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Important DVR/Set top Box upgrade suggestions
ClarksonCote
Newbie

Energy Usage

My Motorola DVR/STB provided by Verizon always makes noise and generates heat regardless of whether or not it is turned on or off.  I recognize this is "normal" behavior for this model DVR, but would like to suggest they improve on this technology from an energy efficiency standpoint.


Most electronics these days can virtually power off all components when not in use, and use ultra low power microcontrollers to keep track of essential information when everything else is off.  I would suggest the same thing could easily be done with Verizon's STB's to eliminate all the noise and power consumption.  It's not hard to spin up a hard disk just prior to beginning recording of a show, and to turn on briefly every few days to download additional programming content information as needed (if the TV were to remain off for that long).  To have the hard-disk and fans running all the time just seems contrary to the image of cutting edge technology that I would expect with Fiber optic TV.

Screen Saver Output

It'd be nice if the STB had an option to not send a signal to the TV.  I assume this feature would come for free with the energy efficiency upgrades I suggested above.  Right now the only options are to have a screensaver on or off, but a signal always goes to the TV in both cases.  If the screensaver is off, there should be no signal to the TV when the STB is turned off.  Here's how it currently behaves:

- If the screen saver is turned on, and your TV is on with the STB off, you get a blank screen with some Verizon message that moves around telling you to turn the STB on.

- If the screen saver is turned off, and your TV is on with the STB off, you just get a black blank screen, but it's still sending a signal.  I know this because my TV pops up with a "No Signal" screensaver if there's no signal.  This is a HORRIBLE setting to have without turning off the signal output from the STB.  The problem is that, one might not easily recognize their HDTV is even on.  I think I accidentally left my TV on for over 18 hours the other night because my screensaver was off but the STB was still sending a black screen to my TV.  This made it appear as if my TV were off.  This can't be good for burn in.  😞

I really hope these issues are addressed ASAP.  FIOS has so much potential, but some of the technology seems to be behind the curve.

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Re: Important DVR/Set top Box upgrade suggestions
KenAF
Specialist - Level 2

@ClarksonCote wrote:

Energy Usage

My Motorola DVR/STB provided by Verizon always makes noise and generates heat regardless of whether or not it is turned on or off.  I recognize this is "normal" behavior for this model DVR, but would like to suggest they improve on this technology from an energy efficiency standpoint.


Most electronics these days can virtually power off all components when not in use, and use ultra low power microcontrollers to keep track of essential information when everything else is off.  I would suggest the same thing could easily be done with Verizon's STB's to eliminate all the noise and power consumption


Virtually all DVRs today are based on highly integrated system chips (SoCs). Power management is a standard feature on PC CPUs and chipsets, but was not a feature available on DVR SoCs until very recently.  The first cable DVR solutions with power management became available in volume in the past four months or so; they incorporate clock gating and the microcontrollers you describe to support 1W sleep.


Broadcom BCM7410 (PDF)
Trident PNX847x (PDF)


In next-generation DVRs based on those chips, you'll probably see a 1W-5W "sleep" feature, but Verizon's current Broadcom-based hardware can't support that.  Around 30 watts is the best the hardware will allow.

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Re: Important DVR/Set top Box upgrade suggestions
mleduc35651
Contributor - Level 2

There is also the fact that your DVR is never really sleeping. It is watching TV while you sleep and tracking your schedule to turn recording on and off..

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Re: Important DVR/Set top Box upgrade suggestions
ClarksonCote
Newbie

@KenAF wrote:

Virtually all DVRs today are based on highly integrated system chips (SoCs). Power management is a standard feature on PC CPUs and chipsets, but was not a feature available on DVR SoCs until very recently.  The first cable DVR solutions with power management became available in volume in the past four months or so; they incorporate clock gating and the microcontrollers you describe to support 1W sleep.


Broadcom BCM7410 (PDF)
Trident PNX847x (PDF)


In next-generation DVRs based on those chips, you'll probably see a 1W-5W "sleep" feature, but Verizon's current Broadcom-based hardware can't support that.  Around 30 watts is the best the hardware will allow.


Do you know if Verizon plans to roll out this technology on their new DVR's coming out in a year or so?

I guess at some level I still feel like the technology is available, even though they may have to rearchitect how they do some book-keeping for recording shows.


What's the fundamental limitation that would prevent something like this right now?  I guess I don't understand the nature of Broadcom-based hardware that would prevent this.

Also, any insight into possible future updates to fix that screen-saver issue?

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