Tivo HD Audio Drop out after FF/Rew & Cust Svc Nightmare

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by eschmith, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. eschmith

    eschmith Registered User

    51
    0
    Jun 21, 2002
    Bellingham, MA
    Just had to post a thread about this after today's experience. I activated my new Tivo HD about 2 weeks ago. Upgraded the SW almost immediately, and as I was testing the unit, noticed sporadic audio problems - specifically, when watching live TV or a recorded program, after using FF or Rew and hitting play to come back to normal speed, 3-4 out of 5 times the audio would be gone. Going back and forth again a few times always led to the sound coming back at some point. Was happening when using an HDMI connection with a confirmed good cable (had used previously with a DVD player and the same TV\HDMI port)

    Posting this in case anyone else sees it, it would probably be helpful to confirm here. If you don't want to read the rest, my current resolution is that Tivo is going to exchange the unit. But I hope anyone connected with Tivo reads on...

    When I decided to troubleshoot this problem, I called Tivo Support 2 days ago and after a total of 30 minutes working with someone reading a script, was told to reboot the unit, remove the HDMI cable, and hook the Tivo to the TV via the Component cable. I was pretty unhappy with 30 minutes just for that advice (15 on hold), and asked if there were further troubleshooting tips I could try before calling back to save more back and forth. The CSR said no, just do as she asked.

    Fine, I did so, the problem was no longer there. Decided to try something else, I hooked the HDMI up also, so I could look at the same source on Tivo, and flip between HDMI and Component. Problem there on HDMI, not on component. So, information in hand, I call Tivo today around 4pm EST and here is what happens..

    Call starts, hold music starts, sounds catchy (HA! Little do I know...). The message says hold times might be as long as 20 minutes. I put the phone on speaker and settle down to wait.

    Minute 40 or so .. no one has picked up, but there was one point where it *sounded* like someone had picked up, but I went back to hold music. Ack! Evil! Hold music is now more than mildly irritating.

    Minute 52! Phone picks up! "Welcome to Amazon Unbox Tech Support, may I get your name.." WTF?!?!? I tell them I called into Tivo tech support, what is going on, etc. They apologize, say they will transfer me to Tivo tech support. Back on hold...

    Minute 70.. I want to find out who decided to put this hold music on endless loop and make THEM listen to it for an hour straight. But phone picks up, and lo and behold, it's actually Tivo Support. Talk to a nice young lady with an almost unintelligible accent who looks up my case # and completely does not understand the notes the previous rep left, so I explain again. I imagine her rifling (electronically speaking) through a script. She starts off on a track that tells me she has no idea what's going on with my issue or has any idea how to troubleshoot it. Figuring this out, I nicely ask to speak to Tier 2 support. She accusingly says "are you REFUSING to do what I asked you to?" and now I'm pretty ticked. The upright base from that damn hold music still echo's in my head. I ask for Tier 2 again, she refuses to connect me. I then ask for her supervisor. AND .. she puts me on hold again.

    5 minutes more on hold, she picks up. Says it will take 10-15 minutes (on HOLD) to wait for a supervisor, but suddenly says she will transfer me to an "upper level" dept that can help me. We are now at about

    Minute 84! I go into the depths of Tivo Phone Hold Muzak Hell. My hatred for the canned music and repeated marketing messages shows no sign of limits now.

    At this point, I'm screwed .. too invested to hang up, dreading their phone system hanging up on me, being in a queue to god-knows-what department. But now I can't give up...

    Minute 110 (yes, you are reading this right, 1 hour and 50 minutes). Tier 2 picks up, speak to a nice kid named Ashton. By this time, any normal person would be ready to leap through the phone line and tear the still beating heard out of any CSR that dared to pick up, but I remain polite and cordial.

    Ashton and I go through a process of discussing this problem (as well as other Tivo HD issues I'm seeing like slow menus, the green flashing when changing screens, the horrible rebuilding of the extras menu every time you navigate into a submenu and back out again, etc. Ashton has not seen mention of my particular issue, and he agrees to exchange the unit. I tell him that I am incredibly frustrated and disappointed in this whole support experience, etc. He understands, etc.

    We finally wrap up the conversation at ... drum roll...

    Minute 150! Yes, a new personal record, a 2 1/2 hour tech support phone call!! Me vs. Tivo Support FTW!!!!!! Woot!

    Ok.. now for anyone from Tivo still reading. As you can see, I've tried using humor to deal with a support experience that by any reasonable measure, is totally, completely, utterly not even remotely close to anything that is acceptable. If this is what I get now, what am I supposed to expect in the future. I've owned Tivos in the past and loved them, and that's why I decided to try the HD box, but your company is doing it's best to make me regret my decision... and if that does not stike true and deep enough ... Comcast tech support answers in *5* minutes, and at the moment, their DVR actually responds faster than my new $600+ upfront investment Tivo. Comcast!!! Did you read that?!? Comcast!!!! Auuuuuughhhhhh!!!

    Thanks for letting me vent a bit
     
  2. MickeS

    MickeS Active Member

    25,954
    18
    Dec 26, 2002
    Unfortunately, this is pretty much par for the course when it comes to TiVos awful, awful customer service on the phone. :( :thumbsdown:

    I have been meaning to call them a few times, but since I was on hold for nearly an hour and half the one time I really needed to call them, I avoid it like the plague. Fortunately, this forum has managed to help me out the other times I've needed help, and TiVos website has assisted me too.

    The good thing was that after that eternity of waiting, and being transfered several times, I eventually ended up with a person who knew exactly what she was doing and helped me out right away (as opposed to the previous people who insisted the problem was that I had upgraded the storage in the TiVo :rolleyes: ). :up:

    Good thing they have some dedicated customers like you and me - I can easily see someone new dropping them like a hot rock if they had to put up with this.
     
  3. joneSi

    joneSi New Member

    95
    0
    Mar 28, 2004
    Very, very funny write up. I've been there, but not for 2.5 hours! You held in a lot better than I would have.

    joneSi
     
  4. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    2
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Am I to understand that you are running HDMI directly to your TV and you want to use audio over HDMI?

    If so, have you tried setting the TivoHD to use PCM under Settings -> Audio? I bet that would fix your problem.

    My guess is you have Dolby Digital 5.1 selected in Settings -> Audio and your display cannot handle that. Most displays cannot handle DD5.1 over HDMI. When the TivoHD detects that a display cannot handle DD5.1 input, it is supposed to send PCM instead regardless of what you have selected in the menu.

    I bet there is some HDMI interoperability issue with your TV that is causing the Tivo to 'forget' that it cannot handle Dolby Digital over HDMI. Because of that, it reverts back to Dolby Digital (because you have it selected in Settings -> Audio), thereby sending your display an audio signal that it cannot handle. If you set the Tivo to output PCM in Settings -> Audio, you would avoid that.

    Note the TivoHD should get a significant performance boost later this year. The older 8.1.x software branch on the TivoHD does not incorporate the software performance enhancements made in 8.3.x software on the Series3.
     
  5. eschmith

    eschmith Registered User

    51
    0
    Jun 21, 2002
    Bellingham, MA
    I did not try that setting, nor did Tivo support (T1 or T2) suggest it. Though I cannot be certain, and might try it anyway today before I RMA my unit, I would normally assume that any change in an overall sound or display setting would produce a broad result; the problem would show up and stay in a consistent manner. Due to the fact with with HMDI and sound only sporadically disappears, and then comes back, I would have not thought the sound settings would cause this type of issue. But I might give it a try anyway..
     
  6. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    2
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Do give it a try since it has a high probability of fixing your issue. You're supposed to select PCM when running HDMI direct to most TVs (without a surround receiver) anyway.
     
  7. eschmith

    eschmith Registered User

    51
    0
    Jun 21, 2002
    Bellingham, MA
    I did try it, and the problem seems to be gone, though I don't have a bunch of recordings to try it out on. I'll monitor for a day or so, but looks great so far.

    Thanks Bkdtv! And to think, it could have been solved without 3 hours on Tivo tech support calls, and this would have cost tivo a new unit and shipping both ways, and still (I now gather) wouldn't have had the problem solved.

    Now I need to go and read the Pixelation threads as I'm still seeing that issue I think..

    Thanks again Bkdtv.. :)
     
  8. jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

    4,471
    2
    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Too bad Tivo doesn't just automatically change audio to PCM when an HDMI connection is detected.
     
  9. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

    2,619
    0
    Oct 17, 2003
    Pittsburgh
    Oops! Don't want to do that and mess me up. I have hdmi to tv with speakers off on the TV. Digital audio to receiver for 5.1 surround sound.

    Hmm. Come to think of it, when I was having problems with my receiver I did use the tv speakers (with hdmi and dd 5.1 still on) and they worked fine. Does that mean my TV (Mits DLP) is able to decode it properly?
     
  10. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    2
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Well, a few of the newest 2007 models do accept a DD5.1 input over HDMI for use with their 'virtual' surround system.

    Many 2007 and most 2006 (and older TVs) only support PCM over HDMI.

    HDMI CE devices are supposed to detect what your set can and cannot do and adjust accordingly, regardless of what you select. However, that doesn't always work reliably in practice because HDMI implementations differ (and many are out-of-spec).

    At this point, I don't think we have sufficient information to determine whether Tivo or the TV is responsible for the audio detection issue when doing FF/REW, but either way, setting output to PCM should eliminate the problem.
     

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