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Old 11-19-2007, 07:43 PM   #391
kpepling
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You might need more or less attenuation. You'll rarely get the right amount on the first try.

There is a 3-4dB range that will eliminate pixelization. Too much attenuation will give you a weak signal, too little attenuation won't resolve the problem on all channels.

You might try 18dB and 14dB.
I've tried 13db, 15db, 16db, 18db, 19db, & 20db. None of those have worked. I can't seem to find either 2db or 1db attenuators to be able to test 14db & 17db. Anyone know where I might find one or is willing to sell me one?
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:14 PM   #392
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I've tried 13db, 15db, 16db, 18db, 19db, & 20db. None of those have worked. I can't seem to find either 2db or 1db attenuators to be able to test 14db & 17db. Anyone know where I might find one or is willing to sell me one?
The attenuator pack I linked includes 2x -20dB, 2x -10dB, 2x -6dB, and 2x -2dB attenuators for $12.99.

Edit: It includes 2x -3dB attenuators, not 2x -2dB attenuators.

Last edited by bkdtv : 11-20-2007 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 11-20-2007, 09:30 AM   #393
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The attenuator pack I linked includes 2x -20dB, 2x -10dB, 2x -6dB, and 2x -2dB attenuators for $12.99.
I bought that pack and it includes 2x 3db attenuators not 2db.
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:29 AM   #394
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I bought that pack and it includes 2x 3db attenuators not 2db.
Ooops, thanks.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:09 PM   #395
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My experience, in case it helps anyone...

Two Tivo S3 on Comcast in Sacramento. Pixelation started on one Tivo about two months ago and has gotten progressively worse. The other tivo is fine. Finally, watching Sunday Night Football was unbearable. And, I was starting to get some pixelation on downloaded content (tivocast). So, I figured it must be the HDD. However, I checked signal strength on ESPN-HD and it was a little low (SNR 29-30, Signal 63-69). I decided to upgrade the hard drive to see if that would help anyway. Went from a Seagate barracuda 750gb to seagate barracuda 1TB. All pixelation is gone. And here's the annoying thing. The signal strength now shows perfect on all channels. This seems an incredible coincidence. I checked just before and just after changing the HDD and signal went from marginal to perfect. I'm pretty much convinced my HDD was the primary issue but I don't understand the signal strength wierdness.

Key thing: the HDD might be the problem for more folks than we might think, even if the signal strength looks a bit marginal.
I told a friend of mine who has had TiVo since it first came out about my sudden pixellating problems on the S3 and although he doesn't have any contact with online forums and is just an average TiVo user, told me to delete programs from my Recently Deleted list and the pixel problems would go away. I was highly skeptical after reading here, but I did and it worked. Shows recorded before I permanently deleted Recently Deleted are pixelled and shows recorded after are not. I'm planning to upgrade the HDD, but I thought maybe this might help someone else in the meantime. My signal strengths are in the 65-75 bracket both before and after.

Maybe TiVo needs to consider telling the system where to write data because it seems as though some of the problem might be that the drive is being written to the same spot all the time? I don't know, but opening the system up to using other areas of the drive really solved my problem for the time being.

Happy Turkey Day everyone!!
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:04 PM   #396
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I told a friend of mine who has had TiVo since it first came out about my sudden pixellating problems on the S3 and although he doesn't have any contact with online forums and is just an average TiVo user, told me to delete programs from my Recently Deleted list and the pixel problems would go away. I was highly skeptical after reading here, but I did and it worked. Shows recorded before I permanently deleted Recently Deleted are pixelled and shows recorded after are not. I'm planning to upgrade the HDD, but I thought maybe this might help someone else in the meantime. My signal strengths are in the 65-75 bracket both before and after.

Maybe TiVo needs to consider telling the system where to write data because it seems as though some of the problem might be that the drive is being written to the same spot all the time? I don't know, but opening the system up to using other areas of the drive really solved my problem for the time being.

Happy Turkey Day everyone!!
The Recently Deleted folder seemed to be an issue back in May/June when we were first adding expansion drives to the S3's. There were reports of slowdowns and other problems when the RD folder filled up. This was with v8.1x and v8.3x. Some suggested that the partition /var(?) that is used to index the RD files was too small to handle the "extra volume" at the time.

I found that keeping the RD folder empty made everything run normally but that when I let it fill up (200+ recordings) TiVo became sluggish and unresponsive at some points.

Since receiving v9.2.j and subsequently v9.2a I'm letting the RD folder fill up again based on the premise that with eSATA support TiVo could/should have modified the software to handle the additional indexing "load". I haven't seen any slow-downs or other problems but the RD folder is only up to about 62 recordings so far. I do see the odd and very brief macroblocking or audio drop now and then but nothing unexpected w/HD broadcasts.

It would be interesting if deleting everything in the RD folder helps anyone else that has macroblocking or other problems.

BTW, since there isn't a "delete all" option for the RD folder, the fastest way to clear it out is to open the folder, highlight a recording and click the "clear" (TiVo remote bottom left) then "select" buttons.
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Old 11-21-2007, 03:50 AM   #397
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Well kind of aggravating but in the same breath can not complain to much.

Since an upgrade that allowed us to be able to transfer shows between our two Series 3 HD boxes I am now getting pixel problems on the "downstairs" HD box.

Which means, in theory, that it has something to do with TIVO rather than my cable company since it was immediately after the upgrade.

Any suggestions?

Sean
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Old 11-21-2007, 07:48 AM   #398
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no pixelation in ashburn - so far

just got my 2 cable cards installed in ashburn, VA. new HDTIVO ( from amazon for $250!)

it went well and the tech was very cool. he joked several times about 'giving us one more chance before you switch to tivo'

no pixelation so far.
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Old 11-24-2007, 03:11 PM   #399
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just got my 2 cable cards installed in ashburn, VA. new HDTIVO ( from amazon for $250!)

it went well and the tech was very cool. he joked several times about 'giving us one more chance before you switch to tivo'

no pixelation so far.
Had mine done Wed. here in Sterling/Cascades....getting some blocking, espec. on Food Network. I'm at 36db...ordering some attenuators
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Old 11-24-2007, 03:30 PM   #400
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OK, here's the weird thing....watching 144, Food Network. No issues with blocking *UNTIL* there's a button press from the TiVo remote. Right on Dpad, volume, FF, whatever, it starts the pic blocking. Will taking down the db to 0 or -6 help with this issue?
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Old 11-25-2007, 10:41 AM   #401
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It seems I posted too soon.... Clearing the RD folder didn't REALLY help, it just seemed to for a day or two. Comcast was out yesterday to see why after I upgraded the drive with one from Weaknees, I lost HBO, Showtime and Encore from my cablecards -- now one works and one doesn't, but that's another story. I also mentioned the pixelation and the service guy (straight out of "Twin Peaks", by the way) kept reporting to his dispatch that my signal was too strong. He put a tap on the line and the pixelation seems to have dropped a bit, but not completely. I live in a 24 unit apartment building and he commented that the signal was probably boosted for that reason.

On the work order, he wrote that the levels for the CPE (which I believe is "Customer Premise Equipment") are a high of +20.8 and a low of +23.9. I happened to have kept the work order from when the cablecards for the Series 3 were originally installed and those readings (a little over a year ago) are a high of +7 and a low of +3. I know next to nothing about the magic of digital cable, but a year ago, my picture and signals were perfect and now they're pixeled -- even after the new HDD.

Anyone that knows cable TV: would an attenuator or two to bring the signal strength back down to the 7/3 range help with the pixelation?
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Old 11-28-2007, 02:06 AM   #402
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when i have pixelation issues, it makes my tivo reboot. then when i reach that spot it will reboot again. to get by it, i can fwd past that spot and then rewind somewhere ahead of the pixelation and watch it fine.

is this common with everyone else?
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:38 AM   #403
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when i have pixelation issues, it makes my tivo reboot. then when i reach that spot it will reboot again. to get by it, i can fwd past that spot and then rewind somewhere ahead of the pixelation and watch it fine.

is this common with everyone else?

That sounds like a hard drive failure.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:10 AM   #404
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Pixelation

I just recently bought the Tivo HD box. I do not have any cable cards in it yet. But for the last 5 days, I've been transferring some high definition videos captured from MY HD capture card in a PC. Those videos are clean with no pixelation during playback on my PC. After transferring them to the THD and while playing them back, the pixelation occurs rather frequently and affects the sound output. These are HD with 5.1 audio captures. No solutions, but wanted all to know that this pixelation issue occurs without cable cards installed and while watching video not necessarily Live TV or TV recorded on the THD. I've also upgrade my hard drive space using the Tivo endorsed Western Digital My DVR Expander.
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Old 11-28-2007, 12:53 PM   #405
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when i have pixelation issues, it makes my tivo reboot. then when i reach that spot it will reboot again. to get by it, i can fwd past that spot and then rewind somewhere ahead of the pixelation and watch it fine.

is this common with everyone else?
As wbradney mentioned, that does have the earmarks of a hard drive issue. You might want to run TiVo's diagnostic "kickstart 57" to see if that will clear things up.
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Old 11-28-2007, 12:58 PM   #406
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I just recently bought the Tivo HD box. I do not have any cable cards in it yet. But for the last 5 days, I've been transferring some high definition videos captured from MY HD capture card in a PC. Those videos are clean with no pixelation during playback on my PC. After transferring them to the THD and while playing them back, the pixelation occurs rather frequently and affects the sound output. These are HD with 5.1 audio captures. No solutions, but wanted all to know that this pixelation issue occurs without cable cards installed and while watching video not necessarily Live TV or TV recorded on the THD. I've also upgrade my hard drive space using the Tivo endorsed Western Digital My DVR Expander.
I've had the same issue w/TiVoComeBack on HD programs. In fact I've seen issues going both ways w/HD content. It doesn't always happen (either way) but it seems like the HD content is very prone to problems when it is moved around. Sometimes I can reboot my router and it cleans things up. I don't blame it on TiVo though as I also have a PC HD DVR setup and I've seen the exact same things there.
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:36 PM   #407
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Should I install the attenuators at the input to each box, or can I do it downstream? My signal goes from ONT to switch that feeds upstairs S2, then a line that goes to a 3-output splitter, with two of those lines feeding two separate THDs.

Both THDs show db levels of roughly +35, but I've only noticed pixels on one box, though I see uncorrected errors on both in diagnostics (granted, I'm not watching the second box on a daily basis as its my media room with Projector and only gets weekend use for most part.
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Old 11-29-2007, 08:13 AM   #408
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I just recently started to get pixelation on one channel in particular(NBC HD). Ever other channel seems fine. I rebooted the Tivo and it seems to clear up for an hour or so. I am about to call Comcast, but have a feeling they will say it is the tivo. Any troubleshooting ideas I should try?
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:29 AM   #409
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Can anyone explain how it is that Comcast is saying that my signal is too strong (20.8 - 23.9) and yet the channels with the worst pixelating are the ones with the lowest signal strength on the TiVo signal strength meter? Is Comcast's signal strength related to what shows on the TiVo?

The signal was SO bad this morning that most of the channels just showed a black screen, except the channels that have been historically the strongest signals like MTV-HD, ESPN-HD, and MOJO-HD. I've tried the attenuators on the cable line and that only made it worse. I'm kind of at a loss....
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:38 PM   #410
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Can anyone explain how it is that Comcast is saying that my signal is too strong (20.8 - 23.9) and yet the channels with the worst pixelating are the ones with the lowest signal strength on the TiVo signal strength meter? Is Comcast's signal strength related to what shows on the TiVo?

The signal was SO bad this morning that most of the channels just showed a black screen, except the channels that have been historically the strongest signals like MTV-HD, ESPN-HD, and MOJO-HD. I've tried the attenuators on the cable line and that only made it worse. I'm kind of at a loss....
Where are you getting the 20.8/23.9 numbers? What are the units? dbm?
Are you sure these arent signal to noise ratio numbers? SNR.

20dbm from a cablecompany is a HUGE signal level.... and would probably drive the tuner crazy. Like lhorer said... it would be like trying to scream and talk to someone standing next to a concert speaker. Adding attenuation should help. However a 20db SNR is horrible. Adding attenuation in this case would hurt. The Tivo should be showing a signal strength in the 80's or 90's with an SNR in the mid 30's.
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Old 11-29-2007, 04:18 PM   #411
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Can anyone explain how it is that Comcast is saying that my signal is too strong (20.8 - 23.9) and yet the channels with the worst pixelating are the ones with the lowest signal strength on the TiVo signal strength meter? Is Comcast's signal strength related to what shows on the TiVo?
The TiVo is a measure of signal quality. If the signal is too strong, the tuner overloads and can not recover the bits, the quality is lower. So increasing the actual signal strength can reduce the signal "strength" as reported by the TiVo.

If too much signal is your problem, that's the easiest thing to fix with an attenuator.
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:33 PM   #412
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attenuation only seems to work for some people, and I have heard that it is those with FIOS (fiber optic) systems.

I have RG6 from comcast, and I purchased a slew of attenuators. There was no appreciable difference from unattenuated at 34-35 to attenuated (32, 31 and below 31).

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Old 12-01-2007, 09:36 PM   #413
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OK, here's the weird thing....watching 144, Food Network. No issues with blocking *UNTIL* there's a button press from the TiVo remote. Right on Dpad, volume, FF, whatever, it starts the pic blocking. Will taking down the db to 0 or -6 help with this issue?
OK, well with my FiOS setup, attenuation doesn't work. Anything greater than -10db attenuator kills the signal totally. -10 takes me down to roughly +27db SNR and still get uncorrected errors. Here's the thing though...on one THD box, there's absolutely no problems or pixelization that I've seen. Running diagnostics on both THD boxes at same time and one is fine but the other will block/pixel whenever you press a button on the TiVo (both lines are fed from the same splitter. This has to be something to do with the boxes themselves and/or the software...but it's really strange it's some boxes and not others.
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:04 AM   #414
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OK, well with my FiOS setup, attenuation doesn't work. Anything greater than -10db attenuator kills the signal totally. -10 takes me down to roughly +27db SNR and still get uncorrected errors. Here's the thing though...on one THD box, there's absolutely no problems or pixelization that I've seen. Running diagnostics on both THD boxes at same time and one is fine but the other will block/pixel whenever you press a button on the TiVo (both lines are fed from the same splitter. This has to be something to do with the boxes themselves and/or the software...but it's really strange it's some boxes and not others.
More likely, it's your cabling, as that's the main difference, and most likely to effect signal quality.

If you really think it's the box, try swapping boxes, and see if the problem follows the box, or stays with the location.
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:27 AM   #415
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More likely, it's your cabling, as that's the main difference, and most likely to effect signal quality.

If you really think it's the box, try swapping boxes, and see if the problem follows the box, or stays with the location.
The reason I think its the boxes is 1) the cabling is the same to both locations and 2) both boxes show roughly the same signal strength and number of uncorrected errors at the same time when on the same channels, but box 1 will be blocking and box 2 handles it with no issues.

When I say "roughly the same" I'm running up and down stairs to view each box diagnostic screen on the same channel at the same time, not true side by side

I was lucky enough to win a THD in a contest that should arrive soon. I might just swap it out for the one having the issues.

The other thing that is wacky is that the FiOS signal itself must change a bit. When watching the issue over the past couple of days, the problem box has had no blocking and when doing diagnostics on the same channels that typically block (such as Food 144), at the same db and signal strengths as last night, I was getting 0 uncorrected errors for 2-4 days straight -- just last night the problem cropped up again.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:36 AM   #416
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The reason I think its the boxes is 1) the cabling is the same to both locations and 2) both boxes show roughly the same signal strength and number of uncorrected errors at the same time when on the same channels, but box 1 will be blocking and box 2 handles it with no issues.

When I say "roughly the same" I'm running up and down stairs to view each box diagnostic screen on the same channel at the same time, not true side by side

I was lucky enough to win a THD in a contest that should arrive soon. I might just swap it out for the one having the issues.

The other thing that is wacky is that the FiOS signal itself must change a bit. When watching the issue over the past couple of days, the problem box has had no blocking and when doing diagnostics on the same channels that typically block (such as Food 144), at the same db and signal strengths as last night, I was getting 0 uncorrected errors for 2-4 days straight -- just last night the problem cropped up again.

I agree - the FIOS signal does change throughout the day. Before I fixed my pixellation problems (using attenuators), it would be fine from around 10am to 3pm, then it would be bad, on a few channels. But the channel block would change. It would usually be within one or two frequencies, but the frequencies would change week to week.

Weird.

To your point, it's still not the same. You have different connectors, different ports on the splitter, and different physical cables for at least some portion of the run.

Things like the shielding touching a connector can cause havoc, sometimes random.

I'd strongly suggest you just swap Tivo's with each other, and see if the problem follows the Tivo. If it does, it's likely a hardware problem. If not, it's something in the cabling/connectors/splitter.
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Old 12-02-2007, 12:01 PM   #417
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To your point, it's still not the same. You have different connectors, different ports on the splitter, and different physical cables for at least some portion of the run.
That is a good point. I actually may do a short direct run with another cable (I had to pull a second line for my previous DirecTV setup for dual tuner) that won't go to the wall plate and take it straight to the problem box to see what happens. I think I've eliminated the main line splitter, as I switched placement on the splitter between both THDs with no difference. Switching boxes would be last step, as redoing the AV stacks is a real PITA
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:15 PM   #418
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AbMagFab, you may be a genius. I switched around some of the cabling leading to the problem box, and while I still get uncorrected errors and can't get rid of that using attenuation, it looks like the blocking has been eliminated for the time being....
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:33 PM   #419
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Where are you getting the 20.8/23.9 numbers? What are the units? dbm?
Are you sure these arent signal to noise ratio numbers? SNR.

20dbm from a cablecompany is a HUGE signal level.... and would probably drive the tuner crazy. Like lhorer said... it would be like trying to scream and talk to someone standing next to a concert speaker. Adding attenuation should help. However a 20db SNR is horrible. Adding attenuation in this case would hurt. The Tivo should be showing a signal strength in the 80's or 90's with an SNR in the mid 30's.
The numbers were written on the work order by the tech when he was at the house. He kept telling his dispatch that the signal was really high.

Hopefully an end to my problems: I called Comcast on Thursday morning because the pixelation was so bad on Thursday morning that most channels just showed a black screen. So I called from work and the rep wanted me to be at home to "troubleshoot". When I got home Thursday, the picture was perfect on all channels and the signal strength on the TiVo was back to the 80s and 90s and it's been that way ever since. I don't know what they did, but it worked and I'm hoping it stays working!
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:47 PM   #420
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Originally Posted by SMB-IL View Post
The numbers were written on the work order by the tech when he was at the house. He kept telling his dispatch that the signal was really high.

Hopefully an end to my problems: I called Comcast on Thursday morning because the pixelation was so bad on Thursday morning that most channels just showed a black screen. So I called from work and the rep wanted me to be at home to "troubleshoot". When I got home Thursday, the picture was perfect on all channels and the signal strength on the TiVo was back to the 80s and 90s and it's been that way ever since. I don't know what they did, but it worked and I'm hoping it stays working!
Excellent!!!

What is the SNR?
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