Problems in recording playback


New Member
Hi, been a regular looker at this forum, which has been very instructive !

I have a humax HDR 1 gb HD, that is 9 months old. Connected up to a Samsung HD TV. Not installed the custom firmware, though have used ftp to decrypt some HD files for copy to a back up hard drive. Been very impressed with it, like it a lot. Humax hard drive is 3/4 full. We use it regularly and record/watch/delete progs frequently. Mostly watch/record standard def tv.

Problem: over the last two months most of the recordings have glitches when played back. This will either be some pixellation and a small jump forward in the programme, or the screen will go blank and the message "The Channel is scrambled or not available" will appear. After a few seconds it will continue to play, but will have advanced slightly. If I rewind and play through the section again, half the time it plays OK with no glitch, the other half the glitch is the same. This glitch will occur from 1-3 times in an hours programme. Seems to be across all TV channels.

This glitch never happens when viewing live TV ie. we don't suffer from pixellation problems with live TV.

Is this a hard disc problem ?
I am having a similar problem. Started over a month ago. Previously all recording were ok. I'm running Custom Firmware. My 500gb box is 21 months old.. I get no glitching when I watch live tv (SD or HD) but get glitches in recording. HD channel recordings are now unwatchable. I thought it was a hard drive problem and have been checking that out with help from this forum but the problem is still there.
See my thread here...
Unfortunatley I haven't solved it yet.
There seems to be a rash of people reporting similar problems, and indeed I am a sufferer (although I tend to dismiss such things because of the torture I put mine through). However, I think we should consider the possibility there is a single cause.

Ageing equipment? Firmware updates (not very likely, I am still using 1.02.20)? Broadcast problems??
When I first got my box many months ago, I used to get recordings fail and show a key symbol and give some strange error I can't recall now when trying to play them. This all stopped when I did the manual retune and made sure there were no 800+ channels. i.e. it doesn;t sound quite like the same behaviour, but you can get some very strange failures when you have multiple transmitters tuned in.
I read about similar glitches people were having and removing the custom firmware resolved it (there is a post somewhere in the custom firmware forum). So, just to be sure I have now removed all custom firmware, factory reset, hard drive format. I will see how it runs now when recording HD over the next week. Otherwise I'll be returning it under warranty as I'm getting fed up messing around with it. I also noticed now that occasionally now when I turn the Humax on the media button does not work. Then when I go to Menu/Settings/System/Data Storage, the Data Storage option is greyed out and unselectable. After a couple of reboots it sorts itself out again
I've been seeing this more and more over the last few months. It usually happens when the box is most stressed, typically when recording 2 HD streams while watching another HD recording, or watching one of the recorded streams on chase play. A while ago I reformatted my hard disk and I have only a modest selection of CF utilities installed (not including sysmon).

I have a little theory for which I have no technical justification whatever - it just seems to fit the circumstances. The HD channels have gradually moved from a resolution of 1440x1080 to 1920x1080. I assume this puts extra load on the box - enough, perhaps, to cause problems in the circumstances I described. Can someone with more technical knowledge than me shoot this idea down or is it worth considering? I can't believe it's coincidence that so many people seem to be reporting this problem now.
I had same problem a over a year ago. NOT limited to HiDef recordings.
I was advised by humax to reformat disk.
Bit of a pain because of need to copy off recordings. BUT it did resolve the problem.
Disk is 1gb and was about half full at time.
Reasons formatting might make a diffence:
  • File system corruption
  • HDD sector faults
  • Fragmentation
Bear in mind that these hard disks should easily support multiple high definition streams. The disk I've just put in mine is supposed to be able to deliver 20 simultaneous full HD streams.. ext3 isn't a good choice for a filesystem for large files though and fragmentation over time could be an issue - a reformat will fix that but you need to stash the recordings somewhere.

I do wonder if reindexing the directories on the filesystem would help at all.. might try that and see if it helps my slow Media list.
af123, well if reindexing could sort this, and other similar problems that currently need disk reformat, that would be a real benefit (all that file copying...).
Mind you, a reformat did force me to tidy up my recordings and decide which we're important!

Have just corrected my above text - problem with iPad spellchecker and being away on holiday at time. Sorry!
So, where does that leave us ? We do not do any HD recordings. Bit miffed, if after 9 months and a 3/4 full hard drive, you need to reformat it. Always been worried about the Humax recording everything you are watching just in case you want to rewind, which we have never done and don't ever want to. Seems you can't turn it off. Must wear out the Hard Drive much quicker !

Just run the check HDD routine, says everything is OK. Can we defrag from the Humax menu without a reformat ?

As an aside, we are editing humax .ts files in Video Redo TV suite (taking out the adverts) and while it is a brilliant editor, we have been getting a lot of crashes with "audio buffer overflow". This may be related to it trying to process .ts files that have the glitches in them mentioned above. We are trying to edit them so we can archive properly treated files onto a separate Hard drive to save space on the humax hard drive ! So Catch 22 and round in circles !
You can disable the time-shift-record buffer by running the disable_tsr diagnostic from the web interface (and enable_tsr to turn it back on). If you don't use the function then it will reduce wear, temperature and noise.

You can't defragment the filesystem - it's an ext3 filesystem which is not supposed to need defragmenting. We don't yet have any proof that fragmentation is the cause of some people's problems either.

With the custom firmware version that is being released tomorrow, you will have the option to do some more things in maintenance mode such as reindex the directories.
To turn off the record buffer, does this mean we have to download the custom firmware ? Aside from that, is our only option to try to cure the glitches we are having, to do a reformat ? Seems a bit drastic, but if needs must.
Yes, without custom firmware dabbling your only possible remedial action is a reformat (the only option available on the standard Humax menus).
You can disable the time-shift-record buffer by running the disable_tsr diagnostic from the web interface (and enable_tsr to turn it back on). If you don't use the function then it will reduce wear, temperature and noise.

I like that this switch has been invented (thanks yet again af123) but as TSR is one of those things where you don't know you'll need it until you've already needed it turning it off altogether in my case would not be suitable. So then I pondered another train of thought over a cup of tea. BTW like all my ideas I have the luxury of technical ignorance so apologies for that and my haphazard use of terminology.

If timeshifting hammers the hard disk permanently I wondered why they don't use memory for the buffer instead - after all my last USB stick was just over a tenner for 16GB so I can't see it would add much to the overall cost to put some memory in for the buffer instead. However, given that generally we can't change what the box already has glued inside it, I wondered if there's anything that can be done to divert the buffer off the hard disk and onto one of the USB ports? Does the buffer have its own partition? If so can we do anything to redirect stuff writing to that partition onto a USB (stick or drive) instead of the internal HDD? Can a partition be re-assigned so the Hummy still writes to what it thinks is the TSR partition but unknown to the Hummy Software we have set that partition to be on something else? I realise I'm off topic here, sorry about that but reading this prompted my musings.
... can we do anything to redirect stuff writing to that partition onto a USB (stick or drive) instead of the internal HDD?

Yes, that could technically be done but it would need to be fast enough to sustain the data rate. USB2 should be able to cope but your £10 drive wouldn't : )
Hard drives are made for this type of thing - shouldn't really be a problem. I do tune my box to a non-transmitting channel to stop it buffering when I'm just doing development or streaming to somewhere else in the house.
...the constant writes would also hammer a FLASH stick faster than a hard drive. Ditto the off-air channel, I tune to BBC Red Button when in server mode.
...the constant writes would also hammer a FLASH stick faster than a hard drive. Ditto the off-air channel, I tune to BBC Red Button when in server mode.

But the point was not that it would hammer any less, but that it wouldn't be hammering the internal drive. An external something would be easier to re-format (Presumably?) and it would take the strain off the internal drive IF that is what is causing the ever increasing reports of pixellation on playback (from which I have been suffering also). Oh well not to worry - I just thought something with no moving parts might take the hit better than an HDD. I shall go back to my bunker for another of Baldricks cappucinos and some left over Rat-au-Van!