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HDHomeRun works but file won't play
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Author:  Liv2Cod [ Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:52 am ]
Post subject:  HDHomeRun works but file won't play

I'm having a problem with my aging, well-established KM box. It's my old 5.5 "daily viewer", not LinHES or anything fancy. It has four encoders, two HD3000's and an HD Home Run -- all recording off-the-air HD signals. The source of my signal is an antenna in the attic with a 26 dB amp, followed by a four-way splitter into my boxen.

My channels have great signal. The HD3000s are working perfectly (and you know that requires pretty good signal right there). The HDHR also works, creates recordings, and from all outside appearances is performing well -- except, more times that not, the recordings can't be played but exit immediately. Mythfrontend shows this when I try to play the recording:
2011-01-12 08:38:56.955 XMLParse::LoadTheme using /usr/share/mythtv/themes/blootube-wide/ui.xml
2011-01-12 08:39:04.256 TV: Attempting to change from None to WatchingPreRecorded
2011-01-12 08:39:04.412 Tuning to 'MPEG Program 1' pnum: 0x1 without CRC check on PMT
2011-01-12 08:39:04.436 mpegts_read_header: could not find any PMT's
2011-01-12 08:39:04.436 AFD Error: avformat err(-1) on av_open_input_file call.
2011-01-12 08:39:04.436 Couldn't open decoder for: /myth/tv/1051_20110111200000.mpg
2011-01-12 08:39:04.436 TV Error: StartPlayer(): NVP is not playing after 20000 msec
2011-01-12 08:39:04.437 TV: Changing from None to WatchingPreRecorded
2011-01-12 08:39:04.439 TV: Attempting to change from WatchingPreRecorded to None
2011-01-12 08:39:04.445 TV: Changing from WatchingPreRecorded to None
/var/log/mythtv/mythfrontend.log (END)

Oddly enough, after trying to play this file, the video decoder becomes "poisoned" and will not play back ANY recordings until I do a ctl-alt-bs to reload X.

Once in a while, the HDHR will record a program perfectly. The only difference I see is that most of the time the "lock" light goes on for a second, goes off a brief moment, and then goes on again and stays on. When I get a "good" recording, the lock light just goes on and stays on.

The HDHR is on the latest firmware (last Aug. I think). Is there anything I can do to make my video decoder more resistant to whatever garf is in the HDHR file? Has anyone else seen this issue? (Yes, I have googled, but its darned hard to find "hdhomerun bad recording" or some such!)

-- Joe B.

Author:  Martian [ Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:01 pm ]
Post subject: 

I think your amp might actually be your problem. 26 dB is a LOT of gain even split four ways. The HDHomerun has a much more sensitive receiver than your HD3000's and there is a good chance you are overdriving it's input. (I had to remove my 10 dB amp in order to make my HDHomerun happy)

Do a test without the amp and see if the HDHomerun recordings improve. If so you probably need to lower the gain to those tuners. Whatever you do don't amplify then attenuate, no good can come of that.


Author:  Liv2Cod [ Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:14 pm ]
Post subject: 

Ugh! I hope you're not right, but you may be. The amp is necessary to make the HD3000s happy -- I get fragging on the picture without a lot of gain since the antenna is in the attic and the transmitters are about 45 miles away (Sutro Tower to Santa Clara).

I have an older 10 dB amp I can try instead, but I'll bet some of the channels don't make it with the HD3000s. In this case, "amp then attenuate" might actually be the best solution for my HD Home Run.

Or, ditch the HD3000s and replace with a second HDHR. Those PCI slots are getting hard to find in mATX mainboards these days. And I could locate the HDHRs up in the attic with the antenna and skip the cable loss thru the house.

Author:  Martian [ Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:10 pm ]
Post subject: 

Couple ideas:

1) 10 dB amp => splitter (with ~3dB attenuation to each) => 26 dB to HD3000 / no additional gain to HDHomerun.

2) Splitter => 10 or 26 dB gain (whatever works) to HD3000 / HDHomerun in *attic with no gain.

* just be careful with putting the HDHomerun in the attic as they run a little hot to begin with. It'd be fine this time a year but I image an attic in Cali can get pretty HOT in August.

Author:  mattbatt [ Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

Yeah what Martian said split the signal wherever you have the amp plugged in then run another coax cable for the HD-Homerun. Obviously it is best to amplify the signal as soon as possible.

Author:  Liv2Cod [ Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:49 am ]
Post subject: 

Well I changed the 26dB amp for a 10dB one, and the problem with the HDHR still persists.

It's quite strange, actually. I'm still not sure if its related to my actual unit (i.e. it's just getting tired) or even the version of KM (an older 5.5 release).

I do know it used to work, and now it doesn't. Very odd.

Author:  mattbatt [ Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

did you try it hooking the antenna directly to the HDHR with no amps or splitters?

Author:  Liv2Cod [ Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

mattbatt wrote:
did you try it hooking the antenna directly to the HDHR with no amps or splitters?

In my case the OTA source is about 40-50 miles away and my antenna is inside the attic -- not the best of situations for reception. I know the HD3000's won't work without some help from an amplifier. Plus, I need that 4-way splitter to drive all my encoders.

I have changed all splitters/cables/amps/etc. The new 4-way splitter and cables did help. But that pesky HDHR just refuses to play nice!

-- Joe B

Author:  mattbatt [ Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:33 pm ]
Post subject: 

This is a stupid question but where are the amps. The closer to the antenna they are the better.

Author:  Liv2Cod [ Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:50 pm ]
Post subject:  FIXED

Just an update to my issue. Turned out the power supply to the HD HomeRun was failing. Ultimately it failed completely and gave itself away!

Author:  mattbatt [ Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:04 pm ]
Post subject: 

hopefully it's just an easy to replace wall wart.

Author:  jzigmyth [ Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

There was a recall on some of those. I don't know if it is still in effect. ... ers/338450

Author:  TVBox [ Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:10 pm ]
Post subject: 

You can read the saga of the HDHR failing power supply.

One of the weak spots of the HDHR is the power supply. I am on #3. All three wallwarts where from different Mfg's. I use two HD3000's as tuner 1&2 and the HDHR is tuner 3&4. The HDHR with bad power supply would cause havic with the backend just being connected. It made no difference if it was being used to record or not.

#1 8 months before failure
#2 21 months before failure
#3 To be determined. 11 months so far. This one cost me $15.00


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