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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had a single, pretty stable 45xx unit for the last year or so, but I wanted a second unit and I wanted the new features and continued support. So I decided to bite the bullet and buy two new 5040s. They are generally working pretty well so far, but I'm having nearly 0% success with CA.


On delayed buffered TV (at least 5-10 minutes behind live), it appears that it doesn't work at all, ever. On recorded shows, I've seen it work very occasionally....very very occasionally.


- My signal is fine, at least by appearances. Haven't metered it or anything, but the picture quality looks crisp.

- Both units are running 5.0.110, which they downloaded right away, so I can't say if it did the same with older versions.

- I've seen the posts regarding making sure it's turned on in Menu-> setup and that (for recorded shows) the "skip commercials" option is checked. They both are. It's turned on from the remote as well. I've tried cycling it on and off in Menu->setup. I've tried not hitting the remote's CA button, and I've tried using it to toggle it on. I've tried soft booting, I've tried unplugging. Nothing works.


I've done everything but reset to factory defaults, but since they units are fresh out of the box, that shouldn't be needed, should it? I don't have many shows though yet, so I can try it. Maybe an issue with the upgrade process when it downloaded the new version? Would a hard reset put it back to 5.0.110, or would it put it back to the version that shipped with the unit?


Anyway, that seems to be the end of the suggestions I've found on the board so far. Anything else to try? Can I hope that Alcatraz will fix it?


Thanks,

-Brian
 

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CA has a lot to do with signal strength/quality, of course, but I'll address as many of the problems we've encountered on here that could affect it:


1. Poor signal - surprisingly, even a poor signal will catch the fade cues sometimes. The main issue here is: is there too much noise/color distortion going on for the Replay to analyze? If the screen is snowy, it most likely won't skip. If the screen colors are muted, it may not catch the cues either. In many cases, though, poor signal of whatever variety is what causes CA to choke.


2. Long commercials/breaks - Channels like BBC America that have a 4-5 minute long commericial nested in a 7 minute commercial break will trip up CA every single time.


3. Network fade - Lately, some channels have been employing rudimentary anti-skip devices. CBS keeps its bug up during fades, then split-frames into a commercial. ABC never goes fully black on its HDTV simulcast shows.


4. Timing - I've noticed that, for whatever reason, CA doesn't work on my 5xxxs very well until the show is done recording. I know the markers are defined as it records, yet for some reason it won't actually read the markers until the file is finished being written. Maybe this is a known bug that is being fixed, or maybe I'm just imagining it.


5. CA not turned on - It has been noted that if you start a show in v110 without the "skip commercials" box checked and turn it on during playback with the button, it won't kick on.


Maybe this will help you to troubleshoot, or at least to validate your findings.
 

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On shows where I see ACA not working, I've noticed (and this makes no sense) is that if I QS in a commercial break (to get to the end) it then will 'energize' ACA and skip to the end (showing the ||| icon), and sometimes the rest of the show works well. I know that's not intuitive at all, since it should just be following the items that create ACA markers when played back.


I've seen ACA work on bufferred once in a while, and it seems to take more than a few minutes of buffer (needs closer to 10).


But having said all that, I get about 95% ACA perfection, especially on off-net reruns like L&O and NYPDB.


Try this for a test: record a NYPD Blue off of TNT (2 and 3 PM ET, I believe), and see if that works better for you.


And, what signal source are you using? Satellite seems to be the best, then digital cable, analog cable, etc. I've seen it get better since I switched to sat from digital cable. YMMV...
 

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I find that I'm probably up around the 95% range too, and that's with a really bad cable signal. From what I can tell, CA will not kick in if you've paused live tv and it hasn't buffered up like 10-15 minutes. I don't know the reason why. Also some channels are better than others. I've found that with TLC and Discovery commercials are skipped almost every time, but with FOX they don't work so well.
 

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I've always had excellent results with ACA -- after I got satellite. With analog cable the results are sketchy, but not bad. (95% for satellite, ~80% for analog cable)


Tonight I watched Alias and it skipped every commercial with precision. Yahoo!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I don't think they really get me any closer though...


As I mentioned, my signal looks just fine. I don't see any snow or distortions. I have both analog and digital cable (analog in the bedroom, digital in the living room), and I'm pretty sure my signal is OK. More importantly, I had much better results on the *exact* same cable connection with my 4500. That's why I'm wondering if it's a 5xxx issue or a 5.0 software issue that might be cured by 5.1. Also, I'm aware of the issues in 5.0 with turning it on, and near as I can tell, it's turned on everywhere.


Now, network related issues could be in play here, I haven't ruled that out. I've noticed some of the networks I watch are running longer single commercials during the breaks, which I'm guessing would trip it up since it looks for 30 seconds or so. Some of the products you'd usually see in a 30 minute infomercial have been showing up in 1:30 - 2:00 long commercials on some networks. So I know that could screw it up. Still paying attention to network related things, but I'm fairly certain that it's still not triggering in places it should -- and more to the point, in places that it did on my 45xx unit.


-Brian
 

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CA works about 95% for me too ----


but last weeks NBC shows not one commercial was skipped in West Wing or ER --- but Friends worked perfectly.


Stargate works almost perfectly, same goes for CSI/CSI:M


Bob
 

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Any commercial 2:00 or longer will fool CA into labeling it as program content. I record shows where CA functions 100% with the exception of a PSA (Public Service Announcement) lasting 2:30.
 

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Interesting. Just Monday my wife and I were commenting how much better CA was working. As we watched Law and Order and Law and Order:CI, EVERY commercial was skipped perfectly, even the first batch that had never been skipped before! I don't know if we have the latest firmware or not, but CA is smoking for us now...


We have DirecTV, for all your information.
 

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CA worked great on both 5040's... until I installed a Radio Shack 181-channel cable box to my comcast analog cable line (to get rid of the audio hiss problem). Well, the audio hiss was gone, the video quality was great, and the IR blaster worked great too. But I lost ALL CA capability. I went from 95% down to absolute zero.


Now I'm putting up with the hiss... I need my CA too much... by running without the external cable box.


An earlier thread suggested that vbi lines (in the upper unseen part of the picture) might be part of the CA algorithm. If so, maybe this cable box was not passing the vbi thru.


Whatever it is, I wonder if you get better CA with vs without the (digital) cable box you have.
 

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When compared to my 4504 the CA on my 5040 seems to be nonexistent. Both are connected to my Directv (different brand of reciever though) and while the 4504 seems to work about 95% of the time my 5040 seems to be the opposite working about 5%.
 

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I have 2 5040s where CA worked perfectly until they updated to v 5.0 build 110. As soon as the update went through, CA has gone from working 90 percent of the time to only working 5 percent of the time. I also have a 4580 where CA continues to work 95 percent of the time. I'm beginning to wonder why I'm trading it in for a 5080.
 
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