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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently got a 3100HD in exchange for my old 2000HD. Ever since I got the new box I noticed that the picture seems to 'shake' on premium channels. Now when I mean shake I mean that the entire picture flickers and moves. It's especially visible when a person throws a shadow against a wall. Even if the person doesn't hardly move at all the shadow and the wall in the background move. I first noticed this effect while watching 'Fear and loathing in Las Vegas' on HBO. I thought this was just an effect added to the movie to make the lsd trips more surreal. But then I started to notice the shaking on ALL premium channels. I have the 3100 hooked up through s-video and tried switching to composite but the shaking did not disappear. Is anybody else seeing this weird effect with their 3100HD box ? Since this effect only happens on premium channels I am wondering if it has something to do with signal compression.


-MarcW
 

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Theres another 3100 post a little ways down...perhaps the guys in there will have some insight for you.


TM
 

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Marc -- I assume you are using S-vid because you were not happy with ithe component output for the non HDTV channels. Does component also show this shaking? When I went from the 2000HD to the 3100 I thought the upscaling was greatly improved and now watch every thing through the component output. I have to admit I don't watch much non HDTV materal on it.


To me it sounds more like an analog problem, as digital compression usually shows up as pixelization artifacts and dropouts. I'd call your cable company and ask for a new box.


Tom
 

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Same problem here. I talked to TWC and it's a fault within the box. Scientific Atlanta was supposed to send an upgrade through the wire weeks ago to fix this but still hasn't done it. The flickering shows up on all the digital channels through the Svideo, composite and coax output of the box. It doesn't happen through the component outputs.


I'm getting tired of waiting on this fix as it's been over a month now and the digital channels are unwatchable with this flicker. I think we need to contact Scientific Atlanta directly on this to get some kind of results.
 

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Strange. I wonder why some of us see this problem and others don't. My 3100HD doesn't have this problem. --Karl
 

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That's intriguing. Here's a current post from a local HDTV forum that seems somewhat related. He complained his digital channels were "stuttering" and NYC's Time Warner Cable, after much tinkering, replaced his digital converter with a 3100HD. That fixed the problem.


I've been noticing what you might call 'shake' or stuttering on some premium channels, too. But I've been assuming it's a type of MPEG-2 artifact caused by something like inadequate cable bandwidth or perhaps over compression by the programmer (via satellite), with artifacts being introduced when my cable company decompressed the satellite signal, then recompressed the programming to squeeze it into a 6-MHz slot with perhaps 11 other channels. Someone watching the same programming with a big dish might see an excellent picture since they would be decompressing the signal only once, or seeing it in analog form.


Programs I've noticed with this 'shaking' are often the Encore Mystery channel, IFC, or Sundance. It occurs when the camera pans horizontally and the background can't 'keep up' with the pan and appears to stutter. Macroblocking often develops, too. Even noticed it on a AOL-TW HBO channel running old Dennis Miller shows; his slight movements created 'stutter'. Again, I've just assumed it was just inadequate cable bandwidth for the amount of MPEG-2 compression used for that channel. -- John


The key test that may rule out my 2000HD as being the cause: virtually all of the other premium channels are clear and sharp while the 'shaking' or 'stuttering' is going on at one channel. If it was a hardware/firmware problem in a 2000HD or 3100HD I'd think it would affect all digital channels--as it seems to have been with the poster I first cited. -- John
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I just got off the phone with Time Warners 'repair service' but of course this was more a waste of time than anything else. They gave me the usual 'We've never heard of this problem before' routine. Followed by the typical 'Please unplug the box, wait for a minute, turn it back on and see if that fixes the problem' nonsense. When will their first level support learn that a cable box is no Windows machine and rebooting is not the silver bullet. Besides... I would think that most HDTV early adopters are not technically challenged and expect more that the above from a support person. Be that as it may... a service technician is going to come out this Friday to take a look at the issue. I can already foresee that this will also be a complete waste of time but I guess for the time I have no other choice but to play their silly support games.


-MarcW
 

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Having played the service game for ~3 decades with TWC and its predecessors, I'd say you have a very obvious case requiring either a new converter or a major fix somewhere within the cable system. If a service tech arrives and you can turn on your set and demonstrate only the premium (digital?) channels are shaking, you obviously shouldn't be charged for that cable service. If analog channels are rock stable, it's clearly a cable/converter fault. I assume any OTA channels are stable, too. A few times I've had to request a service supervisor (after a few 'techs'), who sometimes bring along their own TV receiver, to pin down problems. The problems I outlined above for my cable system occurs intermittently, seemingly on random channels, so pinning down the 'stutter' or 'shake' involves a very complex distribution chain.


There's a hint in a few posts on this topic recently that Scientific Atlanta is tinkering with its firmware, piped down cable systems as periodic updates to home cable converters. Hopefully any such updates wouldn't apply to MPEG-2 decoding (digital cable) and image quality. That would be a nationwide cable-system nightmare! -- John
 

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I have had my 3100 for about 3 months and the pic is so

outstanding with all digital chans looking like HDTV..

I couldn't be happier.. I feel it is either a bad box or

software problem with your local TWC broadcaster as

I have never had anything except a super rock steady

no flicker pic here in Honolulu on Oceanic cable and they

do it right.
 

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I wonder if your "shaking" is what I call a stroboscopic type picture. When I get that I get what to me looks like a very quick series of still pictures layered like an old flip through set of pictures, all slightly different than the last so when you thumb the set of pictures it looks like they are moving. The funny thing is that I can only remember getting that "Jumpy" motion when watching boxing. I get it often on HBO boxing but last night got it on Showtime boxing that I had Tivo'd. I don't have a clue what causes it but it's a real pain.
 

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I have the shaking with my 2100HD. I have been meaning to call about it but haven't gotten around to it. I was hoping that the 3100HD upgrade would fix it. I think it has something to do with video frames/fields being misread on certain video material. I notice it most during "Larry Sanders" and MLB Extra innings. Someone had mentioned this months ago, (fields playing back in wrong order). I think this is what is happening. And I think it is box related.


Maybe part of the reason some people are noticing it, while others are not is software related. Not every SA box runs the same software. In NYC for example, TWC uses Pioneer software, in some other areas they use SA software. Could be the problem...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:
If analog channels are rock stable, it's clearly a cable/converter fault.
Yep no problems with analog channels.

Quote:
The problems I outlined above for my cable system occurs intermittently, seemingly on random channels, so pinning down the 'stutter' or 'shake' involves a very complex distribution chain.
Luckily I have HBO on Demand and the problem always shows on this channel. All I have to do on Friday is play Heavenly Creatures on HBO on Demand and I can show the tech exactly what I'm talking about.
 

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Just had a service call for 2000HD freeze-up and macroblocking problems (rebooting didn't fix). NYC's Time Warner was supposed to bring a 3100HD, but there was a foul up and they didn't seem to have any. At least one subscriber here says he had 2000HD problems cured (image 'stuttering') with a 3100HD upgrade.


Last night TWC called and said they were 'reauthorizing' my 2000HD via their computer. Service guy today said this can fix problems in addition to subscribers rebooting. Also, customer service here usually warns that too rapid channel surfing on digital cable brings about glitches. Anyway, for the next prolonged lockup, believe I'll try calling TWC for a reauthorization since reboots are starting to fail. -- John
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The service guy came out and saw the problem. He just left to get a replacement box in the hope that that will fix the issue. We'll see...


-MarcW
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well it wasn't the box. Either that or the replacement box has the same problem. So basically I'm stuck with all premium channels being completly unusable now. I printed out this thread for him to give to his support manager so he can see that other folks in other regions have the same problem with this box. The tech gave me the usual.. 'I have never seen it do this before and I have installed a lot of these boxes.' Needless to say I'm less than thrilled about this.


-MarcW
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
:mad:


Instead of fixing the problem the box swap made it WORSE. The new box continues to flicker on all premium channels but in addition HBO On Demand is no longer working. It keeps telling me that I need to subscribe. It was working fine on the old box this afternoon. So back on the phone to call what Time Warner calls 'support'. The guy on the other end keeps telling me that the high definition box is unable to receive HBO On Demand and that it shouldn't have been deployed in the field yet. I kept telling him REPEATEDLY that it was working fine with my pre-replacement 3100HD TODAY! It's days like these when I ask myself why I keep putting up with this **** and don't switch to satellite.


-A very angry MarcW
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by MarcW
The new box continues to flicker on all premium channels but in addition HBO On Demand is no longer working.
Bad news. Hope the tech measured the high/low-frequency signal levels going into your converter. That's the first thing the tech did here Friday. Both levels were good.


Might be important depending on where your premiums and VOD are located. Here, I can get HBO etc. on the lower (
 

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I had a problem with receiving only some of the HBO channels. I would get that msg about not be a subscriber and other times the picture would flick in and out. I was told I needed a "booster" by TWC. Well, a tech came out and check the cable input feed. It turned out the cable line on the pole outside of the house was loose and hooked up wrong. Once they corrected that problem my reception improved.


I think the numbers are somewhere in the area of "+11" on their meter.
 

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I've had the 3100HD for a few months and noticed that the premium channels (HBO-HD and ShowtimeHD) were consistently rock solid, but the local ABC affiliate's HD signal was virtually unwatchable 50% of the time due to breakup, shakes and jitters. I tried out a Motorola Drop Amp from Circuit City to boost the signal in the house and it cured the problem.
 
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