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Since we switched to an HDPVR 830 we were getting occasional random (we thought) reboots. Initially we had noticed that it was around 19:00 or 19:30 and we contacted Shaw. They got us to go through several steps, unplugging power, disconnecting sat feeds repowering, moving the plug to a wall socket instead of our multi plug and none made a difference, but of course it did seem random.

Recently the frequency jumped to almost one a day, and I have associated it with changes I had made to our recording approach that caused more simsubbing.

Our recordings had been set to "HD only" and a change in our package moved us from the Advanced Channel Lineup to the new National Lineup. However we noticed that non-local channels were getting priority such as CTV Timmins and Global Durham. We live in Kitchener. The fact they were not ‘local’ was not a major issue, as we tend to skip most advertisements anyway, but it seemed to us (and our Soundbar) that although the decoder was still reporting 5.1 sound, the actual broadcast sound seemed more 'muffled' (like a compressed stereo) that we were hearing most of the time from those channels. We noticed that if we selected the US channel and it was simsubbed to a Canadian network, the main network feed was used rather than a local channel. The clearer sound was far more common when we did that.

So we changed our preferences to the US channels specifically and then the simsubbing started, and so did the reboots again! We were up to almost one reboot a day in the evening hours on average. Some days zero, some days 2 or 3. Again I changed the recording options, this time so that for each series, we recorded ‘directly’ from one of the main Canadian network stations (mostly Toronto feeds). After almost a week, we have had zero reboots.

Thinking back, the original issue around 19:00 could also have been related to simsubbing as we would just select Fox Rochester to watch Big Bang Theory, which is now simsubbed to CTV2. Sometimes the next program Jeopardy (NBC Detroit) was simsubbed to "Yes!" (though that simsub seems to have stopped for us).

I have been in calls and an online chat but other than repeating all the previous suggestions (plugging directly into the wall socket etc) they seemed disinterested that a consumer may have accidentally found a relationship with reboots and simsubbing on an 830 (at least). So I am posting here, in case other members have seen the issue and whether this makes it go away for you too :)

As simsubbing is not a feature outside Canada, I suspect that the code that handles it may have been done in house. Even if done under contract by the Ariss/Motorola folks it is relatively obscure that it may not have come up for many people. If you let the decoder choose from which network to record a program it will always prefer a Canadian channel if one is available.
 

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FYI, on Rogers we also noticed that simsubs can affect recordings, although in a different manner to what you have explained here. The simsub often doesn't start exactly at the same time as the programme starts and this can introduce a temporary signal loss. The Rogers PVRs often then failed to record the programme at all, only recording a black screen. This started happening many years ago on Rogers. The workaround was identical to what you describe - record the Canadian channel instead.

I suppose that a temporary signal loss may cause the PVR to reboot instead of failing to record, but in either instance, the result is not good.
 

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Simsubbing on Rogers and Shaw Direct equipment are done in different ways. Rogers substitutes the signal at the head end. Shaw does it by making the receiver remap the channel. Regardless of how it's done, it's quite likely that simsubs are causing issues. I've seen them myself though it's not as common as it was just after the transition to digital OTA.

However we noticed that non-local channels were getting priority such as CTV Timmins and Global Durham. We live in Kitchener.
Shaw does simsubs by postal code. It's quite likely that the wrong postal code is in their database for your account. It should be fairly easy to get that updated. It's also possible that there is some other issue like the wrong simsub info in their database for you actual postal code. Either way, correcting the error might help with the issues.

...they seemed disinterested that a consumer may have accidentally found a relationship with reboots and simsubbing on an 830 (at least).
Don't get me started on Shaw support. ;)
 

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I have noticed that each channel playing the same content can tweak the sound there broadcasting.
Sometimes I have to go into the sound options on the receiver and switch to PCM from HDMI pass through.
It’s like they get the front and rear channels reversed making it sound muffled.
I have notice channels can also tweak the eq on there sound output for the same content , some sound a bit better to my ears.
The 5~1 icon in the info screen on my all my Shaw Direct receivers does not seem to be used anymore , so there could be a issue of not knowing what sound format to use on the Sat receiver.
Hope this might help with your sound.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Shaw does simsubs by postal code. It's quite likely that the wrong postal code is in their database for your account. It should be fairly easy to get that updated. It's also possible that there is some other issue like the wrong simsub info in their database for you actual postal code. Either way, correcting the error might help with the issues.

Don't get me started on Shaw support. ;)
Because I was talking so much about simsub, you misinterpreted about the non-local channels. When I chose HD only in my recording preferences, the channel selected was non-local. I think it is because they are the first numerically in the channel line up rather than relating to locale itself. Thanks for the feedback and comments. I try to be polite about support personnel, but it does seem to me that their main goal is to make any question or request fit one of the things for which there is a 'script'. I am doing another test with an older HDPVR. I have set it deliberately to record Fox Rochester every weekday at 19:00 - which will simsub to CTV2 to see if the same problem appears there. In addition to being a different model, it also only has one sat feed, so from a software perspective, less things to interfere with each other!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
FYI, on Rogers we also noticed that simsubs can affect recordings, although in a different manner to what you have explained here. The simsub often doesn't start exactly at the same time as the programme starts and this can introduce a temporary signal loss. The Rogers PVRs often then failed to record the programme at all, only recording a black screen. This started happening many years ago on Rogers. The workaround was identical to what you describe - record the Canadian channel instead.

I suppose that a temporary signal loss may cause the PVR to reboot instead of failing to record, but in either instance, the result is not good.
We see the timing differences on Shaw too. We are happily into a few minutes of a program and the simsub occurs, so we either rewatch some seconds of the program or miss a few.

I have always assumed that no-one at the CRTC ever watches non-Canadian content :)
 

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I would be bit doubtful that the sim sub occurrence itself is causing the reboot, though I certainly commend you for your investigative efforts! I'll ask the testing team to check it out to be sure, but I have another suspicion... Sometimes the PVR has too much going on when you set specifics like channels, it can just have too much to work through sometimes. How many recording events do you have set, and are there any you could clear out (such as for shows that don't air anymore)? Any old ones that may be conflicting? To properly test this with another (old or new) PVR, make sure the recording schedules are identical - it makes a ton of difference on the overall speed and execution of the receiver in general.

Humans are actually behind the sim-sub events and they're generated at our centres, the software itself doesn't really know it's happening. As I'm thinking through this more though, there could be a race condition in executing your recordings and executing the command to sim-sub... I'll ask around and see about reproducing. If you're connected to WiFi, sending a UA my way could get access to logs that may tell us what's up too. (note, this is generally reserved for our software trial groups and engineers on larger scale issues, TSRs don't have access to this, at least not at this time).
 

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I appreciate your response. At most we have two recording events for the current time slot (of course). As the events are scheduled, I am not sure why something that doesn't get scheduled until next month could be an issue, but we have 52 events, of which about 20 are showing N/A as the series are between seasons. Generally we have found ways around any conflicts when setting up events.

I like your consideration of a race condition. It does not happen every time, so I doubted that a 'simple' error could cause it. It has only been apparent since we got the 830 which (I think) has a faster processor than the 630.

The 830 is wired to our home network for On Demand etc, Can you decode "UA" for me :) and explain how to send it to you? Is it just my User Account number, and if so I presume I should send it as a 'message' via your profile here.

Thanks again.
 

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I appreciate your response. At most we have two recording events for the current time slot (of course). As the events are scheduled, I am not sure why something that doesn't get scheduled until next month could be an issue, but we have 52 events, of which about 20 are showing N/A as the series are between seasons. Generally we have found ways around any conflicts when setting up events.

I like your consideration of a race condition. It does not happen every time, so I doubted that a 'simple' error could cause it. It has only been apparent since we got the 830 which (I think) has a faster processor than the 630.

The 830 is wired to our home network for On Demand etc, Can you decode "UA" for me :) and explain how to send it to you? Is it just my User Account number, and if so I presume I should send it as a 'message' via your profile here.

Thanks again.
Thanks for the reply! Sorry, I get a bit caught up sometimes and use jargon, my bad!

I meant total recording events - your PVR is constantly running through those to make sure it doesn't have anything to schedule, re-schedule, etc. so we find that the larger this list is, the worse your performance gets. It double checks for series that are off-air as well, since it isn't aware of what's "current" or not, it's only aware to be looking for what you've set. Having said that, I don't think 52 is unreasonable (I've seen PVRs with HUNDREDS set and clearing the outdated ones usually fixed issues).

Yes, the 830 does have a much faster processor than the 630!

OPTIONS-4-7 will get you to System Status (or MENU > "Settings" > "Status" > "System Status" will get you there too). I'm after Line A and yes a message works just fine! Hopefully we can solve this for you.

I will caution that sometimes you can just get a bad apple that needs to be replaced, but let's take a look.
 

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I have sent a separate message. I am intrigued though. I would have thought the triggers for checking for programs to schedule would be epg update and customer entry to the recording events. I did not think that EPG updates could happen surreptitiously and therefore the program could trigger a rescan for recording events when that happened. :)

Thanks again for the attention.
 

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That's how some PVRs do work. They just scan when the box is rebooted, the guide is updated, or a timer is added or deleted. Some do not scan very far ahead for timer changes. I have one that only checks a few hours ahead until the next scheduled guide update, if that. Continuous scanning should not be an issue as long as priorities are set correctly so that other, more critical tasks are not impacted.

At this stage in their development, there should be no reason why PVRs spontaneously reboot or suffer major software errors. Bell fixed those problems on their satellite PVRs a decade ago. Most PVR software is based on Linux. With few exceptions, production Linux systems have also been rock solid and stable for over a decade. They rarely suffer a major failure, crash or reboot. PVRs from Canadian TV companies seem to be the only products that still suffer from these issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I had been very happy with my service overall. This is a situation that came up for us quite recently coincident with changing my plan, moving off the Advanced Channel Lineup and using the 830 PVR which is a relatively new model for Shaw. If most people let the PVR make its own choices of HD channel for a series episode, they would not experience this at all as they will select a Canadian channel if one is available. If one is not, there would be no simsubbing. I have explained why I do not do that with mine. It may even be a faulty box, but it had been difficult diagnosing that. So I am not surprised that there has been no flood of callers complaining. I am pleased that there may be some deeper investigation that can occur.

Meanwhile, we had one incident yesterday when switching to NBC at 19:30 for Jeopardy. We forgot to go to Yes instead (again) and this time, a reboot ensued. I am sure we would have got the missed 'answers' correct :)
 
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