Pace CableCARD HD Boxes (TDC779X, TDC778X and DC757X) - Page 6 - AVS Forum
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post #151 of 1067 Old 12-19-2007, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

No, the video is perfect. Looks absolutely beautiful...

Sorry for the long delay on this thread. We have accumulated some experience now and can comment on the audio dropout problem a bit more.

The symptom seems reproducible, and is as follows: the audio will cut out shile the video plays for a few seconds, then the picture will freeze briefly, go into macroblocks, then re-form within a fraction of a second back into good audio and video. It only does this on playback of long recorded programs. The problem seems to occur every 20-30 minutes or so (haven't timed it very closely), i.e., a few times in a long recorded movie.

We have not observed this at all in live viewing, only in viewing of recorded programs. If we rewind and play back the affected section, it seems to happen in the same place, so I expect it is a defect in the recording.

Hope this helps.
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post #152 of 1067 Old 12-20-2007, 05:26 AM
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[quote=ScienceMan;12541281]Are you sure your series recording settings did not specify deletion after a certain number of episodes?
QUOTE]


Yes i am certain it was not that. I was not doing series recordings. The deletions were happening because the internal drive was full. Every new recording was going on the internal drive and nothing on the external drive.
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post #153 of 1067 Old 12-20-2007, 01:43 PM
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[
And remember, to swap drives, you'll need to turn the set top off and then remove the drive. Don't hot plug the eSATA drive while its in use.
.[/quote]
I am dlutz from the other posts. this is my home logon. (long story dont ask)

Hi Again. I have run into a new problem. I lost electricity last night after a third program was recording. I had established that the second one did in fact record on the external drive. Now after the electricity loss the external hdd is not showing up and the two new programs are not listed. drive usage is back up to 8% for the one program and the hdd page shows only the internal drive.
I cannot get the unit to recognize the tivo hdd again.
I need to know two things:
1 what is the proper sequence for reconnecting the drive, ie. unit or drive on or off, plugged in or unplugged (is standby - red light- considered off?) ; sata cable plugged in when; and in what order should I take these steps?
2. what steps can I take to insure that this doesn't happen again. I have a battery backup but it only lasts about 40min. I am rural and often lose electricity.
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post #154 of 1067 Old 12-20-2007, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalelutz View Post

I need to know two things:
1 what is the proper sequence for reconnecting the drive, ie. unit or drive on or off, plugged in or unplugged (is standby - red light- considered off?) ; sata cable plugged in when; and in what order should I take these steps?

Standby is not considered off. The box is just doing less and the HDD may spin down. The proper disconnect procedure is to go into standby and wait ~30 seconds, then remove power from the STB. At this point, you can disconnect and/or reconnect the drive or add/remove drive power.

You can also reboot the box from diags by pressing the Info and Select buttons at the same time. This may be quicker than waiting the 30 seconds.

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2. what steps can I take to insure that this doesn't happen again. I have a battery backup but it only lasts about 40min. I am rural and often lose electricity.

UPS is really the only answer but as you point out, it won't last indefinitely. Are you sure the drive is ok and wasn't damaged by the power outage?

Linden
Pace Americas, Inc. (note the views expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of Pace).
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post #155 of 1067 Old 12-20-2007, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

Standby is not considered off. The box is just doing less and the HDD may spin down. The proper disconnect procedure is to go into standby and wait ~30 seconds, then remove power from the STB. At this point, you can disconnect and/or reconnect the drive or add/remove drive power.
You can also reboot the box from diags by pressing the Info and Select buttons at the same time. This may be quicker than waiting the 30 seconds.

UPS is really the only answer but as you point out, it won't last indefinitely. Are you sure the drive is ok and wasn't damaged by the power outage?

Thanks very much. I did it the way you said and it worked. I will have to keep those instructions handy as I am sure i will need them again.
I didn't really expect a reply tonite anymore (it is 11:00 pm now)so I was especially surprised and happy to get home and find an answer.
Thanks again.
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post #156 of 1067 Old 12-22-2007, 04:38 AM
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Hi I do have a quick question (at least I think it is quick). the pace box has firewire connections. I have an older Mitsubishi ws hd tv with firewire and I have a Mitsubishi d-vcr also with firewire.
A. would I be any better off using firewire than component to go to the tv?
B. Can I record live or recorded shows to the d-vcr via firewire, to save them? and if so how would I do it?
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post #157 of 1067 Old 12-23-2007, 07:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dalelutz View Post

A. would I be any better off using firewire than component to go to the tv?

1394 is used primarily for recording on Pace cable STBs. Unlike component and HDMI, you won't have graphics with 1394, so no, you won't be better off using 1394 as your main display device.

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B. Can I record live or recorded shows to the d-vcr via firewire, to save them? and if so how would I do it?

We've tested recording with DVHS devices. Recording via a PC over 1394 is somewhat iffy due to software issues on the PC side (most cable companies will only support DVHS recordings for that reason).

Linden
Pace Americas, Inc. (note the views expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of Pace).
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post #158 of 1067 Old 12-23-2007, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

1394 is used primarily for recording on Pace cable STBs. Unlike component and HDMI, you won't have graphics with 1394, so no, you won't be better off using 1394 as your main display device.



We've tested recording with DVHS devices. Recording via a PC over 1394 is somewhat iffy due to software issues on the PC side (most cable companies will only support DVHS recordings for that reason).

sounds good. I am not interested in recording to a pc.

So how do I go about recording to My D-VHS recorder?

also hook up. Must the stb be off to connect it or can that be done in stand by.
Once connected do I get an option in the graphics to record to the D-VHS?
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post #159 of 1067 Old 12-24-2007, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalelutz View Post

So how do I go about recording to My D-VHS recorder?

You hit the record button on the DVHS?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalelutz View Post

Must the stb be off to connect it or can that be done in stand by.

Hot plugging 1394 is supported. You can plug it in at any time and start recording.

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Originally Posted by Dalelutz View Post

Once connected do I get an option in the graphics to record to the D-VHS?

No.

Linden
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post #160 of 1067 Old 12-24-2007, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by lindend View Post

You hit the record button on the DVHS?

Hot plugging 1394 is supported. You can plug it in at any time and start recording.
.

Thanks . I guess I was hoping for the ability to schedule recordings to the DVCR Like I do to the hdd, and copy programs to the dvcr in the background while watching a different program.
I guess playing a tape is as simple as hitting the play button while the dvcr and the pace settop box is on?
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post #161 of 1067 Old 12-26-2007, 09:50 PM
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Well, after a couple of weeks of enjoying very nice performance out of our TDC779X, with minor observations as noted in the thread above, we encountered some behavior recently that does not seem to be acceptable. While watching shows, either live or recorded, the picture and audio appear to freeze or become jerky for several seconds, and occasionally stop entirely for random durations, On a couple of occasions, playing back a recorded episode, the playback stops entirely and the unit becomes unresponsive to any remote control or front panel input. To get out of that state, after trying every button and control repeatedly, waiting a long period (several minutes), etc., we've had to remove power entirely to the TDC779X.

When it comes back after such an inelegant forced reboot, the recorded content seems to be retained OK, but the guide channel reverts completely to "To be announced" on all channels. After several minutes, guide content returns, so I assume it has been downloaded again.

What can we do to avoid the jerky playback? Is it likely to be a problem with the cable company feed itself, or the TDC779X? Is there any way to recover from a frozen-in-playback state other than the forced hard power removal, and if not, is there something we can do to avoid having this occur?

Poking through the diagnostics pages obtainable by the power - select trick, the only thing that looks remotely like a potential problem is that most of the SDRAM (all except for 1200 units or so out of the 32K) is used. The disks themselves are each mostly empty, both internal and eSATA add-on, and do not appear to have fragmented files, though it's hard to tell for the eSATA external add-on. The problem first became noticeable when we were trying to watch one of two HD programs that were being recorded simultaneously. I suppose file fragmentation could become a problem in this circumstance.

Finally, even when the unit is working, it misses the first 30 seconds or so of each program, so its "gps time" appears to be off from that used by the cable company. Is there a way of putting a global time offset compared to GPS time into effect?
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post #162 of 1067 Old 12-26-2007, 11:26 PM
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I've wondered about the skipping problem myself.

Since I decided to never turn the unit "off" it seems to have stopped.

I have the 778x
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post #163 of 1067 Old 12-27-2007, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
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When it comes back after such an inelegant forced reboot, the recorded content seems to be retained OK, but the guide channel reverts completely to "To be announced" on all channels.

This is how TV Guide works after a reboot.

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What can we do to avoid the jerky playback? Is it likely to be a problem with the cable company feed itself, or the TDC779X?

Not sure, but this doesn't sound like a feed issue.

Does this also happen with pre-recorded content that used to play smoothly?

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The disks themselves are each mostly empty, both internal and eSATA add-on, and do not appear to have fragmented files, though it's hard to tell for the eSATA external add-on.

If you don't mind losing recordings, I'd appreciate it if you could do the following:

1. Reboot and disconnect the eSATA drive.
2. If the problem persists with the internal drive too, reformat the internal drive.
3. If the problem continues, reboot, reconnect the eSATA drive and reformat it also.

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Finally, even when the unit is working, it misses the first 30 seconds or so of each program, so its "gps time" appears to be off from that used by the cable company. Is there a way of putting a global time offset compared to GPS time into effect?

No, but you can alter the default starting time for each recording in TV Guide (i.e. have it start 30 or 60 seconds earlier).

Probably best to talk with your cable provider to see why there is a 30 second delta between network time and content time.

Linden
Pace Americas, Inc. (note the views expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of Pace).
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post #164 of 1067 Old 12-27-2007, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

Finally, even when the unit is working, it misses the first 30 seconds or so of each program, so its "gps time" appears to be off from that used by the cable company. Is there a way of putting a global time offset compared to GPS time into effect?

May i ask what Cable Company you are served by?
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post #165 of 1067 Old 12-27-2007, 12:12 PM
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The jerkiness and locking up completely disappeared after powering completely off (unplugging power) and removing the external drive.

Is it possible that some other feature (SDRAM memory, flash memory, etc.) is getting saturated in trying to deal with the external drive?

We had not used it that much, but had about a dozen shows on it that we would prefer not to lose. Would it be possible to increase SDRAM or somehow transfer the recorded programs from the external to the internal drive to view them?

All in all, it looks like the external-drive-to-add-space option is not going too well for us so far.

You mentioned reformatting... as the problem cleared up when we removed the external drive, I assume there is no need to do so for the internal one. (Not sure how to do that, anyway.) Why would an external drive, only about 10% full and never filled much beyond that point, need to be reformatted after such a short period of use? How extensively has the eSATA option been tested, and are there special conditions needed to use this option?
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post #166 of 1067 Old 12-27-2007, 12:14 PM
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Quote:


May i ask what Cable Company you are served by?

Suddenlink.
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post #167 of 1067 Old 12-27-2007, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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The jerkiness and locking up completely disappeared after powering completely off (unplugging power) and removing the external drive.

From one of your earlier posts, your eSATA drive is a combo unit with both USB and eSATA correct?

Linden
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post #168 of 1067 Old 12-27-2007, 12:29 PM
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Yes. Firmware is at 9.56 now, and you indicated earlier one has to wait for the cable provider to trigger updates, right?

Hmm, looking more closely at the earlier posts in this thread, you had indicated poor prospects for use of combo drives. As others indicated, I can't find an eSATA-only enclosure anywhere in town. Also, you indicated that any firmware fixes would have to be in the external enclosure adaptors, and not in the Pace unit, so unless your engineers can figure out how to work around whatever problems we are seeing, we may be back to no external disk. Rats.

Will follow up with the cable company about the time issue.
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post #169 of 1067 Old 12-27-2007, 07:18 PM
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Hello all, i just bought the Pace Tahoe i was just wondering if anyone else has experinced a high pitched sqeaking sound coming from their STB ? i just paid $400 for this thing, i presume its the harddrive but im not sure if its suppose to make noise, should i exchange or is this normal ?
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post #170 of 1067 Old 12-28-2007, 07:04 AM
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I got this unit just a week ago from my local cable provider (Service Electric in the Lehigh Valley of PA) and got a lot of great info from this thread. I was not very happy seeing two HD programs recorded and 10% of my drive filled, so I immediately went looking for an eSATA-only drive, but the thrifty part of me didn't want to pay $200 plus tax and shipping. I found a drive on Amazon for $160 (free shipping and I already had a $25 gift certificate to use there). Unfortunately since I don't have enough posts I cannot post a link, but it's a "LaCie 300976U d2 500 GB eSATA II External Hard Drive" so an appropriate search should be able to find it.

Though I don't have any first-hand experience with this brand, reviews for the brand on similar drives were generally good, save a few DOA complaints. Amazon has a decent return policy, so I decided to risk it.

It arrived today and I hooked it up with no problems. It was recognized immediately and seems ready to go. No long-term review yet of course, but if others wanted a less expensive option than others in the thread I thought I'd share it. I'll certainly post if I encounter any problems in the coming days!
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post #171 of 1067 Old 12-28-2007, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

Hmm, looking more closely at the earlier posts in this thread, you had indicated poor prospects for use of combo drives.

I can't definitively state that its a problem with the combo drive, but the symptoms are consistent with CRC errors coming from the drive (which is what we've seen in the lab).

Can you find out who makes the eSATA/USB bridge chip in the drive?

Linden
Pace Americas, Inc. (note the views expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of Pace).
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post #172 of 1067 Old 12-28-2007, 11:30 AM
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OK.... already having issues. The box recorded a couple shows (or tried to anyway) on the external drive while I was messing around with some reboots and whatnot. The shows did not record properly, probably because of my interference, and I wanted to delete them. When I tried to, the box froze completely, so I had to restart everything. Since then I cannot get the box to recognize the external drive again!

The drive spins up, and I follow the proper procedure (standby for 30 sec, unplug, connect external HDD, then plug in box) and I still only get 1/1 drives. Any ideas?

Also - if I do manage to get the drive detected again, how can I go about manually formatting the external drive via the cable box?

Thanks!
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post #173 of 1067 Old 12-28-2007, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
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Can you find out who makes the eSATA/USB bridge chip in the drive?

It's a Vantec Nexstar 3 NST-360SU-BL enclosure. According to information posted at http://paulstamatiou.com/2006/05/23/...ive-enclosure/, this enclosure uses a USB/SATA bridge chip but the eSATA connection is a direct pass-through.

I took it apart, and tried to read the tiny chip that appears (contrary to the above info) that the bridge chip seems to connect directly to the eSATA port. The print is very small, but says "Sunplus TM SATALink" followed by a bunch of numbers that are difficult to make out. According to this forum link: http://www.infrant.com/forum/viewtopic.php?=&p=50514, it is likely to be a Sunplus SPIF225A-HF021.

Hooking it up to my Mac laptop via USB and running the system profiler yields the following info on the USB-to-SATA bridge chip:

Manufacturer: Sunplus Technology Inc.
Product ID: 0x0c25
Serial Number: ST3750640A 5QD2FF0E
Vendor ID: 0x04fc

Although I did not mount it on the Mac, there appear to be eight partitions on the drive in an Fdisk partition scheme.

Any other information I could add? I can say that the Seatage 750 GB disk we have mounted in the enclosure is 3.0 Gbps capable, and has only one jumper setting available, so far not selected, which would allow us to limit the transfer rate to 1.5 Gbps. Is this worth trying based on the hardware available in the TDC779X, or should that hardware be capable of working well with a 3.0 Gbps drive? There do not appear to be any other user-selectable jumper settings at all on this Seagate Barracuda 7200 rpm drive.

I am still interested to know if it is likely that any other internal limiting factors in the Pace box (SDRAM, flash memory, etc.) might be among the reasons the external drive does not perform well after some period of success.
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post #174 of 1067 Old 12-29-2007, 12:06 AM
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I just had my Moto 6412 swapped out for a TDC778X due to Armstrong (North of Pittsburgh) not being able to get my DVR service re-authorized. It actually happened on Christmas day and they did answer the phone and try to fix it a couple times. I believe the hard drive was no longer being recognized, nor was the 2nd tuner. I thought a firmware reload might have brought it back to life, but when the tech came out, it seemed he didn't want to wait for the download to complete and he said I lost my programs anyway...I needed to part with Super Bowl XXX one of these days

I was nervous because it seemed the Moto had finally been stable for the last 6 or 7 Months after dealing with a bunch of issues. I had never heard of Pace, so this added to my apprehension. The tech sort of indicated the moto's were out of favor with Armstrong, but I could have been reading him wrong.

I quickly found and read the TDC775 posts and this thread, and my apprehension progressively went away. (Thanks Lindend, BillKen, etc.). It's nice to see an actual developer and all the fellow Armstrong users out there (nice to get all our new HD programming additions lately).

My initial Pace impressions are good The remote response is fabulous - night and day. Diagnostic screens are great. SATA being enabled is awesome, although from recent posts it seems I better be careful investing in my additional drive. I keep going back and forth on the picture quality. I have had no picture blips or 1-2 second freezes which was sort of a frequent occurrence with my moto. On my HP MD5880n via HDMI, the colors are a little more vibrant (maybe too much?), maybe a little more graininess, about 20 % more volume is required. No problems with VOD, in fact it is much more responsive although I haven't used it a ton yet.

One thing I have noticed that is different and somewhat annoying is when you do an on demand recording by going to the guide, highlighting the program you want to record, hit the record button on the remote, the tuner switches to the program you just set to record instead of using the other tuner. Is this a new design? The moto just used the other tuner and kept you tuned to what you were watching. This was helpful if you knew the other program channel was already tuned on the other tuner and had started. It would use the buffered data and record the complete program. It seems this won't occur. It's also helpful if you missed something while you were searching in the guide you could just rewind what you were watching. Since it switches the buffer is lost! I would think this is the TV Guide app, but you would think it would work the same as the Moto??

Also, if you go into the Power User Settings menu, when leaving, the box always switches to tuner one, even if you had tuner two in the background behind the Menu. It would be nice if it would return to the tuner you were watching when you entered the guide. Also, the tuner indicator light (play 1/play 2)does not go on until a tuner swap is initiated after leaving the power menu. They both are off.

My SW Version (DENA) = 9.02. In the Pace TDC778X (aka Tahoe CableCARD) Release Notes Thread the latest notes are for 9.62 - 9.66. Is this correct that I would be behind so far, or am I missing/ mis-reading something?

Thanks to everyone, yeah, especially Lindend. They do pay you extra for doing all this don't they? I hope so!
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post #175 of 1067 Old 12-29-2007, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockman1_1 View Post

One thing I have noticed that is different and somewhat annoying is when you do an on demand recording by going to the guide, highlighting the program you want to record, hit the record button on the remote, the tuner switches to the program you just set to record instead of using the other tuner. ... I would think this is the TV Guide app,

It is.

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but you would think it would work the same as the Moto??

Should be. The only thing I can think of is you had a different revision of TVG or the VOD app on the MOT box and it behaved differently.

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Also, if you go into the Power User Settings menu, when leaving, the box always switches to tuner one, even if you had tuner two in the background behind the Menu.

Sorry, TVG behavior when you go in/out of standby. If you look at the 775 thread, you'll see that many of the issues/feature requests are folded into future releases.

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Also, the tuner indicator light (play 1/play 2)does not go on until a tuner swap is initiated after leaving the power menu.

That is because TVG is not showing time shifted video when you leave standby.

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Originally Posted by rockman1_1 View Post

My SW Version (DENA) = 9.02. In the Pace TDC778X (aka Tahoe CableCARD) Release Notes Thread the latest notes are for 9.62 - 9.66. Is this correct that I would be behind so far, or am I missing/ mis-reading something?

9.02 was the initial firmware release for the 778. You are not far behind. If you look at the last post in the 775 release note thread, you'll see an explanation of why there is a big jump in the firmware revision numbers for all platforms.

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Originally Posted by rockman1_1 View Post

Thanks to everyone, yeah, especially Lindend. They do pay you extra for doing all this don't they? I hope so!

Nope, strictly volunteer stuff.

I enjoy helping if possible and the feedback AVS users provide is invaluable.

Linden
Pace Americas, Inc. (note the views expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of Pace).
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post #176 of 1067 Old 12-29-2007, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by SCEvan View Post

Hello all, i just bought the Pace Tahoe i was just wondering if anyone else has experinced a high pitched sqeaking sound coming from their STB ? i just paid $400 for this thing, i presume its the harddrive but im not sure if its suppose to make noise, should i exchange or is this normal ?

no one ?
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post #177 of 1067 Old 12-29-2007, 10:25 PM
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no one ?

Nope. Could be a fan. Might be best to return it for an exchange -- and test it before leaving.
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post #178 of 1067 Old 12-29-2007, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

Nope. Could be a fan. Might be best to return it for an exchange -- and test it before leaving.

Just discovered a new problem, when i rewind live tv then play it back there seems to be heavy blocky pixelation, then when i return to live tv it just skips like crazy, definatley exchanging, if it still happens i guess i will downgrade to the motorola.
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post #179 of 1067 Old 12-30-2007, 06:45 AM
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LIndend: I jumped to correct thread.

I hooked up the optical for the audio, and everything is working. Thanks for the workaround until the HDMI issue gets fixed. I did not think the toslink would work when the HDMI was hooked up.
I can definitely live with this until the fix is posted. I will stick with the Pace box.
Thanks!
Bill
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post #180 of 1067 Old 12-30-2007, 06:04 PM
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I have to say that since switching from my Motorola box to the Pace box I have been quite happy. I got my box from Armstrong in Boardman, Ohio. Although I have not gotten an external drive for it yet I am glad it is an option even though the guy at Armstrong thought that it was not a supported feature. Pluses to the box is that it does a much better job at recovering from a power failure. The circuit it is plugged into sometime cuts off when there is too heavy of a load on it. Does not happen a lot this time of year but does happen more in the summer. The Motorola box would usually forget it was even a DVR unless you unplugged it again after the return of power for at least five minutes. The Pace box not only remembers that it is a DVR it will resume recording anything that was interuppted. Another big problem with the Motorola box is that when you fast forwarded or skipped forward a lot of the time it would lose audio, you had to switch out of the recording and back to get audio to return, and sometimes you wou have to cycle power to get it back. With the Pace box the loss of audio still happens but not as often and when it does happen it is quicker to recover on its own.

There are some down sides to the Pace Box however, however they have been minor so far.

The two that I have noticed are that if you start watching a show that is recorded but has not finished recording if you catch up with the current time in the show and hit FF or skip because you don't realize that you have reached that spot the box will still try to go past that spot and bounce backwards off the end of the recording and go backwards a couple of seconds. Like I said not a big deal. The other issue occurs in the exact same situation you bump into the end of a show that is still recording, once you do that the audio keeps dropping out. Luckily there is an easy fix for that just have to do the backwards skip so that I am not up against the end of the recording and not only is the skipping audio gone but the audio that skipped is actually in the recording available to listen to.
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