Bit errors on USA only?

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by self, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. self

    self New Member

    91
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    Jul 10, 2002
    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recently, we've started noticing bit errors (pixelation, audio dropouts) on a couple of channels -- first was LE or LWE, whatever that is (recording "Dharma & Greg" as a suggestion :)), but I didn't think much of it. However, this week's "Burn Notice" on USA was nigh unwatchable because of the sher number of drop-outs. This resulted in wide swaths of the screen being blocky, skippy audio, and, in more than once instance, lost frames.

    I'm talking about this happening at least once every five minutes.

    However, it only seems to happen on USA (and, maybe whatever channel it's been recording D&H on :) -- but the level of problems is significantl less).

    I thought this was a DirecTV issue... until I looked on my standalone S1, which uses a standalone DTV receiver, and tonight's recording of "Monk" on it did not have any of the problems. (Near as I can tell, anyway. I'm recording "Psych" on it right now, and will try watching that.) So that's changed my mind, and I guess it's my DTV.

    Any suggestions for what to do here? Other channels don't seem to exhibit the problem, so I don't think it's the hard drive or cabling. But I'm at a loss.
     
  2. wolflord11

    wolflord11 Lord of Darkness

    1,554
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    Jan 16, 2007
    Madisonville...
    USA is bad for this problem. It is not a Directv issue.

    Most WWE Broadcast on USA also suffer time to time with the same thing.

    So I would not worry, its not your Directv or tivo units, its not Directv :D
     
  3. self

    self New Member

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    Jul 10, 2002
    If it's not my dtivo... why does the dtivo exhibit the problem, while the standalone S1 + DirecTV tuner doesn't?

    That's the part that confuses and worries me most. And nobody else seems to have experienced this problem (it's been constant since Thursday night, at least).

    Thanks ;)
     
  4. tzikeh

    tzikeh New Member

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    Jun 5, 2003
    Only for me it's not on USA, it's on TNT, CBS, and HBO.

    My roommate has a DirecTV receiver without a separate TiVo unit, and it's not happening on hers. It has to be the DirecTiVo unit, and I've called DirecTV about more than once. They told me that I was SOL and would have to buy a DirecTV unit with their DVR system (I said no %#$*($ way) or I would have to find a used DirecTiVo unit on Ebay and take my chances.
     
  5. self

    self New Member

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    Jul 10, 2002
    Hm... Last night's "The 4400" (on USA)... no problems. "John from Cincinnati" (on HBO)... problems, but nowhere near as bad as they had been on USA.

    I'm so terribly confused.
     
  6. Sep 8, 2007 #6 of 21
    RobD

    RobD New Member

    114
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    May 25, 2001
    Mount...
    I am having the same problem with USA. Except I do not believe it is the signal that DTV is getting from USA as wolflord11 thinks. I have three HDVR2 units, and 2 of them show the channel just perfectly while the third one has tons of bit errors. Mostly it is the WWE shows, as well as Monk/Psych/Burn Notice shows.

    My signal strength is good, and other stations are just fine. At first I thought it was my drive failing. But it is always these shows, and the HDVR2 works great during the day.

    I also find it hard to believe it might be my tuner going bad. What are the odds that for months, these same shows are always recorded on the same tuner EVERY week?

    Can anybody offer some insight on what to do to fix this problem? The wife said we should jsut record them on one of the other units and transfer them, but that is just a band-aid solution.
     
  7. Sep 9, 2007 #7 of 21
    Scalper

    Scalper New Member

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    Aug 18, 2003
    San Jose,...
    One thing to try. What video connections are you using? I was using both S-Video(To TV)and Composite/RCA(To DVD Recorder) and I was getting problems just like yours but only on USA, SciFi, Disc. Home and some others but most channels were fine.

    After reading here about others having problems with using both video out connections I took out the composite and the problems went away. Every time I put that one yellow cable in the channel would pixelate.

    Hope this might help.
     
  8. Sep 9, 2007 #8 of 21
    RobD

    RobD New Member

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    May 25, 2001
    Mount...
    Scalper -

    I have already tried that solution. Originally it was on S-Video, so I switched it to composite months ago (that's how long this problem has existed). I just switched it back to composite, it's not any better. Only one cable-type was hooked up at one time.

    I just transferred a glitchy episode over to one of my other HDVR2s, and the glitch transferred with it. So the problem is happening at the recording level - either with the feed or while the Tivo is recording.

    This problem only happens in the evening. USA plays perfectly fine during the daytime. A Psych episode recorded Friday night at 10pm is glitchy, but the same episode recorded on Saturday at 6pm is fine. It's like the sun goes down and Tivo misbehaves. But the other two Tivos don't exhibit this problem.

    Maybe I just need to pull the drive out and scan it for errors. But I don't think it is the problem, because the problems are always evening-recorded shows on USA.
     
  9. Sep 9, 2007 #9 of 21
    JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

    30,905
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    Sep 19, 2001
    Binghamton, NY
    If the DirecTV/TiVo unit is having a problem, it would show up on all channels. One thing to keep in mind is that the TiVo is buffering the channels. This recording and then playing back can exacerbate signal problems.

    Check all cables/connectors for corrosion and moisture. Make sure they are tight and secure.

    When these problems show, do a signal check to see if there is anything weird.
     
  10. Scalper

    Scalper New Member

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    Aug 18, 2003
    San Jose,...
    Do you have a multi-switch? Maybe try switching the connections to see if the errors change with it.
     
  11. RobD

    RobD New Member

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    May 25, 2001
    Mount...
    Yeah, I figured if the Tivo was having a problem it would channel-wide, not specific to a series of channels (more on that...)

    I used to have a powered multiswitch with my Phase 2 dish. A nice DTV installer gave me a Phase 3 dish to try, that didn't solve the problem. I swapped out the powered switch with a passive switch, that didn't help either. If it was trees affecting the signal, I would think the daytime viewing of these channels would be affected and they are not.

    Now, the channels. I should have been more specific - it isn't 100% USA. But that is the channel we watch the most shows on in the evening where this unit is located. The other channels that I have seen it on is G4. USA is on 101-25, G4 is on 101-27. I seem to recall another channel awhile back, and when I looked it up it was on an odd transponder of 101 as well. But it is predominant on the USA channel, sometimes to the point of unwatchable.

    Now you guys are going to say it is the run to the dish on the 101. Well, I swapped cables on the LNBs and I also put new ends on those cables. I also swapped cables going to the two inputs on the HDVR2.
     
  12. jg167

    jg167 New Member

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    Apr 1, 2004
    What sw are you running? I never had this issue with 3.1, nor for the first 6 months after having upgraded to 6.2 via instacake. But now is getting bad. When ever pixilation occurs, it also occurs on all the channels that are on the same sat & transponder as the one where I noticed the issue. Its often so bad the frame freezes completely. Often it seems to be SPEED, but not always by any means. It also sometimes fixes itself. I'm just now watching the recording of this weekends F1 qualifing in Belgium and the first 30 mins had lots of breakup, but then it was fine for an hour and then blew out again for a bit. (boy this is frustrating)

    I find if you restart the recorder (power cycle or use the restart menu item) that seems to fix the immediate problem, but does not prevent it from coming back a few hours later (though might be on a different sat/transponder channel group).

    I think this has to be sw issue (or the power cycle wouldn't fix it even temporarily), thought that isn't certain, just likely.
     
  13. jg167

    jg167 New Member

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    Apr 1, 2004
    The picture breakup is still driving me mad. In the log files
    I seem some things that look clearly related, but what is the root cause? What to do about it?

    in tverr, lots of:
    Sep 16 18:19:08 (none) myworld[247]: hpk brcm: start code 0x0 not found, assuming buffer overrun
    Sep 16 18:19:08 (none) myworld[247]: hpk brcm: cannot find picture start code at 0x2b30608d

    even more stuff in tvlog
    Sep 16 18:19:08 (none) myworld[247]: hpk brcm: VIDEO PES stream buffer overrun!
    Sep 16 18:19:08 (none) ApgCamInterfaceBase[239]: FindServerObject: scanner found nothing at A00000000, err = 0x0
    Sep 16 18:19:08 (none) ApgExprEvaluator[239]: DoEvaluate() returned err = errDbNotFound, setting result to zero
    Sep 16 18:19:09 (none) source[247]: Detecting a discontinuity in the stream. Recovering : 0
    Sep 16 18:19:10 (none) myworld[247]: hpk brcm: unexpected picture code: 0xff (whole byte) at: 0x2b2aab30, assuming B picture
    Sep 16 18:19:17 (none) myworld[247]: hpk brcm: unexpected picture code: 0xff (whole byte) at: 0x2b46aab0, assuming B picture
    Sep 16 18:19:19 (none) myworld[247]: hpk brcm: unexpected picture code: 0xff (whole byte) at: 0x2b4dbf60, assuming B picture
     
  14. markbox

    markbox Ni!

    1,235
    1
    May 3, 2004
    S.F. Bay...
    I'm also in the SF Bay Area. I seem to be having similar problems. USA, SciFi, TBS, AMC and various other channels pixilate and freeze up but the problem doesn't appear on every channel. However, if I switch to watching those channels that are pixilating on the other tuner they are fine. Now I'm thinking one of my tuners is going out or the cabling for that tuner has a problem.

    Side note: I have a few hardisks for this DirecTiVo and the pixilation problem is present on the two I have tried so far. One of the hardisks is running software 6.2 and the other is running 6.3e-01-2-151. I think my original harddisk is still running 3.x software so perhaps I'll power that one up and check for the pixilation problem.

    Is there a way to tell on screen which tuner is being used?

    update: I swapped the SAT1 and SAT2 cabling and the pixilation problem remained on SAT2. Checked signal strength and have 80% on SAT1 and 77% on SAT2. Rechecked signal strength and now it says 81% SAT1 and 0% on SAT2 - doh!

    I'm off to get a ladder and check the status of the dish and its connections but I doubt there is anything wrong there since swapping the SAT1 and SAT2 connections left the problem on the SAT2 tuner.

    Any other thoughts?

    update2: I think I've eliminated my pixilation issue on SAT2 by unhooking the S-VHS and left/right audio outputs based on a tip in this thread and info in another thread:

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=5510101#post5510101

    For the last 60+ minutes I've had no pixilation issues on USA or SciFi. I can get the pixilation back instantly if I hook up the S-VHS cable to the back of the unit.

    I'll post an update if the situation changes.
     
  15. jg167

    jg167 New Member

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    Apr 1, 2004
    Boy it seems unlikely that this can cause the errors I see in the log files which all appear to be problems in decoding the sat signal, digital issues not analog isues. But perhaps aging components on in the s-video path might be causing problems for the unit in general yet not showing analog degradation in the output??? Still seems far fetched, but if it works its hard to argue with that. I've unplugged the s-video output and am using composite. The picture is slightly worse when viewing the guide, but I can't tell the difference (I don't think, its hard to know) when actually viewing content. We'll see if it helps with the problem. So far so good, no pixilation could be found on any channel.

    update: after no breakup for a day on any channel that I could find, I plugged the s-video cable back in and it didn't take long to find the old problem. Swapped back to composite and it went away. Color me a believer!

    Many thanks to those that discovered this one. Sadly I doubt there is a fix for the s-video since I've run my tivo with it for years with no problem, i.e. it must be aging components.
     
  16. RobD

    RobD New Member

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    May 25, 2001
    Mount...
    I'm already on composite cables, no s-video hooked up right now. Again in the evening, USA is breaking up real bad on WWE Raw. Looks fine on the other two HDVR2 units, all running the same version of the os. It was also just fine during the daylight hours. I too have a lot of those error messages in my error log:

    Sep 25 01:21:37 (none) myworld[235]: hpk brcm: start code 0x0 not found, assuming buffer overrun
    Sep 25 01:21:37 (none) myworld[235]: hpk brcm: cannot find picture start code at 0x2b4ea1ad
    Sep 25 02:27:11 (none) myworld[235]: hpk brcm: start code 0x0 not found, assuming buffer overrun
    Sep 25 02:27:11 (none) myworld[235]: hpk brcm: cannot find picture start code at 0x2b35c82d
    Sep 25 02:37:38 (none) myworld[235]: hpk brcm: start code 0x0 not found, assuming buffer overrun
    Sep 25 02:37:38 (none) myworld[235]: hpk brcm: cannot find picture start code at 0x2b54824d
    Sep 25 02:38:59 (none) myworld[235]: hpk brcm: start code 0x0 not found, assuming buffer overrun
    Sep 25 02:38:59 (none) myworld[235]: hpk brcm: cannot find picture start code at 0x2b40405d


    Channel: 242 USA
    Program: WWE Monday Night RAW
    Episode:
    Description: Steel Cage action: Triple H takes on Carlito; What's next for Mr. McMahon's illegitimate son?
    Recording Status: Season Pass
    Currently on Live TV
    Channel: 242 USA
    Program: WWE Monday Night RAW
    Episode:
    Description: Steel Cage action: Triple H takes on Carlito; What's next for Mr. McMahon's illegitimate son?
    TiVo Box Information
    Software System: 6.2-01-2-151
    Service Number: 1510000xxxxxxxx
    System Type: United States Series 2 DirecTiVo
    Subscription: Monthly Subscription
    Tuner Count: 2
    Remote Address: 2
    TiVo Time: 10:43pm, 24-Sep-07
    Uptime: 0d 17h 17m 23s
    Current Temperature: 51C / 123.8F
     
  17. jg167

    jg167 New Member

    14
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    Apr 1, 2004
    If this is an age related issue, we should see that in our own data. So how old are the units that have had this issue (the one fixed by using composite video). My Philips DSR7000 was four years and a month or two when this started.
     
  18. Scalper

    Scalper New Member

    15
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    Aug 18, 2003
    San Jose,...
    my Philips DSR-7000 is 3 years old but the HD is 2. I can use S-video and composite just not at the same time. So I only use S-video now and I am getting a Y-cable(splitter).
     
  19. wwwdrich

    wwwdrich New Member

    1
    0
    Jul 23, 2002
    San Jose, CA
    I am seeing similar problems on my DirecTiVo (Hughes) also in the SF Bay Area, and as far as I can tell it is a failing input. Play with your Sat Signal Strength testing under Settings -> Satellite -> Test Satellite Signal Strength. On mine, I see a few of the transponders on satellite 119 that will switch between 0 and the mid to high 80s on input 2. (transponders 26, 27 at the moment). If I swap cables the problem stays on input 2.

    I chatted with the folks at WeakKnees a bit, they think it's probably an input going bad.

    I figure this is my excuse to get a Series 3 and finally get HDTV (unfortunately with Comcast).
     
  20. hyde76

    hyde76 New Member

    167
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    Jan 7, 2003
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Saw this today on the Disney Channel this morning (Hanna Montana) and a bit this evening watching the UCLA game on 652. Both on my HDVR2, upgraded HD at the beginning of the summer. Changed the channel each time I saw it and the other channels were fine. Back to the show we were watching and sure enough, looks like it's not my HDVR2 but what's coming down from the sattelite.
     

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