Series 3 - Can't Record/Watch HD channels

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by amp-chicago, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. amp-chicago

    amp-chicago New Member

    5
    0
    Feb 28, 2009

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    for the past 3 weeks, my tivo series 3 hasn't been able to record HD channels.

    i have comcast cable. and have had my tivo for about 14 months without fail.
    but now when i'm watching a HD channel, the image becomes all pixelated, and/or the image will freeze and my entire Series 3 sorta locks up. The TiVo remote won't really work while this is happening. And more times then not, the Series 3 will end up rebooting. this type of behavior is the status quo about 95% of the time when viewing/recording HD channels. maybe 1 out of 20 HD shows will record correctly.

    I do not have this problem if I'm watching a SD channel. So if my Series 3 is recording a SD channel i'm good. If my Series 3 is recording two SD channels I'm good. But any time I add an HD channel on either of the tuners to the mix, that's when i get the lock up on the Series 3 and the reboot.

    I thought it might be my external hard drive. so I removed that from the configuration, and let the Series 3 reconfigure without the External drive, but that hasn't seem to do anything. With no External hard drive connected, I'm still getting the same Issue.

    I did kickstart 57, kickstart 58, and just now did a kickstart 54. all of these tests come back normal. in particular, for the kickstart 54, i passed all the tests (initial state, short test, conveyance test, extended test, off-line scan).

    I was almost sure this issue had to be a hard drive issue, but now taking the external drive out of the equation, and passing all the hard drive tests on the internal drive, i'm thinking now the hard drive isn't the issue. any thoughts on this?

    Could there be something wrong with the internal working of the actual Series 3 box causing this issue?

    Could it be something with my Cable Signal? Or my Cable Cards?

    I'm at a loss. and not having HD sucks. Please help!
     
  2. Xunaka

    Xunaka New Member

    27
    0
    Feb 17, 2009
    Simple sollution : call your cable provider..

    Tiling is a digital cable signal issue, if you're having the issue calling the provider will result in them sending a techncian to fix it.
     
  3. Resist

    Resist Well-Known Member

    2,027
    53
    Dec 21, 2003
    Almost sounds like a cable card issue. Have you tried unplugging your Tivo for 10 minutes?
     
  4. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    2
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    While you are tuned to HD channels with pixelization, do you see massively incrementing RS Uncorrected errors on your System Information -> DVR Diagnostics screen?

    If you see massive RS uncorrected errors, then you know that a signal issue is causing the problem. If you don't see any RS uncorrected errors, that strongly suggests that there is a problem with the internal hard drive. Your drive could still be bad enough to cause problems, but not bad enough to show up with errors under the kickstart tests.

    Instructions to replace the drive can be found in my signature.
     
  5. sandmann

    sandmann New Member

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    Jan 1, 2008

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    This sucks. same problem as u. I'm in Boston and have RCN. I can't record HD channels without it stopping/pixels etc. HD shows end up being 2 recordings with a "partial." But never get the whole show. While using both tuners, if they are both on HD channels, there is a weird stutter/sluggish and usually one tuner will freeze.....Cable Technician from RCN was out here over a month ago. Gave me a new m-card. I have great signal strength but it is still happening. Called TIVO and they want me to d/c the expander and do what u did....but I have too many shows I don't want to lose. I will have to download them first. HOWEVER, I have a feeling it won't fix the problem just like it didn't fix it for you. I'm a few months over warranty and it is $149 for a replacement/TivoHD. yikes!

    BKDTV rocks w/all the info and FAQ he created. Wonder if he has any magical ideas for me/us....?? HELP PLEASE
    :)

     
  6. Mar 1, 2009 #6 of 14
    amp-chicago

    amp-chicago New Member

    5
    0
    Feb 28, 2009
    so. i just did the DVR diagnostics for the normal 3 Scenarios:

    When Watching (2) SD Channels:
    Channel 11 (WTTW)
    Cablecard 2:
    Signal Strength: 100
    RS Uncorrected: 0
    RS Corrected: 0

    CableCard 1:
    Channel 57 (MTV)
    Signal Stength: 100
    RS Uncorrected: 0
    RS Corrected: 0

    When Watching (1) SD and (1) HD Channel:
    Cablecard 2:
    Channel 192 (WGNHD)
    Signal Stength: 100
    RS Uncorrected: 9303
    RS Corrected: 11864

    Cablecard 1:
    Channel 57 (MTV)
    Signal Strength: 100
    RS Uncorrected: 9552
    RS Corrected: 12267

    When Watching (2) HD Channels:
    Cablecard 2:
    Channel 192 (WGNHD)
    Signal Stength: 100
    RS Uncorrected: 14418
    RS Corrected: 17028

    Cablecard 1:
    Channel 188 (NBCHD)
    Signal Strength: 100
    RS Uncorrected: 4436
    RS Corrected: 3631

    I'm guessing this means my CableCards are messed up. If so, will this require a tech visit, or something I can fix on my own? or something Comcast can do over the phone with a tech?

    Thanks for all the advice.
    amp
     
  7. Mar 1, 2009 #7 of 14
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    2
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Your CableCards are probably fine.

    Based on the information above, your signal is too strong for the TiVo. When the signal is too strong for the TiVo, you get pixelization, audio dropouts, and if it's bad enough, you'll lose the picture and/or recordings get canceled.

    You can think of it this way: TiVo's signal strength meter only displays up to 100. However, when the signal exceeds 100, you get pixelization and dropouts. The TiVo is more sensitive than the cable company boxes, which is why you can have the same strong signal on the TiVo and cable company boxes, but only see issues on the TiVo.

    As for why you didn't see this problem before...it's possible that the cable company upgraded some of their infrastructure in your area, increasing signal strength to the point where it overpowered the TiVo.

    In most cases, there's an easy fix. Screw a -6dB attenuator on to the end of the cable. That will reduce signal strength so it no longer overpowers your TiVo. Your cable company should have these attenuators for free, and/or you can order one from Smarthome.com for $1.99. The ideal signal strength for most providers is in the low 80s to low/mid 90s.
     
  8. Mar 1, 2009 #8 of 14
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    2
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Just to give the alternate scenario...

    If you had no (or very few) RS Uncorrected errors, and still saw a lot of playback glitches such as pixelization and audio dropouts, that would strongly suggest an issue with the internal drive, external eSATA drive, or eSATA cable / connection.

    As a general rule, RS Uncorrected errors tell you that a signal problem is causing your playback glitches, whereas the absence of RS uncorrected errors tells you that any playback glitches are unrelated to the signal. Of course, it's also possible for minor playback glitches to be part of the picture that the cable company is sending; you won't see RS Uncorrected errors if the glitches are part of the picture that the cable company is sending to everyone.
     
  9. Mar 1, 2009 #9 of 14
    amp-chicago

    amp-chicago New Member

    5
    0
    Feb 28, 2009
    thanks for all the helpful info/tips, bkdtv. it's this type of interaction that makes the tivo community so great.

    i'll order a "-6dB attenuator" tonight, and check back later in the week with the results.

    thanks again.
     
  10. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    2
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    If your cable provider has a local office nearby, you might give them a call and see if they have any there, rather than waiting a week to receive one ordered online.
     
  11. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

    2,619
    0
    Oct 17, 2003
    Pittsburgh
    If you don't want to wait and would like to experiment: If you have a 2x1 coax splitter laying around put it on the line and see if it helps (just cap the unused leg). It should provide -3.5 dB.
     
  12. amp-chicago

    amp-chicago New Member

    5
    0
    Feb 28, 2009
    I got the -6dB attenuator and attached to my cable line. it brought the signal strength down to 90.

    Sadly, I'm still having the same issue even with the signal strength reduced.

    I'm going to have Comcast come out on the weekend and swap out my cable cards and see if that does the trick.

    If that doesn't work, I'll probably have to bite the bullet and go for a $150 replacement unit from TIVO.

    Argh.
     
  13. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    2
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    You're still seeing the massive RS Uncorrected errors after the attenuator was installed?
     
  14. amp-chicago

    amp-chicago New Member

    5
    0
    Feb 28, 2009
    yes.

    have the signal strength at 81:
    cable card 1 - RS uncorrected: 4828, RS corrected: 4649.
    cable card 2 - RS uncorrected: 1462, RS corrected: 3191.
     

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