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Old 08-06-2009, 04:14 PM   #1
dlfl
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What is "good" digital viewing?

My THD is about 2 mos old now. I'm on Time-Warner digital cable with cable cards and tuning adapter. I've read a lot in this forum and in the TiVo support pages, and have familiarized myself as much as possible with the TiVo's diagnostic pages. As far as I can tell from all of this research, my TiVo is functioning as it should and tuning all the channels it is supposed to.

However, my viewing quality isn't perfect. Most of the time the picture is excellent on all channels but on almost any channel I pick, it is rare to be able to watch for an hour without at least one A/V glitch. The video glitches may be pixellation or momentary freezes. Audio glitches are momentary drop outs. Most of the glitches are fraction-of-a-second but a few are worse than that. On most channels, most of the time, the number of glitches per hour will range from none to several, but some channels, sometimes, have more frequent glitches, maybe 20 or so per hour.

My signal strengths are in the 80-99 range on all channels and the number of RS Uncorrected errors is usually zero, or at most a few, any time I check. I have the impression that the glitches are more frequent on HD SDV channels but no hard statistics. They definitely occur also on non-SDV channels.

I had an S2 for 3 years and I know the number of noticeable video glitches then was much less than what I'm seeing now.

I have to make the decision whether this viewing quality is reasonably acceptable so I should just live with it -- or -- it should definitely be better and I should go through the hassle of trying to get TWC and/or TiVo to do something to improve it. My impression from what I see in posts here and from my own limited interaction with TWC and TiVo is that there isn't any action that either of them will take that is likely to improve things.

So I'm asking other users to post what they think are reasonable expectations. Should I let (almost) well enough alone, or is it worth a battle for improvement?
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Last edited by dlfl : 08-06-2009 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 08-06-2009, 04:51 PM   #2
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Isn't if funny how the more technology you pack into a product the more problems you have with said product. I have a series 2 that is close to 4 years old and I just got a Tivo HD. I have only had my Tivo HD for 4 days and have already had more problems with it then I have ever had with my series 2. Nature of the Beast I guess.

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Old 08-07-2009, 08:54 AM   #3
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dlfl & longball... both of you make good (and very valid) points and observations...

I have owned a Tivo since 2000 and progressed with each generation from s1 to s2 to Tivo HD. And yes, as the technology gets "better" the problems tend to be more plentiful. With each layer of complexity (ex: adding a Tuning Adapter!) more things can go wrong.

Other than the very agonizing first month or so of ownership, where I was getting glitches every few seconds (there was a problem with my particular brand of Cable Card) I have not had frequent issues. Every once in awhile I get a glitch but nothing too annoying. Most of the time it's during live TV upon the initial channel change.

The problem I am having is with the TA. It's totally unstable. I disconnected mine. Waited for the update. Update came. Appeared to fix things. Then the aggravating "reboot" behavior started up again. Now it's disconnected again and in the trunk of my car. Perhaps I have a defective unit? Dont know. But I plan on getting it replaced and seeing what happens.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dolfer View Post
....... I have not had frequent issues. Every once in awhile I get a glitch but nothing too annoying. Most of the time it's during live TV upon the initial channel change. .
First, thanks for responding.

I'm curious: Ignoring "initial channel change" glitches, would you say your "glitch rate", averaged over all the channels you view, is comparable to mine (1 to 3 per hour)? More? Less?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dolfer View Post
.......
The problem I am having is with the TA. It's totally unstable. I disconnected mine. Waited for the update. Update came. Appeared to fix things. Then the aggravating "reboot" behavior started up again. Now it's disconnected again and in the trunk of my car. Perhaps I have a defective unit? Dont know. But I plan on getting it replaced and seeing what happens.
Yeah, I've followed your problems on another thread. Very weird. I've only had my TA for a month but it has been rock solid. Go figure......
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
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First, thanks for responding.

I'm curious: Ignoring "initial channel change" glitches, would you say your "glitch rate", averaged over all the channels you view, is comparable to mine (1 to 3 per hour)? More? Less?



Yeah, I've followed your problems on another thread. Very weird. I've only had my TA for a month but it has been rock solid. Go figure......
I am going to say it's about 1 per hour. Nothing to get worked up about. Nothing that I wouldn't expect in a Tivo-less set up just using a Digital Cable Box.

For fun, I will note these glitches and if it ends up being more frequent than 1ph, I will let you know. It "seems" like 1ph... Could be more. Could be less!
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:06 PM   #6
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I am going to say it's about 1 per hour. Nothing to get worked up about. Nothing that I wouldn't expect in a Tivo-less set up just using a Digital Cable Box.
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Originally Posted by longball07 View Post
Isn't if funny how the more technology you pack into a product the more problems you have with said product. ...
Both of these comments kind of match what I've been thinking. Normally you expect a digital version of something to be more precise, accurate and reliable. Not so with digital cable.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:24 PM   #7
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I have to say that my tuning adapter has been fairly solid as well. It did stop working once, but after a reboot it came back on. It was an isolated event. I don't really see that many glitches other than the ones at the beginning of a channel change. I would say it's slightly less than one per hour. I rarely watch the SDV HD channels though. The one channel that I do watch that has noticeable problems to the point of distraction is WGN. (especially during WWE Superstars)
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:46 PM   #8
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My observation seems like some days I have no issues. Other days I experience fraction of a sec. audio dropouts, pixelation etc. Just when it starts to get aggravating enough to think about complaining the issues straighten up and all is well. Bottom line my daughters TWC 8200HD box has the same pixelation issues.(No audio dropouts though)
My TA has been pretty solid. Maybe once a month I lose the SDV channels and the green light is blinking. I just unplug/replug the power cord followed by the USB and all is well again.
My picture quality is excellent on HD channels and since I got my 1080P Plasma on HDMI cable even the analogs are much better than before.
I chalk it up to digital cable and live with it. I suppose if I constantly had audio and picture issues I would maybe check/replace cables etc. and if no improvement complain. You could have cable issues coming into your house.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:01 PM   #9
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Bump...

Anyone else willing to estimate how many A/V glitches they average per hour of viewing on digital cable? I was hoping for a larger sample of responses.

Does anyone almost never see any glitches (i.e., far fewer than one per hour)?

Please give the Cable Co and whether you have a tuning adapter.

My son has satellite and says he never sees glitches other than two or three times a year when it rains really hard.

Thanks
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:49 PM   #10
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I'm on Comcast, and had to add an amplifier myself since our house already has the maximum # of splits and I wanted to add several devices in my room...

But after that, *on the channels that I watch frequently* (mostly the networks, but a few shows on other networks), I almost never see glitches.. Except, as I just posted, on UniversalHD, where I'm watching one show a week ("Love Monkey" showing episodes that never aired on CBS). There, I'm getting a few really bad dropouts per show. I haven't tried re-cabling to figure out if I have a bad cable, or somehow that ONE station is worse than the others for signal strength.
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:40 AM   #11
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I have another station that has frequent dropouts also now that I've thought about it.

Channel 726 (WBDT - CW) is sometimes unwatchable and usually has a few minutes dropped out of shows lately. It wasn't a problem before.
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:53 AM   #12
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My first 6-8 months of S3 viewing were awful. Glitches, on almost every channel, numerous times per hour. With each subsequent software update, however, it became better and better. Now, almost two years later, and since 14-18 months, it is rock-solid. My tuning adapter works flawless (though it does remain an eye-sore).
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:12 AM   #13
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My first 6-8 months of S3 viewing were awful. Glitches, on almost every channel, numerous times per hour. With each subsequent software update, however, it became better and better. Now, almost two years later, and since 14-18 months, it is rock-solid. My tuning adapter works flawless (though it does remain an eye-sore).
During your awful first 6-8 months, did you check the RS Uncorrected counts?
Also, what cable co?

And thanks to you and everyone who has responded......

If anyone has had DirectTV during the last couple of years, I would like their estimate of average glitches per hour, excluding periods of extremely hard rain.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:55 PM   #14
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Ive done lots of parallel recordings with TiVo and SA8300 and in my experience glitches fall into three buckets.

1) Glitches from content providers or cableco processing prior to edge modulators (where the Forward Error Correction code is inserted). - These glitches do not result in RS Uncorrected count increasing on TiVo and also appear identically on the 8300 recordings.

2) RF Glitches - These glitches do result in RS Uncorrected count increasing on TiVo. In many cases you can also see a glitch on the 8300. However the 8300 seems to do a MUCH better job dealing with these interruptions than TiVo. The 8300 seems to handle them smoothly and seamlessly while the TiVo goes ape***** by comparison.

3) SDV Glitches - Here in Raleigh there seems to be an issue of glitches only on SDV channels. The rate of occurance is very high.... 2-30 per hour. Very very annoying. TWC/Cisco/TiVo are working the issue but havent seemed to come up with a solution. Raleigh is running a Cisco SDV solution with Cisco QAM Edge modulators. Systems using other equipment may not see the issue.

In magnitude... #3 is by far the worst for me... #1 is next with possibly 1 or less events per hour and then #2 being fairly rare.

YMMV
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:03 PM   #15
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Bump...

Anyone else willing to estimate how many A/V glitches they average per hour of viewing on digital cable? I was hoping for a larger sample of responses.

Does anyone almost never see any glitches (i.e., far fewer than one per hour)?

Please give the Cable Co and whether you have a tuning adapter.

My son has satellite and says he never sees glitches other than two or three times a year when it rains really hard.

Thanks

I have FIOS in NJ (no tuning adaptor). With TNT and USA I get some glitches, maybe one or two every couple of shows but I got the same with Comcast so that maybe in the stream. The rest of the channels I watch are a near to perfect as I could imagine with an odd glitch every couple of months.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:53 PM   #16
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...........
3) SDV Glitches - Here in Raleigh there seems to be an issue of glitches only on SDV channels. The rate of occurance is very high.... 2-30 per hour. Very very annoying. TWC/Cisco/TiVo are working the issue but havent seemed to come up with a solution. Raleigh is running a Cisco SDV solution with Cisco QAM Edge modulators. Systems using other equipment may not see the issue.
..........
First, thanks for the detailed information. Very interesting.

Do SDV glitches show up in the RS error counts?

Is there a particular character to SDV glitches or are they just a random assortment of break ups, pixelation, freezes, audo drop-outs, etc.? I've recently had 2 or 3 freezes that lasted several seconds on one of my SDV channels. As always the RS Uncorrected error count was zero afterward. I've had digital for about 5 weeks now and this is the first time freezes that long have shown up.

I'm on TWC with a Cisco STA1520 TA. Does that mean my QAM edge equipment must also be Cisco? My guess is "no".
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:31 PM   #17
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First, thanks for the detailed information. Very interesting.

Do SDV glitches show up in the RS error counts?

Is there a particular character to SDV glitches or are they just a random assortment of break ups, pixelation, freezes, audo drop-outs, etc.? I've recently had 2 or 3 freezes that lasted several seconds on one of my SDV channels. As always the RS Uncorrected error count was zero afterward. I've had digital for about 5 weeks now and this is the first time freezes that long have shown up.

I'm on TWC with a Cisco STA1520 TA. Does that mean my QAM edge equipment must also be Cisco? My guess is "no".
No... The glitches I see on SDV channels do not increment the RS Statistics.

For me... they glitches on SDV channels are signlficant blocking and audio dropouts. The events can be several seconds long. Sometimes (not very often) the 'time since tune start' (or something like that) is reset to zero as if the TiVo executed a retune. This also clears the RS counters.

No... Just because you are on a Cisco head end with Cisco Cablecards and a Cisco Tuning Adapter doesnt mean that your SDV Edge QAM's are Cisco. They could be Big Band Networks units or somebody elses.
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:45 PM   #18
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I have Comcast in South Jersey. My glitch rate is probably 1-2 per hour, small sections of pixelation for a split second. I've had another problem though that I can't explain. My Tivo HD seems almost like it runs slow and will occasionally jump to catch up to the live recording. My recording will go from the middle of a scene to the middle of a commercial instantly, like the end of the scene and beginning of the commercial were skipped over.
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:56 PM   #19
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I have Comcast in South Jersey. My glitch rate is probably 1-2 per hour, small sections of pixelation for a split second. I've had another problem though that I can't explain. My Tivo HD seems almost like it runs slow and will occasionally jump to catch up to the live recording. My recording will go from the middle of a scene to the middle of a commercial instantly, like the end of the scene and beginning of the commercial were skipped over.
Ive seen that before. It could be the way TiVo compensates for a partial dropout and gets audio and video back in sync... just a guess though.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:57 PM   #20
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I have Comcast in South Jersey. My glitch rate is probably 1-2 per hour, small sections of pixelation for a split second. I've had another problem though that I can't explain. My Tivo HD seems almost like it runs slow and will occasionally jump to catch up to the live recording. My recording will go from the middle of a scene to the middle of a commercial instantly, like the end of the scene and beginning of the commercial were skipped over.
If it 'jumps', then it sounds like the signal completely went out.

If it goes into "fast forward" motion (for a few seconds at most, usually), that is one way that Tivos compensate for some kinds of corrupted signal, from what I understand. I have seen this too.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:19 AM   #21
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i agree
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Old 08-25-2009, 10:22 PM   #22
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I had the same problem for the last year or so. Mine used to get glitches about one per hour. My signal levels were between 80 and 85. Then one day a couple of weeks ago I lost some of my HD channels completely. Turns out the "jumper" cable from the Cableco's pedestal to my house (about 25 feet of cable) had gone bad. Surprisingly, Comcast had a crew out the next day and a new cable was pulled. I have not seen a SINGLE glitch since and my signal levels are all between 90 and 95.

It's been a few days now and the "problem" is apparently gone. I would have bet the farm that the problem was coming from outside of my system since all the cabling in my house is fairly new. So you never know. It may be worth having your cable company come out and take some measurements. Check the levels at the box and then the levels at the house. If it drops more than a couple of dB's then all this might be as simple as a bad cable or fitting. I hate, loathe, and despise, having to be home for a truck roll, but I have to admit in this case it was worth it.
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Old 08-25-2009, 10:28 PM   #23
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Bump...

Anyone else willing to estimate how many A/V glitches they average per hour of viewing on digital cable? I was hoping for a larger sample of responses.

Does anyone almost never see any glitches (i.e., far fewer than one per hour)?

Please give the Cable Co and whether you have a tuning adapter.

My son has satellite and says he never sees glitches other than two or three times a year when it rains really hard.

Thanks
I have Comcast in Virginia with an original S3 and ScientificAtlanta cablecards and we have virtually no video or audio glitches on what we watch/record (all the major network channels HD, HBO HD, Food NetworkHD, SciFiHD, USAHD etc). I can't remember the last time that I saw or heard one.

Scott

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Old 08-26-2009, 07:41 AM   #24
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I had the same problem for the last year or so. Mine used to get glitches about one per hour. ........... So you never know. It may be worth having your cable company come out and take some measurements. Check the levels at the box and then the levels at the house. If it drops more than a couple of dB's then all this might be as simple as a bad cable or fitting.........
I hear you. If my problems get worse I will have to do that, since there isn't anything else to try. What puzzles me is that my uncorrected error counts are always zero or very small. Supposedly this means the glitches I'm seeing are actually in the signal as encoded, rather than due to a poor connection or the like.
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Old 08-26-2009, 12:42 PM   #25
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I hear you. If my problems get worse I will have to do that, since there isn't anything else to try. What puzzles me is that my uncorrected error counts are always zero or very small. Supposedly this means the glitches I'm seeing are actually in the signal as encoded, rather than due to a poor connection or the like.
I was actually told by a Comcast guy a couple of years ago that the glitches were probably bad cables out in the field somewhere. So even HE said it probably wasn't my cables that was causing the "tiling". So I'm as surprised as anyone that all the glitches were seemingly at least, being caused by that one single drop cable. I would never have believed it but there it is. I wish I'd done it sooner. Unfortunately, a lot of times, they can't really find a problem until it gets bad enough that you start losing channels. Hopefully they can help you before it comes to that. Good luck.
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:01 PM   #26
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After I got past cable card issues which took at least 3 visits from the Cable company, my service has been good. For well over a year I have had solid signals from my Tivo HD and Tivo Series 3 with one exception - a channel that is causing problems.

I have had the occasional glitch. Audio drop out. Problems with my expander HD, etc. I have problems with one station currently, and the techs could not find anything.

In general, once I got past the cable card issues, it's been a pleasant experience. I don't think I would want to deal with the limited DVR the cable company provides.
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:21 PM   #27
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By the way. What kind of signal levels are you guys getting on your TiVo's? I'm getting 95 on most of my HD channels and 90 on a few of them. What are you guys seeing? I've also heard there's a screen somewhere that shows you "error rates", signal to noise ratios, and other info too. Where does one find those screens? Mine only shows signal strength.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:01 PM   #28
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Signal strength 95 to 100 on Palladia. Same on another channel.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:03 PM   #29
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By the way. What kind of signal levels are you guys getting on your TiVo's? I'm getting 95 on most of my HD channels and 90 on a few of them. What are you guys seeing? I've also heard there's a screen somewhere that shows you "error rates", signal to noise ratios, and other info too. Where does one find those screens? Mine only shows signal strength.
Messages and Settings/Account And System Information/DVR Diagnostics

My signal strengths vary. I see as low as 87 for ESPNHD but often get 100 on lots of channels.
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:29 PM   #30
bareyb
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Silicon Valley, California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrispyCritter View Post
Messages and Settings/Account And System Information/DVR Diagnostics

My signal strengths vary. I see as low as 87 for ESPNHD but often get 100 on lots of channels.
Ah. I've been using the signal strength meter in the "channels" section. The last time I went into DVR diagnostics my TiVo stayed on the "Please Wait" screen for about ten minutes until I finally had to reboot. How quickly is it supposed to come up?
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