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Topic # 82156 22-Apr-2011 10:02
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Ok, so previous discussions on PS3 PlayTV stuttering have suggested various solutions but as far as I'm concerned the jury is still out on what fixes this problem.

I have the early PS3 with 80GB drive.   PlayTV would stutter and became worse as time went on.  I did a full format (the long version) and things improved, but didn't go away completely.

I researched other users and found that some people have a Western Digital 320GB drive and have no problems.  So I bought the WD3200BEVT drive and initially thought I'd solved the issue.   Even playing a game while PlayTV recorded seemed ok.   However within 3 weeks it has started stuttering worse than my original drive.   For instance, I watch a recording (which has no stutter) while recording another channel and it starts to stutter every 10-15 secs repeatedly.  It settles if I stop the playback and restart, but then it starts doing it again shortly after. 

Obviously the hard drive heads are busy recording data to one part of the drive while reading data from another location.   Presumably over time the drive gets scrambled and the heads start to fly backwards and forwards as fast as they can.   So is the answer to get a data transfer rate that can cope?   What experience do other users have?

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46 posts

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  Reply # 461746 23-Apr-2011 11:13
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HI,

I am experiencing these problems as well.  Like you I just have questions and need some answers.  It seems to be getting worse for me also after 4 weeks now.  Mostly when doing 2 things at once when TV1, TV2 or TV3 are involved.  SD channels are better.


?????????????????

Someone out there must know something!  At least of how to minimise stutter.  As yet I haven't figured it out.

 

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  Reply # 461754 23-Apr-2011 11:37
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I have the original 120Gb HDD. After what you say, looks like a 320Gb might not fix the problem. After trawling through forums, 320Gb seems to be "no problem" but there is no feedback after time if they are still ok.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 461798 23-Apr-2011 14:53
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skyhigh:After trawling through forums, 320Gb seems to be "no problem" but there is no feedback after time if they are still ok.


I have had one of the WD3200BEVT drives in my 40GB PS3 (CECHG02) for about 2 years and it has never missed a beat with normal PlayTV operation.

The only time I notice stuttering is when someone turns a certain light switch on or off in the house. The light switch is an older style one that obviously has metal contacts inside becoming loose, therefore causing sharp spikes in radio interference due to electrical arcing.

It also sometimes happens when the someone is mowing the lawn, and the lawn mower gets within a certain proximity to the UHF aerial on the house.

Probably need to look at my aerial wiring really... lol.

The drive is a
Western Digital Scorpio WD3200BEVT Hard Disk Drive, 320GB, 5400rpm, 8192KB Cache, SATA-2
... to be exact

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  Reply # 461936 24-Apr-2011 11:11
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dontpanic42: 

The drive is a
Western Digital Scorpio WD3200BEVT Hard Disk Drive, 320GB, 5400rpm, 8192KB Cache, SATA-2
... to be exact


Thanks for that I am pricing one now.  Everyone seems to be using this exact HDD with success.  Quiet, fast and cool. 

Cheers 



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  Reply # 461939 24-Apr-2011 11:28
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DontPanic42 - you have the answers to our problem. Any chance you could do a re-scan of the TV channels and tell us the strength of the signals coming in? I get most at 92% but some drop as low as 80% and it must be something to do with this?

Skyhigh - if you get this drive can you please let us all know if this fixes your problem as it sure didn't fix mine.

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  Reply # 461942 24-Apr-2011 12:08
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http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=361981

This appears to be the exact same drive, and this is the exact place that I purchased from.
However, I don't think anyone could guarantee that it would be exactly the same drive that I purchased exactly 3 years ago (just had a look at my previous orders at ascent).
It could have slightly different internals... i.e. different controller hardware, different firmware... etc.
It's always worth a shot though.

PlayTVuser: DontPanic42 - you have the answers to our problem. Any chance you could do a re-scan of the TV channels and tell us the strength of the signals coming in? I get most at 92% but some drop as low as 80% and it must be something to do with this?


I will just do a scan now and report back.
:)

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  Reply # 461952 24-Apr-2011 13:11
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OK. So I've just done a re-scan. Here are the results:

@ 44% - signal strength = 95% (TVNZ mux I believe)
@ 48% - signal strength = 89% (Kordia mux I believe)
@ 65% - singal strength = 86% (Mediaworks mux I believe)

I am probably just guessing about which mux is which based on the channel order that the "other" location setting gives me.
In any case, all channels seem to be fine, and at least one of them is at 86% signal strength. So I guess you could use that as a known benchmark value.



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  Reply # 461957 24-Apr-2011 14:07
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The one I bought looks exactly the same.

Brand New Western Digital
320GB 2.5" SATA Laptop HDD

Compatible With PS3

Western Digital
Mobile Hard Drives
320 GB, SATA 3 Gb/s, 8 MB Cache, 5400 RPM
Model: WD3200BEVT

Performance Specifications
Rotational Speed 5,400 RPM (nominal)
Buffer Size 8 MB
Average Latency 5.50 ms (nominal)

Seek Times
Read Seek Time 12.0 ms
Track-To-Track Seek Time 2.0 ms (average)

Transfer Rates
Buffer To Host (Serial ATA) 3 Gb/s (Max)

Physical Specifications
Formatted Capacity 320,107 MB
Capacity 320 GB
Interface SATA 3 Gb/s
User Sectors Per Drive 976,773,168





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  Reply # 461958 24-Apr-2011 14:09
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My next step will be to get the signal strength looked at. I remember Prime didn't come in that strong here in Wellington on the UHF aerial, so maybe that has something to do with it.

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  Reply # 461959 24-Apr-2011 14:13
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PlayTVuser: My next step will be to get the signal strength looked at. I remember Prime didn't come in that strong here in Wellington on the UHF aerial, so maybe that has something to do with it.


Are you using a masthead amplifier?
Similar to this - http://www.freeviewshop.co.nz/kingray-34db-shielded-digital-mast-head-amplifier-p-485.html
If you are not, it would probably help a great deal.

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  Reply # 461971 24-Apr-2011 15:41
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An amplifier isn't necessarily a quick fix when you're dealing with digital signals.

Too much signal will cause just as many problems as not enough, and without appropiate hardware for calibration you'll have no idea what your true signal measurements are like.



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  Reply # 461972 24-Apr-2011 15:44
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Smile ok so what is the next step please?  Boost the signal or measure it? or both?

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  Reply # 462398 26-Apr-2011 11:19
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I and several other users looked seriously at this about a year ago, maybe more.

Guts of it was that PlayTV software doesn't provide any 'tech' info about signal quality, only the signal strength is shown when you first scan for channels.

I had a WD 500 GB drive. I had major stuttering problems and nothing I did sorted it. Have a look back, my thread is in here somewhere.

I looked at signal strength, even purchasing an attenuator to cut back my strength.

Basically I personally feel that there is a PS3 hardware/firmware issue with the way the unit accesses the drive. Some PS3 versions and drive combos are fine and some give trouble. Once again, Personally I believe the efforts to get Play TV to market here in NZ centred around the EPG issue mostly and do not believe fundamentally there is anything different between the original PlayTV units we were testing with and the NZ release.

Bottom line, try whatever you can and good luck to you.
I'm the owner of a real Twin Tuner freeview approved PVR on the same aerial with no stuttering.



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  Reply # 462621 26-Apr-2011 17:14
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Thanks Jason.  Yes I have earlier poured all over yours and other comments around this.

Ok so which PVR have you settled for?   Any others I should look at?

I looked at Tivo from Telecom at $399, which is a bargain, but it was hopeless when it comes to the user interface.   That is where PlayTV really is hard to beat.  The onscreen menu's on PlayTV give easy one screen recording, showing all channels in a graphical layout (not one channel at a time).   Selecting a program to record shows in simple bold red (although I wish it would stop telling me it is set - after all I can see from the bold red bar!)    Sony really thought about how to make it easy to use.    It is very similar to MySky but I'm not interested in monthly fees.

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  Reply # 462706 26-Apr-2011 19:19
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PlayTVuser: Ok so which PVR have you settled for?   Any others I should look at?

 
I went with the JC Matthew unit.  I'm not sure you can even still get that.

Any freeview approved unit will have the standard MHEG5 1 channel per page type EPG.

Sorry but I can't tell you which one you should get.  Every single one has pros and cons.
The official ones are proper twin tuners though, so you can record 2 different channels at the same time.

If freeview released the raw EIT data then playTV would work straight away, as would windows media centre for windows 7 etc.  But that's not going to happen.

Tivo is great for the price but you don't get a full EPG and you need to connect it to the internet to get the EPG, like PlayTV.


Anyway, back on topic, I don't believe that a full solution was ever sorted for the PlayTV stutter/pixelating problem.  I found the same aerial worked on several other freeview HD receivers perfectly.  I did a full Hard Drive format on the PS3 and it took a full day or so and it didn't change anything.  Sorry, but it's just good luck.  Oh, tried a different usb cable too, pretty much every single thing I could.  At the time I couldn't complain to Sony but it's official now so I'd be keen to see what the official line in NZ now is!                  

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