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Help with Antenna Signal Strength

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by indychris, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. indychris

    indychris New Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    I have a premier that I just purchased new to replace Dish Network service that we recently cancelled. We are planning to simply use OTA at this point. The unit seems to be working fine with one exception. I noticed that our local fox station has been have picture problems with loss of signal, audio drop-out and pixelation. Now fox definitely is not our strongest performer here, but I've never had trouble keeping a consistent picture from their broadcast.

    After playing around with the TiVo remote, I learned that it's possible to do a signal test this morning. After Going through all of my channels I discovered that I have a 20-25% decrease in signal strength (according to the test anyway) simply from going through my Premier unit vs. the equivalent signal routed through our previous dish receiver. I previously had three of our locals that always tested at 100% that now test between 75-82, and our Fox affiliate, which previously tested between 75 and as high as 82 now fluctuates between 42 and 55.

    No WONDER I'm having trouble. I've checked all the connections, and the antenna setup hasn't changed one iota.

    Is there anything that I need to do differently to improve my signal through my Premier????

    With the SB fast approaching, Fox will be an essential channel for us in just over a week, so I need to get this figured out.

  2. lujan

    lujan Member

    May 24, 2010
    I've had this problem as well and as a consequence, I usually only set recordings from the cable versions of the same channels. I also had Dish Network prior to this and got the stations in much better on OTA. I just think that the OTA tuner on the Premiere is inferior to the one on the satellite receiver. I don't know if there is much more we can do?
  3. reeseg

    reeseg New Member

    Jun 23, 2005
    Quickest fix is to see if your antenna is directional. If it is, as most are, use the audio signal strength to move the antenna in small increments until you dial your stations in.

    Other options include:

    a) boosting the digital signal. It is possible that the tuner in the Premiere is not as sensitive as the previous receiver. You can buy signal amps that boost the signal through your house wiring

    b) check your cables. Sometimes, a bad coax cable gets into the mix. Changing out the cable and checking your wall connections is the next place to look, especially if things were working before.

    c) new antenna. Because the TiVo may have a less sensitive digital receiver than your old setup, you can try replacing your current antenna with a better one. antennaweb.org is a great place to learn if your current digital antenna suits your requirements.

    Hope this helps you.
  4. reeseg

    reeseg New Member

    Jun 23, 2005
    Oh, and one other thing to check. Call your local Fox affiliate and ask them if they have lowered their output. This happened in my area to my CBS affiliate. I thought it was my setup, only to learn that the local engineering team had significantly reduced the signal during an equipment swap. It might surprise you how willing they will be to ensure you get a good signal.
  5. blackngold75

    blackngold75 Member

    Mar 9, 2010
    Check the antenna aim. From what others have posted here, the Premiere's OTA reception problems may be due to it's inability to handle multipath interference. If it's possible to re-aim the antenna (or get a more directional antenna) that might also help. I have a Premiere and a TivoHD, both using the same antenna. While the HD signal strength shows higher on some channels, and I am able to lock in all on both Tivos. I'm about 33 miles out from the Philly towers, but I am up relatively high with no tall buildings nearby for signals to bounce off of.
  6. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

    Apr 19, 2004
    East Moline, IL
    A couple things:

    Signal Strength meters are not all created equally. Same as measuring velocity. In the US, distance is measured in miles, elsewhere, distance is measured in kilometers.

    So... 100 mph does not equal 100 kph/TiVo signal strength numbers not equal TV/Dish/other tuner signal strength numbers.

    It's been discovered that the Premiere does NOT handle multi-path signals very well at all. Changing antennas has helped at least one person with the problem. See this thread that *should* have popped up at the top of a Search Forums result...
  7. czazzara

    czazzara New Member

    Jan 29, 2011
    Central New...

    I was on your very same path last night after spending an hour or two getting a new Premier connected into my system, initialized, and properly configured. I had recently installed a small amplified antenna to pull in OTA channels in our area and not having a signal meter to guide me, set the adjustable amplifier to its max, 20db. This worked well with the TV and I never gave it another thought as I made plans to replace my cable company DVR with a TiVo.

    After my first channel scan with the Premier I was delighted to see that it had successfully found all the stations that I had tuned previously with the TV. A closer look showed that one station was marginal at best when it had been decent before.

    After spending some time adjusting the amplifier with the TiVo's signal monitor running I was surprised to discover that as I slowly lowered the amplifiers output level, the one station that was marginal increased in strength to a very respectable and usable db value, all without impacting the signal strengths of the other excellent channels. When I was finished I was running the amp with only a 5db gain and all my channels in the 70% to 90% range.

    Do the Premier's tuners "suck"? Not hardly. I'm properly set up and enjoying excellent OTA reception. Good luck resolving your issues, and for comparison, all of my stations are generally to my south between 15 and 25 miles away. The antenna is a Clearstream Micron with their amplifier hanging on my living room wall behind and above the TV.

    Chris Z.

  8. indychris

    indychris New Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    I'm going to look through the other thread. It didn't pop up when I initially started this thread, but it does seem quite pertinent to my situation.

    A couple of observations/notes:

    1) The antenna is aimed properly. I went through that process while setting up my Dish OTA. I'm using a Clearstream 2 antenna aimed toward Fort Wayne. All towers are generally in the same direction, with the furthest antenna being less than 20 miles away. All of our locals are UHF and range from 15-55 on the tuner.

    2) I understand that meters don't all read the same, unfortunately, as I mentioned it's not simply the meter that reveals poor reception, the picture itself is of a terrible quality, subject to frequent pixelation and audio dropout.

    3) When hooked up directly to my Samsung HDTV, the reception is impeccable.

    Thanks again for the responses. If anyone has any other insight, I appreciate the feedback. :up:
  9. indychris

    indychris New Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    Okay, folks, if you can continue to help me out here, I'd be MUCH obliged.

    I picked up a different antenna today; a Clearstream4. Supposed to be good up to 65 miles. Took it up to the attic and played around with it. When I hook it up to my Dish receiver (hasn't been sent back yet) I'm pulling 100% on all major networks coming out of Fort Wayne with a great picture.

    When I switch the same cable directly from my Dish receiver to my new Premier, my local Fox affiliate WFFT (55) pulls an average (by the built-in meter) of 52-54 with a peak of 55. WANE (15) pulls about 65 with a peak of 68, Almost identical for WPTA (21) and WISE (33) averages about 68 and peaks at 73.

    All of the stations seem to get a pretty consistently good picture with the exception of FOX (55) which is still cutting out some, though not as much as with the Clearstream2.

    Can anyone help me out with more ideas? I'm going nuts here. Good antenna. Short distance to towers with no tall buildings in between. I'm at a complete loss.

    Thanks again!

  10. Davelnlr_

    Davelnlr_ Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    There is one word in your post which probably explains your troubles...ATTIC. First, mounting an antenna in the attic subjects it to a lot of attenuation. Second, it moves the antenna so close to the electrical wiring as to pick up reflections (multipath) off the wiring, and anything else metal in the attic.

    As a test, put your antenna outside on the transmitter direction side of your house (run cable out the door or window), and point it in the general direction of your stations. Check your signal. Ill bet you see your channel 55 doesnt drop out anymore.
  11. indychris

    indychris New Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    You may well be right, but the current antenna is also employed in the attic. It may be helpful to know that our attic is at the end of a gabled roof. Being on the upstairs end of the house, there is no wiring that comes within proximity to the antenna or cable except where the cable drops down into the living room beneath the attic. The antenna is located next to the outside wall with only a gable vent and vinyl siding sheltering reception.

    Beyond that, as I already described, the antenna provides a great signal directly to our TV/Dish.

    Maybe I just need to take this unit back? It's under 30 days, so will I be able to exchange it? I picked it up at Best Buy.
  12. aaroncgi

    aaroncgi New Member

    Apr 13, 2010

    You could take it back I'm sure, but I have no confidence that another unit would provide better reception. As has been mentioned in the other thread, it's highly probable that the Premiere tuner doesn't deal with multipath nearly as well as the tuners in most TV or other OTA receivers. We have the same issue with one of our channels, and it's most frustrating. According to all the information we can find, our CBS station should be just as strong as ABC/NBC, broadcasting from the same location and with nearly identical power. However, it's not. The Premiere only gets it at about half the level (per it's meter) of the other two, and reception can freeze/pixelate/etc. We have already ruled out antenna aim, position, wiring, amplification, etc. If we had another digital tuner to compare with, that would help, but we do not at this time.

    All that said, trying the antenna outside is certainly a valid test which I would encourage you to try. You may be able to increase the signal enough so that your FOX isn't having problems anymore. We are at the max height of our antenna already without going to a complex and costly guyed tower, so we're stuck. But based on your signal strength, you could very possibly get by with a simple tripod mount on your roof, or even just on the side of your house.
  13. indychris

    indychris New Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    Thanks everyone. I do appreciate the help. I'll work on getting an outside antenna set up and see what happens. Hopefully that will get me the desired result. :up:
  14. mblloyd

    mblloyd Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    The "Channel 55" transmission system works for your DISH and Samsung, plus is monitored by the station, so suspecting the station as a cause of your porblem in not likely to bear fruit.

    Your Clearstream4 signal strength reading of 55 should be sufficient signal strength.

    So there is something wrong within that signal. As previously mentioned, mutlipath problems (same station, coing in as a reflection) might be giving the TiVo tuner problems that the DISH and Samsung receivers handle OK. Or it could be that poor grounding of the antenna system is causing problems that the DISH and Samsung handle better.

    TiVo tuner problems could also be the result of front end overload due to poor grounding (signal pickup on a poorly grounded cable shield). Are your F-connections on the coax suspicous? This might also allow other signals (Are you near a FM transmitter?) to overload the front end of the TiVo tuner. Of course, all of this is refuted by the other TV channels being OK.

    Gosh, you don't suppose it is the TiVo tuner!
  15. Davelnlr_

    Davelnlr_ Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Yea, of course it is the Tivo's tuner. One has to go out of ones way to get it to perform on par with other tuners, which are what the suggestions were about. I had to resurrect an old 10 yr old narrow beamwidth yagi and mount it separate from my other antennas just for the Tivo's tuners. Since you cant change the tuners, you have to baby them with the antenna :)
  16. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Wasn't there a time when too hot a signal caused problems in the Series3/HD Tivos?
    Maybe TiVo went too far in the other direction on the Premieres tuners to try and eliminate that problem.
  17. MrStoby

    MrStoby New Member

    Oct 19, 2002
    Little Rock
    When hooked to my Television set my antenna works great... no problem at all.
    When I hook it to my TIVO it's terrible. I just don't understand! If the signal is so wonderful hooked to the TV....why wouldn't it be just as wonderful hooked to the TIVO? This is so frustrating.
  18. tenthplanet

    tenthplanet Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    When you say terrible, what exactly are you seeing, or not, and on what channels. There can be a number of reasons while you are having problems.
    One thing to bear in mind is most Tivos in use will have a least two tuners and so each tuner gets half the signal strength. That doesn't always make a difference, but it can.
  19. SomeRandomIdiot

    SomeRandomIdiot New Member

    Jan 7, 2016
    Unless TiVo design is absolutely horrible, that is not the case. At worse, there MIGHT be a 3.5db drop from the feed worse case scenario.

    To the Op, Simply put a 2 way splitter on the connection to your TV and see if the reception is the same as the TiVo.

    If not, welcome to the never ending which TiVo has the better OTA tuners debate.
  20. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra Cable only TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    I think it's been shown that the tuners in a Premiere are not so good, especially compared to a TV. A splitter usually drops the signal 50% or about 3.5 dB. I don't know if there is an internal amplifier to compensate or any way to prove there is or isn't.

    I have a 2 tuner Premiere and 4 tuner Roamio off the same feed with the signal split. Only the last three feet are different. The Roamio is always 90 and the Premiere is always 75 to 80.

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