I have had this issue on both my HD boxes (Regular NextBox) for over a year and close to a year on my newest NextBox. One of them seems to not skip as much as the other, but the other you basically can't watch HD channels and you must use the SD version.
Oh and I have 9 DB signal at the house and short distances for cabling, minimal splits and fresh and new from the tap to the box.
So yes, could be signal in some cases but could be poor data on the signal from the head end or bad boxes.
I switched from the Next Box 2.0 to the 3.0 and i had to replace the box four times due to Audio Drops .Techs came over spoke to senior techs Support team but no luck. I had to switch back to the 2.0 which i was not too pleased it lacks in performance.Hopefully Rogers will take all of there customers feedback and decide to do something about it...
Tons of dropouts here ever since getting the Nextbox 3. It doens't happen at the same spot in a recording, so it's not a signal issue, nor a problem that happened during recording. It's during playback and happens on both live TV and playback of recordings. And as I said, if I rewind a few seconds and listen again, it doesn't happen.
Sometimes I might not see it for a few hours, sometimes it happens numerous times in an hour. Some channels definitely seem worse than others. Rather annoying. It seems to happen via HDMI and optical through my AVR. There are lots of reports about it, including on another forum I frequent, and some people have replaced the unit numerous times to no avail, so it's not simply a defective box either.
Edit: I should add/clarify that I haven't experienced any video dropouts at all, and haven't seemed to experience the 5.0 -> 2.0/PCM switch either. Just the darn audio cutting out for split seconds at a time. It's usually manageable... certainly not enough to make me deal with the 8642 again... but when it's bad, it's bad. Generally though, I love the box otherwise.
Audio dropping happens frequently to me as well. In my case, it intermittently either gets very quiet or drops completely. It is far worse when in the default Dolby Digital setting. If you set it to Other (so it goes down to Stereo) it happens much less frequently. And the forums are full of this issue, it seems to be inherent in the current NB3 hardware/firmware.
I'm on my second box, the first had this audio issue, the second also still has this issue AND it now exhibits a second new issue that I've found out is also very common, that playback of a recorded program will intermittently keep sound but black out the video for a second or so.
There is no question that the NB3 has inherent problems, the forums are full of these 2 issues.
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I recently purchased an 8642 used. I heard of the numerous problems so I kept it as just a PVR for a month before deciding to pay the $50 to move to Anyplace TV. Other than the usual complaint of speed I had no issues. Less than a day after i switched to the Anyplace TV the PVR started to experience strange audio "dropouts". I wouldn't say it was a complete loss of sound, but more like a robotic studder. I first noticed it while streaming a recording from my 4642 in the bedroom. I wrote it off to network issues. I now realize that the same cutouts happen when watching recorded shows in my living room on the actual 8642 box. I paused and rewinded the recording and the studder happens in the same spot each time. It has to be part of the recording, not the play back. This happens for a quick second every minute or so on the recordings that have them. I have not seen this problem while watching Live TV.
Ya, I'm thinking its a resource issue on the PVR also. One thing I did notice is both recordings (taken 2 different days) that were skipping were recorded on Time Shifting channels late at night. I've read some posts that suggest that is also when the guide data refreshes. I wonder if there simply isn't enough resources to both record a program and refresh the guide at the same time.