December 12, 2010

SA V+ - random reboots when watching HD channels

Long-term readers of this blog will know that I'm holding out for the TiVo box rather than trading in my troublesome SA V+ for a Samsung, but it's getting increasingly difficult to be patient and logical about this.
This week my V+ has rebooted itself a several times, sometimes when it's recording an HD programme whilst I'm watching another, twice when I have just been watching an HD channel. There's not much rhyme or reason to it, but needless to say this rebooting has ruined a few recordings and the five minutes' reboot time is proving increasingly frustrating. It appears to be happening more and more frequently, notably since we added Sky Movies and Sports HD and watch so little SD now. Mrs Nialli not happy. Nialli not happy. Teen Nialli not over the moon either.
Does anyone else experience this? If it wasn't for the 50+ hours on the V+ stored up (actually a lot less thanks to a fair amount being HD) I'd look to exchange it before Christmas, but much of that has been recorded to be enjoyed over Chrimbo, so I'm reluctant to let it go just yet. I could transfer programmes on to my old external DVD/HDD Panasonic, but the PQ drop is noticable even from SD.
And, of course, if I do ring Virgin Media, there's no guarantee that I'd get a Samsung as a replacement either.
So I'll have to make do, which is not what I should be doing as I'm shelling out over £100 a month for the service as a VIP50. Normally I'm not an early adopter of new software or hardware (I do too much of that in my day job for the thrill to outweigh the practicalities of a stable service) but for me, the TiVo upgrade, whatever it costs, cannot come soon enough.

28 comments:

Harkaway said...

Nialli,
I wish I didn't know what you mean by the box becoming increasingly unstable, but not wanting to request a replacement just yet. Besides sharing your doubts about being an early adopter, there's the inconvenience of one less tuner, which is a major factor. But I'm wondering if your box might become more stable once you've freed up some of the drive after watching some of those HD programmes you've banked. I've found that does wonders for my box's stability. One other note: my reboots only take a couple of minutes, so maybe your problem is more serious

Let us know how it goes.

PaddyJ said...

Hi Nialli,

I had an engineer round a few weeks ago as mine was doing exactly what yours is. He said there's been loads of callouts recently and he thinks it's down to how old your cable installation is. Not the box. He gave me a new box anyway, but it wasn't the samsung as he said they've had so many complaints about the samsung dying they're not giving them out anymore!!

Definitely hold out for the TiVo that's what I'm gonna do.

Ripal said...

Hi Nialli & PaddyJ,

I've been experiencing similar problems although a bit more extreme as my V+ services have totally stopped working. And like you, Nialli, the Rebooting is a pain in the back as it takes soooo long to reboot.

Anyway Virgin Media 1st line support re-formatted the box remotely as a first solution (I was ok with it as the recordings on my V+ box were nothing major). This didn't work and they suggested a new box was required.

So had an engineer out whom said exactly the samething that PaddyJ's engineer said. The engineer changed the connections to update the service however this did not work. So he also said I needed a new box and lo and behold...he didn't have one!!! Got an engineer coming in tomorrow now to replace the box and hopefully fix the problem.

I also want the TiVo box, however no idea when it's coming out and right now my V+ box is causing too much of a nuisance that I can't hold out.

Will try and keep you posted what happens after tomorrow.

Nialli said...

What I will do once I have watched my archived material is reformat the disc, which I haven't done for almost two years with this particular box. If anyone wants to try that route themselves, here's how to do it http://vmhd.blogspot.com/2008/04/format-your-v.html.
Incidentally, does anyone else have the occasional picture break up with Sky Movie channel HD recordings? Very slight, but still annoying.

Nialli said...

@Harkaway: my reboot is just a few minutes too, but to load the full programme info takes a lot longer. Fortunately, if it's recording whilst rebooting it seems to prioritise that first.

Nialli said...

And I wonder what they consider an "old" cable installation? Mine must be about ten years' old now but the cables are all in good condition from what I can see. I had the splitter replaced a few years back and had new cable when I added a second box for the bedroom four years ago.

Allan said...

Hi Nialli I had the same problem. and when the techs replaced the box I asked them for the samsung box and they replaced it with the samsung box. All you have to do is ask the techs when they replace your box.

Mandy said...

Hi Nialli,
I was having a similar problem - the more HD I watched/recorded, the SA V+ just froze completely and needed a manual reboot to free it up. It got to the stage where it was happening a few times every day, so I gave up and called Tech support. Lo and behold, I now have a Samsung box which is okay - but still doesn't seem totally stable - a few jumps of picture and sound and pixellation. Like everyone else, hoping that the Tivo will solve all of these issues - or is that just wishful thinking?
Great site by the way!

Dazza124 said...

I also had the same issue with my trusted old SA V+ box with regards too rebooting.
so much so it was getting really, really annoying.
I was advised to reformat my hard disk but this did nothing to prevent the fault.
During this time a utility company sliced through the phone part of the cable in the street.
I reported both issues and the tech that visited me changed the stb to a shiny new sammy.He mentioned the signal instead of being linear was more of a slope. he also organised a repull which was done within two weeks.During the two week wait i had no issues with reboots.I had a repull with no issues since.

I always thought the SA had a great picture but thought the sammy was just as good if not a bit brighter/sharper.
This new box although nice is still a STB in theory on rent from VM so i have no qualms in changing to a Tivo in the new year.

McbPortraits.co.uk said...

I thought it was just my box, rebooting at the most inconvenient times and happening more often! Has anyone recorded a programme that last 1hour & displays that 1hour has been record but only 15min is actually recorded which is also very extremely annoying? Was going to telephone Virgin but it appears it might be best to wait for Tivo & suffer in the meantime!!!

Dazza124 said...

forgot to mention i had pixelations on the movie channels also but not since the change of STB and repull.

I do think if your cable is ten years old it might be the old type.
the tech did say this was a newer type than the one that i had but not sure what the difference can be.Maybe better screening/protection than the old one.

Nialli said...

No problems with the general picture quality at all. Some Sky movies look a little softer than others, but a lot of people have reported that on satellite too. The bit-rate on HD Sky movies not being as high as many other HD channels.

Moroboshi said...

My SA V+ reboots/crashes from time to time, but only about once every couple of months or so. I'm not a heavy user of it though, which may be why.

Reboot time on mine is about 5 minutes to get TV up and running again, but about half an hour at least to load the full programme guide. Sometimes the guide doesn't load at all until I force another reset.

The SA V+ is a pile of junk, to be frank.

Moroboshi said...

With regard to picture quality to me it looks as if it's dropping across the board. Watching the rather mediocre 'The Walking Dead' on FX HD for example looks no better than SD.

I also took a look at the new movie channel Cinemoi. It's in SD so I didn't expect much, but wow, the picture quality is absolutely apocalyptically bad. Looks like Youtube circa 2005, which is too bad as French cinema tends to look very good.

question42 said...

I have a black SA V+ box, that replaced a dying silver one. It is pretty stable - requires a reboot every few weeks but no crashes. We're fairly evenly split between SD and HD, but it's not uncommon for there to be 2 HD programs recording while we watch a third.

gavin said...

Nialli,
Over the past two months have had exactly the same problem as you - finally got an engineer out last week and the outcome was a box replacement. He said it's a hard disk fault. After a few years, the drive gives up and a read/write fault when in use causes a reboot.

The replacement stock SA box he had in his van was also broken ... so I ended up getting a new Samsung. Its a lot quicker when navigating and the SD picture quality is better.

Cheers, gavin.

Incognito56 said...

Had the problem. Even got a second box, so I would not have to give up my old recordings. As I said to the Virgin guys: "I'm not paying to record TV. I'm paying to watch what I've recorded." However, the problem wasn't the box. It was a weak signal over the line. Big surprise to me, but when the engineer fixed the line, the rebooting stopped.

Habanero said...

My SA V+ also sometimes reboots even when it's just sitting in standby mode. Occasionally it just forgets to record something, and other times it brings back programs that have been deleted weeks before as Recovered Content. Worst of all is that the remote has to be pointed exactly as the box otherwise it doesn't work at all, and even then around half the time it registers the wrong command (ie you press 2 and it says record cannot be used etc)

Moroboshi said...

@ Habanero

I agree with you on the V+ remote needing very direct line of sight to work. Most annoying.

I see no reason why all remotes can't just be bluetooth now, as with the PS3. No line of sight needed at all, it just works.

kgollop said...

This sounds like a familiar tale. Have you noticed often that the "random" reboots are often at 18 mins past the hour when the box does its maintenance?

Nialli said...

@kgollop: Had not noticed that...but will keep an eye on it in the future.

LewishamLovely said...

exact same problems here. also looking to upgrade to tivo, but slightly irked that that seems to be the only way to receive a (presumably) more stable service. it seems like any existing problems with V+ will be ignored now (well, as they have all along really) as the focus is on the new tivo.

Peter said...

I'm in exactly the same boat. Got my old silver TVDrive box replaced when it became more and more flakey with the addition of Sky HD movies and sports. But now having exactly the same problems with the new SA V+ box. Cannot wait for TIVO to arrive! Fed up of partial recordings, and hangups.

Jon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon said...

Of course experiences may vary, but I'm surprised to hear the negative comments about the Samsung V+.

Maybe some boxes had poor build quality, but when it works, as luckily it does here, it is MUCH more reliable (and of course faster) than the SA box.

Almost all my viewing is HD now. Really only the kids stuff is excepted. Frequently I am recording two HD shows and watching another.

I think I can count only about 2 occasions in over a year that I've had any problem while the box is recording and I probbaly reboot once every couple of months.

All that said I'm very excited about the Tivo but will almopst certainly wait until the end of next summer, both to allow the bugs to get sorted and because that is about the only time in the year I don't have a big backlog of shows to watch

Jez said...

Some months ago my box was rebooting 3-4 times a day. Like 'Incognito56' the engineer said V+ hardware in my house was fine but a weak signal, he said possibly due that a few weeks previously I had re-sited my V+box extending the internal cable by 10ft, therefore the input signal was no longer balanced? Whatever he did from the street box the problem was resolved.

Simon said...

I recently had an old analogue SA box die on me - the engineer came out and said ALL SA boxes had a problem in that it was scanning for firmware updates on freq 444 (i think) and it should be something line 660

Therefore there was firmware to be updated - consequence being that it was only a matter of time before the Box, be it V+ or Analogue SA, would kill itself.

I have a nice new Cisco analogue box now, and an updated to SA V+ box - all is well :D

Hope this helps

Martin said...

My Tivo (one of the first ones out) keeps rebooting at various times. sometimes 3 or 4 times during an hours long program. it also takes around 5 minutes to come back up each time. not called for engineer yet as i cannot aford to take the time off work to sit in all day waiting.