Partial recording problem...

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by sfm, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. Oct 3, 2006 #1 of 326
    sfm

    sfm Member

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    Apologize if this has been discussed in other threads but I think this is a significant enough issue to warrant another one! Here's my story:

    I have returned to Tivo with the new series 3 after an absence of several years (had a series 1 with lifetime but stopped using it as our prime watching has been with HDTV from Comcast here in Denver for the last couple of years). Have had a couple of 6412 (both a series 1 and series 2) in our house and they have worked fine for the most part.

    Replaced one of the 6412 dvrs with the S3 only because of the increased storage capacity and the ability to use our universal remote (harmony) with both dvrs without needing an IR blocking mechanism (because the 6412 does not offer a multiple box capability like the tivo).

    Cable card install went relatively smooth and have had the S3 up and running for about two weeks now. I have made it a point to schedule at least 15 hours of recording each day (HDTV only, network and pay channels, deleting them at the end of the day so as to make sure I have room for the next days recordings) just to test things out.

    Noticed lots of little bugs and missing features, all of which we can live with except for we have now had 3 partial recordings in this time frame (indicated by tivo as a "partial recording" with the time line also indicating so). In one instance, only one tuner was active and in the other 2 cases, both tuners were being asked to record something with the other program being recorded finishing without a problem. One recording, the "Ugly Betty" premiere, crapped out after 11 minutes with the other two ("Smith" premiere and an episode of "Brothers and Sisters") stopping after about 21 minutes. In the case of the "Ugly Betty" failed recording, we also had the 6412 scheduled to record that same episode and that went without incident. Both the 6412 and S3 are fed from the same cable line (via a splitter of course). The cablecard installer indicated that the signal into the tivo was fine (although I may try another service call to have this checked again). FYI, I have had no issues with movies recorded (recorded at least 50 so far) from the encrypted pay channels we have (hbo, showtime, cinemax and starz) but that may just be coincidence.

    I have opened a case with Tivo on this but of course, they weren't very helpful other than to ask if someone had changed channels while the recording was in progress (no), was there a disk space issue (no), etc. none of which was the case here.

    I'm guessing this is some issue with the cablecard/tivo interface (mpeg stream from the cable card interrupted for some reason... which perhaps the tivo doesn't recover from very well).

    In my mind this is a serious issue as what good is a dvr if it can't be trusted to record what you asked it to (unlike others, I have never had a failed recording with the 6412)... Are others experiencing this issue? If so, I would strongly suggest that you call tivo support to report this so that this can be recognized as a trend and then can be escalated to engineering (what the csr I talked with suggested).

    Thanks for listening...
     
  2. Oct 3, 2006 #2 of 326
    PPC1

    PPC1 Member

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    I agree with you-- this is a serious issue. This happened to me once. I was recording the HD broadcast of the Colts Jets game this weekend, and it crapped out at 1:05. I had the other tuner set to record the analog version just in case, and that recording was complete.
    The HD version of CBS was tuned in when I came to watch the game, so there was nothing that I saw that would indicate that I had lost the cable signal or the specific channel.

    I suspect that you are right that there was some blip in the signal from which the TiVo could not recover, and it just stopped recording. Why the TiVo didn't know to simply re-acquire the channel and start recording again is beyond me.

    Perhaps TiVo Jerry has some insight.
     
  3. Oct 3, 2006 #3 of 326
    jimbojim

    jimbojim New Member

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    I have also had this issue occur a few times. 2 Moto Comcast cable cards. It occurs only on HD channels so far. My signal levels are good (96-97 range) although i do use a splitter before plugging into tivo. I am planning on calling tivo about the issue. Has anyone had this partial issue occur and fixed it? I am all ears.

    -james
     
  4. Oct 3, 2006 #4 of 326
    jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

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    See my thread:

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=319029

    and some others here.

    I have spent about 4 hours on the phone with Tivo about this problem in the past few days.

    I've seen it happen on two S3 boxes, 4 different CableCARDs involved.

    You heard all the standard first line CSR responses to this problem - escalate it. I finally got a supervisor at the second level of tech support to agree to send a note to engineering.

    Engineering is apparently SWAMPED and their response time is now about 4 days. It took some work, but I got a commitment from this supervisor to call me back no later than Sunday with a status.

    I suspect this is a software problem and that it has something to do with a CableCARD being in an improper state and/or error handling during recording. I have asked a number of questions about the logic and whether or not the CableCARD state change issues I'm seeing are related or coincidental.

    I'm hoping to get some answers from a Tivo engineer that knows this stuff, because it's also possible that this is a CableCARD authorization problem, possibly having to do with the Host Validation field.

    If I hear anything, I'll post it ASAP - this could be related to a number of things:

    - Initial broadcast feed
    - Cable rebroadcast
    - Cable signal strength/quality
    - CableCARD hardware
    - CableCARD firmware
    - CableCARD authorization and security state
    - Tivo software
    - Tivo hardware

    As soon as you see this problem, go into CableCARD status, look at Condition Access (Motorola) screen (don't know the SA equiv) and see what the card status is. Every time I've had a partial recording, one of the CableCARDs shows to be in an unexpected state, but tuning a channel immediately puts it back in the proper state (with the possible exception of Host Validation not being set properly).

    Unfortunately, too many people seem to be jumping the gun here and assuming that it's a Tivo hardware problem and returning the boxes.

    Given the sheer volume of people reporting this or similar problems here and on other boards, I find it hard to believe this is a hardware problem (if it is, it's pretty widespead).

    But until we get some answers on how things are SUPPOSED to work, it's going to be hard to determine what's wrong.
     
  5. Oct 3, 2006 #5 of 326
    snathanb

    snathanb New Member

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    Open a poll and see if anyone using the S3 strictly for OTA is experiencing partial recording issues. That would seem to go further towards narrowing it down to a cable card issue.

    For the record, I'm 100% OTA and I've never had a partial recording. I've also never had a spontaneous reboot or lockup.
     
  6. Oct 3, 2006 #6 of 326
    hookbill

    hookbill Feathered Member

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    I already did that. Well, somthing similar. I got 7 responses and all were partials after cable card installed.
     
  7. Oct 3, 2006 #7 of 326
    PPC1

    PPC1 Member

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    I am praying that it is just a software issue that can be tweaked. If nothing else, I would think that the software can be modified to effect a work-around for whatever the root problem is. In my partial recording, when I turned on the t.v., the HD channel was tuned in fine. Consequently, there seems like there would be no reason for the end of the program to have not been recorded. The status bar during play back showed that it was supposed to have recorded for four hours, but the green bar only filled up to 1:05.

    If TiVo engineering need additional data, I would be happy to provide anything I can. I too just want the thing to work.
     
  8. Oct 3, 2006 #8 of 326
    Leo_N

    Leo_N Lucky 200 member

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    Sounds a lot like the cable cards are coming in and out without any user/cablecompany intervention. Think there are a couple threads about that happening.
     
  9. Oct 3, 2006 #9 of 326
    jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

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    These are the same symptoms I've seen as well. I actually caught one failure in progress - I turned on the TV, saw the show I was recording, went to NPL and realized that the recording was a partial recording and then gathered some diagnostic info.

    So - just because you can be watching the signal, doesn't mean that it's being properly recorded. :(
     
  10. Oct 3, 2006 #10 of 326
    jimbojim

    jimbojim New Member

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    It seems to me that there are 2 seperate "partial" record issues.

    1) 0:00 partials: These seem to be related to bad cable cards that can never tune the channel in the first place due to either faulty equipment or invalid configuration on the cable company side.

    2) 0:23 partials (e.g.): These seem to happen when there is some sort of blip in the stream and tivo is not able to recover. When you manually stop the recording, change channels, then change back it always seems to bring the stream right back.

    It does not seem to me that the 0:23 partial issue is related to the cable cards since i never have "tuning issues" when live.

    -james
     
  11. Oct 3, 2006 #11 of 326
    jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

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    We don't know enough to say this.

    All depends on how often Tivo needs to query the CableCARD to get status and/or encryption keys. I think it is related to CableCARDs in some fashion. I have a box recording OTA programs many hours a day on both tuners just to try and duplicate this problem. I have four partial recording problems in six days on cable stations, zero OTA and I'm recording more hours OTA.
     
  12. Oct 3, 2006 #12 of 326
    jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

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    But this is working as designed and is not an "issue" - it's the same as "no input signal" for a Series 2 (and I presume a Series 3 box).
     
  13. Oct 3, 2006 #13 of 326
    jimbojim

    jimbojim New Member

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    I agree with you here.

    Interesting that you are not seeing the "0:23 partial" issue ever with OTA. How are your cable cards setup? Comcast in my area (Seattle) does not pair them with the head-end. They just associate them with my account and activate them when i call in. When asked about pairing, multiple CSR's explained that is was unneeded in my area.

    I am going under my house into the crawl space tonight to trace back the cable and see if there are splitters in line that i don't know about, hoping this is just a signal issue.

    -james
     
  14. Oct 3, 2006 #14 of 326
    Leo_N

    Leo_N Lucky 200 member

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    It still might be a Cablecard/Cablecompany issue (with your 0:23 example) because I believe there are plenty of us who haven't had this at all. I have 2 S3's that have been recording a lot of programming (requested, season passes, and suggestions) and neither has had a partial yet. So if the Tivo code is to blame, why are WAY more people not seeing this.
     
  15. Oct 3, 2006 #15 of 326
    jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

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    Read post #4 - could be many things.

    I think it may be a problem with error handling (e.g. Tivo doesn't deal with an unexpected status from the CableCARD), so it makes sense that it's an intermittent problem.
     
  16. Oct 3, 2006 #16 of 326
    Leo_N

    Leo_N Lucky 200 member

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    That is kind of my point with it being a cablecard problem. The cablecards shouldn't be going to any unexpected status. I'm not sure what you would want the Tivo to do if all of a sudden the cablecard went to a non-authorized status.
     
  17. Oct 4, 2006 #17 of 326
    jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

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    Well, at minimum I want an error entry in recording history. If the Tivo knows something is amiss, log it where the end user can see it or flag the program with a warning icon or SOMETHING ...

    One of the questions I want answered is exactly the question you ask - what does the Tivo do if the card goes into an unauthorized (or unexpected) state during a recording? Maybe it just stops recording ... which would explain the "partial recordings" problem!
     
  18. Oct 4, 2006 #18 of 326
    Leo_N

    Leo_N Lucky 200 member

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    That would seem to me is what it does. But I'd have to agree it would be nice to see some official statement on that. Also I agree about some type of error log. That would be very helpful in that you would know exactly which cablecard to start looking at right away.
     
  19. Oct 5, 2006 #19 of 326
    sTrey

    sTrey New Member

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    Well I've joined the club; Bones recording quit after about 6 minutes, was recording something else at the same time, it and the 2 simultaneous shows later in the evening all recorded fine. Of course this happens on a night I get home late.
    Other than very occasional and brief audio dropouts or picture scrambling I haven't had problems up to now. As others have mentioned, making some record of the problem and also trying again at intervals, would be much better than giving up so fast. This is with moto cards, greater Seattle area, Comcast. No signal problems that I know of. No problems ever with the S2; had the S3 a bit over a week.
    The 6 minutes that did record looked and sounded fine. It was in the middle of commercials when it gave up.

    Is the consensus that it's best to spend a day waiting for a cable installer to come check signals? I've read that too high and too low can be problems. Even if this is the case, Tivo's error handling by immediately giving up on the recording leaves something to be desired, imo.
     
  20. Oct 5, 2006 #20 of 326
    Buran

    Buran New Member

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    Out of all the shows I've tried to watch I've seen one 0:23 recording so far. There may be more that I haven't found yet as I haven't watched everything that's waiting. I also didn't try watching the partial but just deleted it. I'm hoping it was a onetime glitch. If it happens again I'll probably file a bug report.

    I am pretty sure the cards are Scientific Atlanta, and I'm a Charter user in St. Louis.
     

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