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New tivo will not tune channel being broadcast only 1.4 miles away!

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by tvoe, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. rvsj

    rvsj New Member

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    Dec 20, 2007
    Can you receive anything with nothing connected to either input jack on the TiVo?
    You may be close enough that you may be encountering severe front end overload forcing the front end amplifier to go to minimum gain.
     
  2. tvoe

    tvoe New Member

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    Jul 28, 2012
    No - signal strength drops to zero and don't get anything with nothing connected.
     
  3. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

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    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Antennas are only 1.4 miles away? Try putting a paper clip in the antenna input connection. :D

    Only half kidding. :eek:
     
  4. tvoe

    tvoe New Member

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    Jul 28, 2012
    :D Since you were only half kidding - I actually tried it. I actually was able to pick up the two good networks with a paperclip! Signal strength dropped from 90 to 80 and 85 to 40 on those. Still couldn't get the problematic station, although the strength did seem to be up maybe just a little bit, and it didn't fluctuate as crazily. So again, in my mind this continues to support the idea of an overload and that I should be looking at attenuators?

    Anybody have any idea where one could look locally for these (I know radio shack doesn't carry them), and if not and I'm stuck with internet ordering, what combination or set would anyone recommend I purchase to continue with my experimentation?
     
  5. compnurd

    compnurd New Member

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    Oct 6, 2011
    I am surprised radio shack doesnt sell them.....
     
  6. WVZR1

    WVZR1 Member

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    Jul 30, 2008
    The WV...
    What do you get on 8.3 and 8.4!
     
  7. a68oliver

    a68oliver Member

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    Jul 15, 2000
    Crawfordsvil...
    I recently purchased attenuators through an Amazon partner. I purchased two sets of three attenuators for my two Tivos. I bought 3db, 6db, and 12 db. I ended up using about 9db total on each Tivo. They brought my signal levels down from over 100 to about 70-80 on my CATV feed.

    I was not having the same problem you are and felt reducing my signal might help a completely different problem. Unfortunately, it didn't.
     
  8. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    You beat me to it.

    When I saw that he was only 1.4 miles from the transmitter my first thought was that his problem should be how not to get the station on everything in the house, including the blender and the electric toothbrush.

    If what he calls real channel 7 and real channel 8 are the same frequencies as those numbers were when they were VHF-high analog channels, and they're broadcasting from the same location, and the TV at the end of the same piece of co-ax gets both fine, then there's no way in H-E-double transmitter towers that the problem is not the TiVo.

    It's unpossible.

    It may be hardware, it maybe data, but something is keeping the local oscillator in the TiVo's tuner from running at the correct frequency to heterodyne the signal down to the Intermediate Frequency where it gets further amplified.

    They're lying to him. They may not realize that they are, but they are.

    He should demand that TiVo get one of their RF engineers to take a look at his problem.
     
  9. tvoe

    tvoe New Member

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    Jul 28, 2012
    I'm running out of time on my 30-day guarantee, and have put a lot of hours into trying to correct this problem. Anyone else agree with unitron on this?

    And if so, what are your suggestions to most effectively "demand" that they look at the problem? It seems that they are more than happy just to lose me as a new customer than to help me out. It amazes me that two different contacts with customer service (on the phone and on-line) both have resulted in no cooperation regarding trying another tivo.
     
  10. compnurd

    compnurd New Member

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    Oct 6, 2011
    before i demand anything, i would get an attenuator and try it
     
  11. jrtroo

    jrtroo User

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    Feb 4, 2008
    Call them now, and make sure to ask them to log your issue in their system. Then try an attenuator as a last ditch effort.

    I would also document what you have done- this will help in working with TiVo and in the event a replacement unit has a similar issue.
     
  12. bshrock

    bshrock New Member

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    Jan 6, 2012
    Contact the station they may have a cut channel attenuator available for just this reason.
     
  13. NotVeryWitty

    NotVeryWitty Too Big to Fail

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    Oct 3, 2003
    Central Mass.
    You say you don't know anyone near you that can bring another Tivo over to try. Is there any chance you could do the opposite -- take your Tivo somewhere else not so close to the transmitters? That would hopefully let you know if the problem was a too-strong signal or not.

    I hope you figure this out -- problems like this surely can be frustrating, but if you can get it solved, you'll probably quickly forget all about the problems and just enjoy the Tivo.

    [FWIW, I think the reason the Tivo XL4 (Elite) doesn't do OTA is because the box was targeted for MSOs, who would have no use for OTA.]
     
  14. StarkNaked

    StarkNaked New Member

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    Feb 22, 2008
    West Seattle WA
    They did sell them, but it doesn't show in the current catalog anymore.

    Part number 150-0578

    I did find the Radio Shack part still for sale on Ebay.
     
  15. tvoe

    tvoe New Member

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    Jul 28, 2012
    Tried your suggestion - at least I gave it my first attempt. Went to my parent's house which is on the opposite side of the city and down in the valley, and got the exact same results with rabbit ears. They probably live 4 miles or so from the tv stations. Also with a paperclip, I actually received my good channels at 92-93% from their house (actually a little better than here on top of the hill near the transmitters), but the problematic channel again jumped between 5 and 20%.

    Traveling 34 miles away tomorrow for work and thought I would tote my smaller TV and tivo with me to see what happens there. Problem is I know that many people who live in that small town have trouble getting any reception with just rabbit ears, so I might be looking at too weak of a signal instead. If by some miracle the channel did tune in from there, then I would be convinced that I need to be ordering some attenuators online.
     
  16. tvoe

    tvoe New Member

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    Jul 28, 2012
    OK - part 2 of my testing is over:

    34 miles away was too far, as I suspected. Could not pull in a signal from any station with just rabbit ears. Most people here use roof-top antennas for OTA. In a building on the second floor, I was able to get about 23% signal strength on the reliable stations, and the problem channel fluctuated between 0 and 20%. It does not "lock in" and stay at a particular strength no matter where I try this thing...

    So I was hoping that tests out at this distance would confirm a need for attenuation, but no such luck. Now that I have tested with multiple antennae, in multiple parts of my house (including outside), in different parts of the city, and now out of town, and channel 5-1 still wigs out all over the place, I have to admit that I am quite skeptical that an attenuator is going to solve this. Anybody else agree with me? My gut just tells me that this Tivo's tuner is faulty somehow, but without getting my hands on another machine I will never be able to confirm that or convince the bull-headed engineers at Tivo of this. What do you all think?
     
  17. L David Matheny

    L David Matheny Active Member

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    Jan 29, 2011
    SE Ohio
    Considering everything you've tried, I'm also skeptical that an attenuator will help, but it's a cheap thing to try if you can find one. The problem sounds like some kind of destructive interference caused by a reflection of the channel 5-1 signal from a nearby hill or building or something, but it seems unlikely that you would see the same problem at another location across town. You could call the station engineer to see if the two stations that share a tower have the same radiation pattern. IOW, do they have about the same effective radiated power in your direction.

    The most damning evidence against the TiVo is that a TV connected to the same feed has no trouble receiving the problem channel. Because of that, it would be very interesting to try a different TiVo to see if it acts the same, although it's hard to imagine any mechanism that would make the TiVo's tuner act up on only one frequency.
     
  18. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC

    I think you've confirmed the need for a new TiVo.

    Something's keeping it from properly tuning and de-modulating that one channel, and that something almost absolutely has to be something internal to the TiVo.
     
  19. tvoe

    tvoe New Member

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    Jul 28, 2012
    I hope you're right. I finally convinced them of an exchange. Will arrive in the next few days and will report back.
     
  20. tvoe

    tvoe New Member

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    Jul 28, 2012
    OK - have to admit when I'm wrong. Received a new premier and I'm running into the same exact problem... I thought for sure it was the Tivo. So I'm back to troubleshooting. I'm convinced that I'm going to get this thing figured out.

    Recall if you've only skimmed the thread - I am receiving one network (channels 3-1 and 3-2) just fine, but the other network (channels 5-1 and 5-2) which is broadcast at exactly the same distance and direction will not come in through the Tivo (although it does tune with other devices in the house). These channels are broadcast through true digital channels 7 and 8.

    Here have been my latest tries: took my monoprice indoor/outdoor antenna and placed it in multiple locations/orientations in my attic. The troublesome channel will not sustain a signal strength above 25% - although interestingly enough every once in a while it will pop up to a 100 for a brief moment (just to irritate me?). Just disconnected my dish network today, so I tried attaching the monoprice antenna to the mast of the removed satellite dish. Pointed the directional antenna directly at the TV towers (which the top 1/4 or so is visible above my roofline from this location). Still no luck.

    So back to a suggestion earlier in this thread? Do I try ordering some attenuators? I personally think the answer is no for a couple of reasons: when I turn the directional antenna 40 degrees or more away from the towers, even my good channels (which are broadcast right next to the other tower) drop in signal strength to the 40-60% range. Also the last Tivo technical support person I talked to said that if I were getting too much signal strength that it would give me reception problems while showing 100 on signal strength.

    So anyone still think attenuators are something I should try? And why? If not, what are some of my other alternatives? Experimenting with actual antennas could be costly trial/error. What about inline interference filters? Amplifiers? (tried one already - didn't seem compatible with the monoprice antenna that already has its own amplifier)

    Really could use some help here. Any suggestions or discussion is greatly appreciated.
     

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