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Old 08-08-2007, 10:21 AM   #61
bkdtv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiVotion
The entire time I watched yesterday until about 7pm, I had absolutely no macroblocking issues, unless they occured every time I blinked. Then suddenly, after 7-8pm, I was watching Return of the Jedi (think it was on Starz!) that I'd decided to record while I watched something else. Went back later and watched the recorded program, and sure as hell, there was an instance of macroblocking in the recorded program. Just for a split second. I reversed the movie to before the spot where it occured and played it again, but then it was gone. Continued watching the movie, and several more instances of macroblocking cropped up, but at random intervals - sometimes two within 1 minute, then sometimes not another one for 20 minutes later. Just like the pics I've seen of the issue, the blocking is sometimes on most of the screen, and sometimes only on the lower 1/3 of the screen.

I went back and forth between recorded programs and live TV the rest of the night and continued to notice the problem on both, at odd random intervals. Then, I finally saw the macroblocking occur on the TIVO MENU as well. This didn't happen constantly, but it did happen. Apparently the blocking isn't being recorded into the stream, because I can't make it reproduce itself at the same spot on recorded content.
You've described exactly what I am seeing with FiOS in DC/VA.

It's probably a driver issue. The TivoHD uses a number of relatively new drivers (for new hardware) so there are probably bugs to be worked out.

Last edited by bkdtv : 08-08-2007 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:22 AM   #62
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Quote:
I really don't know what your beef is with me, I have years of experience working with systems similar to the Tivo (large IP based PBX systems that run on Linux and interact with circuit hardware/firmware) but it seems you'd much rather "shout down" people who don't agree with you or belittle them.

Like I said, noone other than yourself has reported fixing this issue by boosting their signal. It's great that this worked for you, but apparently there is more to this problem than weak signal level.
My beef is that , when presented with the statement that signal strength could be causing people's pixelation problems you chose to very rudely state that there was no way that signal strength could cause someone's pixelation problems and came back with "I'm an engineer so I know what I'm talking about" when questioned on it instead of either a)ignoring the statement or b)politely stating that signal strength problems are not the case with the folks posting here like you. Your experience doesn't have anything to do with it (other than I would think that it would give you an appreciation for the fact that a problem can have more than one cause and not blindly assume that because your pixelation problem isn't caused by signal strength, than no one's pixelation problems are being caused by signal strenght issues).

If I had read your post and taken your advice, I would be stuck waiting for a fix from Tivo that would never come. I was merely trying to save other people from that fate by reminding folks that checking signal strength is a perfectly valid troubleshooting step.

The reason that the board is not filled with people saying that signal strength fixed their pixelation problem is that a) that's not real noteworthy and b)that fact is kind of off topic for this thread since your pixelation is caused by something else.
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Last edited by GoHokies! : 08-08-2007 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:29 AM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoHokies!
My beef is that , when presented with the statement that signal strength could be causing people's pixelation problems you chose to very rudely state that there was no way that signal strength could cause someone's pixelation problems and came back with "I'm an engineer so I know what I'm talking about" when questioned on it instead of either a)ignoring the statement or b)politely stating that signal strength problems are not the case with the folks posting here like you.

If I had read your post and taken your advice, I would be stuck waiting for a fix from Tivo that would never come. I was merely trying to save other people from that fate by reminding folks that checking signal strength is a perfectly valid troubleshooting step.

The reason that the board is not filled with people saying that signal strength fixed their pixelation problem is that a) that's not real noteworthy and b)that fact is kind of off topic for this thread since your pixelation is caused by something else.
Well, this is the first post I made on the matter;

Quote:
Fluctuations in the signal strength?

Come on.

This is obviously some sort of driver/hardware interaction problem, possibly with the cable cards. However, seeing as some users are reporting the problem even with analog cable I suspect it's far more likely that some of this is being caused by problems with hardware or firmware.
If that's a "rude" comment then I'd like to see your explanation of telling people with technical backgrounds to shove things in their pieholes being a civil response.

All you had to do is say "signal strength fixed my problem" and that would have been fine. It seems as though you'd like other people to be models of courteous behavior even though you, yourself, run around braying like a jackass at anyone who doesn't agree with you.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:43 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2
Well, this is the first post I made on the matter:

Quote:
Fluctuations in the signal strength?

Come on.

This is obviously some sort of driver/hardware interaction problem, possibly with the cable cards. However, seeing as some users are reporting the problem even with analog cable I suspect it's far more likely that some of this is being caused by problems with hardware or firmware.

If that's a "rude" comment then I'd like to see your explanation of telling people with technical backgrounds to shove things in their pieholes being a civil response.

All you had to do is say "signal strength fixed my problem" and that would have been fine. It seems as though you'd like other people to be models of courteous behavior even though you, yourself, run around braying like a jackass at anyone who doesn't agree with you.
Belittleing and factually incorreect parts of your post highlighted for your convienence.

You'll also note (if you actually read and understand my posts) that I didn't say I was a model of civility, I even went so far as to say that I could have been more polite. I also didn't get to that level until you tried to convince folks that you were right because you were an engineer and that there was no way that increasing signal strength has fixed anyone's pixelation problems (despite me saying that it had happened to me in a previous post that again, it appears you didn't read and comprehend). It isn't a matter of opinion or agreement like you're trying to make it out to be.

Whatever, man, I'm done with this. You can go on thinking whatever you want about me and my posting style. I'm past the point of caring what random strangers on the internet think about me.

People, if you are seeing pixelation, at least check your signal strength - it may solve some of your problems.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:55 AM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiVotion
...The entire time I watched yesterday until about 7pm, I had absolutely no macroblocking issues...

I went back and forth between recorded programs and live TV the rest of the night and continued to notice the problem on both, at odd random intervals. Then, I finally saw the macroblocking occur on the TIVO MENU as well.
Any chance that heat is contributing? Perhaps try leaving your Tivo off for most of a day and see if the macroblocking disappears, but returns once the Tivo is in operation for x hours.

Just throwing in a SWAG for your consideration.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:59 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmgoodman
Any chance that heat is contributing? Perhaps try leaving your Tivo off for most of a day and see if the macroblocking disappears, but returns once the Tivo is in operation for x hours.

Just throwing in a SWAG for your consideration.
I've turned my thermostat down from 76 to 68 degrees and it had no effect.
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Old 08-08-2007, 02:17 PM   #67
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I thought about maybe heat being a possibility too, since I didn't see the problem all day, then suddenly it started and got more frequent in the evening. I thought maybe it was overheating too.

But what makes me think it's probably not that is because I've had the TiVo HD set up and running for about a week before the installer showed up yesterday with the cablecards. Of course, this means I was only watching channels 2-49 without the cablecards, but during that week, I did NOT have the macroblocking issue. This was from watching the card-less TiVo for several hours each night.

Now, I think I've read that people have seen the issue without cablecards, with OTA broadcasts. That would make me think that the issue isn't strictly cablecard related. But my HD box worked with no macroblocking whatsoever for a week before it got cablecards.

The whole thing is bizarre.
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Old 08-08-2007, 02:39 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmgoodman
Any chance that heat is contributing? Perhaps try leaving your Tivo off for most of a day and see if the macroblocking disappears, but returns once the Tivo is in operation for x hours.

Just throwing in a SWAG for your consideration.
Nope, check the trobleshooting thread, I already tested this.
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Old 08-08-2007, 03:02 PM   #69
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no claims to fame here. But I have macro blocking on over the air without a tivo at all. So can it be an issue with signals being broadcast or other interferences???
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Old 08-08-2007, 03:22 PM   #70
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I've got macroblocking issues too, but at least my slot 2 CC works now. The issue appeared with the install of my cablecards. I was watching something recorded before the install and thinking the problem was gone, but then remembered it was recorded before the cards were inserted, so I strangely have recordings that work fine, then those that don't.

Other observations are that macroblocking appears on channels from all ranges, although it's definitely heavier on some than on others. Analog/digital/HD doesn't seem to make a differences. No issues without the cablecards, no issues with my previous SA8300 dvr on the same drop. Same everything as the SA8300, I pretty much replaced it with the TivoHD. Cox verified signal strength on the drop when they were trying to fix slot2.

Also, I'm using SA cablecards with a 2007 date. Hopefully this info is useful to someone (maybe at tivo ). After they fixed the slot2 issue with an update I'm hopeful they'll get this issue fixed quickly.
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Old 08-08-2007, 04:28 PM   #71
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I don't get a lot of pixelation, but I do get it on my TiVo HD box from time to time.

The fact that I see pixelation on both menus, and probably more frequently with viewing recordings or live suggests that it's either a core hardware issue (I hope not), or something that has to be fixed at the display driver level.

Does anyone know whether TiVo uses video chips that are firmware upgradable, or have standard linux based video drivers...which would require a fix from the chip manufacturer, possibly?

Since there is some indication that TiVo knows there is an issue and is trying to fix it, it would be good if they indicated what type of problem they're dealing with so we can better understand why a fix is going to take longer than just a simple bug fix update.
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:41 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv
I've turned my thermostat down from 76 to 68 degrees and it had no effect.
Is your Tivo out in the open? Or inside a cabinet? Reducing the ambient temperature may not help very much if the air flow to the unit is restricted. That's why I suggested leaving the Tivo unplugged for a number of hours so that it cools down to approximately room temperature. Plug it back in and see if the macroblocking continues or goes away for a number of hours.
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Old 08-08-2007, 08:10 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv
You've described exactly what I am seeing with FiOS in DC/VA.

It's probably a driver issue. The TivoHD uses a number of relatively new drivers (for new hardware) so there are probably bugs to be worked out.
Same here, I have updated the Drive to a Sammy 500 and still see the same issues. This is a WAG but I think it has to do with processing the digi channels and decoding them from the cable card. If I understand the CC they are just the key the Tivo still has to uncode and display the programing. Even when you are in a menu the Tivo is still decoding the channel in the background so that is why i think you see it in a menu also..like I said this is a WAG so don't take this to heart
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Old 08-08-2007, 08:22 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by AZFXSTB
Same here, I have updated the Drive to a Sammy 500 and still see the same issues. This is a WAG but I think it has to do with processing the digi channels and decoding them from the cable card. If I understand the CC they are just the key the Tivo still has to uncode and display the programing. Even when you are in a menu the Tivo is still decoding the channel in the background so that is why i think you see it in a menu also..like I said this is a WAG so don't take this to heart
Read the Troubleshooting thread, I saw the same issue with one of the Tivo videos today, which has nothing to do with the cable cards. My guess is something to do with MPEG decoding / CPU utilization.
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:16 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by Chimpware
Read the Troubleshooting thread, I saw the same issue with one of the Tivo videos today, which has nothing to do with the cable cards. My guess is something to do with MPEG decoding / CPU utilization.
Correct me if I am wrong here but even when viewing a tivo video isnt the TIVO buffering live TV and in turn it is decoding the channel. I do agree it is a CPU Mpeg issue as well but the cable cards bring it out I nver saw i issue with this before the cards were installed
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:48 PM   #76
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I can say that as well - my HD box was up and running a week before the cards were installed and I watched it 2 - 3 hours nightly, sometimes more. No macroblocking issues on any channels before the cards were installed.
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Old 08-10-2007, 01:10 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by TiVotion
I can say that as well - my HD box was up and running a week before the cards were installed and I watched it 2 - 3 hours nightly, sometimes more. No macroblocking issues on any channels before the cards were installed.

Mine was running for a few of days, with an upgraded drive for two days, before I had the cablecards installed, and same deal here... nothing macroblocked on channels until the cards were installed.
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Old 08-11-2007, 03:27 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by jhershauer
Wow...that's a really interesting review, and breakdown of the internal hardware. Thanks for the link!.
Glad you liked it. ;-)
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:34 PM   #79
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Angry TiVo HD: Not ready for market

(Also posted on megazone)...Iíve used TiVo since 2000. I bought a DirecTV Philips DSR6000 for $99 and have used it all the way up until 2 days ago, with 1 hard drive swap with weaknees. I NEVER had any issues with that box, and I bought it when it first came out. I played the waiting game with HD, and when Comcast recently bought out Adelphia in my area, and they offered me a deal I couldnít refuse, I ran out and got the TiVo HD box. My cable installer came yesterday and was here for 5 hours, with a virtual deck of CableCARDs, all were SA PKM600ís. Only 1 worked. Then he left, and I go to watch ESPNHD and I get damn legos across my screen every 10-15 seconds. So now Iím supposed to hope that my TiVo gets an update because TiVo is working on it? Iím supposed to waste 5 hours on a Saturday watching the Comcast cable guy play blackjack with my TiVo HD, only to see it take 1 CableCARD out of 22 of them? TiVo is at fault here, they have brought a product to market which relies on CCís to watch digital content. What kind of CC testing took place ahead of the TiVo HD release? After some choice reading of everyoneís horror stories about all of this, obviously not a whole heck of a lot of testing went into CC compatibility. Walked over to my neighbors house and took a look at his Comcast DVR with HD channels and no pixelization, host ID screens, nothing. Heís never had any issues with his DVR. I donít have the kind of time to hope and wait that an issue is fixed, when it should have been addressed before releasing this thing. If TiVo can rewind the 5 hours I wasted yesterday, Iíd keep the box. Glad I didnít cancel DirecTV. Next Saturday will consist of me returning this thing and exchanging it for a DTV HD DVR. At least I know Iíll get something that works right out of the box.
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:43 PM   #80
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Jimbo,

While I can appreciate your frustration, not all of the blame lies with Tivo. Tivo is forced to provide content the only way that's feasibly possible which is the cable card spec mandated by the FCC over a decade ago.

It's not Tivo's fault that cable companies hate Cable Cards. It's not Tivo's fault that the installers are morons. It's not Tivo's fault that they have faulty hardware and inept operators punching numbers into the computers.

Cable is, for all intents and purposes, a monopoly. They don't like someone else playing in their sandbox even one little bit and they demonstrate that as much as possible.

As far as the "beta" quality of the Tivo HD, I agree wholeheartedly that Tivo should be paying us to test this crap and wait on fixes to the problems. I can't believe that Tivo hasn't seen these issues in Beta test and couldn't have gotten many of them addressed if the product was delayed another 3-6 months.

I think that the sad reality is that Tivo was scared of missing out on the lucrative holiday selling season and felt it was better to launch with the product in the state it is in today rather than miss the window and launch a more feature complete box next year.
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:46 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiVotion
Now, I think I've read that people have seen the issue without cablecards, with OTA broadcasts. That would make me think that the issue isn't strictly cablecard related. But my HD box worked with no macroblocking whatsoever for a week before it got cablecards.

The whole thing is bizarre.
Yup, I'm one of those people who have noticed it on OTA. Macroblocking on OTA seems completely random on my TiVoHD. I can go days without have problems, then an entire night of programming can be macroblocking-plagued. The only time I get macroblocking thats predictable is when I have multipath (which I can hear, since its always associated with the helicopters that occassionally fly through my line-of-sight). Now before I had the TiVoHD and watched directly on my TV, I never had macroblocking except when I had multipath, which again, only usually lasts 10-15 seconds, not the entire program.

I've tried pretty everything, but I'm now convinced this is an encoding issue. Lately, most of the HD shows I've recorded have been off NBC, which happens to be the strongest station I receive (90% or higher, compared to FOX which I get at 70%). The macroblocking usually leads to the picture freezing, but I can always hit "skip forward" to get it unstuck.
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Old 08-15-2007, 12:06 PM   #82
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I just bought my Tivo HD and Cox is coming out this weekend to install the cable cards I will let you know how it goes.
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Old 08-15-2007, 12:42 PM   #83
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I just bought my Tivo HD and Cox is coming out this weekend to install the cable cards I will let you know how it goes.
You might contact your cable provider and "ask" them to bring out several cable cards, to prevent you being disappointed. My experience was less than satisfactory.

After a four day period, the installer went through a total of 14 cards before the Tivo was configured to receive all of the channels beyond the 99 without cards.

In my case the issues of , pixelation, slow screen freezemenu navigation, random reboots, did not rear it's ugly head "until" after the cable cards were installed...

One other factor was, the fourth installer actually was "qualified" to setup a Tivo...

My guess is that BrightHouse is intentionally NOT having their techs trained to install Tivo Devices, rather they/BrighHouse are attempting to force the consumer to accept their inferior equipment...
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Old 08-15-2007, 12:57 PM   #84
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First, I have an S3 and not a THD. Second, I did have pixelation problems when I first got the S3 and now it seems to be fixed. I don't want to start any more of the flaming that has recently gone on in this thread, but here is something I am beginning to theorize based on what I've gathered from this and other threads and my experience with my added esata drive. I have no factual evidence, but it seems to make sense.

1. Pixelation happens with or without CC's.
2. Adding CC's seems to make it a lot worse.
3. Heat doesn't seem to be contributing.
4. Changing signal strength has an affect for some.
5. No one is really noticing varying signal strenth over time, but do from different sources.

My experience
I had pixelation several months ago and it is now gone. I changed nothing; so Tivo or Comcast did. When I had pixelation, it was actually recorded that way. I could pause the pixelation. Therefore, it was on the input side of the recording and not the output side of the Tivo. This may not have been the case for all my pixelation, but I never saw any on the menus.

I added a FAP750 esata drive after the pixelation magically disappeared. I had random problems with freezes, slow response and reboots I contributed to the FAP. I moved some things around and reseated the esata and I've not experienced any further problems with the esata in I guess about 6 weeks. I seem to remember before the thing began to slow in response some (stress some) pixelation and things quicky went down hill. I didn't see all the reboots or freezes happen, but probably I did witness two or three and I'm sure there was pixelation just prior.

My theory:
My FAP was not making good connection and was contributing to the workload the tivo processor was enduring. It is possible that the THD processor, eventhough, they say it's faster, may not be as good at interfacing to the tuners and CC's (read this as hardware drivers). It is further possible that the data stream coming from this hardware may have some higher bit-error rate causing retries or excessive error-correction to occur (read this as signal strength related); thus overloading the processor which affects everything including pixelation of the menus.

If this is the case, it sounds like Tivo has to find some horsepower somewhere which can mean significant rewrite to core code or maybe just new drivers for the hardware. However, I've seen hardware cause problems that even us software guys can't fix. I've been in the firmware writing profession since 1992 and I know that sofware can fix a lot of hardware problems. Let's just hope this is the case for Tivo.
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Old 08-15-2007, 01:03 PM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiVotion
Now, I think I've read that people have seen the issue without cablecards, with OTA broadcasts. That would make me think that the issue isn't strictly cablecard related. But my HD box worked with no macroblocking whatsoever for a week before it got cablecards.

The whole thing is bizarre.
OK, I have to drop from lurker mode now for a moment.

If I read your post correctly, you did not start recording anything until the Star wars movie and then you first saw the macro blocking on playback. That seems more like the difference that started the issue.

as for OTA - it is an antenna and I would wonder about macro blocking reports for that. OTA will have signal strengths fluctuating and also of course random interference can occur. The question is.. is it in the recorded stream or does it randomly occur in the playback of an OTA recording like you saw with your CC recording?

just some questions to help clarify the situation
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Old 08-15-2007, 02:37 PM   #86
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Well, the movie was the first thing I believe I tried to record AFTER I got the cable cards installed. Prior to the cards being installed, I had recorded some SD channels, but I never noticed macroblocking on anything, live TV or recorded programs, until after the cards. The movie was the first time I noticed the macroblocking. I hit rewind and backed up to watch that segment again, but the macroblocking was gone.

After that, I've seen the issue on both recorded shows and on live TV, HD and SD channels, and on menus.

Here's the funny thing. I thought that the problem wasn't recorded into the stream, because when I backed up to see if I could see the blocking again, it wasn't there. Then the other night, I hit rewind on a recorded program and the blocking was there, in the exact same spot that it occured the first time.
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Old 08-15-2007, 02:41 PM   #87
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Blocking is without a question in the recorded stream for me.
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Old 08-15-2007, 04:04 PM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiVotion
After that, I've seen the issue on both recorded shows and on live TV, HD and SD channels, and on menus.
Just to clarify, you have an S3, not THD, and you see blocking in the menus?

Quote:
... I hit rewind on a recorded program and the blocking was there, in the exact same spot that it occured the first time.
That is strange. When you backed up, could you pause on it and the blocking remain, indicating it is recorded that way?
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Old 08-15-2007, 04:05 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by jtreid
Just to clarify, you have an S3, not THD, and you see blocking in the menus?
Sorry if that seems stupid. I just noticed in your sig that you have both. Which one is doing this?
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Old 08-16-2007, 09:09 AM   #90
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The THD is doing it. I never ever had a problem with the S3. It seems the S3 went through many of the same issues early on that are now being reported on the THD (many of those issues involved FIOS, such as odd fast-forward/rewind skipping), but I never saw them. Although I had a S3 the week they came out, I didn't have FIOS at the time (I had "regular" cable TV). By the time I got FIOS, either TiVo had already resolved those issues with the S3, or I was never going to have them, because the S3 works like a charm and always has.

I was convinced that the blocking on the THD couldn't be reproduced on command, it seemed random no matter what was being displayed (recorded, live, menus, etc.), but then I saw the blocking in the recorded stream in exactly the same place. Unfortunately, I did not think to pause the program, and I didn't re-check it. I guess it could have been a coincidence. If it happens again, I will backup and try to pause.

And again, because the THD issues seem to be very similar, if not the same, as issues the S3 boxes had initially, that boosts my confidence level that TiVo can fix it. I suspect that the THD software is some type of clone of the early S3 software and hasn't evolved down the same path yet.
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