Just how bad are the Tivo HD pixellation problems?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by n1teowl, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. n1teowl

    n1teowl New Member

    Aug 25, 2007


    I have been reading about the pixellation problems with the Tivo HD for some time now and I am having a hard time figuring out just what percentage of owners are having problems. Some have the problem and don't seem to mind too much, others call it unwatchable. I know that the motorola cablecards are not having as many problems as the SE cards, but it's hard to tell how many that is. I guess my question is what are the chances that a new Tivo HD, with a Motorola card (I have Comcast, I assume that's what I'll get) will have major issues with pixellation? I know that no one has any way of knowing for sure, but I really want to upgrade to HD before the new season and I'm finding it hard to pull the trigger with so many reporting issues. Can someone convince me that it's buying a new HD is the way to go? Please?? :confused:
  2. Dr_Diablo

    Dr_Diablo Dr_Diablo

    Nov 23, 2003
    I traded my Tivo HD in today for the Series 3 Tivo HD released last Sept 06... I was able to get Best Buy to price match with the advertised price that of Circuit Citys $599.00...

    The reason being that I wish to add an external drive to the Tivo for the added storage ability...

    With the Tivo HD I purchased three weeks ago the pixelation problems only got worse after the software update b2, of August 16...

    There is no date set for the SATA port on the Tivo HD, so I don't wish to wait until that does happen...

    I guess it all depends on if you can afford the price difference between the two units...

    I'm sold on Tivo, have been since 96...

    The reason i have waited this long was simply I didn't feel the HD content available was worth the price until more channels became possible...

    I'd say you should go for it and pick up one of the Series 3 models launched last year...

    Good luck whichever way you decide to go...

    You might call your cable provider and see which cablecards they stock an if they have the Multi-stream cable... I'd of opted for the Multi-stream card if available from my provider BrightHouse...

    Had to settle for the Single Stream cards, after the installer tried 14 cards...
  3. Ilene

    Ilene Member

    Dec 26, 2001
    Plano, Tx
    Step 1: Call your cable company provider to find out what kind of cableCards they offer.
    Ask, are they Motorola or Scientific Atlantic? If they answer Motorola - ask if they are S-cards or M-cards. You will need 2 S-Cards or 1 M-Card. You may also find out the answer by looking through the Offical Cable Company Sticky. If they SA, you may want to wait.
    Step 2: If your cable company offers Motorola cards, then decide how much money you want to spend. The TiVo HD is cheaper and was developed because most folks were too shocked to spend $799 (looks like this has dropped to $599) for the S3. $299 for the TiVo HD impacts the wallet less. What's the difference? - the biggest difference is only recording 20 HD hours vs 32 HD hours. May not seem like much, but it depends on how much TV you plan to record and how fast you will watch. If you don't travel - 20 hours will be enough, but you will feel rushed. What happens is your recordings will disappear before you've had a chance to watch it or it will not record depending on how you have set up your recordings. Most of us TiVoholics do not watch live TV. We record everything and then watch delayed TV. And because you will have dual tuners either way, you will end up recording more. Most of us are multi-TiVo owners, where our S3 is in our main viewing room and have purchased the TiVo HD for our secondary rooms. (I am really waiting for 2 things before I do this - lifetime transfer and multiroom viewing).
    Step 3: Hook up your TiVo via your black cable from the wall and run guided set up as the instructions tell you - you want to make sure that hardware is working properly.
    Step 4: Be prepared by reading all you can and to follow the directions for the cableCard install provided by TiVo. This is still where the "issues" exist. If you can't follow instructions - do not buy. If your installer is not willing to follow instructions - send him back and ask for a woman (most women read and follow instructions). When the installer agrees to follow your instructions, ask to see the cards. Write the serial numbers of each card on a separate piece of paper. My Motorola Serial Numbers for my S-cards start with NG. Once you put the cards in the slots, you will not be able to see it and you may need to know the number to talk later with the cable company support associate.
    Step 4: Know which card is put in Slot 1 by serial number. After you get the 1604 ( :up: correction 161-4 - I was too lazy to look it up and I knew I would be corrected)error and the grey screen comes up, write down the numbers the are on the screen and keep this for each card.
    Step 5: Listen to your installer as he/she reads the numbers to the person on the other end of the phone line. Then ask for installer to have the person on the phone read off the same numbers. If there are any differences, it won't work.
    Step 6: Repeat Steps 4 and 5
    Step 7: Check your channels to make sure you get all of them. Have your channel line up printed off and go to all the channels you currently watch and those new HD ones you may not have watched.
    Be prepared for cableCards that don't work. It took me about 4 cards, but as more and more of these cards are tried/fail and are returned - it appears that the cable companies try these deadbeat cards over and over and if it is broken it won't work!

    The jury is still out on SA cards. Some have been successful in getting them to work in S3s. TiVo is still working on the TivoHDs. They are planning a fix at the end of the month (when they say this it could be the end of any month - you can never be sure when fixing stuff like this how long it will take).

    Overall - I have been very happy with my S3, but I have spent $1000 for my S3 and another $250 for the eSata drive. I have gone through pixelation issues that have come, gone, come and right now gone. I do think it is worth it.
  4. stream

    stream New Member

    Jul 25, 2007
    I got a TiVo HD the week it was released (Comcast w/ Moto single stream cards). It had unacceptable pixelation issues, which were not resolved by the the August 1 (B1?) update, so a week later I returned it.

    After it seemed like the B2 update fixed issues for most with Moto CCs, I got another TiVo HD a few days ago. Comcast installed an M_CARD, and I (so far--knock wood) have no pixelation issues. On the first box, the menu navigation was very slow, but not on this box. The Comcast tech said the M_CARDS are the way to go, since they're the newest technology. He said they had a few issues with the older single stream cards, but none that he's aware of the the M_CARD.

    I'd say go for it. If you have issues, you can return within the 30 return period, and you're only out the CC install charge ($15.99 in my area).
  5. ChrisFix

    ChrisFix Member

    Jul 31, 2007
    Chapel Hill, NC


    I have Time Warner Cable with only SA S cards available. I found the pixelation to be a problem with both revisions of the TiVo software (b1 & b2). I returned the box and canceled my 3 year service on Friday. TWC Raleigh Durham charges $42.95 PER CARD to install...so I'm out $86 to them. I also had very slow menu changes...the software isn't really ready for public consumption - my SA300HDs actually perform much better at all the basic functions - like tuning channels and recording perfect HD.

    I was nearly at 30 days and didn't want to risk $600 if the SA problem doesn't get fixed. I do think that I will re-try the TiVo HD again in the future - I'm waiting for TWC to get M cards, and to read that TiVo has released a more mature version of their software.
  6. Glich

    Glich New Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    The problems may be partly signal strength. my meter was at 46 and i did some re-wriing and got it up to 68 i still get a little every 10-20 min or so (1 sec or less) but its way down. was every 5-6 min before for 2 sec or so.
  7. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Tivo fixed the pixelization problems with Motorola CableCards with the update released August 16.

    Tivo says a fix is now in testing for the pixelization problems with Scientific Atlanta CableCards.
  8. n1teowl

    n1teowl New Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Thanks a ton for the great information. I'll make sure to check with the cable company, and if they use Motorola cards, I'm in for the Tivo HD. I'll keep my fingers crossed...
  9. jasontemple

    jasontemple New Member

    Feb 10, 2007
    I've had my S3 since January w/o problems...about 1-2 months ago BBCA (nonHD) and NESN (HD) along with a few others started pixelating...unwatchable, no audio. I have Verizon FIOS out three times...signal levels are fine, they replaced the coax and even the ONT in the basement...still have the problem. I called Tivo tech support and they say it's a software issue that they are working on (no idea when it will be released).

    Needless to say my wife is rather upset about loosing some of her favorite channels and no recourse at all.
  10. cautionespn

    cautionespn Grand PooBah

    Feb 21, 2003
    TiVo HD in Salem, MA here. Comcast, 2 single stream motorola cable cards. No problems whatsoever here. Have not yet seen any macroblocking at all in HD or SD channels.

    Running software version:
  11. Dr_Diablo

    Dr_Diablo Dr_Diablo

    Nov 23, 2003

    You brought up some very good points... well done

    I just got a Series 3 Tivo, after three weeks of using the Tivo HD unit...

    Gotta call in the AM to get the cards paired to the Series 3

    How bout that WD 500 Gig External drive ? Better than a Seagate ?
  12. jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Ilene -

    Good advice.

    One error in step 4 - there is no "1604" error code.
    You are probably thinking about 161-4. That is a "good" error. Any other 161 error, especially 161-2, is not.
  13. jasonh4451

    jasonh4451 New Member

    Jan 19, 2005
    Tivo HD with Motorola M-card on Comcast in San Francisco.

    Service has been flawless. I haven't seen any pixellation in the two weeks I've had it.

    Comcast cable card install took 20 minutes.

    I just ordered a Weaknees 750GB upgrade hardrive and can't wait to have over 100hours of HD
  14. dolfer

    dolfer Miles Standish Proud

    Nov 3, 2000
    I think it's really simple... If your cable company uses Scientific Atlanta CableCards DO NOT buy one yet.

    Just keep periodically checking this forum until you see that the problem has been resolved. Believe me, you will be able to tell...
  15. Dr_Diablo

    Dr_Diablo Dr_Diablo

    Nov 23, 2003
    I'm with Bright House here in my city, an the SA SingleStream Cards are all that they have to offer...

    Added to that the "negative" assistance by BH in my attempt to get the cards from them, plus their not having trained any other their Installers to address these issues...

    I'm considreing contacting the Attorney Generals office here...

    For, in my humble opinion, this is no way to treat a 10 year customer of theirs, or for that matter anyone that may be just making a switch to cable using a Tivo unit... :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown:
  16. dolfer

    dolfer Miles Standish Proud

    Nov 3, 2000
    Regardless of how poorly you are being treated by Brighthouse, I would still wait until the next fix is released by Tivo to address the SA-related pixelation/audio drops/sluggish performance.

    I am confident that Tivo will fix it, but the question is when? Hopefully in the next week or so! But who knows? It could be months. As someone who is experiencing these problems, I can guarantee that you will not be happy. Especially after going through all of the trouble to get the CableCards installed!

    As for the BrightHouse and the other Cable Cos... [RANT] YOU ARE IDIOTS for treating CableCard users so poorly! By using a Series3, Tivo HD, or Media Center PC with CableCards we are LOCKED IN TO CABLE!!!! Don't you get that you morons?! My cable bill is still F'ing outrageous. All you are losing out on is the $8 a month for your crappy box and remote. Wise up you idiots! [/RANT]

    Hope this was helpful... ;)

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