Audio Distortion with Directv programming - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 78 Old 07-19-2012, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I noticed starting about 2 weeks ago that occasionally some programming on Directv has distorted audio. I have the DVR in the family room and the non dvr hd box downstairs. It seems to happen with loud passages or effects. Sounds like blown speakers pushed too hard. I initially thought there was something wrong with my setup, but my Denon receiver and my Paradigms are all new this year. I switched hdmi cables, tried coax instead of hdmi. Switched inputs. No change. Thought it was an issue with my receiver. How to Train Your Dragon on HBO had several instances. I popped in the bluray disc that I own and it plays fine. I ended up DVRing HTTYD to see if it would reproduce and sure enough it does. I took my audio setup out of the mix and switched to the tv speakers. Still distorts. Finally went to my upstairs and played it straight off the DVR to the tv up there and, sure enough, it distorts too. I think I have effectively ruled out any equipment issues on my end. Two different boxes, two different tvs, 3 different sets of speakers. All the same. Sometimes it's perfectly fine. I noticed Xmen 2 on HBO had lots of distorted audio. Very random. Anyone else noticed any issues with audio lately??

The boxes are HR24 and H24.

Thanks.

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post #2 of 78 Old 07-19-2012, 08:03 PM
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Is this always HBO? Some others have reported similar issues.
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post #3 of 78 Old 07-19-2012, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I've noticed it mainly on HBO, but once on FX as well. A few other random channels. A coworker of mine said tonight he has been experiencing audio dropouts with his Directv. Something just seems screwed up with the quality of sound the past few weeks.

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post #4 of 78 Old 07-20-2012, 05:47 AM
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I don't use DirecTV so I don't have any first-hand experience. Obviously, signal levels are not being adjusted or scaled properly somewhere along the line. It could be that they are trying implement the FCC mandated loudness control and don't have levels adjusted properly, and are pushing wide dynamic range program material into clipping. If that's the case, there is nothing you can do, other than complain.
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post #5 of 78 Old 07-21-2012, 04:01 AM
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I also do not have DirectTV, but on my cable STB in the menu settings there are options for the sound. Does DirectTV provide the same? Perhaps you can adjust something in there.
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post #6 of 78 Old 07-21-2012, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Yep. No change. It's definitely the feed. Doesn't matter if the audio settings are changed.

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post #7 of 78 Old 07-21-2012, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjsiv View Post

Yep. No change. It's definitely the feed. Doesn't matter if the audio settings are changed.

It might be related to an overloaded transponder channel. DirecTV tries to stuff as many programs as they can onto each transponder then use an adaptive algorithm to determine how many bits per second are assigned to each program. The number of bits/sec assigned depends on the amount of activity in the picture. They want to assign a mix of programs some static like a talking head and some dynamic like a basket ball game. But sometimes there is too much dynamics so the picture/sound momentarily suffers. I noticed that when I was listening to a music channel and it would occasionally stutter. That channel was sharing the transponder with a basketball game.
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post #8 of 78 Old 07-21-2012, 04:25 PM
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...It might be related to an overloaded transponder channel.....

You're referring to the statistical multiplexing. Sound is encoded before it gets to the mux, so I don't think that's where it is happening. OP mentioned "How to Train Your Dragon", which I'm guessing has some pretty high amplitude peaks. If they are using adaptive leveling to meet the inevitable -24 LKFS requirement, the attack (response) time of the leveler might be slow enough that it overloads momentarily on very high peak content. Just a wild guess.
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post #9 of 78 Old 07-27-2012, 01:51 AM
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I have also noticed this on my HR24 and as you said it seems to have started within the last few weeks. It has been bothering me for a little while now, but I am just getting around to doing some searching on the issue. At first, I thought it might be my receiver, however after some experimenting it is reproducible through the TV amp and another amp that I have. I am noticing it on my local channels through the satellite. At times it seems to be evenly spaced static in the background. I am wondering if could be some issue in the stream decompression, introduced by a system update.

Anyway, I don’t have a solution, but you are not alone in you observations of static in the audio stream. I guess I need to call Directv and see if they fess up to anything.

Darren
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post #10 of 78 Old 08-15-2012, 09:48 AM
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I would also like to know if you are able to get any resolution to your problem. I have Directv and had DVR'd HTTYD and was watching it last night through my AVR and noticed crackling during some of the more intense scenes... I adjusted the equilizer settings to reduce the decibles at the higher frequencies and that seemed to make it go away but I don't view that as a long term solution.
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post #11 of 78 Old 09-17-2012, 02:16 PM
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I'm also having this audio distortion on higher volume peaks on HBO.
Anyone heard of an official response from DirecTV?
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post #12 of 78 Old 09-19-2012, 04:39 PM
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...I adjusted the equilizer settings to reduce the decibles at the higher frequencies and that seemed to make it go away but I don't view that as a long term solution....

equilizer? If you're boosting high frequencies and the program material is peaking close to full scale (before the eq), then you may be driving the program stream into clipping and causing the problem. The only way you can properly do this is to reduce the audio gain -before- the equalizer, such that the overall gain is equal to or less than unity at the maximum boost frequency. Otherwise, you run the risk clipping the audio.
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post #13 of 78 Old 10-06-2012, 08:28 AM
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I've had this too on various channels. Max comedy and east HD channels had it last night on different programming. This morning, Titanic.

My guess is an encode issue. It's like clipping. At what would be near-peak or at least high level material, there's popping and cracking. Repeatable exactly when DVR is rewound, and at low program volumes through my equipment. So even at low and moderate listening levels, the audio artifacts are present.
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post #14 of 78 Old 10-07-2012, 06:46 AM
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With the new CALM mandated delivery requirements in place, average levels are supposed to be maintained at -24 dBFS and typically they shouldn't be anywhere near full scale. OTOH, there could be some sort of design FU in your decoding apparatus that results in the problem with certain types of program material. It would interesting to look at the waveforms on a scope - If someone could record maybe 10-15 seconds of this event into a WAV file (no MP3s) directly from a PCM output.
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post #15 of 78 Old 10-22-2012, 09:58 PM
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I have the same problem on hbo, its the same on DD 5.1 and PCM 2.0. I'm using a h21 box. Anyone find any solutions other than a switch to comcast?
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post #16 of 78 Old 11-19-2012, 08:52 AM
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Just found this thread while searching why my sound was so trebley and breaking up/distorted particularly on voices, this w/e. Reran Audyssey as I thought it was the Onkyo 818 receiver but it was the same as before. Listened to WXRT-FM and cd's today and it sounds fine without any distortion so it has to be the Directv box or their transmissions.

Think resetting the box would help and if I did would I lose my recordings?
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post #17 of 78 Old 04-09-2013, 01:14 AM
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Hey guys.

I'm having this exact issue. I've recreated it while recording and even when downloading a movie from video on demand. Its the exact same whether its live, a recording or a download. It occurs on all 3 of my DVR's even when recorded on a different on each time. I've swapped out my two HR24's and Directv even upgraded my HR34 to the brand spanking new HR44 and it hasn't fixed the issue.

I've had my dish components (LNB) replaced, swim 16 replaced and the technician has tried disconnecting the ground as well. We are back to a connected ground now and it hasn't changed a thing. Even with the equipment replacement I have been able to replicate this issue with no change on specific shows the exact same way regardless of any changes. I have a technician and his supervisor coming out later in the week to run additional tests and then I will be escalated to an Engineer. I am currently escalated to tier 3 so I'm praying we can get this thing figured out because its ruining my television experience especially with all my high end equipment. I could always switch to Dish or Comcast but their equipment and customer service blows compared to Directv (or at least what Directv was).

I haven't always had this issue. I've had Directv over 3 years and I'd say this issue has been going on roughly 6 months. All software and firmware is up to date. I've checked cables and even installed a power conditioner in my tv room to see if It was a dirty power issue but it didn't change anything.

Anybody have any ideas or progress on this. I'm paying over 150 a month just for tv service and this sucks. Directv is trying hard to figure this thing out but I'm not very optimistic that it will get solved. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
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post #18 of 78 Old 04-09-2013, 05:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Murphy View Post

Just found this thread while searching why my sound was so trebley and breaking up/distorted particularly on voices, this w/e. Reran Audyssey as I thought it was the Onkyo 818 receiver but it was the same as before. Listened to WXRT-FM and cd's today and it sounds fine without any distortion so it has to be the Directv box or their transmissions.

Think resetting the box would help and if I did would I lose my recordings?

Just a normal reset won't delete your recordings.
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post #19 of 78 Old 04-21-2013, 02:32 PM
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Sorry to jump into a specific DTV thread, but I have this same exact issue on HBO/Cinemax channels (Verizon FiOS).

At least in my case, I believe its the incoming signal (used to have a router split off the STB, removed it and it took care of most of the distortion, left some remnants but not many).

I just wonder why HBO does this to us frown.gif Jackasses.
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post #20 of 78 Old 04-21-2013, 08:26 PM
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This is news to me. I am scheduled for install in 2 weeks and am looking forward to the picture quality increase, but not if it means a degraded audio experience!

Has anyone experienced a fix to this issue? Is it still ongoing? Are there any questions I should ask prior to install?

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition mediocre minds..." A. Einstein
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post #21 of 78 Old 04-21-2013, 10:14 PM
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Man Cave,

I'm super bummed with this. I've had what seems like a million techs to my house, replaced all my Directv equipment with no fix to the audio. The issue seems to be most prevalent on HBO and Cinemax although I have heard reports of AMC having similar issues.

I'm currently in tier 3 case management and they have put in a ticket to their Engineers and broadcasting department. I've seen similar audio issues reported recently with Comcast as well. If the issue are truly all related then it could be an issue on broadcasting side of things. I'm hoping to hear back from Directvs tier 3 team Monday or Tuesday. I'll let you know what they say.

Just a note, I have the latest and greatest equipment and that hasn't changed the issue at all. I have the brand new HR44 (Genie) and two HR24's.
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post #22 of 78 Old 04-21-2013, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solidrican22 View Post

Sorry to jump into a specific DTV thread, but I have this same exact issue on HBO/Cinemax channels (Verizon FiOS).

At least in my case, I believe its the incoming signal (used to have a router split off the STB, removed it and it took care of most of the distortion, left some remnants but not many).

I just wonder why HBO does this to us frown.gif Jackasses.

Solidrcan,

Thanks for the feedback. I'm working with Directv Engineers and their broadcasting department this week to see if its isolated to an issue on their end and not an equipment/install issue we all have in common. I'll keep this thread updated.

I've heard similar issues from a few customers on Comcast. Its hard to know if its the same issue (without hearing it in person) but the description is very similar to the issue we are all having. That would point more towards something HBO is doing with their encoding and broadcasting process. I'll know more soon.
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post #23 of 78 Old 04-22-2013, 04:02 PM
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Hey thanks for responding.

So in further conversations with FiOS, it seems that my SNR Level is too "HOT" (41 dB vs 26 dB (where is should be)).

Guess they need to tone my stuff down hah.
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post #24 of 78 Old 04-27-2013, 05:09 PM
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Any resolution to this? I notice this on my Directv also.

Kaboom.
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post #25 of 78 Old 04-27-2013, 06:03 PM
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It's not confined to DirecTV, people with Dish, cable and FIOS have also reported it, on HBO and Cinemax for sure (maybe on other "premium" channels.). So replacing your equipment is not likely to help. As tarheel1400 says, it might be something to do with the HBO/Cinemax encoding process.
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post #26 of 78 Old 04-27-2013, 09:38 PM
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So interesting development this evening.

I heard back from engineering two days ago and much to my dismay they claim they cannot recreate the issue and they are not aware of a broadcasting issue with these symptoms.

Just out of curiosity I signed my folks up for HBO/Cinemax at their home and went down there today and watched a few movies I had my father record (that I know contain these audio issues) and to just add some confusion to the mix every movie/show except one sounded fine. The exception being an episode of the Sopranos with a few specific audio notes from a gun shot every thing I watched sounded normal.

I went home and double checked my old recordings against the ones I had just heard and there is no confusing it, there is a difference.

I downloaded/recorded the same movies again today at my home and they sounded fine. No audio issues to note or at least during the scenes that have consistently had the issues. So regardless of what engineering/broadcasting has to say something has changed. My software is still dated 4/8 (on my HR44) so that didn't change. My guess is something on Directv/HBO's end is different.

I'm going to record 2 more shows tonight that I know when and where during the films that I experience the audio distortion and see if they have changed as well. I'll post again once I have more.

The good news is that this PROVES It's not our (at least my) equipment and there is indeed an issue on the broadcasting end. Hope this helps.
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post #27 of 78 Old 04-28-2013, 06:26 AM
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Quote:
The exception being an episode of the Sopranos with a few specific audio notes from a gun shot every thing I watched sounded normal.

FCC regulated broadcasters are required to maintain average audio level at -24 dB with respect to full scale AND to also keep max peak level less than -2 dB to conform with the CALM act. If broadcast program material exhibits wide dynamic range and dialog levels drop below -24 dBFS for any significant period of time, then they would be required to increase gain to bring average dialog level back up to -24 dBFS. Increasing gain as described increases the probability and frequency that abruptly appearing program transients will reach the -2 dBFS peak threshold. So you turn the gain up to meet the -24 dB requirement and then you have to turn it back down to meet the -2 dB requirement.

Just because the CALM (BS-1770) standard allows program peaks to go to -2 dBFS doesn't mean that it is a good idea. You would have to make a detailed study of the various decoding equipment to see if they can handle increased peak level density as described in the above scenario without distorting. I suspect that none of the broadcasters have done this!

Prior to the CALM act becoming law in December, they weren't required to perform the -24 dBFS leveling, and were probably feeding their audio chain at fixed gain. Enter the CALM act and in the interests of meeting the -24 dB requirement, most of them have installed automatic gain control equipment (or software) to meet the requirement. I suspect that the insertion of this equipment/software is at the root of the problem.

So, if the problem has suddenly gone away, then most likely someone at the transmitting end finally woke up and has turned peak levels down below the maximum allowable level and has lowered the probability that overload will occur in your equipment.
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post #28 of 78 Old 04-28-2013, 10:56 AM
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My issue hasn't gone away. It's driving me nuts. Wish they'd fix it.

Kaboom.
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post #29 of 78 Old 04-28-2013, 05:36 PM
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I had a movie I recorded in sd this morning where I had the audio issue again so maybe there isn't a fix yet. The ON demand videos used to give me the issue but now they aren't. I'm going to do some some more experimenting on my end. But I just noticed watching Lake Placid live on Cinemax I'm still having the issue and that's in hd.
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post #30 of 78 Old 04-30-2013, 06:40 AM
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After some reading and fiddling , I think I've remedied this in my system. My H24-500 was plugged into the dedicated outlets with my amps before and I plugged it into my Panamax. I have been playing loud action scenes and I haven't heard the popping. ( on HBO)

Kaboom.
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