TiVo HD - All Video Vanishes

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by tt881, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. Marc421

    Marc421 New Member

    17
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    Oct 14, 2002
    Norwalk, CT

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    Azrob,
    I have experienced and it has been reported that the problem can occur when after fiddling with resolution settings or anything to do with the TiVo settings and then go back to menu and then live video all quickly it can bring about the problem. I had the black screen twice within days after setting up my TiVo Hd and now in the last 3 weeks or so it has not happened again.
     
  2. AZrob

    AZrob Member

    309
    12
    Mar 31, 2002
    Phoenix, AZ
    Correct me if I'm wrong, fadden0, but aren't the Tivo menu screens generated originally at 720P resolution? If so, you would still be experiencing resolution-switch between your Tivo and your TV as you go between Tivo menus and video that is 480p.

    Also, unless you avoid the HD channels entirely, there will be either 720P or 1080i switching to 480p going on when you watch those channels. So that could still be a factor in triggering the problem.

    I do agree that TTG seems to be an aggravating factor. All I did was try to initiate a simple PC-to-Tivo transfer last night (though it failed right away -- another issue) and right after that I got another blackout.

    Rob
     
  3. pauljb55

    pauljb55 Now in Miami Beach

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    May 2, 2005
    Florida
    Its been 72hours and no problems...
     
  4. kdmorse

    kdmorse Well-Known Member TCF Club

    8,381
    2,181
    Jan 29, 2001
    Germantown, MD
    All the times I, or my friends, have seen the problem, it fits with the following theory: "If garbage gets shoved into the video output processor, the video output processor stops processing all video".

    This includes a few times during initial CC setup, once while rewiring the coax, twice when I tried to play a failed TTG program, and once when I tried to play a MRV'd program too fast. In all cases one could understand how the stream could have been corrupted in just the wrong way, and given the mpeg decoding chip a small heart attack.

    This also somewhat explains why people seem to see it more often in their first 48 hours of operation. This includes setting up, cabling the box, playing with CC's, your first MRV, your first failed attempt at playing a video off your PC, etc... Afterwards it does occasionally happen - but it is far less frequent (for most people) - as they're not doing the same sorts of things they did in their first 48 hours with the box.

    -Ken
     
  5. fadden0

    fadden0 New Member

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    Dec 6, 2007
    SF Bay Area

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    AZrob: it's not switching resolutions, it's scaling the output. I'm not familiar with the TiVo hardware, but they likely have a chip that does the alpha-blending / chroma-keying to composite the graphics and video, scaling both on the way out. If I were using "native" output mode it would be adjusting the scale factor when I went in and out of different types of video streams, but since I'm using "fixed 480p" the chip should just get set up once. In any event, the scaler is most likely over in the NTSC/HD encoder, not in the MPEG decoder.

    kdmorse: I'm not entirely convinced of the "garbage" theory, since sometimes you get junk coming in from Comcast (or at least I do). I wonder if the disconnected cable caused the tuner to go through some sort of signal acquisition procedure that hoses the MPEG chip. You could get something similar when the authorization hits arrive.
     
  6. hddude55

    hddude55 New Member

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    Jan 4, 2007
    Phoenix
    Good lord, I didn't find this thread and related ones until tonight! I had my S3 replaced last week -- the 6 months old one started having frequent audio/video drops of several seconds duration. The new one -- and it was brand new -- sporadically went to a "snow" screen and audio continued to play but no controls would work and I had to unplug/plug back in to restore the picture and controls. This problem seemed to occur after I had recently turned on the TV after it had sat idle for several hours, but I'm not convinced that was anything but a coincidence.

    I now have another brand new replacement of the replacement, and yes, it too has started doing the same thing. I have played with video output and now have it on 1080i Fixed but suspect that won't really matter, if I understand what others have tried and failed. One guy mentioned hitting the Guide button brought back the picture. I'll give it a try the next time it happens.

    FYI, I didn't have time to get cable cards installed in the first replacement and the cable guy won't be installing until this weekend in the latest new machine, so that suggests to me cable cards have nothing to do with this particular bug.

    I did notice both "new" machines were built last month and say R3 or something of the sort next to the build date. I was told by a tech at TiVo that newer TiVos have had some hardware tweaks. I wonder if that could be part of the problem, but I realize some people in this thread have had their machines for many months so software seems the more likely culprit.
     
  7. hddude55

    hddude55 New Member

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    Jan 4, 2007
    Phoenix
    Interesting. This happened to me tonight with my new replacement unit. It was set up by default for 1080i Fixed and I changed it to Native since that setting worked fine with my previous Series 3 box. But tonight, soon after making the switch I got a blank screen/frozen controls with audio working, so after rebooting I set it back to 1080i Fixed. Perhaps it wasn't the setting that was bad, but rather just the fact I messed with the setting?
     
  8. ZXTT95

    ZXTT95 New Member

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    Oct 31, 2007
    Hillsboro, OR
    hddude55,

    This thread is about video, as in the TV signal, recorded shows and animated menu backgrounds, no longer playing, resulting in either a blank background or a background stuck on one frame. The TiVo still responds to everything else, including all menus. Audio does not play, except maybe in sporadic bursts as the the TiVo attempts to play the video. If your TiVo is locking up, you have a different problem.

    Anyway, I noticed my 2nd TiVo HD had gone stopped showing video again. Both tuned channels were blank. Initially, the menu background was animated, but it froze soon after. Strangely, one channel was working - the subchannel (or whatever) associated with our NBC affiliate. For example, channel 8 is analog, channel 8-1 is digital HD and 8-2 is the digital subchannel, which displays weather info. It stopped working after a few minutes of messing around though.

    As usual, a reboot cured it. My other TiVo HD has never done this, but is on 1080i fixed. The failing TiVo has been on Native, but I switched it to 1080i fixed now to see if that affects things at all - not that that is a solution.
     
  9. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    3,653
    2
    Feb 28, 2001
    North...
    Hmmm. It's possible it's not a coincidence. There's a number of TV models that emit strong IR and other noise, especially as they warm up. The normal TiVo symptom on these is that responses to the remote become very sluggish, but it's not out of the question that it could cause more serious problems. The TiVo could be spending all of its time trying to respond to hardware interrupts from the IR sensor and decide if they were from remote commands. It might be worthwhile experimenting a couple of times and see if anything else strange happens when the cold TV is turned on.
     
  10. hddude55

    hddude55 New Member

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    Jan 4, 2007
    Phoenix
    With all due respect to your efforts to prevent thread hijacking, the "issue" doesn't seem that narrow at least according to some posters like AZrob who seems to be a frequent contributor to this and a "competing thread" that he suggested should be merged with this one. He wrote in the competing thread, "... there are variations: you can have black screen on some channels but not all, you can have black screen on all channels but not the menu backgrounds, or you can have black screen on all channels and all menu backgrounds. I have experienced all 3 variations in just 2 weeks." If my experiences should be discussed in a different thread I'll be happy to do so, but I think I'm going to have to be convinced by others here that I'm in the wrong place.
     
  11. hddude55

    hddude55 New Member

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    Jan 4, 2007
    Phoenix
    I'm having what sounds like the same problem, but unlike you I believe the remote probably is working, but who knows since I can't see anything on the TV screen to direct the remote commands. But this problem first happened on a brand-new -- not a refurb -- replacement S3 received last week. I got another new one yesterday to replace the replacement received last week and the same thing is happening, so that tells me it's not the TiVo hardware. (Unplugging the TiVo once always "cures" my problem for the moment.) Maybe its TiVo 9.2 software, HDMI issues, my TV -- but not the Tivo. One difference between you and me: I usually have sound although one time the sound disappeared, too.

    If you and I don't belong in this thread as I was told by another poster, maybe someone can direct us to a more appropriate thread or we can start a new one -- but I have a hunch something happened in 9.2 to cause all of these issues, whether or not they are directly related. I had the much-discussed audio and video drops on my "old" S3 purchased a year ago -- and that's why I got it replaced last week -- but never these black screen issues until last week's "new" Series3 arrived. For a glorified VCR, these HD Tivos amazingly seem to have more problems than NASA's Space Shuttle program -- but at least our lives aren't in danger, just our sanity.
     
  12. pauljb55

    pauljb55 Now in Miami Beach

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    May 2, 2005
    Florida
    sooo my 72 hours didn't last long. I got home and I was back in black. Somone mentioned that it could have something to do with playing with the settings...I had revised my channel list the night before...food for thought
     
  13. flightrisk

    flightrisk New Member

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    Jul 25, 2001
    Just for some more data, here are some recent situations which casued the black screen for me:

    • Intentionally tuning to a channel I don't receive during TTG transfer.
    • Forcing a daily call when Tivo erroneously believed I had no guide data, after an HD upgrade.
    • Playing an incompletely transferred TTCB video.

    I agree, too, that this stopped happening after initial setup until I started using TTG/TTCB.
     
  14. fadden0

    fadden0 New Member

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    Dec 6, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    I haven't tried TTCB (for the acronym-deprived, that's TiVo-To-Come-Back, i.e. a PC -> TiVo transfer) since the early days of my Series 2. Half the time the downloaded video wouldn't play, even if it had just been sent up from the TiVo to the PC. Some of the time the Series 2 would lock up. I tried a DVD transfer, but if you used a free encoder the video wouldn't play back without jerking around (needed to use the non-free version of TMPGEnc.)

    Has this improved? It's been a while since I tried it.

    At any rate, I haven't had any problems with the TiVo HD since the first day (one week ago). I just now queued up some MRV (Multi-Room Viewing) transfers and carefully stepped away from the device. I'll see if messing with it after the transfers complete causes it to "go funny" -- not going to touch it while it runs.
     
  15. ZXTT95

    ZXTT95 New Member

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    Oct 31, 2007
    Hillsboro, OR
    I'm not trying to chase you away - rather, warn you that you can't take much from the conclusions people are drawing here because almost everyone that I've noticed is reporting issues that appear to boil down to the MPEG decoder getting into a bad state. Your problem sounds worse. It could be software, but you should probably do your own troubleshooting by trying to eliminate as many of the usual suspects - things like bad power, a bad coax signal, IR interference, etc., which can affect these kinds of devices.
     
  16. fadden0

    fadden0 New Member

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    Dec 6, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    Wow. I queued up 4 movies for transfer from my Series 2 DT to my TiVo HD. Walked away for a few hours. When I came back, the movies had transferred, and all the video was greyed out. I rebooted and verified that they all transferred successfully.

    Pretty unequivocal. FWIW I'm using wired ethernet (100Mbps on Cat-5e).
     
  17. Christian Dad

    Christian Dad TiVo Tinkerer

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    Oct 27, 2005
    Las Vegas
    Greetings All,

    I recently stepped up to TiVo HD and life is grand. After a week of normal operation on regular (analog) cable, the Cox Communications cable dude comes and puts in a multi-stream CableCard, so now I get HD. Life is spectacular... well, with the exception that there still (really) isn't a whole lot of HD programming out there.

    Here's the problem

    After two or three days of wonderful operation, the input signal freezes. I can hit the TiVo button and menu operation is as expected, but both playback and live TV freeze on the first frame of video, and the audio plays for about 1 second before it too goes silent. Like I said, menu operation is OK. Pressing the 'guide' button brings up an operational guide over a frozen picture.

    A simple reset fixed the problem.

    Has anyone else had this happen? How does one go about making the devs aware of this incident? Is this indicative of something I'm doing wrong?

    Thanks.
     
  18. fadden0

    fadden0 New Member

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    Dec 6, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    Christian Dad: everybody else has had this happen -- that's why this thread exists. :) Read back through the thread to see what we know so far.
     
  19. Mars Rocket

    Mars Rocket Loosely wound

    10,402
    5
    Mar 24, 2000
    Sinnoh region
    That sounds like a different problem. I never saw a single frame of video when I had this problem, and I don't recall anybody else mentioning anything like that either. The "1 second of sound" sounds like a new problem as well.
     
  20. bonnie_raitt

    bonnie_raitt Member

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    Sep 14, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    First post to this thread. Went to watch the Seahawks football game tonight and saw it hadn't been recorded. It said I didn't have a signal. I checked the live TV and found nothing but a black screen. I tries several channels and did find one or two that worked. I then looked at the To Do List and found that I had missed recordings for the past 2 or 3 days for the same reason. I then came here and read this thread. I rebooted my S3 and now all channels show up. FWIW, I also have a Tivo HD that worked fine the entire time.

    As I recall, I did nothing special during the last few days except watch recorded shows until today.

    As they say every cloud has a silver lining. The seahawks lost 13-10 but at least I didn't have ti watch! Thanks for that anyway!
     

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