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post #1 of 5 Old 01-25-2011, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
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TV, AVR or possibly DVR?

Occasionally the right 1/3 of the TV picture goes completely black!
Turning off the entire system (Harmony Remote) & back on always fixes the problem.

I has assumed it was my Cox DVR since it typically happened when using the info button & scrolling through channels. This places the actual picture in the upper right portion of the screen with the majority of the screen used to display program information. I'd see the right 1/3 go black & use the exit button to leave the info mode & return to the normal picture mode yet, the 1/3 black screen persisted unless I powered off & then on again.

I decided to prove this by waiting till it happened again & instead of using the harmony remote to power off everything to walk over & manually power off & then on just the COx DVR. To my surprise doing this several times did NOT fix the problem! I tried powering off just the TV & when turned back on problem fixed. I next tried powering off just the AVR & although that took away the signal from the TV the TV power remained on. THis also fixed the problem.

So I think it is either my TV or my AVR. I never had this happen while watching a BD or DVD or even while watching TV program just when I go into that info mode & even then it only happens occasionally.

So, I don't know which component needs service! I doubt it is a cable as I have heard that HDMI cables are either 100% working or not.

BD player & DVR each have HDMI cable connected to AVR & AVR has 3rd HDMI cable to TV. Standard HDMI setup. Has worked for over 1.5 years.

I hope it is not my 65 Panasonic Plasma TV which is out of warranty. I wonder if there is some fuse or relay that lights up the right 1/3 of the screen & that is beginning to go bad? I cannot create the issue on demand so not sure how a service tech would even begin to troubleshoot unless it is a known issue. I'm hoping someone else has had this issue & solved it & can shed some light.

Panasonic TH65PZ850U
Pioneer Elite SC 05
Scientific Atlanta HD Explorer 8300
Western Digital My DVR Expander WDG1S5000
Logitech Harmony 890
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-26-2011, 04:04 AM
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"I never had this happen while watching a BD or DVD"

I doubt it's your TV. I also doubt it's the AVR unless it's some sort of HDCP issue. Have you tried rebooting the cable box?
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-26-2011, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Servicetech571,

Are you actually a service tech for home theater equipment?

Yes, I have rebooted my DVR (cable box) several times.
I hope it is the DVR since; it is small, easily removed & replaced, not owned by me rather rented from Cox.

I had originally assumed it was the DVR since it seems to only happen when I use the info button to scroll channels (but not every time so I cannot recreate the problem at will) I expected turning off & then on the DVR to fix the issue but it did NOT which made me suspect the TV or the AVR. It is hard to believe it could be an HDMI cable. For some reason 1/3 of the screen is not getting a signal so it does not light up when this occurs. Again, if I power off & then on either the TV or the AVR, it fixes it same as when I powered of everything with my Harmony remote.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-31-2011, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Many more hours spent troubleshooting & more data available.
A complication is it sometimes takes up to an hour to reproduce the problem! I open the INFO screen which displays the picture smaller & moves it to upper right & the Cox DVR software displays program info & then I scroll up & down the channels & sometimes after 10 channels the 1/3 black screen appears & sometimes it takes 350 channels b4 it occurs. Again, the issue has only occurred after doing something with the Cox DVR menus, never while just watching TV or BD/DVD. All HDMI cables are 8-10 feet.


Long phone conversations with tech support; Cox DVR, Panasonic TV, Pioneer AVR. None of them think it is Their equipment.

I was able to connect a 2nd small LCD SDTV using 75 Ohm coax to the cable out port of my DVR while leaving the HDMI connection to the big Plasma alone. So, I got identical pictures & controled both TVs simultaneously. Using the Info menu & scrolling channels. I was able to reproduce the problem several times along with a new problem that happened even less frequently. Always both problems occurred only on the large plasma while the small LCD TV picture was just fine. The new, rarely seen problem was instead of a picture, the TV displayed colored noise Sometimes colors filling entire screen & other times colored the top 1/2 with the bottom black but not black as in no illumination of the pixels (like I see with the 1/3 black issue). Sometimes within the black there were 2 vertical grey rectangles. More like black snow in part of the picture. Once a black, thick pillar box sized rectangle on the left with a horizontal black rectangle on part of the bottom & the rest a purple color. This rare colors' problem seems to be a signal issue which may mean the 1/3 right, black problem is too. Another new fact is I no longer need to turn off & then on ANYTHING in order to fix the problem. If I just continue scrolling channels after 5 or 10 it will fix. I have gone back & forth with some channels exhibiting the 1/3 black & others remaining just fine. Again, this is always on the big plasma while the small LCD never had any problem even though both hooked up to the DVR at the same time. I checked & the channels with vs. w/o the problem are not all 1080i vs. 720p. So, that cannot be an issue.

I concluded (in error?) that this means the DVR is not the problem. That leaves; TV, cable or AVR. However, the LCD TV did not use HDMI nor the AVR.

Next, I bypassed the AVR, I connected the TV direct to the DVR using the HDMI cable that I suspected of being bad. It normally goes DVR - AVR. This cable is very THIN, it is still 1.3 HDMI but I paid $2.00 on Amazon for it believing that expensive HDMI cables are a waste since they either work or do not work. My other two HDMI cables are from monoprice & 24 AWG, CL-2 rated, thick & stiff. I just ordered a new 24 AWG from monoprice to replace the thin, cheap one just in case.

So, using the thin cable that was DVR-AVR I went direct DVR-TV. I scrolled channels for HOURS & was unable to reproduce the problem. Eureka! I thought. It is either the cable or the AVR.
Why did I still think the now working, thin cable may be bad? I read that when you route an HDMI cable through an AVR you need better quality cables (24 AWG) vs. if you just run direct from source to TV. The Pioneer AVR tech guy agreed with that. So, I thought maybe my thin, cheap HDMI cable may work DVR-TV but going through AVR I have the problem.
Next test was to swap the AVR inputs. So the bad' HDMI cable that normally went to TV/DVR input on the back of the AVR was switched to the BD input & vice versa. This was suggested by Pioneer as the best way to test for a bad AVR. The same 1/3 black screen problem reoccurred! Even when using the BD input. So, unless the AVR has TWO bad inputs the trouble is probably NOT with the AVR.

Finally, I swapped HDMI cables with the thin bad one BD-AVR & the good (24 AWG) ones DVR-AVR & AVR-TV.

With this last test, I really expected the problem to be gone & then I'd swap out the bad', thin one with the new 24 AWG one when it arrived. I would have bet that would happen.

Nope! Problem reoccured!

I am almost out of ideas. Pioneer suggested that a weak signal from the DVR may work OK until it is routed through two cables & the AVR & he thinks it is most likely the DVR despite the DVR playing without problem when connected via 75 ohm coax to a different TV.

So, I might try to get a new Cox DVR, losing all my saved programming. If that fixes it --great, if not, I lost all that programming & still have no solution.

Any ideas welcome.

Steve
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post #5 of 5 Old 02-12-2011, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Update 2-12-2011

TV: Panasonic TH65PZ850U
AVR: Pioneer Elite SC 05
BD player: Panasonic DMP BD80
DVR: Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8240 HDC

Completed more tests, eliminated certain H.T. components as possible caused of problem. Discovered more about triggering & temporarily fixing the problem.

Summary:

Occasionally the right 1/3 of the TV picture goes completely black! Even less frequently get entire screen of colors & some black rectangular shapes. Very time consuming to recreate problem, complicating troubleshooting. To trigger problem; change channels, open menu of saved TV shows. Fairly certain problem occurs only on 1080i HD stations & never on 720p TV stations. ch 710 is Fox 720p & 712 is NBC 1080i. I can usually trigger problem by going back & forth between these two. I can see problem on 712 & 710 is OK & back to 712 with problem etc. To temporarily fix problem I no longer need to power off anything as stated before. Merely continuing to change channels will always fix' problem. It may take 10-15 channel changes but always works. To create problem may take 5 - 25 minutes of continually changing channels. A month or 2 b4 I noticed problem, Cox changed the DVR guide software for all models of DVRs they offer. (Passport Echo version 3.1.0825) For 1.5 years everything had worked just fine.
Spent time on the phone with tech support from Cox, Panasonic, Pioneer b4 all tests completed & each denied their component was causing the problem. Problem NEVER occurs watching DVDs/BDs or watching TV shows live or previously recorded. Must change channel or go to a DVR menu to (occasionally) trigger problem.

3 HDMI cables; BD-AVR, DVR-AVR & AVR-TV. 24AWG, CL-2 rated from monoprice.com & 8-10 feet long.

Here are my pertinent troubleshooting steps followed by P (problem remains) or NP (Cannot recreate the problem)

Switch HDMI cable BD-AVR with DVR-AVR : P
Replace HDMI cable DVR-AVR with new one : P
Switch HDMI cable AVR-TV with BD-AVR : P
Switch AVR HDMI connection input BD & TV : P
Switch TV inputs HDMI-1 & HDMI-2 : P
Hooked 2nd SDTV to DVR via 75 Ohm Coax : NP
Hooked 2nd, borrowed HDTV via HDMI (instead of my TV) : P !!!
Replaced DVR SA Explorer 8300HD with NEW SA Expl. 8240 HDC: P !!!
Connect TV direct to DVR HDMI : NP !!!

I think I have proven it is not the TV or DVR or HDMI cables.
It is either the AVR despite Pioneer's claim that the input swap exonerated it or else it is the Cox software change regardless of what DVR I use. I suspect it has to do with a error in switching from a 720p to a 1080i signal. I do not know if the AVR processes 720 & 1080 differently or merely passes on the signal to let the TV sort out the resolution & upscale. With my channel 710/712 back & forth changes I have never seen the problem with the 710 (Fox 720p) & only with the 712 (NBC 1080i) I had tried to see if the other few 720p channels were also immune from the problem but since the act of changing channels fixes' the problem I could not get good data.

Comments?

Thanks,

Steve
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