clearQAM troubles

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by clark_kent, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. clark_kent

    clark_kent Member

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    May 6, 2007

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    Hello all,

    I have a relatively new S3 that I was happy as pig-in-mud until very recently...**

    I have (the most) basic cable (timewarner) service; no extended tier; no cablecard; no HD tier; just the very basic service.**As I understand, the cable companies are required by the FCC to send "local" channels in the "clear" and my relatively new Sony 1080p TV set with QAM tuner is able to tune all the local HD channels that are "in the clear" (clearQAM) just fine...**:-]

    So I get my "fathers day" S3 and do a channel scan and I'm grinning ear to ear as the S3 finds and tunes the same clearQAM channels as my TV...**but, all is not as well as it could be since the clearQAM channels do not have any program guide info...**shame on TiVo for not allowing an advanced function that would let me "map" the QAM channel number with the EPG guide*which would then give us "guide" info...**but that's life for now...**at least I can watch and record clearQAM HD...**:))**

    But a dark cloud has settled over my gleaming S3...**recently, my cable added a new clearQAM channel.**My TV finds and identifies the QAM channel (xxx.yy) just fine BUT my shinny S3 finds that channel and for some reason assignes it channel number "0."**

    And, much to my dismay, now, when I select the other clearQAM channels, sometimes the tuner shows the picture just fine, but sometimes I get a nice black screen and no audio.**The interesting thing on the black screen:**if I then go to select "signal meter" the picture magically appears, and if then hit the "live TV" button, the picture is still there...**but, if I get of that channel and then go back to that channel, sometimes the picture is there and sometimes it's back the the black screen...**:((

    Has my S3 gone "bad" and needs service?**

    Why would the S3 report a QAM channel as channel "0" while my TV QAM tuner show the "actual" QAM channel number?**

    Why would a clearQAM channel get displayed as a black screen on my S3 (it's never a black screen on the TV QAM tuner) and then magically "tune in the picture" just cause I select "signal meeter" setting?

    Any QAM experts out there that can shed some light on this?**

    Any chance that the new TiVoHD will do a better job tuning clearQAM channels?**

    Thank you.

    P.S.** A side note on cablecard "fees"...**if all it was is a $2 - $5 a month fee for the cablecard, OK, no big deal.**But, the cable companies don't want to be that service friendly.**Just to be able to have a cablecard, I'm required to add "several" tires to my basic service level and the next thing I now, I'm up to $80+ a month for channels I don't care about just to have that cablecard.
     
  2. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Jan 23, 2006
    Mission...
    This topic and associated troubles have been beaten to death. I too was a big advocate of getting Tivo to properly support unencrypted QAM sans cablecards (even before the S3 was released I was talking about it) but I think there's just about 0 chance of that ever happening and I just bit the bullet and use OTA for some channels & cablecards for the rest along with the associated big cable bills. If you haven't tried already you may want to give OTA a shot - you will be amazed at what an indoor amplified UHF antenna can tune (digital channels) when pointed in the right direction. With OTA of course guide listings are not an issue and then you could even possibly dump cable completely if it works out.
     
  3. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    Jan 6, 2007
    I don't know about TiVo S3, but I've seen some TVs map channels to channel 0 when the PSIP is malformed.
     
  4. vstone

    vstone Active Member

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    May 11, 2002
    Martinsville...
    The cable company is required to populate some tables (the above mentioned PSIP) in the data stream which tell the receiving hardware how to identify the channel. Digital stream are sent within a channel frequency (ie multiple TV channels distributed on the frequency for, say, cable channel 116). we'll say the this is stream 1 on freq 116, call it 116-1. The tables assigns a virtual channel number to the data stream. This virtual channel number can be a recognizable cable channel number like 805. It can be two numbers like 89.1. If the cable companies populated the PSIP table calling it 805, your guide data from Tivo would work. Time Warner Cable in Myrtle Beach, SC was doing this until about FEB 14. Now they give a # that doesn't correspond to anything. Some cable companies have used the OTA designation for OTA channels (ie 7.1 for the local CBS station (analog 7, digital channel 18, and who knows what cable channel freq). This makes it easy to call up, but provides no guide data to the Tivo user because the Tivo sees the channel as a cable channel, not an OTA channel (I think this is true, can someone verify). Or they can assign a # that makes no sense. As stated above, the PSIP is probably malformed, but good luck getting anyone to admit it or fix it. TWC in SC was saying in March, April, and well into May that they had not changed anything in Feb., although others, including a store full of clear QAM tuners, and myself saw our equipment stop working with clear QAM.

    The tuner on the TV in Myrtle Beach (a Westinghouse) has a myriad of design problems that can only be fixed by shipping to Westinghouse in California and getting a firmware update with different problems. I assume that the Sony firmware is much better. If you can get the cable folk to fix the PSIP data, I think it's likely that all your problems except no guide data will go away.

    My Tivo on a Comcast system in Va showed a bunch of channel 0's before I got cablecards.
     
  5. clark_kent

    clark_kent Member

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    May 6, 2007

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    Hello all,

    Thank you for your replies.

    In my geographical area, over-the-air is not an option.

    Regarding malformed PSIP, I'm not at all surprised by cableco's manipulative and deceptive practices at the expense of there own customers...**and, our government (local franchise, etc,) lets them get away with it and gives them a license to take advantage of us!

    I don't know about the various technical issues of how "badly" the PSIP needs to be "malformed" before TiVo gives up and assign channel "0" at some point.**What I don't understand is why TiVo (with all it's technical wizardry) can't read "through" a malformed PSIP when a Sony (and other QAM tuners) have no issues at all.**Surely TiVo has the technical tools and knows how to "read" variations of malformed PSIP's and could arrive at a "fix" just like other QAM tunes that can get past the malformed issue to arrive at the actual QAM channel number of a "malformed" PSIP.**Unlike the Westinghouse that need to be shipped to the factory for a firmware update, any TiVo's can get a "fix" anytime.**TiVo's can't live without an umbilical cord that alows a it to constantly hold hands and be connected to "mom."**Why can't mom download a firmware fix?**TiVo, are you listening?**

    Before I got the new Sony TV, I played around with a Samsung set top digital tuner.**It's QAM tuner didn't register any "0" channels.**I have two Miglia QAM tuners running EyeTV software on two Mac's and no channels "0" there either.**Not only that, but with the Miglia/EyeTV (that cost all of $100+) I get a channel guide from TitnTV for all QAM channels on my local cable.**How is this miracle possible for only $100 some dollars when a very sophisticated, vastly superior (and a hole lot more expensive), TiVo S3 can't do that?**For those that are interested, I'll briefly outline the steps to this miracle:**

    Load EyeTV software on the Mac;**Connect the Miglia QAM tuner to the Mac vie USB;**Connect the cable to the Miglia:**I Run EyeTV software and scan for digital (QAM) channels;**EyeTV asks for my zip code and then proceeds to downloads (local) EPG info from my local cableco;**The channel scan shows a boat load of QAM channels, most of which are scrambled, that's OK, I'm only looking for clearQAM channels;**I click through the QAM channels and when I come across a clearQAM channel, I need to determine what "actual" channel I'm seeing and when I determine "that I'm watching my SD local ABC or HD local ABC, etc" I open the EPG channel list and "match" the QAM channel to the EPG list and "magically," TitanTV gives me channel guide info and I can even "click" programs in the TitanTV channel guide to record.**This is not all that hard and (obviously) quite feasible.**This type of "advanced" functionality maybe should be left to "advanced" users but it's absurder for TiVo to hide behind some mumbo jumbo about "needing a cablecard" to get channel guide!**TiVo, are you listening???**And, if by chance you are listening, I'd be happy to volunteer to do some "beta" testing.**

    From what I've read about the new TiVo HD, it has different QAM tuners (and support chips, maybe firmware as well) then the S3.**So, I'd appreciate hearing from those that are more technically inclined, if perhaps the new TiVo HD would fair any better with clearQAM then the current S3.**Or, is it an unknown, since we don't know if TiVo has "improved" upon the firmware that is responsible for decipher "malformed" PSIP's?

    Thank you all for your comments.
     
  6. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    Jan 6, 2007
    I would try reporting the problem to TiVo to see if they can diagnose the problem in more detail. I just offered one possibility with the malformed PSIP and that was something I've seen on TVs so don't get too fixated on that being the problem. It might be, it might not.
     
  7. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    sunnyvale
    Why are you putting ** in your message? it makes it much harder to read!!
     
  8. clark_kent

    clark_kent Member

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    May 6, 2007
    Sorry about the **

    I'm somewhat new to postings and I write my message in word processor and then copy past into the message box.**I'm not actually writing the "**" but I think it is a result of my double space after my period. <--Only one spase and now.**<--Two spaces.
     
  9. randomsolutions

    randomsolutions New Member

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    Jul 25, 2007
    I have Time Warner (San Diego) and I'm getting a ton of "0 channels" with the "Scan for channels" function on my TivoHD (just got it yesterday).

    Also, my TivoHD takes 3-10 seconds to change channels. Does anyone know why? I don't have an HDTV (yet) and I'm just using standard cable and OTA for certain HD channels.

    Maybe I shouldn't return my S2DT yet...
     
  10. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    Jan 6, 2007
    Please report these problems to TiVo so they know it is a problem or if they already know, realize how many people it affects.
     
  11. randomsolutions

    randomsolutions New Member

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    Jul 25, 2007
    I went ahead and started a new thread since it seemed like a seperate topic from the OP. I went ahead and called Tivo like you suggested and they weren't any help. I wonder if anyone else has had this issue or if I'm just lucky...

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=5364179#post5364179
     

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