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Hall Of Fame
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I briefly mentioned this is another thread earlier, but the thread kind of died off, so I thought I'd start a new one just to discuss a little bit the problems people are experiencing on the HR20. Specifically, how usage compares between those who HAVE problems and those who DO NOT.

Before I get into it any further, let me post my disclaimer. I am not out to prove that the problems you are experiencing are your fault because you've used the box in an improper manner. I realize that there are problems with the machine and that the functions which you expect to work SHOULD in fact work, regardless of how your usage compares to others.

That being said, I found it interesting that several of the posts I've read from people who are NOT having problems showed usage similar to myself. My wife and I use the DVR basically so that we can watch shows with our 2 year old in the house. We use the pause function alot. We tape 10 or 12 shows and often times watch them as they are taping, or watch them the following evening so that we can pause, rewind, etc.

In the 5 weeks that I've had my box, I've never seen the available space drop under 70%. When we watch a show, we delete it. We don't have TONS of series links that we're trying to record each night. We also don't have MPEG4, which has been theorized adds to our stability.

However, I've seen posts from other people who ARE having problems and note that they have 30 or more series links and have never seen their available space drop below 20%.

I'm just curious in general, for those of you on either side - good experience or bad - how do you use the machine? Usage like mine which I'd probably categorize as "light" usage. We record 1 to 2 shows a night. We've got 4 or 5 kids shows set up that record in the middle of the day - though I have NO idea how accurately they're recording, as my 2 year old couldn't care less if it missed a recording and he has to watch the same Handy Manny over and over. Or are you more of a heavyweight, with multiple programs each night, and a bunch of football on Sunday. Or do you fall in the middle?

I've just found it interesting that many of the posts I've read it seems that those people with usage similar to myself are reporting fewer problems. Obviously with less use we simply give the machine fewer opportunities to screw up, but I'd be curious to explore if statistically we experience the same % of problems - i.e. a light user misses 1 out of 10 programs in one week while a heavy users misses 3 out of 30. Or, do those heavy users experience a higher percentage of problems?

Just for the sake of discussion - NOT to make any claims about your usage as the cause. And if you want to make those claims, please, just go post somewhere else, because that's just a silly argument. IF usage and problems have any correlation, then the logical suggestion would be "just use it less", and that's just a ridiculous argument, so lets not go there, please! Let's just discuss the possibilities and see if there's any merit to the thought at all.
 

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I used to be a rocket scientist
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We are what you'd call "medium" users - we don't have many series links (6 or 7) but we watch and delete several shows a night, both HD and SD (including some MPEG4 local HD stuff). We also see interesting stuff on the HD Nationals and record it for later viewing - concerts on HD Net or for instance, Sleepy Hollow on TNT HD, which we watched Halloween night while answering the door for trick-or-treaters. We don't fill up the drive much - the most full it's been so far is 43% free but it might fill up more this weekend, given our daughter's soccer tournament coming up and the football games I want to watch.

Our problems have consisted (so far) of very intermittent trick-play glitches. Pausing and unpausing sometimes jumps to real-time instead of the pause-point, three or four times total. We've also had one instance of being unable to skip-to-tick or skip-to-end during a recording in progress. After the recording was done, skipping worked fine. We've seen the pink background on the FF and Skip graphics a few times and after some audio glitches on TNT HD yesterday when I fiddled around with DD settings, I now have my DVR set to DD Off instead of DD On in order to get DD enabled. I haven't missed any recordings, nothing mysteriously canceled or deleted, no total lockups and no need for a red-button reset. As a further data point, the only times since the box was installed that I have reset it was the initial setup of Dolby Digital, after reading here that you needed to reset the box to enable it after turning it on in the GUI, and then again I power-cycled it Sunday afternoon because I got the new stand for my new TV and had to move all my components over to it and run all my cables, wires, etc.

No judgments are implied by this post as to anyone else's problems or lack thereof, just more data for people trying to analyze problems people may be having.
 

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AllStar
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I'd probably classify my usage as light/medium recording around 2 to 4 shows per day with lots of live NFL Sunday ticket watching on Sundays. I haven't had the box long and I've had 2 failures out of 20 recordings. Both from MPEG4 locals. One BSOD and one with massive breakups (transponder in mid-90s)
 

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DBSTalk Club Member
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I don't use this box as my MAIN DVR box. I put it in my Bedroom just so I could
get used to it.

I have one series link and it records fine.

Whenever I try to use the Trick play stuff while watching a program live, it screws up.
I pause, but then when I press play it goes to the live stream, so I miss everything
that I was trying to pause.

It has locked up several times with this light use. Last night for example I turned
my TV on and the DVR had a buffer screen of over an hour and a half. It wouldn't
let me rewind or anything. I had to change the channel just so it would clear the buffer.

I did try to record a Nextel Cup race 2 weekends ago, but it would not let me watch it, so I just had to delete it.

My wife and I use our two HD Tivos like power users though. I would consider
my 7 yo son a power user of the Tivos, too.

So I have taken it easy on this box and still have problems with it.
 

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Legend
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228 Posts
Put me down as a 'light' user - 3 or 4 SL's, delete shows immediately after watching, low disk usage levels. Only probs I've experienced are basically a weekly freeze - requiring a red-button reset.

Just my two cents - but I'm thinking a majority of the problems in the HR20 are related to memory leaks. I'm hoping that once the code gets looked at again, appropriate analysis tools applied and re-written where needed, I'm confident that these issues will eventually go away.
 

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qlanus said:
Put me down as a 'light' user - 3 or 4 SL's, delete shows immediately after watching, low disk usage levels. Only probs I've experienced are basically a weekly freeze - requiring a red-button reset.

Just my two cents - but I'm thinking a majority of the problems in the HR20 are related to memory leaks. I'm hoping that once the code gets looked at again, appropriate analysis tools applied and re-written where needed, I'm confident that these issues will eventually go away.
Oh crap.......Don't tell me they are using JAVA on this thing......

Java promotes inexperienced programmers because "everyone can do it".
Unfortunately not eveyone can control their program properly.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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If you guys are "light" users, then I'm a non-user! Although some combination of the family watches TV with the HR20 a total of 19 hours per day, we don't do much else.

We record about four shows or movies per WEEK. Probably about six hours total.

We hardly ever pause live TV or watch anything while it is being recorded.

Hardly ever use the search feature.

No series links.

Believe it or not, we usually do not slip thru the commercials.

I have 3 R15s and use one of them to record movies for dubbing to DVD. It gets the heavy use as far as recording goes.

But we do watch TV with the HR20 a lot. We had weekly lockups till the last update, no problems since.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
wmschultz said:
So I have taken it easy on this box and still have problems with it.
It's interesting that so far there doesn't seem to be any correlation between usage and problems.

I would be interested to hear from some of you who are using the machine more heavily to see if you have a disproportionate numbers of problems.
 

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Legend
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My wife and I are light to moderate users (I guess). We have 10-12 series links and record 1-2 programs a night. Don't do a lot of trick-play stuff during live TV and don't have MPEG-4 locals. Had a few unwatchable recordings (maybe 6 total in 5+ weeks). Had 2 lock-ups due to rain-fade and have done 4 red-button resets.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'd really be interested to hear from some of the users out there who are having severe problems... I'm curious to know what kind of demands some of you put on your machines, and if your problems are disproportionate in frequency.

So far we've not had much more than a problem a week. I know I read more than 1 post a week from some users out here who are posting about their problems. How do you use your box?

Obviously it's not going to solve any of your problems, but if you are having problems with greater severity and frequency than the more casual user, that information could prove useful in the troubleshooting process.

Based on reading through the daily posts, there's at least anecdotal evidence that heavier users are experiencing more problems, almost as if the more information you have on your box the more difficulty it has performing the tasks you've asked of it. Just curious if that connection really exists or if it's just a handful of users posting with great frequency that make it seem as if the heavier users experience greater problems.
 

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I am an addict.. I need help!

have 47 in my prioritizer. 155 currently on my TDL.. %12 free space left (goes back to %40 each day as I clear stuff and watch stuff) and 44 series links.

Never a glitch. Been like that since I got it. Actually a few black screens.. a few resets... 1 missed recording a few weeks back.. but that's it!
 

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AllStar
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We have 2 HR20's one we use pretty heavy in the living room 17 SL mainly MPEG 4 channels. It definately gets it workout. The funny thing is this is the one we don't have any problems with. The one in the bedroom is the one we have problems with and we don't use it near as much. It has about 10 SL on it and I do about half and half MPEG 4 and 2 recording. But we watch alot of tv and when we aren't using it our teenage girls definitely give it a workout followed by my 6 year old. So it is used from 6am until about midnight. The bedroom gets about 5 hours of use a day and is very buggy and I have wondered if the -s after the model number has anything to do with it and I am about to find out because I have a replacement on the way. I am not new to the HR20 the first unit I have had for over 6 weeks now and love it but the second I have had for 3 weeks and would like to throw it out the window sometimes so kind of wierd how different 2 boxes can be even with the software.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Slyster said:
I am an addict.. I need help!

have 47 in my prioritizer. 155 currently on my TDL.. %12 free space left (goes back to %40 each day as I clear stuff and watch stuff) and 44 series links.

Never a glitch. Been like that since I got it. Actually a few black screens.. a few resets... 1 missed recording a few weeks back.. but that's it!
Well... there goes my anecdotal evidence out the window...... For the sake of this conversation, you were supposed to be having MAJOR problems....

Seems now that the problems are more just plain bad luck, or something.
 

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Wait. So failed recordings and crashes that need a reset are not problems according to him!! It doesn't make sense. What does he expect his DVR to be? A bookend??
 

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I guess I might be considered a heavy user. I have about 35 SLs and lot's of dual recordings. I watch while recording as another is being recorded at the same time. I usually delete after a program is watched and my free space usually is between 70-90 percent. Most of my viewing and recording is MPEG4.

Yes, recently I had to reset 3 times in one evening; but all 3 resets were caused by what turned out to be a bad recording of The Office (MPEG4). I have also experienced Trick Play malfunctions now and then.

Is this a stabile machine.....NO.
Can it be better......YES.
Would I love to consider it 100% reliable.......DEFINITELY.

I'm just hoping that things get better sooner than later; while I am still enjoying my viewing.
 

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There is another thread here talking about a possible source of issues, and I think it might even explain the light use machine being buggier than the abused machine that Mike is talking about.

It is very possible that there are cascading failures that are started from poorly handled exceptions in the MPEG4 codec. From my following the forum most users with few or no problems have no MPEG4 channels. So we have three sources that I can think of for the errors in the MPEG4 stream:

1. At the Origin - Either the MPEG4 encoding at the local D* sites or in the backhaul to CA for uplinking to the satellite errors are being introduced in the signal.
2. At the Customer - Either poor cabling, faulty multiswitch or dish alignment is introducing errors in the data stream.
3. In the HR20 - Either through trickplay usage or data hiccups in the drive subsystem we are getting errors in the stream.

All of these sources will inevitably introduce some amount of errors. It is unavoidable. I would be curious in Mike's scenario above what his signal strengths are between the two boxes?? I would not be surprised to see a lower strength on the buggy box. Even if it doesn't seem abnormally low it might be just enough to trigger some issues.

Of all the theories bantered about here, the MPEG4 codec issues look to be the most valid (D* reworking the codec in the prior releases to resolve most BSOD issues is a real indicator). It is the one thing that could explain the complete lack of consistency between user experiences, and is the one thing that could easily be tripped up especially given the rapid deployment of HD locals that D* is on.

Thoughts???
 

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Hall Of Fame
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To Do List - 99 items
History - 246 items
Prioritizer - 34 items

62% available at the moment

I guess that makes me a medium to heavy user (?).

In 3 weeks, I've had to reset the unit exactly twice with basically no other problems besides those.
 

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lguvenoz said:
...It is very possible that there are cascading failures that are started from poorly handled exceptions in the MPEG4 codec. just enough to trigger some issues.

Of all the theories bantered about here, the MPEG4 codec issues look to be the most valid (D* reworking the codec in the prior releases to resolve most BSOD issues is a real indicator).
This sounds like a very possible cause. I hope that D* is still working on the MPEG4 codec in an effort to make the HR20 more stabile.
 

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Legend
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Yeah, I'd say the problems are related to usage.


Every time someone makes the mistake of trying to use this thing, they have problems.
 
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