Sky+ "Recording Interrupted" and signal loss

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by wizbongre, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. wizbongre

    wizbongre
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    Hi all,

    My Sky+ box is just out of its 12 months warranty and (surprise surprise) the girlfriend and I are starting to have problems with it...

    We have Sky multi-room with Sky+ in the one living room and the second normal Sky box in the other. The normal Sky box has what I consider to be a brilliant picture regardless of weather - the signal shows about 50% strength and 80% quality on average but considering it is driving my old 28" £200 Goodmans tv the picture and sound are excellent.

    The Sky+ box on the other hand has signal strength of about 5-10% on both tuners even in brilliant clear weather, although the picture and sound are ok (the quality on both is usually around 50%.) The signals used to be a lot better and only recently have gone downhill. The main problem is with recordings - about 50% of recordings won't play, simply displaying "Recording interrupted" from the start.

    What can I check/replace myself before having to call Sky out and paying £65 for nothing?! I'm tempted to invest in new cabling and is it possible to buy better LNB's or dishes? It should be easy enough to fit myself as I have access to my dish from an extension roof. I'm assuming that the dishes themselves don't degrade over time as they don't actually "do" anything but imagine the LNB could develop a fault and am convinced the cabling could definitely die over time. Or could mis-alignment of the dish cause similar problems?

    I'm dubious as the normal Sky box works fine...

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. ChristianLett

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    Hi,

    If you can get through to the tech support, argue for long enough and they may relent and waive the £65 (but it will come with a caveat that the replacement box, which will be a refurb, won't have the normal 90 day warranty that comes if you pay £65). You'll have to speak to a supervisor though as the normal techies are powerless to offer a free callout.

    My third Sky+ box lost its second signal altogether, resulting in all recordings showing "Recording interrupted" and was replaced.

    Try pulling the power cable out and swapping the RF cables on the back. I've been told that this resets the voltage to the LNB. The last resort is to do a full system reset (Services, 4, 0, 1, Select...) and see if that helps, but you'll lose everything on the hard-disk.

    Something I've tried on a couple of occasions is to open the box and put the HD into my computer, then do a defrag and a "chkdsk -F". The latter will fix any issues on the disk, but this didn't help when I tried it.

    Christian
     
  3. wizbongre

    wizbongre
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    Hi,

    I don't want to go down the arguing with tech support route just yet - I want to try and resolve it myself first if possible. Can't be bothered with the wait and stupid questions from the call centre!

    I'm just looking at the cables - cutting the ends off and creating new, cleaner joints onto the sockets. I've already done a full system reset to resolve some disk issues I guess were caused by fragmentation, that now seems fine. It's just the signal problems I'm left with! I have just noticed that both cables have been routed behind a radiator for about 3' - could this possibly increase their degradation?

    As I said in my original post, the fact that my other box behaves brilliantly signal wise does make me suspect either dodgy cabling or maybe a fault with the actual box/tuners. If my cabling fiddle can't resolve the problem or at least have some improvement I could be onto tech support after all!

    (Either that or I'll be regretting selling my old Sony freeview box on eBay ;) )

    Thanks.
     
  4. wizbongre

    wizbongre
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    Just an update in the hope maybe someone can help...

    I've been up on the extension roof and had a look at the LNB and the cabling going into it... There is no sign of any rust or anything, and only that the LNB is old I can't see anything wrong with it.

    The fact that the normal Sky box works and has over 50% signal makes me think the LNB is okay - or could it be that the four outputs can deteriorate individually?

    Every recording we now try has the message Recording Interrupted but with no further detail. Is this likely to be a problem with the box's tuners, or with the hard drive or with the LNB? Or could a simple re-alignment of the dish help?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  5. wizbongre

    wizbongre
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    Tonight I've also noticed that if I'm recording something, I can't watch anything else in my planner list. It says Insert Sky Viewing Card.

    And, whilst recording, I can't watch half of the live channels being transmitted - it again asks me to insert card.

    Anyone got any ideas, please?!
     
  6. Nick_UK

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    You could have a faulty Sky card, or a faulty card reader. Try taking the card out, give it a wipe with some soft cloth, and re-insert it. It may help.

    Still sounds like an LNB or dish alignment problem to me.
     
  7. wizbongre

    wizbongre
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    D'oh - didn't even think about checking the card! Good thinking batman!

    I agree - I think LNB/alignment as well. It's just weird that the single box works okay. I'm going to take my Sky+ box over to a neighbours and see how it goes with his dish/LNB - hopefully that should give me a better indication of what is wrong. Checking yesterday I could see both his signals and quality bars were almost at 100%. Assuming my box works okay over there I'll be on the extension roof again fitting a new LNB and checking the alignment of the dish!

    Will probably fit new cabling as well whilst I'm fiddling with it - noticed yesterday that one of the cables is lying in a puddle due to the way its been routed down the side of the extension - will have to sort that as I imagine it won't be helping.
     
  8. Scapegoat

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    How about moving the boxes so they are connected to the 'other cabling'? If the signal strengths are still the same its not the cabling.
     
  9. wizbongre

    wizbongre
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    Will try that as well - won't get Sky+ working with just one cable but at least can test the signal strength into the Sky+ box with the single cable going to the normal box, and vice-versa!

    Thanks for the suggestion (not sure why I'm not thinking about these obvious tests myself! D'oh again...)
     
  10. wizbongre

    wizbongre
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    Latest update...

    Tried removing the card and cleaning it - no difference.
    Tried powering it off for a while and then rebooting - no difference.
    Tried swapping the two cable feeds over - no difference.
    Unplugged sky+ box and put one cable into normal sky box - signal and quality show as about 60-70%.
    Tried other cable with similar results.

    So, it appears my LNB and cabling are ok. Last test is to take my Sky+ box over the road to a neighbours and see what happens - if it still thinks its signals are low is it replacement box time? Or is it possible I'm just suffering from the latest update?!

    Thanks.
     
  11. gavan

    gavan
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    It's not a typical symptom. You'd expect to see live pause failure and intermittent failture of recordings, maybe accompanied by yo-yoing singal quality meters on input 2. **Powering the box off/on would fix things for a short term at least**.

    It does sound like a dodgy digibox - maybe the HDD is on the way out? Those signal meters seem to be 'catch all' indicators of the overall health of the box. Quite often. low readings mean a failing HDD. It could be that you could drop a HDD in yourself and fix it. OTOH, something else could be wrong with the box and you'd have wasted your money. Still, for the price of a callout (65 quid) I'd be tempted to buy a 200-250gig HDD and have a go at fixing it. See other threads here for details.


    Gav
     
  12. wizbongre

    wizbongre
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    Latest update..

    Tried my box in a neighbours where he gets about 80-90% on both strength & quality on both tuners. My box showed 10% strength like in my own house.

    Conclusion - my box is shagged!

    Done a full planner rebuild, a full system reset, tried a forced software update, and even just done a new installation...

    I've now set the box to record a load of stuff over the next few days to see what happens. If I get any more random recording failures looks like I'll have to phone Sky and see if me threatening to cancel my full £53 a month multi-room package will get them to come out and sort it for free... :thumbsdow
     
  13. Pyara

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    I've recently bought a 2nd hand box from ebay as my old one died on me, and the same thing is happening to me, at first I thought the box might be faulty, but it keeps displays this 'Recording Interrupted' message, so this obviously must be something in the software which is telling it to do this for some reason?

    My card hasn't yet been married to the box, as everything started working, I didn't think their was much point in doing it. The Live Pause only seems to 'hold' the pause for a few seconds, flashes the 'Recording Interrupted' message and then goes back to live tv again.

    So far, only several recordings have seem to be effected, a oddly enough, all were the programs my wife has set! I hope this is a software blundy which they'll soon fix?

    I just got the box to keep us going until they release the new HD ones.
     
  14. darnun

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    Hi All,
    I am a newbie to this forum so be kind.

    This is a subject VERY VERY close to my heart.
    Sky + has been an absolute ball ache for me for over two years.

    A little background: I bought my first Sky+ box about 3 years ago and it lasted about 13 months (is it me or is there a conspiracy with 12 month warranties?) and it was replaced with a refurbed one.
    That lasted about a year, suffering from frozen playback and interrupted recordings. They replaced it with another refurb (£65 charge).
    Each refurb comes with a 3 month warranty and it died at 4 months (Warranty conspiracy again) of exactly the same faults.

    So I rang Sky about this and got nowhere. They wanted to charge me the £65 for call out but I soon made them waiver that because of all the problems I had had.

    So they came round and fitted the 4th box and, guess what, it lasted only 2 months with the same problem, interrupted recordings, loss of signal, freezing playback etc etc.

    So I phoned the idiots back and went absolutely spare at them. I told them I didn't want another refurb because they are still the same crap machine with a different hard drive. They said there was nothing they could do so I told them to take their kit back and I will cancel my account. That soon changed things.
    They admitted they knew there was a problem with Sky + and they were working on a fix for it. This time, they would waiver the call out charge and send out a proper Sky engineer.
    I didn't know this but most engineers that sky send out are local contractors and they only have refurbs on their van (unless it's a new install of course)
    Proper sky engineers have a van full of new boxes, most of the time.
    So this Sky guy came round, listened to my story and just simply said to me "Yeah the refurbs are crap. they are only given out to keep you quiet most of the time. I have a van full of new boxes. I'll just give you one of them. Why they don't just do this I don't know"
    That was it, I had a brand new Sky+ box, no charge and it's worked like a dream ever since.

    So the moral of the story is to moan like crazy at sky, insist on not paying the call out charge and insist on having a proper Sky employed engineer.
    This is a known fault and Sky are well aware that most of their sky+ boxes are crap. Don't try to fix it yourself as you're wasting your time.

    Obviously this is only my story and my experiences. Other people may have suffered different things with Sky.

    If this new box goes the same way then I may consider getting a DVD recorder instead and getting noraml sky.

    Hope this helps in some way.

    Darren
     
  15. Pyara

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    Hi Darren,

    Your story is very interesting, however, my situation is not as clean-cut! (do a search on my much earlier posts!), Since April of last year, I've had the recording/pause services of my Sky+ for FREE!

    There's no huge scam or anything like that involved, to keep the story short, we had some major house work done last year (involving 4 new rooms and 3 RSJ's), before the work commenced I had Sky+ recording services only with the free channels, so I only paid Sky the usuall £10 per month.

    I phoned to cancel the contract as the work was due to take at least 4 months, I cancelled, was given a cancellation date and then removed the box and placed it into storage. I then cancelled the direct debit as advised, and some 5 months latter, upon reconnecting the box, I soon realised that it still functioned perfectly in terms of pause/recordning!

    It's been like that ever since! Last month however, the box itself died on me, so I took a gamble and bought another (2nd hand from ebay), I thought worst way it's a freeview box with interactive services beamed through 3 tv's in the house, best way the box will record, and, it did!

    But this recording interrupted problem and the problem with the pause is a tad annoying, and because I'm not officially a sky customer, I can't exactly call them!
     
  16. gavan

    gavan
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    Using your own HDD recorder to record without paying Sky their pound of flesh!? ssssh - Don't tell Nick.

    Don't worry too much about not being able to complain - it wouldn't really get you anywhere with Sky unless you threaten to cancel. And even for a subscriber, you'd be offered the standard anti-cancellation perks to try to keep you which are nothing to do with compensation for the record problems.


    Gav
     
  17. darnun

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    Pyara,

    I see where you are coming from now. Yeah, It's a case of fix it yourself, buy another or put up with it. Wish I could help.

    As for not paying Sky their pound of flesh.....don't start me off. Ha ha ha
    I believe £10 a month for sky plus is a rip off and it only forces you to go for the full package because you think you're getting it for free.
    I have no idea how much they will charge for their HD service, when it comes out but it won't be long before getting all the sky channels will cost as much as the license to have the TV to watch them on in the first place. ha ha

    Darren
     
  18. Pyara

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    Darren,

    We had SkyDigital installed when it first launch (the digital service), never had sky before, so as you can imagine I (at the time!) was really excited.

    From then to now, I've seen so many price increases and find it so hard to beleive their are people actually paying in excess of £50 just for TV (including the licence fee thats about £720!).

    Now I don't know about anyone else, but I'd much rather treat the mrs to a day out at BlueWater so she can buy herself yet another pair of shoes!!!
     
  19. darnun

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    It's always good to keep the woman happy and, funnily enough, I am going to take my woman to Bluewater on Nov 5th. So that should be a day of handbags and shoes then. !!!!!

    I agree with you on the prices of Sky. What annoys me is that you have a service that goes to pot whenever there is a storm, which is all the time in this country and they won't reimburse you anything for loss of service but they are very happy to keep raking the price up until it gets stupid.
    I once rang them up and asked if they could switch off my sky for two weeks while I was on holiday and then only charge me for half the month. HA HA HA
    I only did it as a joke but they were all serious about losing money if they did that for everybody.
    Sky ain't what it used to be that for sure but we still insist on having it.

    Darren
     
  20. gavan

    gavan
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    Sky have always been money grabbing but for the first time they are facing some real competition: Freeview has taken off and whilst it doesn't provide the breadth of channels that you get off of Sky, you do get quite a few to choose from which will be enough for many people. DVD rentals by post are a decent competitor for the movie channels too. For Sports, just go to the pub whenever there's a big event on and watch it there with a better atmosphere.

    That leaves just popular first-run shows on Sky One which Sky make sure they snap up. Even then, p2p downloads are going to suit some people.


    Sky have been ratcheting up the price of their sub for years. ISTR I paid something like 30 quid for the full digital package six years ago. Today it's more like 45 quid or so. No way has its 'worth' to me gone up by 50%. I was on the point of completely cancelling and using the box as a Freesat system but then I got Sky+ and that just about made it worthwhile to keep my sub - until the idiots at Sky messed up with the last firmware upgrade!

    As it stands, I'll see how things pan out when ITV join the BBC and go FTA. If they attract a decent grouping of other channels doing likewise then I reckon I'll be getting something like a Topview digital HDD satellite recorder and ditching Sky+ and the Sky sub totally. The savings from a year's subscription will more than cover the cost of whatever box I get.


    Gav
     
  21. darnun

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    Haven't heard anything about the ITV joining the BBC and going to FTA. What's all that about then.???

    Gonna get rid of sports soon anyway and the movies are a waste of time as they are always repeated. I tend to get a lot of my movies from the US and download a few (Naughty I know) but I find the movies on Sky are either rubbish or out of date by the time I get to them.
    I have no problem with paying £45 a month to a satellite service, if it was really worth it but Sky seems to be a load of channels full of sub standard programmes, repeats and old stuff. With the likes of Channel 4 bringing all the new stuff from the US such as Desperate Housewives, Nip Tuck, Lost etc etc, it isn't really essential to have sky is it.?

    Like you Gav, it's the Sky + feature that keeps me paying the charge. It is a superb bit of kit, especially if you need to record a series. God bless you series link.!!!!
    Sky is a bit like Microsoft.....You absolutely hate them, you think the product is **** but you keep on using it because it's the only real thing out there. Sucks!!!!

    Darren
     
  22. wizbongre

    wizbongre
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    Gavan,

    Looks like you were right on the money...

    I've just replaced the standard Seagate 40Gb HD with a spare Seagate 80Gb I had knocking around the loft - hey presto, the signals are now back up to 60-70% as they used to be. I've now set it to record a **** load of films over the weekend to see how it goes!! Looks like the signal meters can be linkned to the hard drives. Will make the effort to pick up a new LNB and re-do the cabling as well shortly, as after investigating them I think they could do with replacing.

    I'm happy again :)
     
  23. gavan

    gavan
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    I'm guessing that the meters on the Sky+ box indicate the quality of the bitstream _after_ it comes off of the HDD, instead of directly from the LNB input as per a normal digibox. Therefore a dodgy/failing HDD will lead to a degraded bitstream being measured by the meters.


    Gavan
     
  24. gavan

    gavan
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    Sky just isn't value for money these days. 45 quid a month for the full movie/sports package is a right ripoff, but since there isn't a direct competitor that offers the same sort of service, it's not so obvious that it's a ripoff.

    Sky+ was the thing that really made Sky worth keeping for me, but with Sky messing that up and acting like real arrogant idiots about it, I'm looking at alternatives. A decent FTA DSAT service would be just the ticket.


    Gav
     
  25. paulryan

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    Gavin,

    Did you ever change the LNB and cabling and did it make a further improvement ?

    I am now getting the dreaded loss of signal, spent 20minutes on the phone to sky, all he did was check the signal strengths (50%+) and toggle the power to the LNB. No change, its all getting pretty annoying. I'd change to freeview
    only its not great in my area.

    I added the quad lnb and extra cabling myself but i really think its the box, i may bring it up to my mates to check the signal strengths. If they are ok then i may just get a new thomson box off ebay, although i hear that pace are about to release a new one for SKY+ so would prefer to hang on until then

    rgs
    paul
     
  26. darnun

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    It's the box mate. After nearly 9 months of hassle with Sky, it turned out to be the box. Sky will say all sorts of crap to you about new software coming out, signal strengths etc etc but they are well aware that the boxes are the issue and have been the issue for a while.

    Friend of mine works in the business and he says they have had thousands of boxes back because of exactly the same problem.

    What I did eventualy was phone sky and go absolutely mental at them and I insisted (and here's the major thing) they send me a sky employed engineer, not one of the contracted engineers. The reason I did this is because I know that the contracted engineers only carry refurbs, unless they are installing new ones somewhere. Sky Engineers have their van full of new boxes.
    The guy turned up and replaced by box with a brand new one. He reckoned he does it all the time. You have to push for it though.

    Box has worked a treat since and I have never had any issues. Don't waste money on buying a box off ebay. Push hard enough with sky and you will get one.

    Other option is to cancel your account and reopen a new one in your partners name and benefit from the deals a new customer gets.

    Still hate them though. :)

    Hope this helps.

    Darren
     

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