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Old 01-05-2012, 10:15 AM   #31
EldRick
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So far three movies from Amazon, and all have had patches where pixelation breaks up the images on my PXL, and not while streaming.

The way to get these fixed is to call Amazon and request refunds - that will focus their attention on the issue if they have to give a lot of refunds and promotional credits...
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:16 AM   #32
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I'm eliminating all other wild possibilities (as Occam's Razor would suggest).

Fact: The video is encoded, encrypted and generated by Amazon for download to a TiVo. Amazon collects all money in this transaction.

There are two possible solutions to the problem:

Solution #1: Amazon re-encodes the video so it is compatible with TiVo Series 4 devices (which have different software than the Series 3). This is a software change on their system that must undergo testing to make sure the video is compatible across all devices (TiVo and other) under which the video might get distributed.

Solution #2: TiVo upgrades their software so that it can playback the video that Amazon is passing it. Obviously, the Series 3 plays it fine and I am betting that other devices that support Amazon Video work too (e.g. smart TVs).

The reality is that one entity (Amazon) collects the $4.99 fee for the HD rental in this case. It is in their best interest to fix that problem. TiVo provides the software interface and the playback hardware but not the actual video.

TiVo does have some motivation to fix the problem but (based on my experience transferring home movies to the TiVo) I believe the problem could ALSO be fixed on Amazon's end.

As a general rule, if you can fix problems on the server side, it is preferable to fixing it on the 1000s of clients.
Well, frankly, I completely disagree with you (with the exception of fixing issues on the server side USUALLY. That USUALLY only extends to if you're forced to make non-standard proprietary changes which can then lead to issues elsewhere or in the future. I believe that to be the case here. Making a change to encoding to accomodate JUST the Premiere could end up having a negative effect on other devices, which seem to work perfectly at this point - plus why should Amazon fund Tivo software quality issues?). Amazon provides this content to all kinds of devices - and to the best of my knowledge this issue exists only on the Tivo Premiere. I have not experienced this issue with Tivo HDs or other devices which can access the exact same content. There is no evidence at this point provided by or even mentioned by anyone that the issue exists for any other device. As a technology professional with considerable experience in doing RCAs, etc on extremely large (including global) enterprise systems, I would focus in this case on the device. It may well be an issue where Amazon would make a change, but those changes SHOULD BE DRIVEN BY TIVO, AS IT IS THEIR DEVICE WHICH SEEMS TO HAVE THE UNIQUE PROBLEM WITH CONTENT WHICH IS COMPATIBLE WITH VIRTUALLY EVERY OTHER KNOWN DEVICE. It should NOT be driven by Tivo customers to Amazon.

The reality is that Tivo collects both an up front sales revenue for the device purchase, and THEN a MONTHLY service fee for continuing to use the device. So, your facts are in fact not facts. Tivo collects a monthly service fee which MUST be included in the conversation. Beyond that, let's ask it another way....

If you bought a new car that ended up not being able to consume either gasoline or diesel without those products being modified, would you then expect each energy company to modify their product to fit the specification created by the auto manufacturer? Or, would you FIRST insure that the auto manufacturer researched to discover the problem, document it, and work with providers to resolve it? You may think this is a ridiculous analogy, but from a logic perspective, it is actually quite relevant.


The bottom line here is that until such time as there is any evidence that this functionality is problematic with other devices, and given the fact that we are all paying Tivo, it is IMHO clearly a Tivo responsibility to deal with the issues. It is their responsibility to deal with Amazon. Frankly, in terms of total revenue, the amount of revenue from Tivo customers using Premieres to get downloaded HD content is probably not even a bug on the windshield of their offerings, and there is little/no motivation for them. OTOH, the Premiere is the majority share of new equipment revenue for Tivo, they have increased service fees to account for "increased functionality" and own the overall responsibility to support their devices - which they cleary advertise and market can use such online HD content.

I am not bashing Tivo here. However, I do get so very tired of Tivo issues getting blamed on other factors, and frankly claiming that the troubleshooting that I did was "hardly scientific" falls into the "let's just excuse Tivo" category. No insult intended here and please don't apply any anger to my words. I'm just trying to be very clear and precise.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:59 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by wmhjr View Post
I am not bashing Tivo here. However, I do get so very tired of Tivo issues getting blamed on other factors, and frankly claiming that the troubleshooting that I did was "hardly scientific" falls into the "let's just excuse Tivo" category. No insult intended here and please don't apply any anger to my words. I'm just trying to be very clear and precise.
No offense taken. I guess we will agree to disagree. As I stated, Amazon was very fair (full refund) and said they would look into the problem. TiVo would be wise to do the same.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:06 PM   #34
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Amazon certainly appears to be fair in their policy, but that doesn't fix the problem. It only refunds the purchase price for the HD content from them. It does nothing to affect the fact that we're paying Tivo a monthly fee (which they increased for the Premiere). I have zero faith that the problem will be resolved by Amazon, as it appears to me that they are properly encoding the content (based on the fact that I have not found any other device reported to have consistent issues with their content other than the Tivo Premiere). It's more cost effective for them to just refund the fees for that very small percentage of customers using a Premiere, broken down into a yet even smaller group that actually take the time to request a refund.

Problem is that based on other experiences, I seriously doubt Tivo will dedicate any real measurable effort toward this - especially if people simply accept the performance and just ask Amazon for their money back. No pressure - no action. With limited resources they'll devote dev time to other issues/projects. JMHO as somebody with a great deal of experience in development, running development and running very large technology shops. Product management and marketing drive prioritization of work breakdown structure.
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Old 01-14-2012, 02:51 PM   #35
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I just jumped back on the Tivo bandwagon with the Tivo premiere. Prior to this, I had "cut the cord" and used a Roku player for Netflix and Amazon VOD. So naturally I wanted to keep that content coming.

I too am noticing the pixelation issues on both Amazon VOD *and* Netflix. Neither of which occurred on Roku.

The software engineer in me thinks this is actually a Tivo issue, not a content provider issue. Amazon, for one, does not have one version of a video for the Tivo 3 and another version for the Tivo 4 (premiere). However, there appears to be a difference in how these two systems decode the content.

Now... I have not seen a teardown of either the Tivo 3 or Tivo 4. But I'd suspect something is different in the video decoding department. Either they switched to a different decoder hardware/chipset or removed it altogether in favor of software decoding. Both could be ways to lower the cost of the unit.

I'm hoping this is a software issue so that there is a possibility of a fix. But seeing as this thread has been around for 6 months, I fear it might not be.
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Old 01-14-2012, 03:39 PM   #36
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For Amazon, TiVo uses a different encoding of the video than most (possibly all) other devices. So the fact that a video is clean on Roku but not TiVo doesn't necessarily mean that TiVo is at fault.
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:19 PM   #37
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Roku vs. Tivo, I agree... but Tivo 3 vs. Tivo 4?
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:09 AM   #38
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I've downloaded many vids from Amazon an whenever there's a dropout from the DL Amaszn has made it right by either offering to DDL again or refund the fee of that video
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:47 AM   #39
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Same here, Amazon gave me credit for the video which is great! But, that's not solving the problem here, that's solving the symptom. I don't want the money back, I want to watch the movie for which I paid.

The reason I bought the Tivo Premiere was precisely because it combined the content I was used to getting from Roku with cable. Had I known Netflix and Amazon were going to work like crap, I would have stuck with the cable company DVR + Roku separately.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:53 AM   #40
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I've been experiencing pixelation on my Tivo Premiere and Elite. I've rented about 6 or 7 HD movies from Amazon through the Tivo recently. Sometimes it's better than others, but the last movie I rented the pixelation was pretty frequent.

I've tried downloading the movies at off peak hours (after midnight, early AM) to ensure my modem us getting enough bandwidth. I actually work for a small cable company and I can see that my modem is getting it's full speed (20meg). I'm running wired from my Tivo to my router. I've been hard wired for about 6 months. I used to think the pixelation was because I was wireless, but I'm still having it since running a wire.

I've downloaded movies on my Xbox 360 and PS3 and had no issues at all. I can stream HD content on Netflix and Hulu with no issue at all. Like someone said, it seems like Amazon is just streaming it, and the Tivo is recording it. It's not actually downloading a file, so there's no error correction. If there's any kind of packet loss, the video isn't being retransmitted.

My next step is to try and stream a movie on my Roku to see if that's any better than downloading it to my Tivo.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:55 AM   #41
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This is a little disheartening to hear, since I was considering upgrading to Premiere from HD soon. May have to wait a little now.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:59 AM   #42
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If you use Amazon HD movies, then I would absolutely not consider a Premiere at this time. I have effectively a zero percent success rate with Amazon HD downloads on my Premiere Elite, and a 100% success rate on either of my HDs. It is absolutely, totally, factually clear that the only variable in my particular case is the Premiere. I have now even downloaded Amazon HD content on my Elite, had massive pixelation, then bought and downloaded the same content on an HD, having zero issues. That finishes up the troubleshooting steps I've used before, pretty much proving that the fly in the ointment here is the Premiere.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:12 AM   #43
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Is there a way to report this bug to Tivo?

Also... does this pixelation only affect HD content or SD content as well?
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:26 AM   #44
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Mail or twitter to Margret @ tivo seems to be our most effective channel right now.

http://twitter.com/tivodesign
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:38 AM   #45
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Is there a way to report this bug to Tivo?

Also... does this pixelation only affect HD content or SD content as well?
The bug has been reported. I personally believe it's been reported months ago. The fact that tech support denies knowing about it doesn't mean that there aren't tickets open. That's frankly just the performance I've come to expect from Tivo tech support. Deny, deny, deny. Some issues get fixed - others never do. I'm very disappointed as I had been quite happy with other aspects of the Elite until last week. My bubble has been decisively burst.

As for SD content, many have reported that SD has been OK and issues were really focused on HD but I can't speak for that, as I would only download HD content if I'm paying for it.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:40 AM   #46
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As for SD content, many have reported that SD has been OK and issues were really focused on HD but I can't speak for that, as I would only download HD content if I'm paying for it.
I'd much rather have HD content, but if SD is a temporary workaround I can live with it. As long as its not a a year long temporary workaround.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:11 PM   #47
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We are looking into this

Hi all,

We are actively investigating this issue. If you experience pixelation on an Amazon Video Download, please do the following:

1. Take a picture and note the time into the movie/show where you see the pixelation. Enter 9-1-1-CLEAR on your remote control.
2. Email the picture, the date/time and location (time) of the problem in the video, the title of the movie/show, and your TiVo Service Number to me (margret@tivo.com).

Thank you!
--Margret
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:29 PM   #48
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Thank you Margret! I will do this. I'm curious - this issue cannot be replicated by Tivo? That would seem very odd considering the apparent high frequency of the issue being reported. Strange.
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:24 PM   #49
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Thank you Margret! I will do this. I'm curious - this issue cannot be replicated by Tivo? That would seem very odd considering the apparent high frequency of the issue being reported. Strange.
We are doing testing internally as well, but the more data the better. Home setups are very different from lab setups.
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:05 PM   #50
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If you use Amazon HD movies, then I would absolutely not consider a Premiere at this time. I have effectively a zero percent success rate with Amazon HD downloads on my Premiere Elite, and a 100% success rate on either of my HDs. It is absolutely, totally, factually clear that the only variable in my particular case is the Premiere. I have now even downloaded Amazon HD content on my Elite, had massive pixelation, then bought and downloaded the same content on an HD, having zero issues. That finishes up the troubleshooting steps I've used before, pretty much proving that the fly in the ointment here is the Premiere.
I have a 100% success rate with the Premiere. But I've also been downloading TV shows not movies.
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Old 01-19-2012, 08:32 AM   #51
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I emailed Margret a more detailed trouble report and performed the 9-1-1-Clear and transferred my logs (via connect) but I thought I would post some pictures in case thread watchers were interested.

I purchased and downloaded the new release movie The Ides of March [HD] 2011 for $4.99 last night. The pixelation issues did not begin until 30m into the film. There were a number of times during the remaining 1h 10m of the movie where pixelation occurred. Here are some images I captured.











The problem is noticeable during playback every time so it appears to be an encoding or decoding issue. It doesn't matter what the Premiere box is doing at the time so it doesn't appear to be a processor loading issue.

The problem is also noticeable during fast forward and rewind but its easy to miss.
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Old 01-19-2012, 11:14 AM   #52
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I have a 100% success rate with the Premiere. But I've also been downloading TV shows not movies.
That's an interesting comment. Perhaps I'll try an HD TV show and see if it's different. I'm completely convinced that there is a systemic issue with Amazon HD movies, and have believed from the beginning it's an encoding/decoding issue on the part of the Premiere. I wonder if there is some sort of difference in encoding for TV shows. I wouldn't expect that, but perhaps there is some sort of rights management there that does not exist in TV shows but does in movies?
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Old 01-19-2012, 11:26 AM   #53
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My first foray into Amazon VOD on my Premiere was to rent 'Morning Glory' in HD. I was surprised to find a few dozen instances of weird mpeg pixelation. They ranged from just a few pixelated blocks to a couple of instances of half the picture inverted/pixelated/shifted for as long as 2-3 seconds. There were what looked like minor split-second frame skips too. The problems were uniform throughout the viewing.

The whole movie appeared to be fully downloaded before I started viewing. I'm not sure whether the problem was Amazon's, or something amiss with the Premiere, but it was somewhat disappointing that I couldn't watch a $5 VOD without having mpeg glitches strewn throughout it.

Anyone else experience such a problem? Are problems with Amazon VOD on the Premiere common? If so, I'll avoid it in the future.


I stopped viewing a downloaded movie til afterwards, an noticed much less pic dropout...

Still, I've called Amazon when there were issues with mvies that were unviewavke an rgwt were very hekpful to refund the amount paid for that movie... Yet offwewed no esplaination as to why this problem is happening
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Old 01-19-2012, 11:32 AM   #54
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I stopped viewing a downloaded movie til afterwards, an noticed much less pic dropout...

Still, I've called Amazon when there were issues with mvies that were unviewavke an rgwt were very hekpful to refund the amount paid for that movie... Yet offwewed no esplaination as to why this problem is happening
He also said he believes the movie was fully downloaded before watching it. I have never ever even attempted to view a HD movie until at least hours - if not days - after it downloaded. Yet on my Premiere, every solitary, single movie had heavy pixelation. I think there are sufficient reports here to say with emphasis and authority that this issue is not related to network interface utilization during playback. Or frankly, that it's not related to cpu or memory utilization during playback either.

What we do not yet know is if we would all experience pixelation in the same titles at the same times during playback, indicating where potentially the encoding/decoding issues me be more visible - or if the pixelation occurs at more random times following playback (meaning random from Premiere to Premiere - NOT random on an individual Premiere. We've already proven that where there is pixelation, if you pause, rewind, play over, etc - the pixelation, dropout, etc, will ALWAYS occur again and again at the same spots).
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Old 01-19-2012, 11:38 AM   #55
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He also said he believes the movie was fully downloaded before watching it. I have never ever even attempted to view a HD movie until at least hours - if not days - after it downloaded. Yet on my Premiere, every solitary, single movie had heavy pixelation. I think there are sufficient reports here to say with emphasis and authority that this issue is not related to network interface utilization during playback. Or frankly, that it's not related to cpu or memory utilization during playback either.

What we do not yet know is if we would all experience pixelation in the same titles at the same times during playback, indicating where potentially the encoding/decoding issues me be more visible - or if the pixelation occurs at more random times following playback (meaning random from Premiere to Premiere - NOT random on an individual Premiere. We've already proven that where there is pixelation, if you pause, rewind, play over, etc - the pixelation, dropout, etc, will ALWAYS occur again and again at the same spots).
As you stated, my movie was fully downloaded before playback on my Elite. The problem also occurred on previous HD movie titles on my bedroom standard Premiere. I'm near certain the network performance on the problem since I suspect that the file downloaded from Amazon is checked for integrity.

As you stated, CPU loading at the time of playback has zero impact on the problem. I'm very surprised TiVo has not been able to re-create this problem in their labs. I'm guessing they haven't purchased too many HD movies from Amazon!

With all of that said, the pixelation was significant but did not make the movie unwatchable. I would surmise that there are many Premiere owners who have rented HD movie titles from Amazon and haven't bothered to complain about the pixelation.

I've decided to not complain to Amazon about my recent experience. I'm hoping Margret can report back to us that a fix to this problem has been identified.
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Old 01-20-2012, 02:34 PM   #56
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I'm very satisfied with the sustomer reps at Amazon when resovlingmy VOD issues
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:54 AM   #57
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Exact same experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmhjr View Post
If you use Amazon HD movies, then I would absolutely not consider a Premiere at this time. I have effectively a zero percent success rate with Amazon HD downloads on my Premiere Elite, and a 100% success rate on either of my HDs. It is absolutely, totally, factually clear that the only variable in my particular case is the Premiere. I have now even downloaded Amazon HD content on my Elite, had massive pixelation, then bought and downloaded the same content on an HD, having zero issues. That finishes up the troubleshooting steps I've used before, pretty much proving that the fly in the ointment here is the Premiere.
Amazon downloads directly to the TV or to the Series 3 Tivos are fine...Downloading to my Elite results in a unwatchable mess. Both Tivos are connected to the same network switch...I swapped the cables and ports on the switch...same result. Seems to support something is funky with the Elite.
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Old 01-21-2012, 05:31 PM   #58
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I'm very satisfied with the sustomer reps at Amazon when resovlingmy VOD issues
I don't want to have to engage Amazon to deal with problems. I want the problem fixed. It does zero good to get money refunded if your intent and purpose is to watch the content. Frankly, IMHO Tivo should be crediting back all service fees for Premieres until such time as they release a reasonably good quality product. While I was very excited upon initial receipt of my Premiere Elite, I have come to realize that it is perhaps the worst quality Tivo device I've gotten yet. Initially it was just Amazon HD downloads. Now it's spontaneous reboots, sluggish behavior, etc. It has effectively become worthless to me and has been relegated to a pretty much unused room at this point. I'm back to using my HDs as primary devices.
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Old 01-21-2012, 05:45 PM   #59
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I don't want to have to engage Amazon to deal with problems. I want the problem fixed. It does zero good to get money refunded if your intent and purpose is to watch the content. Frankly, IMHO Tivo should be crediting back all service fees for Premieres until such time as they release a reasonably good quality product. While I was very excited upon initial receipt of my Premiere Elite, I have come to realize that it is perhaps the worst quality Tivo device I've gotten yet. Initially it was just Amazon HD downloads. Now it's spontaneous reboots, sluggish behavior, etc. It has effectively become worthless to me and has been relegated to a pretty much unused room at this point. I'm back to using my HDs as primary devices.
All of us, including TiVo, want the Amazon problem fixed. We've already had direct TiVo involvement acknowledging that they are looking into the problem and soliciting input from TCF to provide details and Premiere logs on the problems.

I would be interested in seeing a video of the sluggish behavior that your experiencing. 20.2 is still much faster than 14.9 on both of my boxes. I'm guessing that it is something particular to the way you and a few others are using the software.
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:01 PM   #60
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All of us, including TiVo, want the Amazon problem fixed. We've already had direct TiVo involvement acknowledging that they are looking into the problem and soliciting input from TCF to provide details and Premiere logs on the problems.

I would be interested in seeing a video of the sluggish behavior that your experiencing. 20.2 is still much faster than 14.9 on both of my boxes. I'm guessing that it is something particular to the way you and a few others are using the software.
At this point I've stopped using the Elite for anything other than as extra tuners in a room I don't use much, and have gone back to my HDs as primary. This is not because of the Amazon issue, but because the Elite has become sluggish and spontaneously reboots with no warning or predictability. It happens in the middle of recordings, when nothing is recording but things are playing back, etc. I am not using the software in any possible unique way period. I go to tivo central, now playing, scroll through recorded (generally just normal network like ABC, CBS, etc) content, select it and start playback. Period. Nothing whatsoever more. I can't imagine how that would be "unique" or "different" from other uses. I use it in its most basic fundamental fashion. Frankly, that's one of my biggest complaints about Tivo. I think there is way too much concentration on "gadgets" and "extra features" at the expense of quality and dependability for the "core fundamental" functions. After talking to Tivo support this past week and then again tonight, I no longer have the patience to deal with the Elite. I'm really disappointed because it really seemed like such a high quality product when I first got it. I am severely concerned that with no software or hardware changes, the behavior of the unit just randomly changes. And that Tivo did not prioritize delivery of 20.2 to customers who have legitimate recorded ticket numbers that they "claim" will be resolved by 20.2.

Bottom line here is that I've really stopped using the Elite for the most part now. It's a $500 doorstop that every once in a while records something that my HDs do not. I have a bunch of content on it that I'm gradually moving onto the HDs and watching. Sad night. I'm going to just try to not look at the Elite for a while, and wait for 20.2 to get deployed to it (if that ever happens) and see if it's any better than 14.9.2.2, and even if it IS, keep my fingers crossed that the same delayed issues don't start popping up down the road. Bottom line is that Tivo has given me absolutely not a single solitary reason to be optimistic. The tech at Tivo tonight actually told me that I should expect this, because "it took 2 years to get the bugs out of the Series 3, and even after that we just released a fix for another issue with the Series 3". No kidding. Like Tivo should be proud that it took 2 years for the S3? Really? I did not solicit this. It was a almost word for word comment by the Tivo support person. Blew my mind.
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