Pixelation issues

Micmann

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Pixelation issues

#1

Post by Micmann » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:16 am

Been running a personally built mini tower Win 7 WMC DVR a number of years now with no real issues. I have local digital basic Comcast feed. It runs a Ceton IfiniTV 4 and a Gforce GT450. It’s getting older, but it still purrs like a kitten and I have loved it. Until a recent issue.

On Jan 1 Comcast made a change in the Boston market with channels and the biggest change it’s NBC affiliate. NBC moved affiliates and channels to Comcast 810HD from 807HD. I followed the change with recordings and viewings to the new station and channel 810. Beginning with the station change I am now having pixelation on recorded content and viewing content. The pixelation occurs during a fast scene or during camera angle changes. Images appear fine until one of these events occurs. This is only occurring on the new channel 810 as far as I can tell. All other channels viewing and recordings appear fine.

It appears that the pixelation is occurring on the incoming end and not the outgoing end through the video card. The pixelation is recorded right into the scenes on recorded content. All other programming and dvd’s viewed through the video card are fine.

I threw this issue to Ceton with a service ticket and this was their response:

“The InfiniTV is not a video device so its not involved in anything that could cause the issues you are describing, that is video decoding issues during fast scenes/sports/etc.

Unfortunately, this model was discontinued over two years and has been fully end of life'd. There are no software updates or warranty services available for our InfiniTV 4 models.”

Bit of a dead end there.

I have run a few diagnostics and everything appears fine. Signal strength and SNR look good. I even removed an unused splitter in the cable line to boost the signal strength but there was no improvement in the pixelation issue. 810 viewed directly through the Comcast digital decoder to the TV and not through the WMC DVR has no pixelation issue. Only when viewed through WMC.

Diving into threads and what info I can find, pixelation usually occurs with low signal strength, but every channel signal is good and this issue is only with 810 HD NBC.

Any thoughts? Anyone had similar issues? Comcast has been slowly changing to MPEG4. Since 810 is new maybe they are pumping it out MPEG4 and WMC can’t decode it properly? I’m usually good at working out these kinds of issues, but I need to crowd source this one. I’m at a loss.

Not to mention, the more I research the more the obsolesce of a WMC DVR is looming. Sad. :cry:

Thanks in advance. I appreciate any help.

Bruced

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#2

Post by Bruced » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:55 am

I know what you mean with the pixellation.
I'm sure you'd love ExpressVPN and its features.

Micmann

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#3

Post by Micmann » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:28 pm

Bruced wrote:I know what you mean with the pixellation.
Is yours happening on a specific channel? Is your feed Comcast? Is it channel 810? and or others?

Sorry for all the questions, just trying to gather info while looking for solution.

Thanks.

Micmann

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#4

Post by Micmann » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:41 pm

Let me broaden the question. Has anyone ever had pixelation issues on any channel in any region through WMC, when did it occur and what did you do to rectify it? Or were you not able to fix it?

Looking to isolate probable cause of issue.

Thanks!

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DavidinCT

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#5

Post by DavidinCT » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:58 pm

Ran into this in the past. I have been supporting and building Media Center systems (not any more) for years.

IS this on ONLY recorded, or both recorded and LIVE TV ? IF this is just one channel that is showing this (IE. other channels record fine). It sounds like it could be the channel (I have personally seen a new channel or moved channel have problems).

If it's happening with one or more channels or is fine viewing the channel live, check the health of the drive itself. A drive that is starting to fail, possable bad sectors or other issues could cause this problem (personally seen it). Do a full check disc to recording drive and do a SMART test to confirm it's in full heath (HWinfo x64 in a google search, or x32 if needed)

When recording and seeing this issue, is it recording and watching 1 show or are you watching other tvs and recording. If only 1 recording at a time, is does it happen ?

Also, does it happen like this at ANY TIME ? or is it like 8pm when it happens ?

Last thing, it could be a failing video card. I might clean out the system for dust, if your fans are filled up with dust, these issues COULD happen (rare but, if a fan is not spinning it could overheat a video card/CPU and cause these problems.

Maybe thsi will give you some starting points to check...
-Dave
Twitter @TheCoolDave

Windows Media Center certified and WMC MVP 2010 - 2012

Micmann

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#6

Post by Micmann » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:37 pm

DavidinCT wrote:Ran into this in the past. I have been supporting and building Media Center systems (not any more) for years.

IS this on ONLY recorded, or both recorded and LIVE TV ? IF this is just one channel that is showing this (IE. other channels record fine). It sounds like it could be the channel (I have personally seen a new channel or moved channel have problems).

If it's happening with one or more channels or is fine viewing the channel live, check the health of the drive itself. A drive that is starting to fail, possable bad sectors or other issues could cause this problem (personally seen it). Do a full check disc to recording drive and do a SMART test to confirm it's in full heath (HWinfo x64 in a google search, or x32 if needed)

When recording and seeing this issue, is it recording and watching 1 show or are you watching other tvs and recording. If only 1 recording at a time, is does it happen ?

Also, does it happen like this at ANY TIME ? or is it like 8pm when it happens ?

Last thing, it could be a failing video card. I might clean out the system for dust, if your fans are filled up with dust, these issues COULD happen (rare but, if a fan is not spinning it could overheat a video card/CPU and cause these problems.

Maybe thsi will give you some starting points to check...
Thanks so much for the insights.

This is happening on one channel only. The one recently moved by Comcast from 807 to 810. It happens on both recorded and live viewing. It will happen at any time of day.

It will happen recording one or multiple shows.

Since it happens live as well I think I can rule out bad drive. Thought about video card, but It does not happen on any other channels or DVD's. I have two internal factory fans and one custom installed case fan blowing directly on the video card and Infinitv card to keep them cool. Learned how hot they can run a long time ago.

I did some more diagnostics today without much help. I did find that the video bps before the channel switch was around 11000000 - i still have some recorded shows from pre Jan1st. The new channel is coming in lower at 5500000 about half the bps rate. When i saw that I thought I found the issue. ABC and CBS affiliates are in the 11 gbps range and have no issues. However I found other HD channels with similar bit rates (5gbps) as 810 and I don't have any issues with them so I cant say lower bps is the issue. I did find 810 is still a Mpeg2 channel so that is also not the issue.

I have a gut feeling its a crappy encoding feed from Comcast that somehow their boxes handle but WMC will not. Maybe some new type of encoding by Comcast to squeeze channels into their pipe that WMC cannot handle decoding properly? Just guessing at this point. Been tossing calling Comcast in the .00001% chance I'll get a tech that can count 10 fingers. I've been cruising their forums as well with no much more than people listing their own all over the map horror stories. I have yet to stumble across a WMC issue post in their forum though. I know if they come they will just look at the WMC box and say it's my problem and walk out.

I'll take any suggestions.

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#7

Post by sbaeder » Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:54 am

could also just be the signal quality. Remembering that the channel number has nothing to do with what frequency it is traveling on, it may be the cables going to you Comcast box are somewhat "better" than those going to your WMC box...i.e. I am grasping at straws, but a friend here was able to get the original HD signals, but not the new NBC after they moved it to "10" - Auburn, MA / Charter - tech said it was on one of their highest, most tempramental frequencies, and replace a couple of connectors and splitters...Problem solved...So is that something you can try (i.e. swapping connections?)

Micmann

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#8

Post by Micmann » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:28 pm

sbaeder wrote:could also just be the signal quality. Remembering that the channel number has nothing to do with what frequency it is traveling on, it may be the cables going to you Comcast box are somewhat "better" than those going to your WMC box...i.e. I am grasping at straws, but a friend here was able to get the original HD signals, but not the new NBC after they moved it to "10" - Auburn, MA / Charter - tech said it was on one of their highest, most tempramental frequencies, and replace a couple of connectors and splitters...Problem solved...So is that something you can try (i.e. swapping connections?)
That's good info. Thanks.

The wiring to the TV and WMC DVR is only as old as the WMC DVR, I replaced the cables with new ends at that time. However, just to rule out the bad connections issue I installed a new quad shield RG-6 run from the house entry point to the WMC DVR this afternoon. I own a press fit professional termination kit. I used it and installed quality ends. I replaced the only splitter (3 way) once more. Still get pixelation on 810. :x

Comcast channel 10 is SD NBC. 810 is HD NBC. There is no pixelation on 10. Only 810. Makes sense as they are different frequency sets. I did find a couple channels with similar or same base frequencies (219000khz) to 810. The other channels on the same frequency have no issues. However, one of those channels that is the same frequency base also has minor pixelation. This is new to me. It's 815 a Telemundo station. Not nearly as bad as 810, but it's there. Still only through WMC.

More pieces, but still on the hunt.

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#9

Post by holmes6 » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:10 am

I tried it in nextpvr with various decoders and encoders and all the signals I could watch without other problems showed the pixelization still (lav decoder, ms decoder, madvr encorder, overlay, vmr/evr) and also VLC (deinterlacing on and off) through the hdhomerun config gui.
Just tried it on another PC and did not see any problem watching for about 15 minutes.
Problem PC is i7 + nvidia 1070 windows ultimate
one that works is i5 + amd unsure which exact card windows 7 pro
The plot thickens. Not sure what I'll try next, I am tempted to reinstall windows on the problem system, but now is not a great time for that.

Bobtez

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#10

Post by Bobtez » Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:55 pm

Don't know if this relates, but I had an issue with a set up I have been running for a couple of years where I started having channels with pixelation even though nothing changed. I had the antenna split to the TV and computer and the TV was fine but the computer had issues. I re-ran the WMC TV signal setup and this solved the issue. Please note that this will wipe out your current channel guide and listings so write down what channels you show on your guide before you start so you don't have to figure that all out again.

holmes6

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#11

Post by holmes6 » Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:53 pm

Bobtez wrote:Don't know if this relates, but I had an issue with a set up I have been running for a couple of years where I started having channels with pixelation even though nothing changed. I had the antenna split to the TV and computer and the TV was fine but the computer had issues. I re-ran the WMC TV signal setup and this solved the issue. Please note that this will wipe out your current channel guide and listings so write down what channels you show on your guide before you start so you don't have to figure that all out again.
Thanks, I tried that already and it doesn't solve this particular problem for me. Another action that has solved some problems but not this one is rebooting the hd-homerun devices. I'm just glad the Superbowl is on Fox and not NBC right now, would stink to have a tech issue for the big game.

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#12

Post by hugh axton » Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:36 am

I have had pixelation issues, growing worse over the last few weeks. Finally WMC almost ground to a halt.

Much thought, speculation, and conjecture. Could not get help from Googling.

Then I recall- I have a clone backup! Why not fire it up and see if WMC works? Yes it does!

See how much this removes as causes- CPU, RAM, Cable Company, Router, motherboard. CAT5 wire, and so on.

It was down to bad SSD, or a software bug. SSD was tested as 100% with 11 year life expectancy. Software only remaining culprit.

I did not reinstall WMC [should have tried that]. If that failed tried a repair reinstall.

Instead I cloned the [working] backup to the main drive and it is now normal. [Easeus Todo- was somewhat balky but finally worked].

I have cheap PNY SSDs. They get Amazon ratings in the Samsung level. Cheap enough [240gb- $55] to afford a clone backup.

Without the clone I am not sure if I could ever have found the answer. You need one, IMHO.

Micmann

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#13

Post by Micmann » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:36 pm

A clone is a good idea, but need to get back to full working state before I do so.

Micmann

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#14

Post by Micmann » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:59 pm

Another puzzle piece. I have an external USB 1 TB drive that I use as additional storage. I also have an older laptop with win 7 MCE on it. If I plug in the USB drive to the laptop, plug the laptop into the HDMI cable to the TV and play a recorded program that usually gives me pixelation issues on the DVR it plays with no pixelation. I plug it back into the DVR and I get Pixelation again.

I had previously thought the signal was bad coming in or a decoding issue and the pixelation was being recorded into the file. However, that is not the case. I would lean to the video card, but other channels recordings are fine. And streamed content is fine. Like Hugh mentions this may be software related somehow.

Micmann

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#15

Post by Micmann » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:35 pm

If if decide to uninstall WMC and reinstall. What issues might arise that i should be aware of?

kdh

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#16

Post by kdh » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:10 pm

I have the exact same issue. Comcast, NBC Boston only, recorded and live.

I've concluded it's a decoding problem. Live and recorded content decode fine using HDHomeRun View and VLC.

My solution has been to use VLC to view files recorded from that station. I'm still considering installing a different default MPEG2 codec in WMC, but fear creating other problems.

Micmann

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#17

Post by Micmann » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:47 pm

kdh wrote:I have the exact same issue. Comcast, NBC Boston only, recorded and live.

I've concluded it's a decoding problem. Live and recorded content decode fine using HDHomeRun View and VLC.

My solution has been to use VLC to view files recorded from that station. I'm still considering installing a different default MPEG2 codec in WMC, but fear creating other problems.

Thanks for joining in and letting me know I'm not alone on the island.

I'm still having the issue these many months in. I just haven't had any time to dive into the DVR. I'm also a little fearful of creating other issues. The box has been running like a champ for several years now and tinkering does not always produce a good outcome; especially during mid-season TV and sports. I've been living with the pixelation for now.

The fact I can plug my external HDD into my WMC laptop and watch NBC with no issue, but then plug the HDD back into the WMCDVR tower and have pixels perplexes me.

VLC is an option, but I like to find and fix rather than patch if I can. Thanks for the suggested option though. And why the sudden change from fine to pixelation? I don't get that?

I'm going to try to get into it before the new TV season and football starts in the fall. If I ever correct it I'll post what I did to hopefully help those of us on this island. Or if anyone else has the issue and fixes it please post.

Davidjh68

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#18

Post by Davidjh68 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:22 pm

I don't know if this will be any help, but I live in Sacramento, CA and have Comcast. I'm running a Ceton 6 internal card (sorry, my knowledge is very limited as I didn't set it up and my friend who did passed away last year). I too have pixilation on the 800 channels. 801 is HBO (if that makes a difference) and is usually okay. 810 is BBC and again is usually okay. 825 (Showtime) and 847 are very often messed up. I have assumed it was the strange "crappy" cable that connects my cable end to a short cable with a pin type plug. I think the wire is broken on it. My effort to sort it out always questioned how I could receive a lot of programming fine, but a couple would be bad. I also get low signal messages on occasion. I'm running Windows 7 and WMC.

I no longer have a guide and am considering another software to replace WMC. Since I have no idea of what you guys are talking about, I assume it will be easy...ha.

Micmann

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#19

Post by Micmann » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:46 am

Davidjh68 wrote:I don't know if this will be any help, but I live in Sacramento, CA and have Comcast. I'm running a Ceton 6 internal card (sorry, my knowledge is very limited as I didn't set it up and my friend who did passed away last year). I too have pixilation on the 800 channels. 801 is HBO (if that makes a difference) and is usually okay. 810 is BBC and again is usually okay. 825 (Showtime) and 847 are very often messed up. I have assumed it was the strange "crappy" cable that connects my cable end to a short cable with a pin type plug. I think the wire is broken on it. My effort to sort it out always questioned how I could receive a lot of programming fine, but a couple would be bad. I also get low signal messages on occasion. I'm running Windows 7 and WMC.

I no longer have a guide and am considering another software to replace WMC. Since I have no idea of what you guys are talking about, I assume it will be easy...ha.
Thanks for joining in. Here in Boston Comcast my issue is primary with only one channel. And it only started the day NBC switched their station number. Where you have multiple channels with the issue it sounds like you might have a true low signal strength. If it is it could be one of several things or a combination. Could be a bad or low bandwidth splitter - make sure any splitters are rated to 1Ghz not 900mhz. You might have to replace the coax cable and ends feeding the cable card.

to check signal strength go to Settings>Tv>TV signal>diagnostics> then select the the first cable card, then select signal and enter a station number. Check the signal strength. Close to or above 0 is best. If it shows something like -5 or -8 or worse you have bad signal strength. Try the remedies above and see if it improves. If not call Comcast and have a tech come out measure the signal strength and see what can be done. if you have good signal strength you may be in our club.

Also if the Ceton card dongle is truly broken try this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CKG6T9I/_e ... 5821H1K5L0

Davidjh68

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#20

Post by Davidjh68 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:06 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful information, suggestions, and link. I suspect you may be right about the weak signal as this has been mentioned before by a field tech.

Right now, I don't have a TV guide and have been unable to find a reason why. For now, a bit of frustration and hopefully some headway...

David

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