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Old 09-09-2009, 11:47 PM   #1
instinct
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HD Channels Skipping & Freezes

Hello,

I have had a Series3 HD for two years now and never experienced any issues until two weeks ago. The picture on HD channels only randomly starts skipping (audio and then video), and eventually freezes. Many times it unfreezes itself but starts again a few seconds later.

This problem affects only HD channels for some reason. If I watch the same program on the non-HD channel, the skipping and freezing does not occur. I can change HD channel and the problem does not occur immediately but may be 30 minutes to occur on that new HD channel. This is a TiVo issue as I also have a Comcast DVR, for another TV in the house, and the freezing and skipping do not occur there.

I have tried resetting TiVo, but it did not help. There does not seem to be any pattern at all. The problem is totally random.

I also have the Expander and I'm not sure if it could be the cause of this issue. I'm not sure how to isolate it without losing all my recorded programs.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:34 AM   #2
nine_again
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i have a tivo HD and noticed a similar behavior. I am using cable cards. whenever I watch HD programming, sometimes there are freezes or 30 second skips does not work. then after a while it may recover. Non-HD channels are okay.

anyone knows what is going on?
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:53 AM   #3
bkdtv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by instinct View Post
Hello,

I have had a Series3 HD for two years now and never experienced any issues until two weeks ago. The picture on HD channels only randomly starts skipping (audio and then video), and eventually freezes. Many times it unfreezes itself but starts again a few seconds later.

This problem affects only HD channels for some reason. If I watch the same program on the non-HD channel, the skipping and freezing does not occur. I can change HD channel and the problem does not occur immediately but may be 30 minutes to occur on that new HD channel

I also have the Expander and I'm not sure if it could be the cause of this issue. I'm not sure how to isolate it without losing all my recorded programs.
You've described the early stages of a failing internal or external drive.

A failing internal or external drive (or poor eSATA cable connection) produces disk read errors. The TiVo can only handle a certain number of disk / stream read errors at a time. Disk errors increase by 5-8x with one tuned HD channel and by 10-16x with two tuned HD channels, due to the extra throughput associated with those channels. The greater the number of disk read errors, the more A/V problems you see and the less responsive the TiVo becomes.

Your next step should be to identify whether the internal or external drive is the problem. To do that, you would disconnect the external drive to see whether the problem continues. Unfortunately, this will result in the loss of all recordings made since the external drive was added. You can watch those recordings first and/or download what you can to your computer using TiVo Desktop or kmttg.

If removing the external drive eliminates the problem, then you know that it was responsible. In that case, you can request a replacement from Western Digital (if under warranty), buy a replacement external drive, or go the cheapest route and upgrade the internal drive as discussed in the Drive Upgrade FAQ.

Last edited by bkdtv : 09-10-2009 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 09-10-2009, 02:02 AM   #4
richsadams
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bkdtv is (as usual) right on target. I responded to another post from someone that has the same symptoms. You can read my post for more info if you'd like. (It includes URL's you can copy and paste since you don't have ten posts and cannot see text links just yet.)

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...08#post7489308

Best of luck!
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:25 AM   #5
bicker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by instinct View Post
I also have the Expander and I'm not sure if it could be the cause of this issue.
That was almost surely the case, for me. Before removing Expander: Skipping. After removing the Expander: No skipping.

While it could be a failing hard drive, as indicated above, it could also be the Expander, instead (or perhaps even both).

Quote:
Originally Posted by instinct View Post
I'm not sure how to isolate it without losing all my recorded programs.
It can be done: Essentially, just transfer all your recordings onto your PC using TiVo Desktop.
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:53 AM   #6
instinct
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Thank you very much for your assistance. I will go ahead and isolate the defective hard-drive today, and report back here.

Thanks also for the tips on saving my programs. I completely forgot about TV Desktop!


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Old 09-16-2009, 09:55 AM   #7
instinct
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Thanks to your suggestions, I have been able to isolate the problem. As predicted, the culprit was the Expander unit. It looks like mine held for 20 months (which seems to be one of the records according to what I have read, LOL!)

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 09-17-2009, 03:50 PM   #8
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I've been having the same problem, but it's not just on recorded shows, I get the skipping and freezing when watching live programs through the TiVO. I know it's the TiVO's fault because if I watch the same program direct from cable there are no problems.

Does this say anything about whether the bad drive is the internal or external one? I'd rather not have to lose all my saved programs just to do the diagnostic.
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Old 09-17-2009, 03:55 PM   #9
bkdtv
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Originally Posted by BobB View Post
I've been having the same problem, but it's not just on recorded shows, I get the skipping and freezing when watching live programs through the TiVO. I know it's the TiVO's fault because if I watch the same program direct from cable there are no problems.
LiveTV is read from the hard drive just like every recording. When you watch liveTV on a TiVo, you're simply watching a temporary recording from the hard drive. That's why you can use pause and instant replay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobB View Post
Does this say anything about whether the bad drive is the internal or external one? I'd rather not have to lose all my saved programs just to do the diagnostic.
You almost certainly have a defective internal or external drive. Failures with the 500GB My DVR Expander are common after 12-18 months, so that's the likely cause. Failures with the internal drive are uncommon in the first three years.

If removing the external drive eliminates the problem, then you know that it is the culprit. If removing the external drive does not eliminate the problem, then you know the internal drive is the culprit. At that point, you'd follow the instructions in the Drive Upgrade thread to replace the internal drive.
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Old 09-17-2009, 04:02 PM   #10
BobB
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Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
You almost certainly have a defective internal or external drive. Failures with the 500GB My DVR Expander are common after 12-18 months, so that's the likely cause. Failures with the internal drive are uncommon in the first three years.
That sounds like it, then. I bought the My DVR Expander in January '08 (the TiVO itself is a month older) so I've had a 20-month run - better than average, but still sucks.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 10-10-2009, 11:41 PM   #11
HaeMaker
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I have this same problem, however it is on two TiVos at the same time. They are upgraded TiVo HD at 1TB. I do not have an external drive.

Since it is two at the same time, I'm not really buying hard drive failure. Seems more like a bug. Has there been a recent update?
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Old 10-11-2009, 03:15 AM   #12
richsadams
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Originally Posted by HaeMaker View Post
I have this same problem, however it is on two TiVos at the same time. They are upgraded TiVo HD at 1TB. I do not have an external drive.

Since it is two at the same time, I'm not really buying hard drive failure. Seems more like a bug. Has there been a recent update?
The current v11.0d was released last July and there haven't been any updates since.

If both of your TiVo's started experiencing trouble at the very same time I'd agree that it's not a hard drive issue and more likely a provider problem. I'd check all of the diagnostic data, particularly RS Corrected and Uncorrected errors, signal strength, SNR, etc. to see if anything looks unusual. Something may have happened at the head end, with the lines to your house or even your cable cards (firmware upgrades, etc.).

Hope that helps a little. Let us know how things go.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:03 PM   #13
sciencewhiz
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I'm seeing the same thing, but it only affects certain channels (it seems). I'm OTA with a big rooftop antenna.

It freezes even when showing the signal strength meter, which my understanding was that it bypasses the Hard Drive. Is that true?
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:47 AM   #14
Philtho
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Sorry for the thread necromancy, searches don't really show any newer topics.

I have a Tivo HD with an expander. It's been fine for years and years until about a few weeks ago. First we started to notice skipping in shows. Like someone would be talking and then it's like their conversation jumped ahead by 20 seconds. We had to rewind and replay it back to see if we were on drugs or something, and it would skip again. It still happens about 10% of the recordings.

Now fast forward two weeks ahead, and about 25% of recorded shows that are on HD stations are partial recordings. I lost the last 10 minutes of True Blood, Entourage only recorded for 5 minutes before it stopped... If I watch stuff live, it appears to be absolutely fine.

I do notice that when I go to the second tuner, the screen is usually black. If I rewind the past 30 minutes, it shows the station. But if I go back to 'live' tv, its black again. If I move a channel up or down, it's fine. No more black screen.

Does this sound like a drive going bad or a signal issue? I have a two tuner m-card, and one of those goofy tuning adapters. But they have been fine before all this..

I will be disconnecting the Expander when I can get what shows I have dumped onto my PC.. But just thought I'd throw this out there for any comments or suggestions.

Yes, I have unplugged *everything* for 30secs and this didn't clear up the problems.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:28 PM   #15
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Run Kickstart 54 and see what it reports.

Also, you might try disconnecting the TA and see if anything changes.
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:29 PM   #16
richsadams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philtho View Post
Sorry for the thread necromancy, searches don't really show any newer topics.

I have a Tivo HD with an expander. It's been fine for years and years until about a few weeks ago. First we started to notice skipping in shows. Like someone would be talking and then it's like their conversation jumped ahead by 20 seconds. We had to rewind and replay it back to see if we were on drugs or something, and it would skip again. It still happens about 10% of the recordings.

Now fast forward two weeks ahead, and about 25% of recorded shows that are on HD stations are partial recordings. I lost the last 10 minutes of True Blood, Entourage only recorded for 5 minutes before it stopped... If I watch stuff live, it appears to be absolutely fine.

I do notice that when I go to the second tuner, the screen is usually black. If I rewind the past 30 minutes, it shows the station. But if I go back to 'live' tv, its black again. If I move a channel up or down, it's fine. No more black screen.

Does this sound like a drive going bad or a signal issue? I have a two tuner m-card, and one of those goofy tuning adapters. But they have been fine before all this..

I will be disconnecting the Expander when I can get what shows I have dumped onto my PC.. But just thought I'd throw this out there for any comments or suggestions.

Yes, I have unplugged *everything* for 30secs and this didn't clear up the problems.
It does indeed sound like your external drive is going south. Although it's possible the internal drive is the problem, it's much more likely it's the Expander, particularly if you've had it for more than a couple of years. Their track record is just not that good with an average lifespan of 12 to 18 months for the early models.

As lpwcomp suggested, you can run one of TiVo's diagnostic programs called Kickstart 54 (actually a basic SMART diagnostic) to see what comes back. It's not foolproof however as it's only a predictor of drive issues and it can give both false positive and negative results.

You might also try running KS57 and/or KS58 to see if TiVo can repair any problems...

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...23&postcount=2

Bottom line though is as you suspect, probably the external drive getting ready to give out. Best to move those recordings as quickly as possible!

If you remove the external drive and decide that you need more space than you have with the OEM hard drive, it's fairly easy to upgrade the internal up to 2TB's (317 HD recording hours). If you're comfortable connecting a hard drive to a computer you can use a program called jmfs for a DIY...

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=462179

Hope that helps and let us know how it goes!
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