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Pace CableCARD HD Boxes (TDC779X, TDC778X and DC757X) - Page 8

post #211 of 1067
I'll be checking this evening on the recorded material.
So far everything is great. The PQ is top notch, I'm getting Dolby thru the toslink, and the box is now quiet. The box I got is supposedly a brand new one that Buckeye just got in. The rep said they just got the new shipment the day before yesterday...
post #212 of 1067
Well...this box seems to be pretty good! I did notice a little bit of irregularity on the FF and FR when watching recordings, but it was not as severe as the other box I had.
I can definitely live with it !
post #213 of 1067
I tried the following with my eSATA combo enclosure:
  1. Trimming the cable jacket to leave 10 mm clear -- no difference
  2. Using and not using the jumper on its 750 GB Seagate hard drive to limit transfer rate to 1.5 Gbits/sec -- no difference
  3. Allowing the Pace unit to reformat the external drive upon a reboot -- no difference

Next I will try replacing the cable completely, and *sigh* then try a different enclosure.

The symptom is now that the Pace unit will lock up completely after a while, not respond to power on, even from the front panel. If I reboot, the external drive does show up and is listed in the diagnostics page, the free space is calculated correctly in the recorded program listings, etc. -- until the next lock-up.

I wonder whether the 750 GB drive is running too hot for this non-cooled (passively cooled) enclosure?
post #214 of 1067
Swapped cables, both external to the Pace box and then even the internal jumper. Finally tried substituting the disk from the external enclosure in place of the Pace unit's internal disk. It wouldn't even format there! Put it all back together and tested the drive via USB 2. It seems the disk itself is well and truly dead. The good news is that the Pace unit still performs fine on its own using its original tiny 160 GB hard disk, which is now 78 percent full.

All in all, as I said before, I would much rather have paid 2 or 3 hundred dollars more (or a bit more in monthly fees) and gotten a 1 TB drive internal to the unit to start with. Googling around leads one to consider the Hitachi CinemaStar 7K1000, 1TB and optimized for this purpose, it seems.

Not sure what killed the drive -- whether it was the enclosure, the usage pattern, or perhaps the disk itself had an infancy failure.
post #215 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

All in all, as I said before, I would much rather have paid 2 or 3 hundred dollars more (or a bit more in monthly fees) and gotten a 1 TB drive internal to the unit to start with. Googling around leads one to consider the Hitachi CinemaStar 7K1000, 1TB and optimized for this purpose, it seems.

I just wanted to take a moment to agree with ScienceMan. i have posted to this effect before but I really don't understand why vendors don't provide DVR's with much larger hard drives. I know these drives are not all that expensive and many of us would be very willing to pay more than the difference.
post #216 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

All in all, as I said before, I would much rather have paid 2 or 3 hundred dollars more (or a bit more in monthly fees) and gotten a 1 TB drive internal to the unit to start with.

I would let your cable company know that you'd like to see larger internal drives. This is the most effective way to effect change on this particular item.
post #217 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

I would let your cable company know that you'd like to see larger internal drives. This is the most effective way to effect change on this particular item.

lindend, Thanks for the help/responses with the 778X over in the 700 series forum. Don't know if telling your cable company that will get you anywhere. I've been telling mine that I want Speed HD by sending them enough emails to fill a server. Anyway the cable comapny (Armstrong) gave me a new one and all has been well at least so far. After reading through all the posts about external drives, is there any particular model/manufacturer that Pace has tested (unofficialy)with the 778 and had few problems? Of course I am noting that your view is not neccesarily those of Pace Micro.
Thanks.... The Iron Colonel
post #218 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

Swapped cables, both external to the Pace box and then even the internal jumper. Finally tried substituting the disk from the external enclosure in place of the Pace unit's internal disk. It wouldn't even format there! Put it all back together and tested the drive via USB 2. It seems the disk itself is well and truly dead. The good news is that the Pace unit still performs fine on its own using its original tiny 160 GB hard disk, which is now 78 percent full.

We got the NexStart 3 in today. After several hours of testing, I did not see any CRC errors, so this doesn't initially appear to have the USB/eSATA combo firmware bug (as you suspected). I haven't seen any issues with the drive. I need more time to definitively state that the CRC errors don't happen with this enclosure.
post #219 of 1067
I am using the PACE779Xs bypass inputs capability to pass digital audio from another DVR to my AV receiver when the PACE box is off. It usually works fine and it is a good feature that I have never seen on other DVR boxes. But the pace box needs to be "on" to record for some reason that is not clear to me and this prevents me from being able to pass my SPDIF audio through the PACE to my AV receiver when recording shows on the PACE. I have monitored power usage and the PACE takes about the same amount of power when it is on or off (my HD never appear to sleep or the power would reduce). After reading this forum I can only guess that PACE wanted to use "being off for 30 sec" as a pre-power down indication for removing power cleanly. I wish the unit would turn off the two green led and display "off" on the display and change the outputs to bypass mode but keep recording the shows when user select power off during recording. When recording ends the unit could enter the power off/standby state. I think this would also be a good way to handle when recordings start from power off/standby state.

I tried the bypass button on the unit's front (which is not on the cable provided remote or in Logitech Harmony site) but it doesn't appear to work. An icon on the front panel display sometimes briefly illuminates and then goes off .

Anybody able to get the bypass functionality to work while recording?
post #220 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttumlin View Post

i did ask Mediacom if the SATA port was enabled but they weren't sure and were suppose to call me back but never did. i'll try again.

Another mediacom user PMed me about the SATA port being disabled. How did you get around the Diags page reporting that the SATA port was disabled?
post #221 of 1067
Bug report: Returning from standby with tuner previously on an analog channel results in SPDIF audio output at 48 KHz and wrong frequency sounding audio. Changing to a different analog channel doesn't change the sampling rate and wrong frequency audio continues.
Changing to a HDTV channel has correct audio and then re-tuning to an analog channel changes the SPDIF audio output to 32 KHz and audio sounds normal.

This is the first device to send 32 KHz audio to my Sony AV receiver (STR-DE835). Why is 32 KHz audio being used for analog channels? Wouldn't encoding it at 48 KHz be better for symmetry with digital channels and avoid this bug?

Anybody else seeing this behavior?
post #222 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

Another mediacom user PMed me about the SATA port being disabled. How did you get around the Diags page reporting that the SATA port was disabled?

Mediacom does not disable the SATA port as far as I know. I could check if there is anything wrong on that account, but other than that, there is no capability that they have implemented to specifically disable the SATA port.
post #223 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappend View Post

Bug report: Returning from standby with tuner previously on an analog channel results in SPDIF audio output at 48 KHz and wrong frequency sounding audio. Changing to a different analog channel doesn't change the sampling rate and wrong frequency audio continues.
Changing to a HDTV channel has correct audio and then re-tuning to an analog channel changes the SPDIF audio output to 32 KHz and audio sounds normal.

We've never seen this behavior before with any of the S/PDIF devices that we've tested. Do you have another receiver or an HDMI monitor you could try in order to rule out the receiver?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappend View Post

Why is 32 KHz audio being used for analog channels? Wouldn't encoding it at 48 KHz be better for symmetry with digital channels and avoid this bug?

32k is working as designed for both the 775 and the 779 for analog channels. I can't discuss on a public forum (or via PM) the reasons why this is done, but there's a solid technical explanation for it.
post #224 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

Another mediacom user PMed me about the SATA port being disabled. How did you get around the Diags page reporting that the SATA port was disabled?

i never did really. i think even the times it reported it found the disk it still said the port was disabled. i guess either the message is just wrong or maybe that was part of the prolem i was still having.
post #225 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

We've never seen this behavior before with any of the S/PDIF devices that we've tested. Do you have another receiver or an HDMI monitor you could try in order to rule out the receiver?

It is actually a two part setup to reproduce the issue. Set tuner 1 on an analog channel. Set tuner2 on a HD channel with 5.1 DD content. Power off while on tuner 2. When powered up the analog tuner 1 channel will activate and the audio will be messed up. My Sony AV receiver show it as 48KHz audio and plays it at a weird rate. I hooked it up to a DENON DAT recorder and it shows 32KHz rate but has all kinds of loud scratches. It is acting like its sampling rate might be higher then 32KHz. Once in this mode you can power off from tuner1 and the bad audio persists through all subsequent power ons. Clear the issue by swapping to tuner 2 and back to tuner 1. If you power off from tuner1 with good audio then the audio will be fine on next power up. ( Also tried tuner 2 set on LD Digital channel with DD2.0 and the same issue happens)

(Note- power off/up/on refer to sleep mode and not removing AC)

I can't imagine nobody else sees this. Maybe most people don't use the dual tuner functions to watch live TV?

((My guess is that the routine that is setting tuner 1 active on startup is missing some steps that are handled via the channel change or tuner swap function when a digital->analog switch is detected - like setup correct audio decode))
post #226 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

I understand and share your frustration at combo eSATA/USB situation. However, lets review the facts here:

7. Given the fact that some combo drives have bugs in the firmware and others may not (it just depends on the chip and firmware on the chip), we could say that we work with revision X.Y.Z of manufacturer A, but its impossible to test all of these combinations. The hard reality of this situation is there are some drives out there with bugs (and its not just a particular drive manufacturer).

9. I don't think this is a permanent situation/restriction. I strongly suspect that firmware updates will be available at some point in the future.

Did you happen to test the firmware upadate from Seagate for the FreeAgent Pro found here:FA_Pro_eSATA_Update1.zip ?

It updates the USB/eSATA chipset.
post #227 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappend View Post

It is actually a two part setup to reproduce the issue.

Thank you for your diligence with this bug. We've replicated and are investigating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappend View Post

I can't imagine nobody else sees this. Maybe most people don't use the dual tuner functions to watch live TV?

You are the first person to report this. Don't know if anyone else has run into it but no one has reported it.
post #228 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

We got the NexStart 3 in today. After several hours of testing, I did not see any CRC errors, so this doesn't initially appear to have the USB/eSATA combo firmware bug (as you suspected). I haven't seen any issues with the drive. I need more time to definitively state that the CRC errors don't happen with this enclosure.

How about an update? Thank you.
post #229 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Col_Klink View Post

How about an update? Thank you.

I didn't see any CRC errors after 24 hours, but that is just me playing with the unit. Its not a complete test run and should not be considered an endorsement of the product.
post #230 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

We got the NexStart 3 in today. After several hours of testing, I did not see any CRC errors, so this doesn't initially appear to have the USB/eSATA combo firmware bug (as you suspected). I haven't seen any issues with the drive. I need more time to definitively state that the CRC errors don't happen with this enclosure.

From what I found it appears the eSata interface is passthrough and doesn't go through a chipset. Without a chipset this should be the same as a "WD My DVR Expander."

Quote:


got my answer:

The NST-360SU uses the SunPlus SPIF215A chipset for the USB-SATA bridge. The eSATA port is a simple passthrough connection.

Regards,

Vantec Thermal Technologies
43951 Boscell Rd
Fremont, CA 94538
Tel: 510-668-0368
Fax: 510-668-0367″
post #231 of 1067
I am purchasing an HDTV and will be getting a Pace DVR for it. Is the following the best way to connect them together along with my 5.1ch receiver so as to get the best HD picture and 5.1ch surround sound:
- connect my Pace DVR to my TV via an HDMI cable and then connect my TV to my 5.1ch receiver with an Optical (toslink) cable?
Also, approximately how many GBs are needed to record one hour of HD programming on a Pace DVR?
-thanks-
post #232 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrw1 View Post

I am purchasing an HDTV and will be getting a Pace DVR for it. Is the following the best way to connect them together along with my 5.1ch receiver so as to get the best HD picture and 5.1ch surround sound:
- connect my Pace DVR to my TV via an HDMI cable and then connect my TV to my 5.1ch receiver with an Optical (toslink) cable?

The toslink output on every TV I have seen is only for the internal tuner (wont output audio received via HDMI). You need a AV receiver that accepts HDMI if you want to use HDMI for audio or you can connect the PACE toslink output to your AV receiver along with the HDMI to your TV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrw1 View Post

Also, approximately how many GBs are needed to record one hour of HD programming on a Pace DVR?

~8Gb per Hour
post #233 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

I didn't see any CRC errors after 24 hours, but that is just me playing with the unit. Its not a complete test run and should not be considered an endorsement of the product.


lindend, I fully understand "Its not a complete test run and should not be considered an endorsement of the product". That being said. Any chance you can tell me what Brand/Model/Size of drive you have installed in that Nexstar 3? I could always make use of it somewhere else if problems develop. Thank you. We could consider it an independent test from Iron Colonel Labs lol.
post #234 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrw1 View Post

I am purchasing an HDTV and will be getting a Pace DVR for it. Is the following the best way to connect them together along with my 5.1ch receiver so as to get the best HD picture and 5.1ch surround sound:
- connect my Pace DVR to my TV via an HDMI cable and then connect my TV to my 5.1ch receiver with an Optical (toslink) cable?
Also, approximately how many GBs are needed to record one hour of HD programming on a Pace DVR?
-thanks-

I have my TV connected with component,Need to get another HDMI cable. Audio with optic cable from the 778to receiver. Receiver I have connected right now has no HDMI. Sounds great in 5.1. I have not tried HDMI to TV yet along with the optical audio, the only thing I could think might be a problem is if somehow when you make a HDMI connection the pace disables the optical outputs? Like I said I am no way sure of that statement, maybe lindend could chime in about it.
post #235 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Col_Klink View Post

I have not tried HDMI to TV yet along with the optical audio, the only thing I could think might be a problem is if somehow when you make a HDMI connection the pace disables the optical outputs? Like I said I am no way sure of that statement, maybe lindend could chime in about it.

I have HDMI connected to the TV with optical to the AV receiver and it works fine. HDMI usage has never disabled digital sound output on any device I have used. The only catch is that in most devices during the HDMI handshake they discover that your TV only supports 2 Ch PCM and might set the entire digital audio output (HDMI and TOSLINK) to 2 CH PCM. There has always been a menu that I can select send the digital output unmodified (DTS, DD5.1, PCM).
post #236 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Col_Klink View Post

Any chance you can tell me what Brand/Model/Size of drive you have installed in that Nexstar 3?

I just stuck in a spare 160GB drive that was lying around. Remember, I was testing whether or not the bridge chipset had a CRC issue and the size of the drive didn't matter.
post #237 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttumlin View Post

Also, there seems to be a real flaw in the software that displays the % full on the regular user screen when you list recordings. When the box found the external drive it showed 85% full, when the box did not find the external drive it showed the correct 37% full. The DVR status page showed right around the 37% full in both cases.

I hooked up another eSata drive and the PACE detects it and asks to format it. I format it and the diag page shows both the internal and external HD now. But the % used jumps to 85% when it was like 37% with just the internal Drive. The eSata drive will detect every boot and the box come up in around 1.5 min.

The interface page shows
SATA enabled: No
Internal Drive: Valid
External Drive: Valid (This used to be UNKNOWN with WD extern combo drive.)

I think ttumlin and I are both victims of Mediacom some how disabling the eSATA interface.

lindend, Can you confirm this behavior that we are seeing when SATA is disabled and a valid drive is hooked up? If you can confirm it might help pursue the issue some how with Mediacom.

I also had the unit take over 10min to boot up when I was trying a Western Digital MyBook Home Firewire/USB/eSATA drive and it was always detected as UNKNOWN and didn't work.
post #238 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappend View Post

I hooked up another eSata drive and the PACE detects it and asks to format it.

Was the drive previously formatted in Windows or the Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappend View Post

I format it and the diag page shows both the internal and external HD now. But the % used jumps to 85% when it was like 37% with just the internal Drive.

What was the % free in the DVR status page or the HDD Status page for each drive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappend View Post

External Drive: Valid (This used to be UNKNOWN with WD extern combo drive.)

Unknown == not detected so this is progress. I am concerned though because if it says SATA is not enabled, then it really shouldn't be allowing you to record to the drive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappend View Post

lindend, Can you confirm this behavior that we are seeing when SATA is disabled and a valid drive is hooked up? If you can confirm it might help pursue the issue some how with Mediacom.

Confirmed. See above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappend View Post

I also had the unit take over 10min to boot up when I was trying a Western Digital MyBook Home Firewire/USB/eSATA drive and it was always detected as UNKNOWN and didn't work.

Yea, the kernel can hang at boot if there's a drive that is causing a flood of CRC errors. We're planning on updating diags in a future release so that you can see the # of CRC errors that the drive is causing (of course, this won't help if you hang at boot).
post #239 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappend View Post

But the pace box needs to be "on" to record for some reason that is not clear to me

This is how TV Guide works. Other Electronic Program Guides running on our box can record while in standby. Sorry, there's not much we can do about this right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappend View Post

(my HD never appear to sleep or the power would reduce).

Under normal circumstances, the HDD should spin down after ~2 minutes in standby. Does your drive make lots of noise when in standby?
post #240 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappend View Post


The interface page shows
SATA enabled: No
Internal Drive: Valid
External Drive: Valid (This used to be UNKNOWN with WD extern combo drive.)

It might be helpful if people with eSATA drives served by another cable company posted the value of the SATA enabled: field in the SATA interface page. This would further help narrow down the problem.
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