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Pace CableCARD HD Boxes (TDC779X, TDC778X and DC757X) - Page 7

post #181 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by daimlerguy View Post


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.

Bill

Bummer. I have a Sony HT-SF2000 with HDMI input/output. After reading your post, I went to Wal*Mart and picked up an optical cable. There are two TOSLINK inputs on the receiver, SAT and VIDEO1. I was hoping I'd get Dolby by simply using the SAT input. Nope.

But when I plug it into the VIDEO1 input it passes Dolby fine - just no picture!

I looked at the inscrutable manual and thought maybe it was a simple deal to select a different sound source for the satellite input, but no.

Anyone have any ideas? This receiver seems determined to get audio over HDMI.

Later on this evening: Sheesh. I was looking at the Home Theater in a Box forum to get ideas. For some reason, my SAT TOSLINK input doesn't seem to work as expected, but as I mentioned before, the AUDIO1 TOSLINK seemed to pass Dolby fine. So I ran the HDMI from the PACE directly to the TV and use the receiver to process just the audio from the PACE. Seems to work ok - although there's a great volume difference between Dolby and non-Dolby shows.

Hopefully the Dolby over HDMI will be fixed soon so I can recover my TV's extra HDMI input.
post #182 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roginator View Post

Bummer. I have a Sony HT-SF2000 with HDMI input/output. After reading your post, I went to Wal*Mart and picked up an optical cable. There are two TOSLINK inputs on the receiver, SAT and VIDEO1. I was hoping I'd get Dolby by simply using the SAT input. Nope.

But when I plug it into the VIDEO1 input it passes Dolby fine - just no picture!

I looked at the inscrutable manual and thought maybe it was a simple deal to select a different sound source for the satellite input, but no.

Anyone have any ideas? This receiver seems determined to get audio over HDMI.

Later on this evening: Sheesh. I was looking at the Home Theater in a Box forum to get ideas. For some reason, my SAT TOSLINK input doesn't seem to work as expected, but as I mentioned before, the AUDIO1 TOSLINK seemed to pass Dolby fine. So I ran the HDMI from the PACE directly to the TV and use the receiver to process just the audio from the PACE. Seems to work ok - although there's a great volume difference between Dolby and non-Dolby shows.

Hopefully the Dolby over HDMI will be fixed soon so I can recover my TV's extra HDMI input.

Did you go into the setup menu on you receiver and change the input?
I have an Onkyo 705, and I had to change my input setting.
I left my cab/sat as HDMI input, but I had to change my 'Digital Input' (which is the audio input area on my receiver) from HDMI to Optical 1.
Depending on your receiver...you will need to make similar change.
Hope this info helps!
post #183 of 1067
Noobie here...

First of all, thanks to all those that provide the good technical information that is exchanged in this thread. I've read through it, and really appreciate not only the good answers, but the good questions, too. Roginator and kevkearney have most specifically touched on my questions, and I want to expand on them.

I'm in Juneau, Alaska, and am, as is Roginator, a GCI Alaska customer. We have a new Regza HDTV and are using it with a Toshiba HD DVD HD-D3, and now a new PACE TDC778X DVR. The AVR is an older, non-HDMI Harman-Kardon AVR 230. The AVR does have a pair of digital coaxial audio inputs, and a pair of digital optical audio inputs.

Since the AVR isn't HDMI, all the video components go straight to the Regza by HDMI. I do, however, run all the audio to the AVR using either digital optical or coaxial. In fact, the DVR is using the digital coaxial input to the AVR, and the AVR input is set to receive and use that input. The HD DVD is set up similar, and in the setup for that component, I had to set the HDMI to "downmixed PCM" (or was it "downmixed HDMI"?), and digital audio to "bitstream". And there starts my questions. I don't see similar choices for the DVR.

GCI doesn't include a users manual for the TDC778X when they had you the box, so I really appreciate the manual being available here. I've studied through it, and have a few questions.

For the digital audio out to the AVR, what are the best settings for Audio Output?

Optimal Stereo? (I presume.)
TV Speakers? (I don't think so.)
Stereo Output - Matrix Stereo?
What about the compression settings? None?

So far, I haven't found any channels from GCI that are DD or DTS, according to the AVR. Roginator, is that correct?

Thanks!
Grampa Steve
post #184 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grampa Steve View Post

Noobie here...

For the digital audio out to the AVR, what are the best settings for Audio Output?

Optimal Stereo? (I presume.)
TV Speakers? (I don't think so.)
Stereo Output - Matrix Stereo?
What about the compression settings? None?

So far, I haven't found any channels from GCI that are DD or DTS, according to the AVR. Roginator, is that correct?


I'm a noobie myself and am learning all of this by trial and error with a little help from various AVS Forums.

I'm using the settings: Optimal stereo, advanced, No compression, matrix.

It "appears" ALL channels from the PACE output some sort of basic, 2-channel stereo Dolby. Only the high definition channels can be expected to have surround sound - and not all shows have it. I don't subscribe to any premium channels, so that limits my current surround sound experience to National Geographic-HD, TNT-HD, KTUU-HD, WealthTV(?). KTVA-HD, and KAKM-HD(?). Not sure if NFL-HD has surround sound.

What puzzles me the most is that one digital optical input on my receiver doesn't seem to work properly, but the other one does. I've given up on getting Dolby 5.1 over HDMI until they figure out what went wrong.
post #185 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roginator View Post


What puzzles me the most is that one digital optical input on my receiver doesn't seem to work properly, but the other one does. I've given up on getting Dolby 5.1 over HDMI until they figure out what went wrong.

Did you check my suggestions in post #182? This may fix your problem with the optical connection. Also, if you change from 'no compression' to "high compression' you will get better sound. I thought it was the opposite, but my cable tech told me to try it on high compression, and it really does make an improvement!

Bill
post #186 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by daimlerguy View Post

Did you check my suggestions in post #182? This may fix your problem with the optical connection. Also, if you change from 'no compression' to "high compression' you will get better sound. I thought it was the opposite, but my cable tech told me to try it on high compression, and it really does make an improvement!

Bill

When I tried to change the audio source, it appeared that the receiver was designed NOT to allow any of the useful changes I tried.

I'll try high compression on the sound - although it's fairly good now.
post #187 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post


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


So the indicator lights for Tuner 1 / Tuner 2 indicate if you are time shifted, unless you are at the end of the buffer? I believe it has been stated the only way to go to true live TV, or I guess the term would be no trick stuff, is to tune away and tune back to a channel. I did notice the light does go out when Live TV is pressed. Based on the no trick stuff comment, I would assume when you press 'Live TV' you are going to the end but still reading from the buffer thus still time shifted, although very slightly. This is really not a big deal, just curious. I guess the main intention of the light is to indicate if you are live no buffer/end of buffer live?

Is there a quality hit taken when reading from the buffer / recording. Is the exact stream buffered / recorded, or is an internal compression done? Are recordings done in native resolution? For instance, if you have 720p set as the only output to the display at the time of taping, will a taped 1080i show be converted to 720p and then saved?

As far as feature requests, I know this is probably a TVG thing, but I bet you can get to their ears a lot easier than I can... It would be nice if you could mark partial part of show for deletion. For example, if you have a 4 hour football game where you have already watched the 1st half, if you could mark a point and delete the 1st half saving recording space for something else, allow the box to reorganize itself, etc. I'm not sure if there are legal implications (that's a shame if so - but that's a different discussion) in doing this since it is somewhat obvious feature?
post #188 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

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.

I forgot to mention something else that might help you. In the past, we've run into some poorly made eSATA cables that created data loss and some symptoms similar to those that you are reporting. What is the make/model of your eSATA cable and where did you get it?
post #189 of 1067
So I just called my Cable Provider about my Pace Tahoe squeaking, they said its normal, even when turned off, so I guess I have to live with it (because im not going back to SD and I love DVR) the squeaking doesnt happen as much as when I first got it but its still there, I might call back at a later time and talk to a different customer service rep just to get a second opinion (why should a $400 cable box squeak?) I wish they still sold the motorola box.
post #190 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

I forgot to mention something else that might help you. In the past, we've run into some poorly made eSATA cables that created data loss and some symptoms similar to those that you are reporting. What is the make/model of your eSATA cable and where did you get it?

It came with the NexStar 3, and seems to be good quality as far as I can tell. The odd thing is that it was working fine for a couple of weeks, and then began to freeze, stutter and lock up.

If it were an ordinary computer, I would have thought it behaved as if it was memory-bound.
post #191 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCEvan View Post

So I just called my Cable Provider about my Pace Tahoe squeaking, they said its normal, even when turned off, so I guess I have to live with it (because im not going back to SD and I love DVR) the squeaking doesnt happen as much as when I first got it but its still there, I might call back at a later time and talk to a different customer service rep just to get a second opinion (why should a $400 cable box squeak?) I wish they still sold the motorola box.

Mine doesn't squeak. Can you isolate the noise to a specific area of the box, e.g with the old tubing hose pseudo-stethoscope trick used by auto mechanics etc? Maybe you could even record it and post it somewhere with a link, so those who know more about the box can help identify it.
post #192 of 1067
Quote:
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.



No.

Do I see that recording from the firewire/1394 output of the Pace box to a computer is possible? Can lindend or someone else who has experience with this please let me know whether this works? Thanks...
post #193 of 1067
I had the dreaded frame-skipping problem today during the football playoffs. It was also apparent on episodes of the Tonight Show recorded from the same local NBC channel in the past couple of days.

I discovered how to change the 3:2 pulldown on my TV, but that had no effect.

Finally, after several hours of this, I decided to check some other HD channels. I switched to National Geographic HD at 720p for a few minutes. I couldn't see any problem. Then I switched to TNT-HD (1080i I believe). No problems there either after a few minutes. So I switched back to the problematic NBC local HD channel. Now it was fine!

There seems to be something that's confusing the PACE box. I have GCI cable in Anchorage. HD is relatively new here and sometimes buggy.

But it's a hopeful sign that SOMETHING I did seemed to correct the problem.
post #194 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by busterdog View Post

Do I see that recording from the firewire/1394 output of the Pace box to a computer is possible? Can lindend or someone else who has experience with this please let me know whether this works? Thanks...

Just replied to your PM and see that you posted on the thread, so ignore the PM. Anyways, we test 1394 recording on DVHS. Its theoretically possible to record to a PC (running either Linux or Windows) or a Mac. The Windows 1394 software is pretty buggy and often crashs when it was sent a legitimate transport stream. Since we don't have the source on the Windows side, can't say why. So at this point, all I can tell you is DVHS is officially supported, PC support is haphazard due to stability issues on the PC side.
post #195 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roginator View Post

I had the dreaded frame-skipping problem today during the football playoffs. It was also apparent on episodes of the Tonight Show recorded from the same local NBC channel in the past couple of days.

Based on what you describe, is there any possibility that the local NBC affliate had macroblocking issues?
post #196 of 1067
My wife let the son know the PIN for our box.
Now I can't figure out how to change it.
post #197 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

Just replied to your PM and see that you posted on the thread, so ignore the PM. Anyways, we test 1394 recording on DVHS. Its theoretically possible to record to a PC (running either Linux or Windows) or a Mac. The Windows 1394 software is pretty buggy and often crashs when it was sent a legitimate transport stream. Since we don't have the source on the Windows side, can't say why. So at this point, all I can tell you is DVHS is officially supported, PC support is haphazard due to stability issues on the PC side.

Thanks for the quick answer...

Well, as a Mac user I'm not so interested in the bugginess on the Windows side (insert smiley here)...but what happens on the Mac? I hook up the firewire cable, and then what?
post #198 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

Based on what you describe, is there any possibility that the local NBC affliate had macroblocking issues?

No, no macroblocking... just frame-skipping - most visible on scenes with panning. Sort of like trying to watch a badly converted PAL video.

As you can imagine, this is very annoying to try to watch, especially football where they pan across the field all the time.

And it hadn't happened for a week or two. Next time it happens, I will experiment some more with switching to different HD channels to see if I can replicate the "cure".
post #199 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

I forgot to mention something else that might help you. In the past, we've run into some poorly made eSATA cables that created data loss and some symptoms similar to those that you are reporting.

More background to this problem. There are multiple issues regarding cables which I will summarize below:
  • Poor quality cable. Results typically in macroblocking and/or video issues/delays due to CRC errors.
  • Housing problems in the eSATA drive (not a cable issue per se). Due to the design of the eSATA housing, some cables may not fit properly and this may result in the drive either never being recognized, or sometimes not being recognized. A number of Free agent drives have this issue. See this blog for more info on this topic. Note: I'm just linking to the blog for more info on the housing problem. This is not a commentary pro or con on Seagate drives. It also contains links with additional info on this problem.

So we can break problems down into at least two categories:
  1. Drive unrecognized.
    • Make sure your cable is connecting cleanly to the eSATA drive.
  2. Problems watching/playing video.
    • Make sure you have a reasonable quality cable.
    • Check to see if you have a USB/eSATA combo.
post #200 of 1067
Just got home with my new exchanged Pace Taheo, no more chirping, I can finally watch tv in peace without it sounding like there is wildlife in my home (with the exception of 2 cats ) they also gave me a new remote (i guess its the new one) much nicer the the old mini motorola remote.
post #201 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

... we can break problems down into at least two categories:
  1. Drive unrecognized.
    • Make sure your cable is connecting cleanly to the eSATA drive.
  2. Problems watching/playing video.
    • Make sure you have a reasonable quality cable.
    • Check to see if you have a USB/eSATA combo.

Based on this, and inspired by the fact that according to the manufacturer of my combo eSATA enclosure, the SATA connection in this case is a simple pass-through, I will go home and try again. It may be possible that in the process of rotating the DVR back and forth for various other operations, the cable got misaligned, or some other similar problem happened.

Note I do not give up on my theory that the unit is memory-starved, since poking around on the front-panel diagnostics seemed to show very little SDRAM memory left when I encountered this problem.

All in all, it would be nice if the unit were offered with a much larger internal hard drive as an option, since (a) you said earlier that some firmware tweaks were done on the included drive, and (b) most people just want the extra space and don't care whether this is accomplished using eSATA. A terabyte (or even half) is comparatively cheap, and would alleviate most peoples' need to go for external space.

Can I also suggest that you try to classify combo drive enclosures that have problems as to whether (like the Nexstar 3) they claim to be simple pass-through, or instead process the SATA signals in the chip set? I cannot see how a simple pass-through connection could introduce problems in a combo enclosure, but perhaps there is a way.

Added note:
There is additional discussion of cable end length problems here, including a link to trimming instructions in a PDF file here.
post #202 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

Note I do not give up on my theory that the unit is memory-starved, since poking around on the front-panel diagnostics seemed to show very little SDRAM memory left when I encountered this problem.

Unfortunately, diags of memory usage really isn't representative of what's going on in the box (at least with TV Guide). When you go into diagnostics, TVG stops the circular recordings.

We don't use virtual memory and TVG will try to claim as quite a few megabytes of free memory for guide data so what you see isn't surprising.

I have some additional theories about what might be happening with your external eSATA drive, but they all involve formatting the drive and I don't think you want to do it at this point.

However, your strategy is right, lets rule out the cable before doing anything permanent such as formatting the eSATA drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

All in all, it would be nice if the unit were offered with a much larger internal hard drive as an option,

Thanks for the feedback. There are a lot of factors involved in selecting the HDD size and we value your input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

Can I also suggest that you try to classify combo drive enclosures that have problems as to whether (like the Nexstar 3) they claim to be simple pass-through, or instead process the SATA signals in the chip set?

The issue isn't a combo chipset per se, but bugs in the combo chipset. Properly written firmware in a combo chipset should work. Regardless, we're trying to get an enclosure like the one you bought in house to see what is going on.
post #203 of 1067
Well....I just got through sapping out my TDC778x for a new one. It developed a very loud buzzing noise, which it did whether it was on or off! The lady at Buckeye said that she has had a few returned for the same reason...not good.
Also, when I would FF to get thru commercials on recorded shows, half the time when I would hit play it would start at the spot that I started to FF. This was VERY annoying. I would have to FF 2 or 3 times to get to where I wanted to be. I hope these 2 issues are not inherent with these boxes. We'll see what happens when I hook the new one up once I get home from work.
post #204 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daimlerguy View Post

I hope these 2 issues are inherent with these boxes. We'll see what happens when I hook the new one up once I get home from work.

Issue #2 is a software/content issue which we're investigating.
post #205 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daimlerguy View Post

Well....I just got through sapping out my TDC778x for a new one. It developed a very loud buzzing noise, which it did whether it was on or off! The lady at Buckeye said that she has had a few returned for the same reason...not good.

We are not aware of a loud buzzing noise issue. Can you provide more details on this buzzing noise? Does it sound like hard drive activity? Is it similar to the squeaking noise reported by SCEvan?

If anyone else ever experiences this problem, please capture the unit address (diags page 6) before swapping out the unit.

Thanks.
post #206 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

We are not aware of a loud buzzing noise issue. Can you provide more details on this buzzing noise? Does it sound like hard drive activity? Is it similar to the squeaking noise reported by SCEvan?

If anyone else ever experiences this problem, please capture the unit address (diags page 6) before swapping out the unit.

Thanks.

I will definitely do that if this box does it. My parents have the 775 box, and it is quiet...but it too has the FF issue.
A friend of mine has the 778, and you can hear the hard drive...but only when the box is on and it's not as loud as the one I turned in. Mine would make the loud buzz for awhile, then sop for about 5 seconds then go back to buzzing. It did seem to be giving off ALOT of heat as well.
I'll hop on here if I have any issues with ne box before returning it.

Thanks,
Bill
post #207 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

We are not aware of a loud buzzing noise issue. Can you provide more details on this buzzing noise? Does it sound like hard drive activity? Is it similar to the squeaking noise reported by SCEvan?

If anyone else ever experiences this problem, please capture the unit address (diags page 6) before swapping out the unit.

Thanks.

If it matters when I exchanged it the reason of exchange was (this is what they wrote all i said was it was chirping) was a fan bearing.
post #208 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roginator View Post

Has anyone reported frame skipping/dropping?

I have a 778X and attributed it to updating the program information, but another user says it may be caused when dissimilar resolutions are used by each tuner. (720p on one tuner while trying to watch 1080i on the other)

In one brief test of that theory, the frame dropping seemed to stop once both tuners were on 1080i channels.

I only have a few HD channels and rarely have it on the 720p channels -- maybe I should test this theory a bit...


I believe I had the frame skipping issue last night.

I had just turned on my TV/DVR and the first thing I did was open up my recordings list and delete a bunch of programs. There were several long HD programs deleted, multiple 3+ hour sporting events and a couple 30 min SD shows. I then started to watch a SD DVR program. The video would skip few frames and then catch up. Audio was in looked to be in perfect sync when the video wasn't skipping. I assumed it was the program, so I exited and went to watch live TV. Same thing on SD channels and HD channels. It was very annoying.

I ended up going into the diagnostics to see if anything looked strange to the novice I am. When I left the diagnostics, the problem was gone - even in the DVR recording that was having issues. The only thing in the diagnostics that looked any different was 1 over run or overflow listed (I forget where) which I don't believe I had ever seen before. The uptime was listed as 17 hrs 10 min. This was strange since I hadn't lost power. The time would have corresponded to ~ 2 AM so maybe the cable company did something, but my firmware and guide versions were the same.
post #209 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCEvan View Post

If it matters when I exchanged it the reason of exchange was (this is what they wrote all i said was it was chirping) was a fan bearing.

That makes sense...that would produce the sound I was hearing.
The new box is silent...I haven't had a chance to check the FF issue.
Keeping my fingers crossed!
post #210 of 1067
I think I saw the frame skipping last night on several HD channels. There was no pixilization or audio loss.

I have the 778X with 9.62 firmware on Buckeye Cable.
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