Thread to discuss 8.3 causing pixelation/audio drop

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by hddude55, May 21, 2007.

  1. mstrroissy

    mstrroissy New Member

    17
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    Dec 13, 2006

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    Aloha,

    I've read this thread from beginning to end because I too am one of the believers in a software issue causing our audio drops/pixilation problems.

    I purchased my series 3 in December and had a good and painless CC install, and all was well with the world. The series 3 rocked. I looked through the forums and was thankful that I wasn't one of the ones with all the problems that were popping up. At that time I was still on the 8.0.1 software....then 8.1....still no problems. I thought I must be really lucky.

    My luck ran out with 8.3 though. Almost as soon as I read the software update message I started loosing channels to pixilation problems. Seemed like it was only the HD channels first, then some more of the digital channels, and at the end even the analogs were messing up....AND over the air HDTV which the cableco actually CAN'T be blamed for....although if I try hard enough....

    So after all was said and done, I have gone through 3 sets of cable cards (1 SA set and two Motorola) Tried a cableco amp, bought a "Good amp" as proclaimed by one of the neigh Sayers to no avail, had all the cable in the house replaced with new digital quality, all splitters replaced, cable from the pole to the house checked, grounding block checked and replaced, cable from the pole to the house checked then re-run, then the connection plate on the pole checked, cleaned, and replaced. Still nothing....and then the over the air problems, so I would have to say the problem is most definitely NOT a CableCO issue they have done everything in their power to fix this issue. Oh and then the re-booting started, about every other day it would give the GSOD and do a reboot. I finally gave up, and said it HAS to be the box, it's the only thing that has remained constant....well that and the pixilation problems. I finally called Tivo, and they didn't even ask what we had tried, just said they would send a new box.

    So I am happy to report, that the new box is installed, and arrived running 8.0.1, and all is well with the world for now. I think when I get home I am going to force a connection and try to get 8.3 installed... and see if my probs come back.

    Something I was wondering though, is what is the correlation between users that have had issues after the 8.3 update and the use their harddrives/tivo has had before the update. What I am thinking is that being a HDD and assumably suffering from the same fragmentation issues facing a PC hard drive, is that the update gets messed up because the update is written where ever there is space, not in a clean linear way. When I got my update the first time, my drive was nearly full, and I had just added an external drive. This theory only holds if the Tivo OS doesn't actually reside on it's own separate partition on the drive though. Comments?

    thanks for giving a place to ramble on,
    Kevin
     
  2. crazywater

    crazywater USS TiVo NCC-1780

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    Mar 7, 2001
    USA
    I have had my Series 3 since January. After software version 8.3 I noticed a significant increase in pixelation/audio drop outs. They happen on average every 5 minutes and last for a second or less. I have these dropouts on ALL of my HD premium channels such as ESPNHD, ESPN2HD, HBOHD, MOJOHD, HDNET, HDNETMV, UHD and DISCOVERYHD. I also see it on all MLB EI channels, on all non-HD premium channels (all HBO channels), low number channels such as channel 9 ( ABC 11 in Raleigh ). Interestingly I do NOT see any dropouts on the network HD channels, none of them, ever! I also do not see the dropouts when using OTA. Channels such as the cable news channels and kids channels like Cartoon Network, Nick all seem to be free of the dropout problems.

    I have had TWC out 5 times over the last 45 days, they have checked all coax connections, checked the signal level (very strong), checked the line coming from the street. They installed an amp several weeks ago, then removed the coax going to the TiVo from the amp last week because of overamping. I had them out this past Tuesday and had 2 new cablecards installed, old ones were 2006 mfg date, new ones are 2007 mfg date. They ran a cable from the street into the house to speed up the process and check for pix/audio dropouts. After the cards firmware updated and they were authorized by TWC, all taking an amazing short 30 minutes, pix/audio dropouts returned within 10 minutes and are still happening as of now. I even installed an HDMI cable directly to my HDTV per another thread here that suggested some connection between output connection and the dropouts. Still no success.

    I am the last one to blame software, I work in IT support, however I am running out of reasons to believe its anything else but the 8.3 upgrade.
     
  3. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Jan 4, 2003
    Agreed...can't think of anything else here either. Hopefully the next FW update will be out soon.

    The strange thing for us was that we experienced the audio/video issues the very day we received the 8.3 upgrade (May 11th) but the problems began to "fade" (for lack of a better word) and after about six weeks things seemed to return to normal. We still get the odd video breakup, mostly on HD channels (both cable and network), but no more than I would expect for OTA or could blame on cable delivery glitches.

    It would be nice to be able to execute a FW rollback, but I suspect that would impact a number of the new features that have come our way recently and I can't imagine TiVo risking those...better to have a few unhappy customers? :confused:

    Our S3 is on v8.3.1 and the DT S2 is on v8.3.01. Is that where yours stands?

    We'll keep an eye on them! :rolleyes:

    Thanks for sharing and let us know how it goes.
     
  4. mstrroissy

    mstrroissy New Member

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    Dec 13, 2006
    Unfortunately I am no longer in paradise, I had to move for the job, just haven't given up on the aloha spirit. Now where's the chaka emoticon?
     
  5. crazywater

    crazywater USS TiVo NCC-1780

    706
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    Mar 7, 2001
    USA

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    Exactly...

    I was not aware that TiVo has acknowledged this problem, as mentioned in previous post. So I suppose if they are actively working on a fix perhaps being patient instead of trying to get a replacement box from TiVo is the way to go...
     
  6. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

    9,078
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Aloha! Wow! :eek: Another candidate for the Red Badge of Courage! Thanks for the in-depth look at your situation. It looks like you've done everything imaginable to rectify the issue.

    Your original box sounds like it may or may not have encountered the 8.3 update/cable card "macroblocking" problem that TiVo is now acknowledging. Based on all of the feedback it doesn't appear that 8.3 has caused anyone rebooting problems...that is generally associated with corrupted data which can be caused by bad sectors or possibly bad read/write heads on the HDD. Seeing the pixalization problem on OTA recordings leads me to suspect that the HDD was in trouble. But it may have been exacerbated by the 8.3 update, who knows?

    I also note that you have an external eSATA drive. Depending on the situation, there are a number of reasons for TiVo rebooting as well. You've probably seen it, but if not check this thread for more info (particularly #3 under "Troubleshooting").

    Glad to hear that they've opted to send you a new box...bummer about losing any programs though. :( At least now you know you're working with the best input you could possibly get.

    With regard to the update and "disk full" theory...it's not a bad one but not likely a problem. TiVo HDD's have several partitions. One holds the current software/OS and another is available for the download and execution of the next software update so there is always a partition dedicated to and one available for running the programs. The rest of the drive is available for recording.

    Others have tried to "force" the update without success. It should come soon. Once it's downloaded TiVo will update at 2 a.m.

    Sounds like you're on Island time? We used to live in Kailua Kona...miss it sometimes. :cool:

    Please keep us posted! :up:
     
  7. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Jan 4, 2003
    Hey bro, dat's da kine spirit we like. ;)
     
  8. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Jan 4, 2003
    The "acknowledgement" came in the form of an earlier post by pfibiger who talked to a TiVo supervisor about it. :up:

    If I were still having the problems I certainly wouldn't hesitate to call TiVo and let them know though. The more complaints they get, the more pressure they should feel to get things back on track.

    I'd guess that the development and recent hoopla over the new TiVo HD sidetracked them for a bit, but now that it's in the wild hopefully they'll focus on getting their current customers taken care of. :mad:
     
  9. bsather

    bsather Member

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    Sep 8, 2006
    WI
    Update: Charter installed a cable card in my TV today, and StarzHD & MHD work fine with zero problems. He did say I was getting "too strong" of a signal coming in and they would have to turn it down.
     
  10. mstrroissy

    mstrroissy New Member

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    Dec 13, 2006
    Well,

    As mentioned I had gotten a replacement S3 from Tivo and thought that ABSOLUTELY had to be the problem after having jumped through all the other hoops. So while on 8.0.1 we had one show pixelate and figured that could be counted as acceptable loss (even though when I was using the CableCo DVR never had anything like this happen - had the random drops but all were easily fixed and none always on one channel).

    So we were updated to 8.3 at 2am Sunday morning and I am back to where I was before. Heavy pixelation/audio drops on various channels. Seems to be only on one cable card though....so I am back EXACTLY to square one. When I call the Cableco to come and replace the one card that I think is messing up I bet the second one will go on the blink.....anyone want to make a wager? I guess I will just give up on this thing, I know that I am not the only one having problems but this is ridiculous.

    I guess I will be getting rid of the cable cards and doing standard cable/ota hd. With all the new CableCo stuff my standard cable should look almost as good as many of the users still having problems with the digital signal...LOL

    Someone earlier in this thread asked about acceptable levels of distortion/audio drops etc. I never chimed in, but that was when I thought it was a small problem and I was just over looking the solution. For $800+ (thats a s3+lifetime transfer) there should be NO pixelation. NO audiodrops, and the performance should be flawless. I paid for the best. I should have gotten the best. The new cableco DVR's are going to Cable card encoders too, I wonder how their boxes will work.
     
  11. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

    9,078
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Thanks very much for keeping us updated :up: ...but how disappointing. :( Although TiVo is now acknowledging that there is a "macroblocking" problem with some cable cards, your experience certainly confirms our suspicions that the 8.3 "upgrade" is the culprit.

    It is interesting that the problem seems to only be happening on one cable card though. Hopefully a replacement will rectify it, but you're right, it wouldn't be a good bet. Please let us know what happens.

    I agree that there shouldn't be any pixelization or audio problems that could be attributed to TiVo. But I also understand that the signal coming from any source, cable, satellite, OTA will never be perfect so I'm in the camp of those expecting to see some slight issues now and then. However your experience is unacceptable...and attributable to TiVo it would seem.

    Let's hope they get the new software update that's supposed to cure this issue out sooner than later!
     
  12. ehardman

    ehardman Member

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    Feb 18, 2004
    Kansas
    Let's hope the software update will be sooner rather than later as my pixalation and audio dropouts are the worst they have ever been.

    My one year anniversary with the S3 is coming up soon and these problems have been present since day 1. Some software versions have been better than others, but 8.3 is by far the worst.
     
  13. chipvideo

    chipvideo New Member

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    Sep 24, 2006
    Seattle
    Agreed. I have two S3's with one of them being a lifetime transfer i paid for. So its a large amount of money for me to spend on something that is horrible to watch in the middle of a movie. I just hate this 8.3 update. They should instantly give us back our older firmware now. There is nothing in the new update that I would miss anyhow. I just want to record and watch my movies the way they are supposed to be.
     
  14. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Jan 4, 2003
    Really frustrating! Have you called TiVo to complain? If not I certainly would. :mad:
     
  15. bareyb

    bareyb Under Maintenance

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    Dec 1, 2000
    Silicon Valley
    That really sucks. I'd stay on top of the cable company too. There must be some problem somewhere near your home. Possibly at the pedestal or even before that. These boxes can work almost flawlessly but it sure seems dependent on a pristine signal from the Cableco. I had horrible problems for months. Now even with an expanded hard drive, it's all but flawless. One tiny simple problem fixed on my cable line turned the whole thing around.

    I hope the rumors are true that Tivo has some kind of fix for this "macro blocking" problem because quite frankly, with the threshold so fine on signal quality I'm worried some little tiny thing is going to change on my system and I'm going to be right back in TiVo hell again.
     
  16. ehardman

    ehardman Member

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    Feb 18, 2004
    Kansas
    Like most others with this problem, I have called Tivo more times than I can count.
     
  17. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    :up: It would be interesting to hear what they had to say on this subject.
     
  18. Aug 1, 2007 #218 of 287
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    I've been reading a number of threads on the new TiVo HD box (thinking about replacing my DT S2). There are quite a few reports that they are having pixelization problems...specifically with the #2 cable card slot. When known "good cards" (cable card in slot #1 shows no problems for instance) are inserted in slot #2 the problem continues. FYI, it's my understanding that the new TiVo HD is not running FW v8.3 (yet) but a version only found on the TiVo HD.

    EDIT: According to this thread TiVo HD FW has been updated to 8.1.7b which may have addressed the macroblocking issue.

    Several people that have the problem are also reporting that TiVo CSR's are now saying that it is "known issue" which means they've been able to reproduce it in their labs. They (the CSR's) are telling people that they are working on it.

    It appears that there may be one common denominator with the people that are having problems: Scientific Atlanta cable cards.

    I'm wondering if SA cards are delivering marginal signals or have some other issue that's affecting TiVo's ability to process the signal for the new TiVo HD's (which is manifesting itself in the #2 slot for some reason) and if so are the folks that see this same problem with their S3's using SA cards?

    If you're having or have had pixelization/audio problems can you let us know what type of cable card you have (SA, Motorola, etc.)?

    As TiVo has acknowledged that the problem exists for S3's and it occurred with the rollout of v8.3...perhaps we can really narrow this down to a specific cable card/8.3 problem. That sort of combination would explain why some people are seeing this and not others and why some "fixes" seem to work and not others.

    Thoughts? :confused:
     
  19. Aug 1, 2007 #219 of 287
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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  20. Aug 2, 2007 #220 of 287
    chipvideo

    chipvideo New Member

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    Sep 24, 2006
    Seattle
    Using Moto cards.
     

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