel, I went to the Signal Strength screen to see if low signal was the cause. I didn't see any pixelation but maybe I didn't test it for long enough.
Thanks for the note on the APC, I have one at home I might try later also if I get ambitious, but I have all my network hardware, a file server and my Vonage equipment plugged into it now so it will be a pain to test. Might pick up a new on at CC, would not be bad to have my AV equipment/Tivo/Mac Mini plugged into one I guess.

I do see pixelation on the signal strength screen, even in cases where the indicated strength is 100, but less frequent. I am wondering if I have signal fluctuations that are causing the pixelation that are not regestering on the Tivo signal meter as I am not sure what method/sample time is used to produce the signal meter.
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:03 PM   #58
TokyoShoe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AGBulls
These pixelation and total picture drop-outs are commonplace with my Comcast Motorola box. In fact, sometimes I miss a good 2-3 seconds of a show because of them. My signal strength is excellent (I've had it checked) and we've kind of just accepted it.

I'm going to be picking up a Tivo HD later today, and really hadn't given this any thought until this problem thread showed up. I figured with my modem and cable tv coming out of the same line, this was a large part of the problem. I'll let you guys know what I experience once I hook everything up later tonight.
Oh I've never had a total picture OR audio dropout. No, I just maybe get a little chunk of pixelation that affects say.. 20% of the screen for 1 second. It's REAL minor, I mark it up to cable quality issues regarding the actual cable line in my older apartment complex.

I mostly wanted to share so others have some information regarding what others are experiencing with the TiVoHD's.
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:43 PM   #59
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I was so nervous from reading these threads. But my TWC install went fairly well today after some temporary confusion regarding the 161-4 install "non-error". If you see that 161-4 error during installation of a Motorola card, just ignore it. And if your channel test gets no channels, just WAIT, it can take 5-10 minutes AFTER the home office "activates" before you card actually wakes up. My TWC tech had no clue about these issues, but I was able to research them online right here during the install.

Now I'm relieved to say that I am getting no pixellation, even though I've got two splitters on the line - one line to my Tivo, one to my DVD-Recorder, one to my TV and one to another TV! I was prepared to sacrifice those splits, but I didn't have to! I'm getting 93 - 100% Tivo signal strength and NO PIXELLATION!

Last edited by jazmaan : 08-06-2007 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 08-06-2007, 08:08 PM   #60
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For those who did not see the post from TivoPony in the other pixelation thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TiVoPony
Hey guys,

We are aware that some of you are still reporting macroblocking or pixelation on certain channels. The team here continues to gather information to understand possible causes - they're making good headway.

The update we released on August 1st has proven to fix the issue for some customers, and we are working hard on a fix for the remaining cases. We will provide more concrete information as we can.

In the meantime, we appreciate your patience and the detailed feedback you've been providing.

Pony

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