Originally Posted by crossbeaux
I had lately thought that the black screens were related to deleting a recorded program while other shows were being recorded. But I didn't do any deleting last night, just watching. So, another theory shot to heck.
My recent experience with a very significant problem affecting BOTH (a) my Ceton 4-tuner cablecard tuners and (b) my ATI TV Wonder 650 PCI 1-tuner OTA/ATSC card might really be applicable to this "black screen" symptom in the genuine Moto DVR's.
The two tuner cards were installed in my HTPC (which replaced my previous DCH/DCX DVR's from TWC/LA). Forever, I had had my own recording/playback instability issue with this HTPC, mostly seen when delivering recorded content through my WMC extenders, but also sometimes seen when watching "live" programs (again, mostly when viewed through extenders). Of course I mostly watch TV at the remote extender-served locations, so that increased likelihood is understandable.
The visible symptom was a "freeze" on the extender and a still image showing on the related HDTV screen. Until recently, I didn't have a method figured out for how to overcome the "freeze" and only powering off the extender (disconnecting it from WMC) and then powering it on again would get normal operation back. I'd then restart watching the program, re-position the playback (using FF) to be somewhere after the point of the original freeze (FF didn't seem to be affected so I could apparently pass through the point of the original freeze), and continue on watching.
Inevitably the same "freeze" would either occur again later in the same program, or maybe not for days, or maybe on a whole bunch of programs recorded around the same time, or anything. Obviously I had some kind of a problem... and it wasn't just affecting my Ceton card (fed from TWC/LA coax) it was also affecting my ATI card (fed from OTA roof antenna coax).
Recently, the problem symptoms began to escalate in frequency and severity. Also, I began seeing the identical symptom while watching TV on the second monitor of my HTPC, only this time I saw a WMC blue message about "weak signal". I was able to use the remote to "skip forward" past the problem point, only to inevitably quickly run into another "weak signal" freeze on the HTPC monitor.
Then, finally, I actually "simultaneously lost" two of the four internal hard drives in my HTPC. They simply "disappeared" from Windows. This of course was unfortunate because one held my \\Recorded TV folder for WMC.
Anyway, after much research and hardware diagnosis, I found the problem. The power supply socket in my "modular PSU" into which these "dead" two of my internal hard drives were connected had apparently flaked out or gone "permanently intermittent". I moved the power connector to another available socket on the PSU and the drives magically (and thankfully) came back to life! WHEW!!!
But during my further research I discovered I'd "cheated" and had another four internal devices (including my other two hard drives, along with an internal DAT tape drive and my BluRay drive) all on one PSU cable with splitters.
I decided to "go conservative", and added a new third PSU cable to deliver power to just two of the four internal devices previously all served by a single PSU cable. So now I had THREE PSU cables plugged into three working PSU sockets, each delivering power to only two internal drives/devices. And I was now using a previously open PSU socket for one of the three cables instead of the apparently defective original socket tied to the "two dead drives" symptom.
Well... the resulting performance was astonishing!!! I have had exactly one "freeze" symptom since doing the "hardware PSU-related surgery" that now feeds adequate power from PSU to no more than two internal devices. I had gone about a week before the one and only incident (which was a pretty bad "rash" outbreak on many programs from that entire night's recording, which I was devastated by since it appeared to shoot down my PSU-related theory as the original explanation), but have actually not seen it at all since.
So, discarding the one odd "rash" night (and for all I know there might have been a "reasonable" explanation there even for that), I have had ZERO repeats of the "freeze" symptom anywhere, ever since squaring away the power-related problems feeding hardware internal to my HTPC.
Most significantly, I believe that the clearly intermittent and badly deteriorating failing connector socket on my PSU which delivered power to the two "eventually disappeared" drives, one of which was the drive on which \\Recorded TV was located... well I believe this kind of issue may be exactly the cause for the "black screen" symptom as seen on the real Moto DVR family.
Coming back to the "weak signal" message from WMC, this may be its way of complaining about corrupt or missing data received from the hard drive (where everything gets buffered first in a DVR to then be fed in "playback mode" to the display, even if you are watching "live", so that you can "pause live view, rewind live view, etc.", as if you had a 2-head tape recorder one for recording and the second for playback). If the hard drive fails to deliver data as expected, and the error-recovery logic in the firmware/software in incapable of dealing with it, the results are something like my "weak signal" result in WMC. The symptom is either visible onscreen (I could actually see "weak signal" error messages on my HTPC monitor) or perhaps just an extender "freeze" on the last shown TV image frame.
Maybe the Moto DVR "black screen" symptom is very very similar to my own WMC symptoms, indicative of either (a) true "weak signal" or temporary outage or corruption in the delivery of usable MPEG-2 data from the cable provider, or (b) failing or intermittent internal hard drive, perhaps because of a PSU-related issue, so that corrupted or no data gets delivered to the firmware/software.
In other words, yes... it's a visible symptom. But maybe it's really a "fatal and should-not-occur" situation, which the firmware/software simply has no true way of dealing with. The problem is FATAL, and there's nothing that can be done about it.
In my WMC situation it was the "weak signal" messages seen on the HTPC monitor during playback (and then even on the extender/HDTV screen as the PSU problem deteriorated), followed eventually by the complete collapse of that flaky PSU socket and the "disappearance" of the two attached hard drives. I'm convinced now that the less-than-expected sub-par power delivered from PSU to these two drives (including most significantly my \\Recorded TV drive) IS what was responsible for all of my WMC "freeze" anomalies forever!
And once the PSU issue was resolved, and power more properly distributed to the six internal drives/devices by three PSU cables each going to no more than two drives/devices, well my "freeze" and "weak signal" external symptoms have effectively 100% disappeared.
I don't think the TWC/LA signal "increased" after my PSU-related hardware surgery in my HTPC. And then there's the fact that the same "weak signal" and "freeze" symptom was seen from my ATI card, which has nothing to do with the TWC/LA coax... obviously the explanation had to be a common one, tied to the Ceton card as well. And the PSU itself, and proper power delivered to the \\Recorded TV hard drive, is that common answer.
Long story, I know. But my point is that the "black screen" symptom on the Moto DVRs, well it may be the Moto firmware equivalent of my own WMC "weak signal" and extender "freezes". The fact that the identical visible symptom occurs from both Ceton card (TWC/LA cable) and ATI card (OTA antenna) and with no Moto DVR involved proves it's not actually directly something from TWC/LA which is causing my symptoms.
Maybe it really is a similar internal hardware issue on the Moto DVR, such as either a failing hard drive or inadequate power to the hard drive. Maybe that's why it has more likelihood of appearing when multiple programs are being recorded at once, coupled with possible playback on another HDTV, so that many tasks are hitting the hard drive at once when proper power to and performance of the hard drive is obviously the most critical. Any breakdown in hard drive performance at this critical time, and maybe "weak signal" or "freeze" or "black screen" is your result.
Just sharing, and speculating out loud.
Incidentally, the "weak signal" was actually recorded into the WTV recordings on hard drive (and could thus be seen when playing back those recordings ON ANY EXTENDER/HDTV or the HTPC MONITOR). In other words, the failure DID occur at recording time (or "live view" time, and not at playback time). And it was "hard" and was placed in the recorded WTV file, so that it could then be seen playing back that WTV recording on any extender or HTPC monitor. Eventually, I learned that the "skip forward 30-seconds" button could be used 1-3 times to successfully jump past the current point of "weak signal corruption" and playback would resume normally, although very likely another "weak signal" event would almost immediately occur again.