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Old 03-20-2014, 08:13 AM   #1
stevenclin
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OTA channel dropouts

Hello, new forum member and new Roamio owner here. Purchased the Roamio (base model) when we decided to cut the cord.

We have an attic antenna feeding the Roamio. All stations but one come in just fine. The remaining station is acting strange. When viewing the "signal strength" meter on the Roamio, this channel is usually in the 60+ range. But every few minutes, the signal goes to 0 and the picture drops out. After some time (few seconds to a minute), pop, it goes back to 60-65-ish and the picture is crystal clear again.

In other words, it's not acting like it's a poor signal on the edge of reception - it acts like a good signal that drops completely out then comes back on.

If I plug the antenna cable directly into my TV, the picture stays on continuously. (The TV doesn't have a signal strength indicator so all I can say is that the picture looks good, I can't tell if the signal quality is varying.)

Other tidbits:

- This particular station is the only VHF station of interest in our region (Raleigh/Durham, NC); the other stations we're receiving with no problem are all UHF.

- In our area, all the major stations transmit from one huge antenna (i.e. antennaweb.org shows same distance/direction to all the stations of interest).

- We've tried a couple different antennas, no difference.

- The condition persists even in calm wind conditions, so not like tree branches or other objects are blowing around and intermittently blocking the signal.

So -- my questions are:

1) Has anyone else seen something like this?
2) Does this sound like a bad Roamio unit (i.e. should I exchange it for another one)?
3) Or is the Roamio, in general, bad at picking up VHF channels or have other OTA receiver issues, that should make me look at returning the Roamio and going with a different DVR solution?

Thanks in advance for any help!
Steve Lin
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:54 AM   #2
atmuscarella
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I have a Roamio used for OTA and have 2 stations that broadcast on VHF channels. No issues with either and my basic experience with the Roamio and OTA reception is that it is very good. I used to see what you are talking about with my Premiere but I did some antenna changes and don't see that kind of crazy stuff anymore (the Premiere still isn't as good as the Roamio with OTA reception).

So it could be some crazy multi-path issue the Roamio can not deal with, some issue with your antenna setup causing the issue, or some defective issue with your Roamio.

Good Luck,
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:58 AM   #3
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Isn't 60 rather low -- rather than a "strong" signal?
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:50 AM   #4
atmuscarella
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
Isn't 60 rather low -- rather than a "strong" signal?
No on the Roamios (& Premieres) 60 is fine/high and is about the same as 85+ on a Series 3 unit.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:09 PM   #5
poppagene
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenclin View Post

In our area, all the major stations transmit from one huge antenna (i.e. antennaweb.org shows same distance/direction to all the stations of interest).

1) Has anyone else seen something like this?

Thanks in advance for any help!
Steve Lin
I've got two vhf frequency stations on the same tower about 5 miles away. No problems with channel 7-1 (vhf 7), but often break ups on channel 9-1 (vhf 9) on the roamio. No problems on this channel on any tvs, or on an s3, HD or premiere.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:49 PM   #6
stevenclin
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Thanks for the replies so far. FWIW, the channel I'm having difficulty with is 11-1 (VHF 11). Wonder if perhaps there's a problem with the high-VHF band of the Roamio, since you (poppagene) are having problems with channel 9 as well, and you're only 5 miles away from the tower.

In my case, I'm about 35 miles away, but I've got what is supposedly a decent antenna (ClearStream 2V) mounted in the attic, and again the signal strength appears to be good, when it's good - it's just that it drops to 0 or near 0 sometimes.

And again, to be clear, I'm familiar with what the signal looks like with marginal signal strength - occasional blockiness, pixelization, etc. In this case, it's perfect (w/ signal strength 60+ when that option is displayed) until it's completely gone (black screen, signal strength at or near 0), then it comes back within a minute or so back to perfect.

Thanks again for the replies. I think I'll call TiVo after work tonight and try to work out whether I should exchange the Roamio to see if another unit would work better.

Steve
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:07 PM   #7
atmuscarella
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenclin View Post
...

And again, to be clear, I'm familiar with what the signal looks like with marginal signal strength - occasional blockiness, pixelization, etc. In this case, it's perfect (w/ signal strength 60+ when that option is displayed) until it's completely gone (black screen, signal strength at or near 0), then it comes back within a minute or so back to perfect. ...
What you are describing is what can happen with multi-path issues which are not the same as weak signal issues. Having signals cut out when plans fly over is a common example. But I do agree yours seems extreme and to have it on only one channel also seems a little weird when all the towers are in one place.

If you find out what the issue is post back.

Good luck,
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:54 PM   #8
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FWIW a thread on tvfool.com that discusses a very similar issue, and has posts full of info and advice:
http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=13326
Two things you may not have tried:
1. Move the antenna a few feet.
2. Feed antenna signal directly into TV tuner.

Is your antenna omnidirectional? If all your stations are in the same direction, a directional antenna could be used and it should give better multi-path rejection.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:15 AM   #9
stevenclin
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OP here - just to close out the thread, I ended up moving the antenna to an unfinished portion of the attic (so it had only plywood and shingles to go through, rather than the drywall, insulation, and hardiplank siding that it was aimed through earlier).

After much positioning of the antenna and the addition of a preamp, I no longer get the dropouts I saw before. Still very occasional blockiness/corruption on a few channels, but at least it's much better than before.

It still seems to me that the tuner in the Roamio is less sensitive than the tuner in my TV (which is surprising, since the TV is about 5 years old and is a cheap/no-name HDTV). But my problem seems to have been solved just by better antenna positioning.
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:13 PM   #10
Peter G
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I had similar experience with my Premiere (I am also in Raleigh Area) on several channels. After much study it appears the Tivo tuners are very sensitive to multipath, and you get this strange pulsing of channels where they signal strength goes from 30-60 and reception is lost. I upgraded to Roamio which is much improved but still found I had to tweak the attic antenna pointing just so to get steady reception most of the time. It is true that the tuners in all my TVs are better than the Roamio tuners but the difference is much less than with the Premiere. Without this improvement I was going to have to give up on Tivo as reception was not acceptable too often with the Premiere.

Try a signal splitter and put one output directly into your TV and one to Roamio. When the signal won't come in good on Roamio you can at least watch (but not record) in real time on the TV.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:06 PM   #11
csweeny
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Keep in mind that the signal going into the Roamio is split 4 times which drops the signal level to 1/4 the power level of what's received from the antenna. Also, the ClearStream 2V is not a very good VHF antenna, it only has two 35" dipoles for VHF reception. You would be much better off going with a more traditional rooftop type antenna and putting it inside your attic (plus they are cheaper).
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:23 AM   #12
gregnauman
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Im having this same problem. Into TV works perfect. Hook it up to Tivo and it drops various channels.

Not sure what to do, tried different antennas moved it in the attic etc.

At first I lost 4 and 41 in the Kansas City area now I am having trouble with 4 and 50

TV works perfect.

Pisses me off to pay good money for a device to record and the tuner is so poor it doesn't work.
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Old 05-18-2014, 03:36 PM   #13
gfgray
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Try a Channel Master preamp. Like the man said, signal is split 4 times in the tivo. Make sure you get the right preamp. One has high gain, the other has high resistance to overload from other strong signals.
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