Tivo pauses spontaneously

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by jbs, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. jbs

    jbs Member

    30
    2
    Aug 22, 2005
    I have a Tivo HD with 2 CableCards and Fios service. For the past few months I've been having a strange issue with increasing frequency. When playing back shows the image will pause for anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds. When it resumes again, there's no gap in the show. That is, if a character is saying, "Welcome back to the 6 o'clock news, I'm Bob Smith", the audio would sound like this: "Welcome back to the 6" [~20 second pause] "o'clock news, I'm Bob Smith".

    Since there's also no missing content at the end, that seems to indicate to me that it's not a broadcasting issue (since a broadcast obviously is not going to arbitrarily extend itself by 2 or 3 minutes). So if I were to time the program without skipping any commercials, etc, then the playing time for an hour-long program would end up being 61 or 62 minutes.

    The thing is, there's no on-screen indication of a pause and pressing play doesn't start it again. It starts again when it's ready, and if I rewind the Tivo it will stop again at the same spot for the same length of time.

    The best analogy I can think of is in the old days if you'd been dubbing frmo one VCR to another. The second VCR is recording continuously but you paused the source VCR for 30 seconds every now and then. When you went to play back the 2nd generation dub, you'd have this extended paused image onscreen, no lost audio and no ability to "resume" with the play button. The only difference is I also cannot "skip" or "FF" through the pauses in my program.

    Sorry for the long explanation, but it has me stumped and I'd love any advice or recommendations! Thanks in advance!!

    --Jason
     
  2. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

    10,722
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    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    To me, that sounds like a classic hard drive symptom. The pause could be caused by the Tivo trying to read a bad sector, for instance.

    Try and initiate kickstart 54 and then kickstart 57.
    http://www.weaknees.com/tivo-kickstart-codes.php

    While it's working, now may be a good time to take the hard drive out and make a backup copy with WinMFS or the MFSLive Boot CD.
     
  3. jbs

    jbs Member

    30
    2
    Aug 22, 2005
    Wow, Steve, thank you! That apparently is exactly what's going on. I'm running the test right now but thus far the Secondary Drive has failed each step:

    [​IMG]

    It's a TivoHD with the Western Digital MyDVR Expander. In this context would the Secondary Drive (the one failing) be the external drive?

    Thanks again for the expert advice!
     
  4. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    8,883
    702
    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    Expander drive failures seem to be the most common TiVo failure. However did you reseat and/or replace the esata cable? That fails too.

    If the expander has failed, scrap it and do an internal expansion to 1 or 2 TB. You can buy plug-in TiVo-ready drives (weaknees.com or DVR_DUDE on eBay) or save money by preparing your own drive if you are the DIY type.

    While you have the box open check the 5 and 12 volts in the HDD power cable and look for bulging or stained capacitors (the larger can-shaped ones).
     
  5. jbs

    jbs Member

    30
    2
    Aug 22, 2005
    Thanks for the tips! I did turn off and reseat the esata cable. I don't have another one on hand so I can't try swapping it. But it still fails after reseating.

    I've been reading the expansion FAQs and am certainly up for the DIY route (I'm fine w/live CDs and whatnot). But from looking at the recommended drives it seems like a lot of them are unavailable/discontinued or, where available, they're pretty steep for a 1TB ($150 and so for a bare drive). Considering that I can get a 1TB Expander for $109, is the main issue just reliability of the expansion vs internal drives? Cause for a 1TB internal with an hour of work (my HD tivo is rackmounted so just getting access to it is 30 minutes) and $150 vs an expander for $109 and ready in 5 minutes I have to admit I'm leaning toward the latter. I bought the 500 GB for $150 in June of 2008, so I can see where that's not great longevity, but to save $50 and an hour's time I might still re-up with the easy option. Am I missing out on some key factor? (and it'd be worth opening for a 2TB but I think with my non-XL TivoHD I can only get ~1.2 TB, which is what I'll have by keeping the internal.
     
  6. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    8,883
    702
    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    The argument for having just one large HDD (i.e., 1 or 2 TB internal) is overall reliability. HDD's are the most common failure point and with 2 of them you double the failure probability. And you lose all recordings you've made since the expander was married, so there is no redundancy advantage there.

    The 500 GB expanders had a very bad rep for failing in 12 to 18 months, although you did much better. Don't know if the ones being sold now are better or not. Sometimes it's the expander chassis and electronics that fail rather than the drive itself and people have replaced those.

    I would be tempted to go with the expander in your particular situation.

    If you DIY be advised the FAQ, although still worth reading, is way out of date and no one is updating it. The recent posts in that thread are up to date and worth reviewing. I would advise posting (preferably in that thread) exactly what you want to do (e.g., 1 TB or 2 TB ?, methods differ) and ask about any HDD you're considering buying. You will get advice.

    If you DIY, the first thing to do ASAP is divorce your expander, get the TiVo running stable again, then get a backup of the Tivo system image onto your PC using WinMFS or other methods. All the DIY methods need to use the tivo system image from your current HDD or you have to "beg" an image from someone, or pay $40 for an "Instant Cake" image. If you end up buying IC, your total cost will not be a lot less than just buying a pre-imaged plug-in HDD from DVR_DUDE on eBay, who has a good reputation here.
     
  7. mark6819

    mark6819 New Member

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    Mar 3, 2011
    I have the SAME equipment including the Western Digital expander drive and FIOS service and these pausing episodes begun for me about 2 montsh ago. In addition to the pause problem, I have also been finding grey screens on both tuners which seem to be getting more frequent. I restart the TiVo by unplugging the power and it fixes it temporarily. I am running the SMART diagnostic and so far it's Fail 7 for the primary (except for the initial state) and Pass for the secondary, opposite of yours. I'll be watching this thread closely.

     
  8. Emacee

    Emacee Member

    227
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    Dec 15, 2000
    Philadelphia...
    I have the same "pause" problem, and I'm also a FIOS subscriber. I have a new hard drive from DVR Dude and I'm no longer using a Western Digital expansion drive (which would not work with the new main drive). However, I am still having the pause problem. The new drive has passed the Kickstart 54 and 57 tests. Any other possible causes?
     
  9. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

    10,722
    0
    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    The other possible cause is an error in the cable company/broadcast equipment. Those systems are no less vulnerable to errors in the transmission stream (e.g. a lost data packet in the original satellite link) than our Tivos are.
    IOW, the freeze could have happened on the transmission side and the Tivo simply recorded it. To the average person, this could look like the Tivo froze up when it actually didn't.
     
  10. aadam101

    aadam101 Tell me a joke

    7,114
    12
    Jul 14, 2002
    Massachusetts
    I had a similar issue. It was my HDMI cable. I was having a "handshake" issue (whatever that means). A new HDMI cable fixed it.
     

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