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Old 04-10-2012, 12:24 PM   #1
diamondsw
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TivoHD pixelating, stuttering - but not consistently

Hello, everyone. For the last few months my TivoHD (single drive, upgraded to 1TB) has been experiencing issues playing back recorded content (I haven't noticed this on live - but then again, I never watch live). Sometimes the picture will simply pixelate a lot, and sometimes it will pause for a few seconds, or even jump ahead by 10-20 seconds (for example, it might jump straight from one Jeopardy question to the answer for the next). In my area all channels are digital (Wide Open West), and this occurs on both SD and HD broadcasts.

So where this gets a little odd is the consistency or lack thereof. Some programs will stutter or skip a half dozen times in a half hour. Some programs playback perfectly, even from the same channel. However, it's pretty certain that if we watch a couple hours of TV, we'll see several glitches an evening.

I've run the Kickstart 54 and 57 tests and everything passed. I haven't had any problems with booting up or using the Tivo, no spontaneous reboots, and I haven't heard any noise to indicate drive issues. My temperature is a bit high (49C), but just within tolerance. Signal strength is consistently above 95%, and SNR is 36dB. RS Corrected and Uncorrected are both 0. In other words, despite the issues I'm seeing everything seems to check out.

Does anyone have any advice? I don't know whether my Tivo is dying, the hard drive in it is dying, or if my cable provider is sending (a lot of) bad data down the wire. I's lean towards the drive, except the tests don't back up that theory. Also, if it comes down to replacing the drive, is it possible to upgrade a TivoHD (non-XL) to 2TB these days, or are we still stuck with a 1.1TB limit?

Last edited by diamondsw : 04-10-2012 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:09 PM   #2
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When you see the glitches can you rewind and play, does it always glitch the same way? If it always glitches the same way the problem is the content or the write operation to the disk. If it plays correctly sometimes then the read operation is sometimes failing.

Your disk is probably getting ready to quit ( it may be re-mapping sectors all the time, until it runs out ). If you remove the disk and place it in a PC there are some diagnostics to see if you have a large number of re-mapped sectors, and you could do some more surface analysis....

2TB work using JMFS but you need to start from the original disk.
There is a large thread on this....
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shamilian View Post
When you see the glitches can you rewind and play, does it always glitch the same way? If it always glitches the same way the problem is the content or the write operation to the disk. If it plays correctly sometimes then the read operation is sometimes failing.

Your disk is probably getting ready to quit ( it may be re-mapping sectors all the time, until it runs out ). If you remove the disk and place it in a PC there are some diagnostics to see if you have a large number of re-mapped sectors, and you could do some more surface analysis....
That's kind of what I'm afraid of - it feels like a dying disk, but it's stubbornly passing all of the disk tests. The glitches always happen the same way - bad data is definitely getting written to the disk, but I don't know if it's a matter of bad data from the cable, an issue in the tuner, or the disk failing when writing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shamilian View Post
2TB work using JMFS but you need to start from the original disk.
There is a large thread on this....
I know there are threads on 2TB TivoHD - but like so many things Tivo hacking, there are just so many threads from different points in time that it's hard to find what's current sometimes.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:05 PM   #4
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If your RS Uncorrected is 0 then it should not be the tuner, but the writing to the disk that is failing.

The first post in this thread has a pretty simple to follow instructions and a link to the JMFS thread to download the image.

TivoHD JMFS
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shamilian View Post
If your RS Uncorrected is 0 then it should not be the tuner, but the writing to the disk that is failing.

The first post in this thread has a pretty simple to follow instructions and a link to the JMFS thread to download the image.

TivoHD JMFS
As I'm in the boat of "previously upgraded to 1TB", it looks like the process can be dicey. I think I'll see if I can live with it for another month, at which point I'll be able to free up a 1TB drive from another project (it'll be the third "hand me down" for that drive - hope it lasts!).
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:15 AM   #6
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Knock on wood... but since running the Kickstart tests the other night, playback seems improved. Certainly we made it through an evening of Tivo watching with nary an issue. Sadly, I don't have any known bad videos to re-test, as we delete as we go (and deleted stuff doesn't remain long).

Is it possible that the Kickstart tests remapped some bad sectors but still passed the drive? Is there any way to tell if I pull the drive and use an MFS LiveCD to access the logs? (I mean, I'd certainly prefer not to go through all of that, but if that's what it takes I'm game - it beats replacing the drive.)
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:50 AM   #7
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If you are going to pull the drive, I would use the manufacturer's drive tool to investigate. Kickstart tests are light, and only address clear issues. You kept the original drive, correct? It could make sense to let that boot up and update (depending upon how long ago it was pulled) in anticipation of possibly having to install a new 1TB drive (especially as you may pull the existing drive anyhow).
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:41 PM   #8
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If you are going to pull the drive, I would use the manufacturer's drive tool to investigate. Kickstart tests are light, and only address clear issues. You kept the original drive, correct? It could make sense to let that boot up and update (depending upon how long ago it was pulled) in anticipation of possibly having to install a new 1TB drive (especially as you may pull the existing drive anyhow).
Pretty sure I still have the original drive in a box somewhere - but it's at least been 3-4 years since it was last in a Tivo. Still, I suppose it doesn't hurt to keep it up-to-date in case I need to start from scratch. I'd really prefer to clone the existing 1TB drive and preserve recorded programs and the (somewhat insane) 50-odd season passes my wife has set up.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:55 PM   #9
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I'm not sure if the season passes would be an issue- they may come down with the software update. If you have another box you could copy them over. Regardless, that would not happen if they were wishlists.

Actually, what I would do is use this as a reason to update the capacity. Drive prices for 1TB v 2TB are so similar these days I would just make the jump.

Update to 2TB using the original one you have saved so you have it ready in case your 1TB fails (high WAF on this- no extended downtime), then copy what you can to a PC. Then I would pull the 1TB drive, install the 2TB, let the 2TB update, and see if the drive tools can save the 1TB for a file server or other backup.
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:01 PM   #10
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I'm just wondering why your temp is so high, have you checked to see if the fan is still spinning? Do you have this inside a cabinet, or is it sitting out in the open?
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:39 PM   #11
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I'm just wondering why your temp is so high, have you checked to see if the fan is still spinning? Do you have this inside a cabinet, or is it sitting out in the open?
Inside a cabinet with exceptionally poor ventilation. It's solid wood, and I hate to go making permanent changes to it.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:16 PM   #12
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Inside a cabinet with exceptionally poor ventilation. It's solid wood, and I hate to go making permanent changes to it.
Well, try sitting it outside the cabinet and letting it cool down and see if you're still having the same issues. I had a fan go out once and didnt know it and the temp shot up and I was having a lot of what you described. Sounds like an overheating issue to me. My HD's run at around 35C most the time, and goes up to 37C on a hot day. Just test it outside the cabinet and see what happens.
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Old 04-14-2012, 11:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shamilian View Post
...

2TB work using JMFS but you need to start from the original disk.
...
Actually you do not.

My "secret recipe" for a TCD652160 is to use WinMFS to copy the original 160GB to a 1TB, embiggening the swap partition to 1000MB in the process, and expanding by adding an MFS pair, and then letting jmfs "Xerox" that to a 2TB and then add a single MFS media partition.

The trick is to not have any spare space on the drive which jmfs copies, because that space will be interpreted as an Apple Free partition, and if you've expanded already by adding an MFS pair, those are partitions 14 and 15, and the Apple Free partition would be partition 16, and 16 is TiVo's limit per drive, which means anything added on top of that by jmfs would be considered partiton 17, and the TiVo software will interpret that as a bad external drive, and make you divorce it, which would erase it, and put you back at only 1TB of usable space.
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Old 04-14-2012, 11:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diamondsw View Post
Hello, everyone. For the last few months my TivoHD (single drive, upgraded to 1TB) has been experiencing issues playing back recorded content (I haven't noticed this on live - but then again, I never watch live). Sometimes the picture will simply pixelate a lot, and sometimes it will pause for a few seconds, or even jump ahead by 10-20 seconds (for example, it might jump straight from one Jeopardy question to the answer for the next). In my area all channels are digital (Wide Open West), and this occurs on both SD and HD broadcasts.

So where this gets a little odd is the consistency or lack thereof. Some programs will stutter or skip a half dozen times in a half hour. Some programs playback perfectly, even from the same channel. However, it's pretty certain that if we watch a couple hours of TV, we'll see several glitches an evening.

I've run the Kickstart 54 and 57 tests and everything passed. I haven't had any problems with booting up or using the Tivo, no spontaneous reboots, and I haven't heard any noise to indicate drive issues. My temperature is a bit high (49C), but just within tolerance. Signal strength is consistently above 95%, and SNR is 36dB. RS Corrected and Uncorrected are both 0. In other words, despite the issues I'm seeing everything seems to check out.

Does anyone have any advice? I don't know whether my Tivo is dying, the hard drive in it is dying, or if my cable provider is sending (a lot of) bad data down the wire. I's lean towards the drive, except the tests don't back up that theory. Also, if it comes down to replacing the drive, is it possible to upgrade a TivoHD (non-XL) to 2TB these days, or are we still stuck with a 1.1TB limit?
jmfs will let you use a 2TB in a TCD652160.

I know, because I did it a few months ago.

Exactly how we go about doing that, and whether the original 160Gb will be needed depends on a few things we can discuss later, perhaps in a separate thread.

First, if all of this is happening on input from the same cable company, i.e., none of it being from Over The Air channels as well, then suspect the signal from the cable company, or the signal that comes into the cable company.

Do you have any sort of cable box from them as well that outputs line level signals (yellow, white, red jacks) which you could feed to an old VCR to tape while you aren't around to watch live to see if the problem is in the signal before it gets to the TiVo?
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Old 04-14-2012, 11:49 PM   #15
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I appreciate the additional advice. Unfortunately, this is the only cable-box or TV in the house, so my ability to do any side-by-side troubleshooting is limited. What I've done for now is run all of the kickstart tests again (all passed) and left the cabinet open 24x7 to see if there's a difference. Next time we have an overnight break in recording I'll pop the drive and run some more thorough tests on it.

The additional info on the 2TB expansion is good, and may be very useful as I can't locate the original 160GB drive after all (although heaven knows what I would have done with such a small drive). Worst case scenario, we buy a new 2TB and dump our recordings in the process. We'll live, although WAF will plummet.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:10 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by diamondsw View Post
I appreciate the additional advice. Unfortunately, this is the only cable-box or TV in the house, so my ability to do any side-by-side troubleshooting is limited. What I've done for now is run all of the kickstart tests again (all passed) and left the cabinet open 24x7 to see if there's a difference. Next time we have an overnight break in recording I'll pop the drive and run some more thorough tests on it.

The additional info on the 2TB expansion is good, and may be very useful as I can't locate the original 160GB drive after all (although heaven knows what I would have done with such a small drive). Worst case scenario, we buy a new 2TB and dump our recordings in the process. We'll live, although WAF will plummet.
We should be able to copy the 1TB to a 2TB, recordings and all.

Do you have a PC (as in not a Mac)?
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:12 AM   #17
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We should be able to copy the 1TB to a 2TB, recordings and all.

Do you have a PC (as in not a Mac)?
I can do it all via a virtual machine. I've done it before back in my DTivo hacking days.
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