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TiVoCast of death - play triggers Series 3 reboot

1098 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  skivo
Playing Rocketboom 7/31/2007 (recorded from normal subscription download) on my Series 3 causes image to go black and TiVo to reboot itself. :confused:

Reboot happens just after Joanne types into Google "Where does everything come from?" (a few seconds before 0:01), but I never get the answer :-(. Program source is Verizon FIOS which is generally the best / cleanest / fastest cable and internet I've ever had.

Screen goes blank, switches to "Welcome! Powering up...", TiVo light on the DVR comes on, and we wait a couple minutes for the thing to reboot. On the plus side I get to enjoy the THX logo sound as the TiVo comes back up. :mad:

At first I didn't believe that the recording was the problem -- more likely a power glitch. But after four trials, the TiVo reboots at exactly the same point in the program. Happens during normal playback or even if I'm fast-forwarding (not sure which speed was in effect).

Still have my old Series 2, but it doesn't have the Rocketboom subscription so I requested download of an old issue. Playing it back there works fine (the answer isn't very illuminating). Don't know if that's because of the different hardware/software in Series 2 or because the downloaded file differs somewhere. I don't know how to transfer files between TiVos or from TiVo to PC.

The Series 3 has otherwise been pretty good. Sometimes during fast-forward it used to jump ahead to the next tic unexpectedly, but that stopped after changing batteries in the remote (and cleaning out some leaked battery fluid). Once in a while, especially on HD programs I get a pixelation or sound glitch, but I've assumed those are just some nonrecoverable download errors. Much less frequent or severe than when my Series 2 hard drive died (Instant Cake was great, PC said HD had thousands of bad blocks).

Called TiVo support (7146567). After waiting for 20 minutes, the guy suggests only to watch and see if it starts happening on other shows. They didn't even ask what show it was so they could try downloading and playing the same thing.
This seems like an inadequate response when problem is easily reproducible, and no video file (off the air or otherwise) should cause a DVR to reboot! There's clearly a bug in the CODEC or somewhere else along the playback path. Yes, I know bugs happen, but I expect more interest in trying to isolate and correct them. :down:
Kind of like:
Me: My car engine dies and car comes to a halt when I drive a particular road and hit a little bump.
Support: Don't drive on that road (whatever it was), and be careful on other roads. Call us if it happens on other roads. Goodbye!​
I expected them to ask for an export of the file (for which I'd need a little handholding), check software/firmware versions, look at some hidden error log, but no. Just "keep an eye on it". When I suggest other exploration options and express my dissatisfaction (no profanity, insults, or shouting), guy hangs up on me. :(

So, TiVofolk... my questions are:
1. Has anyone else seen similar death-on-playback problems?

2. How can I transfer the files from my Series2 and Series3 boxes to PC or Mac to compare them and/or send to TiVo support (if they get interested)? [I'm primarily a Mac user and sounded like I had to buy the newest Toast to get transfer going there. Have a PeeCee also.]

3. I like TiVo and would like to have them fix bugs like this. Is there a way to reach a support person who would take this more seriously?

4. Am I expecting too much from TiVo Support?

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It could be a bad sector on the hard drive. Is it still under warranty?
I agree it could be a bad HD. Try deleting the program, and re-downloading it (as you did with the Series 2.) Do you get the same behavior?
I don't think it is the hard drive, this time. I've had a 4-year-old Series 2 hard drive gradually go bad. The symptoms started with playback pixelation, audio/video dropouts that became more and more frequent. There were also many spots where everything would freeze for a second or more, then jump ahead in time -- I attributed this to multiple retries on multiple damaged sectors that were unsuccessful and failed. Eventually there were problems with nearly every program played, and menus started behaving very slowly and erratically. I never saw this behavior (playback causes reboot), but did see a couple where playback would end prematurely.

When erratic menus and disrupted playback started happening most of the time, I yanked the drive and put it in a PC where I tried a few hard drive diagnostic and recovery utilities including SpinRite 6.0. S.M.A.R.T. predicted imminent failure (duh!). They found thousands of bad blocks and were unable to recover or rebuild much of anything useful. Tried SpinRite 6.0 last since it can cause additional damage, let it run for 2 days before giving up and buying Instant Cake and a new (larger) IDE drive.

TiVo's handling of the drive failure was both impressive (it continued to mostly function in the face of massive data loss and corruption) and very disappointing (there were clearly thousands of unrecoverable read errors occurring yet it didn't tell the user anything was amiss). I hope they've gotten better in Series 3 with the SATA drives.

Before deleting and re-downloading the TiVocast of death on my Series 3, I'd like to transfer a copy to a Mac or PC. What is the easiest way to do this?
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Oh, and how hard is it to copy the video file from the Series 3 to Series 2 (or S3 => PC => S2)?

Different disks die in different ways. If it's under warranty, you should replace it.
Different disks die in different ways. If it's under warranty, you should replace it.
Certainly a new drive wouldn't hurt (other than losing all content). 1 yr warranty, right?

This was an early Series 3, bought in November or December 2006 I think. It is true that occasionally we see video glitches on other shows. Is this plus reboot on playback enough to convince TiVo support we need a new drive? Will they send the drive and let me swap it so I don't have to send entire TiVo back?
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