72 Replies Latest reply: Mar 24, 2014 1:52 PM by ml0818 RSS

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

jcavalie

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!

  • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
    litzdog911

    There have been similar reports of this sort of issue with the HR34 and a few NBC stations around the country.  KTVU isn't an NBC station, but the issue may be the same.  DirecTV is indeed supposedly aware of the issue and working with these stations, so I think they're being honest with you about that.   But who knows when it will be fixed.  You might try convincing DirecTV to replace your HR34 with an HR44 Genie DVR, which seems not to have the problem.  Good luck. 

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

    Thanks - I saw some articles about the HR34-700 being most prone to this issue, but I thought I saw that the HR44 has at least one report of the same issue.  KTVU is a FOX affiliate.  Issue happens on the recording of the local 10:00pm news.  I've seen NBC and ABC in other posts - so am I the only one experiencing this with local news on FOX?


  • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
    riley47

    I'm having the same exact issue with a HR22-100 receiver.  I've reset the DVR several times via red button and unplugging it.  I've called the help line and they had me switch a couple items in my settings and at the time that seemed to help a little.  The channels that I have the most problem with is #360 Fox news and ABC evening news.  Also, my DVR has become very, very slow especially changing channels, fast forwarding (sometimes slower than normal viewing), bring up the guide and list.  Somewhere on this forum I read that if you press, in quick succession, the red button twice, the blue button twice and the yellow once and the green once  that should help matters.  It does help but only for about an hour at the most then it starts slowing down again.  I'm going to call again today and see what Direct TV will do about this issue.  My receiver is about 2 1/2 yrs old and I only watch about 10 - 15 hours per week.  

    Also, I have a HR20-100 DVR receiver which I have recorded the same programs on with absolutely no problems.

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

    I have been having the same issues with our genie HR34-700 whole home DVR and 3 minis.  This started a couple months ago.  It has only happened to me on shows recorded during prime time.  Last night it was on a recorded  episode of Survivor.  Amazingly the commercials never get messed up.  It can be very frustrating and I have actually deleted a recording and then watched it online.  I have not called support yet but am getting close to calling.  Has support given any reasons why this may be happening?  Thank you.

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

      No one seems to know why it is happening.  I had to go to the DirecTV website and find an email to Customer Relations to express my dismay.  Said that I felt there was a design flaw in the Genie.  Got a call from the 'President's Office' from a fellow who sounded rather offended that I would even suggest such a thing.  He did send a 'Senior' technician who told me that he has run into lots of problems with the SR34 and that the SR44 seems to resolve the problem and he was right.  I would recommend you contact customer service and request an upgrade to the SR44.

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

    Got similar problems with a HR34/700 receiver running software 0x744, Tuesday 10/22.  When recording local affiliate (NBC, CBS, ABC) prime time programs, I am experiencing pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback (with both program and the ads).  Did the standard troubleshooting matrix insuring self-test of the system reported no problems, power down (unplugged) system reboots and no obvious dish obstructions neither weather or foliage.  Odd stuff here . . . cannot replicate problem with live TV of affiliated stations or recorded cable programming.  

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

      Our audio problems occurred only on off-air stations and recorded shows (did not matter if they were recorded from off-air or statellite stations).  Never had a problem with live satellite stations. And, only on the tv attached to the Genie - no problems with the tvs on the minis. Because we receive our off-air stations via the DirecTV off-air tuner I though that may be part of the problem, though we never had the problem with the HD receiver we had for years, so I replaced that as well but it did not help.  Our off-air stations include ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and PBS.  Most prevelant problem was on NBC - we may have just noticed it more on this station because we watch it the most of the off-air stations and always had an audio problem when watching the local and network news.  We, too, did all the re-sets, power downs, hdmi/usb replacements and had two technicians check all the cables and dish. 'Handshakes' between different electronic devices can be tricky.  I have a Sony Bravia television - is it possible the SR34 Genie has a problem with certain televisions?  Someone else had suggested it seems to happen most on NBC stations - maybe there is something in the NBC signal that trips up the HR34 - but that would not explain the audio droput on DVR'd recordings.  Hard to explain. All I know is the HR44 was the solution for me.

  • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
    ml0818

    Had the same problem on an NBC station, KCRA, in Sacramento area. All other stations - ABC, CBS and FOX have no problems. There are days when it is heavily pixelated and days when everything is fine. My system were installed about 6 months ago and for the first 3 months everything was fine until this happens. It seems the engineers have been working on this for months with no solution. I've read that a few people upgraded to HR44 and it did not fix the problem and others did fix it. So this is a tough problem to fix. It might take several more months for them to figure this out.

  • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
    kev1900

    First 3 months I had no problems, THEN, dvr playback started freezing up and sound dropping out. Does it on all stations. DVR has always been about 50% full. Seems strange that I had no issues for 3 months. Very frustrating! May go back to Verizon! Also never had an issue, then last week my mini got the gray screen twice in one day.

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

    Well - DirecTV sent out an update a couple weeks ago, but I don't know if it attempted to address this problem.  If it was supposed to address it, it didn't work.  Trying to watch recorded 10:00pm news is as bad as ever.  It still mainly appears to be a problem with the cameras in the field as the stuttering happens on those segments.  It rarely happens on the in-studio weather segment and it never seems to happen on the primary studio cameras on the anchors.

     

    What gives?  Is DirecTV going to find a way to fix this?  I need this to be resolved or I'm going to have to find another provider.  This is crazy.

  • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
    cobra46

    We are also having stuttering/pixelation on KCRA. Almost all olympic coverage.  Sometimes the video stops and the audio keeps going.

     

    My wife called DirecTV and their answer was to replace the HR34-700. They wanted us to pay shipping. Ah no! Your faulty hardware....you pay shipping. They agreed but the other issue is they expect us to return the old unit with five days. HTF can they expect us to clear our DVR in five days? At 80% full, that's like 37 hours a day of tv watching.

     

    As an engineer, I get that designs or software doesn't always work as intended but do your best to keep your customers happy. I will be looking elsewhere if they can't make this right.

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

    Has anyone tried setting the resolution on HR34 to not include 1080p? Seems to me that if the box is trying to deliver that resolution, it just might be pushing the limits of the hardware to where it sometimes can't keep up. That would explain the random nature of the problem.

     

    I'm going to give it a try as this happens to us every so often - I'll report back...

    • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
      litzdog911

      terrman,

      1080p is only used by a few PPV movies, so disabling 1080p in the Video Setup menu won't likely make any difference.  None of the regular satellite or broadcast channels use 1080p.

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

        Right, but I wonder what the HR34 is doing under the covers with this setting regardless of program resolution. Is it up-converting everything to 1080p? It wouldn't surprise me as all the other resolutions can be unselected leaving only 1080p. Food for thought...

        • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
          litzdog911

          No, it's not do anything, terrman.  That setting just enables the DVR to output 1080p, but only if the source channel is providing 1080p.   Very few do.  Just some PPV channels.   Otherwise all HD channels are output in 720p or 1080i, depending on the DVR's video setting. 

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

          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.

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

            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.

            • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
              litzdog911

              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.

            • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
              ml0818

              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.

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

                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.

                • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
                  ml0818

                  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.

                  • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
                    litzdog911

                    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. 

                    • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
                      ml0818

                      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.

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

                        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...

                      • Re: Genie: pixelated/stuttered/frozen playback of recorded news show
                        litzdog911

                        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.

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

                        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.

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

                          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.

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

    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...

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

      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.