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Old 05-08-2008, 11:53 PM   #1
brian1269
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Series 3 slows, freezes and auto reboots

I first noticed this a week or so ago. My Series 3 (with two cable cards) started getting extremely sluggish. Any kind of remote action, moving between menus, building lists, fast-forward/rewind, etc. was not responding like it should. Then after a while the controls on the remote will stop working all together and the TiVo will reboot. It did this tonight during Lost and that was the last straw. Also sometimes I will turn on my TV and the screen will be black and then, after a few minutes, the TiVo reboots.
I noticed other people in the forum were having issues with video freeze, claiming it was due to a recent update. I'm not sure if my problem is related or not because I haven't seen others mention auto restarts. Is anyone else having issues like this? After having numerous cable card issues in the initial setup, my Series 3 has been working great for more than a year now until this started recently.

Last edited by brian1269 : 05-10-2008 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 05-09-2008, 06:38 AM   #2
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Same thing is happening to me.
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Old 05-09-2008, 06:51 AM   #3
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You are going have to take a side. Probably a hard drive issue (which is self repairable), or a software problem.

Lots of threads on this debate

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...12#post6254412
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Old 05-10-2008, 03:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by greg_burns View Post
You are going have to take a side. Probably a hard drive issue (which is self repairable), or a software problem.

Lots of threads on this debate

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...12#post6254412
I don't think it's a hard drive issue. The unit has been working fine until a few weeks ago, right around the time 9.3 was released I think. I talked to tivo tech support, they said to try a few things. One of which was to see if it does the auto restarts with the coax cable unplugged. I did that and watched recorded programs for a few hours and the problems seemed to stop. I plugged the cable back in and immediately the freezing and auto rebooting started again. So now I don't know what to do.
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Old 05-10-2008, 03:43 PM   #5
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There seems to be couple of issues out there, so I am not going to take a side myself.

But I've heard lots of people talk about unplugging the coax stops the reboots. But why does that eliminate a hard drive issue and make it software? Seems to me, if there weren't any input it would not be trying to record to the disk at all...

This thread has gotten TivoStephen's attention. But is it the same problem as yours?

That problem seems to be picture freezes but audio continues.
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:32 PM   #6
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There seems to be couple of issues out there, so I am not going to take a side myself.

But I've heard lots of people talk about unplugging the coax stops the reboots. But why does that eliminate a hard drive issue and make it software? Seems to me, if there weren't any input it would not be trying to record to the disk at all...

This thread has gotten TivoStephen's attention. But is it the same problem as yours?

That problem seems to be picture freezes but audio continues.
You're right, it doesn't eliminate a hard drive issue. It just makes me more suspect of the recent software update. Of course I already suspected that when I came on here and saw many people started having problems after 9.3.

My next step will be to unmarry the drive and then plug the coax back in and let it use just the drive in the unit to see if the reboots still happen. I have to finish watching about 10 hours of recorded programs first though. lol

Thanks for that thread, Greg. I might try what TiVoStephen suggests also, although it looks like most of those problems are on TiVo HDs and I don't see any mention of auto reboots.
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Old 05-10-2008, 10:19 PM   #7
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Same thing happening to me here as well -- extremely slow (so slow you can see frame by frame movement on the background videos of the menus) then lock up and auto reboot. Then the cycle starts again. Just started this three days ago -- I was traveling but saw it via slingbox but couldn't get home to debug.

Only seeing it on one of my three S3's -- it is a "stock" s3 with no external drives or modifications. The only way I've found to break the reboot cycle is to pull the plug. It then stablizes for a few hours and seems perfectly fine. Then it starts up again with the cycle.
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Old 05-10-2008, 10:28 PM   #8
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I had a weird but fairly similar issue with my S3. One recording became very pixelated and the audio kept dropping out. After ten minutes or so of it getting worse, my Tivo rebooted. I deleted the show and have had no issues at all since.

My guess is that the HDD is going bad, so I transferred my most important shows. No problems since, knock on wood.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:35 PM   #9
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Could be related to this?

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=393376
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Old 05-13-2008, 12:50 PM   #10
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OK after a few days of testing various things, I have narrowed it down to either the software or the original TiVo hardware.

First thing I did was unplug the cable. With no signal coming into the box, everything immediately starts to work fine. I can watch recorded programs no problem, all controls are responsive.

The next thing I did was plug the cable back in and divorce my external hard drive. After it was done removing the drive, and with cable signal connected, it was worse than ever. Nothing worked, it would freeze up almost immediately.

I then unplugged the cable again and rebooted. It returned to normal working order.

Next I removed the cable cards, plugged the cable back in and started it back up. No luck again, it freezes up almost immediately.

Lastly I unplugged the cable, rebooted with no coax or cable cards, and everything works again.

I think I have eliminated everything but the software update or the original hardware just going bad. I guess my only step left is getting a replacement box.

I still think it was the recent 9.3 update since that's when all these problems started.
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Old 05-13-2008, 01:54 PM   #11
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I think I have eliminated everything but the software update or the original hardware just going bad. I guess my only step left is getting a replacement box.
Why don't you test the drive using a Western Digital or Hitachi diagnostic boot disc in your PC?

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...55#post6269055
This user discovered his drive would pass the read tests, but failed only during the Write Zeros test. That one is harder to perform, because you have to reimage after running it.
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Old 05-13-2008, 02:34 PM   #12
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OK after a few days of testing various things, I have narrowed it down to either the software or the original TiVo hardware.
It sounds like the internal hard drive is having problems writing. It would explain why removing the external made it worse. With the external gone every write had to go on the internal. When you disconnect the coax all writing stops and everything is fine.

I had a similiar problem with my external drive. Everything recorded before the problem could be watched but watching or recording new stuff was hit and miss. When I divorced the external and tested it showed multiple write errors. Got a replacement drive from Seagate and it's been fine ever since.
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:17 PM   #13
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Why don't you test the drive using a Western Digital or Hitachi diagnostic boot disc in your PC?
You mean test the internal drive right? If it was the external drive that was bad, then the unit should have worked when I divorced it.

To test the internal drive wouldn't I have to open up the unit and take it out, voiding the warranty? And to replace the internal drive would cost more than the $50 to have them send a new unit anyway.

If the internal drive is bad, and according to them it is, then I will just let TiVo take care of it. In fact I just called them a whiole ago, explained all the things I did and started an exchange. They said it is a known hardware issue.
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:23 PM   #14
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It sounds like the internal hard drive is having problems writing. It would explain why removing the external made it worse. With the external gone every write had to go on the internal. When you disconnect the coax all writing stops and everything is fine.
I think you are right. That would make sense. The last thing I tried to do was copy a video over the network and that also caused the unit to freeze up.
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:37 PM   #15
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My vote is in the HD same symptoms ( On 3 different S3 tivos) swapped out the WD to a Segate DVR drive and all is well...
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:43 PM   #16
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You mean test the internal drive right? If it was the external drive that was bad, then the unit should have worked when I divorced it.

To test the internal drive wouldn't I have to open up the unit and take it out, voiding the warranty? And to replace the internal drive would cost more than the $50 to have them send a new unit anyway.

If the internal drive is bad, and according to them it is, then I will just let TiVo take care of it. In fact I just called them a whiole ago, explained all the things I did and started an exchange.
Yes, the internal.

Void the warranty? Yeah, technically. Would they know? Nope.

If your still in a warranty period, yeah I guess you could/should send it back if for no other reason then to get a good backup 250GB drive.

But for as little as $100 you could double your disc space with a new drive. And avoid the hassel, possibly keeps all your settings and recordings.

Finally, because we all want to know!

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They said it is a known hardware issue.
How could they know if your drive is bad? That sounds like they are implying there is a know problem with a batch of drives in Tivos out there. Of course, one should never trust a CSR.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:09 PM   #17
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Yes, the internal.

Void the warranty? Yeah, technically. Would they know? Nope.

If your still in a warranty period, yeah I guess you could/should send it back if for no other reason then to get a good backup 250GB drive.

But for as little as $100 you could double your disc space with a new drive. And avoid the hassel, possibly keeps all your settings and recordings.
Yeah, if it had happened in like two more weeks I would be outside the $49 replacement window and then maybe I would have tried to do something myself. I don't know a whole lot about getting the TiVo software on a new hard drive though.

Quote:
Finally, because we all want to know!

How could they know if your drive is bad? That sounds like they are implying there is a know problem with a batch of drives in Tivos out there. Of course, one should never trust a CSR.
Yeah I think that is exactly what they are implying. They know the symptoms and know that it's probably the hard drive that is failing. It's not impossible that a hard drive with constant use can fail after one year, but I guarantee the MTBF rating is a hell of a lot longer than that!
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Old 05-14-2008, 05:45 AM   #18
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Also sometimes I will turn on my TV and the screen will be black and then, after a few minutes, the TiVo reboots.
If you're using HDMI, this is the thread:

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=369334

I tried HDMI again with 9.3a and had no problem for about a week. After another reboot, I went back to component.
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Old 05-14-2008, 05:47 AM   #19
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I guarantee the MTBF rating is a hell of a lot longer than that!
MTBF is not meaningful for individual drives.
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Old 05-15-2008, 07:45 PM   #20
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I had the exact same symptoms as stated by the OP. Tivo wanted me to send it back for a refurb. Having replaced several S1 drives in the past I wanted to try a new drive first; others had mentioned success with this route.

Changed out my old drive with a new 320GB WD and it is working great. I will be testing the old drive tonight to see if the WD tools can find any errors.

Swapping a drive is very easy using MFSlive cd (I prefer to backup and restore via file as I can burn this to a DVD and always have a backup image handy incase of drive failure) and if it doesn't work, well everyone can always use more hard drive space...

If you are bored, you can read my saga here:
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:41 PM   #21
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If I unplug the cable my Tivo S3 breaks down as indicated in this thread. However, while that cable is disconnected, my weekly Cnet internet recording is unaffected. I can playback new Cnet recordings without lockups. That tells me that the problem is not a hard drive that cannot be written to.
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:26 PM   #22
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This problem is confirmed by Tivo - and the only solution is a new Tivo

They indicate that it is a "hardware issue" but provide no further info.

The only remedy is apparently to swap the unit out for a refurb. If your unit is out of warranty, they will charge you according to their sliding scale based on how far out of warranty the unit is. If you object, they will immediately offer to reduce the amount.

From various postings, I get the sense that this issue may affect only S3 Tivo's from the earliest batch (perhaps whatever hardware component it is that causes the problem has since been replaced with one from another supplier).

The S3 I have that exhibits this defect was purchased right when the S3's were first release.

I'd be curious to hear from others experiencing this issue, to find out if they are also seeing it with units from the early days of the S3.
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:54 PM   #23
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The only remedy is apparently to swap the unit out for a refurb. If your unit is out of warranty, they will charge you according to their sliding scale based on how far out of warranty the unit is. If you object, they will immediately offer to reduce the amount.
If you are sufficiently persistent about it they will provide the refurb hardware at no charge, and ship it for free.

Tivo is very aware that this is an issue caused by the 9.3 update, and they are not in a position to insist that their customers pay money for refurb hardware to fix an error caused by a download they pushed out to begin with.

They are trying to define this as a hardware issue because they have less of a legal duty to you regarding hardware support. If they admit this is a software issue (related to the 9.3 update) then they have to own all the costs of the fix, because the update is provided under a current contract (monthly subscription). They are obliged to help with software issues as long as you are a subscriber in good standing.

Keep escalating this issue until you get to a level of management that will act to fix your issue without you being out of pocket. ANd make sure that you are *not* being charged a monthly fee while they work to unwind the damage they have caused.
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:52 AM   #24
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OK well I got my refurb on Friday and it seems to be working properly now, although I haven't installed CCs yet.

It seems to be slower than my old unit though. It shows black screen for about 1/2 second, then flashes a green screen, then back to black for 1 second anytime I go from the TiVo menu to live TV or start to play a program. Very annoying, my original unit never did that.

Unfortunately, I guess I didn't know enough to talk customer service into sending it for free, instead of the $49. Also, the guy that did the exchange charged my credit card three times for the $800+ charge for cross shipping, which is still not worked out yet. I think I will call them after it all gets straightened out and try and get some kind of credit.
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:59 AM   #25
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If they admit this is a software issue (related to the 9.3 update) then they have to own all the costs of the fix,
Since this only affects some units and a subset of those unit are fixed by copying the exact same software to a new drive how can this be solely a software issue?
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Old 05-19-2008, 03:55 AM   #26
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Since this only affects some units and a subset of those unit are fixed by copying the exact same software to a new drive how can this be solely a software issue?
Previous software versions (prior to 9.3) were coded in a way that either compensated for, or did not interact with, the anomolous hardware on these limited number of systems.

For example: if there has previously been some code in the software stack that overcame a rare type write/read errors, and that code was removed to streamline the code base in 9.3, then the problem is a software issue even though the trigger may be hardware.

The key point is that the events did not occur until the release of the 9.3 code. And I am not referring to the *public* release of the 9.3 code - these events began when the 9.3 code was released initially, and the number of Tivo customers impacted grew substantially when the code was finally publically released as an update. I am absoutely sure that these issues were logged when this code was still pre-release.

Those with security access to the right test programs would be able to find more info at:
https://fieldtrials.tivo.com/login.html
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Old 05-19-2008, 06:07 AM   #27
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From various postings, I get the sense that this issue may affect only S3 Tivo's from the earliest batch (perhaps whatever hardware component it is that causes the problem has since been replaced with one from another supplier).

The S3 I have that exhibits this defect was purchased right when the S3's were first release.

I'd be curious to hear from others experiencing this issue, to find out if they are also seeing it with units from the early days of the S3.
One data point...

My S3 was manufactured 17-Sep-2006 and does not exhibit any defect.
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Old 05-19-2008, 07:35 AM   #28
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If you're using HDMI, this is the thread:

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=369334

I tried HDMI again with 9.3a and had no problem for about a week. After another reboot, I went back to component.

I'm using 20 components now with HDMI(my htpc is actually DVI)
But it would be very difficult for me to go back to component and have to deal with 3 video cables and one audio cable.
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Old 05-19-2008, 08:42 AM   #29
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Previous software versions (prior to 9.3) were coded in a way that either compensated for, or did not interact with, the anomolous hardware on these limited number of systems.
I do not dispute that the 9.3 update was the catalyst that started your problem and that it is a significant problem as it renders the TiVo fairly useless for its specific purpose.
The TiVo is a closed hardware system that does specific dedicated tasks. Your statement above simply does not reflect how TiVo works. It also does not explain why a hard drive replacement that copied the exact same software onto it would fix things for some.


I just would not be expecting that it was only a software code issue. The update of the OS does many things - two significant events are the switching to the second boot partition to use the new update and reindexing the data that the TiVo stores from guide data and recordedshows etc. A glitch in any of that could well cuase resources like memory to fill up and then the freeze. Also just the transmission of the OS update might result in a glitch in a file that corrupts it - no matter the health of the hard drive. The reboots might finally send some weak component over the edge.

So a patch might even fix any of the above simply because it redoes something that might have broken the first time.

basically These updates will have gremlins that lurk in several dark places and any of the TiVo units sent back are likely examined and catalouged as to any specific defects found. Then the fun of analyzing that for some pattern that can be accounted for or fixed in the field begins.
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Old 05-24-2008, 01:53 PM   #30
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Just got off with Tivo support today

My S3 Tivo has been doing the same things. Tivo sent me a new one and it also does the same freeze up.

I should have know that there was a software issue when the very first thing that the Tivo support tech told me to do was to unplug the cable. They have confirmed that the latest update 9.03whatever is the problem and they do not have a remedy at this time.

They are going to credit my account for the loss of servcie. I suggest that everyone with this problem call Tivo support. Let them know how widespread this problem is. Ask for a credit for your loss of service.

This is the only way that I can think of to light the fire under their engineers to fix this problem.
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