Samsung SIR-T165 Firmware Fiasco! - AVS Forum

AVS Forum > HDTV > HDTV Technical > Samsung SIR-T165 Firmware Fiasco!

HDTV Technical

rChaz's Avatar rChaz
04:26 PM Liked: 10
post #1 of 385
11-07-2003 | Posts: 90
Joined: Aug 2003
As many of you know, Samsung has emailed a firmware update to users who request a fix to the SIR-T165 Horizontal Shift issue (uncentered image with DVI or RGB connections.) This issue is purportedly the ONLY thing for which the firmware provides a workaround.

As a warning to those who haven't yet applied this poorly tested firmware update, and as a request for advice from fellow T165 owners, or even as a request to an informed Samsung representative, let me share my disturbing tale:

My setup includes:

Samsung SIR-T165 Set Top Box
- connected to digital Samsung DLP HLN507W - 720p HDTV (via DVI)
- connected to analog VCR/PVR (via S-Video Out)

Set Top Box Settings
- Resolution Switch 720p
- DTV Out Switch set to RGB,DVI rather than YPbPr

Prior to applying the firmware update, all worked in glorious harmony (ignoring Off-Center Image, "Auto" Clock, Gray vs Black Masking Bars, etc) and I could watch a digital OTA broadcast in 720p supplied to my TV via DVI, while I simultaneously recorded the same program to my analog VCR via the 480i S-Video Out.

In other words, the T165's analog connectors (S-Video and RCA Jack video outputs) always provided 480i for OTA broadcasts regardless of the Digital Resolution Switch for the HDTV being set to 1080i, 720p, 480p, or 480i.

**After*** the firmware patch (v2.4) was applied, and using the same configuration and settings, a "Blank Green Screen" is all that is fed through the analog video connectors (audio is fine), ruining recordings to my analog VCR/PVR. The digital HDTV feed through DVI is still fine, as is the RGB connection. Interestingly, this issue ONLY occurs for the 720p setting, and *NOT* for 1080i or 480p or 480i. Obviously a flaw from the firmware patch.

In July, I reported this to the person at Samsung who seems to be responsible for distributing this firmware update. After initially claiming this behavior shouldn't be happening, he actually checked on his unit and reported the same behavior. His suggestion - "stay tuned", but he always side-stepped questions regarding timeframes or other feedback or prognoses.

Here is a synopsis of his email communications to me:

31-Jul-03
"I do not have the previous software, I am going to the enginneering (sic) dept. to look into this as well as check my unit. This is very strange if it is doing what you are describing."

01-Aug-03
"I have the same thing going on with my unit here. Same sympton (sic). I have another main board I need to install and check the before and after. Stay tuned"

18-Aug-03
"It's still being looked into. It definitly (sic) does exactly what you say."

Well, being patient, I waited several months, and decided, OK, enough already - if I can't get a properly functioning firmware update, let's have a warranty replacement. I check with the Samsung rep. His replies:

03-Nov-03
"Please try this software and see if it helps."

The same Samsung firmware guy sent me a newer version of the firmware (v3.10) and suggested I see if that helped. Apparently he never actually tested for this issue himself, because it didn't further change any observable behavior in the T165. The analog outs were still not functioning for 720p Resolution Switch settings, still sending "Blank Green Screens" to my S-Video connected VCR/PVR. I asked him for a replacement T165 unit.

05-Nov-03
"We again have no technical resolution and therefore would have to contiune (sic) to follow page 1.2 of the owners manual 720 for dtv only set and 480i for analog set. You would have to move the resolution switch."

(My Comment - I don't HAVE an analog TV set, I have a 720p HDTV and an analog VCR/PVR. I would like to watch the TV at 720p while I simultaneously record to my analog VCR/PVR, as I was able to do prior to the firmware patch.)

05-Nov-03
"...that unit does not have always on analog outputs. It never was intended too (sic). You had a unit with old software that we / you upgraded. By doing this it alloud (sic) the unit to operate properly and if the resolution is on anything but 480i analog outputs are not supported. We unfortunetly (sic) are not going to develop a fix as this is how the unit was designed. Warranty would not correct this either. This is how the unit is. I am verry (sic) sorry for the disatisfaction (sic) it may have caused you."

Then he has the nerve to actually suggest I purchase the Samsung SIR-T160, since it *DOES* support "always on" analog outputs, and even supplied me a web-link to ease my purchase from Samsung! What a load of garbage! First he supplies me with a faulty firmware patch, crippling my T165, and then generously offers that I purchase another model that functions the same way my T165 originally functioned, (although the T160 is otherwise geared towards DirectTV!) What kind of scam is this?!

Now clearly, the T165 *is* intended to always provide 480i to the S-Video and RCA Video outputs, regardless of the Digital Resolution Switch setting. Excerpts from the Owner's Manual certainly imply "always on" 480i for the analog connectors. That is how the T165 operated *prior to* the firmware update. That is how the T165 *STILL* operates for 1080i, 480p and 480i - all EXCEPT 720p! Although the T165 User Manual may not neatly display a settings table as is done in the T160's manual, it does have references to settings as follows:

Per P1.2 - Resolution Select Switch:
Samsung instructs the user to match the Resolution Select Switch to the resolution of the Television (in my case 720p.)

Per P1.7 - VCR with Monitor Out jacks:
"If you connect a VCR with the Monitor Out jacks to the Set-Top Box, the VCR will record exactly what you are viewing on the Set-Top Box." (Not a Blank Green Screen.)

P1.10 - Digital Signal IN - Analog recording:
"Connect a Firewire cable between an D-VHS device and the Set-Top Box and also an analog cable between the AV input on the D-VHS device and the AV output on the Set-Top Box."

Per the manual, the only items specifically *NOT* supported when the resolution Switch is NOT set to 480i:
p1.5 - "If 1080i, 720p, or 480p (DIGITAL) is selected":
"the On Screen Display", (STB Menus, Messages & Electronic Program Guide), "will not be supported for VIDEO OUT and S-VIDEO OUT"

Since I don't want to record STB "On Screen Display" items, this was never an issue. But recording "Blank Green Screens" to my analog VCR/PVR while I watch my 720p Samsung HDTV because I have the Digital Resolution set to 720p would be a ludicrous design, and obviously was *not* the engineers' intent, and it *wasn't* what was originally sold to me.

Anyway, my intent is to warn others regarding this firmware fiasco, and also ask my fellow users whether they have a definitive source to refute the Samsung claim that the T165 "does not have always on analog outputs. It never was intended too."

Any advice on resolving this issue with Samsung or point me to a Samsung contact that can help? (I still have a long time left on my warranty.)
zvogt's Avatar zvogt
04:49 PM Liked: 10
post #2 of 385
11-07-2003 | Posts: 1,312
Joined: Mar 2003
SO what OTHER things were addressed between the 2.4 and the 3.0 updates?
Nothing? Was the version number just a placebo to get you off his back?
It's a shame the way you got screwed. Luckily I run my 165 in 1080 mode,
so this problem is mostly a non-issue for me.

Sorry,


EDIT** btw, I forgot to mention that I do use the DVI output, and I did
update my firmware once since I've owned the box.
rChaz's Avatar rChaz
05:10 PM Liked: 10
post #3 of 385
11-07-2003 | Posts: 90
Joined: Aug 2003
Quote:


Originally posted by zvogt
SO what OTHER things were addressed between the 2.4 and the 3.0 updates?
Nothing? Was the version number just a placebo to get you off his back?

zvogt,
The version number is from the name of the "downloader" .exe file used to apply the firmware-image patch. I don't know of any way to determine the firmware version from the T165 itself. I couldn't discern any functional differences in the T165 than after the previous patch, but I did compare the prior "ram.enc" firmware-image file to the current one (using a binary file editor.)

(Don't worry Samsung, I wasn't reverse engineering, just ensuring I didn't waste my time trying to apply the same patch.)

The prior and current firmware-image files were identically sized, but internally different. Who knows what actually changed... Certainly no Release Notes!
DPlettner's Avatar DPlettner
05:12 PM Liked: 10
post #4 of 385
11-07-2003 | Posts: 2,755
Joined: May 2003
I can't believe that Samsung can't provide the old firmware. Even if they did not want to spend any additional resources on new firmware, they should be able to provide the old firmware.

-Dave
rChaz's Avatar rChaz
05:31 PM Liked: 10
post #5 of 385
11-07-2003 | Posts: 90
Joined: Aug 2003
Quote:


Originally posted by DPlettner
I can't believe that Samsung can't provide the old firmware.

Dave,
This astounds me also. As far as I know, Samsung may still be manufacturing the T165 using the original firmware, with this patch merely originating from some local Samsung engineer who has provided some hacking to put in the kludgy horizontal-shift menu. Maybe, to make room for the additional menu, he overwrote the support code for the analog outs... And is too afraid to explain to the Home Office.

Any more recent T165 owners that *haven't* patched, and have the horizontal-shift kludge menus? [MTS][Enter][Enter] on the remote, to activate.
CKNA's Avatar CKNA
06:32 PM Liked: 10
post #6 of 385
11-07-2003 | Posts: 4,059
Joined: Jan 2001
I am not surprised. Samsung is one of the worst companies as far as customer support. SIR-T165 has so many bugs that it needed upgrades when it came out but Samsung never did any except for failed horizontal shift issue. I for one will get rid of 165 as soon as LG 3410 box comes out.
trbarry's Avatar trbarry
08:42 PM Liked: 10
post #7 of 385
11-07-2003 | Posts: 10,138
Joined: Jan 2000
Yikes! Scary.

It sounds like maybe Samsung should be avoided.

- Tom
wbcollegekid's Avatar wbcollegekid
09:30 PM Liked: 10
post #8 of 385
11-07-2003 | Posts: 244
Joined: May 2002
How do you check what firmware version it is?
rChaz's Avatar rChaz
10:21 PM Liked: 10
post #9 of 385
11-07-2003 | Posts: 90
Joined: Aug 2003
Quote:


Originally posted by wbcollegekid
How do you check what firmware version it is?

Check Post #3, above.

I don't know of a direct check. All I had was a patch-applier version#.
zvogt's Avatar zvogt
02:50 PM Liked: 10
post #10 of 385
11-12-2003 | Posts: 1,312
Joined: Mar 2003
This post was accurate back in early July when it was posted.


**EDIT** I posted this info in this thread as a direct response to someone
that has since deleted their inquiry. I'll leave this here in case it's needed
by future readers of this thread.
rChaz's Avatar rChaz
04:14 PM Liked: 10
post #11 of 385
11-13-2003 | Posts: 90
Joined: Aug 2003
Well, if at first you don't succeed...

Today, quite unexpectedly, I received another firmware patch - emailed from Samsung. I was informed that it fixes the analog output problem while the Digital Resolution Switch is set to 720p, (problem introduced by the prior firmware patches.)

It may be a little premature to start celebrating, but I installed and tested. The horizontal shift fix is still in place, and all seems to be functioning properly again at 720p and other resolutions! I'll let you know if I find any problems introduced with this update, but so far so good...
PhilB's Avatar PhilB
05:52 PM Liked: 10
post #12 of 385
11-13-2003 | Posts: 2,102
Joined: Jan 2001
rChaz,

What was the "version number" of the new firmware? If it works, I may want to do that update myself.

Thanks,

-phil
jsjames's Avatar jsjames
09:25 PM Liked: 10
post #13 of 385
11-13-2003 | Posts: 732
Joined: May 2002
Same here.
I just received a firmware today that says xxx3.10.exe.
Is yours a newer version?
rChaz's Avatar rChaz
12:21 AM Liked: 10
post #14 of 385
11-14-2003 | Posts: 90
Joined: Aug 2003
Quote:


Originally posted by PhilB
What was the "version number" of the new firmware?

PhilB & jsjames,
The only version# I have is for the "Downloader" (DL) exe - v310. This doesn't necessarily correlate to the actual firmware "image" (ram.enc) version, as the DL version sent to me on Nov 13th is identical to the DL file sent on Nov 4th. Only the firmware image was changed, and there's no version# associated with that file, AFAIK. Therefore, I'd guess that you'll have to gauge by the date received - Nov 13th being the earliest "safe" date for fixed 720p - based on my experience. Definitive test is to feed a signal from the STB to an analog (480i) component through the STB S-Video or RCA Video out jacks while the Digital Res Switch is set to 720p.

Also, the "fixed" version size (as seen from my Win2k Explorer, NTFS) is 1,829KB compared to the two previous image files that were each 1,827KB. I was a little surprised that there would be *any* size difference in a firmware image, but there was a slight difference. Loaded just fine. Working fine.
jsjames's Avatar jsjames
08:15 AM Liked: 10
post #15 of 385
11-14-2003 | Posts: 732
Joined: May 2002
I got two emails.
One with a 11-13 dated enc file and one with a 10-28 dated enc file.
I guess my 11-13 file will be the one to try.
rChaz's Avatar rChaz
04:25 PM Liked: 10
post #16 of 385
11-14-2003 | Posts: 90
Joined: Aug 2003
All,
Today I received some additional info from Samsung re identifying the SIR-T165 firmware version (see, I think they do listen to concerns posted on the AVS Forums, although they may not be allowed to respond directly for various reasons. Thanks, Samsung.)

To check the firmware version, use the STB remote to press Menu, choose Preference, choose Help, turn Help On. Once Help is set On, choose the Help menu to bring up the Help On/Off choice. *While the Help On/Off menu choice is still shown*, press the remote's Info button, and several identifiers will be displayed beneath the bottom of the OSD menus. The 1st item is the firmware version#. My firmware, which is the latest, shows S_TIROS3_134 and includes updates to allow "always on" analog outputs, as well as dvi (and RGB) horizontal shift and firewire correction. (I'm not sure what is meant by "firewire correction" - that's all I was told. You may be able to track it down in a forum search.) Additionally, the newer "downloader" exe, v310, was merely updated to provide a more "English-friendly" interface than the earlier v240 downloader.

The Samsung contact has graciously offered to email the firmware to all those who ask, and can be emailed at SteveP AT sea DOT samsung DOT com (anti-SPAM-bot format - reformat appropriately.)

Samsung still maintains that the 720p/analog-outs "fix" was provided merely as good will, and that the SIR-T165 was never specifically designed to support "always on" analog. Only the SIR-T160 was. (Of course my T165 functioned according to the T160 specs in this regard prior to the original firmware update, but because it now does so again with the latest, I'm happy regardless of why it was changed.)
CKNA's Avatar CKNA
05:05 PM Liked: 10
post #17 of 385
11-14-2003 | Posts: 4,059
Joined: Jan 2001
I loaded the new firmware but where in the menu is the adjustment for the shift?. I checked all the menus 5 times and can't see any option for that.

Thanks
rChaz's Avatar rChaz
08:34 PM Liked: 10
post #18 of 385
11-14-2003 | Posts: 90
Joined: Aug 2003
Quote:


Originally posted by CKNA
where in the menu is the adjustment for the shift?
Thanks

Partially mentioned above, Post# 5. Here's more:

[MTS][Enter][Enter] on the remote, to activate the menu.

Then [Enter] again to activate the shift mode for [left][right] moves. From there, [Enter] toggles shift mode off/on, and [Exit] (or time-out) removes the menu.
bdfox18doe's Avatar bdfox18doe
01:24 PM Liked: 75
post #19 of 385
11-15-2003 | Posts: 6,488
Joined: Oct 2000
Any way to turn off the grey bars ?
noackm's Avatar noackm
02:01 AM Liked: 10
post #20 of 385
11-17-2003 | Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2002
ckna

Would you please read your pm
CKNA's Avatar CKNA
08:58 AM Liked: 10
post #21 of 385
11-17-2003 | Posts: 4,059
Joined: Jan 2001
noackm,
I did not get a pm from you. Please send it again.
Brian A's Avatar Brian A
12:15 PM Liked: 10
post #22 of 385
11-17-2003 | Posts: 68
Joined: Oct 2002
For those of you that have upgraded your SIR-T165 firmware, do you need a pass-through 9 pin cable or a null modem cable? Thanks.

Brian
zvogt's Avatar zvogt
12:22 PM Liked: 10
post #23 of 385
11-17-2003 | Posts: 1,312
Joined: Mar 2003
You'll need a straight 9-pin male-to-female cable.
Brian A's Avatar Brian A
09:24 PM Liked: 10
post #24 of 385
11-17-2003 | Posts: 68
Joined: Oct 2002
Thanks, zvogt. I upgraded my firmware this evening and everything went smoothly. I thought it might fix the rebooting problem I have on a couple of OTA channels, but the problem is still there. Oh well ...

Brian
DPlettner's Avatar DPlettner
10:49 PM Liked: 10
post #25 of 385
11-17-2003 | Posts: 2,755
Joined: May 2003
I also upgraded tonight and I have noticed one odd thing. In the SF Bay area KRON is analog 4, digital 57. The '-2' subchannel is displayed as 'service', but is black.

As I was going through the channels I tuned in 4-2 and my T165 became unresponsive. I could not change the channels, nor could I get into the menu. The only button that worked was the power button. I tried turning the unit on and off several times, and tried holding down different keys (menu, CH+, number keys, etc.) as the T165 was powering up. Nothing worked and the tuner remained stuck on 4-2.

Finally I disconnected the antenna cable, which finally broke the hold that this channel was having on the tuner. I deleted this channel in the setup menu and now everything works great.

Strange problem, but I can live with it. Just wondering if anyone else in the Bay area with the new firmware has noticed this.

-Dave
Rudy1's Avatar Rudy1
09:55 AM Liked: 116
post #26 of 385
11-21-2003 | Posts: 3,212
Joined: Oct 2000
Has anyone here been able to determine whether this update does anything else besides fix the DVI image-shift issue?
bdfox18doe's Avatar bdfox18doe
10:41 AM Liked: 75
post #27 of 385
11-21-2003 | Posts: 6,488
Joined: Oct 2000
I'm still having problems with the 165 and mits Hd2000 Dvhs..error Cp
and aborted recordings..
DPlettner's Avatar DPlettner
12:11 PM Liked: 10
post #28 of 385
11-21-2003 | Posts: 2,755
Joined: May 2003
Quote:
Originally posted by DPlettner
I also upgraded tonight and I have noticed one odd thing. In the SF Bay area KRON is analog 4, digital 57. The '-2' subchannel is displayed as 'service', but is black.

As I was going through the channels I tuned in 4-2 and my T165 became unresponsive. I could not change the channels, nor could I get into the menu. The only button that worked was the power button. I tried turning the unit on and off several times, and tried holding down different keys (menu, CH+, number keys, etc.) as the T165 was powering up. Nothing worked and the tuner remained stuck on 4-2.

Finally I disconnected the antenna cable, which finally broke the hold that this channel was having on the tuner. I deleted this channel in the setup menu and now everything works great.

Strange problem, but I can live with it. Just wondering if anyone else in the Bay area with the new firmware has noticed this.

-Dave

I am still having the problem I described above. In the SF Bay area, KQED multicasts a bunch of channels during the day and switches to HD at night. My T165 locked up on channel 9-5 last night when KQED was not using this channel. Rather than disconnect the antenna, like I did last time, I just waited until morning when the channel was being used and then deleted the channel.

I use 1080i and record to an ATI AIW using the s-video output (although I signed up for the Vividlogic beta yesterday). The only reason I updated the firmware was because I thought it would be nice to have the fix in place if I ever went to a 720o flatscreen.

Does anyone know if I will have any problems if I go back to the orignal H-shift fix firmware?

Quite frankly, since I figured out how to correct H-shift in my TV's service menu I would not mind going back to the original firmware that I had when I purchased the T165.

-Dave
rChaz's Avatar rChaz
05:45 PM Liked: 10
post #29 of 385
11-21-2003 | Posts: 90
Joined: Aug 2003
Quote:


Originally posted by Rudy1
Has anyone here been able to determine whether this update does anything else besides fix the DVI image-shift issue?

See post#16. The latest firmware, S_TIROS3_134 (Nov-13), includes updates to allow "always on" analog outputs, as well as the dvi (and RGB) horizontal shift and firewire correction. (I'm not sure what is meant by "firewire correction".)
rChaz's Avatar rChaz
05:58 PM Liked: 10
post #30 of 385
11-21-2003 | Posts: 90
Joined: Aug 2003
Quote:


Originally posted by DPlettner
My T165 locked up on channel 9-5 last night when KQED was not using this channel.

Dave,
I think the lock-ups occur from a faulty signal (or faulty reception of a signal) which aren't handled well by the STB.

I've had lockups (where only the power on/off function still responded), as well as reboots from particular stations - for all the versions of firmware I've used. I actually had the lockups occur much more frequently (especially while I was navigating STB OSD menus) with the original firmware, but it may just be the local DTV broadcasters getting their acts together rather than a change in the STB performance.

Reply HDTV Technical

Subscribe to this Thread

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3