Sorry in advance for this long-winded rant...
I was one of the very first Prime owners. Excited to get the product, but experienced nothing but issues right off the bat. As far as I know I was the first to experience major network connectivity issues that they first tried to blame on my switch/cabling, but later reproduced and "fixed" with a firmware update.
I've experienced a huge number of issues with this product, everything you may have read on the their forums including tuner not available errors, pixelization, ehcrecvr crashes, dropped recordings, etc...
I was a trooper and fought through it all for weeks, spending countless hours sending in trouble reports, updating my firwmare/drivers, testing various switches, NIC settings, swapping cables, etc. - all seemingly to prove issue after issue was not caused by my equipment but instead a problem with the Prime.
After many firmware updates and configuration changes on my end I finally have a stable TV viewing experience, but unfortunately not as advertised.
Around the 30 day return mark I contacted SiliconDust saying I was considering returning the product. They replied and indicated that they considered my issues high priority and if I kept the product THEY would refund my money if they could not resolve their issues within 30 days. Of course, here I am months later feeling like I was strung along all this time. SiliconDust now refuses to refund my purchase because they say the issue is with my Intel motherboard and not the Prime.
I was able to obtain solid recordings and avoid random tuner errors by disabling tuner sharing between PCs. When running the WMC tuner setup I simply selected unique tuners for each PC. Although this alleviated the tuner errors, this defeats one of the main advertised features of the Prime - the ability to share a pool of tuners amont HTPCs.
I was able to resolve my pixelization issues by locking my NICs down to 100Mbps. Again, although this alleviated my pixelization, I paid for and need gigabit network speed on my HTPCs.
Which leads to my major issue....
My HTPCs are running Intel DH67CF and DH67GD mothebroards which use Intel 82579V NICs. These PCs experience intermittent pixelization when recording or watching live TV from my Prime.
The problem is not cabling or switch related. I've tested using SiliconDust's packet loss test documented here:http://www.silicondust.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5877
When running at gigabit speeds I get considerable packet loss, even when connected direct to the Prime using a crossover cable. I've tried a variety of NIC settings with no good results. I'm running clean systems, latest drivers, latest BIOS, etc. The only way to alleviate the packet loss is to lock my NICs down to 100Mbps.
Keep in mind I have no other apparent networking issues with these PCs - I'm able to stream full bitrate blu-ray without issue, file transfer speeds over the LAN are fantastic, etc.
SiliconDust claims to have purchased a DH67CF, tested in-house, and confirmed there is an issue with this NIC/motherboard causing packet loss. This was about 6 weeks ago, and they said they would work with their contacts inside Intel on a resolution.
I contacted Intel through my channels to report the issue. I also exchanged contact information between SiliconDust and the Intel rep I have been dealing with. Intel claims to have escalated the issue but are unable to reproduce a problem with their NIC. SiliconDust, of course is very slow and intermittent to respond to me but basically admit that they have not been working with Intel - 6 weeks after I provided them with my Intel rep's contact information.
I can say that I've tested other NICs that experience no packet loss with the Prime, so the problem only seems to occur with some NICs (or perhaps this one NIC).
Now, I'm not going to pretend to know exactly where the problem lies, but my gut is telling me that the problem is some sort of compatibility or interopability issue between certain NICs and the Prime. With all the issues SiliconDust has had with the Prime it's hard for me to blame Intel, with the solid reputation they have with their motherboards and NICs.
Even if it was an issue with the Intel NIC, you'd think it would be in SiliconDust's best interest to work with Intel on a resolution since there are undoubtedly others using the same motherboards/NICs with the Prime.
So, I'm hoping others might be able to offer their experiences. Do you have an Intel DH67CF or DH67GD motherboard? Or do you have a different motherboard with an Intel 82579V NIC? Do you experience pixelization or other issues with your Prime?
Or, do you have the same NIC and perhaps use a Ceton tuner over the LAN? If so, do you experience any pixelization or other packet loss related issues?
Thanks for listening.