Comcast Houston - pixelization

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by golubian, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. golubian

    golubian Member

    62
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    Apr 5, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    Like many others, I have serious intermittent pixelization issues on the local NBC and ABC HD Channels (312 and 313), and also on some of the others. I have two S3's and I experience the problem on both.

    Like many others, this didn't seem to be a problem when I first set them up. Like many others, I'd peg this problem to the download and install of 8.3.

    The question, I guess, is what to do about it.

    I had Comcast out yesterday and the tech told me my signal strength is 'fine' (although to be honest I don't know what that means). He told me that he's seen this problem before and that what I need to do is go get new cablecards and swap them out/install them repeatedly until the problem goes away. I don't relish doing that but will if I have to.

    It seems that many others in the Houston area have this problem on Channels 312 and 313. If it's a cablecard issue, why would the problem seem focused on specific channels?

    If, on the other hand, it's a Tivo software issue, why would swapping out cablecards make a difference?

    Two last questions: 1) Does this problem go away by adding an external antenna and tuning into the local HD stations OTA?, and 2) Has Tivo acknowledged to anyone that 8.3 has any role in this pixelization problem?
     
  2. lethcoeb

    lethcoeb Not a new member

    80
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    Apr 19, 2002
  3. golubian

    golubian Member

    62
    0
    Apr 5, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    Yeah, I'd seen that. I guess I'm wondering whether installing an OTA antenna will resolve the problem. Because if it's an S3 software issue, then I may just be pouring more money down the drain. But the new TV season is a-comin', so I need to get this resolved.
     
  4. 20TIL6

    20TIL6 BaDoop BaDoop BaDoop

    861
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    Sep 7, 2006
    Cypress, TX
    I personally do not think it is related whatsoever to the TiVo. I think there is a problem with channel 'cramming' and the cablecards are having difficulties tuning in certain groups of channels. For me, and I'm in NW Houston, it's been Nick, Speed, HGTV, sometimes ESPN2HD, maybe others that I don't watch a lot.

    And the problems are intermittant, and seem to be worse on varying equipment. I have two S3 units, loaded with cards, and a single TV in my son's room (with one cablecard, no TiVo). That single TV seems to have the most problems. It still tiles on those channels, but lately, knock on wood, my S3 units have not. I remove the card from that TV, tune in analog signals, no problem. Insert the card, start tuning digital through the card, BAM! tiling. Meanwhile, like I said, my S3's have been doing much better. But for a while, they had problems just as bad.

    Just like you, everything was doing fine on all my equipment, even that TV in my son's room, until maybe a month or so ago. That's why I think this is NOT TiVo related.

    Here's what I've done:

    I had line techs out here for most of one day, they checked everything and my signal and cable connections in the house are fine.

    I have swapped out cards a blue million times. Right now, all of my cards are v4.21 and have 3704 or 3705 in the serial numbers. I bring that up because they told me to avoid 3711 serial number cards, even though their service centers will hand them out. Based upon the fact that I still have problems (right now just on my son's TV with no TiVo), I don't think swapping cablecards helps at all.

    My Mother has an S3 too, and she was having the same problems, same channels. I swapped out her cards too, both v4.05 now, and we also had line techs out at her place to check signal. They actually found some signal problems, and I 'think' we have her issues resolved.

    So for you, since your tiling is on locals, your absolute fix is putting up an OTA antenna. Both my Mother and I have OTA antennas, and we've never had problems using that source. In fact, I will choose to record stuff over the OTA channels rather than cable. It's solid, and unaffected by what I consider to be a channel cramming, frequency problem created by Comcast. A problem that maybe will be getting better as they have to start handing out, and supporting more cablecard users.

    My fix for my son's TV: A new TiVo HD. Based upon the fact that I think the TiVo's deal with the problem better than his TV does alone.
     
  5. Das Achteck

    Das Achteck Member

    115
    0
    Mar 8, 2005
    Did the picture break up at any time while they were there? Unless they are monitoring the signal strength when it starts fluctuating and then drops to the point where the picture breaks up, they will think things are fine.

    OTOH, maybe the signal coming out of the wall is fine, but at the point where my TV is measuring signal strength it has been degraded by a flaw in the TV. Maybe the TV tuner cannot always cleanly discriminate between subchannels when there are too many of them. I started thinking about this when I saw your comment about different performance on different gear.
     
  6. 20TIL6

    20TIL6 BaDoop BaDoop BaDoop

    861
    0
    Sep 7, 2006
    Cypress, TX
    Oh yeah, it would break up and tile like crazy with them right there. They checked everything signal wise. In my house, house to box in neighbors back yard, and even from that point back to a more central point. They could not figure it out.

    My son's TV (note there is no TiVo hooked up to it, just straight TV with cablecard), it would tile and break up with the cablecard inserted, then remove the card and analog comes in fine. Then they brought in one of their STB's (not a cablecard STB), connected cable, connected STB to TV. Digital channels all came in fine.

    So, it's not TiVo, it's not really cablecard. In my opinion, it's whatever Comcast is doing with their arrangement of channels and there is some equipment that cannot deal with what they've done when tuning with a cablecard. My son's TV happens to be that kind of equipment.

    Right now, I have him watching TV via analog signals without the cablecard inserted. Since my S3 units seem to be OK now, they must be able to handle whatever Comcast has done, I'll fix my son's TV with a TiVo HD.

    I think since Comcast will begin to deploy STB's with cablecards, they are going to be a lot more aware of their arrangement of channels, and it will get better for all of us. I think that.
     
  7. Das Achteck

    Das Achteck Member

    115
    0
    Mar 8, 2005
    It really does seem that there are tuners that choke on the most densely packed pipes that Comcast is sending us. My TV appears to have one and TiVo S3s may also.

    Did your son's TV show breakup at the same time as their STB was showing none? That would pretty well settle the issue. I may just pick up an STB and use it for a day or so and see what happens. I guess I should try to get one with a CC.
     
  8. Aug 1, 2007 #8 of 12
    golubian

    golubian Member

    62
    0
    Apr 5, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    Has anyone else noticed an improvement on this issue, especially with respect to Channels 312 and 313?

    I was able to get through the first hour of the Today Show and/or Good Morning America today, each of which over the past 1-2 months have been virtually unwatchable due to pixelization.
     
  9. Aug 1, 2007 #9 of 12
    20TIL6

    20TIL6 BaDoop BaDoop BaDoop

    861
    0
    Sep 7, 2006
    Cypress, TX
    They did all the testing on my son's TV since it was having the most difficulties. We did not run things concurrently (both the TV tuning through cablecard and STB connected through an input), that would have pretty much confirmed it. We had coax running into the TV (tiling with cablecard), then changed that coax to run into their STB, with another coax going into the TV (tune to channel 3, I know, remember those days). Real down and dirty, but the tiling was so bad and consistent with the TV tuning through the cablecard that when the STB just came in strong and consistent, it seemed pretty clear.

    Knock on wood.... my S3 units have been doing fine since then. I fixed my son's TV by getting a new TiVo HD. It's been fine with a pair of cablecards in it since Monday.

    I don't know, but it seems that something has been resolved at least to the level of TiVo's being able to deal with what Comcast was pushing down. In my area anyway. I hope it stays this way.
     
  10. CCourtney

    CCourtney Member

    488
    2
    Mar 28, 2006
    El Dorado...
    I bought a TiVo HD and installed CableCARDs this past Saturday. So far I've not seen any pixelization issues on local HD stations. Nor had I seen it w/ my Sony DHG-HDD500.

    TAZ
     
  11. lethcoeb

    lethcoeb Not a new member

    80
    1
    Apr 19, 2002
    Major pixelization tonight on 312 and 313 in West U.

    HD Movies and HDNET also almost aways pixelated...
     
  12. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

    14,015
    3,477
    Jan 6, 2003
    Houston/Bren...
    I'm in Southampton (about a mile from you). HDNet & HDMovies, along with 312/313, are the four channels that are mostly unwatchable. Last night I was watching the 'Stros game on 302, and it started breaking up too.

    I'm about to have an antenna installed, so at least I can watch the OTA HD when the new season cranks up. I don't know what to do about ComCast. Try new cable cards, maybe?

    BTW, none of this started until this summer. Up until ~June, I never had a problem. This tells me it's the signal, not my S3.
     

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