HR20-100 MPEG4 Decoder Crashing

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by scottp461, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. scottp461

    scottp461 Mentor

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    My oldest HR20 has started having problems with the inserted local commercials on Comedy Central, but I'm sure that it's wider spread than that. It affects both recordings and live playback. Live playback has completely crashed the MPEG4 decoder on several occasions now, both for recorded content and live reception, requiring a reboot to fix; MPEG2 is not affected! It appears that the MPEG4 decoder is unable to handle the switch between the local and national feeds. I first saw it during playback of one specific program (@midnight), but I noticed that it was happening day after day in the same commercial break; it appeared as total corruption! By the time the program returned, things had returned to normal. My other, slightly newer, HR20-100 is less affected, but I've seen it there as well (when trying to confirm if it was signal corruption or the DVR). The difference between the 2, including no problem on the newer one most of the time, has convinced me that the problem is aging electronics!

    My question is this....

    Where is the MPEG4 decoder located? If on the motherboard, I'm screwed, it just a matter of time. The tuner boards, however, can be changed out. So, if the decoders are there, maybe that's a fix. As I write this, however, I realize that this is a dumb question. The decoder must be on the motherboard! But I'd still like a confirmation that changing out the tuner cards will probably have no effect!
     
  2. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    You are jumping to the wrong things. I'd suspect hard drive if anything at all hardware wise. Could be a software issue that we have seen before. And unless you own these you wouldn't want to try and repair them anyway. Actually not worth repairing them no matter what since DIRECTV would swap them out.

    And the reason you only see the issue on mpeg4 is because they don't push local commercials to your hard drive to insert for anything other than mpeg4 content.

    However.. first thing I'd do is a smart search for CLEARMYBOX. This will erase the pushed commercial which I wouldn't be surprised happened to not record quite right and could be the entire cause of this problem.


    Note that search once executed will immedialty reboot the machine and will take a day or so to rebuild all guide data and posters etc. if you see any weird glitches do it a second time the next day.

    You could also have a sat coax or lnb/multiswitch issue if you see this on things other than this one commercial.
     
  3. scottp461

    scottp461 Mentor

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    I've spent a couple of weeks evaluating this and if it's harddrive failure, it not like any I've experienced in 15+ years of DVR use! If you can tell me that it's a drive failure when ALL MPEG4 content, live and recorded, displays as a black screen w/ no audio, that while this is the case 2 HD MPEG4 programs can be recording on each of the SAT tuners, also black at the time, are both PERFECT after reboot! That EVERY single recording in the playlist that I tried to play while in this state, all are black/nothing at the time, also play perfectly after reboot. That it has NEVER failed while in standby (I assume that the MPEG4 decoder is off while in standby!) Most importantly, NONE of the normal signs of drive failure are present otherwise!

    My drives are all 2TB external and hot swapable, except for the fact that the DVR's must be rebooted for them to be recognized. They are AVR specific and not nearly as old as the HR units themselves! The other 3 units (1 more HR20 and 2 HR24's) are all very well behaved at this time, so my LNB/multiswitch/cables/etc. are all functioning just fine, thank you.
     
  4. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    Well while you think they are all functioning right and may appear to be that doesn't actually mean they are. Especially cabeling in that room. Swapping the box having issues with another helps solve that question. The others working right don't mean that line to that room is. I've seen some weird stuff and inner elongate things like that till a swap is done...

    Again I lean towards it being the pushed content being corrupted. Clearmybox will help eliminate this issue.

    Also discover the external and reboot and see if the DVR behaves normally for a few days that way. That will also help eliminate some possible issues.

    And it could also be an esata problem. Doubtful but could be. Again without actually doing the things I'm suggesting it's not possible to begin eliminating anything. Oh and one other possibility but don't know for sure because you don't give enough detail about your system... is it swim? If not there's a possibility you have a BBC issue... so swap the units but Leave the BBC S and see if the issue follows the location. That could be the issue there.
     
  5. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Too many times we've seen the HDDs blamed and later found they had nothing to do with the problem. You seem to have a good argument, but changing the decoders isn't gonna happen. To me, a person who's had a multitude of 20-100s (none of them worked), I'd suggest getting a swap for a 24.

    Rich
     
  6. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    Geese I am blind. Didn't even notice it was a HR20-100.

    Are you using Whole Home Service? How is it alll connected? Do you have deca connected? If so how exactly is it connected to the HR20-100?

    I'm suggesting hard drive corruption of data more than actual hard drive failure seeing how his issue is on something being pushed. He hasn't said if he's ever cleared that off and still had the same issues or not... so it's hard to say but we have seen the pushed content cause issues before. Getting rid of it for a day would help determine if this is simply that kind of issue which you can't do without switching hard drivers or better yet clearing the guide data etc on this hard drive...
     
  7. scottp461

    scottp461 Mentor

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    Sorry, I ran "CLEARMYBOX" on both of my HR20's last night and just got home, so I've just pulled everything up out of standby; nothing wrong, so far! Some odd behavior from both boxes during the reboot cycles (both of them rebooted twice before they were done!), but in the end, both back up and stable. The real test, however, will be tuning "Comedy Central", "ESPN" or another channel that pushes ads and see what happens next. I had no idea that those ads were stored and inserted locally on my boxes themselves! Learn something new everyday!

    In the mean time, I've found ways to avoid the MPEG4 failures that seem to work. Keep the box in standby mode when not watching (I assume it works because the decoder is inactive in standby) and/or by keeping SAT tuner 1 on a channel that doesn't push ads (like PBS or subscription movie channels). So far, it has never failed when one or both of these criteria is met. I'd much rather have the problem cleared up by running "CLEARMYBOX", I'll just have to wait and see how it goes.

    To answer your question about my system set up, it's really pretty simple. A slimline dish with 4 wire SL-3 LNB, a 70' run of RG-6 cable (x4) installed by DirecTV about 15 years ago (I know, the cables are getting old, the dish and LNB are much newer!) into a zinwell WB616 multiswitch, then directly (via custom made lengths of RG-6, connected to b-band converters (x8)) into 2 HR20's and 2 HR24's, stacked one on top of another just above the multiswitch. Hard drives are all external 2TB WD AVR drives installed in Wiebetech Silversata JBOD hot swapable powered 2 drive enclosures. There is no whole home or deca. All 4 HR's + 3 TiVo Premiere XL (off-air) DVR's are all connected via a Gefen 8x1 HDMI switcher to a Denon AVR-4810ci AV Receiver and then output to a Sony Bravia XBR-55X850A 55" 4K Panel.
     
  8. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    You should watch those channels with push ads first because my guess is they may not have pushed commercials yet. If you see the issues come back when you start seeing pushed commercials then you'll know that they have an issue with that commercial. My guess is it was simply corrupted on your hard drive and will be fine now...

    DIRECTV has to push commercials To your DVR in order to insert local Commercials. They can't do it on a live national sat feed that hits the entire nation.

    Nice system!

    Your sat tech is a bit outdated as you surely know. But I see no reason you have to update at the moment if you are content and it's working which I think it is. I think the locals pushed ads was probably the issue. But as soon as a new genie that outputs 4K comes out I'd look at upgrading in a heart beat. Those hr20s are so power hungry and hot.

    But things of note... those bbcs have in the past caused issues so always look at them too as possible culprits if you have issues. And the wb616. Being powered you never know. If it ever does go just move to swim. It's a lot easier and gets rid of those dang bbcs. Im not sure why you have that instead of a wb68 to be honest. Did you have more hrs in the past?
     
  9. scottp461

    scottp461 Mentor

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    Yes, at one time I had an old SD TiVo (HDVR2) and 2 HR10-250's + the 2 HR20's I'm still using. All 3 of those TiVo boxes died due to age related problems and were retired, but I needed 10 SAT cables at the time. The HDVR2 developed an odd (analog?) problem on one tuner where the signal became corrupted whenever there was too much bright white in the image (it did record that way, so no good!) The HR10's were used as off-air recorders after the switch to MPEG4 until they both became too unreliable. I think that it had to do with the need (eventually) to use SATA drives with IDE converters that (mostly) worked, but were just a bit too twitchy for my liking. So I retired all three and replaced them with the 2 HR24's and 3 TiVo Premiere XL's for off-air. I could have switched back to a WB68, but there really wasn't any reason to!

    I thought that I'd upgrade to SWM when something failed! I have a lot invested in my system and, as you probably noticed, it's built for capacity and the ability to record everything I could ever want without limitations! I actually recorded every minute on every channel of the 2012 Summer Olympics; I finished watching it in November of that year (NEVER AGAIN!! That nearly killed me!) Unfortunately, that capacity also means that I have a rediculous backlog; I'm currently watching shows from mid-April!! Multiple boxes also means that if I have a failure I don't loose more than 20% of my recordings. I'm not sure that the genie can match my current total harddrive capacity and I would have to keep the 2 HR24's to match the available tuners I have now!

    I just saw a story today that said that AT&T wants to discontinue satellite service sometime in the next 3-5 years and replace it with streaming. I knew about this previously, but now there's a time frame! With this in mind, I suspect that I will have to reconsider whether I will ever switch to SWM!
     
  10. cypherx

    cypherx Hall Of Fame

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    Can you provide a link to that story? I doubt that is the case. The current investment in all ground stations, satellites, dishes, R&D, installed equipment... etc has to be in the billions. I can't see walking away from that, especially when many ISP's like mine are capped. Maybe they could just transport the video in IP encapsulation, reflected off existing satellite transponders, but I don't see that delivery mechanism going away in this decade.
     
  11. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    First off that story about endings sat feeds is pure stupidity and not at all accurate. DIRECTV plans on getting rid of mpeg 2 by 2019. That story came about when someone mentioned they planned on having DIRECTV now be a major player in 3 to 5 years. Not that it'd replace sat. That'd be stupid as DIRECTV sat space is a massive amount of bandwidth that can't be utilized without sat dishes!

    Second. A genie can work with at least 12tb but I think up to 16 TB of hard drive space so actually one genie can hold a heck of a lot more than 4 hr2xs (thy are limited to 2Tb each after all) but yes one genie could replace the two HR20 but not the others without losing tuners. Not important though unless you record lots of sports like me. And truthfully with Whole Home Service you don't need to run through a matrix unless you are running more tvs than you have boxes... but it doesn't hurt too. I don't switch and always use the main genie for mine to watch but I use My matrix for setting and messing with series links on my main tv once in a while. ;)

    You'll go swim someday... if you keep DIRECTV.

    Only reason to swap out the wb616 for a wb68 is to reduce power consumption and heat really...

    I'm hopping the next generation of hardware is so good everyone wants to have it. But we shall see. Personally I couldn't handle still using hr20s today. Especially without using them as only servers and watching via Whole Home Service on an HR24. Mine where so slow when I last used them. Aren't they a lot slower than your hr24s?

    And yeah I'm in the same boat as you for most my stuff. I'd be so expexensive to upgrade anything because I don't have entry level stuff for anything.
     
  12. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    I used to have a WB616 and WB68. They both got about equally warm, neither as warm as a SWM16. There's no reason to replace a working WB616 with anything except SWM.
     
  13. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    Again the wb616 has its own power supply that uses more electricity. That's really the reason.

    My 616 was always hotter than my 68 though. Odd yours where the same....

    And like I said that's the only reason I could think of. I'd not mess with it myself either till I upgraded to swim... as long as he's not border line on a electric bill rate level...

    It's amazing how much less power an HR24 uses over a HR20. If he swapped those two units and the powered switch he save, as I recall, over 50 watts an hour... maybe even as high as 75. It's been a while Since I checked. Swap the two hr20s for one hr44 (don't think he'd need a client with his matrix switching system) then he'd save about the same maybe a little more. But that would be a lot cooler. Those hr20s where always hot.

    If I where him and I owned the hr20s like he might since thy where probably swapped of owned equipment, I'd put those hard drives internal in the hr20s. They will never want them back I don't think. And that would also save some power.
     
  14. scottp461

    scottp461 Mentor

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    Here's a link to the story! I looked it over more closely and it seems to be less certain than my original take on it yesterday!

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/t-close-satellite-tv-video-141502095.html

    I swear that I saw a version of this that mentioned the impact on Colorado based installations (and others), including specific numbers of employees that would be affected, if the satellite services are terminated, but I have yet to "re" find that story!

    I found the other story, here's the link...

    http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2016/09/27/report-directv-parent-at-t-to-phase-out-satellites.html
     
  15. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    The WB68 is only "unpowered" in the sense that it doesn't have a separate power supply like the WB616. It gets its power from the attached receivers, just like a legacy LNB. The WB616 has more electronics inside it to handle attaching twice as many receivers, so it requires twice as much power (whether the LNB is powered from the WB616's power supply or from the receivers passing through the WB68 is irrelevant to the heat of the multiswitch) I imagine the WB616 has a power supply because if you attached just a single receiver, then powering the WB616 and the LNB, plus coax losses, might be a bit too much for that receiver's power supply to handle. The WB616 is also larger and heavier though, so it has more mass to absorb the additional heat and more area to radiate that heat...

    I don't know how much a WB616 draws versus a WB68, but it couldn't be more than two or three watts. If you were that close on an electric billing threshold there are a lot bigger targets to attack! Turning your AC up a single degree would save a few orders of magnitude more.
     
  16. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    Depends on where one lives. California had at one point five tiers. And yeah an HR20 by itself could make a difference. No AC at all and you could still be on the line. Most people don't understand how ridiculously expensive out electricity is... but I always look at it from that perspective. Plus if you have solar every little bit helps get you to a net 0 useage.

    I want to say the pi on the wb616 was in the 20 range but can't say for sure. But it was quite a bit more than if powered by a receiver...
     
  17. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    Stop reading that junk. Satellite isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Probably never actually. The people writing those stories didn't understand at all what was meant or frankly what was even said. Just foolish journalism.
     
  18. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    The output capability of the power supply is irrelevant, it is the draw of the device it is connected to that matters. Just like the SWM LNB doesn't use anywhere near the full 21 watts or whatever the PI21 is capable of putting out.
     
  19. scottp461

    scottp461 Mentor

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    I watched a football game on ESPN with pushed ads last night; pushed ads corrupted again! They crashed picture only during playback (that was new, black screen with sound), then when I stopped playback, the sound went too! I re ran "CLEARMYBOX" and will watch another game today. Are the pushed ads stored in a specific location on the drive? If so, it's possible that the drive is worn out and has bad sectors in that location; it is a few years old at this point. I can avoid the problem (as mentioned previously) until I can get everything on it watched and change the drive out, but that will take several months to do.
     

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