Is my Premiere getting ready to die?

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by bbwlover7_58, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. bbwlover7_58

    bbwlover7_58 New Member

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    Nov 22, 2005
    Dallas, Tx
    I've been troubleshooting this problem hard for the last few weeks now and I think I've eliminated everything but my TiVo Premiere.

    My issue is that I keep getting intermittent picture freezes and pixelation. It's happening often enough that I can't really make it through an hour show without having to wait for it to pass. I have Verizon FiOS and I've spent the last 2 weeks going through every step of their troubleshooting routine which ended over the weekend. After removing and tightening every cable connection from their ONT (Outside box) to my HDTV and installing a new M-Card, they finally sent out a tech. He checked everything and we were still seeing the issue. He replaced the outside splitter with no improvement, then the inside splitter as well. Also with no impact. The last thing he did was replace the ONT. There's nothing left for Verizon to replace, and the problem is still there.

    When the freeze happens, the picture and sound halt for anywhere from a second to several seconds. Then it picks back up and can continue or get stuck again and again. If I'm watching from the buffer, sometimes I can jump to the front end of the buffer and I'll see pixelation there. So I thought it was the incoming signal and spent all that time with Verizon. Now after replacing everything it's still happening, so I'm worried it's my Premiere.

    Can anyone tell me what some of the failure modes of the Premiere are? This box has been working perfectly from June of last year till about 2 months ago when this started to happen. I thought it might be related to TiVo software. I'm currently at 14.8c, but I think it was happening back when I had 14.8U.

    Thanks for any help on this one,
    Doug
     
  2. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

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    May 24, 2003
    It could be a hard drive getting ready to fail. When it pixellates and pauses, does it resume exactly where it stopped? or is there loss of programming while it's paused?

    A good way to tell might be to play back something you know was recorded properly (perhaps an old recording) and see if it experiences problems.

    Fortunately, there are places where you can buy a replacement hard drive.
     
  3. dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    May 4, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I think I have read that sometimes, the Verizon signal strength can be too high. Did they check for this. Check your signal strength in the diagnostics(don't know what is "too high" though). You/they can add an attenuator somewhere in the line if that might be the case.

    Failing hard drive is also very much a possibility, as the symptoms you mentioned can indicate such.
     
  4. MC Hammer

    MC Hammer New Member

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    Jul 28, 2011
    Check signal levels/RS errors in DVR Diagnostics. Post results.
     
  5. expmag

    expmag RehobothJeff

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    Dec 12, 2004
    Rehoboth...
    I have the same problem using Comcast and I have replaced the unit as well as the card. Signal levels were low so they put an amp in line. Now levels are 95%. There have been as many as 10,000 rs non corrected errors. My HD Tivo works fine with two s cards.
     
  6. MC Hammer

    MC Hammer New Member

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    Jul 28, 2011
    RS errors = bad. If you're getting more than a hundred, time to call Comcast to come out and fix your line.
     
  7. bbwlover7_58

    bbwlover7_58 New Member

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    Nov 22, 2005
    Dallas, Tx
    Well, here's some of that data we were needing to help make a diagnosis.
    Tuner 1:
    Signal Strength: 94
    SNR: 37 db
    RS Uncorrected: 392
    RS Corrected: 12743

    Tuner 2:
    Signal Strength: 91
    SNR: 37 db
    RS Uncorrected: 291
    RS Corrected: 827

    At the moment Tuner 2 is on one of the music channels where the picture is mostly static, so it makes sense the RS rates are lower. I don't have any experience with those numbers, so I hope poster MC Hammer can help out with them. The RS Corrected jumped by almost 100 counts on tuner 1 while I was typing this response.

    Remember my situation is a FiOS setup with only a M-Card and no Tuning Adapter.

    As for when the picture gets stuck, it seems to pick up 90% of the time right where it left off, but the rest of the time, it gets the pixelation and can either jump ahead or repeat a section of the program.

    Thanks for the help so far,
    Doug
     
  8. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

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  9. MC Hammer

    MC Hammer New Member

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    Jul 28, 2011
    You have way too many RS errors. Time to have your provider come out and fix your line.
     
  10. ducker

    ducker New Member

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    Feb 21, 2006
    MA
    from what I've seen though, these errors are very channel specific, one might be fine and another showing a bunch. Why is this?

    I my FIOS lines were too hot, and after I pushed for them to do something about it, the installer put a little nubby thing at the end of the coax line before it goes in to the premiere. I'm still seeing some RS errors on my box, but it is no longer chipping in and out, and locking up my premiere box (as it was at the initial install)
     
  11. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

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    The nubby thing is an attenuator. Read the post I linked to above, it'll answer your questions about why it happens on some channels and not others, etc.
     
  12. bbwlover7_58

    bbwlover7_58 New Member

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    Nov 22, 2005
    Dallas, Tx
    Thanks Everyone! I've got the Attenuator pack on order from Smarthome. I'll give then a try as soon as they arrive.

    Question for BigJim: In your post on attenuators, you were talking about signal strength in DB. Are those readings from a meter on the cable or a status screen in my Premiere? I've spent some time on this and I can't find anywhere in TiVo where that information is listed. The diagnostic screen has SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) in DB, but that's the only item using DB as the unit of measurement. Signal strength is listed as a unit-less number and mine are in the 90's for both tuners.

    When I start adding attenuators, it would be great to get a direct reading in DB instead of waiting on the RS Corrected and Uncorrected to increment. The frequency of occurrence on my setup seems to be in the 5 to 10 minute range and that makes it hard to know if it's really fixed.

    Just wondering, any help is greatly appreciated,
    Doug
     
  13. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

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    Mar 21, 2004
    Signal strength in dB's is read from the cable co's meter. It would be handy to have one of their toys, but we gotta settle for watching RS uncorrected errors instead. ;) A few people have said their sweet spot had a 36 SNR, but everybody's results will vary. You don't want it too low either, keep it above 34.

    Don't use the SNR as your guide though. Watch the uncorrected errors and tweak accordingly. Kind of a hassle, especially when the problems can take a while to show up like that, but it's the only reliable way to go.

    Also, it may never be totally perfect... In my case, I still have occasional uncorrected errors, but actual noticeable glitches on the video are pretty infrequent. Take the attenuation steps as slowly as you need to to find what works best. Hope it works.
     
  14. bbwlover7_58

    bbwlover7_58 New Member

    14
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    Nov 22, 2005
    Dallas, Tx
    Here's a follow up on my issue. I wanted to give the fix a few days to really see if it made a difference.

    I got the attenuators last week and tried a few different values. I decided to use the 6db since it only changed my signal strength down by about 10 counts. It's now reading 88 with a SNR of 36. I did a total power down to reset the RS counts and then kept an eye on the RS Uncorrected numbers for both tuners. Today is 1 week and both are still zero! Sounds great, but...

    On shows recorded before the attenuator I expect to see some picture freezes and missing program since that was the issue I had. And I've seen this in watching shows from that time. On shows I've recorded since the fix I've only had one instance of a picture freeze and no missing action. The freeze was noticeable but not the several minutes of stuttering I was getting before.

    I'm going to try both the 3db and 10db attenuators for a week each and see if there's a sweet spot for my setup.

    Thanks for everyone's help on this. It looks like I'm almost done with this problem!:up:
     
  15. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

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    Mar 21, 2004
    Glad to hear it's cleaned up. :up: Love Fios but that strong signal can be a headache to tame. :)
     
  16. bbwlover7_58

    bbwlover7_58 New Member

    14
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    Nov 22, 2005
    Dallas, Tx
    Okay folks, here's the last update to close out this thread.

    After trying several different values of attenuators and settling on the 6db value based on Signal to Noise readings, I left the setup alone and just used it. Well, I was still having freezing and pixelization issues. The final proof of the problem was when I transferred a show from one of my older TiVo's to the Premier. I watched the show on the older unit with absolutely no issues. However on the Premiere it was constantly having freezes and they were not in the same place each time I watched. I called support and gave them the info and they agreed to swap out my Premier.

    I've had the new unit now for 2 weeks and I can say without a doubt that my old unit was dieing big time! I kept the same 6db attenuator with the new unit and it has the same Signal and S/N readings as the old unit, but Not ONE freeze or pixelization event!

    So the final answer was Yes! I had a Premier that was showing signs of failure coupled with a hot signal issue. I fixed the hot signals with a 6db attenuator and got a new unit to really fix the problem. That extended warranty is a definite lifesaver!

    Thanks for the help everyone!
    Doug
     

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