Series 3 - Please Help

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by persona1138, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. persona1138

    persona1138 New Member

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    Aug 14, 2007
    New York City

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    So TiVo engineers are working on the problem now... According to my representative, it looks like it's an issue with the TiVo itself (whether it's software or hardware they're not sure... but they seem be leaning towards a hardware issue). Apparently, a bunch of other Series 3 customers have the same problem. When TiVo sent me a new Series 3, it was a refurbished box, not a new straight-from-the-factory one. So basically, they're thinking that there was a manufacturing problem with the early line of Series 3's (I bought my first one right after they came out, and chances are, my "refurbished" replacement is also one of those early Series 3's.)
    The engineers are going to look into re-installing firmware on their end, and check my hard drive over the network, if need be. They're exploring all options, and I've gotta say, despite how annoying this issue is, TiVo support (along with all you guys) has been very accommodating. Worst-case scenario, my representative says, they'll send me a brand-new (note: NOT refurbished) Series 3 and replace my current one.
    So, either way, it looks like the problem is out of my hands (whatever the problem may be)... But, good news is, it's going to be fixed soon.
    Keep your fingers crossed, and once I get a finalized explanation, I'll be sure to post it on the thread for future reference, in case anyone else in these forums has encountered the same issue.
    Stay tuned...
     
  2. capitolm94

    capitolm94 New Member

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    Aug 6, 2007
    Just a note, I have a series 3 and the same TV as you, LNS4095D. I have no problems at all with HDCP and the Tivo when running through the HDMI cable, both with the one included with the tivo and a monoprice cable.

    However, if your TV is older, you may need to update the firmware on it to fix any potential HDMI handshake issues. Also of note, the latest firmware allows 1:1 pixel mapping on this tv with 1080i or 1080p input thru HDMI.

    Check here:

    ( i cant post URLs, but go to avs forum, LCD display section, find the OFFICIAL Samsung LN-S4095/4695/4096/4696 Owners Thread, and go to post #2044.)

    good luck.
     
  3. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Mission...
  4. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear that you're having (continual) problems with your S3 and thanks for the detailed explanations. There's nothing worse than someone saying "My TiVo does this or that. Anyone else have this problem?" :mad: You've already received a lot of good advice but since there's still an issue I'll toss in my two cents.

    I wouldn't put a lot of credence in what the TiVo CSR's say. "...a bunch of other Series 3 customers have the same problem." doesn't mean much other than that particular CSR may have encountered some similar complaints. With thousands of boxes in use we would likely see a "bunch of complaints" like yours on this forum and yours is fairly unique, especially having the exact same problem on two boxes.

    There was a software upgrade from v8.1 to v8.3 (there was no v8.2) which started in May and caused some users problems similar to what you’ve described. When you received your replacement box it most likely came with v8.1 and subsequently upgraded to v8.3 in a few days. When you first hooked up the new box did everything work and then the problems came back or were the problems immediate? In any case there is another thread on this issue. It's possible that your problems could possibly have been exacerbated by the update. TiVo has acknowledged the v8.3 problem and they say it will be addressed in the next upgrade, "soon".

    You may be a victim of a "perfect storm" in that the SA cable cards have become an issue recently, even for those that have had them for months (again, v8.3 may be to blame), the HDMI/HDCP handshake between TiVo and your television can be causing problems and/or it may be a hard drive issue...all of which have been discussed.

    Here are a couple of thoughts.

    1. Are you able to connect this TiVo to another television? I'd be interested to know if you experience the same problem with another set particularly if you connect it via composite or component. If the problem disappears I'd look to the television being an issue and could be rectified with #4 below.

    2. I've read on two other threads (which I’ll be darned if I can find) that users switched from a direct Ethernet connection to a Linksys USB200M v.2 10/100 Ethernet USB adapter connection and it cleared up similar problems. I have no idea why that worked but it did. EDIT: Ah-ha! moyekj found one of the posts while I was busy writing. Cheers for that! :up:

    3. Perhaps you already have, but if not try replacing all of your coax and other cables with new, quality cables in as short a configuration as practical.

    4. When you switched from HDMI to component (or back) did you do a hard reboot on both your television and TiVo? (Unplug the units for 10 to 15 seconds and plug back in...television first, TiVo second and vice versa.) FWIW I think it's good that you removed the HDMI cable from the mix. There's very little if any difference in PQ with a component connection and the whole handshake problem is eliminated.

    5. If it is a hard drive/data corruption issue (which would indeed be strange to be happening to you twice) you can try performing a Kickstart 57. That will run TiVo’s “check disk” program which will correct any configuration problems as well as isolating any bad sectors on the HDD. If it is a firmware issue you can try performing a Kickstart 58 - which is the same procedure as Kickstart 57 but using the numbers "5" and "8" which will download new firmware to the second partition on the "A" drive and reboot from that.

    6. A final thought would be to have TWC do a couple of things. Roll a truck to your place to test the signals and the cable cards. Have them replace your cable cards or at minimum "re-hit" your cable cards or better yet see if they can supply Motorola cable cards instead.

    Forgive the novel, but I know how frustrating it can be when your TiVo isn't all it can be...and even more important; when the wife isn't happy because we all know that when momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! ;) Hope that helps and please keep us posted!
     
  5. persona1138

    persona1138 New Member

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    Aug 14, 2007
    New York City

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    Hey everyone, thanks for the myriad of new suggestions. Believe me, I'm willing to try anything.

    capitolm94: That's awesome to know about the LNS4095D. Right now, I'm using component (in which case HDCP shouldn't be the cause of my TiVo issue), but that's really cool to know. I'm pretty sure I've got the older firmware.
    Out of curiosity, I contacted Samsung to ask them about getting the firmware update (I have a Mac and can't use .exe files to put on a USB flash drive to install the new firmware), and they said that they don't have record of a firmware update for our HDTV model. Is this firmware update legit? Or did I just get a crappy Samsung representative on the phone?
    My understanding from the post is that this update enables 24fps HD video on the TV (and the 1:1 pixel mapping thing). Being that I've got a growing collection of Blu-Rays and HD-DVDs, this would be great to have.

    moyekj: Great suggestion on using USB port networking. I've got a wireless network, so maybe I'll pick up the TiVo Wireless Network Adapter and try that out. (I could do a USB to Ethernet adapter, but I figure, why not get rid of the wires?)

    richsadams: Wow, man. A whole lot of suggestions... Can't thank you enough for taking the time to write all that and offer some more possible solutions. Yes, a May update that screwed things up sounds about right to me... I started getting issues in June, or so... But at first I shrugged it off as a stutter in the cable and didn't pay much attention to it. (It also got worse over time, so I couldn't really "forgive" the issue anymore.) So I think you're right about the update theory. Again, my issue popped up (on my first Series 3) MONTHS after I bought it. The second replacement TiVo was working fine out of the box (although I only had it working for about 10 minutes before I was forced to connect to the TiVo service and update the box), but it was only after the update that I started getting issues. So yeah, it was probably 8.1 and got bumped up to 8.3.
    I've heard about issues with SA CableCards... It sucks that that's all Time Warner Cable in Manhattan uses, and they're the sole cable provider. I'm stuck with 'em. Now that I'm using component, HDCP shouldn't be an issue, but yeah... the bad hard drive theory is still a possibility.
    As for your questions...
    1) Same issue with the TiVo on multiple televisions (via both composite and component connections... just tried that last night) - I've still got the issue.
    2) I'll definitely try using the USB port for networking. That's entirely a possibility. (That really is a weird issue, if that's the case.)
    3) Coax cables I'm using are brand-new... Plus, they're built into my apartment wall, and I can't replace them. (Bummer.) But I promise you that they're in good condition, and actually a tad shorter than I'd like them to be - so no worries there.
    4) I did a hard reboot after switching to component (haven't switched back to HDMI), and had the same issue. And yeah, I agree that component seems the better choice, and avoids the whole handshake issue. D@mn you, HDMI.
    5) I'll see about trying the Kickstart 57/58 tonight... Stay tuned on that one.
    6) Reading the CableCard menus, I'm getting "hits" and on the signal strength meter, 100%. But yeah, I've been considering having them come over... Problem is, they're booked solid for about two weeks! (TWC is NEVER helpful.) Anyway, I'll avoid that until I've tried everything else 'cuz dealing with them is beyond a hassle.

    And no apologies for the novel, man, I really appreciate it. I hear 'ya on the wife not being happy - but I'm a bulldog and I won't let go of this 'till it gets solved.

    Thanks again, everyone, for all your help! Keep checking back to see the mystery (hopefully) resolved, and if you have any more suggestions, please drop a note.
     
  6. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    No worries...glad to help.

    Maybe I missed it but did you say that you had hard rebooted TiVo and your TV? It may or may not make a difference, but it's possible.

    I was just referring to the coax cable coming from the wall to TiVo and any others you might have connected...done deal.

    I was just reading a nightmare story about TWC on another thread. :mad: I thought Comcast was bad. I'd go ahead and schedule a truck roll to get in the queue anyway. You can always cancel it...or tell them you'll let them know when they can come in sometime during the 12 hours that they're standing outside your front door (seems only fair). :rolleyes:

    Bulldogged determination is good, at least when it comes to CE's. I flat-out refuse to let an inanimate object get the best of me...much to my wife's chagrin sometimes. ;)

    Hang in there! :up:
     
  7. persona1138

    persona1138 New Member

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    Aug 14, 2007
    New York City
    Yeah, I hard booted after switching to component video - no worries, man. I was typing quickly and don't think I ever wrote that clearly... LoL.
    As for a few updates... I tried the USB networking instead of ethernet, and again... no luck. Even tried having the TiVo not connected at all, and still nothing.
    I couldn't seem to get the Kickstart 57 to work. I unplugged the TiVo, waited 15 seconds, plugged it back in, immediately held the pause button on the remote (aimed directly at the TiVo), and waited for the so-called "orange light", but nothing noticeable ever happened. Tried multiple times, but didn't get anything. Am I doing something wrong?
    And last but not least, I waited on hold for 30 minutes with TiVo tonight (I know the "put on hold" music by heart now), and was told that, a) engineering had nothing new for me, and b) TiVo IS releasing an update later this month that will address macroblocking issues (which isn't exactly my issue) - they said that since my issue is, quote, "similar", it might be "best" to wait for the update.
    Swell. So now my TiVo (and because I'm using CableCards, my TV) is gonna stay broken for a month.
    ...I'm really starting to get pissed here.
     
  8. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Well, we've never heard a timeframe for the coming update...so that's a bit of big/good news. I might agree that it may cure your ills, but it's lousy for you that they told you to just wait. :mad:

    If you're following the Kickstart 57 directions it's a worry that it's not working. When you say nothing noticeable ever happens…do the two lights to the left appear and go away during the boot up? If not, and without piling on, there may be more to this than meets the eye here. It sounds like you've got it down and not questioning that you do, but are you sure you're following the directions exactly?

    Kickstart 57:

    1. Unplug TiVo and wait 15 seconds.
    2. Plug TiVo in, get the TiVo remote and aim it at TiVo.
    3. Press and hold the pause button until the orange light comes on.
    4. Immediately type in the numbers 5 and 7 on the remote (you have about 10 seconds to do this step).
    5. TiVo will reboot and the GSOD screen will come on saying TiVo has encountered a serious error. It will then run the disk management tool which can take from 10 minutes to 3 hours to complete. During this time it will look for and correct configuration problems as well as isolating any bad sectors on the hard drive so they can no longer be used (but that's probably not an issue here).
    6. TiVo will automatically reboot again and hopefully things will return to normal.

    There's really no reason that shouldn't work. On reboot the two lights to the left should come on then go off and then the orange light to the right should come on if you're holding the pause button down. (You actually don't have to push the pause button until the first two lights come on, but it's fairly quick, so holding it down throughout the boot up ensures you don't miss that little window.) When the orange light appears you should release the pause button and press the numbers “5” and “7”. That should do it…TiVo should reboot to the GSOD and do its thing, then reboot to normal again.

    Hmmm...will have to put the thinking cap back on for that one! :confused:
     
  9. persona1138

    persona1138 New Member

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    Aug 14, 2007
    New York City
    Yeah, it's weird, I'm following the directions to a tee. When my Series 3 starts up, though, 2 lights on the left, and 2 lights on the right (including the orange light) light up simultaneously. I hold down the pause button immediately after I've plugged in the TiVo... but the lights don't change. Tried it 5 times, with no luck.
    Also, it's official... I have another issue... my Now Playing list doesn't load. I can go to Live TV just fine, or move through the TiVo menus (except for "Now Playing"), but going to the "Now Playing" list just freezes up the TiVo.
    This sucks.
     
  10. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Jan 4, 2003
    Yeeow! :eek: Even though it's a new replacement IMHO there is something (or more than one something) flat out not right with your TiVo. None of this makes any sense.

    Were I you I would get back on the phone with TiVo customer support and read the laundry list of what it does and doesn't do and get yet another box...you’ve gotten a lemon it would seem. I know it's hard to believe that two in a row would flame out like that, but with all you've gone through there's just no other explanation that I can think of.

    It seems incredible to read a story like this about TiVo, but when we went to the Dark Side for a short time and used a Comcast Motorola HD DVR we ended up going through four of them in a period of two months! Comcast thought nothing of it...but we did! :mad: That's when we bought an S3 and never looked back.

    I’ve always said that us “old timers” – people that have had TiVo since the early days of the S1’s – have been spoiled by the original’s simplicity and bullet-proof like reliability. S3’s now have to do more work than any S1 or S2 could have imagined and we expect them to perform as flawlessly as they did in the past. It’s just not practical to think in those terms now I suppose. The new TiVo’s are complicated devices with a lot of offerings causing a lot of demands (and perhaps more than the current hardware and/or software can handle sometimes) so we shouldn’t be too surprised when they don’t always live up to our expectations. Heck…I would have thrown mine through the window if it ever acted as poorly as my PC does sometimes! Mac users need not comment. ;)

    So you’re another soldier due a ribbon for bravery and going above and beyond! :up: :up: Let us know how you get on.
     
  11. persona1138

    persona1138 New Member

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    Aug 14, 2007
    New York City
    Thanks for the support, man. I'm just done with this whole situation.
    And, it's official: my TiVo is dead. The Now Playing list would never load last night, so after unplugging the TiVo and restarting it, now it keeps rebooting itself at the "Welcome! Powering Up..." screen. It loads up the screen, waits five minutes, and then reboots itself again, and again, and again. I can't even get to TiVo Central now.
    So, I'm gonna try disconnecting the CableCards (yet again... although, I haven't tried that since our first box), and see if that works. If the TiVo reboots (and plays back) just fine, then we're golden. If not, then it's the TiVo, and they said they'd send me a new one.
    I'm at work now, so I'll be trying that out tonight... Keep your fingers crossed.
     
  12. ibergu

    ibergu Member

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    May 8, 2004
    I started having similar problems with my TiVo recently and came straight to the Community forum to see if there were others and lo and behold, I found this thread.

    Since my problem seems to mirror persona1138's, I thought I would share my experience to show that it is affecting more than just him, and to see if we can figure out what the problem is (I'm on hold with TiVo customer support as I write as well):

    We bought our S3 back in January thru Amazon and it was working like a charm up until a few days ago. All of a sudden, the TiVo would stutter (freeze for 5-10 seconds, play a second or two, freeze again, play, etc.) in the middle of recorded programs. At first, I thought it was just caused by a bad signal that affected one program. But we noticed this over and over again, for both recently recorded programs and for much older recorded programs. Don't watch much live tv, but it doesn't appear to be a problem then.

    When this happens, my S3 becomes unresponsive to the remote or any buttons I press on the unit itself. A few times yesterday, my TiVo actually rebooted itself twice when it was frozen.

    I'm afraid that it's a hard drive issue, but am hoping it's something less serious.

    Persona - I'll keep you posted on what I hear from customer support.
     
  13. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Misery loves company. ;) It does indeed sound like a failing hard drive. Have you tried to run Kickstart 57 on it? Just curious. Let us know what Mother TiVo had to say. :up:
     
  14. dig_duggler

    dig_duggler Member

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    This is almost definitely the hard drive.
     
  15. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    You know what...I think it's a blessing in disguise that it finally died. RIP.

    [​IMG]

    Now you won't have to deal with it and can start anew. It'll be tough to go without for a few days...but have a drink and hang in there. :up:
     
  16. ibergu

    ibergu Member

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    May 8, 2004
    Persona1138 - Sorry to hear that your TiVo is dead. It appears that mine is too. 7 months seems way too short of a lifespan for a $800 piece of high tech.

    When I spoke with TiVO customer support today, they asked me to power cycle the DVR and after doing that it got stuck at the "Welcome! Powering Up...." screen. They're going to do an exchange where they send me a refurb in ~ 5 business days, but it's going to cost me $49. I guess it's better than having to buy a brand new one. Per the TiVo rep, it's likely due to a hard drive failure, but they won't know for sure until they actually look at the unit.

    richsadams - Thanks for the suggestion about kickstart57, but I think it might be too late for me. LOL on the dead TiVo pic!
     
  17. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Yep, something is better than nothing. We bought a refurb S2 a while back...actually it ended up being free after rebate...and it's still running just fine. I think they throw in a new drive and bench test them to ensure everything else is good. Refurbs carry the same 90 day warranty if I'm not mistaken.

    Another option would be to buy a new, larger drive from the TiVo Community Store and pop it in. They're very easy to install. Or if you're handy with the P.C. imaging a "store bought" drive is quite easy as well. Hard to say if there's a hardware problem though so it might be risky.

    Keep us posted! :up:
     
  18. persona1138

    persona1138 New Member

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    Aug 14, 2007
    New York City
    Yep, mine's buried, kaput, sleeping with the fishes.
    It's dead as a freakin' doornail. And after spending a day on the phone with TiVo Customer Support, they're FINALLY sending me a new one. Straight from the factory, no more refurbished units... I'm having Time Warner Cable come by with two new cable cards, and I'm buying myself a TiVo Wireless Network Adapter (no more ethernet, just in case). So, starting from square one again.
    Thank God.
    And thank you guys for all your advice... Ultimately, we never found out what the problem was for sure (hard drive looks to blame, I agree), but at least it's over with, and we gave it the ol' college try.
    Believe me, I'll be a regular poster now on this site... It's nice to see a forum of really helpful, knowledgeable folks, and it's a pleasure to be a part of the online community here. Sorry to hear about more TiVo troubles, but don't worry... If you stick to Customer Support like glue, they'll eventually give you a solution.
    Anyhoo, that's the end of the story (on my end)... Anyone else who experiences similar issues - my advice is: pray. And get a new TiVo. 'Cuz that's all that can help you now.
     
  19. persona1138

    persona1138 New Member

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    Aug 14, 2007
    New York City
    By the way, ibergu... Sorry I haven't responded sooner, I've been busy the last few days, and it's both nice and unfortunate that someone else has been sharing my same Series 3 issues.
    Be sure to triple check your refurbished unit, 'cuz I got two lemons (between my first Series 3 and the refurbished unit the sent to replace it)
     
  20. capitolm94

    capitolm94 New Member

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    Aug 6, 2007
    I am sure you could find someone with a PC to do it for you. If you choose to update the firmware yourself, that is. Be sure you use a clean, freshly formatted FAT16 usb stick.

    That thread on AVSforum is very long, but alot of people have had problems getting samsung to help with it. Basically, it seems you can get a tech to install it for you, and they can download it from the samsung internal tech. Alot of CSRs may not know about it.

    I would recommend doing it yourself, it took a grand total of about 3 minutes for me. However, I believe that it caused some extra video processing time, causing minor lip sync errors. No one else has reported this though, and while I realize that I am extremely sensitive to this, if it was not just me I would imagine someone else would have mentioned it.

    It allows 1080p24 and 1:1 pixel mapping, thats correct. Apparently there is some problem with a funny colored line on the right hand side of the screen with 1080p60 sources only, but I dont have such a source so cant check. Good luck.
     

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