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Old 02-02-2013, 05:55 PM   #1
boxermansr
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channels pixelated

I've got about 20 or so channels that are pixelated (Time Warner), pretty badly, most of them won't stay tuned in for very long, and end up going to a black screen.

I've connected the coax directly to the TiVo (skipping the tuning adaptor, as well as removing the cable card), and the channels come in excellent (aside from the few that can't tune, due to no cable card being present).

Once I re-connect the TA the channels still work fine, however when I put the cable card back in, they start to go all wonky (digitized, sound like robots talking, etc).

I'm guessing this has to be (or could be?) something related to the cable card, since the channels work fine, up until I put the cable card back in.

The signals on the channels are all erratic and go from 0-24-70 and anything in between - all other channels work flawlessly. It's channels in the "lower" range of channels, starting at 33, all the way up to 502 (certain channels in this range work, so its not a very large number of channels), but it is for example SpikeTV (which is on 36, as well as 216). The HD channel (1216) of SpikeTV works fine, but the other 2 "alternative" channels of it, are all digitized.

I'm trying to get an idea of what it may be, before calling Time Warner, since they don't seem to have very many folks familiar with TiVo's in my area, and if it ultimately could be the cable card (again, I have no idea, since I'm pretty new to all of this), then I can just go get another one (provided it doesn't fail the firmware update, as the last two we tried did, so we ended up going back to the one that was working previously, but has/had the issue with these 20 or so channels).

So, any ideas, or suggestions of what I can say, or try?

Thank you.

Last edited by boxermansr : 02-03-2013 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:54 PM   #2
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Sounds like a signal issue on their end. The amp down at the street may be going bad. That happened to me recently and it only gets worse. When the amp was going out here, I was getting 30's and below on the channels, now I get mid to upper 90's.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:52 AM   #3
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What TWC region are you in? Suggest you add your location to your profile such that it appears to the left of each post (like mine).

Without the CC, you are actually tuning simulcast analog channels (which are completely different signals from the digital signals that are also on the cable and are what you tune with CC installed).

If your signal strengths (with CC installed) are mostly below 80 (or fluctuating wildly) you definitely have a signal problem. It could be a bad cable, connection or splitter inside your structure but more likely is the signal coming down the cable. You probably will have to ask the cable co to check and fix.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:33 AM   #4
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What TWC region are you in? Suggest you add your location to your profile such that it appears to the left of each post (like mine).

Without the CC, you are actually tuning simulcast analog channels (which are completely different signals from the digital signals that are also on the cable and are what you tune with CC installed).

If your signal strengths (with CC installed) are mostly below 80 (or fluctuating wildly) you definitely have a signal problem. It could be a bad cable, connection or splitter inside your structure but more likely is the signal coming down the cable. You probably will have to ask the cable co to check and fix.

Sorry, I'm in El Paso, TX. I haven't removed any splitters, etc, so I'm not sure in as far as that. I've just plugged the line from the wall (well, into the splitter, that splits off for my cable modem, and 2nd line in my bedroom) and the signals/picture on the channels I'm having issues with are 100% fine. It's once I put that cable card in that those channels go all digitized, and the signals bounce all over the place.

What might you suggest I ask them to check for? They've tested all the signals and say they are fine, and I've never had an issue otherwise. In the end, I don't really watch most of these channels, but my bigger concern is that if it's doing this now, it could carry over to other channels I DO watch.

They're supposed to come out tomorrow and look at it again, since this would be the 3rd time in a one month period. It'll be the same thing however, as I've only had ONE tech come out who knew what a TiVo even WAS, the others looked at it like it was a monster, and said they couldn't do anything because the signals were good.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:09 PM   #5
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Unfortunately, if TWC claims the signals are all good there isn't much you can say other than your TiVo says the opposite. The Tivo/TA/CableCARD/TWC equipment configuration is trouble-prone and poorly supported. Neither TiVo nor the cable co is forced to take ownership of problems -- each can point the finger at the other The troubles you mention with CableCARD firmware updating don't inspire much confidence in your region's TWC. The most common digital TiVo problems are due to clueless inability of TWC to properly configure the signals and accounts for TiVo digital customers.

A bad cable, connector or splitter in your structure should be eliminated as a possible cause. Can you bypass or replace these items? TWC may help you with this, but they may want to charge extra for it too.

If TWC won't pursue bad signal, you could challenge them to sub one of their STB's (or their DVR) for your Tivo to verify no signal problems. If their DVR does perform well, I would be tempted to just switch to that unless you're really into DIY troubleshooting and repair (e.g., replacing your TiVo hard drive or fixing/replacing the power supply).

FYI, a TA only makes sense when a CableCARD is being used. Also "digital" is a type of signal but "digitized" is not an appropriate adjective to say video is bad (pixellated or breaking up).
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:32 PM   #6
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I've had their DVR's and they suck, that's why I got the TiVo to begin with. Every single DVR I've gotten from them freezes, reboots, doesn't record half the time, etc.

I'll just wait and see what they say tomorrow when they come. I've also been dealing with a tech ops supervisor in my local area, who seems to know what he's doing (got some lineup related issues, and missing channels issue fixed for me), so maybe he can figure it out as well.

I'm not really into taking my TiVo apart (I'm well capable) and fiddling with it, as I just don't have the time -- ultimately I just want to make sure this problem isn't going to carry over to other channels, which I honestly don't believe it will, but who knows.

Nonetheless, thanks for your insight.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:09 PM   #7
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I would guess a problem within a frequency range. I had a problem were a block of channels were having pixilation problems. It turned out to be a bad filter/amp on an outside pole. It could be that the cable card is mapping channels to a frequency range that has a problem. I think it’s an outside cable company problem. The following link may offer some insight on debugging your problem.

Troubleshooting digital cable signals on TiVo Series3 and Premiere series boxes.
http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/.../kw/pixalation
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:47 PM   #8
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I would guess a problem within a frequency range. I had a problem were a block of channels were having pixilation problems. It turned out to be a bad filter/amp on an outside pole. It could be that the cable card is mapping channels to a frequency range that has a problem. I think it’s an outside cable company problem. The following link may offer some insight on debugging your problem.

Troubleshooting digital cable signals on TiVo Series3 and Premiere series boxes.
I've checked most of that, that's how I determined the signals on the channels were all out of whack. It jumps from (at most) 70ish, to 0 to 24, to anything in between. I'll have to check some more when I get home, but I remember the RS correct and whatever the other one is/was (error one) was very high, and just keeps going up as well on those channels.

I even did the "record on channel" thing that TiVo's website suggests on one of the affected channels, and it does/did the same thing, jumping signals, and looks really pixelated and robot voice like.

Hopefully I can get them to do some testing outside when they come tomorrow. I live in an apartment complex, so I'm sure its just a mess of cabling out there anyhow, but hopefully they can get it squared away.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:42 PM   #9
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Check with your neighbors and see if they are having problems with those channels as well.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:43 PM   #10
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Hopefully I can get them to do some testing outside when they come tomorrow. I live in an apartment complex, so I'm sure its just a mess of cabling out there anyhow, but hopefully they can get it squared away.
Good luck dealing with your cable company. I had a hard time convincing them that there was a problem. In the cold Minnesota winters the techs are reluctant to climb poles so they can always come up with the “signal strength is fine” line. They kept telling me my signal strength was fine and it that it was a problem with my inside lines or hardware. I finally found a tech that was willing to look a little harder and he found a bad filter/amp outside for the frequencies that the effective channels were on.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:50 PM   #11
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Check with your neighbors and see if they are having problems with those channels as well.
It likely wouldn't, since it seems it's only happening with the TiVo/Cable Card scenario.

Most people here either use the free basic cable we get with the apartment, or have Time Warner's DVR (which did not have this issue when I had one, but I hated the things so much, plus the fact they charge you out the wazoo for them).
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:52 PM   #12
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Good luck dealing with your cable company. I had a hard time convincing them that there was a problem. In the cold Minnesota winters the techs are reluctant to climb poles so they can always come up with the “signal strength is fine” line. They kept telling me my signal strength was fine and it that it was a problem with my inside lines or hardware. I finally found a tech that was willing to look a little harder and he found a bad filter/amp outside for the frequencies that the effective channels were on.
I'm sure I'll get to the bottom of it -- I've been talking to a tech ops super from the local TWC office, and he seems like he knows his stuff, so I just need to follow up with him -- I hadn't brought this issue to his attention, as we were working on getting some channels that were not broadcasting the right feeds, etc fixed first. Now that that's been taken care of, hopefully they can figure this one out.

I'm sure it's something outside, because everything in here is new (I know even though it's new, it doesn't mean much), but I'm sure it's something outside, where the elements get to it, or people who like to screw around with other peoples cable could have fiddled with too.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:15 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by boxermansr View Post
I've got about 20 or so channels that are pixelated (Time Warner), pretty badly, most of them won't stay tuned in for very long, and end up going to a black screen.

I've connected the coax directly to the TiVo (skipping the tuning adaptor, as well as removing the cable card), and the channels come in excellent (aside from the few that can't tune, due to no cable card being present).

Once I re-connect the TA the channels still work fine, however when I put the cable card back in, they start to go all wonky (digitized, sound like robots talking, etc).

I'm guessing this has to be (or could be?) something related to the cable card, since the channels work fine, up until I put the cable card back in.

The signals on the channels are all erratic and go from 0-24-70 and anything in between - all other channels work flawlessly. It's channels in the "lower" range of channels, starting at 33, all the way up to 502 (certain channels in this range work, so its not a very large number of channels), but it is for example SpikeTV (which is on 36, as well as 216). The HD channel (1216) of SpikeTV works fine, but the other 2 "alternative" channels of it, are all digitized.

I'm trying to get an idea of what it may be, before calling Time Warner, since they don't seem to have very many folks familiar with TiVo's in my area, and if it ultimately could be the cable card (again, I have no idea, since I'm pretty new to all of this), then I can just go get another one (provided it doesn't fail the firmware update, as the last two we tried did, so we ended up going back to the one that was working previously, but has/had the issue with these 20 or so channels).

So, any ideas, or suggestions of what I can say, or try?

Thank you.
If your TiVo is newer than a Series 1, but older than a Series 4, then the addition of the cable card could be causing just enough extra current draw to cause a power supply with capacitor plague to not quite be able to give everything quite as much power as it needs, leading to who knows what weird symptoms.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:49 PM   #14
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If your TiVo is newer than a Series 1, but older than a Series 4, then the addition of the cable card could be causing just enough extra current draw to cause a power supply with capacitor plague to not quite be able to give everything quite as much power as it needs, leading to who knows what weird symptoms.
The TiVo is only a month old, again not saying that new means that there's no chance of failure either. I guess I'll see what they say tomorrow, and go from there. If I have to live without those channels, I'll survive, however if/when others start to go out, then I'll have to make a decision.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:07 AM   #15
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The TiVo is only a month old, again not saying that new means that there's no chance of failure either. I guess I'll see what they say tomorrow, and go from there. If I have to live without those channels, I'll survive, however if/when others start to go out, then I'll have to make a decision.
During the time that Series 2s and Series 3s were being built, or more specifically during the time that TiVo was having other companies build power supplies for those models, there were millions of bad capacitors in the pipeline.

Some wound up on computer motherboards, some in the power supplies of LCD monitors and TVs, and some in TiVo power supplies.

And since they often fail gradually, and degrade the power supply instead of killing it outright, you get S2s and S3s with weird symptoms, like only one tuner working, or crashing if you put in a cable card.

So far, the Series 4s, the Premieres, seem immune from suffering this as a widespread problem, although any individual piece of electronic gear can have power supply problems not directly related to "capacitor plague".
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:07 AM   #16
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During the time that Series 2s and Series 3s were being built, or more specifically during the time that TiVo was having other companies build power supplies for those models, there were millions of bad capacitors in the pipeline.

Some wound up on computer motherboards, some in the power supplies of LCD monitors and TVs, and some in TiVo power supplies.

And since they often fail gradually, and degrade the power supply instead of killing it outright, you get S2s and S3s with weird symptoms, like only one tuner working, or crashing if you put in a cable card.

So far, the Series 4s, the Premieres, seem immune from suffering this as a widespread problem, although any individual piece of electronic gear can have power supply problems not directly related to "capacitor plague".
Mine's a premiere, again, not that it matters, as any electronics can fail out of the box, or 2 days later, or last for 10 years. I've had enough computers, tablets, phones, stereos, and the list goes on, some have lasted forever, some were complete trash.

I should know if they're able to figure this out in the next few hours, when a hopefully knowledgeable tech comes.
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