Macroblocking leads to macroboxing

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by JimboDunky, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. JimboDunky

    JimboDunky Disenchanted User

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    After another waste of a weekend, I've given up totally on this whole TiVo HD experience and still can't believe what a waste all of this has been.

    There isn't any amount of software updates out there that will fix this issue. It's a hardware based issue. Period.

    I'm not even waiting near the 30 day return because I don't even want the thing in my sight.

    TiVo HD: Not ready for Primetime, but ready to go right back into the box back to BestBuy.
     
  2. ciper

    ciper Active Member

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    Nov 4, 2004
    Since you are a software and electrical engineer who has done Root Cause Analysis on the issue can you please tell us the exact cause of the problem so that a new hardware revision can be released that doesn't suffer from the same defect?

    Thanks K Bye
     
  3. JimboDunky

    JimboDunky Disenchanted User

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    I think cheaping out with a sub-par ATi chip coupled with a 5400 rpm drive speed and a processor which doesn't get enough data piped into it fast enough is a good starting point. Do you?
     
  4. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    The TivoHD uses a new 7200rpm drive from Western Digital.

    The TivoHD also uses the same ATI QAM demodulator chip family as the latest Scientific Atlanta DVRs. The SA DVRs use a lower-end model. No shipping DVR has a faster processor than the Broadcom BCM7401 in the TivoHD.

    The pixelization problems with SA CableCards are almost certainly related to the Linux driver or module for the VIXS XCode 2115. That chip handles the OpenCable (CableCard) decryption. This chip was just-released and Tivo is the first to use it in a product, so immature / buggy drivers are no big surprise.

    The new VIXS XCode driver / module in the b2 software eliminates the macroblocking issues associated with Motorola CableCards, but doesn't appear to do much (if anything) for Scientific Atlanta CableCards. Presumably, Tivo and VIXS are working on that issue now.
     
  5. ciper

    ciper Active Member

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    Nov 4, 2004
    IIRC a High Def signal maxes out at around 3.5MBps. Even a 10 year old 5400rpm hard drive would be able to easily cope with 3 concurrent streams. Besides a low RPM drive produces less heat.

    The Tivo OS is pretty small so most of it stays in ram. The video wont play any faster with a 10k rpm drive. At best database access would improve but that has very little impact on system performance (I know because I have a 512mb ram cache on the database in my tivo)

    Whats so wrong with the ATI demodulator? Many devices use the same or similar chip.http://ati.amd.com/products/theater314/index.html Do you have a suggestion for something better?
     
  6. JimboDunky

    JimboDunky Disenchanted User

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    Wrong. 5400 rpm is used.

    As for the processor, I never said anything about it's speed. I spoke of the piping of data to it not being fast enough.
     
  7. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    The TivoHD has a WD1600AVBS drive. Here's a screenshot of the TivoHD drive for you.

    That is a 7200rpm drive. Tivo has not used 5400rpm drives in any of their HD products.
     
  8. ciper

    ciper Active Member

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    JimboDunky: You are wrong. Here is the datasheet on the drive bkdtv spoke of
    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=288&language=en#jump11

    The drive is actually better than what is in many DVR since it was specifically designed for this type of service!
    You might be right about this being a hardware issue.... however its the cablecards and not the Tivo. If you read the forum you will see that users of the other brand cable card dont have the issue (or when an mcard is used)
     
  9. JimboDunky

    JimboDunky Disenchanted User

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    Is that drive inside your box or is that an image taken of someone's upgrade?
     
  10. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    That's a picture from Tivolovers' TivoHD review.

    My TivoHD had the same drive. How do I know? Because I upgraded the hard drive with a 750Gb model and have the old 160Gb drive sitting next to me. Give me a few minutes and I will edit this post with a pic.

    Edit: Added picture below.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. JimboDunky

    JimboDunky Disenchanted User

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    I'm wondering if anyone out there has tried a 5400 rpm drive to see if that would make the macroblocking disappear ;)
     
  12. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    The 'problem' with the TivoHD is not that it uses older components. The 'problem' it that the components it uses are so new that the drivers aren't as mature as they should be.

    With the old Series3 design, Tivo used some of the same core components found in older DVRs from Motorola, Dish Network, and DirecTV. With the TivoHD, they are first out the gate with a product based on the new generation of chips. Those chips helped to make the lower-cost TivoHD design possible. Others like DirecTV are currently beta testing products based on those chips for release late this year or early next.

    No one knows how long it will take to fix their driver(s) to eliminate the pixelization with Scientific Atlanta CableCards. But you can bet they are working their butt off to do it. If they can't fix it soon, they are going to get destroyed in the press.
     
  13. jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

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    Nice to see that you are so confident.

    I'm also willing to bet almost anything that you are also wrong. :)

    Send a PM to Chimpware. Maybe the two of you can have a going away party. And for extra fun, maybe you can figure out who swapped out your drive for a 5400 one. :rolleyes:

    Pay attention to bkdtv - he's got one of the best summaries of what the real issues are that I've read to date.
     
  14. TiVotion

    TiVotion Early Adoptersaurus

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    Dec 6, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    If it's a hardware issue, then the hardware fairy must have snuck into my bedroom last week, opened up my THD box, and replaced the hardware...because immediately after the last (b2) software update, I was one of those circumstances where all frequent (10-15 min) and consistant macroblocking went away.

    Or maybe it was just a huge coincidence. :rolleyes:

    I think time will prove that there were tangible causes for this issue that were related to the software, and in some instances, that were related to other environment-specific variables. Hardware, I'm afraid, doesn't look like it's one of them.
     
  15. TiVoDoughBoy

    TiVoDoughBoy New Member

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    Nov 7, 2004
    Same here. Granted, I have a Motorola M-Card and not anything from SA, but it makes it pretty clear that this is a software issue that TiVo is working on and capable of fixing.

    And for me, it hasn't been one of those "sort of fixed it" kind of updates, but in the three or four days since getting the update, I haven't seen a single pixelation, nor have my wife and kids.

    We all have different levels of patience, so if returning it makes you feel better, then do just that, but if you have some patience, I'm sure the SA CC users will get a fix in due time.
     
  16. coreyt

    coreyt New Member

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    I've recorded 2 HD streams and played back a HD stream while the 2 were recording... I completely fast forwarded at all speeds, done a number of other things to the live feeds and none of them screwed up at the times I was doing all the video rewinding and ff.

    I think the latest update fixed our problems. Wife has not been talking about it since.
     
  17. JimboDunky

    JimboDunky Disenchanted User

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    Just cancelled my sub, the TiVo csr seemed interested in why I hadn't had the cable company try a different brand of CC other than SA, like an M-Card for instance. I was like because SA is the only type they offered. It's not up to me to try and have the cable company play doctor with my TiVo HD, especially when they say the next time they come out to visit will not be a free because it's obviously an issue with the console, which is what prompted me to pull the plug on this beta testing something that should have been beta tested beforehand.

    So if DirecTV is still beta testing these same components that are being used in the TiVo HD, like bkdtv has put forth, looks like I'll be good to go with their product offering when it hits market. At least their product will not depend on this any number of CC variables that the THD box should have worked through ahead of time in beta to work properly.
     
  18. cableguy763

    cableguy763 New Member

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  19. ciper

    ciper Active Member

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