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The OTA scramble bug, after an update, bites again

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by Kansas Zephyr, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. Kansas Zephyr

    Kansas Zephyr Hall Of Fame

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    The reason I didn't post this under the 0x022B issues thread, is because this is an ongoing bug, and not related to the latest national software release.

    I was automatically upgraded to the latest national release last night on all 3 HR20-700s.

    I don't lose OTA. But, it gets scrambled. This happens EVERY time there is a software update, a via remote reset, a red button reset, or even a power failure.

    Some stations I had selected get "unchecked" and others then were not selected become "checked".

    I'm in the Wichita/Hutchinson, KS market. The issue is that there are two channel 3s and 8s. This is where the failure occurs. All of the double-digit channels are unaffected.

    It's NOT a simply matter of unchecking, and rechecking, the unwanted/desired channels and sub-channels under "edit stations". It does not work. Once you get to the signal meters, there is no signal indicated on the proper channels.

    I'm forced to back to "initial setup" to successfully repair the OTA.

    This isn't a major bug. But, it is a major hassle, considering that I DVR HD via local OTA. If I miss an update, or there was a power failure, I'll miss series recording anything on NBC or PBS, until I discover the problem.

    Please fix this bug, before it bites again!

    I can envision less technical D* customers selecting channel KSNW 3-1 or KPTS 8-1 , via the guide or remote, only to get a "searching for signal" error, and thinking that the problem is with their antenna or the local stations. That means calls to a CSR to "fix" what will require going back through set-up.

    Thanks.
     
  2. steve053

    steve053 Godfather

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    What do you mean by "...there are two channel 3s and 8s."

    Do you get 3-1, 3-1 and 8-1, 8-1 or
    Do you get 3-1, 3-2 and 8-1, 8-2?

    Are both of the "3's" from the same station?
     
  3. Kansas Zephyr

    Kansas Zephyr Hall Of Fame

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    No.

    There is KSNW-3 [NBC] Wichita, KS...and KSWK-3 [PBS] Lakin, KS (they are 200mi apart).
    There is KPTS-8 [PBS] Wichita/Hutchinson, KS...and KSNK-8 [NBC] Oberlin, KS (they are 216mi apart).

    However, all four stations are within the Wichita/Hutchinson DMA. So they all appear in the guide data, and OTA setup.

    The DMA is set up this way because the "major nets" ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox all have stations in Wichita, and mini-networks of full/low-power and translator stations across the rest of Central and Western Kansas, that rebroadcast the Wichita programming. You can drive 5 hours and still be in the same market. The Wichita/Hutch market ends at the Colorado line, where it becomes Denver's.

    Since I live in Wichita, I can't get KSWK and KSNK via OTA. But, the fact that I'm in a weird DMA that has multiple identical channel numbers, I'm sure is the problem for the HR20.

    I just wish this small, but nagging, bug could be eventually killed!
     
  4. evan_s

    evan_s Hall Of Fame

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    It might be possible to avoid the issue by tricking the HR20 if there is a different area that you could set that would only be able to receive the ones you are actually able to receive. Other than that I think you're probably in a pretty unique situation and it may take a while for the issue to be fixed. Get a UPS for the unit to cover power issues and turn down or off the front light so you know if it's reset since it defaults back to the brightest setting.
     
  5. Kansas Zephyr

    Kansas Zephyr Hall Of Fame

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    There is no "different area".

    Any zip code in the Wichita/Hutch DMA will have all of the stations. Any zip code outside, will have none.

    Yes, a UPS will help with power outages. But, occasional lock-ups and new software resets occur more frequently anyway.

    It's small issue for only those DMAs (...this may be the only one) that have multiple same channel numbers. But, how many techs may be sent to troubleshoot and fix this issue for those who don't know the cure?
     
  6. shelby1214

    shelby1214 Cool Member

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    Feb 6, 2007

    I too have the Wichita/Hutch stations and live in W. Kansas. I don't use OTA but our PBS channel is KOOD 9 Bunker Hill. Maybe you can try using my zip 67601. On the guide I get 2 PBS channels listed: Wichita8 and KOOD9. I don't know if this helps and don't know anything about OTA so maybe my advice is worthless.
     
  7. Kansas Zephyr

    Kansas Zephyr Hall Of Fame

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    Thanks, for the kind attempt.

    But, all of the digital stations within the DMA will appear in the OTA antenna setup, even if I used that zip code.

    If you don't use OTA, then you only "see" the channels that are coming in via the satellite. (KSWK and KSNK are not "on the bird")

    My problem is for those that are using the OTA feature of the HR20...and probably for future HR21/AM21 users, too.
     
  8. KSbugeater

    KSbugeater Godfather

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    Zeph, I know that if D* fixes your scramble, that is the easiest solution, and by all means, D*, get on it!

    But I think what evan_s meant is you could choose a different DMA altogether in the Antenna Setup. Do you have a secondary market chosen? If not, you can put in any zip code and the HR20 will populate the channel list with that market's OTA stations, and look for stations on the real channels associated with those DTV stations.

    For example, Eugene, OR has, amazingly, an NBC affiliate that (currently) uses RF 45 AND a PBS affil that uses RF 29. So if you look up a zip code from Eugene and enter that as your secondary market, you'll get listings for

    KMTX-46 NBC (but the HR20 will look at RF 45)
    KPEB-28 PBS (but the HR20 will look at RF 29)
    and even KPIC-4 CBS (but the HR20 will look at RF 19)
    among others. However, the programs in the guide will be 3 hours late (Pacific time).

    Another option would be Detroit, where you would get
    WDIV-4 NBC (but the HR20 will look at RF 45),
    The programs would line up (Eastern is the same as Central in absolute time),
    but there are no matches for PBS in the Detroit market.

    You could go with Memphis along with Detroit (dropping Wichita as OTA, but you still have the SAT versions of SD for all nets and HD for ABC, CBS, Fox, & CW), and get
    WKNO-10 PBS (but the HR20 will look at RF 29)
    WLMT-30 CW (but the HR20 will look at RF 31, same as Wichita CW)

    Or if getting MyTV is more important to you, Charleston, SC has
    WMMP-36 MyTV (but the HR20 will look at RF 35)

    Just some options to ponder...
     
  9. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    None of this makes any sense at all. As a broadcaster for decades, I have never heard of identical channel numbers used in the same market. The FCC purposely assigns them so that all channels in a market are different, and none of them are even physically adjacent (if you have a 7 you will not have an 8, for instance), and even markets that border one another do not use the same channels, which would be even more critical in a state as flat as a pancake.

    Translators are typically NOT on the same channel as the one they are translating from, and there are few if any HD translators in service, anywhere (of the dozens of translators in Arizona, only one is currently HD, and owned by the company I work for).

    All of this is to prevent co-channel interference. Something is fishy here.
     
  10. KSbugeater

    KSbugeater Godfather

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    Feb 17, 2005
    Remember, we're talking virtual channels here. The RFs are different. I don't know anything about how the analog channels interfere or not, but you can see it clear as day here:

    http://www.hdtvmagazine.com/programming/broadcast-market.php?dma_name[]=Wichita-Hutchinson+Plus

    Oh, and Zeph, I thought I'd have heard something from you by now... don't tell me I did that research for nothing!!
     
  11. Kansas Zephyr

    Kansas Zephyr Hall Of Fame

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    It makes perfect sense.

    Sorry about the delay...I didn't check this post. But, I just got automatically upgraded to 0x022D...and the bug still bites! Arrrrgh. Fix it, please.

    These channels were/are assigned by the FCC. They are far enough apart that they do not interfere with each other. (See previous post with approximate mileage between transmitters listed)

    TV Markets, or DMAs, were created by Nielsen Media Research, not the FCC. These stations, most likely, were licensed before the market boundaries were defined.

    Go ahead...surf over to http://www.fcc.gov/mb/video/tvq.html

    Look it up yourself. The two channel 3s and 8s are full-powers, not LPs, Class-As, nor TX stations.

    It just that the Wichita/Hutchinson DMA is so vast, that this can happen. Nothing fishy. Just uncommon.
     
  12. Kansas Zephyr

    Kansas Zephyr Hall Of Fame

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    Nice!

    Remember that the virtual channels listed, are the current analog RF channels used!

    _____

    Wow...thanks for all of that other market info.
     
  13. lakaw

    lakaw Mentor

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    Jul 23, 2007
    I live in Wichita and have this issue as well with both my HR20's. With the weather we've had the last week I've had to re-setup both my HR20's a couple of times. However, my H20 held it's settings properly.
     
  14. Kansas Zephyr

    Kansas Zephyr Hall Of Fame

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    My guess is we're too small a fish for D* to spend the time to exterminate the bug.

    I don't know if there is a another DMA with multiple, same channel, full-power stations.
     
  15. Insomniac2k

    Insomniac2k AllStar

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    Aug 21, 2007
    Just wanted to throw out an update on this issue. It is still occurring, but it seems that KSNK-DT (8.1) has been removed from the OTA Channel list, so the problem now only affects NBC/KSNW-DT (3.1). Unfortunately this is the worst channel for it to occur on because it's also the channel (of the Big 4 locals) that we can not get over the satellite.

    This should be fixed because, (1) If you do not know the receiver rebooted (maybe you're traveling) recordings on 3.1 will fail and (2), for me, the latest national release has required 3 resets in 3 days. Each time, on top of it taking a long time to boot and acquire the satellite data, the initial setup for OTA adds another 10-15 minutes to it. Also, as Kansas Zephyr points out, people who experience this the first time may not realize the signal is fine and the problem is really the receiver. I know I didn't get it right away. And it did take me a few times to figure out the minimum I needed to do (only initial setup) to get it back.
     
  16. Kansas Zephyr

    Kansas Zephyr Hall Of Fame

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    I hear ya!

    I didn't post again after the latest NR. Since I'm now splitting my OTA to four ATSC tuners via the SWM, KSNW has become mostly unusable (with KPTS rarely so). So, I wasn't sure if the bug still bites.

    I'm installing a CM 7777 pre-amp as a MATV amp. If I can get the time to play in the attic. It has a very low noise figure, and can also handle strong input signals. So, that should easily overcome the longish cable runs and splits.
     
  17. texasbrit

    texasbrit Well-Known Member

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    Having two stations with the same actual frequency is unusual because as you say they will interfere with with each other. You could get this if you set up a primary and a secondary zip and each had a channel on the same frequency. For example, if you live between Dallas and Waco TX you can receive WFAA-DT from DFW which is on real channel 9 and KCEN-DT from Waco which is also on channel 9. They are in completely opposite directions. By using a rotor and an antenna with very low pickup to the rear of the antenna, some people can receive both stations. Key in zip code 76645 at tvfool as an example, the two stations on channel 9 have almost identical signal strengths.
    Having two stations you can receive that are on the same VIRTUAL channel (such as two 3.1 channels) is not unusual, and is going to become even more common as translator stations go digital. If a primary station has multiple low-power translator stations ( common in places like Utah and Idaho) they will ALL have the same virtual channel number (e.g. 3.1 ) but will all be transmitting on different ACTUAL frequencies. It will be quite a mess; personally I think the FCC should not have allowed this but they didn't ask me!

    Interesting bug that has been reported in this thread. I am a techknow guide on the DirecTV forums and had a post from someone with similar problems. He had a primary and a secondary zip code. I set up my HR20 and my HR21/AM21 with his two zip codes and could not reproduce the problem. However I did discover some obscure bugs in the OTA software which seem to be associated with similar issues. See http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=131714 (if you are not into the intricacies of OTA the thread will be heavy reading!) It is clear that the OTA software sometimes (not always) does not work as expected when faced with two stations on the same virtual channel. It's also clear that clearing OTA and starting again does not actually delete all the "remnants" of the previous settings, and also that somehow by magic the OTA software sometimes shows the correct channel numbers/mapping for a given zip and sometimes does not, almost as if there are multiple versions of the database back at DirecTV and sometimes you get the wrong one.
     
  18. Kansas Zephyr

    Kansas Zephyr Hall Of Fame

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    TXbrit:

    If you research the Wichita/Hutchinson DMA you will find that because it is so geographically vast it has two RF channel 3's and 8's (as previously mentioned in this thread).

    These are all full-power TV stations.

    So, anyone that has a zip code in this DMA will have this issue. It isn't because of people using two zips for adjacent markets, in this case.
     
  19. Kansas Zephyr

    Kansas Zephyr Hall Of Fame

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    FWIW...I'm still seeing KSNK 8-1 on my HR20s and HR21.
     
  20. texasbrit

    texasbrit Well-Known Member

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    KSNW-DT is 3.1 but is on actual channel 45. KSWK-DT is also 3.1 but is on actual channel 8. KPTS-DT is 8.1 but is on actual channel 29.
    And KSNK is on 8-1 but is on actual channel 12. Of course KSNW and KSWK analog are both on actual channel 3 and KPTS and KSNK analog are on actual channel 8.
    This should not affect the HR20 OTA if it is working properly, unless you are in a location and with an antenna that gets two or more signals on the same actual channel (and that problem has nothing to do with the HR20).
    The HR20 database should contain KSNW-DT 3.1/45, KSWK-DT 3.1/8, KPTS-DT 8.1/29, and KSNK-DT 8.1/12. As you say, if this is working properly you should be able to delete any channel you don't get. The problem you are posting is the same one that was posted by the person on the directv forum except in his case he had two zip codes, but he also reported that when he checked and deleted stations the list kept on getting changed, My testing took it a step further - I found that the OTA software from time to time screwed up all sorts of things when there were more than one station with the same virtual channel number (nothing to do with the actual channel number). I think that what is happening is that the OTA software is maintaining some of its lists by channel number, so if you checkmark 3.1 some of the software on a restart/download does not know which 3.1 you have checkmarked. Does it always checkmark the first 3.1 on the list and uncheck the second? Or does it always checkmark the first station on actual channel 8 and uncheck the second? It's an understandable programming error, even if you use the actual channel number as the index you have the same problem when there is more than one channel in the DMA with the same actual channel number. The only way this will work correctly is if the lists are maintained by callsign not by either channel number, or by hashing the actual and virtual channel numbers together. My guess is that if someone looked at the code they could probably see the problem.
     

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