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· Godfather
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305 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After months of owning the HR21, I have grown tired of the ongoing software issues.

I am just over having to struggle with the flakey response to remote commands and the recurring 771/blank recording issue.

I've been a DIRECTV customer since 1995 and this is the worst user experience I have had from the dozens of tuners and DVRs I have owned. The HR21 is not reliable.

Does Earl, Stuart or anyone have ANY insight on if or when these issues might be resolved?

Thanks for any input.
 

· The Shadow Knows!
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36,634 Posts
I know that there is a fairly substantial update coming to HR21 users, starting as early as next week. It's expected to address a lot of issues and add new functionality. Our Cutting Edge team has been testing and refining it for almost three months and it looks to be the best release yet.

If you want to get it a little early, it should be available for download tonight. Check out these threads:

http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=124689
http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=90847

and if you're up for it, join us tonight sometime between 11 and 2:30 Eastern time to download!

As far as 771 issues, I would ask you to check your signal strengths and see if they are all in the 80s and 90s.
 

· Godfather
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305 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Stuart Sweet said:
I know that there is a fairly substantial update coming to HR21 users, starting as early as next week. It's expected to address a lot of issues and add new functionality. Our Cutting Edge team has been testing and refining it for almost three months and it looks to be the best release yet.

If you want to get it a little early, it should be available for download tonight. Check out these threads:

http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=124689
http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=90847

and if you're up for it, join us tonight sometime between 11 and 2:30 Eastern time to download!

As far as 771 issues, I would ask you to check your signal strengths and see if they are all in the 80s and 90s.
Stuart,

Thanks for the quick and thorough response. I was participating in the CE program for a few months. But the NRs seemed to finally be stable, so I stopped. But seemingly with the last NR blank recordings are back as well as really poor remote response.

The 771 issue I am referring to is the "turn on the HR21 and see 771, change the channel and it's fixed. Go to your LIST and play blank recording caused by the 771 error." problem. The one referred to in the much discussed thread below.

http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=127196

I have strong signal strength and have participated in the signal strength survey and reported in the black/grey/blank thread as well.

Since I have been out of the loop on the CEs. Does the upcoming CE address either or both of the remote response and BLANK recording issues? (Let me know if this should to be asked in the CE thread instead.)

Again, thanks for your time.
 

· The Shadow Knows!
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36,634 Posts
I have been seeing far fewer blank recordings with our Cutting Edgers, and I know that improvements have been made in the code to address that, so yes. You might want to try things out tonight.
 

· Godfather
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305 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Stuart Sweet said:
I have been seeing far fewer blank recordings with our Cutting Edgers, and I know that improvements have been made in the code to address that, so yes. You might want to try things out tonight.
Has there ever been any attempt at an explanation why this plagues the receivers with the DTV software and not any of those with DIRECTivo software?
 

· Godfather
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663 Posts
Looter

I'm sorry you are having problems with your HR21-700, but I wanted to relate my experience. I have been following this forum for as long as it has existed, so I read about all the problems being reported on the HR2x boxes. The forum has a lot of people who speculate as to what causes these problems, so when I got my two HR21-700s last February I wanted everything to be as perfect as possible.

The problems mostly seem to be caused by:
1. Bad dish alignment
2. Out of spec RG6 cable
3. RG6 cables not all exactly the same length
4. Poor installation of RG6 cable ends
5. Heat because of poor ventilation

The DirecTV installer would not replace my RG6 cable even though they require cable that is rated at 2.5 Ghz or greater and mine was rated at 1 Ghz. So I went to a local cable supply store and purchased 150 feet of dual RG6 cable that had DirecTV stamped on the cable and is rated at 3.0 Ghz. I also purchased a cable end compression tool, a cable stripper and a package of 25 RG6 compression ends. I replaced all the cable myself making sure all the cable lengths were identical.

I also know that heat rises and since the HR21-700 is vented out of the left side, I mounted both of my HR21s to a wall in my wiring closet with the left side up.

Since then I have never had a blank or missed recording and never had a 771 error. The only problem I can see with my HR21s is I don't think the trick play is as smooth or as quick as my HR10-250.

The cable cost me $.20 per foot, the compression tool was about $30 and the cable ends were about $1 each, so I have invested about $75 to make everything as good as possible and my systems work nearly perfectly.

I don't know which of the 5 items I listed may cause problems, but I addressed them all and I don't have problems.
 

· Godfather
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391 Posts
bpratt:

That is solid, solid advice, and should help resolve a lot of reported "hardware" problems. I would add one point. Use a UPS. It's well worth the $50 and should reduce rebooting errors.

However, a lot of users aren't going to want to get that hands on, and they are either going to have to ride close herd on the D* installer or pay for a private install to get it right. (I also think most consumers are not going to be willing to mount their unit on the wall in order to make it cool properly.) You have jumped through some hoops to get the hardware to work for you. I also spent some time getting my hardware hooked up (Five 100 foot drops of quality cable).

As to the "software" issues, I feel like I am adrift. The mantra seems to be that D* is working hard on the problems and the next release will be better. Unfortunately, that seems to be the story with each successive national release. I am not interested in being an ongoing beta software tester with an appliance I expect to work dependably out of the box. I am also dismayed that many of the things I don't like about the HR21 software (No DLB, unusable slo-mo. poorly implemented skip function, no real time scheduling, etc.) are apparently considered to be design choices, not bugs, and may never be fixed!

I can still get OTA HD and D* SD with my TIVO HR10-250. I use the HR21 mostly for HD movies. I would not recommend the HR21 to a friend as a "high end" DVR until the the software is stable and the feature set is upgraded.
 

· Legend
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Good Stuff bpratt!!!!!!!!!!
 

· Hall Of Fame
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Yeah, trick play has been a bear. Punch a button and nothing happens. Punch it twice, still nuthing. 3 times and a few seconds later, all 3 pushes kick in and it goes nuts. Pic and audio frequently start stuttering or worse, and my standard fix has to be punch PLAY/REW/PLAY fast and it usually returns to normal play. But not always. I have to do this routine all the time.

And don't even talk about trick play on shows recorded on the AM21. Completely screwed up.

Somebody said there's an update download we could get tonight. How do you force a download? I thought DTV had to send it to you automatically at their choosing.
 

· RIP
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6,203 Posts
Maruuk said:
Yeah, trick play has been a bear. Punch a button and nothing happens. Punch it twice, still nuthing. 3 times and a few seconds later, all 3 pushes kick in and it goes nuts. Pic and audio frequently start stuttering or worse, and my standard fix has to be punch PLAY/REW/PLAY fast and it usually returns to normal play. But not always. I have to do this routine all the time.

And don't even talk about trick play on shows recorded on the AM21. Completely screwed up.

Somebody said there's an update download we could get tonight. How do you force a download? I thought DTV had to send it to you automatically at their choosing.
Read the Cutting Edge (CE) forum here for information on how to force the download and also what participating in that program entails. There will be another download available Saturday night.
 

· Godfather
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305 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
bpratt said:
Looter

I'm sorry you are having problems with your HR21-700, but I wanted to relate my experience. I have been following this forum for as long as it has existed, so I read about all the problems being reported on the HR2x boxes. The forum has a lot of people who speculate as to what causes these problems, so when I got my two HR21-700s last February I wanted everything to be as perfect as possible.

The problems mostly seem to be caused by:
1. Bad dish alignment
2. Out of spec RG6 cable
3. RG6 cables not all exactly the same length
4. Poor installation of RG6 cable ends
5. Heat because of poor ventilation

The DirecTV installer would not replace my RG6 cable even though they require cable that is rated at 2.5 Ghz or greater and mine was rated at 1 Ghz. So I went to a local cable supply store and purchased 150 feet of dual RG6 cable that had DirecTV stamped on the cable and is rated at 3.0 Ghz. I also purchased a cable end compression tool, a cable stripper and a package of 25 RG6 compression ends. I replaced all the cable myself making sure all the cable lengths were identical.

I also know that heat rises and since the HR21-700 is vented out of the left side, I mounted both of my HR21s to a wall in my wiring closet with the left side up.

Since then I have never had a blank or missed recording and never had a 771 error. The only problem I can see with my HR21s is I don't think the trick play is as smooth or as quick as my HR10-250.

The cable cost me $.20 per foot, the compression tool was about $30 and the cable ends were about $1 each, so I have invested about $75 to make everything as good as possible and my systems work nearly perfectly.

I don't know which of the 5 items I listed may cause problems, but I addressed them all and I don't have problems.
I can still get OTA HD and D* SD with my TIVO HR10-250. I use the HR21 mostly for HD movies. I would not recommend the HR21 to a friend as a "high end" DVR until the the software is stable and the feature set is upgraded.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the lists of potential alternate causes.

The first DIRECTV system I personally installed in my house was in 1995. I bought it for $800. I know do know the difference between RG59 and RG6. I have used a UPS at least since my UlitimateTV. Sounding old here.

I am with you on some of those, but explain to me the cables of equal length. Are you talking about equal length to ALL receivers or equal length to the 2 RG6s at EACH receiver?

Either way, one of my SD DirecTivos (HDVR2 ) replaced a old DIRECTV tuner. The old unit old had one tuner so 1 RG6. I ran the RG6 the long way under the house. When I upgraded my living room DVR I had the installer move the DirecTivo to that location. He had to run a second RG6 to get the second tuner working. He refused to go under the house and ran the cable along the roof gutter and through the wall. The cable run is probably about 30' shorter with one less junction. That unit has never had ANY reception problems.

The shorter the cable the better. I am not running a 100' run to a box that is 20' from the dish. With cable runs use the shortest cable possible for the least signal loss.

I'm seeing an internal temp usually around 113'. What internal temp are you get by hanging it on the wall?

I am curious to see.

Also, many electronics are required to only be mounted in a certain manor. Have you seen something from the manufacturer recommending mounting your unit in that orientation?

Thanks again for the ideas but I am also trying to avoid red herrings.

You got me to look at my signal strength. And something is going on. Tuner 1 is at 0 for everything and tuner 2 is mostly at 60%. I'm guessing the LNB or multiswitch is going bad. Hmmm...

As for the remote responsiveness, I am certain this is related to the last NR software update.
 

· Lifetime Achiever
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looter said:
You got me to look at my signal strength. And something is going on. Tuner 1 is at 0 for everything and tuner 2 is mostly at 60%. I'm guessing the LNB or multiswitch is going bad. Hmmm...
This isn't good. Check 103(c) as well since that is where the MPEG4 nationals originate. It may be that your dish is not properly aligned. If you suspect the multi-switch, you may simply want to grab a couple of barrel connectors and bypass the switch altogether to see if the problem persists on the affected receiver. However, it might be wise to check the signal strength on your other receivers as well just to nail down the location of the problem.

Most likely it's a misaligned dish.

Your signal strength really should be in the 80's at a minimum for all transponders and should be in the 90's for a lot of them.
 

· Godfather
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305 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah, I'm checking it out. My signal strength has always been in the 90s. Last I checked it was for the Signal Strength Survey about two months ago. Maybe a bird flew in to my dish. Who knows... To be determined.
 

· Registered
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31,115 Posts
looter said:
Yeah, I'm checking it out. My signal strength has always been in the 90s. Last I checked it was for the Signal Strength Survey about two months ago. Maybe a bird flew in to my dish. Who knows... To be determined.
Before going into panic mode....try a menu rest of the DVR receiver as well, and it the sat signal doesn't come back, try to go through the dish antenna setup again, just in case.

If you still have the same results, its most likely an alignment issue, otherwise it may be an LNB. Those will require a service call from DirecTV.
 

· Legend
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245 Posts
Stuart Sweet said:
As far as 771 issues, I would ask you to check your signal strengths and see if they are all in the 80s and 90s.
IMHO the 771 problems, at the core, are caused by timeout problems. An illustration is 771 problems caused by thunderstorms that require a reset. Decreasing the timeout sensitivity will decrease the occurrence of the annoying 771s that seem to pop up randomly during clear skies and have a number of possible sources, but this will not permanently fix the problem.

The only fix is to enable the receivers to repeatedly retry and reacquire the signal after a loss without the requirement of a reset.

What's the status on this permanent fix?

jdg
 

· Godfather
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663 Posts
The first DIRECTV system I personally installed in my house was in 1995. I bought it for $800. I know do know the difference between RG59 and RG6. I have used a UPS at least since my UlitimateTV. Sounding old here.
I am not talking about the difference between RG59 and RG6. RG6 more than a few years old may not be rated at a high enough bandwidth to properly carry the signals from the new Ka band satellites. The older 3 LNB dish would work fine with RG6 cable rated at 1 Ghz. The new 5 LNB dish requires a cable that will support at least 2.5 Ghz. If you look at the RG6 cable you have running into your house you should be able to find markings that will identify who made the cable and also a part number. Search on what you find to see what the Ghz capacity of your cable is.

I am with you on some of those, but explain to me the cables of equal length. Are you talking about equal length to ALL receivers or equal length to the 2 RG6s at EACH receiver?
I run 4 equal length cables from my dish to a switch in my wiring closet. I then run 2 equal length cables to each of my two HR21s and my HR10. The cable runs to one HR21 is not the same length as to the other HR21 or the HR10.

I'm seeing an internal temp usually around 113'. What internal temp are you get by hanging it on the wall?
My internal temp was running at about 109 degrees before I added the external 750 G disk. Since the temperature is reported by the disk, I can no longer see the internal temperature of the HR21.

Also, many electronics are required to only be mounted in a certain manor. Have you seen something from the manufacturer recommending mounting your unit in that orientation?
No, but I also had two HR10-250s mounted face down (Fan is in the back) for 4 years with no problems. The only moving part in the HR21s is the disk drive which can be mounted any direction.

You got me to look at my signal strength. And something is going on. Tuner 1 is at 0 for everything and tuner 2 is mostly at 60%. I'm guessing the LNB or multiswitch is going bad. Hmmm...
A signal at 60% is going to cause you problems. Most of my signals for the 101, 110 and 119 satellites are between 92 and 96. Most of my signals for the 103c satellite are between 89 and 94. One of the signals is at 78, but that transponder is a spot beam. I think there is a problem with the HR2x systems recovering to a temporary loss of signal. A couple of months ago I tuned both HR21 to a MPEG4 channel. Then I went up on the roof and held a metal pie plate in front of the LNBs to block the signal. Using a cell phone, my wife reported that both HR21s showed a 771 error. When I removed the pie plate, one of the HR21s recovered the signal, the other one did not. The 771 error remained until I changed to a different channel and then back to the original. From that, I concluded that a temporary loss of signal during a recorded show might cause a blank recording.
 

· Godfather
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305 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
After a restart I have both tuners at equal levels but still weak signal.
 

· Godfather
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305 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I had to realign the dish.

Before I was seeing channels breaking up on other receivers. So, I bypassed the multi-switch for tuning/troubleshooting purposes.

With the multi-switch back inline, dish realigned, using the tuner signal strength meter I am getting the following on both tuners:
103(c): 80-82
101: 84-86
110: 95-96
119: 92-95

So all is looking back to normal.

A couple of aggravating things in realigning the dish.
1. The installer didn't properly install the dish to align the Elevation indicator. My elevation should be 47, but is showing around 27. That just seems like sloppy just tuning the dish but not setting up the indicators correctly.

2. My wife was asleep so I was realigning by myself and the audio feedback doesn't work. This makes it EXTRA difficult to realign while flying solo.

Anyway thanks for the ideas and help.
 

· Guest
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141 Posts
I cant wait to get my stuff set up soon! Im gettin the 21 and crossin fingers for the best
 
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