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HR34 Pixelation and Video Glitches


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32 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Steve Rhodes

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 09:33 AM

We have an HR34 (and no other recorder currently after our second recorder bit the dust). At first (in Feburary) we had no problems with it. And older recordings on it don't show any problems on it.

But for the past two months (more or less), the pixture will pixelate or the video will freeze for a few seconds while the audio goes on and sometimes (I think I remember) the audio will glitch as well.

Here are the facts we know about it:

1. Happens only on playback. Watching a show live is glitch free but replaying the recording will show the glitches.

2. The glitches stay in the exact same place no matter how many times you rewind, restart the recording or reboot the recorder.

3. The glitches stay regardless of whether something is being recorded duing playback.

4. We are about 70% full on the recorder.

Any thoughts?

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#2 OFFLINE   unixguru

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 02:57 PM

Hard drive is failing.

#3 OFFLINE   texasbrit

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 05:38 PM

With the HR34, not necessarily. This is a typical HR34 software "glitch", and there might be nothing wrong with the disk. You can always run the disk diagnostics if you are concerned about it. Try this one to start with.


Run the Built in Self-test (BIST) to try and repair your hard drive. To run the hard drive checks, please follow these steps:

* Reboot DVR via Menu -> Parental, Fav's & Setup -> System Setup -> Reset -> Restart Receiver
* When they see "Running receiver self-check" press select
* You will see "Entering Diagnostics Mode..."
* Select Advanced Tests Menu -> Hard Drive utilities -> Surface Test
* Warning: This process could take several hours to complete. You may want to run it overnight.

The good news is that every attempt is made to save programming. This is less destructive than a reformat all and could provide you with a more stable system if you are having problems that appear to be related to the hard drive.

#4 OFFLINE   Steve Rhodes

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 09:12 PM

Hard drive is failing.


If this is the case, why do older (ones made a month or so ago) recordings play without any glitches and live tv have no glitches?

Help anyone?

#5 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 09:28 PM

Press and hold info and then run system test. Might give you a clue where the problem is.
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#6 OFFLINE   Richard

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 09:33 PM

If this is the case, why do older (ones made a month or so ago) recordings play without any glitches and live tv have no glitches?

Help anyone?


There area on the disk where the older recordings is fine, the area where the newer recordings are might have some bad sectors. One of my HR22 receivers acts the same way, as soon as I get to about 30% free, the recordings start to have issues.

#7 OFFLINE   Freakyshiat

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 02:32 PM

does it have the latest software? hard drive could be developing bad blocks/sectors

#8 OFFLINE   Steve Rhodes

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:11 AM

does it have the latest software? hard drive could be developing bad blocks/sectors


What is the latest and how do I find out what I've got?

[Add later -- I figured it out. I do have the latest 0x57c. Still getting problems. It seems to happen more on some channels than others, but none of the older recordings have it, regardless of channel. I ran the simple system test and no problems appeared.]

Edited by Steve Rhodes, 18 August 2012 - 11:29 AM.


#9 OFFLINE   markrogo

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 01:48 AM

I >just< got this problem too. A few weeks ago. I also >just< got the problem with the network drop offs... and the screensaver... Coincidence? No freaking way.

It's obviously software.

But I'm sure the DirecTV apologists will explain that our hard drives are failing. (My hard drive passes the diagnostic tests as well.)

ROFLMAO.

#10 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 07:53 PM

does it have the latest software? hard drive could be developing bad blocks/sectors

For the sake of clarity, do not assume that these two sentences above are related. They are separate issues. It is unlikely that older software would cause glitches after being OK months ago. It is also unlikely but slightly less unlikely that new software would be coincidental with glitches, as that would also likely be a widely-reported and quickly-addressed problem.

The HDD could be developing media errors, that is very true. It is unrelated to any software issue, however.

Older recordings may be OK while newer are not; it is difficult to correlate glitches in particular recordings with media failure of the HDD; a lot of this is up to chance. But if every old recording always plays perfectly while every new recording doesn't, that might point more to a change in reception or a software problem than it does to the HDD; the problem there is you need to view a lot of old and new programs to really make that determination; 3 or 4 glitches in a couple of new recordings and seeing none in a few old recordings is not exhaustive enough to draw an empirically-sound conclusion; it takes a thorough vetting to be sure, which is tedious to do.

Also, if a glitch plays EXACTLY the same every time, that actually points slightly more to a reception issue; glitches in recordings DUE TO MEDIA ISSUES AND NOT DUE TO RECEPTION ISSUES tend to play slightly differently each time, because the head read may pick up slightly different data when trying to read a bad spot at different times. This is hard to correlate also, because in both cases the way that corrupted data manifests is a function of the decoder, so it may not manifest EXACTLY each time regardless of the source. Play a known glitch back a dozen times; if it is EXACTLY the same 9 or 10 times, odds favor reception as a possible culprit; if it is EXACTLY the same only 4 or 5 times, odds favor the HDD. Again, difficult to correlate with any certainty. And the OS as a factor is also still in play, complicating any conclusion even more.

There is a way to all but eliminate reception as a factor, and that is to change channels and touch no other buttons once on the new channel. This puts the DVR in a direct pass-through mode, where what appears on the screen does not go through a HDD W/R; the HDD is essentially out of the path. The second you pause or skip back, that path changes to through the HDD. If you get glitches in HDD mode but not in pass-through, that points to the HDD. If you get similar glitches in either mode, it points to reception. Or possibly the OS. You should reboot just before this test, just in case the OS is thrashing at the moment.

Another data point here is your signal level; if you get 96-100 on at least one transponder on 99 or 103, you are probably aligned well. Find a transponder in the 90's, and if you can reach the dish, (and without loosening anything) deform its alignment slightly by pressing inward on the dish at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock (the LNBF array should move about 3/4 of an inch or less). Hold for at least 10 seconds each time (it may take a partner on a cell phone watching the signal screen for you). Try not to shade the dish when doing this. If the readings go up during any of these deformations, you are misaligned; the readings should go down each time if you are properly aligned. When you let go of the dish, the readings should return to whatever they were before.

Edited by TomCat, 24 August 2012 - 08:18 PM.

It's usually safe to talk honestly and openly with people because they typically are not really listening anyway.

#11 OFFLINE   markrogo

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:54 AM

One can generally rule out reception issues when the same exact recording is fine on another DVR in the same house, too.

For example, we have that scenario.

For that reason -- and the fact that many other people are having glitched recordings on HR34s -- I think ruling out reception is more than reasonable.

The fact my unit passes the extended hard-drive test also suggests it isn't developing back blocks or sectors.

The fact that it all worked fine until recent software updates started breaking it more and mine is another factor that suggests its nothing in the hardware chain.

But, of course, it could be hardware. I mean that sincerely. It could be. It just doesn't seem like it is.

#12 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:22 AM

One can generally rule out reception issues when the same exact recording is fine on another DVR in the same house, too.

For example, we have that scenario.

For that reason -- and the fact that many other people are having glitched recordings on HR34s -- I think ruling out reception is more than reasonable.

The fact my unit passes the extended hard-drive test also suggests it isn't developing back blocks or sectors.

The fact that it all worked fine until recent software updates started breaking it more and mine is another factor that suggests its nothing in the hardware chain.

But, of course, it could be hardware. I mean that sincerely. It could be. It just doesn't seem like it is.

It seems like you've gone through the right base steps to narrow the potential cause.

In reading other posts on this topic, it appears some other folks (including me) have not seen the same symptoms, which further raise the potential for something unique in your location.

Since these are hardware devices...it is not impossible to consider the potential of a defective unit. Since others are not seeing the same results, that raises the odds all the more of that possibility.
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#13 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:26 AM

One can generally rule out reception issues when the same exact recording is fine on another DVR in the same house, too.

For example, we have that scenario.

For that reason -- and the fact that many other people are having glitched recordings on HR34s -- I think ruling out reception is more than reasonable.

The fact my unit passes the extended hard-drive test also suggests it isn't developing back blocks or sectors.

The fact that it all worked fine until recent software updates started breaking it more and mine is another factor that suggests its nothing in the hardware chain.

But, of course, it could be hardware. I mean that sincerely. It could be. It just doesn't seem like it is.


It seems like you've gone through the right base steps to narrow the potential cause.

In reading other posts on this topic, it appears some other folks (including me) have not seen the same symptoms, which further raise the potential for something unique in your location.

Since these are hardware devices...it is not impossible to consider the potential of a defective unit. Since others are not seeing the same results, that raises the odds all the more of that possibility.

I'd say if 0582 still has the problems, then I'd be looking [demanding] a hardware swap.
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#14 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:40 AM

I'd say if 0582 still has the problems, then I'd be looking [demanding] a hardware swap.

Exactly.
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#15 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 06:01 PM

... it appears some other folks (including me) have not seen the same symptoms, which further raise the potential for something unique in your location.

Since these are hardware devices...it is not impossible to consider the potential of a defective unit. Since others are not seeing the same results, that raises the odds all the more of that possibility.

I also agree.

One of the large issues here is that the "something unique" can be something relevant to the OS in the DVR. ANd in this particular case, it seems a good job has been done to rule other causes out.

Unfortunately, in this sort of technology, there can be bugs that don't manifest for everyone even if they are using the same exact unit with the same exact software and firmware. DTV can do their due diligence in alpha and beta testing without the problem showing up, and then a month into delivery the sample gets large enough so that it starts to show up for some folks, placing DTV in the unenviable position of being caught with a finicky new model. This is not the first time.

An up rev can fix it, or not, but why wait? Roll the dice on another one, and odds are that it won't have the same problems.
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#16 OFFLINE   markrogo

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 03:55 AM

I'm in agreement, folks. I'm going to have them swap the box ASAP, before the new fall TV season. I honestly don't believe it's going to fix anything, at least not for very long.

The box was working perfectly for months until, well, it wasn't. Given there are other people experiencing each of the symptoms (network dropping, glitchy recordings), it seems really unlikely it's actually hardware... but I'm without alternatives at this point.

I can't really continue to babysit my TV recordings with either (a) backup DVRs (B) extensive troubleshooting. I honestly require a higher degree of reliability than it appears DirecTV hardware can currently provide.

I'm on the protection plan, so I'll demand a switch and this will be the last one. If these things don't run for at least a couple of years without a problem from here, I'm regrettably going to have to find alternatives. I realize no technology is perfect, but I recall running a Sony Sat-T60 for about 6 years without as much as a glitch. And that's the level of reliability I'm seeking given I'm paying well north of $100 per month.

I appreciate everyone's help and insight

#17 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 06:55 AM

I'm in agreement, folks. I'm going to have them swap the box ASAP, before the new fall TV season. I honestly don't believe it's going to fix anything, at least not for very long.

Good idea. Your reliability expectations seem reasonable.

However, I suspect a replacement unit WILL resolve your issues.
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#18 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 07:57 AM

I pulled this out of the firmware thread:

Sadly, the post a bit above this one suggests the problems are not solved.

Clearly, they don't affect everyone and clearly I need to demand a box swap out.

What concerns me is I don't believe swapping the box is going to achieve anything.

The 34 has had a rocky start.
I've only had mine a few months, but with the previous software, it was pretty rough.
I had twin HR24s, so I kept them when the 34 was added. The latest software hasn't missed any recordings for a while, so I'm now moving away from my 24s [have deactivated one already] and letting the 34 take over, since it isn't missing recordings anymore.

I don't remember having increased pixelation & video glitches over my 24s. Sat feeds do seems to have some, but I don't see them on a regular basis and they're very minor.

If you're having excessive pixelation & video glitches, it's [I would guess] either the 34 itself, or your wiring.
I've worked with a few members who have had glitches with their 34s and it turned out to be an installation problem.
Something as simple as a unterminated port on a splitter, or a coax drop that wasn't being used and wasn't terminated.
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#19 OFFLINE   Jnelson

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 03:19 PM

How do you terminate unused ports on a splitter?

#20 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 05:29 PM

How do you terminate unused ports on a splitter?

You use:

http://www.solidsign...ku=782644000256
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