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Old 02-27-2008, 03:39 PM   #601
richsadams
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Originally Posted by DingoAce10 View Post
thanks rich! I see that a couple of times on my WB station, but usually only happends once per show (and I only watch SuperNatural on that station)...so if this problem is a constant problem on a channel I don't think I have that.
I do have the "tiling" problem on my local sports Network (NESN) but I figured it was just the broadcast.
Would it hurt my PQ if I did this fix for Verizon and didn't need it?
Thanks!
PQ could be impacted by attenuation...some channels improving and others being degraded, but the only way to find out is to try it. A number of folks have found the sweet spot; reporting that all channels are good now...others haven't been so fortunate.

Let us know what you decide to do.
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Old 02-27-2008, 08:30 PM   #602
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Pixilation and Cablecards

Another update. A week ago my problems of pixilation (and signal loss) seemed to be fixed with 16 db of attenuators but on Monday this week everything came back on channels 38 and 43-pixilation and loss of signal several times a minute.

I called Cablevision to refresh the cards and pixilation/loss of signal on the same channels is now once every couple of minutes. Cablevision was willing to send a tech but with the understanding if it was the TIVO box they would charge me for the visit even if there was no solution.

A call to TIVO support was not very helpful (try more attenuators). They stated that there are known problems between TIVO HD and NDS cards that is currently being worked on with no timetable as of yet.

TIVO was willing to change boxes but this requires a visit from Cablevision to install new cards for a $50 fee with no guarantee of improvement.

For the time being I just have to live with pixilation on AMC, USA and to a lesser extent TNT. All the high def channels seem untouched as well as most other channels.

John
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:57 AM   #603
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Originally Posted by richsadams View Post
Okay...hmm52...welcome to the forum...I think. You are certainly in the running for the longest post on the forum this year, and perhaps for previous years, but I'm not taking the time to check. I'm sure your post was filled with valuable knowledge, but I got lost somewhere near half way and skimmed the rest.

I did pick up on a couple of things. If your Series3 has rebooted repeatedly and you've seen the GSOD more than a few times, your hard drive is most likely failing. That is not normal behavior and you should contact TiVo for a replacement. If you're experiencing tiling/macroblocking you can try following the advice about attenuating your FIOS signal.

We have had our Series3 w/Comcast/Motorola "S" cable cards for over a year and (with brief exceptions which are to be expected) do not experience the tiling issue. We've had our TiVo HD w/Comcast/Motorola "M" cable card for a few months and have not had any problems either. We've never had to return any TiVo's over the years. That's not to say there aren't problems now and then, but most of the people that find their way to this forum have problems...the other four plus million that have TiVo subscriptions are apparently doing okay.

With regard to bugs and software updates, this post by a TiVo employee that frequents the forum has more info.

If you'd like an answer to a specific question, it's best to make it simple and short otherwise you're likely to be ignored.

Good luck...I think.

Thanks for the qualified welcome and the link. I agree that my post was as bloated as the worst of the RS values I've seen with the Series3. My questions were few, mostly what to expect from TiVo Inc. as I'm new to them. The reason for posting was more to provide a reference for those TiVoHD & TiVoS3 users who are experiencing pixelation but don't have a closely comparable product for comparison. Cablecard devices became quite rare after '05 until TiVo introduced the S3 late in '06.

It's good to hear that the majority of HD & S3 owners are not having this problem. That should be encouraging to those of us in the minority receiving imperfect signals from our CATV providers, especially Verizon once their rate of expansion cools off.

Because the bloat of my post probably caused it to be more passed over than read, I'll summarize the salient points.

I've been with FiOS TV for 15 months. Signal quality became erratic 7 months ago. Since then it has varied month by month; hour by hour within the bad periods. I see little possibility for lasting improvement until they get around to replacing the ONT in my house and the equipment at the central office serving my area. It may well be that the S3 wouldn't have exhibited any pixelation if I was using it in the 1st 8 mo.s with FiOS. In its 4 weeks of use, it has pixelated on Tuner 1 for the first two and on Tuner 0 since observed after adding second cablecard. A bedroom TV, Toshiba, also pixelated to a lesser extent in the 1st 10 days of the period.

I've never seen a greater propensity for pixelation than with the S3. My other QAM cablecard devices in routine use since purchase - Sony SXRD TV, 27 months; 2 Sony HDD250 DVRs, 28 mo.s; Toshiba LCD TV, 15 mo.s. In the ability to cope with an errant signal then display a stable clean picture, I rank them as follows (0-10):

Sony TV & DVR 9
Toshiba TV 3
S3 Tuner 1 1
S3 Tuner 0 0.5

The tuning weakness of the S3 isn't limited to high signal level. A moderate amount of attenuation (11db) cleaned up the local HDs but played havoc with some other channels on different frequencies.

The diagnostics screen most reveals how well tuning is being done, not the quality of the feed itself. - vast difference between Tuners 1 & 0 on problem channels.

The tuning difficulties seem to be taking place ahead of the cablecard decryption process. - with card removed, diagnostic values behave exactly as they did before removal.

My general point is that the S3 tuner falls well short of other brand's which have been on the market for some time. I think it's reasonable to expect better even if CATV providers aren't doing such a great job with their signals.

In the current week my S3 has had no issues whatsoever on Tuner 1. Tuner 0 continues to have no tune or pixelation on channels at 6 different frequencies (639, 645, 711, 729, 771, & 777mghz). I would like to hear how many of you have been satisfied with a TiVo exchange unit under similar circumstances.

Still too verbose?
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:09 AM   #604
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Still too verbose?
Much better...and good, clear info. I think everyone here would agree with the summation that the Series3 is very picky about the signal it can and will process. It's better now than it was a few months ago, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. A lot has to do with the cable card issue IMO which is still being ironed out. I'd expect continued improvement with the next upgrade which is due any day now.

Thanks for the info and I'll let others chime in with their experiences.
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:25 AM   #605
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Rich,

In response to your post concerning the signal differences between service providers.

I would be more optimistic if the following was NOT true:

The Motorola boxes basically work with any signal, including Verizon FIOS, without any hardware or software tweaks out of the box. To not start an argument concerning features I am only talking about being able to take a QAM signal on any frequency and channel anywhere in the country and present a pixel free picture to the TV.

I'm sure there is a QAM transmission and reception standard, I don't know what it is, but I can deduce that TIVO cannot handle the entire spectrum +/- dbs and signal quality. If the FIOS and others SP signal fall within that spec then TIVO needs to be able to handle it.

As i said before if they knew how to fix the problem in software it would have been done already.

Though I generally agree with you, I don't automatically assume that Verizon's signal is always within spec. Since November they have been skirting the law in the Philadelphia area by providing a non-conforming unencrypted signal for local digital broadcasts. They are not a member of ATSC. Comcast is. Only certain brands of tuners can tune their current unencrypted digital signal. An old LG receiver I have will. My Sony tuners won't. Never a problem with Comcast. The LCD TVs they recently gave away to new subscribers can't manage the signal either. Despite ferocious protests, VZ's response has been that they are "aware of the problem and are working on a solution."
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:52 PM   #606
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Message to richsadams

Rich-

You seem to have a tremendous amount of knowledge on the various causes of stuttering / sluggish / rebooting S3's. Could I suggest that you come up with a step by step decision tree for diagnosing and possibly resolving these issues? I know you cannot test for every permutation of cableco's, cable cards, eSATA drive mfg's, HDMI cable mfg's, etc.... But, I still think a centralized and standardized diagnosis procedure would be helpful to many users - and maybe even Tivo themselves!
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:21 PM   #607
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Rich-

You seem to have a tremendous amount of knowledge on the various causes of stuttering / sluggish / rebooting S3's. Could I suggest that you come up with a step by step decision tree for diagnosing and possibly resolving these issues? I know you cannot test for every permutation of cableco's, cable cards, eSATA drive mfg's, HDMI cable mfg's, etc.... But, I still think a centralized and standardized diagnosis procedure would be helpful to many users - and maybe even Tivo themselves!
Thanks for the vote of confidence...much appreciated. I'm no expert by any means. I know some of my advice from days gone by was flat out wrong...as is some we all see now and then. Some of my knowledge is first-hand, but a majority of it has come from reading the wise (and sometimes not-so-wise) suggestions others have posted over the years. This forum is generally a great place for good people that are experiencing trouble to reach out and find some decent help from others.

I agree that having some sort of trouble shooting sticky would be ideal. A lot of the solutions to problems people run into have already been posted (repeatedly sometimes) but I'm not sure I'm the one to gather all of the info and put it in one place. Plus there are so many permutations and variables that I'm not sure it's possible to be right under every circumstance.

That said there are plenty of others here (and you know who you are ) that could do just as well or better than I in the troubleshooting department. Perhaps we should collaborate on something? I'm up for it. Anyone?
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Old 02-29-2008, 10:20 AM   #608
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Originally Posted by ciucca View Post
The Motorola boxes basically work with any signal, including Verizon FIOS, without any hardware or software tweaks out of the box. To not start an argument concerning features I am only talking about being able to take a QAM signal on any frequency and channel anywhere in the country and present a pixel free picture to the TV.
I disagree with this statement. I would phrase it like: Cable companies tweak their signal until they work with Motorola boxes, regardless of the official specifications cablecard hosts are required to support. They use the excuse "Hey - our box is working, we must be giving you a good signal" without using all of the appropriate test equipment to prove that fact. If they put out a signal that the majority of their customers are unhappy with, they're going to fix it pretty darn quickly. But, if they put out a signal that only a few customers are unhappy with, and those customers are using 3rd party equipment, they're *MUCH* more likely to blame the 3rd party equipment, without doing their due diligence (especially when they can try to upsell you to their DVR - there's just so little motivation for them to do their job right).

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Originally Posted by ciucca View Post
I'm sure there is a QAM transmission and reception standard, I don't know what it is, but I can deduce that TIVO cannot handle the entire spectrum +/- dbs and signal quality. If the FIOS and others SP signal fall within that spec then TIVO needs to be able to handle it.
There is a standard, and all cablecard hosts are tested by cablelabs to that standard. The tests aren't just testing a "perfect" signal, but also explicitly throw in a bunch of errors that the host must be able to deal with.
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Old 02-29-2008, 11:27 AM   #609
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Cable companies tweak their signal until they work with Motorola boxes, regardless of the official specifications cablecard hosts are required to support. They use the excuse "Hey - our box is working, we must be giving you a good signal" without using all of the appropriate test equipment to prove that fact. If they put out a signal that the majority of their customers are unhappy with, they're going to fix it pretty darn quickly. But, if they put out a signal that only a few customers are unhappy with, and those customers are using 3rd party equipment, they're *MUCH* more likely to blame the 3rd party equipment, without doing their due diligence (especially when they can try to upsell you to their DVR - there's just so little motivation for them to do their job right).
Exactly.

Plus a lot of the STB/DVR's out there simply use proprietary processors built to the cableco's specs...no cable cards...apples/oranges when it comes to TiVo comparisons. Again, "Hey our box works...must be your TiVo."
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:59 PM   #610
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You guys can speculate all you want. What proof do you have that Motorola boxes are tweaked for a particular cable co signal? I know a few people in the industry that will dispute that statement. The proof to me is in the specifications, you either meet the spec or you do not, due to misunderstanding requirements bugs etc. Tivo does not, regardless what we would like to believe.
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Old 02-29-2008, 01:38 PM   #611
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What proof do you have that Motorola boxes are tweaked for a particular cable co signal?
Likely the same "proof" that anyone here may have that they aren't. If I'm a cableco ordering thousands of boxes at a time I'd wager they aren't off the shelf, but specifically built to my specs; specs which would apply to my current system of delivery. Roderigo's speculation was that cableco's tweak their signal, not their DVR's which seems just as reasonable.

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The proof to me is in the specifications, you either meet the spec or you do not, due to misunderstanding requirements bugs etc. Tivo does not, regardless what we would like to believe.
Is there some "proof" for such a blanket statement or is that speculation based on various posts from people having problems here?

FWIW I could easily say that all cableco boxes don't meet the given standards. We went through four Comcast Motorola HD DVR's in a three month period before we bought our Series3. All four of the moto boxes failed or had problems including issues exactly like the ones described on threads here. Our Series3 has had zero problems. Others can tell you that they've had zero problems with their cableco box.

I agree there are issues for some folks, don't get me wrong. The bottom line is that most cableco boxes work with local systems as do most TiVo's. Why some don't is all speculation on everyone's part unless someone has "proof" otherwise.

The wringing of hands, gnashing of teeth and running around knees bent whining about how awful TiVo is isn't helpful. Speculating about what might be causing the issues and offering some advice to help others who are having problems is one way of dealing with things. You can be part of the problem or part of the solution.

Last edited by richsadams : 02-29-2008 at 01:50 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 02-29-2008, 03:40 PM   #612
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The wringing of hands, gnashing of teeth and running around knees bent whining about how awful TiVo is isn't helpful. Speculating about what might be causing the issues and offering some advice to help others who are having problems is one way of dealing with things. You can be part of the problem or part of the solution.
If you choose to call my posts whining then so be it. I guess if I plunk down $300 of my hard earned I should expect it to work as advertised. Tivo will only replace a box if you have gone through multiple cable cards, and blaming the cable co before they offer a replacement. In fact FIOS has replaced all my cabling and replaced the ONT to no avail. They have gone above and beyond to try to make my Tivo not pixelate.

I would like to address a few things, first I am not speculating. I don't wish to go into my resume just for posting to this board. You can choose to agree with what I say or you can dispute it, as you do. I am no technical illiterate spewing theories that do not make any sense. I find the majority of people here will defend TIVO in the face of any evidence. I also know for a fact that verizon boxes are not tuned to their signals. I will admit the head end is Motorola as are the receivers and cable cards, but they are also designed by different product teams within motorola, and are designed to specification and tested to see if they meet it.

TIVO being a third party vendor has the burden to meet the QAM specifications and design a product that works throughout the signal range. If enough customers complain they need to reproduce the signal levels in their development labs and find out what the problem is. I'm sure you will say they have done this, and they are "working on the problem". How come they do not publish what the problem is? My god they should have figured it out by now. This is the classic sign of TIVO knowing the problem is theirs and not admitting it.

I talked to enough DSP engineers here where I work to form my speculations ; that the problem is with the low cost, low grade marginal quality parts they purchased to save production costs, and they cannot make it behave by tweaking the software.

Finally I hope I am proven wrong and the next software update fixes the pixelation issue for everyone, but I am skeptical. I also make no apologize for my previous posts. I think before a potential buyer plunks down $300 and a monthly service charge they should be able to read all opinions from one end to the other and make their own decisions.

I'm surprised you even respond to my posts since you are right and I must be wrong.
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:06 PM   #613
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If you choose to call my posts whining then so be it. I guess if I plunk down $300 of my hard earned I should expect it to work as advertised. Tivo will only replace a box if you have gone through multiple cable cards, and blaming the cable co before they offer a replacement. ...
Not true.

TiVo replaced my TiVo HD (which had severe pixelization problems from a bad tuner) without first requiring me to go through any cable card replacements with my cable company. I don't recall that they blamed the cable company at all in any way. The cable company only came into play again after I had received the replacement TiVo HD and only then because I had to pair up my cable card again with the new replacement TiVo HD.

This is not to say that I think TiVo's tech support did a quality job of helping me with the problems I had with my TiVo HD, because I think their tech support was pretty crap overall. So I don't really mind reading a good rant about TiVo's poor customer service. It's just that I think that a good rant needs a fair amount of accuracy to have much effect.

Good luck with your problems though.

Cheers,

--
Fergie
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Old 02-29-2008, 07:10 PM   #614
richsadams
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I'm surprised you even respond to my posts since you are right and I must be wrong.
I read and value your posts along with everyone elseís. I never said I was right nor have I said that you're wrong and we really have no argument, we just disagree. You tend to believe things wonít get better, I think that they will.

Historical data proves that TiVo, Inc. does work on issues and that they do resolve them. That they arenít doing it transparently or as quickly as weíd often like doesnít mean that itís not being done. However Iím not naive enough to imagine that the next software upgrade will fix everything for everyone any more than the last one did. The fact that the last upgrade corrected problems for a great many folks portends well though.

Complaining really doesn't get anyone anything except maybe some sympathy; misery loves company and all of that. You have every right to alert others to what you see as an inferior or inoperable product. Other folks have the right to make their case that things can and will work while trying to help without being bombarded by the "it'll never work and hereís why..." mantra.

Your TiVo set you back $300, I get that, and yes I agree it should work flawlessly but it doesn't. Ours do, tens of thousands, heck millions of others do, yours doesn't. Itís just not this wide-spread massive problem it apparently seems to you. I can understand that it's very frustrating for anyone that's experiencing problems. A lot of us have helped others and I don't recall what all you've tried to fix the problem you're seeing, but unfortunately it appears that we haven't been able to help you and that's too bad...wish things were different.

No one is here to prove you wrong, really. Having an open mind and some patience is helpful IMHO. The fact is that a majority of TiVoís work brilliantly and I honestly hope that yours will too...sooner than later.

Okay, nuff said.
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Old 02-29-2008, 10:42 PM   #615
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I also know for a fact that verizon boxes are not tuned to their signals.
I didn't say that the boxes were tuned to their signals. I said the signals are going to be good enough to work with their boxes, but not necessarily withing the specifications required by the cablecard spec.

All hardware has some variation, and handles poor signals differently. If a cable company puts out a poor signal that doesn't work with their own boxes, they're going to be relatively quick to notice the problem via customer complaints, and fix it (since they're responsible for both the signal, and the box used to receive it there's no question as to who's at fault). But, if they put out signal that's out of spec and their boxes can handle it, it's very hard to get them to actually analyze what's going, and possibly detect their own shortcomings.

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TIVO being a third party vendor has the burden to meet the QAM specifications and design a product that works throughout the signal range.
They do have that burden. But, those specifications are defined and tested by the cable industry via Cablelabs, which has to approve any device that uses cablecards. The specifications even include adding explicit errors to a good signal to make sure the cablecard device can handle it. But, the cable companies have the same burden to meet the QAM specifications, and transmit signals throughout the signal range that are within that specification.

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In fact FIOS has replaced all my cabling and replaced the ONT to no avail. They have gone above and beyond to try to make my Tivo not pixelate.
That says what Verizon has done to try to solve the problem, and I commend them for that. Many a cable company wouldn't even go to that length. And, this exactly falls into what i would categorize "tweaking" the signal. They're trying things that have worked in the past to solve this same symptom with other customers (most likely, ones w/ motorola boxes), and hoping that will solve your problem. If it does work, maybe it's a quicker/easier solution to get the customer back up and running. They can certainly give this list of actions to a less trained technician, and much of the time that's all they need to do. However, now that it hasn't worked, have they pulled out all the test equipment they would need to make sure their signal's within spec?

All that said, the problem still could be a tivo problem, but until someone figures out what's going wrong, it's just as likely to be a cable company problem than it is a tivo problem.
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:14 PM   #616
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Just thought I would add my experience here...
TiVo HD
Motorola CC - 2x Single Stream
Fios - Northern NJ

I had tiling on the local HD channels about 1 week after installation. Mostly on channel 805 (517MHz or somewhere around there). And for the most part, it was tuner 0. I usually was able to reproduce the problem when both tuners were on a local HD channel that was around the same frequency. RSun would go sky rocketing (10,000s). Usually the signal strength was 100 for all channels with a S/N of 37/38. Though this would drop when the tiling was experienced. Most of the the time all RS stats would be 0. It would only happen on occasion as well. If I rebooted the TiVo unit, it would disappear for a few days. Of course it would come back once I thought it disappeared. When it did happen, the show was unwatchable. It recorded this and played it back as well.

Ordered the attenuators and terminators on the recommendation of this thread and I thought the problem pretty much disappeared. I used a single 10db attenuator to lower the singal strength 68-75 (bounces back and forth) and a S/N of 32/33. However, after a week, the unit froze the picture on one tuner. Change the channel and it would freeze the picture as well. Record the show, same thing. But I could scroll through it. Only a reboot solved this. After this happened twice in a week, I was getting a replacement from TiVo. Tiling did occur twice after attenuating but ONLY when both tuners were on the same channel. BTW, the terminators alone did not make a difference.

Installed replacement unit today with a single 10db attenuator. So far so good. (fingers crossed).

Just as a note. I am wondering if I started seeing the tiling after the upgrade to 9.2a software.
Currently the replacement unit is at 8.1.7c2. I hope it isn't the software update.

-Paul
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Old 03-02-2008, 08:33 AM   #617
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Complaining really doesn't get anyone anything except maybe some sympathy; misery loves company and all of that. You have every right to alert others to what you see as an inferior or inoperable product. Other folks have the right to make their case that things can and will work while trying to help without being bombarded by the "it'll never work and hereís why..." mantra.

Your TiVo set you back $300, I get that, and yes I agree it should work flawlessly but it doesn't. Ours do, tens of thousands, heck millions of others do, yours doesn't. Itís just not this wide-spread massive problem it apparently seems to you. I can understand that it's very frustrating for anyone that's experiencing problems. A lot of us have helped others and I don't recall what all you've tried to fix the problem you're seeing, but unfortunately it appears that we haven't been able to help you and that's too bad...wish things were different.

Okay, nuff said.

I beg to differ, if enough people complain and not accept a shoddy product things can get done. One prime example is the xbox360 3ROD. After complaining by a lot of pissed off gamers Microsoft finally admitted their product was defective (bad motherboard hardware) and ponied up the money to fix the hardware and replace everyones xbox experiencing the issue, including extending the warranty to 3 years from 90 days.

I don't see why TIVO does not do the same. Until they stop pretending the problem is not theirs I will continue to "complain".

One last thing, so far you are in the minority of people I know that have not experienced pixelation in on form or the other. I know 12 people in NNJ both Comcast and FIOS customers who had to purchase the attenuators. I think at a minimum TIVO should include them in the S3 and TIVOHD box.

I don't get the attitude that I should be happy to own a TIVO and wait for the great TIVO company to decide I suffered enough and fix the problem. Would you accept the same quality from a new car purchase? I bet i know the answer.
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Old 03-02-2008, 08:39 AM   #618
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All that said, the problem still could be a tivo problem, but until someone figures out what's going wrong, it's just as likely to be a cable company problem than it is a tivo problem.
If I was the average consumer, with no technical understanding of DSP;
the main reason why I believe it is a TIVO problem is this. FIOS will come to your house change everything you ask free of charge even though it's for 3rd party vendor equipment. They will show you the signal quality with error counts if you ask on virtually any channel. TIVO is secretive and repeats the mantra, "It's a signal problem" or it "defective cable cards" they show no physical proof. Who should I believe?
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Old 03-02-2008, 02:11 PM   #619
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I beg to differ, if enough people complain and not accept a shoddy product things can get done.
Okay, let me clarify...complaining here may make you feel better, but it will do nothing to help your situation particularly if you're not willing to give some of the suggested resolutions a try. This thread is not run by TiVo and although a few TiVo employees frequent it now and then they are not part of the engineering department. Take your complaints to TiVo if you want to make a difference.

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One last thing, so far you are in the minority of people I know that have not experienced pixelation in on form or the other. I know 12 people in NNJ both Comcast and FIOS customers who had to purchase the attenuators. I think at a minimum TIVO should include them in the S3 and TIVOHD box.
You personally know 12 people locally that have the exact same problem as you? Okay, what does it tell you that there are tens of thousands of TiVo's operating w/o any problems then? Local issue or TiVo or Both? Hmmmm.

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Originally Posted by ciucca View Post
I don't get the attitude that I should be happy to own a TIVO and wait for the great TIVO company to decide I suffered enough and fix the problem. Would you accept the same quality from a new car purchase? I bet i know the answer.
No one told you "don't worry, be happy". Patience and happiness are two different things but often one may lead to the other. If you have no more patience and you're not happy and you're not willing to replace your TiVo or talk to TiVo anymore...what's your solution? Complain some more? How does that help? I'd take it back, get a Verizon DVR and be done with it.
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:31 PM   #620
naybag
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ciucca View Post
I think at a minimum TIVO should include them in the S3 and TIVOHD box.
GOOD IDEA!

My severe pixelation problem began after 4 solid months of Tivo w/ Fios. Fios came out and tested everything, and still experienced pixelation. I called Tivo, they acted like they have never heard of this particular problem before, and that I must have the ONLY tivo around with this quirk. They never mentioned "attenuation", but they offered to replace my 4 month old, out of warranty Tivo HD for $50.

Instead, I purchased the attenuators from SmartHome for $17.00 after S&H, and the problem has been alleviated... for now.

One of Tivo's huge selling points has always been how easy it is to use. Now, if everyday people have to do their own research and find "possible" solutions on obscure message boards, then ease of use is no longer true.

Add to that the need to try to make sense out of SNR's, dB's, uncorrected errors, attenutation, and technical jargon. The Tivo HD is no longer a product that can be marketed to everyday people.

Oh! And yes, add me to the list of the whiny! I am still mad that my pixelation problem made the super bowl unwatchable this year. And I credit the "whiners" on this board for posting the solution, no thanks to Tivo.
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Old 03-02-2008, 04:14 PM   #621
shamu20
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Angry Unhappy TivoHD owner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmininni View Post
Just thought I would add my experience here...
TiVo HD
Motorola CC - 2x Single Stream
Fios - Northern NJ

I had tiling on the local HD channels about 1 week after installation. Mostly on channel 805 (517MHz or somewhere around there). And for the most part, it was tuner 0. I usually was able to reproduce the problem when both tuners were on a local HD channel that was around the same frequency. RSun would go sky rocketing (10,000s). Usually the signal strength was 100 for all channels with a S/N of 37/38. Though this would drop when the tiling was experienced. Most of the the time all RS stats would be 0. It would only happen on occasion as well. If I rebooted the TiVo unit, it would disappear for a few days. Of course it would come back once I thought it disappeared. When it did happen, the show was unwatchable. It recorded this and played it back as well.

Ordered the attenuators and terminators on the recommendation of this thread and I thought the problem pretty much disappeared. I used a single 10db attenuator to lower the singal strength 68-75 (bounces back and forth) and a S/N of 32/33. However, after a week, the unit froze the picture on one tuner. Change the channel and it would freeze the picture as well. Record the show, same thing. But I could scroll through it. Only a reboot solved this. After this happened twice in a week, I was getting a replacement from TiVo. Tiling did occur twice after attenuating but ONLY when both tuners were on the same channel. BTW, the terminators alone did not make a difference.

Installed replacement unit today with a single 10db attenuator. So far so good. (fingers crossed).

Just as a note. I am wondering if I started seeing the tiling after the upgrade to 9.2a software.
Currently the replacement unit is at 8.1.7c2. I hope it isn't the software update.

-Paul
Alright. I've had quite a ride with Tivo over the last 5 months and wanted to post what's been going on.

First my setup.
TivoHD running 9.2a
FIOS - North Jersey
2 Moto S-Cards

Now to the story...
My first Tivo I bought at the end of September and had FIOS out around the same time to install my cable cards. This whole process was a pain in the butt and I seemed to know more about cable cards than the tech did, even though I had never used them before. After about 4.5 hours we got them installed and we were up and running. HD looked great. SD looked great. At this time this was the best setup I could ever imagine.

About a week later I started getting pixelation on all my digital channels. MTV, Discovery, Nat Geo... They were all unwatchable. I had talked with Tivo who assured me that it would be fixed with a upcoming software update that should be out in a week. I took it for what it was worth and waited for the update. It came a few days later, but instantly I didn't see resolution. I called Tivo back and they were convinced that it was a FIOS problem.

At this point I put strong pressure on FIOS to solve it. They came out several times and had replaced the cards, ONT, cleaned the fiber, and even replaced some coax as a last ditch attempt. After about 3 weeks of this going on nothing had changed. Then right at the beginning of November (after doing NOTHING) the pixelation went away... completely! Nothing bad on either HD or SD. I thought it was fixed, until about a week before x-mas.

A week before x-mas the problem returned and it wasn't on my digital channels, but on all my local (FOX, ABC, NBC) HD channels. At this point I decided to wait it out through the holidays and get back to finding a solution in the new year. In the meantime I had purchased some attenuators to try and tone down the signal. Well this didn't work either (but helped) and by the second week of January I was back on the phone with Tivo and FIOS to get a solution.

Tivo finally admitted it might be a faulty box so they sent out a new one (after arguing-- at no cost) and at first I thought this had fixed it. Very little pixelation for a week and then the worst happened for box number 2... Everything would grey out and I'd have to reboot. After 4 times of this happening in 4 days I was back on the phone with Tivo to get a replacement... again.

This time the replacement (box 3) came and instantly I had pixelation like I had on the first one. I had FIOS come out and replace everything again and lower the signal and it seemed to take care of about 99% of the pixelation. I have my setup attenuated so low I can't believe I have a clear picture. About 55-60% signal strength and a SNR or about 30-32. Seems to be working though. Then after about a week of having a perfect setup I got the picture freeze. The unit still seems to record fine, but I cannot watch anything... Not live TV, not recordings, not anything transferred from my PC... Nothing; until I reboot. Rebooting takes care of it, but then I have the problem about a week later.

I've phoned Tivo about this because I KNOW IT'S THE HW and they want me to monitor it. They want me to do off the wall things when it freezes like take out the cable cards or unplug the Ethernet cable... I don't think this will do anything, but I feel I have been very patient with this and want a solution. I shouldn't have different problems with every Tivo box I have... The first one should have worked right out of the box. And then when I got rid of the pixelation I shouldn't be having to reboot the Tivo weekly!! At this point I'm going to monitor it, but the moment anything goes bad with this one I'm going to get another replacement... But hopefully not a TivoHD. It's caused nothing but problems. When it works it's outstanding, but it's so frustrating when it doesn't. And that seems to be more often than not...

Anyways I thought I'd post my story. Does anyone have suggestions? Do the S3 boxes suffer less problems than the TivoHD boxes? I'm thinking of trying an S3 box before I find another DVR solution. I am 100% a Tivo fan, but this is nuts. The TivoHD is obviously very poorly engineered.

D
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:04 AM   #622
richsadams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naybag View Post
GOOD IDEA!

My severe pixelation problem began after 4 solid months of Tivo w/ Fios. Fios came out and tested everything, and still experienced pixelation. I called Tivo, they acted like they have never heard of this particular problem before, and that I must have the ONLY tivo around with this quirk. They never mentioned "attenuation", but they offered to replace my 4 month old, out of warranty Tivo HD for $50.

Instead, I purchased the attenuators from SmartHome for $17.00 after S&H, and the problem has been alleviated... for now.

One of Tivo's huge selling points has always been how easy it is to use. Now, if everyday people have to do their own research and find "possible" solutions on obscure message boards, then ease of use is no longer true.

Add to that the need to try to make sense out of SNR's, dB's, uncorrected errors, attenutation, and technical jargon. The Tivo HD is no longer a product that can be marketed to everyday people.

Oh! And yes, add me to the list of the whiny! I am still mad that my pixelation problem made the super bowl unwatchable this year. And I credit the "whiners" on this board for posting the solution, no thanks to Tivo.
Couldn't agree more on all of your points. Except the last one that is. You can credit those that took the time to figure things out for themselves and then passed that knowledge along to help others for your successful outcome...not anyone simply whining about it.

Glad to hear things are working well now...but you're absolutely right, no one should have to jump through hoops to get TiVo to work.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:28 AM   #623
rcr2
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Back in October, I had all sorts of problems with the TiVo not responding to the remote, pixellation, rebooting, and freezing. The Series 3 was about 6 months old by then.

TiVo sent a new unit out, and everything started to work well again. Also about that time, they issued the SA Card fix update, which cleared up lingering issues.

Just in the past week, I have suddenly started having HD channel problems - pixellation/jumpiness, and the TiVo won't respond to remote commands, so that I need to unplug the unit to force a reboot.

All other channels and functions seem to be working ok.

So - does anyone know if TiVo updated software recently, or perhaps Comcast in Monmouth country (Middletown), New Jersey has suddenly changed something on their end?
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Old 03-04-2008, 05:42 PM   #624
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Originally Posted by rcr2 View Post
Back in October, I had all sorts of problems with the TiVo not responding to the remote, pixellation, rebooting, and freezing. The Series 3 was about 6 months old by then.

TiVo sent a new unit out, and everything started to work well again. Also about that time, they issued the SA Card fix update, which cleared up lingering issues.

Just in the past week, I have suddenly started having HD channel problems - pixellation/jumpiness, and the TiVo won't respond to remote commands, so that I need to unplug the unit to force a reboot.

All other channels and functions seem to be working ok.

So - does anyone know if TiVo updated software recently, or perhaps Comcast in Monmouth country (Middletown), New Jersey has suddenly changed something on their end?

Twice in the past five days, my S3 has locked up. Turn Tv on; TiVo seems to be in pause; switch tuners - to black screen. First time it restarted itself. Second time with my input. I think it's preferable to do a soft reset (menu - Restart) rather than a hard one (pull the plug), if it works. For the time being, I'm putting the S3 in standby when not viewed. Don't know if it proves anything to do so outside of 0.5 watt less power consumption (34 vs 34.5).

I'm pretty ignorant of things TiVo but The Sony DVRs I've had for quite awhile react similarly after bad Gemstar updates. Some months ago an update caused them to block any commands while recording - no replay; no watching previous recording etc. The only option was to wait until the wizards behind the curtain got it right. It took them 3 weeks that time to fully straighten out the Sonys' function; the longest I can recall. I'm aware of the two main software versions for the S3 and HD. I'm curious, but don't know, if TiVo routinely does small updates that are passed along with the guide data. Anybody know that?

My S3 had pixelation on tuner 1 this weekend for the first time in weeks, on the local HDs, (FIOS). Brief stretch though as it only went from the last 1/2 hour of SNL to mid-morning Sunday. It's clear to me that the TiVo is hyper sensitive to signal fed to it. How much patience do you have for tech support calls to provider when likely so few people are having the same issues in your area? This Sunday morning 8db attenuation somewhat improved local HDs but also knocked out most of the premium HDs I checked. Switch over to antenna instead........

Though tuner 0 is still struggling with the same secondary SD & HD channels as it has from the beginning, I haven't yet requested an exchange unit. It seems unlikely at this point that TiVo's wizards will make real progress on pixelation in the next two months; but there's doesn't appear to be much reason for exchanging sooner rather than later.
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:47 PM   #625
rcr2
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I've got version 9.2a-01-2-648.

Anyone know if this is a new version (past week or so) update? There are no HD channels that I've tried that are clear - all freeze up the system. All premium, digital, etc channels (standard def) work fine.
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Old 03-05-2008, 07:02 PM   #626
richsadams
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Sorry to hear that you're having some trouble. v9.2a has been out for several months now...nothing new. Sounds like your cable cards may need to be initialized/re-hit. Time to contact your local cableco to start with in any case.
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Old 03-06-2008, 06:09 AM   #627
rcr2
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Rich - I would have thought the re-initialized/re-hit thing would apply, too, but even standard HD (ABC/NBC/etc) channels cause a problem. If it was an authorization thing, then it would be limited to digital and other encrypted channels. I had *that* problem a couple months ago and worked it out with the cable company.

I called TiVo. The first tech I got transferred to (their 2nd tier help desk after you get through the filtering group) didn't hsve much of a clue and was going to send me a new box. I complained about the $50 charge and then he said they'd do the exchange for free. I still complained about the inconvenience and the fact that I'd have to go through the pain of repairing the cards, etc. I knew people were calling about this problem, and wanted to know if TiVo was tracking it, or had *any* info for me. He either put me on hold or hung up on me after getting tired of hearing me talk.

So I called back because I wanted to make sure I was at least getting a new box. The tech I got this time asked me a couple more questions, said they didn't have the record from the previous guy on there, but that there was a known issue with SA cards again.

HD channels freeze the box, unresponsive remote. Seems to be SA cards and they're working on it. Known issue.

Y'know, I'm much happier knowing that someone acknowledges there is a problem and that it is being worked on. I just wish TiVo would learn to have an 'issues' page on their web site like every other manufacturer worth its salt so we don't have to be so in the dark.
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:10 AM   #628
hmm52
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Antennas for Backup & Troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcr2 View Post
Rich - I would have thought the re-initialized/re-hit thing would apply, too, but even standard HD (ABC/NBC/etc) channels cause a problem. If it was an authorization thing, then it would be limited to digital and other encrypted channels. I had *that* problem a couple months ago and worked it out with the cable company.

I called TiVo. The first tech I got transferred to (their 2nd tier help desk after you get through the filtering group) didn't hsve much of a clue and was going to send me a new box. I complained about the $50 charge and then he said they'd do the exchange for free. I still complained about the inconvenience and the fact that I'd have to go through the pain of repairing the cards, etc. I knew people were calling about this problem, and wanted to know if TiVo was tracking it, or had *any* info for me. He either put me on hold or hung up on me after getting tired of hearing me talk.

So I called back because I wanted to make sure I was at least getting a new box. The tech I got this time asked me a couple more questions, said they didn't have the record from the previous guy on there, but that there was a known issue with SA cards again.

HD channels freeze the box, unresponsive remote. Seems to be SA cards and they're working on it. Known issue.

Y'know, I'm much happier knowing that someone acknowledges there is a problem and that it is being worked on. I just wish TiVo would learn to have an 'issues' page on their web site like every other manufacturer worth its salt so we don't have to be so in the dark.

If I was having the peculiar problem that you're having, the first thing I'd do is hook up an antenna and add it in the TiVo setup. I haven't had pixelation or any other issues when viewing terrestial broadcasts via antenna in the 5 weeks with the S3. Most people are within reasonable range of broadcasters. It does sound strange that you lost HDs but not premium SD channels. When I was with Comcast and a cablecard fell asleep, all premiums were lost, but nothing else. Reinitialization with phone call would revive the card & restore premiums.

While any antenna with a UHF loop might work for local digitals, the antennas that have worked best for me are as follows: Indoor - Terk HDTVa (sku 7322587) $38 Amazon, $70 Best Buy. It's the one that looks like a broad leaf fern. Best to put it on window sill usually, facing towards towers if possible. Probably an RF coax extension cable, and 2X male coupler, will be needed to allow this. Any RG6 cable will do as shielding isn't critical for runs under 100 feet with digital only. Orientation of antenna itself is critical inside or out; check for signal strength. Outdoor - a Channel Master 4221 4 way bowtie grid type, $40 Amazon, has served the purpose well for years. It's nice to have something where configuration is totally up to you, and you don't have to worry about flawed updates! It didn't work so well when I tried it in the 3rd floor of my house. It's been fine at ground level in a stand & against a stone wall even though there's a lot of bushes and tall trees in its path. VHF analog signals seem to benefit more from antenna height than do UHF/digital. The only problem channel is the local PBS digital with which everyone north & east of Phila. is having difficulties - until change of its transmission parameters, & channel assignment, next February.

It sounds like you're going ahead with an exchange unit, and referred to the "pain of repairing" the cards. I assume the pain is a tech visit. If interested go back to my first, excessively long, post last week as I've never needed a visit to install cards that have already been set up once by service provider. It's the bracketed paragraph that starts "FYI".

Good luck with your problem. It's an odd one. A long time ago users of the Sony DVRs also had issues with SA cards though I don't remember what they were.
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Old 03-06-2008, 05:32 PM   #629
richsadams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcr2 View Post
So I called back because I wanted to make sure I was at least getting a new box. The tech I got this time asked me a couple more questions, said they didn't have the record from the previous guy on there, but that there was a known issue with SA cards again.

Y'know, I'm much happier knowing that someone acknowledges there is a problem and that it is being worked on. I just wish TiVo would learn to have an 'issues' page on their web site like every other manufacturer worth its salt so we don't have to be so in the dark.
Yes, a TiVo employee (can't remember which one or which thread now) did acknowledge that there are problems with Scientific Atlanta cable cards several months ago. When they first released v9.2 (IIRC) there were major problems w/SA CC's, particularly w/Tivo HD's. They rushed v9.2a out and that resolved a majority of the problems, but almost invariably folks that have some issues have SA cards.

Some are inclined to blame TiVo for everything but when it comes to cable cards it appears that very few people have problems with Motorola cable cards. Plus if you visit the AVS Forum (and as hmm52 mentions) SA cable cards are a continually problematic with all manner of CE installations. Some people have had techs go through a half-dozen SA CC's before they could find one that worked. So I'd be more prone to blame Scientific Atlanta for making an inferior product...and the cableco's that chose to save a few cents and buy them instead of the Motorola CC's. Just my two cents.

I think the good news is...as I read between the lines from some posts by the TiVo employees that participate in the TCF...the next TiVo software upgrade may do an even better job of addressing this issue. Supposedly the next upgrade is due out any minute now.

In any case, hope your issue gets resolved quickly.
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Old 03-07-2008, 01:57 PM   #630
jefny
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Pixilation Update

For some months I have been having a pixilation problem on certain channels (USA and AMC for example). Cablevision of Long Island has already changed cable cards twice. I have used attenuators and have gotten only temporary relief. For example, last week I added 16 db worth of attenuation and it worked for several days but again last weekend problems returned (loss of signal and pixilation every minute or so on the affected channels).

I decided to put in a brand new cable from Cablevision to replace the one I had running from the wall to my TIVO HD. In the process I realized I had utilized a 75 ohm/300 ohm converter on the coaxial cable to get rid of a hum in my stereo system that was caused by the TV cable system (unplugging the coaxial cable would result in the hum disappearing). I removed the converter and the attenuators and low and behold the pixilation and signal loss disappeared. I will see how long this fix works. Cablevision did put in a new ground setup and the hum is much less (not noticeable if sound is being produced).

I remember showing the converter to the Cablevision tech who said it shoudn't interfere with the signal so I could leave it.

I would recommend that everyone check all their cables and you might be surprised what you might find that is affecting your picture quality.

John
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