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Old 05-21-2007, 01:24 PM   #1
hddude55
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Thread to discuss 8.3 causing pixelation/audio drop

It seems that many of us are convinced that 8.3 is somehow causing sustained pixelation and audio drops in machines that previously worked great or at least had very sporadic problems pre-8.3. I reported this to TiVo two weeks ago and the techs didn't even seem to know pixelation/audio drops were a frequent issue, so you can imagine I didn't get much help. Instead, they sent a new Series3 my way. It is working great but is still on 8.1 and I fear what will happen when 8.3 is rolled out to it.

I know many others have already posted this issue in other threads, and it seemed like it was time to give the issue a separate discussion forum. Hopefully, TiVoPony will chime in at some point.
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Old 05-21-2007, 02:17 PM   #2
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I'd suggest checking your cablecards and your cableco's configuration of them. They are your interface to the cable signal and are responsible for probably 99% of signal related issues (as audio/video drops are) as I've seen and experienced. Also, get your cable company to check your signal strength and remove any splitters that you may be using. I highly doubt that Tivo's software is the root cause behind any signal issues.
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Old 05-21-2007, 03:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TostitoBandito
I'd suggest checking your cablecards and your cableco's configuration of them. They are your interface to the cable signal and are responsible for probably 99% of signal related issues (as audio/video drops are) as I've seen and experienced. Also, get your cable company to check your signal strength and remove any splitters that you may be using. I highly doubt that Tivo's software is the root cause behind any signal issues.
I'm not sure I would discount that so quickly. My evidence is somewhat anecdotal, but I feel that I've been getting more pixelation in the time since 8.3 appeared. It's not awful, but it is noticeable.
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Old 05-21-2007, 03:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by IJustLikeTivo
I'm not sure I would discount that so quickly. My evidence is somewhat anecdotal, but I feel that I've been getting more pixelation in the time since 8.3 appeared. It's not awful, but it is noticeable.

Well audio and/or video dropping out or becoming garbled at times is different than simply slightly lower video quality or visible macroblocking as you describe. My point was that an issue where your audio and video both drop or become garbled at the same is very likely signal related and can be traced to the interface between you and the cableco.
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Old 05-21-2007, 07:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by IJustLikeTivo
I'm not sure I would discount that so quickly. My evidence is somewhat anecdotal, but I feel that I've been getting more pixelation in the time since 8.3 appeared. It's not awful, but it is noticeable.
That's my experience, IJLT, and I am not a big believer in coincidence. Everything was fine for the first three months of ownership under 8.1, I then received 8.3 and major pixeilation/audio drops immediately followed. If I was alone, I'd buy the coicidence/other causes angle, but it sounds like many others are telling the same story. That's why I started the thread -- to share anecdotal stories to see if there really is a pattern. If so, I think TiVoPony will be interested.

(I would appreciate it if the skeptics did not hijack this thread. I think most of us are well aware of the other possible causes. They have been discussed extensively in other threads.)
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Old 05-21-2007, 07:29 PM   #6
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I got 8.3 and have problems with pixilation and audio drop outs. It's not all the time though. I use analog cable and over the air only. No cable cards.
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:42 PM   #7
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I live in the same area as Runch Machine and have simular problems with pixilation and audio drop outs since version 8.3 was downloaded. It's not all the time. I have Comcast digital cable and over the air, with two cable cards. I had no problems before 8.3.
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:47 PM   #8
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Thank you for starting this thread. I believe it to be a very real potential problem and concern for many. This thread will allow us to compare and explore experiences. If I can find time for testing, I will definitely try to contribute my experiences but I fear I won't have time at the moment. My first test would be to record the same program OTA and over cable to see if dropouts occurred at the same time. If OTA HD and cable HD dropouts occur at the same time, we could probably rule out a bug in v8.3.1 and attribute it to satellite feed.
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wgw
Thank you for starting this thread. I believe it to be a very real potential problem and concern for many. This thread will allow us to compare and explore experiences. If I can find time for testing, I will definitely try to contribute my experiences but I fear I won't have time at the moment. My first test would be to record the same program OTA and over cable to see if dropouts occurred at the same time. If OTA HD and cable HD dropouts occur at the same time, we could probably rule out a bug in v8.3.1 and attribute it to satellite feed.
Before I received my replacement TiVo last week, I had the opportunity to perform a test.

A week ago last Thursday, I started watching the partially recorded first round of the Players Championship golf tournament from the beginning before the program had completed recording. It was almost unwatchable for the entire recorded portion -- a couple hours or so -- due to sustained audio drops and pixelation. Since the program -- a 7-hour marathon! -- had not completed recording I flipped it on live. I have my cable split such that one lead goes to TiVo, the other directly to the TV in case both TiVo tuners are recording and I want to watch a third show live. This gave me the chance to compare the live feed through TiVo vs. the live feed directly to the TV. The pixelation and audio drops were constant on the live feed through TiVo --just as they were on the recorded portion -- but the feed directly to the TV was a perfect picture. I realize this doesn't rule out faulty cable cards but suggests the signal from Cox Cable here in Gilbert, AZ was not the culprit.

Last edited by hddude55 : 05-22-2007 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Runch Machine
I got 8.3 and have problems with pixilation and audio drop outs. It's not all the time though. I use analog cable and over the air only. No cable cards.
Did you have problems before 8.3 to the same degree you do now?
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:45 AM   #11
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I had MASSIVE problems with 8.0, which were maybe 80% fixed by 8.1. 8.3 isn't better or worse than 8.1 on my S3.
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:20 AM   #12
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I also had significant problems with 8.0 that were mostly solved with 8.1. Then 8.3 comes along and now things are worse than they have ever been.

I have a Pioneer PDP-5070HD with a cablecard installed and I can switch to direct view on the Pioneer when I have problems on the Tivo. I have NEVER experienced any pixalation or audio dropout problems while viewing the Pioneer through its own cablecard. I have switched cable drops between the Tivo and the Pioneer with no effect.

Cox cable has extensively checked my signal and replaced cables and connectors. My signal is very good as checked with their meter and consistantly shows 98-100 on the Tivo (except during pixalation events). During pixalation events the signal as measured by the Tivo jumps around from 0 - 100. However, the actual signal going in to the Tivo remains constantly good as measured by Cox. They also swapped cablecards which did not help.

In my opinion, this problem is software related. Give me back 8.1.
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:25 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by hddude55
Instead, they sent a new Series3 my way. It is working great but is still on 8.1 and I fear what will happen when 8.3 is rolled out to it.
Has your Series 3 updated to 8.3 yet?
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Old 05-22-2007, 12:07 PM   #14
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I did not have audio drop outs or pixelation before getting 8.3. I am getting a lot of it now. I had it in the middle of the season finale of Heros!
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Old 05-22-2007, 12:30 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by IJustLikeTivo
My evidence is somewhat anecdotal, but I feel that I've been getting more pixelation in the time since 8.3 appeared. It's not awful, but it is noticeable.
+1.
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Old 05-22-2007, 12:36 PM   #16
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This seems to be a major issue, yet it seems to be effecting very few.

I will be receiving a new box this week. I think I will leave it at 8.1 until these issues are ironed out.
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ehardman
Has your Series 3 updated to 8.3 yet?
Not as of yesterday and I am having no pixelation or audio drops. I wish I could stay with 8.1 even though I know 8.3 did fix a few annoying things like slow program searches and the new 8.3 feature allowing HD-only programming searches is great.
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:20 PM   #18
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This seems to be a major issue, yet it seems to be effecting very few.

I will be receiving a new box this week. I think I will leave it at 8.1 until these issues are ironed out.
Doesn't the upgrade happen automatically, or can I block it?
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:47 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by worachj
I live in the same area as Runch Machine and have simular problems with pixilation and audio drop outs since version 8.3 was downloaded. It's not all the time. I have Comcast digital cable and over the air, with two cable cards. I had no problems before 8.3.
That's our setup and our experience exactly...no splitter, cable cards with Comcast. We had no problems prior to 8.3 and now we experience brief/sporadic pixelation and audio dropouts on our S3.
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:52 PM   #20
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Doesn't the upgrade happen automatically, or can I block it?
If the first replacement box I received last week is any indication, it initially ended up at 8.1 after the guided setup.

I assume after that, once it is available I can choose not to restart and stay at 8.1.
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:57 PM   #21
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If the first replacement box I received last week is any indication, it initially ended up at 8.1 after the guided setup.

I assume after that, once it is available I can choose not to restart and stay at 8.1.
I don't think you have a choice. The next time it communicates with Mother TiVo (and they send a FW upgrade) it will download and reboot automatically at 2 a.m.
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:58 PM   #22
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I have not had ANY pixelation issues until 8.3 rolled out. Now channels that are using frequencies 435Mhz, 437Mhz, 441Mhz, and 453Mhz are so pixelated they are unwatchable. I live in northern Delaware and have Verizon FiOS service.
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:58 PM   #23
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The descriptions here are so vague that it's really impossible to draw any conclusions about the cause. What is pixelation? I bet if you ask 10 people here you get 10 answers. As for any audio dropouts accompanied by disturbances in the video, this is clearly a signal/processing issue of some kind. If you exprienced the same symptoms to ANY extent prior to the upgrade, the root cause is almost certainly not the new software. Whether it is instigated by the upgraded software or not, you should take steps with your cable company to ensure that your connection and cablecards are configured correctly. Re-pairing the cards or getting a new set could very well fix whatever the software did or didn't break. I'd strongly suggest that especially the people who had some issues prior to the 8.3 update do this first. If the output from your Tivo is still inconsistent after that, then you should take it up with Tivo. If you had no issues at all prior to 8.3, and have severe problems now, you should gather all the data you can (affected frequency ranges, etc...) and persistently bug Tivo about it. They can't test their software for every possible configuration, so it is inevitable that it may not operate normally in some situations. Since it's software it should definitely be fixable though.
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Old 05-22-2007, 02:01 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by ehardman
I also had significant problems with 8.0 that were mostly solved with 8.1. Then 8.3 comes along and now things are worse than they have ever been.

I have a Pioneer PDP-5070HD with a cablecard installed and I can switch to direct view on the Pioneer when I have problems on the Tivo. I have NEVER experienced any pixalation or audio dropout problems while viewing the Pioneer through its own cablecard. I have switched cable drops between the Tivo and the Pioneer with no effect.

Cox cable has extensively checked my signal and replaced cables and connectors. My signal is very good as checked with their meter and consistantly shows 98-100 on the Tivo (except during pixalation events). During pixalation events the signal as measured by the Tivo jumps around from 0 - 100. However, the actual signal going in to the Tivo remains constantly good as measured by Cox. They also swapped cablecards which did not help.

In my opinion, this problem is software related. Give me back 8.1.
As far as I know, Tivo's signal strength meter is strictly an error rate metric and has nothing to do with the actual strength of the signal.
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Old 05-22-2007, 02:16 PM   #25
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What is pixelation?
In this context pixelation or pixelization is when chunks of video are not smoothly updating in their appropriate places but instead lagging behind and/or moving around the screen in a manner that breaks up continuous picture and makes it hard or impossible to watch.
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Old 05-22-2007, 02:19 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by TostitoBandito
The descriptions here are so vague that it's really impossible to draw any conclusions about the cause. What is pixelation? I bet if you ask 10 people here you get 10 answers. As for any audio dropouts accompanied by disturbances in the video, this is clearly a signal/processing issue of some kind. If you exprienced the same symptoms to ANY extent prior to the upgrade, the root cause is almost certainly not the new software. Whether it is instigated by the upgraded software or not, you should take steps with your cable company to ensure that your connection and cablecards are configured correctly. Re-pairing the cards or getting a new set could very well fix whatever the software did or didn't break. If the output from your Tivo is still inconsistent after that, then you should take it up with Tivo.
We experience a brief - one or two seconds - picture pixelization which consists of a picture freeze/breakup that sometimes is only a few lines and sometimes more, but usually not the entire picture. This is concurrent with audio loss and then a return to normal playback. This can happen once or a couple of times during a show. It only happens now and then and appears on various channels and shows. We usually see it on at least one show of the four or five we watch daily.

Agreed this has all of the earmarks of a signal loss. We used to have SKYTV on Satellite and this type of problem was typical with poor weather (rain). However we've had Comcast with two cable cards for a while now and we've not had this problem on our S3 until the 8.3 upgrade. It could be a coincidence, but based on the responses it seems likely that something has changed. Perhaps the signal processing has become more sensitive somehow? Who knows. There does seem to be something amiss here though.
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Old 05-22-2007, 05:25 PM   #27
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The descriptions here are so vague that it's really impossible to draw any conclusions about the cause.
Please don't try to squash this thread. You don't seem to have the problems we have described and your proposed solutions for our "vague" problems have been thoroughly discussed in other threads. Some of us are convinced that there could be a problem with 8.3 causing pixelation and sound drops, and this thread exists to discuss that possibility. I can't help but wonder why you seem determined to head us off. You stated your position that we were wrong yesterday and now you are back telling us the same thing today.

Hopefully someone in the know that works for TiVo like TiVoPony will read this thread and other posts on the topic in other threads, and elevate the matter to where it will be dealt with competently at TiVo.

You sound pretty knowledgeable and therefore should know how frustrating it is to call tech support and get nowhere. The TiVo tech support staff is consistently polite, but like most first-line tech support staff they seem to be inexperienced and uninformed. I have talked to them a couple times about this matter but got nowhere. On a positive note, it appears their tech support staff is about the last tech support staff of any US company that comprehends spoken US English without a major hassle; i.e., the staff hasn't been relocated to India...yet.

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Old 05-22-2007, 06:54 PM   #28
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Please don't try to squash this thread. You don't seem to have the problems we have described and your proposed solutions for our "vague" problems have been thoroughly discussed in other threads. Some of us are convinced that there could be a problem with 8.3 causing pixelation and sound drops, and this thread exists to discuss that possibility. I can't help but wonder why you seem determined to head us off. You stated your position that we were wrong yesterday and now you are back telling us the same thing today.

Hopefully someone in the know that works for TiVo like TiVoPony will read this thread and other posts on the topic in other threads, and elevate the matter to where it will be dealt with competently at TiVo.

You sound pretty knowledgeable and therefore should know how frustrating it is to call tech support and get nowhere. The TiVo tech support staff is consistently polite, but like most first-line tech support staff they seem to be inexperienced and uninformed. I have talked to them a couple times about this matter but got nowhere. On a positive note, it appears their tech support staff is about the last tech support staff of any US company that comprehends spoken US English without a major hassle; i.e., the staff hasn't been relocated to India...yet.
I'm not trying to squash anything. I'm just saying that from reading many of these threads over the past months it seems to me that many of the people are confusing multiple issues and multiple causes. I know from my own experience what signal dropouts (which is what is being described, at least by a couple people) are and what caused mine. I think it's reasonable to assume that not every single person complaining about this issue on these forums has a problem caused by Tivo's new software (though some might). There are some basic troubleshooting steps you can go through (like cablecard pairing, removing cablecards and seeing if the problem occurs on OTA HD, isolating which channels exhibit the problem, etc..) which could fix or definitively identify the problem if it is not broken software. I'm just trying to point that out. Adding to what you said about Tivo's support, try and give them all the help that you can.

Personally, my apartment has a splitter or two back behind the wall someplace which weakens the signal reaching me. This causes two of my HD channels which both occupy frequencies on the edge of the range (MHD and UHD) to have intermittent A/V dropouts, sometimes lasting fractions of a second and sometimes for a couple hours. I've been meaning to get a signal amplifier to play around with but haven't yet. Anyways, it's understandable how something like this could manifest itself more or less after the software which processes the signal is changed. Come to think of it, I've noticed a higher frequency of dropouts on those channels since 8.3, but that isn't great data since I don't watch those channels a lot. Point is, the root cause isn't necessarily the software.
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:53 PM   #29
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I don't know if the software is causing the problem, but the problem is within the Tivo in my case. I have an HD Tivo DVR from DIRECTV (HR10-250) that I've been using for a couple of years. It's still in use as backup. Most of what I record is from local channels received over the air. Sunday night I started watching Desperate Housewives on my Series 3. There was pixilation and audio drop outs during the first few minutes. I switched over to the Directv HD Tivo and started from the beginning and there were no drop outs. The entire show was recorded perfectly. Both the Series 3 and HR10-250 use the same TV antenna which provides a solid reliable signal.
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Old 05-22-2007, 08:33 PM   #30
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Edge . I had no pixilation prior to 8.3 but have had some since. I am only using analog cable (Knology) and OTA antenna, no cable cards. I too have compared HD cable signal (local QAM) at the same time with no pixilation.
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