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Old 05-15-2008, 09:33 PM   #751
hmm52
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I've had 2 Sony HDD250s since late '05. Also a first generation XBRSXRD for the same period. In the ability to accurately tune all manner of signal from Verizon, the 3 Sony QAM tuners are on one end of the spectrum; a Tivo S3 I've had for 4 months on the other. A Toshiba cablecard Tv also is very vulnerable to off signals, though to a much lesser extent than the TiVo. There is much information on this thread, and on another that deals primarily with attenuators to tame hot FiOS signal levels. I've not seen the S3 tiling on local HDs in recent weeks but don't know the reason. I haven't had any issues with the Toshiba in months.
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Old 05-15-2008, 10:09 PM   #752
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Originally Posted by Chip Chanko View Post
Currently have pixelation on ABC, NBC, WMPT HD on FIOS in Arlington, VA. Have 11 db attenuation between 7.5 db splitter and 3.5 db attenuator. I'm going to try going to 16 this weekend. My Sony DHG-HDD250 is receiving the other signal off the splitter with NO PROBLEMS. This is ridiculous.
Hooking up your antenna and adding to setup with TiVo will take care of the first two channels. You've got one in place to get the TVGOS data for the Sony, right? I'd be floored if you were getting it through a FiOS converted analog. I don't know what WMPT is but it sounds like you could get it OTA also. Is there anything besides locals that you need attenuators for?
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Old 05-16-2008, 04:15 AM   #753
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This is a cross-post from the Tivo Help forum, but it seems like my problem may be appropriate for this pixelation thread and the discussion going on in it. If not, please let me know. I hopefully do not have a warranty issue here. I have a stock TivoHD, local cable company, HDMI out, optical audio out, multi-stream Scientific Atlanta CableCARD in slot 1, native video, no DVR expander. I am experiencing issues with audio, video, and a combination of both.

These have been experienced with both live and recorded shows. It happens on HD and non-HD channels. When I watch video on the TivoHD that I transfer from my Series 2 Tivo there are zero issues. There is clearly a recording/buffering issue and not a playback issue. It does not happen all the time, but at least one issue per recorded show or full show watched at live.

For some shows, the video starts playing faster than it should while the audio continues at the same rate. Eventually the video slows down and the audio speeds up and catches the video. Then it proceeds like everything is normal. If I pause it when it's doing the weird fast video, it will work fine once I hit play. However, it will always do it if I rewind and replay this point.

The audio periodically just drops from the show. There is no audio through the HDMI cable to the tv and my surround sound (connected via optical audio cable) goes from Dolby Digital or PCM to literally acting as if there is no input at all. The video proceeds and eventually the audio comes back.

The picture sometimes gets garbled with a sort of boxy pixelation. Sometimes this is just a quick thing. Sometimes it messes up the whole playing of that portion of the show (lasts a minute or less, but the video is horrific). It does not appear to be channel-specific nor dependent on signal strength.

The video also sometimes stutters showing every third frame or so. If I change the channel and then go back to that channel, all is fine.

Does anyone have any ideas what could be causing this? The cable guy came out twice (thank goodness for free service calls!) and has determined it's not a cable issue. He also said it could not possibly be a cable card issue, but would not give me another cablecard to tr. For the symptoms I describe, is the cablecard really not a suspect?

Every HD channel I checked was at 100 signal strength and virtually all digitals were at 100 as well.

A few card stats:
Tuner: 0
Modulation: QAM 256
Frequency: 627000 KHz
SNR: 37 dB
RS Uncorrected: 0
RSCorrected: 0

Tuner 1
Modulation: QAM 256
Frequency: 627000 KHz
SNR: 37 dB
RS Uncorrected: 0
RSCorrected: 0

CableCARd: 1
OOB Frequency: 75000 KHz
OOB data Rate: 1544 Kbps
OOB SNR: fluctuating between 26 and 28 dB
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Old 05-16-2008, 07:48 AM   #754
Chip Chanko
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Originally Posted by hmm52 View Post
Hooking up your antenna and adding to setup with TiVo will take care of the first two channels.
The product should work. Period. The box says it will "maximize my cable experience." I guess they should add " *with attenuators and an antenna hooked up, oops."

I've used an SD TiVo for years and want this to work, but I'm in an apartment and an antenna isn't an acceptable long-term solution for a service I pay for monthly.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:40 AM   #755
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Originally Posted by Chip Chanko View Post
The product should work. Period. The box says it will "maximize my cable experience." I guess they should add " *with attenuators and an antenna hooked up, oops."

I've used an SD TiVo for years and want this to work, but I'm in an apartment and an antenna isn't an acceptable long-term solution for a service I pay for monthly.
I can empathize with you to an extent as I had been using 2 Sony DVRs for years with free guide and no tuning issues, then witnessed quite a lot of them originally with the S3 on a monthly pay basis. But the ones I still have are not on the local HDs, involve weak FiOS signals, so there's no workaround for me. You however do have an option if it's just locals. Something like the Terk HDTV or HDTVa is pretty unobtrusive and can be covered with paper or cloth if it looks like an eyesore to you. A 15-25' coax extension cable would help in finding best location.

I've been promised a replacement S3 with improved tuners. I'll post its performance when received. Since 11/06, signal as delivered by local CO has varied quite a bit so I wouldn't be surprised if you had no tiling on those channels next week.

Are you actually getting host channel Gemstar VBI data for the Sony through cable alone, without an antenna???

As a 3rd party standalone HD DVR, TiVo is the only game in town. I can't see this ever changing, particularly with SDV and other request_and_send systems here and on the horizon. Panasonic, Sony, and all the other major players aren't interested in our difficult market, and won't ever again be involved except perhaps for OTA only units. Yet they all make a wide range of them for the Japanese market - $1000-$5000 each I'm told, not likely to be just OTA.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:30 AM   #756
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Does anyone have any ideas what could be causing this? The cable guy came out twice (thank goodness for free service calls!) and has determined it's not a cable issue. He also said it could not possibly be a cable card issue, but would not give me another cablecard to tr. For the symptoms I describe, is the cablecard really not a suspect?

Every HD channel I checked was at 100 signal strength and virtually all digitals were at 100 as well.

A few card stats:
Tuner: 0
Modulation: QAM 256
Frequency: 627000 KHz
SNR: 37 dB
RS Uncorrected: 0
RSCorrected: 0

Tuner 1
Modulation: QAM 256
Frequency: 627000 KHz
SNR: 37 dB
RS Uncorrected: 0
RSCorrected: 0

CableCARd: 1
OOB Frequency: 75000 KHz
OOB data Rate: 1544 Kbps
OOB SNR: fluctuating between 26 and 28 dB
The tiling/pixelation that's been discussed on this thread have always corresponded to high RS Uncorrected errors, to the best of my knowledge. Something(s) about the signal causes the TiVo tuners, sometimes others, to not tune properly. All of us here still with problems would be very pleased, to put it mildly, to see 0 & 0 across the board. The values you quoted are primarily indicating how the tuners are managing their job ahead of the cablecard decryption; check on a premium you're not paying for if interested. It's doubtful that the cablecards are causing your problems as well - too sporadic, I think. I'm not the person to offer a diagnosis with these symptoms.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:37 AM   #757
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Are you actually getting host channel Gemstar VBI data for the Sony through cable alone, without an antenna???
No...sorry to get your hopes up. I finally hooked up an antenna last night so I can use the Sony as a backup but was just using before to check if the problem was just with my TivoHD or with the signal itself. I'd previously been using the Sony with Comcast, so no need for an antenna. It would be nice if Fios passed Gemstar VBI, though.
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:17 PM   #758
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Verizon has run out the clock on that. I think their all digital status is June. Host channels (CBS owned & affiliates) in some areas are already broadcasting the TVGOS data digitally. Gemstar update for digital acquisition is partially in place as you might know. So you're probably going to need antenna for the Sony for 6 months or more anyway - depending on how quickly your CBS affiliate & Gemstar get their acts together. - unless manual recording with no guide is tolerable. No, forget that. You'll have no clock without a host channel.
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:23 PM   #759
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Here's a follow up on my earlier post regarding my pixelation problems. I replaced the Comcast supplied splitter with one from Radio Shack and it had no effect. I called Comcast and they came out yesterday morning to take a look. The guy connected an analyzer to the cable line and noticed the low signal. He went into the wiring closet in my apartment and noticed that the apartment cable outlets were split using a regular cable splitter (not a high speed one capable of carrying the higher frequencies). The Comcast technician replaced that splitter with a 2GHz one and voila...I get a great signal now.

Looks like the problem was with the wiring in my building. It's interesting since I live in a brand new building. I imagine that I'm not the only one having this problem here.
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:45 PM   #760
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Since the last few posts are not really describing the FIOS pixelation issue, I am ready to declare the overdriving of the tuner on FIOS fixed with 9.3a. At least in my case. I may now go ahead and get that TivoHD for the den, with the lifetime being $299.
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Old 05-16-2008, 01:01 PM   #761
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Originally Posted by hmm52 View Post
Verizon has run out the clock on that. I think their all digital status is June. Host channels (CBS owned & affiliates) in some areas are already broadcasting the TVGOS data digitally. Gemstar update for digital acquisition is partially in place as you might know. So you're probably going to need antenna for the Sony for 6 months or more anyway - depending on how quickly your CBS affiliate & Gemstar get their acts together. - unless manual recording with no guide is tolerable. No, forget that. You'll have no clock without a host channel.
Funny...ever since comcast was shut off my clock has been updating fine with Fios. No guide info but correct clock. I'm also getting PSIP info from them on the digital locals. I don't have a cablecard in the Sony so they locals are the only channels mapping correctly.
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Old 05-16-2008, 01:10 PM   #762
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ciucca

I wouldn't have guessed that you would be the one to throw caution to the wind. I won't join you in your appraisal. Too early. Too much is dependent on Verizon's management of signal. The second canary in the coal mine, the Toshiba, has indicated for months that my VZ VHO/CO has tightened things up a lot. No tiling. No Toshiba updates since 2/07. Yet there is still tiling on my S3 on a few channels - both tuners; tiling on a bunch of other channels - tuner 0 - signals too weak according to diagnostics screen.

Good luck to you nevertheless.
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Old 05-16-2008, 01:25 PM   #763
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ciucca

I wouldn't have guessed that you would be the one to throw caution to the wind. I won't join you in your appraisal. Too early. Too much is dependent on Verizon's management of signal. The second canary in the coal mine, the Toshiba, has indicated for months that my VZ VHO/CO has tightened things up a lot. No tiling. No Toshiba updates since 2/07. Yet there is still tiling on my S3 on a few channels - both tuners; tiling on a bunch of other channels - tuner 0 - signals too weak according to diagnostics screen.

Good luck to you nevertheless.
How does the Toshiba come into play? Are you talking about your TV?
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Old 05-16-2008, 01:38 PM   #764
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Funny...ever since comcast was shut off my clock has been updating fine with Fios. No guide info but correct clock. I'm also getting PSIP info from them on the digital locals. I don't have a cablecard in the Sony so they locals are the only channels mapping correctly.
This must mean that you're in a good/great reception area. Good news for the TiVo. You may get away with 2 straightened paper clips for two devices. Not too much of an investment, right? They don't need to be made by Monster Cable.

Your clock info is coming analog OTA. Redo setup for antenna, or antenna & cable, to get the guide back, and data. In Phila. area, clearQAM with FiOS isn't worth the effort unless music channels are important, or hearing from the county's HazMat engineer. Local HDs are untunable clearQAM by most brands inlcuding the Sonys and the Sharp Aquos VZ is giving away to new subscribers. Thanks a bunch VZ, even if you can remap channels manually with HDD250s.
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Old 05-16-2008, 02:14 PM   #765
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How does the Toshiba come into play? Are you talking about your TV?
I have had a cablecard enabled Toshiba Tv in my bedroom through all my time with FiOS, since 11/06. First 8 months - not one macroblock seen on it. Mid summer last year was the first outbreak of tiling/pixelation. It lasted about a month and was seen to a lesser extent by others served by Phila. VHO using VZ's Motorola boxes. Worst episode by far was last November for several weeks - all local HDs and half the rest tiled horrifically, seemingly in random order, but not random by frequency, only in channel assignment. But still almost no macroblocks seen whatsoever through 3 Sony cablecardQAM tuners. Tiling episodes have been milder since November with no tiling seen on Toshiba for about 2 months now. This is why I say I have two canarys monitoring Verizon's signal quality: The S3 being much more sensitive than the Toshiba. The Sonys seem to manage on just about any diet.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:24 PM   #766
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So I too am plagued with pixelation issues on my HD TiVo with FIOS service. When I first got my unit last November I saw problems... I only noticed it on a single HD channel. Added 6db of attenuation and all was fine. Now I am seeing problems on quite a few SD channels. Signal strength oscillates on these channels quite a bit- typically 60-93, but sometimes dropping to 0. In the meantime my motorola SD box has no trouble with these channels.

So I decided to call TiVo customer service– they told me it was a cablecard or signal issue. They didn't like the fact that my cardcards came back as:

Auth: SUBSCRIBED
Host Validation: Unknown 00
Copy Protection Key: Disabled

Any suggestions on my next step? Should I be calling verizon or TiVo again? I read over the phone hmm52's message about better tuners in new hardware, but the CSR claimed ignorance of this.
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Old 05-20-2008, 12:10 AM   #767
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So I too am plagued with pixelation issues on my HD TiVo with FIOS service. When I first got my unit last November I saw problems... I only noticed it on a single HD channel. Added 6db of attenuation and all was fine. Now I am seeing problems on quite a few SD channels. Signal strength oscillates on these channels quite a bit- typically 60-93, but sometimes dropping to 0. In the meantime my motorola SD box has no trouble with these channels.

So I decided to call TiVo customer serviceľ they told me it was a cablecard or signal issue. They didn't like the fact that my cardcards came back as:

Auth: SUBSCRIBED
Host Validation: Unknown 00
Copy Protection Key: Disabled

Any suggestions on my next step? Should I be calling verizon or TiVo again? I read over the phone hmm52's message about better tuners in new hardware, but the CSR claimed ignorance of this.
Your problems sound very similar to mine. Where is your Verizon home office (VHO) and central office (CO)? Most of the posts on this thread and the FiOS attenuation thread dealt with signals which were too strong - usually local HDs that responded well, and immediately, to attenuation.

What you're seeing on these SD channels is not that. It is most likely a low signal level or at least one that is being tuned as if it is. If signal strength drops below 65 or so, especially with dropouts, you've got a problem - OTA or QAM tiling/pixelation. I'll bet that the weak channels are clustered on 3 or fewer frequencies and they're at the high end, over 650MHz. If you haven't already done so, remove any attenuators and splitters from the cable feeding the TiVo. My FiOS signal has varied a lot in the year and a half with VZ. Pretty good recently. The CSR is probably right, in one way, about the signal causing difficulty; but in my experience the S3 is much more vulnerable to imperfect signals. Check channels on both tuners.

The CSR is wrong IMO about the cablecards being a possibility. Pull both cards out and you'll see exactly the same diagnostics values. The cards weren't designed to fix what the tuners screw up, or can't fix themselves. CSR also wrong about Conditional Access screen info. I'd be surprised if there was a FiOS subscriber anywhere that didn't have the same info which you have. I sure do - on 5 cablecard devices.

You can let Verizon know which channels/frequencies are tiling. But it is unlikely that many in your area are having the same problems, not with the same severity anyway. They may sort it out on their own without your input. They seem to keep the closest eye on the most popular channels; the other way for less popular ones. These SDs are what? There can be as many as 12 SDs on one frequency.

I was promised a new S3 for sometime in May, as a limited supply of them with reworked tuners should be available. I haven't talked to my contact in the exec's office in several weeks. I haven't dealt with TiVo CSRs since March. The person who gave me the info on new S3s available in May was referred to as the "lead tech"; he identified himself as a technical supervisor. I've held off calling because I assume they must have their hands full with more important issues -video freezing/rebooting after 9.3 update. Unfortunately I've seen it twice in the last 24 hours; my S3 tagged 12/27/07. I'll call Tuesday.

In your situation, I would strongly advise against swapping your unit for a refurb. I doubt it would help, and it may well have worse problems. If you do so, better to not give up your original until you're certain refurb is OK.
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:10 PM   #768
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Your problems sound very similar to mine. Where is your Verizon home office (VHO) and central office (CO)? Most of the posts on this thread and the FiOS attenuation thread dealt with signals which were too strong - usually local HDs that responded well, and immediately, to attenuation.

What you're seeing on these SD channels is not that. It is most likely a low signal level or at least one that is being tuned as if it is. If signal strength drops below 65 or so, especially with dropouts, you've got a problem - OTA or QAM tiling/pixelation. I'll bet that the weak channels are clustered on 3 or fewer frequencies and they're at the high end, over 650MHz. If you haven't already done so, remove any attenuators and splitters from the cable feeding the TiVo. My FiOS signal has varied a lot in the year and a half with VZ. Pretty good recently. The CSR is probably right, in one way, about the signal causing difficulty; but in my experience the S3 is much more vulnerable to imperfect signals. Check channels on both tuners.

The CSR is wrong IMO about the cablecards being a possibility. Pull both cards out and you'll see exactly the same diagnostics values. The cards weren't designed to fix what the tuners screw up, or can't fix themselves. CSR also wrong about Conditional Access screen info. I'd be surprised if there was a FiOS subscriber anywhere that didn't have the same info which you have. I sure do - on 5 cablecard devices.

You can let Verizon know which channels/frequencies are tiling. But it is unlikely that many in your area are having the same problems, not with the same severity anyway. They may sort it out on their own without your input. They seem to keep the closest eye on the most popular channels; the other way for less popular ones. These SDs are what? There can be as many as 12 SDs on one frequency.

I was promised a new S3 for sometime in May, as a limited supply of them with reworked tuners should be available. I haven't talked to my contact in the exec's office in several weeks. I haven't dealt with TiVo CSRs since March. The person who gave me the info on new S3s available in May was referred to as the "lead tech"; he identified himself as a technical supervisor. I've held off calling because I assume they must have their hands full with more important issues -video freezing/rebooting after 9.3 update. Unfortunately I've seen it twice in the last 24 hours; my S3 tagged 12/27/07. I'll call Tuesday.

In your situation, I would strongly advise against swapping your unit for a refurb. I doubt it would help, and it may well have worse problems. If you do so, better to not give up your original until you're certain refurb is OK.
Thanks for the detailed response. I'm in Howard County Maryland. I will do some further investigation this weekend and report back-- on which SDs and frequencies are most affected.
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:16 AM   #769
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Just to update.

I removed the attenuators a few weeks ago and the pixelation issue is gone and has not returned on any channel myself or my family watches. The change for me has coincided with 9.3a. I hope others are seeing the same success.

BTW - My FIOS signal has not changed. I work for them and I have been watching it closely. It is within standards and I know nothing has changed on the operations end . So TIVO must have changed something in their software, although they will not admit it
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Old 05-29-2008, 01:04 PM   #770
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Lucky you. After 9.3 I dropped down to 10dB attenuators and RS uncorrected errors dramatically increased. I'm back at 16dB which seems to keep them largely in check.
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Old 05-30-2008, 02:13 AM   #771
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Just to update.

I removed the attenuators a few weeks ago and the pixelation issue is gone and has not returned on any channel myself or my family watches. The change for me has coincided with 9.3a. I hope others are seeing the same success.

BTW - My FIOS signal has not changed. I work for them and I have been watching it closely. It is within standards and I know nothing has changed on the operations end . So TIVO must have changed something in their software, although they will not admit it
Good to know. Still, you have to wonder what the changes were and why they helped some, but still not others.
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Old 05-30-2008, 08:54 AM   #772
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I had pixelation issues back in Sep/Oct and I resolved them by putting 16DB of attenuators on the line. Unfortunately Cox gave us 11 new HD channels a few days ago and apparently that 16DB was enough to completely kill the signal from over half of these new channels. I reduced it down to 10DB which allowed the new channels to come in but then I had a lot of pixelation issues during the Lost season finale last night. For me the pixelation only ever occured on my local HD channels, nothing that is a national feed. Does anyone know if and/or why the signal would stronger from local channels than a national feed? If I find the right person to complain to at Cox is there any chance that they might be able to fix it?
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Old 06-09-2008, 11:19 AM   #773
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The signal levels are established by your cable provider. Generally the local HDs are on lower frequencies (not channel #s) and are not uncommonly transmitted at higher levels. The channels new to you are probably on higher frequencies and at a low level - as of the date of your post. Whether they're HD or SD doesn't matter. Your provider has the ability to fix both the high and low level signals. With any luck, they already have.
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Old 06-10-2008, 06:23 PM   #774
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How strong does a signal have to be to prevent this pixelation crap?

I'm running my S3 using OTA antenna only. I'm about 10-20 miles from most of the station's sources and, in general, everything is fine. However, at certain times my picture becomes downright unwatchable. There is severe pixelation and the audio constantly drops. It happens fairly often, but about a month ago *really* badly during an episode of The Office, and again last night during American Gladiators. During last night's episode I was actually home and watching almost-live. I went into the signal strength meter and the channel for American Gladiators was in the mid- to high-70's for strength. I checked a few other channels and they were pixelating as well (not as badly, but they still were) even with signal strength in the high-70s to low-80s.

I'm running an AntennaMaster antenna in my attic and I'm fairly close to the broadcast towers getting what I assume are pretty strong signals (70+ strength). Is there something wrong with the Tivo or do I really need an 80+ strength signal for channels to come in without being pixelated?
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Old 06-10-2008, 06:52 PM   #775
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How strong does a signal have to be to prevent this pixelation crap?

I'm running my S3 using OTA antenna only. I'm about 10-20 miles from most of the station's sources and, in general, everything is fine. However, at certain times my picture becomes downright unwatchable. There is severe pixelation and the audio constantly drops. It happens fairly often, but about a month ago *really* badly during an episode of The Office, and again last night during American Gladiators. During last night's episode I was actually home and watching almost-live. I went into the signal strength meter and the channel for American Gladiators was in the mid- to high-70's for strength. I checked a few other channels and they were pixelating as well (not as badly, but they still were) even with signal strength in the high-70s to low-80s.

I'm running an AntennaMaster antenna in my attic and I'm fairly close to the broadcast towers getting what I assume are pretty strong signals (70+ strength). Is there something wrong with the Tivo or do I really need an 80+ strength signal for channels to come in without being pixelated?
Typically, the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) is more important than the signal strength. For OTA ATSC you should be seeing SNR's greater than 20db. Multipath can be even more of an issue than strength/snr issues. You might try rotating the antenna several degrees either way and see if the problem changes.
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:43 PM   #776
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How strong does a signal have to be to prevent this pixelation crap?
As I pointed out to you in March, the signal strength meter is not great for monitoring your signal. It's a rolling average that's best used for positioning & orienting antenna. The value on the diagnostics screen is much more responsive and will show dropouts below 65 during pixelation, despite the peak average being 75,85,95, whatever.

Attics are not great locations for antennas unless the construction is tissue paper and thread. I've now got 2 in third floor but they were very carefully aligned & needed to be; each is next to a window; a preamp is used because of cable length. I'm 9 miles from most towers; 63 miles from some received. The two most difficult are 9 miles away.

Inputing your data on antennaweb.org will give you your actual distance to towers in region and a pretty good guess at antenna requirements for channels now and after 2/09 transition. During poor reception times, 3 Sony ATSC tuners haven't done any better than the S3's. Your problem is still the antenna setup, not the TiVo.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:44 AM   #777
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As I pointed out to you in March, the signal strength meter is not great for monitoring your signal. It's a rolling average that's best used for positioning & orienting antenna. The value on the diagnostics screen is much more responsive and will show dropouts below 65 during pixelation, despite the peak average being 75,85,95, whatever.
I'll have to check the diagnostics screen, but the signal strength doesn't seem to be dropping.

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Attics are not great locations for antennas unless the construction is tissue paper and thread. I've now got 2 in third floor but they were very carefully aligned & needed to be; each is next to a window; a preamp is used because of cable length. I'm 9 miles from most towers; 63 miles from some received. The two most difficult are 9 miles away.
All of the reviews I had read seemed to indicate that a quality antenna with decent line of sight would have no issues with reception, especially at the distances I'm at.

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Inputing your data on antennaweb.org will give you your actual distance to towers in region and a pretty good guess at antenna requirements for channels now and after 2/09 transition. During poor reception times, 3 Sony ATSC tuners haven't done any better than the S3's. Your problem is still the antenna setup, not the TiVo.
I used tvfool.com before I even installed my antenna. The NBC tower (seemingly the most problematic) is only 10 miles away at 200*. My antenna is aimed at 210* to split the difference between stations at 200* and 220*. My house is on top of a large hill and the source signals come from a hill in Seattle so the line of sight seems to be decent.

The most frustrating thing is that I have other stations with sources in the same location that work much better. Also, there are at least four stations that are 2-3X as far away and not facing my antenna that work better. I'll check the diagnostics screen to look for dropouts and see about moving my antenna, but you're the first person I've heard say that they need multiple antennas for such close stations. Most people getting OTA TV seem to get great reception at 20+ miles with a single antenna (or even rabbit ears!).
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Old 06-11-2008, 05:14 PM   #778
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.... I'll check the diagnostics screen to look for dropouts and see about moving my antenna, but you're the first person I've heard say that they need multiple antennas for such close stations. Most people getting OTA TV seem to get great reception at 20+ miles with a single antenna (or even rabbit ears!).
I didn't mean to recommend what I've got with 2 antennas on 3rd floor. One suitable antenna should be fine in most cases. I've had a Channel Master CM4221 since the turn of the millenium. It didn't work well in 3rd floor when semi casually placed but has been great at ground level on a covered terrace with dense shrubs and tall trees in the way. Go figure. Except one, all local and distant digitals have maintained strong reliable signals. The exception are the WHYY (PBS) digitals for the last several years - long story but well known to those of us north or east of the city.

In advance of one local going back to low VHF-6 and WHYY going from 50 to 12 but not becoming any easier to receive supposedly, I added a VHF capable antenna to the mix and put both in 3rd floor. This time using an LG receiver and small TV on site to check signal strength. I found the signal was extremely sensitive to position and orientation. 1" in placement and a degree of rotation made huge differences in SS. The sweet spots were very few. Neither of these antennas would be anywhere near this sensitive if mounted on roof. Usually 2 antennas are used only when desired broadcasters are spread by many degrees, or perhaps to deal with multipath issues. A hulking monster wasn't installed because it's a large finished space and the CM4221 has been the most reliable piece of HD equipment I've owned.

OTA reception isn't guaranteed. It's vulnerable to sunspots, atmospherics, storms, and broadcasters' transmission parameters. When moving and orienting the antenna in attic, maximize your weakest signal, then check the second weakest, and so on.
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:37 PM   #779
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Does the TCF have a Jackass of the Year Award?

If so, I nominate myself.

I've held some mistaken assumptions and posted them before (the derivation of Verizon's analogs for example). I stumbled onto a larger one last night that goes back to original install of S3 in February. Should have known better as early on richsadams pointed out that TiVo tuners are very sensitive and it seemed clear to me that diagnostics screen values reflect how well or poorly the tuner is doing its job rather than being a measure of the raw signal itself. My S3 has had tiling/pixelation or no tune on 55 channels mostly on tuner 0, depending on the Verizon feed, though not more than 40 at a time including 8 local HDs. From mid March until a week ago problems were limited to 15-20 rarely watched SDs and 2 HDs all on tuner 0. These channels have never been usable on tuner 0, 2/2 - 6/15/08.

Verizon's feed the last 8 days greatly expanded the tuning issues: tiling on all local HDs through S3's and Toshiba TV's tuners; no tune on 2 premium HDs tuner 1; no tune on 10 premium HDs tuner 0; SDs not intially checked. Worse yet, both ESPN HDs were lost tuner 0 and through one of the Sony DVRs (seen only once before in 2.5 years of use). Attention required regardless of near zero free time.

A Permacolor distribution amplifier has been retained in antenna setup for many years. Though not highly regarded, it has adjustable gain and has helped with the one difficult nearby station; other signals being in high 80s to high 90s with it in place. The antenna distribution amp, the S3, and the local Verizon feed were not a good combination. Disconnection of antenna feed brought all missing channels back without pixelation, including the ones that have never been right on tuner 0. (jackass award?). Tiling remained on all the locals however. - 2 different problems and not simply one of too high and too low signal levels as I had thought.

Disconnection of antenna coax also brought about an immediate failure that I had seldom seen formerly - info overlay freeze, unresponsiveness to any command but continued video for a minute or so, black screen, reboot - on all the channels tried that had been no tune or heavily tiled previously. Great! A swap of one hellacious problem for another one. Toxic channel syndrome? Upon reboot it was nearly impossible to input quickly enough. Finally getting into diagnostics screen for one such channel, I saw the SS was pegged at 100, SNR at 37. These channels had shown very low values before; sometimes nothing at all registered while tuning switched in and out of QAM 64.

Adding 14db attenuation at cable input brought instant relief from this behaviour and yielded a clean stable tune, though with signal strength of 54. A single 8db attenuator brought the same benefit with SS of 86 and SNR of 33. Every channel checked thereafter on tuner 0 was fine. As a bonus all local HDs are also free of tiling on both tuner 0 & 1.

I 'd certainly get it wrong if I tried to analyze the interaction between the OTA distribution amp, the Verizon feed, and the S3. I would suggest to be very careful with antenna setups, and assume nothing. Based on my experience anyway, it's worth trying attenuation of cable feed if you're suffering with the freeze & reboot cycle with an S3 regardless of the rest of your setup - particularly if your lockup is relieved by detachment of cable coax.

FOLLOW UP -- No change since last night. RS Corrected values accumulate on former problem channels, including locals. RS uncorrected stay at 0 except for the worst previous , Starz HD, which accumulated some RS Uncorrected in 6.5 hour stretch. NO FREEZE & REBOOTS OBSERVED ON PROBLEM CHANNELS where they had been certainties within minutes before addition of attenuator. All channels on both tuners are stable & good. A first.

Last edited by hmm52 : 06-16-2008 at 11:05 PM. Reason: Follow Up
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Old 06-17-2008, 02:19 AM   #780
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<snip> Adding 14db attenuation at cable input brought instant relief from this behaviour and yielded a clean stable tune, though with signal strength of 54. A single 8db attenuator brought the same benefit with SS of 86 and SNR of 33. Every channel checked thereafter on tuner 0 was fine. As a bonus all local HDs are also free of tiling on both tuner 0 & 1. <snip>

FOLLOW UP -- No change since last night. RS Corrected values accumulate on former problem channels, including locals. RS uncorrected stay at 0 except for the worst previous , Starz HD, which accumulated some RS Uncorrected in 6.5 hour stretch. NO FREEZE & REBOOTS OBSERVED ON PROBLEM CHANNELS where they had been certainties within minutes before addition of attenuator. All channels on both tuners are stable & good. A first.
Excellent post...with the exception of giving credit to some yokel that posts here waaayyy too much.

Taking things for granted, particularly relying on existing cables, equipment that's "always been good before", etc. has gotten me in hot water more than once. Now when things go south I try to take a step-by-step approach to every item in the chain, no matter how insignificant before I declare war on any one piece of CE's.

I'm keeping a lot of the attenuator info like yours JIC. When we connect to FIOS sometime next month (maybe/hopefully), I want to be prepared! Thanks for that.
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