Defective design or hardware?

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by bsmith1051, May 27, 2011.

  1. bsmith1051

    bsmith1051 Member

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    I have had a Premiere for almost a year now and have had increasing problems with the device. It worked perfectly for the first several months but then it started spontaneously rebooting while watching Netflix, failing to connect to the Internet, etc.

    If these were regular personal computers wouldn't you just assume they had bad motherboards, e.g. network interfaces?

    If the Premiere does in fact have a defective design, do you think it would bankrupt Tivo to fix them all? If so that would certainly explain their reticence to admit a problem.

    Also, do new Premieres have a newer hardware revision yet? And, do they have the same network-connect problems as the older units (yet) ?
     
  2. socrplyr

    socrplyr Active Member

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    Let me guess, you are using wireless...

    I believe them to be picky about the quality of your connection (much pickier than other boxes). It is arguable whether the requirement for a high quality network connection is a defect or not... I mentioned wireless, because in general, they aren't reliable. They often drop 40% of packets, which is incredibly high (most are retransmitted and eventually get there, but then they are often out of order and what not - this isn't good for streaming services). Tivos seem not to be able to handle this well.
     
  3. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

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    If the device locks up or reboots when the network connection fails, then it's a defect. If it prints a banner across the top that says "network unavailable" then it's a feature. Networks are inherently unreliable, even beyond the customer's house and outside of the customer's control. It's part of the design of the Internet that packet delivery is not guaranteed. As such any properly designed device must be tolerant of a failure to deliver packets.

    Regardless, it sounds like the OP has some significant contributing factor. I agree that bad wireless is a good suspect. It's also possible that he has a bum unit. My Premiere's have had a few incidents over the time of ownership, but nothing that I'd consider chronic. Aside from the incomplete HDUI, they are pretty reliable.

    The first thing I'd do is turn off the HDUI, reverting back to SDUI, if that isn't done already. See if that clears up the problem.
     
  4. bsmith1051

    bsmith1051 Member

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    You guys are kidding, right? You really think my situation is unusual? And, no, I am not using wireless and, yes, all the other computers in my house continue to connect properly to the Internet whilst the Premiere does not.

    Not to gang-up on you but TCP/IP is specifically designed to handle lossy and undependable connections. So I would 'argue' that any device which is unable to handle such is inarguably defective.
    _________

    Does anyone know if the Premiere's hardware has been rev'd?
     
  5. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

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    TCP implements reliable ordered packet delivery. I'm not sure that's the same as being able to handle 'lossy and undependable' connections. The reliability guarantees made by TCP are that packets arrive in order without gaps or duplicates. It makes some effort to retransmit packets that are lost. The fact that TCP is implementing a reliable service doesn't imply the network connection is stable. Throw enough lost packets at a connection and the protocol will cease making progress on the connection and generally one of the hosts will timeout.

    It's been long reported in this forum that the Premiere doesn't handle network problems robustly. That's why most people point to a networking problem as a contributing factor. Doesn't mean the Premiere isn't at fault. In fact, it pretty much confirms the Premiere has a design flaw (network problems happen; a host must deal with it gracefully).

    Anyhow, back to the main topic. If it's not a network problem, then it's something else. Maybe yours is simply bad (defective hard drive, something overheating, flaky memory chip, etc).
     
  6. sbq

    sbq New Member

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    If your wireless network is dropping 40% of its packets, then you have a bad WAP, or you need to lock your wireless network down so your neighbors aren't stealing your bandwidth to download porn.

    My wireless network doesn't drop packets, and yes I'm sure because I've set up in house network monitoring (I run my own web and email servers at home from a SOHO DSL line).
     
  7. socrplyr

    socrplyr Active Member

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    Actually, wireless networks have a high amount of dropped and then retransmitted packets. This is especially true if you live in a noisy environment (lots of APs around you and other noise sources). A recent study in the UK showed that on average (which means for many users it was much worse) user's internet speed was reduced by 20% when using WiFi over plugging into the modem. The researchers generally attributed this to packet loss/retransmission effects.
     
  8. socrplyr

    socrplyr Active Member

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    My bad the study I was referring too covered the UK, US, Spain, and Italy and it was an average of 30% loss of speed. I had read other articles that had more explanations, but here is the BBC one...
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12688839

    Still think wireless is reliable?

    On a side note, if running a web server why would you ever hook it via wireless? That guarantees a significant latency is added for every single request made by your users...
     
  9. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    It's reliable if you set it up properly. I have four APs setup in my condo with placement based on a wireless survey which gave the best channel to use at each location as well.
    If I only had one Ap for my entire condo I would not be able to get 100mb/s+ speeds from each AP. But sine I have multiple APs, with optimum placement, I'm able to maximize my speeds and reliability and spread the use out between them.
     
  10. bsmith1051

    bsmith1051 Member

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    Can we keep this thread on topic, please? There's no reason to re-hash all the discussion about wireless networks.
    __________

    Does anyone know if the Premiere's hardware has been rev'd?

    > My Premiere was purchased 6/10 and is labeled, "Made in Mexico 27-Mar-2010"
     
  11. Thuye

    Thuye Member

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    Just wondering, not making a factual statement. Are we absolutely sure that TiVo Premier is using TCP/IP and not another protocol or different protocols depending on the type of service being used/transmitted/received?
     
  12. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

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    I googled last night on Netflix specifically, and it looks like it's implemented on top of TCP. Other requests on the box (guide updates, etc) are most likely using TCP as well. While it might be possible with the Internet to roll your own latest and greatest real time video streaming protocol, seems like the easiest thing for everyone to do is to just use TCP. Even if it was using different protocols, I'm not sure it would matter, it's up to the application to designate or design a protocol that implements the guarantees it requires.

    Which tool did you use to generate this survey? Will devices in your condo roam from one AP to another? I assume they're on the same SSID but different channels. I'm considering setting up multiple APs at my house. Most of my stuff (Tivos, etc) is hardwired, but I have a handful of devices like security cameras that are wireless and having constant connection issues.

    I read the forum regularly, and I've never seen anyone report a hardware revision.
     
  13. chicagobrownblue

    chicagobrownblue Well-Known Member

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    Normally a hardware defect shows up right away, so I would say your problem is either Tivo software related, Tivo network related or something that has changed in your setup. The Premiere is fussy about both the network connection and the quality of the line voltage; probably a hardware sensor but it may be hardware/software or just software.

    More than a year ago: A Tivo rep had me disconnect my Premiere from my old surge suppressor; said same applies to a UPS. My almost weekly reboot problem went away BUT, I also received a Tivo software update within 1-2 days of plugging my Premiere directly into the wall.

    The green circle of death problem I had occurred during the dead of winter when I am sure my shared Internet connection was slower than usual and the Tivo servers were very busy. I switched to the standard definition menus and have had no problems. Adding the amount of free disk space to the SD system information recently means I will probably never try the HD UI again. A satisfied Premiere user now, but I don't view the Premiere as having any real sizzle.
     
  14. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    I borrowed equipment from work for the survey. Yes I use the same SSID for all of them and they will switch off to another AP if the signal strength drops low.

    I have ten cameras on my network with six of them connected directly to wifi or to a wireless bridge. That is one of the reasons I needed multiple APs, otherwise I would have easily saturated the bandwidth of just one AP.
     
  15. bsmith1051

    bsmith1051 Member

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    Nov 15, 2009
    I do not think that's true. An outright manufacturing defect might, but if they cut corners too much on the materials-cost then you could easily have a motherboard that was barely acceptable on initial shipment but then gradually drifted out-of-spec.

    FYI - I am now testing an idea: I inserted an old 10 Mbps hub into my Premiere's network chain, i.e., I'm forcing it to only run at 10 Mbps. I want to see if I continue to have 'phantom' Internet interruptions. If not then this would clearly indicate that my Premiere's NIC cannot reliably run at 100 Mbps.
     
  16. crxssi

    crxssi Veteran TiVo User

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    I can almost guarantee it was the software update and had nothing to do with a UPS or power strip. That is like curing a car not starting by changing the brand of tires. :)
     

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