New TiVo HD losing all channels - getting gray screen on cablecard

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by RoyK, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. BWA

    BWA New Member

    May 20, 2004
    Durham NC


    So wait, will getting a CableCard help resolve the Analog cable channel problem?

    I just got my TivoHD yesterday, got the service update, and have had grey screen four times already.
    Really really annoying.
    Makes the Tivo kinda useless right now.

    I didn't bother getting a CableCard since I only have "basic" (analog) cable.
  2. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    On most (not all) cable systems, you get digital versions of the analog channels whenever you install a CableCard. Cable companies refer to this as Analog Digital Simulcast (ADS). Most TivoHD users with CableCards do not have any analog channels, hence do not have a problem with the loss of analog tuners. There's an easy way for a CableCard user to check whether their system has ADS -- tune to a low-numbered channel and check the System Information -> DVR Diagnostics screen. It will tell you whether the channel is analog or digital.

    People who experience this problem (loss of analog tuners) on a regular basis tend to be basic cable subscribers, without CableCards, that do the majority of their recording from analog channels, with relatively infrequent recording from QAM and ATSC (OTA) channels.

    People with basic cable (without a CableCard) who do a lot of recording from ATSC or QAM channels tend not to see this issue much. That's because tuning to a digital channel restores the analog tuners. If your analog tuners went out mid-day, but your box was scheduled to record a digital channel at 8pm, then that would restore the analog tuners for a [analog] channel at 9pm.

    For existing TivoHD users with basic cable, there is a trick to greatly minimize the loss of analog tuners. First, disable Suggestions under Settings -> Recording -> TiVo Suggestions. Then create two repeating (daily), one-minute manual recordings on different ATSC or QAM channels (i.e. one on each tuner) at some point before scheduled recordings on analog channels. This is done to put the TiVo's tuners on digital channels, because (a) the analog tuners will never "go out" when the TiVo is tuned to digital channels, and (b) if the analog tuners are out, tuning to a digital channel will restore them. The analog tuners appear to "go out" after they are tuned to an analog channel for 8-12 hours, but if your TiVo is tuned to digital channels most of the time, this rarely happens.

    According to customer support, TiVo is still working to eliminate this problem. Once TiVo addresses this issue in a software update -- hopefully in the near future -- such "tricks" will be unnecessary.
  3. Apr 3, 2009 #103 of 280
    Bryan Lyle

    Bryan Lyle Tivo'n since 1999

    Feb 6, 2002
    Middle of...
    Add me to the list. My HD Tivo keeps losing channels (analog and digital). Comcast is coming out on Monday (again) to take a look.
  4. Apr 5, 2009 #104 of 280

    NigelTufnel New Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    I too am having this problem and am happy to see a thread for it. I'm looking a grey screen at the moment and in frustration I started googling to get to the bottom of this.

    I have a tivo S3, 2 cablecards, on Time Warner Cable NYC. I get grey screens intermittently for many channels, both live and recorded. I just now did a soft (menu) reboot and it did not solve the problem. This has been happening for a couple months at least. Other posters say it is tied to a firmware update, and that sounds right to me. It did seem to start happening after an update a while back.

    For what it's worth these are Scientific Atlantic cablecards, OS Build May 10, 2006. Both show a SNR of 35.
  5. Apr 9, 2009 #105 of 280

    Jeanesco akaAlphaWolf Rakeesh

    Dec 29, 2003


    Is tivo's quality assurance team taking an extended leave of absence or something?
  6. Rick-s

    Rick-s Tivo user...

    Dec 20, 2006
    I wish I had read this thread 1st. I purchased a refurb tivoHD on the 5th. Then on the 6th I saw this thread. When I got my tivo on the 9th, I got it hooked up (No cable cards yet per the instructions) all tied into the network etc... Everything seemed fine at this stage even recorded a show. Yesterday morning when I woke up, went down, turned on the TV and the screen was frozen with an image from the evening news. Changed the channels and all I got was a black screen. :(

    Reset the Tivo (soft reset) and the channels came back. This was short lived though. After about 1 hour of usage, again the channels were gone.

    Called Tivo tech support. The person ran me through a hard reset, check of my software version (which was at 9.4?) and said I needed the Vr 11 update. I mentioned I had read of people having loss of channels under that and she said it was only in some areas. Anyway, she said I should get the update through a forced call and advised me to keep my network disconnected once I got it.

    Got the update, disconnected the network, re-connected the cable and the channels were there. Watched for maybe and hour all good so far. Setup my season passes and when I'm done... Guess what?? All gone again. :mad:

    Called Tivo tech support again who tells me since I didn't plug my network in, they cannot confirm I have the new software. Again hard reset, but plug the network back in. If I have the freeze problem again, call back.

    Of course it happened again :mad:, Called back, Was told that 11c is being rolled out and that it will (supposedly) fix the issues at hand. However, she did issue an RMA for me to swap the box out just in case there is a hardware issue.

    Now, they started my service on the 6th (the day they shipped the Tivo) I will be without it for up to 10 business days (per the rep). How is it that I have to pay for over two weeks of service without having the device associated with the service?? :rolleyes:

    When I do finally get it back, hopefully 11c will be in full release, will have fixed the issues, and I'll get it soon after connecting... Or am I living in never never land :D:D
  7. gilbreen

    gilbreen Member

    Sep 5, 2007
    Want to add me as another one having this issue. I called Tivo support today and before I could really finish explaining the issue, the CSR said that they have been getting alot of calls about the issue and that the "engineers are working on a software update to resolve the issue." He also stated that a possible way to resolve the issue was to do exactly what bkdtv stated in this same thread above (set up a short daily recording on both digital tuners). The CSR concluded stating that I just have to wait until the software update is sent out.

    I am on 11.0b but it looks like 11.0c will not resolve it either.

    The strange thing is that I haven't missed any analog channel recordings that we have set up - you just can't watch analog channels live without a reboot.
  8. tally

    tally 2 old 2 be a techie

    Apr 25, 2005
    Thank you for this advice! I was having to reboot 2 or 3 times a week and since doing this I have not had to do it once. Doesn't solve the root cause but I can live with the workaround.
  9. eusswad

    eusswad New Member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Add me to the list. Get a grey screen 3-4 times a week. Called support today and did some troubleshooting. Mostly looking at Cablecard stats (have a Motorola M-card). No fault found and no solution either. Was asked to call back next time it happens ?!?!
  10. mlcarson

    mlcarson Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    I've had the gray screen issue once or twice in the past and it was fixed by a simple reboot. 11.c just hit my receiver this morning and this afternoon all channels went gray.

    On both analog/digital channels it says: Searching for signal on Cable In.
    If I try to look at cable strength, it says: Signal strength is unavailable because your cable channel lineup has no digital channels.

    Cable card test channel option shows "No channels available".

    I pulled the cable card out and reinstalled and it did discover it. While it was uninstalled -- the analog stations did come in and went out as soon as the cable card was plugged back in. Cable card screens seem to show a valid status. Recordings do not record anything in this state (to be expected I guess). I can play back previous recordings though. The same cable when plugged into the TV shows both analog and the free qam stations.

    I called Comcast -- they did their card update/reset or whatever they can do and it didn't seem to make any difference. Unplugged power and restarted yet again after they were done and it's still broken.

    Any similar experiences with 11.c or is the software update just a coincidence. My cable card is a Motorola M-card from Comcast. So, should I schedule a comcast visit or is this a Tivo issue?

    [edit] Called comcast back -- they did more things which actually broke my cable card's V 0x0 status and then they said there was nothing more they could do and will be sending a tech out on Wed AM to replace the cable card. I've yanked the card out now to at least get the analog stations. I dread Wed's visit since the techs had a hard time getting the first cable card working on a known good Tivo.
  11. TLD

    TLD New Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    After not having this problem for several weeks, all of a sudden it's back. Using two cable cards from TW in LA. Tried to tune in the Dodgers game tonight on CH 413 and got the grey screen. I could tune up to some working channels, and others were grey. If I tune directly to 413, it's still grey. I rebooted the Tivo and it was still grey but after switching the channel down to 412 and then back after a second 413 came in. This as before only seems to affect the HD channels. I had really hoped this was fixed and am disappointed to see it return.
  12. pyk133

    pyk133 New Member

    Apr 22, 2009
    Ever since TWC Lower Manhattan started broadcasting its new HD channel lineup, my Tivo HD has been toast. This was a couple months ago (TWC Upper Manhattan has had these HD channels for a while). I don't know if the two events are related. Prior to that, I had my Tivo HD for over a year with no problems. There were only a handful of HD channels available so I was looking forward to the release of all the new HD channels.

    I have swapped out my Tivo HD with a brand new one as well as got TWC to replace the cablecard. Same things happen, which are:
    1. screen freezes to gray screen, no audio
    2. randomly reboots
    3. in standby mode, eventually goes into a screeching audio, gray screen (this happened once when I was on vacation and my neighbor had to come over and unplug everything)

    1 and 2 above happen randomly, when I'm watching live TV, recorded shows, etc... no pattern whatsoever.

    Again, the above have all happened with my old Tivo HD and a brand new replacement Tivo Hd with a brand new cablecard.

    Is this a known bug in Tivo? Anyone know if there was a Tivo software upgrade to the Tivo HD a few months ago which may coincide with these problems? Considering I swapped out my Tivo's and cablecards to no avail, it has to be something common to Tivo/TWC and not particular to the end equipment. I am thinking Tivo is incompatible with TWC Lower Manhattan. Any others with Tivo HD working here? Thanks.
  13. Avatar26

    Avatar26 New Member

    Oct 27, 2008
    Northeast WI
    For those who are getting a gray/black screen but are still able to see guide/banners (no "channel temporarily unavailable" or other error messages):

    Wait 30 seconds and try fast forwarding.
    For some reason, this worked when I had the issue.
  14. z_fisherww

    z_fisherww New Member

    Apr 26, 2009
    First, THANKS:) to those who posted fixes to the problem with Tivo HD losing analog channels. You would think Tivo would have an FAQ on that, but I haven't seen anything.:mad:

    I have a Tivo HD with two cablecards under Suddenlink cable. My unit was freezing every couple of weeks, usually after being on analog channels for 24 hours or more. Re-start always fixed it, but still annoying. I followed the advice to schedule two simultaneous digital channels (I chose two music channels) and no problem since.

    Question: I see that 11.0c (11.0c-01-2-652) is now installed. Does that seem to fix the problem? I'm hesitant to take off my two recordings and then miss something because the problem came back.
  15. ajpierce

    ajpierce New Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Im having problems switching channels and getting a black screen too with a SA M card and tivo hd. My problems started about two weeks ago. Before that everything was running great for months.

    If i keep changing channels back and forth eventually the channel will come in but having to babysit my recordings kind of defeats the purpose of having a tivo. Ive called Tivo tech support twice and neither of them had any idea about this problem and they both said it wasnt a known issue according to their list of known issues. I didnt expect them to actually fix my problem but I figured it was worth a try.

    Ive had comcast out and they find minor issues with the signal in some bands and they are going to rerun some of the cabling outside but I have other tvs with SA cable boxes (non tivo) without any issues at all so I doubt its cabling. All the cabling in my house is new.

    If this problem isnt resolved soon ill take my losses and ditch tivo for good. I cant continue to support a company that cant get their act together. They need to spend less time finding ways to shove ads and useless features in our faces and spend more time fixing bugs.
  16. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Are these analog channels? If you tune to the DVR Diagnostics screen (under System Information), do you see them as digital channels with a signal strength value?

    Analog channels are not listed with a signal strength.
  17. ajpierce

    ajpierce New Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    They are digital channels. In DVR Diagnostics when tuned to a black channel the affected tuner will show no information at all. All of it is blank. When the channel comes in all of the values are listed like normal including signal strength. It happens on both tuners and often at the same time.
  18. lstorey

    lstorey want a GS fix!

    Mar 17, 2005
    I know that the upgrade helped me somewhat. every now and then when I turn the tv on, the picture is frozen but now I can hit the channel up/down and it starts working.

    I'm not sure how it is affecting something that is recording (if it is or not). so I'll be watching it to see
  19. erikrh

    erikrh New Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    I'm been having the same problem since I got 11.c. I have to reboot once or twice a night. I am with Comcast in the SF Bay Area, California. I have had my S3 for a couple years with two cable cards installed. I have a MyDVR 500bg external drive. No problems until a couple months ago.

    Usually, it happens with HD channels. Sometimes I can go to channels under 500 and those work. Sometimes ALL (HD & non-HD) channels are "unavailable" with a black screen.

    I have noticed that sometimes when I come home late, and two HD channels are recording, one channel will be okay, but the second is black. Then once recording is over and I change channels, then ALL HD channels are black. I am having to supplement my season passes by purchasing individual shows from iTunes on my Appletv.

    I keep hoping that, like other minor issues in the past, the TIVO will release a new software update and the problem will miraculously go away. This is getting really frustrating and expensive.
  20. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    If you are experiencing this problem, be sure to sign up at TiVo Field Trials site. Use the same username that you use on TiVo Community. TiVo picks people -- some randomly and some not -- to test fixes for issues like this. If you're picked, you could see a fix a month or more before it is available to everyone else.

    After you sign up, call TiVo and make sure they know you are experiencing this problem. If TiVo asks for an email over the phone, make sure you give them the same email you used to sign up on the Field Trials site.

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