I have a new Nextbox 3.0, and am having audio dropouts. I have done some troubleshooting, and I have some observations.
1) The Nextbox 3.0 is connected to the same A/V receiver (Harman Kardon AVR3600) that I had before with a standard HD box, and I did not have audio dropouts in the prior configuration.
2) While simultaneously watching the same channel on a second TV connected to a standard HD box, the dropouts occur only with the Nextbox.
3) Dropouts occur on both live TV and recorded TV.
4) If I rewind to replay a recorded section where we heard a dropout, the dropout does not repeat.
5) Dropouts occur on both the HDMI and optical outputs.
The above tells me that there is nothing wrong with the tuners, recordings, or output interfaces. The problem appears to be with the processing of the audio signal after the tuner and playback, but before the HDMI and Toslink cable drivers.
In my opinion the behaviour indicates that there is a design problem in the Nextbox.
By the way, we (my wife and I) think that the dropouts are less annoying when using the optical cable. Perhaps the dropouts are shorter in duration.
Rogers/Cisco needs to investigate and fix this bug. In my experience the behaviour puts me in mind of buffer underrun/overrun mishandling.
**edited for content**
Thank you for posting your experience. I too have been thinking along the lines of some kind of buffering problem. I'm an old IT guy going a long way back and have a fairly substantial technical background. I also tried the component audio outputs and the audio dropped out there as well. What I find interesting about this problem is that, I can be watching something for a while, and it will be OK then, suddenly, audio drop outs start. One of my observations in previous posts is that the hard drive temperature runs around 52-54C, which strikes as being awfully hot. I have the same Seagate hard drive in my computer and it runs around 30C. Of course, I realize that a computer case, being much larger, has better airflow than the Nextbox does. I've had a NB 3 since the day they were released and did a swap at the Rogers store recently to see if another box would solve the problem, but no such luck. A guy in the store told me the newer boxes were "more up-to-date", but that was false. The HW and SW versions in both boxes are exactly the same and dated July 2013. I'm surprised that there hasn't been a firmware update since Rogers released the box.
I have the old 8300HD PVR, which I unplugged and set aside with the intent of selling it, but held off because of the NB 3 problems (I rented the NB 3). In 9 years of owning the 8300, it has never given me a problem of any kind, including audio drop outs. I keep saying that I'm going to return the NB 3 to Rogers, telling them it's unacceptable, and demand to get out of the lease without a penalty. However, audio issues aside, I really like the NB 3 and am hoping Rogers will finally fess up and admit there's a problem. That would be the first important step. You have to acknowledge a problem before you can fix it.
Edit: Forgot to mention that I don't notice any difference between the optical out and HDMI as far as audio drop outs are concerned. I've even switched back and forth between them while the problem is happening, but they are the same.
Has anyone from Rogers acknowledged the audio dropout problem on the Nextbox 3.0? Is Rogers/Cisco working on correcting this? Clearly there are multiple customers having this problem. It would be nice to have some feedback from Rogers on this. What exactly are we supposed to do?
What are we supposed to do is an excellent question. Forgot to mention in my previous post that setting audio to Other, rather than Dolby Digital, seems to help a lot with the drop out problem. Of course, Other is Linear PCM, which is 2 channel uncompressed audio. Dolby Digital is AC3 compressed 5.1 audio.
There's also another couple of issues with audio settings that I've experienced several times. If audio is set to Other and the box is rebooted, it goes back to AC3, but the option in the menu still says Other. There's also a similar problem with the Audio Range setting. It will revert to some default (normal, I think), when the selected setting is Narrow. I'm compiling a list of issues with the NB 3 that I've experienced and there's no shortage of them. Audio drop outs aside, there are lots of other problems as attested to by many users on this forum.
Good luck with that!!!, basically Rogers Helps tweeted me and told me it's my AVR. Funny thing is they closed my ticket because nobody else is having this issue!!, lol
I have given up, waiting till Jan for my contract to expire then cancelling all Rogers services!
Of course it's your AVR! What else could it possibly be?
In all seriousness, though, I've had the NB 3 connected directly to my TV and an AVR, and nothing is different. Audio drop outs happen in either case, plus most of the other bugs reported here have nothing to do with AVR's, except for HDMI CEC issues.
You get the audio droputs as well with it direct to your TV? (which even though its pushing 5.1 out, the TV obviously wont be outputting that).
I have not noticed the dropouts when playing 5.1 through my AVR.. though i dont often use it for regular tv watching (as my son is asleep, try to keep the noise down).
But i have had ZERO issues otherwise when playing the audio through my TV..
BUT.. that is not directly attached.. it is on HDMI passthrough on my AVR. So weither it is filtering these issues out.. or stepping down the auido stream.. it may be why i am not seeing it.
OR.. there is something different with my box.
When I first got the NB 3 in early August, I only had my TV as a connection, so it was going direct via HDMI. I never played with the audio output setting and just left it at its Dolby Digital default. A couple of weeks later, I bought a Denon AVR and started using it instead, as I have a couple of other HDMI devices connected to the AVR. I actually have HDMI pass through turned on for the TV, but only use it to set up recordings, look at the Service Menu or whatever, without having to power on the AVR. So far, since I started using Audio Other, the drop outs have decreased dramatically. For some reason, I tend to have a lot of trouble with channel 518 CTV News at 6, but my TMN/HBO channels are much better now. Using Other is OK for me because I mostly use headphones and don't have a surround system. The AVR has a virtual surround mode which works extremely well with headphones. My TV also has a headphone out jack, which seems to have disappeared on most TV's these days, and it has a similar surround feature.
I'm hanging in with the NB 3 with the hope that Rogers/Cisco will eventually acknowledge the problem and do something about it. After all, it's a brand new box and it should be expected that it will be less than perfect. Do you happen to know what SW version yours is running on? I've had 2 boxes and they both have what appears to be the original SW version going back to July 2013. All the DNLD stuff certainly doesn't seem to be updating the software. If it is, the version number is not being updated in the Service Menu. My guess is DNLD is for the guide and nothing else, except for the initial first time setup.
Rebooting fixes the sound issue. Sometimes after rebooting it's good for days at a time. Some days I have to reboot multiple times. I must have rebooted 5 or 6 times yesterday. And yet today, so far so good, it's working fine.
Is anyone else getting an occasional intermittent black screen too now though? Sound continues but the screen just goes to black for a second or two now and then.
I am getting that black screen for a second or two as well. It doesn't matter if its commercial or show as it will happen and its happening more and more often lately . Rebooting only helps for a little while . It happens on live and recorded shows