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Unwatchable recordings on command


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58 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 02:23 PM

Thanks to many of the posters on "It is software" & "The necessity of 2 satellite inputs",
I can on command make unwatchable recordings.
Here is the setup: 2 HR-20s, one with 0120 & the other with 012a.
Removing SAT 2 will give every other channel change the error 771 sat 2. It doesn't matter what channels [SD, HD, HD MPEG-4]. It is simply every other. If I repeat a channel change back to a channel with 771, I can get the channel if the previous was 771. Simply every other channel change with only one feed connected [in this case #1 on & #2 off, with BBC connected].
Now if I tune to channel 282 [from a 771 channel] I can record the program. Now with one tuner in use, when I go back to testing the every other channel: I get either 771 or a blank screen. If I press record on this channel, it records a blank screen.
Both units are doing this right now. From the play list I see: animal channel recording and the other [one is local HD & the other is ES2H] is an "unwatchable" recording.
I'm defining "unwatchable" as: a recording with the time line showing correctly, but no sound or video. You can't move forward, backward, skip, or anything. The boxes are completely responsive to remote control commands. If I were to RBR, these recordings would be removed from the play list.
While I have "degraded" the units by "just" disconnecting SAT #2 & not rebooted the boxes, I believe this is how the unwatchable recording happen, or at least should help DirecTV to point them to the changes needed.
We've got some very good members here & I never would have found this without their help. :D
A.K.A VOS

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#2 OFFLINE   paulman182

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 02:43 PM

This also confims that the box switches from tuner-to-tuner as one changes channels, which someone posted last fall.

Equipment includes a buncha stuff that I no longer have interest in detailing


#3 OFFLINE   tstarn

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 02:52 PM

Thanks to many of the posters on "It is software" & "The necessity of 2 satellite inputs",
I can on command make unwatchable recordings.
Here is the setup: 2 HR-20s, one with 0120 & the other with 012a.
Removing SAT 2 will give every other channel change the error 771 sat 2. It doesn't matter what channels [SD, HD, HD MPEG-4]. It is simply every other. If I repeat a channel change back to a channel with 771, I can get the channel if the previous was 771. Simply every other channel change with only one feed connected [in this case #1 on & #2 off, with BBC connected].
Now if I tune to channel 282 [from a 771 channel] I can record the program. Now with one tuner in use, when I go back to testing the every other channel: I get either 771 or a blank screen. If I press record on this channel, it records a blank screen.
Both units are doing this right now. From the play list I see: animal channel recording and the other [one is local HD & the other is ES2H] is an "unwatchable" recording.
I'm defining "unwatchable" as: a recording with the time line showing correctly, but no sound or video. You can't move forward, backward, skip, or anything. The boxes are completely responsive to remote control commands. If I were to RBR, these recordings would be removed from the play list.
While I have "degraded" the units by "just" disconnecting SAT #2 & not rebooted the boxes, I believe this is how the unwatchable recording happen, or at least should help DirecTV to point them to the changes needed.
We've got some very good members here & I never would have found this without their help. :D


Does this mean you should not use the HR20 with a single feed? I may have to do that someday in the bedroom. Or is this not related?
HDTV: Hitachi 42HDS69 plasma, Sony KE-32TS2 HD plasma
Directv Receivers: HR-20, R-10 (2), H-20
Hitachi and HR20 connected via HDMI (direct)
Sony and H20 connected via component

HT: Kenwood 8070 7.1 THX-certified receiver
Speakers:
PSB Image T55 (Main), PSB Image C40 (center), Image S50 (Surrounds).
DVD Players: Panasonic DVD Recorder (DMR-ES10B), Sony DVP-NS75H (upconverting).

#4 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 02:52 PM

On my unwatchable recording, when I reconnected SAT #2: the time line was 90 min long [orange bar] but didn't move until the video was connected [my 1st check had 1 min movement].
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#5 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 02:58 PM

Does this mean you should not use the HR20 with a single feed? I may have to do that someday in the bedroom. Or is this not related?

This "test" was to try to find why or how bad recording can happen.
If you have only one SAT feed when you run the setup [or reboot] the HR-20 should determine your configuration. So when you would try to use two tuners, you would get the error message.
In other words: you should be fine if you only use one cable & only one tuner, if it was setup this way.
This "testing" was done with a "degraded" system setup, as I didn't redo my setup or reboot the systems.
A.K.A VOS

#6 OFFLINE   bwaldron

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:01 PM

Thanks to many of the posters on "It is software" & "The necessity of 2 satellite inputs",
I can on command make unwatchable recordings.
Here is the setup: 2 HR-20s, one with 0120 & the other with 012a.
Removing SAT 2 will give every other channel change the error 771 sat 2. It doesn't matter what channels [SD, HD, HD MPEG-4]. It is simply every other. If I repeat a channel change back to a channel with 771, I can get the channel if the previous was 771. Simply every other channel change with only one feed connected [in this case #1 on & #2 off, with BBC connected].
Now if I tune to channel 282 [from a 771 channel] I can record the program. Now with one tuner in use, when I go back to testing the every other channel: I get either 771 or a blank screen. If I press record on this channel, it records a blank screen.
Both units are doing this right now. From the play list I see: animal channel recording and the other [one is local HD & the other is ES2H] is an "unwatchable" recording.
I'm defining "unwatchable" as: a recording with the time line showing correctly, but no sound or video. You can't move forward, backward, skip, or anything. The boxes are completely responsive to remote control commands. If I were to RBR, these recordings would be removed from the play list.
While I have "degraded" the units by "just" disconnecting SAT #2 & not rebooted the boxes, I believe this is how the unwatchable recording happen, or at least should help DirecTV to point them to the changes needed.
We've got some very good members here & I never would have found this without their help. :D


Very, very interesting.

Now, I know that my signal strength is very good across the board, but it would seem that a glitch in the software handling this "behind the scenes" work could be responsible for the unwatchables (as well as possibly spurious "channel became unavailable" issues that result in partial recordings).

And if these glitches were related to a memory leak somewhere, it could explain why I see increasing unwatchable issues the longer the uptime.

(What it doesn't explain is why some HR20s get unwatchables and others don't.)

Good sleuthing, veryoldschool! And thanks to the poster who originally raised this two-tuner question.

#7 OFFLINE   cygnusloop

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:03 PM

So, this seems like progress, but how does one fold in Unwatchables that occur on OTA channels, as some (most) of mine have been. I can "see" a possibility if the problem is with internal switching between the two satellite tuners or the two OTA tuners. Any thoughts?
Hmmm.......

#8 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:06 PM

I can "do my thing", but it took a 2x4 from a few to "have me get it".
Great forum & people. :D
A.K.A VOS

#9 OFFLINE   bwaldron

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:09 PM

So, this seems like progress, but how does one fold in Unwatchables that occur on OTA channels, as some (most) of mine have been. I can "see" a possibility if the problem is with internal switching between the two satellite tuners or the two OTA tuners. Any thoughts?
Hmmm.......


Well, there are two OTA tuners as well...but we can't disconnect one of them (well, not by pulling a cable). The same issue could theoretically be going on there as well.

#10 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:09 PM

So, this seems like progress, but how does one fold in Unwatchables that occur on OTA channels, as some (most) of mine have been. I can "see" a possibility if the problem is with internal switching between the two satellite tuners or the two OTA tuners. Any thoughts?
Hmmm.......

My first thought would be: why didn't it give my the 771 error"? There is definitely no signal, but only half of the channels gave this!
A.K.A VOS

#11 OFFLINE   Sharkie_Fan

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:20 PM

veryoldschool... just out of curiousity. if you have the cable removed, start the recording, then plug the cable back in while the recording is in progress, does it begin recording correctly or does the recording remain messed up through it's entirity?

Just wondering if the recreation of the problem requires constant signal loss or if a momentary loss at the right moment also causes the problem...

#12 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:22 PM

(What it doesn't explain is why some HR20s get unwatchables and others don't.)


It could if (1) the tuners are problematic such that they actually do fail at a higher rate than expected or (2) one or potentially both of the two cable runs to the HR20 are the result of poor workmanship.
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#13 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:24 PM

veryoldschool... just out of curiosity. if you have the cable removed, start the recording, then plug the cable back in while the recording is in progress, does it begin recording correctly or does the recording remain messed up through it's entirety?
Just wondering if the recreation of the problem requires constant signal loss or if a momentary loss at the right moment also causes the problem...

See "follow on" above. When I connected the cable it started "moving".
A.K.A VOS

#14 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:26 PM

I was just thinking, could the "lost" tuner in a normal viewing situation be the result of improper grounding?
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#15 OFFLINE   Sharkie_Fan

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:28 PM

See "follow on" above. When I connected the cable it started "moving".


Got it. Wasn't sure if that was during recording or playback. I just didn't get it... :)

Can you actually view the recording after it starts moving, or does it remain a black screen throughout....

Nice work you've done here.... I'm impressed.... But don't you have anything better to do than troubleshoot your HR20... ;) OK. I admit it. I'm jealous, slaving away at work here while you play with your HR20.. (as you can see, I'm working REALLY hard right now!)

#16 OFFLINE   bwaldron

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:28 PM

It could if (1) the tuners are problematic such that they actually do fail at a higher rate than expected or (2) one or potentially both of the two cable runs to the HR20 are the result of poor workmanship.


Yes, true.

But it would have to be intermittent failure of the tuners to explain my own unwatchables. I have never actually seen a "not available" message during any content I have watched "live" on my HR20. I have strong signals on both tuners, no multiswitch, and short runs of high-quality cable. But yeah, it is possible that the second "unwatched" tuner could be periodically "flaking out" without my knowledge.

Interesting and perplexing.

#17 OFFLINE   cygnusloop

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:28 PM

but it would seem that a glitch in the software handling this "behind the scenes" work could be responsible for the unwatchables


Spot on, I think. The fact that my Unwatchables *appear* to be virtually identical to veryoldschool's, with the exception of mine being mostly on OTA channels (I have also experienced them on MPEG2), suggest that this is, in fact, a symptom of a software failure as opposed to a physical problem with the tuners (OTA or SAT). More properly stated, the software is unable to deal with what are very likely normal variations in the incoming signal.

If you accept that I have the same issue as veryoldschool, even though mine happen with OTA (which I do - too many other similarities), the glitch seems to be occurring "downstream" of the of the tuners in the signal path. this is further indication to me that this is fixable in software.
Let us hope so.
BTW, excellent work, veryoldschool.:righton:

#18 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:28 PM

It could if (1) the tuners are problematic such that they actually do fail at a higher rate than expected or (2) one or potentially both of the two cable runs to the HR20 are the result of poor workmanship.

Before I set up my "twins" Monday, I found myself at the WB68 adding a cable. While I was there I found the installer had one cable that needed three full turns to be "snug".
While I'm still promoting a software "issue", a good test log will reflect all observations.
A.K.A VOS

#19 OFFLINE   bwaldron

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:30 PM

But don't you have anything better to do than troubleshoot your HR20...


Hey...let him do his thing :)

Maybe D* should throw him some consulting dollars ;)

#20 OFFLINE   bwaldron

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:32 PM

... this is further indication to me that this is fixable in software.
Let us hope so.


Yes, if it's flaky hardware it would be a very bad thing. :(

#21 OFFLINE   islesfan

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:39 PM

This also confims that the box switches from tuner-to-tuner as one changes channels, which someone posted last fall.


I'm not one of the ones dying for DLB, but doesn't this indicate that it would be relatively easy? I mean, just keep buffering on the background channel, right? The box is already programmed to change tuners, so just keep the old buffer live.

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#22 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:40 PM

Software that can not "know" when an installer has left loose cables.
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#23 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 03:41 PM

I'm not one of the ones dying for DLB, but doesn't this indicate that it would be relatively easy? I mean, just keep buffering on the background channel, right? The box is already programmed to change tuners, so just keep the old buffer live.

yep
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#24 OFFLINE   Tom Robertson

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 06:15 PM

I'm still experimenting, trying to reproduce all my results before I state too much.

With a unit that only has one input plugged in and the unit has been rebooted so it knows it only has one input the HR20 can see all the channels. Never had a problem. And can record off two OTA at the same time. A test I've done several times over several releases, including moments ago on 0x12A. Way cool to us HDTivo users who couldn't do that.

More tests/results to come.

Cheers,
Tom

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#25 OFFLINE   GBFAN

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 06:37 PM

I'm not one of the ones dying for DLB, but doesn't this indicate that it would be relatively easy? I mean, just keep buffering on the background channel, right? The box is already programmed to change tuners, so just keep the old buffer live.


You think that maybe Tivo had the same problem and that is why they went to DLB?




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