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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all - I'm brand new to these forums; hopefully I won't repeat any issues listed on TiVo Community. Alright, here's the gist...
I have a Series 3 HD TiVo. Worked great from early January through mid July, with no problems whatsoever. (It was never moved from its shelf, where it's sitting all alone - nothing stacked on top, plenty of ventilation, and not near any subwoofers or anything that would cause interference.) All of a sudden, it started freezing ONLY during recorded programs. Live TV plays just fine, it's just playback of recorded shows. (Menus also "stutter" and respond slowly, from time to time.) The picture freezes, plays for half a second, freezes again, and repeats for about a minute, when it suddenly "snaps out of it" and plays for another five minutes, when it freezes again. It's unwatchable, to say the least.
Called up TiVo in July, and of course I restarted, resetted, and cleared and deleted everything... removed the power cable - nothing worked. So, they sent me a new one (after charging my credit card), and I sent mine back (and was reimbursed for the charge). Brand new TiVo - no worries, right?
Wrong. It had the SAME issue. Not a similar issue, but the SAME freezing problem, and ONLY on recorded programs.
So, I've tried contacting them multiple times, with no answers (in fact, they just have me repeat the same steps as before, to no avail.) I find it hard to believe that two Series 3 boxes would have the same problem, but there you go.
In terms of my setup, I'm using two Scientific Atlanta CableCards, courtesy of Time Warner Cable in Manhattan, the TiVo is connected via HDMI to my HDTV (video settings are at 1080i fixed), network is connected via ethernet, and the power cable is hooked up to one of those giant Monster Cable surge protectors (so no worries about electrical surges that would damage the TiVo.)
The only thing I can think of, which I've suggested to TiVo, is that this is a CableCard compatibility issue. Again, Live TV is perfectly fine, and I'm getting all my channels loud and clear, but still... I used the same CableCards in the old Series 3 as I do now in the new one, and I have the same issue. I've seen mention on the forums of "S model" and "M model" CableCards... If the CableCards ARE the issue, which model should I use? Is there a firmware update for the CableCards? Am I on the right track at all?
Does anyone else have this issue and/or suggestions of how to fix it? TiVo doesn't seem to think it's the CableCards - in fact, their latest suggestion was to cover the front of the TiVo, in case there's IR intereference. (Which seems silly to me, because if it was receiving a "pause" command from another remote, wouldn't the pause menu pop up on screen?) At any rate, I tried covering the IR port on my Series 3, and it didn't work. I even tried disconnecting ALL other nearby appliances, EXCEPT for the HDTV and Series 3, and it STILL has the freezing issue. And, TiVo doesn't want to send me a new box because they can't believe that two Series 3's would have the same issue, but they also aren't making any suggestions that actually work.
Again, my TiVo is well-ventilated, surge-protected, never moved from its shelf, and nothing is stacked on top of it... I've kept up with all the service updates, and I have NOT modified it at all with external eSATA drives, etc. What could the issue be?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading this super-long post, but I thought I'd be thorough in my description of the issue. Take care, and I look forward to hearing from you~
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tried it, no dice. Also tried 720p fixed and all the other resolutions, all of which have the freezing problem. I have a Samsung LNS-4095D 1080p HDTV - Can't imagine that it would be an incompatibility issue there, but it was worth a try.
Thanks for the suggestion, though - Pray for me, man ;) (Especially for my wife... She's the big TV guru, and we both work in the broadcast industry, so you can imagine how completely frustrated we both are.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, that sounds right to me. I didn't think it would be the CableCards, but that incompatibility "theory" was the first thing that popped in my mind since, a) I used the same two CableCards in both TiVo's, and b) it's hard to believe I got two "bad" boxes.
But yeah, the hard drive may just be crapped out. I'm with 'ya, man - I think I got two lemons.
Now, the problem is getting TiVo to believe me, because they've said repeatedly that having two Series 3's with the same problem is incredibly rare.
Also, last note (and something I forgot to mention in my first post)... After trying to watch a recorded program that freezes, I've stopped watching, gone to bed for the night (in a fit of complete frustration), and tried to watch it the next day, and the program (in the places that initially "froze") plays back just fine. (Of course, the freezing issue pops up either later in the episode, or in other recorded programs.)
So, oddly, the freezing isn't due to a problem with the file as it's recorded on the TiVo - I think it recorded just fine - it seems to be a playback issue.
Again, thanks for your help, man. TiVo's supposed to call me back tonight, and I'll bring up everyone's theories then. If anyone else has any ideas, please don't hesitate to leave a note.
The whole situation sucks, especially since our Series 2 has worked for years, and been moved through three different apartments, with no issues whatsoever. I'm a big TiVo fan, but my Series 3 just doesn't want to work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Diane - Sorry, didn't mean to steal your thunder ;)
I'll definitely give it a try tonight when I get home, and let you guys know if it works or not. And then (if it works) when TiVo calls me tonight, I can tell them "Take that, suckas!"
(Disclaimer - TiVo Support has always been very helpful, they just can't seem to pinpoint this issue - no offense to them. Plus, I don't have enough street cred to use "suckas!" in any kind of sentence.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good news, everyone! 2 hours of using component video and no problems!!
Looks like it was an HDCP issue with HDMI. Menus and playback are snappier, and no freezes. I'll keep on the lookout for any issues, but it's looking good.
Thanks to everyone who helped me out!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay, so I'm not out of the woods yet.
I'm now using component video on my Series 3, stereo audio out (both directly to the HDTV), video output settings are at "Native"... And I'm still getting the issue. HOWEVER, menus are MUCH snappier (they load faster, the backgrounds in the TiVo menus don't "stutter" anywhere near as much, and it goes from "Now Playing" to my recorded program A LOT quicker), and the "freezing" during recorded program is less frequent and lasts for a shorter period of time.
...But it's still happening. I went for a few hours with no problems, but then it came back. During those first few hours, I was watching pre-recorded standard-def television - my freezing seemed to pop up last night during HD recordings. (However, my wife tells me that some of her standard-def recordings that she watched this morning also had our freezing problem.)
TiVo also suggested trying another HDMI cable (I was using the one that came with my TiVo, originally) - Haven't gotten around to trying that yet, but since the issue is also occurring over component, it doesn't look like the HDMI cable is the issue.
Again, the issue is MUCH less frequent, and it "unfreezes" itself infinitely faster than it used to. (Freezes and stutters would go on for up to 10 minutes in the past... now it freezes and stutters for 3-5 seconds, and then continues playing on its merry way.) But I really wish I could find out what the problem is, here.
TiVo tells me that this issue seems to be popping up with more and more frequency... Apparently I'm not the only one.
Anyway, that's the update... And the game is still afoot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Diablo - I agree, it seems to be a hard drive issue. Still, two bad hard drives in a row (between my first Series 3 and then the replacement)... That's gotta be a record (or close to it). And the other weird issue is that programs don't freeze up in the same places when I play them. As I mentioned in a previous post in this thread, I'll try playing a program, it "stutters" for a bit, I go to bed for the night, try playing it the next day, and there's no problem. So, the video file as it's written on the hard drive is okay... I'm not sure if it IS the hard drive itself (which it may be), or frankly... I'm starting to think that TiVo just doesn't put enough RAM in their boxes to handle two CableCards and high-def playback (along with all the other features on the Series 3). I may be completely wrong there, and not everyone seems to be having my issue, so that doesn't seem likely, either.
Nevertheless, TiVo tells me that this issue is getting more and more rampant among Series 3 customers. And like I said from the beginning, my first Series 3 worked perfectly from January through July, with absolutely no issues. Maybe an update around late June/July was the cause of these problems, maybe it was something else... I think I'm running out of options here.
I'll bring up the hard drive idea to them tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No cable splitter, and I can't replace my apartment's coax cables (although they're brand-new), since they're built into the wall. There's a signal strength meter in the TiVo, to see the strength of each channel's reception, and it's all coming in at 100%. No separate cable box - again, I'm just using the CableCards, built directly into the Series 3. (The Series 3 is connected to one of those giant Monster Cable surge protectors.) And the freezing problem applies to all recorded programs, regardless of which channels they were on. Plus, programs don't freeze in the same places every time, and it happens only occassionally.
And yeah, I hear 'ya on the component cables - the HDCP theory (I was really hoping that was the problem) shouldn't be an issue now that I'm using analog cables. Again, however, my freezing problems are less dramatic since I've gone to the component cables, and menus are "snappier." On the other hand, the problem isn't gone - it's just less severe. I shouldn't be getting the freezing issue at all, especially with an 800 dollar piece of equipment.
Thanks for all the suggestions, guys - I'm trying out everything, and I'm sure I'll be on the phone with tech support again tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
mvneunen,
No, I haven't been running the cable through the surge protector - it just goes straight from the wall and into the TiVo. And when you say firmware update, you're referring to the TiVo itself and not the CableCards, right?

Just as a recap to everyone who's just reading this thread, I've got a Series 3 TiVo that's stuttering (freeze, play, freeze, play... over and over again) on recorded programs only. Live TV is playing just fine. Restarts, resets, clearing and deleting everything, switching from HDMI to component video, switching video settings... nothing works. Here's the skinny:

Series 3 TiVo directly connected to Samsung LNS-4095D 1080p HDTV via component video and stereo audio (I was originally using HDMI, the component cables seem to make the stuttering less severe, but it's still got the same problem... All cables are what come in the Series 3 box.)
Two Scientific Atlanta CableCards (courtesy of Time Warner Cable in Manhattan) installed - cable running directly from the wall into the TiVo.
Network connected via ethernet to the TiVo
TiVo power cable connected to a Monster Cable surge protector
All TV channels are being received, all video and audio, Live TV plays great with no hiccups - recorded shows (and when I was using HDMI, the TiVo menus) freeze up during playback
Already tried turning off all other nearby appliances - interference is not the issue

Hope that recap helps newcomers to this thread
Thanks for all the suggestions that have been made so far - Despite the fact that I've still got the issue, it's been a big help and switching to component has definitely lessened the frequency and length of the freezing "hiccups" during playback, and TiVo menus are playing nice - Great suggestion from everyone, thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
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...
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
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. [email protected] 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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
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)
 
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