Sat 12/1: installation
Sun 12/2: one cable box did not come up properly when powered on this morning (small SD picture and no text displayed for info or guide, just PNP). Power off and back on fixed it.
Sun 12/2: upload initial commentary
Sun 12/2: schedule recording of a series for local news at 6:00 each day and the system schedules both the 5:00 and 6:00 news for that station. I cannot figure any way to fix this.
Sun 12/2: Setup recording an HD show at 8:00 on one channel and another at 9:00 on another channel and I get an error about conflicting scheduled programs. The 8:00 show records until 9:01 and the 9:00 show starts at 9:00 - the 1 minute overlap prevents me from recording both shows in HD. I cannot adjust the start time of the 9:00 show to fix this. I can extend the end time of the 8:00 show but I can not reduce it to less then the scheduled en. The only work around is to record one show on an SD channel or set one of the shows up as a manual recording.
Mon 12/3: various updates to the commentary below. These will be dated and shown in blue.
Mon 12/3: The AT&T-Yahoo site where you program your DVR from the Web is gone this morning and replaced by an ad telling you about this service. The ad includes a link to the AT&T U-verse home page where there is a link to the DVR config page which takes you back to the ad. My scheduled recordings are all intact on the set-top box. I went to the AT&T U-verse site and clicked on the "Report a Problem" link on the Support page and it gives an "Error 400: Invalid path /LSLoadProblemAction was requested". Maybe Monday morning is their scheduled maintenance period. Guide came back about noon Monday.
Mon 12/3: Late in the afternoon I powered up my DVR box and I got picture but none of the text overlays - same as when I powered up Sunday morning. I powered off and back on twice with no help. I reset the box and it came back up with a "Service Connection error. Your TV reciver is temporarly unable to connect to the AT&T U-verse TV service. The connection will be retried in 35 minutes." About 15 minutes later this screen went away and normal service returned with text.
Tue 12/4: Home from work I powered on the AT&T DVR box and TV and got sound but no picture except for a blue screen. Internet browsing OK so I know I have a connection. TW box works so I know it's not my TV. Power off/on the AT&T box - no difference. Reboot the box and I get the service connection error message. Select Try Again and get the same message. Select Diagnostics and it shows that the box has an IP address and knows the IP address of the gateway. Select Try Again is no help. Power off the box I get a blue screen with a message telling me to Press OK to watch AT&T U-verse TV. I pressed OK multiple times with no change. Reboot box again to get the service connection error message. Unplug the box for 30 seconds then power up to get the Press OK to watch message which I pressed multiple time until the picture came up. Time spent 30 minutes. This has become a daily occurrence. Called special U-verse tech support number and they answered on the second ring. The technician was knowledgeable and ran tests to show that my line was good and there were no errors or service issues in my area. Rebooted the box while he was on the line and got the same service connection error - he reran his test and showed no errors. He thinks it migh be my Ethernet network (most people run their box via coax so they don't understand Ethernet). He scheduled a technician to come out next Saturday at 2:00 (I requested Sat service). I swapped this DVR with a regular box on a coax connection. The regular box is working fine. I'll have to see if the DVR works OK - the problem is only when I power up from a cold box.
Fri 12/7: I moved the DVR to another TV with a coax connection instead of the Ethernet connection at it's original location. It was there for 2 days with no issues. I put a non-DVR box at the original location of the DVR box also using the same Ethernet cable as the DVR and it has not had any issues. I then moved the DVR to a third TV that had an Ethernet connection and the problems came back. The problem appears to be following the DVR box and it appears to occur when that box is using an Ethernet connection. My conclusion is the box has a bad Ethernet NIC or the software doesn't handle Ethernet properly. (incorrect assumption - see 12/14 entry). The repair person is scheduled to be here tomorrow with a replacement box - I'm curious to see what they say. Stay tuned...
Sat 12/8: Repair visit scheduled for 2:00 Saturday afternoon. Tech called at 5:10 and arrived at 5:55. He swapped out my DVR with a new one - we will see if that fixed the problems. NOTE that I lost recorded programs and favorites but I DID NOT loose scheduled recordings!
Mon 12/10: Still having issues with the new DVR box not coming up correctly when first powered up for the day. I switched my DVR from Ethernet to coax today to see if that made a difference. After the switch I did a system reset (hold dow power on DVR) and had to reset the "Aspect Ratio" and the system woke up back to the default 4:3 aspect ratio. After manually fixing this it is working fine.
Tue 12/11: Power on TV and box this morning and it woke up with voice but no picture. Power off/on did not fix it so I did a reset and that fixed everything but the box reverted to 4:3 aspect ratio. It seems now that a reset is changing that setting back to the factory default - it was not doing that a week ago.
Left the DVR box on all night but turned off the TV. When I turned
on the box it displayed an error message "Unable to display video
service over HDMI. HDCP link integrity check failed (H1005)". This
error refers to a problem with the digital rights management system
(DRM) used with DVI and HDMI video connections (Wikipedia).
Both the TV and DVR box were powered off all night and day. When I
turned them on tonight I got a stretched SD picture on HD channels and
no text (i.e. no menus, no guide, etc.) I powered off and back on the
TV and it cam up OK except I had to reset the "Aspect Ratio" to 1080i
(I know that's not an aspect ratio but that is what AT&T calls
it.) I now believe all the issues I have with power up from cold are
related to some incompatibility between by DVR and my 1 year old Sharp
Aquos LCD TV that is confusing the HDCP/DRM copy protection system. A
Google search reveals users having this problem with game consoles and
the Aquos TV like mine. I changed the cable input jack on the TV to
allow both Audio and Video on the HDMI cable (I was running on a port
that required the audio on a separate pair of cables.) Lets see if this
makes it better. The last resort is to use component video cables.
Sun 12/16: I continue to experiment with the startup issues on my U-verse DVR box. I am now confident that all the symptoms fit the HDCP related issues described with various other HD devices. I may have fixed the problem by always turning on my TV a few seconds before turning on the cable box so that the TV can properly handle the HDCP handshake that the cable box initiates at startup. Per HDCP specs if the TV fails to properly acknowledge the handshake the source cable box will revert to lower resolution SD quality video. This is what I have been seeing all along. I never had these issues with my Time-Warner boxs - apparently they don't have as restrictive HDCP or they have a more robust routing that handles (i.e. retries) handshake errors better.
Mon 12/17: On December 17 the following new HD channels were added to AT&T U-verse:
Discovery HD (note that this is not the same as the Discovery HD Theater channel)
APL HD (Animal Planet)
VG HD (Versus/Golf)
STZK HD (Starz family movie channel)
Thu 12/20: I have decided to stick with U-verse. I turned in my Time-Warner equipment today and canceled service. I dislike that U-verse only has one HD feed but this was more than offset by all the additional HD channels and the fact that I can depend on it to record whatever I schedule. I can record 2 HD channels on the TW box but I often get no recordings - one reliable recording is better than two recordings that never occur. I work around the one HD feed with U-verse by recording SD programs on an SD channel (lower than 1000) where it can handle 4 simultaneous feeds. Also having the West coast feeds for all the movie channels allows me to record prime-time programs there on the 2 hour delayed Pacific time so they don't conflict with network prime time recordings.
AT&T added two local channels (not HD) to provide coverage of
Spurs, Astros, Rangers and Stars games in the Austin area. Similar
channels were added in other cities to show their local teams.
Sat 1/5: Received bill from Time Warner for service for the month of January even though I discontinued service on Dec 19. Thank goodness I saved my receipt when I turned in my equipment.
Tested Wi-Fi at a McDonald's with my iPod Touch - gives me an invalid
password error. AT&T requires download of their client to use the
Wi-Fi with a PC. I will continue to experiment with this.
Sat 2/2: TW did not do an automatic draft for the Jan statement so I think I might be safe. Now I just need the promised refund for unused prepaid services from December.
Called customer service and had my Internet speed increased from 6/1
Mbps to 10 Mbps down / 1.5 Mbps up. This cost about $15 per month more.