This morning was the first live qualifying of Formula One available in Ultra HD on Sky Q, and it’s looking like it’s caused issues for lots of people.
There are reports on Twitter and Sky’s forums of numerous issues – “Part Recorded” or “Failed” for Qualifying this morning. Other people report green screens, artefacts and blocky pictures.
Let’s run down what I think went wrong.
Sunday 26th 04:30am BST (Race Show): Gulp. My box went into eco mode at 2:45am BST when it should have stayed awake in order to record the race show at 4:30am. Thankfully I manually woke up in time to start the Sky Q box and record again manually.
This likely means that many folk’s UHD recordings of the F1 Australian Grand Prix would have failed. Not sure if this bug is related to yesterday morning’s failures – I cancelled my race recording and rescheduled them yesterday, but maybe there is a bug with eco mode ignoring recording times, or maybe it’s a DST issue given the clocks changed.
Either way, it likely needs a software update to fix, and I doubt they’ll be able to get that through QA in time for China in 2 weeks.
Here’s the power profile (all times GMT)
Saturday 25th 11:30am (Qualifying): It looks like the most prevalent error is a ~30m partial recording of Practice 3, then Qualifying shows “Failed”. I found someone on twitter, (Thanks @crcaterham!) who had the issue and got the PVR data from the API. He says that P3’s status is “RECORDED” – this suggests the box actually thought the 30 minutes it recorded was the whole program. Then Qualifying has no error code and just shows “FAILED”.
This now looks to be related to the changes in scheduling Sky made this week. Potentially there’s a bug in the EPG where if the “schedule” is changed, it doesn’t update the start time, and so the recording fails.
If you setup your UHD recordings after Sky changed the formatting of the programmes earlier this week, or if you cancelled and re-setup the recordings after, you didn’t have this issue. Because of this, it’s probably wise to cancel your race recordings from Recordings > Scheduled, and re-configure them, otherwise your race recording might suffer from the same fate!
Part Recorded (Software Issue)
Software Issue doesn’t really give us much insight here, as there seem to be a few things lumped underneath this label. I got this error for Practice 3 this morning, and in my case, it seems like there was a very brief blip of signal trouble mid-recording. Only a 10 second drop in my case, but that was enough for the box to recognise something went wrong, and log the recording as incomplete.
Also in my case, it looks like the automated signal to mark “end of programme” or maybe the automated signal to mark “this program is going long – carry on recording” also got messed up, as my 1 hour 25 minute recording of Practice 3 ended up going for 2 hours and 16 minutes – all the way until the start of Qualifying.
Other people report they’ve got this issue and the box only recorded somewhere around 30 minutes of a session, so clearly a much bigger problem than mine.
If you call Sky for this issue, they’ll apparently blame eco mode, which doesn’t make sense to me – The box is supposed to (in my case, this works fine…) not go into eco mode if it has a recording between 2:45am and 6am (eco hours). If a recording finishes between those times and there isn’t another scheduled, it will drop off into eco mode once it’s finished that recording, and wake up at 6 as normal. Otherwise, if the recording crosses that 6am barrier, it won’t go to sleep at all.
Edit: If you got failed here, the chances are, you also only recorded a portion of FP3 too. It looks like this issue is related to the change in the way they scheduled qualifying earlier this week. You should delete and reschedule your race recordings if your qualifying failed – I suspect the race will too otherwise.
Green Screen / Artefacts / Blocky Picture
This issue is almost certainly a signal problem. Ultra HD 2 (the channel which broadcasts F1 UHD material, SID 9002) lives on the higher end of the Sky satellite frequency range – Ultra HD 1 (Football… SID 9000) is on the lower end, so this would explain why you can watch football fine, but not F1.
There’s nothing else on the same Mux as Ultra HD 2 so you can’t tune to another channel on that frequency to see if that works to properly identify that this is a signal problem.
UHD channels run at about 38Mb/s whereas a HD channel will be around 4.5MB/s. That means there is way more scope for interference or signal problems to cause problems.
Unfortunately, your best bet if this has happened to all of your F1 UHD recordings is to book an engineer to look at your signal strength on the 12885V frequency.
Because Sky Q uses “Failed” and “Part Recorded” to cover multiple error codes, you can get a little more detailed information from the REST API that the Sky Q app uses if you’re so inclined:
First, grab the JSON list of all the recordings on your box:
Just use your browsers “find” utility to search for “PART REC” or “FAILED” or even just “Australian GP” – and see if there is a attribute with the key “fr” – in my case, that’s “Technical Fault – 7”.
It seems like if your recording is “Failed” there might not be anything else that gives a clue of why it failed – possibly the box doesn’t know or wasn’t powered on properly? (Maybe eco mode did fail, and the box was essentially turned off?)