Can Premiere handle two HD recordings?

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by JustJeff, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. JustJeff

    JustJeff Gadget Geek

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    Feb 6, 2002
    San Jose, CA
    Got a Premiere a couple of weeks ago to replace a dead Series 3. Have had many problematic recordings with pixilation, macro blocking and stuttering. Tonight I tried to watch the Sharks playoff opener on Comcast Sports Net and nearly had an aneurysm because the picture was unwatchably bad.

    Two calls to Comcast and nothing helped. Every so often the picture would clear up, and then turn bad again without warning. It was strangely periodic, and it didn't matter which channel I was tuned to.

    Finally, in desperation I changed the channel to the analog Comcast Sports. I'd forgotten how awful SD looks on my 60 inch HDTV, though. I flipped to the other tuner and changed to the HD Comcast Sports Net. Voila! PERFECT picture! It finally dawned on me: the SD channel consumes only a fraction of the bandwidth of the HD channel. Could it be that the Premiere just couldn't handle it?

    I flipped back to the SD station and tuned to HBO HD. Back to Comcast Sports HD, and the pixilation was back. Just as bad as before. Switched the other tuner back to SD and Comcast Sports HD immediately cleared up. Have been watching it for half an hour now and not a dropped frame.

    So is this a bug, or is the Premiere just unable to stream two high bandwidth HD channels to disk at one time? Or could my two year old eSATA, TiVo certified expansion drive be the problem? It should have way more bandwidth than necessary for two HD recordings and another HD playback stream.

    Anyone know? Too late for me to contact TiVo support tonight so I thought I'd ask here.
     
  2. rifleman69

    rifleman69 Member

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    Jan 6, 2005
    Oregon
    Check your cable card diagnostics although it could be the external hard drive. The Premiere is a step up from the S3 box you had, which handled two HD channels at the same time.
     
  3. JustJeff

    JustJeff Gadget Geek

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    Feb 6, 2002
    San Jose, CA
    DVR diagnostics look good. I wasn't actually recording on either tuner, just watching the buffers, which (I assume) are recorded to preallocated blocks on the internal drive continuously. I will definitely contact TiVo support tomorrow. I wouldn't be shocked if I had a bad unitor the external drive isn't up to snuff.
     
  4. Stuxnet

    Stuxnet Alien Infidel

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    Feb 8, 2011
    When you watch the buffers you are recording. No difference really. This isn't a premiere issue. I routinely record 2 HD channels and often have a PC-to-TiVo transfer happening simultaneously. Tiling has always been a signal issue for me. There are many causes... cable cards, bad coax, loose coax, too many splitters... etc. etc.

    Did you check channel signal strength? Does it only happen at these 2 channels or any two HD channels. Does it happen with non-HD digital channels (not analog SD).
     
  5. JustJeff

    JustJeff Gadget Geek

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    Feb 6, 2002
    San Jose, CA
    The signal strength is about 85, and signal-to-noise ratio is about 35 dB, which is the top of TiVo's recommended range for QAM256 channels. I think the problem may be the geometry or behavior of the external drive. It's an old one I transferred from the Series 3, and it's only 500 GB, not the lone 1 TB model TiVo says is the only one approved for use on the Premiere. I'll test that later today. I don't have many recordings on the new Premiere so scragging the expansion drive and replacing it with one that's twice as big is no great hardship. :)

    It's 100% repeatable if I tune to Comcast Sports Net on one tuner and a high-bandwidth HD channel on the other (HBO, for example). If I set the other tuner on an SD channel, the pixilation and macroblocking completely vanishes on Comcast Sports Net.
     
  6. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    You may have a defective Premiere. I would call TiVo and talk to them about it. The 500GB drive could be causing problems. If it is I would guess it is because the drive/cable/enclosure are failing not because of compatibility issues.

    Good Luck,
     
  7. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

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    Chicagoland
    How old is the 500 GB unit? Never had one, but it appears there are many reports of those causing pixilization when they go bad.

    I would recommend pulling it as seeing what happens.

    Then go get a 2TB unit and upgrade.
     
  8. JustJeff

    JustJeff Gadget Geek

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    Feb 6, 2002
    San Jose, CA
    I removed the external drive and the pixilation is gone. Can't reproduce it with full-bore high bandwidth HD stations on both tuners. Awesome! Annoying that I couldn't reuse the old drive, but not a huge shock in retrospect.

    Problem solved!
     
  9. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    6,941
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    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    I recently pulled my 500GB drive off my TiVo HD and upgraded the Internal drive to 2TB cost less than $70. I had also upgraded my Premiere with a 2TB drive before that and it was even easier to upgrade the Premiere than the TiVo HD.

    I would watch for a good price on a 2TB "green" drive and upgrade your Premiere after you have used it for awhile with Comers Method it is real easy to setup the new 2TB drive and copy all your settings and shows to it.

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=467332

    Good Luck,
     
  10. crxssi

    crxssi Veteran TiVo User

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    Apr 5, 2010
    Mine records two 1080i and plays back one at the same time, all the time. No problems with video quality. You need to check your signal quality. The Premiere (and TiVo HD, too, which is SLOWER) have no problems keeping up with recording two while watching another.

    You might also have a failing hard drive that is in the process of swapping out sectors for spares and/or hitting uncorrected errors...
     
  11. matt@thehickmans

    matt@thehickmans Hemo_jr

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    Jan 8, 2008
    I had a 500GB expander on a Premiere XL with no problems. So I doubt it was simply a compatibility issue.
     
  12. ltxi

    ltxi New Member

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    Feb 14, 2010
    Colorado
    But the simple answer to your original thread question, Just Jeff, is yes. Plus it will play back HD while recording.
     
  13. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Jan 31, 2002
    Northern...

    And will also transfer an HD program. So it can record two HD programs, while you are also transferring an HD program and also watching an HD program that was previously recorded.

    The bandwidth an HD show uses is minimal. Under 19mb/s. Even the slow IDE drives I used for my HD recordings ten years ago had no problems dealing with a few HD streams.
     
  14. Dr_Diablo

    Dr_Diablo Dr_Diablo

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    Nov 23, 2003
    Midwest
    Was gonna suggest another cable card, but you seem on top of the situation
     

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