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Pioneer Disappearing EPG

post #1 of 859
Thread Starter 
I have a Pioneer 531 that has worked flawlessly, up to this point. I use analog cable and the EPG downloaded perfectly, the 1st night the unit was connected. The guide continued to populate daily until the multiple days of programming was available.

Last night, the guide information disappeared, replaced by a message that the guide information was rebuilding based on the setup changes I had made. 24 hours was the projected timeline for having guide information available again.

The unit shows the EPG indicator on the front panel, when powered off. All programs I had set for recording are still present and continue to record, just no guide.

Anyone else have their guide disappear unexpectedly? I have not experienced any power outages.

Any ideas as to why the recorder thinks I've changed my setup?

I'm stumped.
post #2 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by aydu View Post


Anyone else have their guide disappear unexpectedly?
Any ideas as to why the recorder thinks I've changed my setup?

I'm stumped.

I had the exact same problem with my 633. After 1 month of flawless operation, I lost all the EPG data. Like you, all recordings were still there. I left it overnight, and it could not download the EPG data. I reset it using the hold Stop button and press power button, and went through the setup again. Overnight, it then downloaded the EPG data properly, and all previous recording were still in place.

Two weeks later, everything is fine.

I suspect at some point the EPG data got corrupted, and the system by default can't read the existing data or download new data. Another theory is that the cable provider changed some setting on their host system, and the unit is not smart enough to recognize it.
post #3 of 859
Thread Starter 
I redid the setup. See what happens tonight.
post #4 of 859
Thread Starter 
Redoing the setup had no effect. To make sure the recorder was available for the downloads, I erased my list of recordings so it would sit waiting for the next download.

With that failing, I decided to reset the unit. The manual is a bit unclear about how to do this, I found out. The instructions are to hold down stop and press the standby or power button. What the manual doesn't tell you is that this has to be done on the front panel controls, not the remote.

This makes sense, as it prevents unintentional resets by someone inadvertently hitting the wrong button combination on the remote, but it would have been nice to have the manual cover this.

After a reset, the unit presented all the setup screens as did when it first came out of the box. After sitting in EPG status the rest of the day and following night, I now have guide information back.

We'll see if it continues to populate additional days without losing the guide information.

I set up a few one time recordings during the day to see if that has any effect.
post #5 of 859
Thread Starter 
Update - The EPG loaded during the night after resetting the recorder. All data loaded fine until all 8 days were fully loaded.

The EPG was working fine last night and is again totally gone this morning. Same message indicating that it would start rebuilding within 24 hours based on my setup change. No changes have been made to either the recorder setup or my cable service.

Wrote to Pioneer service again with this updated information. Seems to be some incompatibility between the EPG and my cable system, if nobody else is having this loss of information occurring on a regular basis.

All recordings are proceeding as they were setup prior to the guide being lost.

Sure would be nice to know if it is the Pioneer; the EPG; or my cable provider that is buggy.

The only consistency I've found so far is that the problem seems to recur regularly and that the tech support people I have available to me through Pioneer or my cable provider know nothing about nothing.

Fortunately, I got my recorder at WalMart, so it this doesn't get resolved, I can easily return.
post #6 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by aydu View Post

Seems to be some incompatibility between the EPG and my cable system, if nobody else is having this loss of information occurring on a regular basis.

I have not lost any EPG information on my Panasonic E-500 since my recorder started downloading the information over 3 months ago.

The problem lies with your recorder, your cable provider or the channel broadcasting the EPG data. The TV Guide EPG system itself has been functioning perfectly ever since I have started using it.

RG
post #7 of 859
It's definitely not necessary to erase your scheduled recordings to allow the guide to download. So far I've had this problem once in the 4 weeks my Pioneer 433. See this post.
post #8 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgazzara View Post

I have not lost any EPG information on my Panasonic E-500 since my recorder started downloading the information over 3 months ago.

The problem lies with your recorder, your cable provider or the channel broadcasting the EPG data. The TV Guide EPG system itself has been functioning perfectly ever since I have started using it.

Regardless, I think the programming is reprehensible in general application. If the EPG goes, there should have been some backup on the HD of the general settings. In addition, it should have dawned on Gemstar that if you lose the data you still have the time and channels to record. It should almost set the program to be a "manual timer" in that regard. Thus recording Monday night football next Monday would set in the database an entry for channel 7, 9pm - 12:30am, end of story. You don't need the TV Guide info to remember this once it's programmed in.

But I do agree with you rgazzara about Panasonic. They have had their quirks but from what I've read they seem to have their act together much more than the rest in the DVD-DVR category.
post #9 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by neilck6678 View Post

I had the exact same problem with my 633. After 1 month of flawless operation, I lost all the EPG data. Like you, all recordings were still there. I left it overnight, and it could not download the EPG data. I reset it using the hold Stop button and press power button, and went through the setup again. Overnight, it then downloaded the EPG data properly, and all previous recording were still in place.

Two weeks later, everything is fine.

I suspect at some point the EPG data got corrupted, and the system by default can't read the existing data or download new data. Another theory is that the cable provider changed some setting on their host system, and the unit is not smart enough to recognize it.

My Pioneer lots its EPG data again. I left it for 1.5 days, but it didn't make any progess so I reset it. It then loaded the EPG data as per normal. Strangely enough, if you use the EPG Search functions, it can find shows, it just can't display them in the TV listings...

I have a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with recording to DVD, or leaving a recordable DVD in the system. For me, it seems like the problem starts a couple of days after copying something to a DVD. Can anyone else concur?
post #10 of 859
Thread Starter 
My recorder lost the EPG with not recordable disc in the machine and nothing had been copied to a removable disc since the guide reloaded.

I use the recorder mainly for time shifting and don't burn discs very often.

Based on the timing of the loss of the guide (when all 8 days are fully loaded) I'm suspecting that there is some incompatibility in the way the Pioneer handles either adding new days to the EPG, or updating the daily/regularly scheduled recordings.

It seems that recurring programs are updated on the EPG every day when new information is downloaded. You see the recording symbol on the guide, as you page through the days. It might corrupt things if it has problems finding a program in this update program, interpreting this as a change in setup.

Who knows for sure? It seems to be sloppy programming somewhere in the information chain.
post #11 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Nelson View Post

It's definitely not necessary to erase your scheduled recordings to allow the guide to download. So far I've had this problem once in the 4 weeks my Pioneer 433. See this post.

That's interesting to read. When I read the original poster's subsequent post where he says he erased the timer recodings from the list, I was thinking that is what kept his unit from downloading the guide.
As has been mentioned all over discussions about the TVG, the units must be left off completely for no less than 24 full hours, with no turning on to check it, or timer recordings set, particularly if they are for shows during the 24 standby period, to download the data. I guess Pioneer must've did what Panasonic and everyone else didn't, actually improve how their unit handles the guide.
post #12 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westly-C View Post

I guess Pioneer must've did what Panasonic and everyone else didn't, actually improve how their unit handles the guide.

That may be a bad guess ....

Try looking at the "help wanted" portion of the corporate TV Guide On Screen website, http://www.tvgos.com/company/careers.asp

It's pretty clear that the people writing the embedded software for the TV Guide "EPG" for ALL the manufacturers, are in fact employees of TV Guide !!!!

Blaming Pioneer, Panasonic, Toshiba, Sony or whoever, for a particular quirk in a given implementation of the EPG is probably misplaced. I suspect that each version is tweaked for a given manufacturers units (sometimes poorly) by a "project group" working at TV Guide.

Sad to say, but it appears the TV Guide EPG woes being suffered by many people on various machines, appears to be the result of lousy American programmers.

How nice ......
post #13 of 859
I lost the EPG five times in four weeks, and finally gave up and took the unit back to Walmart. I loved it when it worked correctly, but finally got tired of doing the reset and waiting for the guide to come back. I wondered if anything in what I did could have caused the problem. I made sure not to use my TiVo remote near the Pioneer, in case there was some overlap in IR codes. The only other thing I am sure I did was to change two incorrect channel numbers each time I redid the setup. But that is a provided function to change the channel number tuned.

I am going to retry with a different box, but after reading that others had similar results, I am not hopeful that a different box/same model will do any better. If not, I will surely call Pioneer often. When I called before, I was told they had never heard of this kind of problem!
post #14 of 859
Thread Starter 
After leaving my timer recordings in tact, the EPG reloaded over night. Strange thing is that this time the Guide appeared with all 8 days of information.

Still waiting for a response from Pioneer customer "service". I updated them on the situation and asked for a date when I could expect a response.

I'm not holding my breath.
post #15 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westly-C View Post

I guess Pioneer must've did what Panasonic and everyone else didn't, actually improve how their unit handles the guide.

I heartily disagree. Based on the numerous posting by Pioneer owners of the new DVD recorders that their EPG is malfunctioning, and now reports from Toshiba users that their units' EPG are having problems with scheduled timer recordings, I'd say it was Panasonic who have the best implementation of the TV Guide EPG. The EPG on my Panasonic E-500 has performed perfectly since I activated it more than 3 months ago.

RG
post #16 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgazzara View Post

I heartily disagree. Based on the numerous posting by Pioneer owners of the new DVD recorders that their EPG is malfunctioning, and now reports from Toshiba users that their units' EPG are having problems with scheduled timer recordings, I'd say it was Panasonic who have the best implementation of the TV Guide EPG. The EPG on my Panasonic E-500 has performed perfectly since I activated it more than 3 months ago.

Considering that Panasonic allegedly allows you to turn the bloody TVGOS off with relative ease, my vote goes to the Panasonic for the Golden Toilet award in the "crapping on consumers" category.
post #17 of 859
Thread Starter 
Guide was fully functional yesterday - gone this morning. Seems to be in a death spiral - one day on - one day off.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

I love the recorder, and when the EPG is loaded, it works as advertised.

Maybe the reason for the 8 day guide is for you to program ahead, knowing that the guide won't likely be available the next day.
post #18 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by slinky View Post

Considering that Panasonic allegedly allows you to turn the bloody TVGOS off with relative ease, my vote goes to the Panasonic for the Golden Toilet award in the "crapping on consumers" category.

You know, I'm not so sure that Panasonic allows one to "turn off" the TV Guide EPG as easily as you suggest. I have not tried to bypass the EPG so I can't speak to this, but I would like to hear from others who have successfully disabled the EPG on their Panasonic recorder.

When the EPG is disabled in Panasonic DVD recorders, what happens? Does it periodically reappear as it does on the Pioneer recorders?

This information may come in handy if the EPG on my E-500 begins to "act up" and needs to be "put down", and would be useful for other Panasonic DVD recorder owners.

RG
post #19 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by aydu View Post

Maybe the reason for the 8 day guide is for you to program ahead, knowing that the guide won't likely be available the next day.

Not likely. But a nice try.
post #20 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgazzara View Post

When the EPG is disabled in Panasonic DVD recorders, what happens? Does it periodically reappear as it does on the Pioneer recorders?

No, it doesn't reappear. Well, unless the machine is reset.
post #21 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by luckylisp View Post

No, it doesn't reappear. Well, unless the machine is reset.

luckylisp,

Which Panasonic model do you have?

You have successfully disabled the TV Guide EPG?

How did you do it?

Has this caused you any problems (e.g., can't use RF input, loss of manual timer recording, etc.)?

Tell us your experiences.

Thanks,

RG
post #22 of 859
Another report from the field ...

I've had my 533 for about a month. Due to poor reception of the one channel that carries TVGOS data in my market (no cable/DBS for me, just free OTA), I didn't actually get the EPG working until a few days after purchase -- it started working on August 11th, I believe. Lo, it stopped working yesterday or the day before -- exactly a month later. My guess is there's a bug that hits after one month. Will I have to reset this thing once a month? We'll see.

It doesn't have anything to do with burning a disc, because I have yet to do that. It might have something to do with having a disc in (like a CD) or being in disc mode instead of HDD mode, because that's what it's often doing (despite the p*ss-poor CD playing behavior).

Some things that weren't clear in previous posts:

1. You WILL lose your programmed recording events. In other words, the unit's memory of of shows that it is supposed to record in the future will be wiped out. So you might want to write down the regular shows that you had programmed before doing the reset. Even though you can't see the TV listings, the scheduled shows are still in there.

2. With the unit ON, hold the front panel's Stop button down and hit the Power button. That does the reset. Starting with the unit ON was the missing step.

3. After a "Wait" cycle or two, hit the TVGuide button and you'll get the "hi, I'm TVGOS" screen, and then you redo your setup there.

4. Your previously recorded shows will persist through the reset. In other words, shows that you already recorded and are on your hard drive will continue to be there.

I'll find out overnight how it does, but I'm confident it'll be just fine. Then it'll just be a matter of seeing how often I have to do this, and if there's a way to recover without wiping out my scheduled recordings ...
post #23 of 859
One overnight down, no EPG yet
post #24 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC47 View Post

1. You WILL lose your programmed recording events. In other words, the unit's memory of of shows that it is supposed to record in the future will be wiped out. So you might want to write down the regular shows that you had programmed before doing the reset. Even though you can't see the TV listings, the scheduled shows are still in there.

This statement seems contradictory to me. "You WILL lose your programmed recording events" and "the scheduled shows are still in there" seem to be saying two opposite things. Which is it?

When I lost the guide listings on my 533, the recordings I had scheduled via the TV Guide software were still visible using the EPG "Schedule" screen, and they did in fact record properly when the scheduled time came. Although the "Listings" screen displayed no data, the previously scheduled recordings shown in the "Schedule" screen still showed the original detailed descriptions. I did not reset my DVR at any point during the listings outage, and the guide data came back on it's own in a couple of days.
post #25 of 859
Thanks Sean, good to know that it might come back by itself after a couple days. I believe I waited two full days before doing the reset, but it might have been less.

By "scheduled shows are still in there", I meant that after you experience the problem with the missing EPG listings, the scheduled recordings are still shown. After you do the reset they're gone.

Is it possible that when you lost your EPG data, it was exactly one month after you'd bought the unit?
post #26 of 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC47 View Post

One overnight down, no EPG yet

You'll need a full 24 HOURS, with it off, and no peeking. No timer recordings set (that would turn the unit on) during the 24 hr download period.


No peeking!
post #27 of 859
Thread Starter 
My guide vanishes about every other day, with the "rebuilding based on your setup change" message.

The only thing I have done is to use the guide to program shows.

I wonder if turning off the channels I don't record from in the EPG would help. For example, I will never record anything off the shopping or news channels. I wonder if the amount of daily recording and playing time is preventing the guide from completing it's updates, resulting in some internal trigger to rebuild the guide?

I don't record an absurd amount on a daily basis, but every hour of recording equals about an hour of viewing, so the machine is not available for EPG updates about twice the amount of taping time.

Perhaps by turning off unused channels, I might shorten the update cycle when the recorder is churning away hour after hour, when in standby mode.

If I ever get the EPG back, I will try to turn off all but those channels I record from and see if that bring any more stability to the EPG.

The EPG is a great idea that gets killed by a bad implementation by either Pioneer or TVGOS.
post #28 of 859
One quick thought, Have those of you with this problem left the TVGOS set at default where it comes up on the screen when you turn the recorder on or have you disabled that feature so that the guide only comes on when you press the button for the guide?
post #29 of 859
Thread Starter 
Mine defaults to the Guide on when the recorder is powered up - default setting.
post #30 of 859
Last night my EPG lost its "Listings" data again (no tv schedule show in the grid display). However, this time I totally ignored the fact, and used the Search function in the EPG to setup to record a bunch of shows anyways. This morning, as it was taping a show, I decided to check if the Listings were available, and to my surprise, it was there! The previous two times this happened, the Listings never reappeared, not even after 2 days.

Here's my growing list of observations:
1. The only time the Listings reappeared without a reset was when the TVGOS was set to come on everytime the Pioneer is turned on.
2. Even though the "Listings" is empty, and the EPG data is still there, can be accessed through the "Search" screen.
3. Everytime I've lost the "Listings" its been a couple of days after using the DVD drive. I suspect if the Pioneer is in DVD drive mode during some type of EPG downoad, it causes corruption.
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