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Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

Tutor

Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

Strange issue here - but it sounds like DIrecTV is aware of the issue after speaking to technical support tonight.  I'm posting to see if anyone else is seeing the same pattern to this issue.

Equipment:  Genie HR34-700 whole home DVR with 5 minis.

Problem:  We automatically record the channel 2 news (KTVU) at 10:00pm every night in Oakland, CA and watch it delayed.  When watching the playback of the recordings, sections of the news will freeze, stutter and pixelate with audio completely dropped out.  We have not noticed this when watching the news live - just on playback of the recording - either through pausing or playing the recording from the "list."  It happens both on the main DVR and on the minis.  Resetting the devices does not change the situation.  We also have not noticed it on other programs we record on the same station - like football games.

My hard drive is fine.

Live playback appears fine.

Recorded playback of this one particular program, the KTVU channel 2 news, has the problem.

More strangely:  During the playback of the news, the problem never happens during commercials on the news or when the news is broadcasting the main studio cameras (it happens rarely on the weather studio cameras).  It seems to mostly happen when the news cuts to live cameras in the field.  And it happens during just about every segment that cuts to a field camera.

It feels like there is some sort of strange incompatibility with the field cameras and how they are fed to DirecTV and encoded by the DVR when recorded.  Otherwise, this would happen with the studio cameras, commercials, and also when live.

Since our recorded news is basically unwatchable now, I really would like this solved.  The person I spoke with at DirecTV tech support tonight said they are aware of this issue and engineers are working on it, but they don't know when it will be fixed.  I've had my genie setup for almost a year, and this issue just started about 6 weeks ago, so it seems like a software problem DirecTV introduced somewhere.  Tech support was not familiar with the pattern I described of this happening only during field camera segments.

Anyone else noticing patterns to this?  Maybe we can help the engineers fix this if they get enough details.  Very frustrating - and if it persists I fear we'll have to switch to cableTV (which I don't want to do).

Googling around, I found other forums discussing similar type issues.  Some of those claimed the issue is more likely on an HR34-700, but I have no way to verify if another model would be better.

Thanks!

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Message 1 of 77
Expert

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

Sorry, no food required.  The resolution behavior of the HD DVR is well understood.  All TV programming is in either 480i, 480p, 720p or 1080i format.  The DVR upgrades all of that programming to which ever resolution is marked.  If you mark only 1080i, the DVR will upgrade all programming to 1080i.  The 1080p resolution is never used except for PPV programming that has been sent in that resolution.  If your TV is capable of 1080p/24 resolution (most older TV's are not) then the DVR will send the program thru the DVR to your TV.  If you leave 1080p unchecked then the DVR will down convert the 1080p to 1080i.  The DVR DOES NOT up convert everything to 1080p if that is the only resolution checked.  In fact, if you only check the 1080p, the DVR will down convert everything (except PPV) to 480i or 480p.

Message 31 of 77
Teacher

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

Ok, just looking for SOME sort of explanation. I have gone as far as replacing the hard drive in my HR34 and that really didn't help the problem (a good bet though is was). There are indications that the HR44 does not have the problem, but some reports indicate the opposite. Really don't want to spend $300 to find out either...

Jeez, I hate stuff that does not work for no good reason.

What I have to laugh at is DirecTV's closed-mouth attitude about the whole thing.

Message 32 of 77
ACE - Expert

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

There is some speculation that the root cause revolves around the Broadcom video decoder chips used in the HR34, which are unique compared to other DirecTV DVRs.  There may be some interaction with certain MPEG video streams that affect this video decoder differently than the other DVRs.   Why it's most noticeable with a few NBC channels isn't obvious, though.

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 33 of 77
Teacher

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

Interesting. And I assume that those Broadcomm video decoders aren't used in the HR44? 

Message 34 of 77
Teacher

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

If some HR44s have the same pixelation problems as does the HR34, then the problem is not yet fixed. I really wonder if DISH had the same problem on NBC stations. I still see this problem on NatGeo Wild too. I'm fed up with this and I'll be switching to DISH.

Message 35 of 77
Expert

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

If your HR44 is having a problem it's a fairly safe bet you have a different issue than other posters to this thread.  You'd do yourself a service by starting a fresh thread and describing your issue in detail.

Message 36 of 77
Teacher

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

You didn't understand what I was trying to say. One poster had said "there were reports that some HR44 had the same problem (pixelation issue) as the HR34" and so I responded with "if HR44 had the same problem, that means the problem was not fixed". So I wonder if DISH also had the same problem of which I'm leaning towards switching.

Message 37 of 77
ACE - Expert

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

ml0818:

Any reports of "similar" issues with the HR44 that I've seen posted have been caused by other issues, such as dish alignment or defective hard drive. 

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 38 of 77
Teacher

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

I really wonder if HR44 is the solution to this problem. Have you seen any poster saying HR44 still had this pixelation issue?

Or how many of these HR34 percent wise nationwide is having these issue? This is what DTV should be asking to solve this issue. I have yet to see DTV acknowledge that there is a problem with HR34.

Message 39 of 77
Teacher

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

Well, there seems to be a lot of posts at various forums that say the HR44 solves the problem. Most appear to be first hand experience as they actually have had both devices. Very few indicate the same problem and as pointed out, that might be dish issues as they can produce the same symptoms.

It sounds like a good bet, but so was replacing the hard drive :^(

Problem is getting one of the things:

     - Good luck getting one from DirecTV

     - Pay a dealer $300

     - Get one off eBay for around $200

What fun...

Message 40 of 77
ACE - Expert

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

ml0818 ...

Don't expect to see DirecTV ever officially acknowledge this problem.  But when you hang out in the appropriate forums as much as some of us do, we often glean more information than the typical DirecTV support rep.  And I can't recall anyone reporting that an HR44 has this same problem with "pixelation/stuttering" caused by issues with some local channels in certain markets.

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 41 of 77
Expert

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

ml0818 wrote:

I really wonder if HR44 is the solution to this problem. Have you seen any poster saying HR44 still had this pixelation issue?

Or how many of these HR34 percent wise nationwide is having these issue? This is what DTV should be asking to solve this issue. I have yet to see DTV acknowledge that there is a problem with HR34.

The question is not how many of the HR34's are having these problems, it's how many localities are presenting the problem to the HR34.  In areas (such as NYC) where the local stations do not put out the problem signal, you never see a post of the problem.  Where the local station does present the problem then a lot of HR34's exhibit the problem.

Message 42 of 77
Teacher

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

The problem here is economics. If DirecTV were admit that they a hardware defect in the HR34 that causes intermittent video problems, they would have to replace those with units with HR44s and that would be very costly. This would leave them with a glut of HR34s to write off that are most likely not even fully depreciated since they haven't been on the market that long. This would be further compounded by the HR34 users out there that would opt for the replacement despite not having the problem -  who's to say if they do or they don't, the problem is intermittent and difficult to confirm either way.

Bottom line is that admitting the HR34 is defective would cost DirecTV a huge amount of money. Right or wrong, they have a business to run and losing money is to be avoided. Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending them, just stating the nature of the tech industry.

For me, I just bought myself a HR44 to hopefully put an end to the problem.

It is what it is and I'll follow up after I get the thing installed and tested in the next week or two.

Message 43 of 77
Tutor

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

As the OP on this thread, I thought I'd post my progress, or lack thereof with directv.  Here we are almost 6 months past me reporting this to directv and I still have the same issue with channel 2 ktvu news.  In fact, it seems worse now, as it seems to happen more with love broadcasts than it did - though still in the special news segments, not the studio portions of the broadcast.  Definitely weird.

I called in directv again today and spoke to technical support,  they denied knowing of any issue and again pushed it back on the station. They updated my case with my current sw info and said they'd provide it to an engineer again.  The tech support person more or less told me to pound sand and watch the station in SD to avoid the problem.  This is ridiculous. I've paid directv over $1000 in the past 6 months and I still can't watch my local news. Anyone know of any other escalation paths?  I'd buy myself an hr44 if they'd tell me that will fix the issue.  But they won't do that and I'm not confident that'll resolve it - so we are still in limbo.  After all, my genie was trouble free for 9 months before thx reared it's head. Who says the hr44 will still trouble free longer.  Oh, what to do...

Message 44 of 77
Teacher

Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show

Well, DirecTV releasing a new version of the HR34, the R44, barely two years later might say something. Especially when you consider that the HR44 probably spent a year in development and testing. Seems like DirecTV realized they had a hardware design problem early in the HR34's life and made the decision to correct it ASAP. At least that way they would have something to give new subscribers that was trouble free. Of course us poor customers that are strapped with the HR34's failings are SOL.

That is the way of the world it seems. I leased a 2011 Ford Edge and it turns out that the "Infotainment" system in the vehicle is a disaster. So after Ford has buried its head in the sand about for nearly two years, they finally admitted it was something that needed to be fixed and will in the new models. For us existing customers - to bad. Stupid because are talking software here, not replacing the car. Sound familiar?

One reason I decided to pull the trigger on the HR44 was that I found it available on eBay for $185. A lot less painful than the $300 DirecTV asking price. This is a new sealed box unit, so no worries there. I'd provide a link, but those always expire, so just do a search on "DirecTV HR44" and money can be saved.

To bad satellite TV isn't more like cars in that there are many choices. Can't exactly dump DIrecTV for, what Dish or cable? Don't think so.

Message 45 of 77
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