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bensonr2

join:2011-04-04
Parsippany, NJ

Help! New CCard - Now stuck "Firmware upgrade"

So I have been desperate to get my Tivo Premiere back up and running for 2 days now. But problems are only getting worse and neither Cablevision nor Tivo (though Tivo was at least more friendly) support feel like they are helping just yet.

Problems started a few days ago though not positive as I haven't watched much TV this week.

I noticed a couple recordings had a lot of digital artifacting.

Then I noticed a couple channels could not tune in at all.

And some of the channels that could not tune in were basic broadcast channels such as NBC and Fox.

It seemed like I was slowly losing more channels. Though most of my basic cable channels still were coming in fine (though maybe some digital artifacting on a few.

I called cablevision. They gave up pretty easy and want to send a tech out. I don't think its an issue of the quality of the line. Only a few weeks ago they tested my line quality at their request for some still unexplained reason. (Tech simply replaced the one radio shack splitter I had with one he brought).

Anyway they cannot send a tech for almost a full week. I asked if I could try exchanging the cablecard myself at one of their stores to see if that fixed anything.

I installed the new card, powered back on the Tivo.

Tivo said it was "updating the cablecard decoder firmware".

I never got guided setup so I could call cablevision to bind the cablecard. It remained stuck on an endless cycle of screens for the firmware upgrade for over an hour.

During that time I caught a few errors that briefly flashed -

failed to load //app/cvtupdate

I caught a similar error for slightly different file/directory name.

I called cablevision. They said the card must be bad, get another one.

Ran back to the store. New card has the same problem.

Called cablevision again. According to them the Tivo must be "bad" but I'm not buying it.

I called Tivo. They had me try reseating the card while it was powered on. I feel like I can almost get into the cablecard installer menu to get the binding information for the CC; but it always goes back to the decoder firmware update screen.

Anyone have anything to add? If its at all useful this week I believe the cable system in my area is migrating to all digital. Might that have affected anything?

I've brought it up to both cablevision and tivo but they just brushed it aside.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated


IllIlIlllIll
EliteData
Premium
join:2003-07-06
Hampton Bays, NY
kudos:7
sounds like a signal issue since the card is pulling the firmware from QAM (update logic) and getting stuck (incomplete data)
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mbernste
Boosted
Premium,MVM
join:2001-06-30
Piscataway, NJ
reply to bensonr2

Re: Help! New CCard - Now stuck "Firmware upgrade"

said by bensonr2:

I don't think its an issue of the quality of the line.

I agree with IllIlIlllIll See Profile completely. It sounds like it is exactly that, a problem with your signal levels. Your description are classic signal level symptoms. The fact that you are getting artifacting means you're getting a poor signal which is why it can't download the updates. Lots of things can affect signals such as changes in weather, new splits put on by your neighbors, critters chewing on the line, new installations, etc.

I'm surprised its taking so long for you to get a tech out. Back in July I called on Saturday morning for a similar issue and they had a tech out the same day.

bensonr2

join:2011-04-04
Parsippany, NJ
reply to bensonr2
Maybe, but the problem really seems more complicated.

First only a handful of channels had artifacting. Most channels were rock solid, except for a few channels that did not come in at all.

Before I replaced the cablecard with one that did not work at all I ran through the channel test in the diagnostics menu.

Most of the channels were in a normal signal range. But that channels that did not come in at all were simply showing 0 for signal level.

Also the channels that were not coming in at all that were broadcast channels (Fox HD, NBC HD) I was able to view through my TV's clear QAM tuner. And the quality of the channel seems fine. No artifacting, sharp picture.

Also from talking to Tivo it is not the cablecard firmware that is updating, but the cablecard "decoder" firmware.

According to them this should not require an update especially since I have been up and running with a cablecard on this Tivo on this cable system for over a year.


limegrass69
Here's my Posting tag

join:2008-05-28

1 edit
reply to bensonr2
Again, as others have stated, it sounds like a signal issue.
It sounds like you want to hear something else, but you need to have a tech out for a look.
Either it's transient and will cure itself (not likely), or a tech will need to troubleshoot -- starting at your TIVO and working backwards from there.
Based on your prior unscheduled tech visit, it sounds like someone else nearby might have also been having issues. You need to stay on Cablevision until you're satisfied.


IllIlIlllIll
EliteData
Premium
join:2003-07-06
Hampton Bays, NY
kudos:7

2 edits
reply to bensonr2
tivo's and other devices have to tune to QAM OCAP channel "85.9999" (center frequency 591Mhz, 6Mhz +/-) to get the "decoder firmware" and other updates.
if the device is having trouble tuning to this channel, it will get stuck on "updating".
if the MPEG2 video on the cable system was QAM64 instead of QAM256, poor signal issues would be tolerated better (a minimal average of 3-5dB) but picture quality would suffer slightly (less bandwidth = more compression).
i believe the OCAP channel is QAM64 since its data over MPEG2.
try connecting the device to the closest first point of cable entry and see if it then will work.
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bensonr2

join:2011-04-04
Parsippany, NJ

2 edits
reply to bensonr2
You guys appear to be right. It does seem like it may have been a signal issue. Removing the splitter Cablevission installed a few weeks ago got me past the firmware upgrade screen.

I got as far as the screen with the host id info this time.

However when I called to activate the rep I spoke with claimed my card's "serial number" is not in their database.

I pressed her whether I could pull any info from the Tivo diagnostic screens in order to have them "register" the card in their system. I pointed out that Tivo allows you access to the cablecard menu which gives info such as mac address and million other technical details. They claim no. Her solution is for me to wait for my appointment four days from now.

I'm making progress but still frustrated.

But thanks guys for the info. I appreciate it. I feel silly I dismissed signal quality issues so easily.


Goats

@optonline.net
You may have good signal but low snr/mer on the main frequency. And whatever channels pixilate. Did you happen to see what snr is on tivo diagnostic. I cant recall if the tivo shows that though.

bensonr2

join:2011-04-04
Parsippany, NJ
reply to bensonr2
SNR is 29 db.

At this point my main issue is that the latest cable card I have is not "in their system".

I tried another tech and again pressed whether they could "register the cablecard in their system" manually by me reading them the various pages of information in the cablecard installer menu.

The latest tech still insisted know though seemed more sympathetic and less dismissive of the idea.

What would really help me is anyone knows any technical details of what might not be "registered" in their system so if I attempt to call back again I could press them using specific technical details.

Thanks again guys.

rtbond

join:2007-11-28
Hopatcong, NJ
reply to IllIlIlllIll
said by IllIlIlllIll:

tivo's and other devices have to tune to QAM OCAP channel "85.9999" (center frequency 591Mhz, 6Mhz +/-) to get the "decoder firmware" and other updates.
if the device is having trouble tuning to this channel, it will get stuck on "updating".

Just curious about the "OCAP channel" you make reference to. My CableCARD device (SiliconDust HDHomerun Prime) uses 74 MHz as the out-of-band (OOB) forward data channel (FDC). I believe is the communications path used by OCAP devices, whose location is configurable by the Operator per system in the range of 70 to 130 MHz. The OCAP FDC uses QPSK, not QAM.

Is there another OCAP channel besides the FDC I mention above?

Regarding the original post, I think everyone is right in suspecting signal level issues. The stated 29 SNR is low.

--Rob

bensonr2

join:2011-04-04
Parsippany, NJ
reply to bensonr2
Thanks again, and I think agree. The root cause of the original problem is and was signal level.

That said the current problem seems to still be cablecard activation.

Anyone ever had similar problems with a CC install where they claimed the card was "not in their system". Anyone ever get it fixed short of a different card?


IllIlIlllIll
EliteData
Premium
join:2003-07-06
Hampton Bays, NY
kudos:7

1 edit
reply to rtbond
said by rtbond:

said by IllIlIlllIll:

tivo's and other devices have to tune to QAM OCAP channel "85.9999" (center frequency 591Mhz, 6Mhz +/-) to get the "decoder firmware" and other updates.
if the device is having trouble tuning to this channel, it will get stuck on "updating".

Just curious about the "OCAP channel" you make reference to. My CableCARD device (SiliconDust HDHomerun Prime) uses 74 MHz as the out-of-band (OOB) forward data channel (FDC). I believe is the communications path used by OCAP devices, whose location is configurable by the Operator per system in the range of 70 to 130 MHz. The OCAP FDC uses QPSK, not QAM.

Is there another OCAP channel besides the FDC I mention above?

Regarding the original post, I think everyone is right in suspecting signal level issues. The stated 29 SNR is low.

--Rob

i know CV has two OCAP channels, I dont recall the other channel at this time.
is there a signal strength and SNR indicator for the FDC ?
the SA4250HD box i am using shows no frequency for the FDC & an SNR of N/A, probably because its not needed since the box is using the built in CM for updates/apps/firmware through CV's walled garden.
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rtbond

join:2007-11-28
Hopatcong, NJ
You are right the SA 4250HD boxes do not list FDC statistics and I am not sure why because it certainly uses a FDC, it is just not the OCAP FDC.

The Samsung SMT-C5320 boxes do provide FDC diagnostic data. On my system the non-OCAP FDC is at 603 MHz for these boxes. Both signal level and CNR are provided. I believe the SMT-C5320 has DOCSIS Settop gateway (DSG) functionality, allowing it to communicate with the network via DOCSIS.

The OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver (OCUR) specification states the OCUR FDC is located in the 70 MHz to 130 MHz range, so I think CableCARD devices received network communications in a QPSK channel in this range. The proprietary (i.e., non-OCAP) systems from Cisco, Samsung, Motorola , etc use a different FDC.

TheWiseGuy
Dog And Butterfly
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-04
East Stroudsburg, PA
kudos:3
Cablevision uses only Docsis OOB, has for a long time. For a somewhat recent article co-authored by Joe Godas of CV see

»www.cisco.com/en/US/technologies···ce2.html

Cablevision currently uses IP multicast to drive the conditional access (CA) and system information (SI) carousels to their set top boxes (STBs). Their first advanced STB had a single out-of-band tuner which acted as both as an interactive and out-of-band (OOB) management interface. Cablevision originally supported DOCSIS and Digital Audio Visual Council (DAVIC) delivery mechanisms, but quickly adopted a DOCSIS-only approach once multicast robustness was demonstrated. Cablevision's newer STBs use DOCSIS to carry vital SI streams. Both CA and SI will be carried over into any DSG deployments that Cablevision evolves to in the future.


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rtbond

join:2007-11-28
Hopatcong, NJ
Thanks for the pointer to the IP Multicast paper.

Just to clarify, the DOCSIS FDC approach only applies to Cablevision STB communications and not to CableCARD (OCAP) consumer electronics devices, the original focus of this thread.

TheWiseGuy
Dog And Butterfly
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join:2002-07-04
East Stroudsburg, PA
kudos:3
I was replying to your statement that the 4250 does not list FDC statistics. I believe it does under the Docsis info but I am not near my box at this time. I believe it also a column for Davic FDC but since it does not use that functionality it does not list those statistics. I could be incorrect since I am simply going off recollection. I do not believe the cablecard tuners also would be using Davic versus Docsis since I doubt CV set up a Davic system for the tuners
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IllIlIlllIll
EliteData
Premium
join:2003-07-06
Hampton Bays, NY
kudos:7
reply to rtbond
said by rtbond:

You are right the SA 4250HD boxes do not list FDC statistics and I am not sure why because it certainly uses a FDC, it is just not the OCAP FDC.

The Samsung SMT-C5320 boxes do provide FDC diagnostic data. On my system the non-OCAP FDC is at 603 MHz for these boxes. Both signal level and CNR are provided. I believe the SMT-C5320 has DOCSIS Settop gateway (DSG) functionality, allowing it to communicate with the network via DOCSIS.

The OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver (OCUR) specification states the OCUR FDC is located in the 70 MHz to 130 MHz range, so I think CableCARD devices received network communications in a QPSK channel in this range. The proprietary (i.e., non-OCAP) systems from Cisco, Samsung, Motorola , etc use a different FDC.

if you can grab a picture, i dont have a samsung box, i am curious to see what the FDC stats are for that box since the 4250HD im using doesnt use FDC.
the samsung box may have FDC enabled but not actively using it since it does have a CC slot built in.
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rtbond

join:2007-11-28
Hopatcong, NJ

1 edit
reply to TheWiseGuy
Thanks for your clarification on 4250HD FDC diagnostic information. That makes sense.

I stand corrected on the OCAP FDC. The CableCARD 2.0 specific also allows a DSG (DOCSIS) communication channel, in addition to a DAVIC (SCTE 55-2). So, CableCARD devices could also be DOCSIS based.

Given that all CableCARD-based consumer electronic devices connected to the Cablevision network are one-way devices (i.e., FCC Unidirectional Digital Cable Product (UDCP) or "Digital Cable-ready Receiver"), I believe (from a practical perspective) this forces the use of the DAVIC-based OOB and not the DSG (DOCSIS). I say this because the CableCARD 2.0 spec states that hosts (consumer electronics devices) implementing DSG (DOCSIS) are two-way hosts. My understanding is that the only 2-way CableCARD-based consumer electronics devices on the market are Tru2Way devices, which is not supported by Cablevision.

My CableCARD device operates in the 70-130 MHz ranged specified for DAVIC-based OOB communications.

Any way, just informed speculation.

TheWiseGuy
Dog And Butterfly
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-04
East Stroudsburg, PA
kudos:3
The Cablecards are actually 2 way. The tuners are 1 way. I am guessing also but adding Davic is a major investment and major complication. I am very far out of my knowledge base on this but I suspect that the cablecard can handle the upstream OOB via Docsis. The devices(tuners) do not communicate upstream at all. This is why you need an SDV tuner to get the SDV channels.
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rtbond

join:2007-11-28
Hopatcong, NJ
My speculation is based on the fact that DSG communications require a Cable Modem function in the "tuner" (Host). If you are building a 1-way tuner (i.e., a FCC UDCP product) why go to the expense of having a DOCSIS Cable Modem function in the device.

You are correct in stating the CableCARDs are in fact 2-way capable and it is the hosts (i.e., consumer electronics devices) that are restricting the operation to 1-way.

Thanks for the dialog.


IllIlIlllIll
EliteData
Premium
join:2003-07-06
Hampton Bays, NY
kudos:7
reply to bensonr2
2012 reference guide if you are interested.

TheWiseGuy
Dog And Butterfly
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-04
East Stroudsburg, PA
kudos:3
reply to rtbond
Doesn't the tuner have to already have a cable modem since all the channels are sent via QAM/Docsis and the only way to receive the channels would be if the tuners have a cable modem already?
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rtbond

join:2007-11-28
Hopatcong, NJ
A consumer electronics CableCARD tuner has no intrinsic need for DOCSIS functionality. Yes it needs a QAM demodulator to receive the video program streams, but that does not equate to a DOCSIS cable modem function, which has more functionality than a simple QAM receiver.


IllIlIlllIll
EliteData
Premium
join:2003-07-06
Hampton Bays, NY
kudos:7

1 edit
said by rtbond:

A consumer electronics CableCARD tuner has no intrinsic need for DOCSIS functionality. Yes it needs a QAM demodulator to receive the video program streams, but that does not equate to a DOCSIS cable modem function, which has more functionality that a simple QAM receiver.

interesting to note that whether it is video, audio or data, the transport format is encoded in MPEG2.
if there is no baseline privacy/encryption, its quite easy to obtain the contents of the transport stream if you have the knowledge and devices necessary, the difficult part is separating each stream ID.
its very similar to an ASI stream except its heavily compressed and converted for RF transport.
this is proven concept on my modified WinTV tuner, im able to tune to a specific cable modem downstream frequency and "save" the data as RAW output and view it in an editor. (the results are quite surprising)
the old Sony cable boxes were (and still are) very easy to 'tap' into the docsis 1.0 walled garden intranet (internet possible with CV proxy).
the PCB etched layout connection simply needed the female RJ45 socket attached and then soldered to the PCB, .
theres nothing special about it other than multicast data (almost like a broadcast storm), the speed is 6MbitDL/1MbitUL
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rtbond

join:2007-11-28
Hopatcong, NJ
Just a language issue. The container is always an MPEG2 Transport Stream, but the program stream (within the container) may be encoded as MPEG-2 or a H.264/AVC (e.g., the Optimum App video transported over DOCSIS is H.264 encoded video).

TheWiseGuy
Dog And Butterfly
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-04
East Stroudsburg, PA
kudos:3
said by rtbond:

Just a language issue. The container is always an MPEG2 Transport Stream, but the program stream (within the container) may be encoded as MPEG-2 or a H.264/AVC (e.g., the Optimum App video transported over DOCSIS is H.264 encoded video).

I believe it is MPEG4 on the system I am on at this moment, Blue Ridge Cable, I had to download a MPEG4 update for windows media center from X-Box live to decode the Movies here.
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IllIlIlllIll
EliteData
Premium
join:2003-07-06
Hampton Bays, NY
kudos:7
reply to rtbond
said by rtbond:

Just a language issue. The container is always an MPEG2 Transport Stream, but the program stream (within the container) may be encoded as MPEG-2 or a H.264/AVC (e.g., the Optimum App video transported over DOCSIS is H.264 encoded video).

true but the standard for final QAM transmission has been MPEG2 to maintain compatibility.
it would be nice though if H.264/AAC was used as a transport method for the QAM video/audio content, this would logically open more QAM slots within a 6Mhz bandwidth which would mean much more digital tv channels.
this would be possible with cable company supplied boxes that have the ability to decode H.264/AAC but would ultimately leave clear QAM out of the picture for those without boxes.
then the other issue is the cable company having to purchase new rack equipment to transport the content encoded as H.264/AAC as well as customer end boxes.
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IllIlIlllIll
EliteData
Premium
join:2003-07-06
Hampton Bays, NY
kudos:7

1 edit
reply to TheWiseGuy
said by TheWiseGuy:

said by rtbond:

Just a language issue. The container is always an MPEG2 Transport Stream, but the program stream (within the container) may be encoded as MPEG-2 or a H.264/AVC (e.g., the Optimum App video transported over DOCSIS is H.264 encoded video).

I believe it is MPEG4 on the system I am on at this moment, Blue Ridge Cable, I had to download a MPEG4 update for windows media center from X-Box live to decode the Movies here.

for cablevisions optimum app for laptop:
video = AVC1, audio = AACL (low delay AAC), captions = DFXP
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rtbond

join:2007-11-28
Hopatcong, NJ
reply to TheWiseGuy
said by TheWiseGuy:

I believe it is MPEG4 on the system I am on at this moment, Blue Ridge Cable, I had to download a MPEG4 update for windows media center from X-Box live to decode the Movies here.

MPEG-4 has several flavors. MPEG-4 Part 10 is in fact H.264/AVC. I tend to use H.264/AVC because there is also a older MPEG-4 encoding specification (i.e., Part-2) and this avoids any ambiguity.

Next year you will begin to see H.265/HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), which promises to reduce bit rates by half relative to H.264 (which cut bit rates by half relative to MPEG-2).

bensonr2

join:2011-04-04
Parsippany, NJ
reply to bensonr2
Quick update, problems continue to get worse.

Last night as I stated previously they claimed they could not bind the cablecard because it was "not registered in their system". The card did update the decoder firmware so that was an improvement. And it did seem like it was tuning into the broadcast and basic cable channels even though they claimed it was not registered so they could not bind it.

They told me to either wait for my appointment or I could try picking up another card. Another card should not have the same problem this current one did.

I picked up another card today. Again it showed that the firmware needed to update. But it successfully updated then gave me the screen with the CC id and host id.

I called to have it binded. This time they claimed it "won't bind" must be a problem with my cable.

I believe my signal may be less then ideal at this point so I will give her that.

But I'm skeptical so I pressed her to talk to someone directly involved in the setup and deployment of these devices.

She claimed there was no one I could talk to. I started to get heated and brought up a full refund for this month, demanding an appointment today, cancelling etc.

Got me nowhere.

Please help