Malformed Data - flex4k + Roku TVs

Reception, channel detection, network issues, CableCARD setup, etc.
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arbyhink
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2024 6:32 pm

Malformed Data - flex4k + Roku TVs

Post by arbyhink »

Was excited to drop YouTube TV and switch to the HD Homerun last week. Everything seemed to be going well until my wife tried to watch the Grammys tonight. Constant "Malformed Data" messages, video in and out, and then drops entirely to a black screen. Signal Strength/Quality are 85ish/60ish. When it goes to a black screen, the tuner shows that it's no longer in use.

Using the HD Homerun app and a directional antenna to a tower that's 20-ish miles away in the Charlotte, NC area. Starting to have serious buyers remorse.

Any ideas, or is this just what it is?

Cabal
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Re: Malformed Data - flex4k + Roku TVs

Post by Cabal »

arbyhink wrote: Sun Feb 04, 2024 6:38 pm Signal Strength/Quality are 85ish/60ish.
That's really low, I would investigate your antenna setup first. There are a bunch of forums out there with OTA enthusiasts (including this one), be sure to include a rabbitears.info search report.

arbyhink
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2024 6:32 pm

Re: Malformed Data - flex4k + Roku TVs

Post by arbyhink »

Found the problem, it was antenna related. I'm an idiot, carry on...

arbyhink
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2024 6:32 pm

Re: Malformed Data - flex4k + Roku TVs

Post by arbyhink »

For what it's worth, I'm still getting constant "Malformed Data" messages and screen freezes, even with increased signal strengths (90+ signal/80+ quality), on most of the "green" channels. It's like it doesn't know how to handle one bad packet and the whole thing hangs and requires the channel to be manually reselected instead of just pixelating for a second and moving on. Very frustrating.

I have an omnidirectional antenna coming tomorrow just to see if that makes a difference. Currently have a directional pointed ~345 degrees.

https://www.rabbitears.info/s/1254540

Any ideas?

arbyhink
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2024 6:32 pm

Re: Malformed Data - flex4k + Roku TVs

Post by arbyhink »

In case anyone dealing with the same issue comes across this thread...

I installed an omnidirectional antenna and switched from the HDHomerun Player to Plex. Night and day difference. Invest the $150 in a miniPC off of Amazon, set up Plex Media Server, and you're off to the races. It seems like Plex deals with intermittent signal drops way better than the HD Roku app. Plus, now I have the added benefit of watching remotely and ripping my DVD collection into a media library, which I had never considered before researching Plex.

NedS
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Re: Malformed Data - flex4k + Roku TVs

Post by NedS »

On Roku the HDHomeRun basically talks directly to the internal Roku video player, and that Roku player does not like any errors in the video stream. Errors that are so minor that they don't actually impact audio or video, and thus wouldn't be noticeable, can make the Roku stop dead in its tracks. On other platforms we can write our own video player, or use a player that is more tolerant to those little blips.

Plex acts as a nice middle man for the Roku, both for live TV and for personal libraries, smoothing out any incompatibilities and delivering a video stream that the Roku won't barf on.

For most customers malformed data errors can be fixed with improving reception, but sometimes even a near-perfect signal will still give the Roku issues. Roku (the company) could easily fix this on their end (it really just needs to ignore minor errors, rather than halting playback or throwing up errors), but they haven't shown any interest in doing so when we tried to get their attention about it.

DJH
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Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2024 8:50 am

How to Fix Malformed Data - flex4k + Roku TVs

Post by DJH »

Malformed Data - fixing your Roku malformed data error in plain language.

If you are getting the Malformed Data error message, this is not an issue with the app or HDHomerun device, it is an issue with your antenna alignment and Roku. You need to adjust the antenna to get your signal and symbol quality up to 100% (or close to it). Often times, you can have the antenna aimed perfectly, but you need to adjust the ANGLE of the antenna to improve the signal and symbol quality. The reason this is important is Roku specific. If Roku detects any wobble in your reception, you get the malformed data error and no picture; I learned this the hard way.

Here are 2 easy solutions. Solution #1. Use the Signal GH app, available on the App Store for $3 to help you physical adjust and fine tune your antenna direction/angle for perfect, 100% signal and symbol quality (strength is less important). You can adjust the antenna a little and use the app to see whether the adjustment helped or hurt your signal and symbol quality. After a couple of adjustments, it will be obvious which direction and angle adjustments help and you can then fine tune to get to perfect metrics; took me about five minutes and I haven’t had to think about this again. This completely cured my Roku malformed data issue.

Solution #2. Switch to AppleTV and use it instead. AppleTV (and perhaps other streaming devices) will tolerate the malformed data and NOT give you an error or drop your picture. Also, if you use AppleTV, you can pay $25 for the dedicated Channels App (only for HDHomeRun). It’s pricey, but very high quality and reliable interface; only for AppeTV though. I realize this is a more expensive solution, but if you are at your wits end, it is a cure.

LarrySB
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Re: Malformed Data - flex4k + Roku TVs

Post by LarrySB »

I should have read this thread some time ago, before I went crazy trying to figure out what was going on. I am looking for some advice from anyone who can suggest a practical option. I have a ROKU TV. The Malformed Data issue is a bigger problem when trying to watch a recording because the App/TV forces the picture back to the list of recordings when it encounters a blip in the signal. I try to restart the recording and it happens all over again, an endless loop of frustration. Messing with the antenna is not an option as I live in apartment and a window, amplified, antenna is my only option. I do not want the expense of replacing the TV, aside from the fact that the TV works great for streaming. Can I use a different streaming device with the ROKU TV, such as a Firestick, to only watch the HDHR. I know, dumb question, but I am reaching for some solution short of the obvious: replace the TV or give up on HDHR on this TV. Thanks,
Larry
I did plug a Fire Stick into HDMI on my ROKU and added HDHR and it works! I have some Soundbar and remote issues to sort out this week, but maybe that is the solution!

jasonl
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Re: Malformed Data - flex4k + Roku TVs

Post by jasonl »

LarrySB wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2024 8:46 am Can I use a different streaming device with the ROKU TV, such as a Firestick, to only watch the HDHR. I know, dumb question, but I am reaching for some solution short of the obvious: replace the TV or give up on HDHR on this TV.
Yes, that's definitely the best way to use a Roku TV. You can also load in the apps for your other streaming services and use the Fire Stick for everything.

LarrySB
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Re: Malformed Data - flex4k + Roku TVs

Post by LarrySB »

Thanks, indeed it might be easier to just put everything on the Firestick that is also on their AppStore, even though none of the streaming Apps are giving me problems on ROKU.
Larry

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