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Old 03-21-2008, 09:34 AM   #151
kas25
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I just got a package of different stregth attenuators and have started experimenting with different ones. Is it recommended to start with the larger or smaller numbers? Will I lose any quality? If so, more or less with larger or smaller numbers? Thanks.
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:48 PM   #152
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just some observations

I've had 3 Sony cablecard devices for 29 months, 1 Tv & 2 DVRs; and a c.c Toshiba Tv for 16 months. The last 15 months with FiOS. First 8 of those months were completely free of tiling/macroblocking/pixelation. Tiling first seen on Toshiba in August - local HDs. Worst stretch was in November - Toshiba pixelated horrifically on over 50% of all SDs & HDs; small macroblocks also appeared through 3 Sony tuners every 30 - 60 seconds on a few channels. After ripping apart house & swapping out much equipment to no avail, Verizon "Big Boss" passed matter on to next level. Tiling became a non-issue in next 24 hours. He called to say that problem had been fixed in nearby central office. Since then Toshiba has tiled occasionally on local HDs. By design, the Sonys will shut off feed if signal is too hot. I've yet to see that happen with either FiOS or Comcast. No macroblocks observed through them since 11/07 (1 very brief exception).

I've had an S3 for 7 weeks. First 2 weeks - it tiled on local HDs (507-525MHz) & 5 others on 2 frequencies; Toshiba tiled on locals to lesser extent. Attenuation beyond that of VZ 5way splitter is not an option currently. While it can clear the locals, quite a few SDs & HDs are knocked out or pixelated with just an 8db attenuator added. Antenna channel chosen when tiling appears in locals. Fine for that. With addition of 2nd cablecard after 1st 2 weeks, I've seen significantly worse performance on tuner 0. It has no tune or heavy pixelation on all channels 711-777MHz, inconsistent tuning 639-645MHz, & the same occasional difficulties as tuner 1 on locals. No problems with either tuner below 507 or above 777MHz. Pixelation on Toshiba & tuner 1 has been much less in last 5 weeks. Tuner 1 usually shows 0&0 for errors on channels that tuner 0 has off the chart errors - upper frequencies.

Exchange S3 was requested last week. If it also has problems, especially beyond the locals, I'll see what remedy Verizon can provide; and continue to remind TiVo Inc. of its product's weaknesses. I wrote Toshiba off long ago.


Rich --- Did you hear about that unfortunate woman's run in with a sting ray in the Keys? How long are the odds against that ever happening? I doubt I'll ever be able to get my wife out for a boat dive again. (It was never easy.)
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:55 PM   #153
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I just got a package of different stregth attenuators and have started experimenting with different ones. Is it recommended to start with the larger or smaller numbers? Will I lose any quality? If so, more or less with larger or smaller numbers? Thanks.
Start small and work your way up. Each attenuation will reduce signal strength. Eventually you'll reduce the signal to the point that it will be lost on some or all channels. Hopefully you'll find a "sweet spot" before that.
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:13 PM   #154
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Rich --- Did you hear about that unfortunate woman's run in with a sting ray in the Keys? How long are the odds against that ever happening? I doubt I'll ever be able to get my wife out for a boat dive again. (It was never easy.)
I saw that news story...beautiful spotted eagle ray jumped out of the water and into the boat, knocking her over along the way; banged her head on the deck and died. (Sad that they let the ray die.) I've read other stories about rays clearing the water like dolphins...weird. The odds of that happening to anyone are probably much smaller than being hit by lightning...much smaller I would think. Freak of nature I suppose.

We had the opportunity to swim w/mantas in Hawaii a while back...awesome experience! Here are a couple of pics of the wife and I with a few of the friendly little guys...

http://i31.tinypic.com/2cf3yvp.jpg
http://i30.tinypic.com/10hvh1i.jpg

Okay...back OT.

Last edited by richsadams : 03-21-2008 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:49 PM   #155
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Much, much, much smaller chance than being hit by lightening. Sometimes people aren't open to the laws of probability. It's just the deep, dark, mysterious ocean - not their element. You either have the mentality of a diver or you don't; though my wife and I witnessed large school of graceful eagle rays gliding just overhead while hunkering down behind reef to stay out of strong current. - Windward side of Grand Cayman in very rough conditions. Except for us, everyone had gone with the current. You can imagine the disaster scene at surface 45 minutes later. What a contrast of images in one dive!

Off the old airport, Big Island, right? I took my ex-girlfriend's son there to get certified. That night dive was his first after certification. 3 boat loads of Cousteau people also came to see the mantas. They acted like they were schoolchildren seeing the circus for the first time. Mantas enthusiastic also. Good memories..........


Gotta go


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Old 03-21-2008, 02:23 PM   #156
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Off the old airport, Big Island, right?
That's the place. The best used to be off shore at the old Kona Surf Hotel, but since their lights no longer shine in the water, the mantas have moved on. Still a great experience!

Travel safe.
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:04 PM   #157
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I'm going to post a more in-depth report in the FioS thread, but I thought I'd briefly mention my experience with macroblocking on the CC install I had this afternoon.

After getting the CC's functional, my installer flipped through various channels to make sure it was all working. We found macroblocking, but ONLY on channel 803, which is CW. It could have been on more, but none we saw. I mentioned the signal could be "too hot" as I've seen around the forums, and he pulled an attenuator from his pocket (not sure what size) and tried it, but didn't make a difference. Eventually, he decided to swap out my OTN box, upgrading me from "806 to 812". Essentially, my Internet is now MoCa instead of Ethernet. It fixed the macroblocking on that channel, and I haven't seen any picture quality issues on any channel in the 2 hours I've been playing with it. I also notice that my SNR is 37 or 38 on many channels. For the time being, it seems to be working nicely, so let's hope it stays that way.

Edit: Also, I'm getting +3dB signal strength from the wall, and the installer told me they are putting out +11dB at the central office (where ever that is), and hope to bump it up to +18dB (for reasons I can't remember).
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Old 03-22-2008, 01:55 AM   #158
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I'm going to post a more in-depth report in the FioS thread, but I thought I'd briefly mention my experience with macroblocking on the CC install I had this afternoon.

After getting the CC's functional, my installer flipped through various channels to make sure it was all working. We found macroblocking, but ONLY on channel 803, which is CW. It could have been on more, but none we saw. I mentioned the signal could be "too hot" as I've seen around the forums, and he pulled an attenuator from his pocket (not sure what size) and tried it, but didn't make a difference. Eventually, he decided to swap out my OTN box, upgrading me from "806 to 812". Essentially, my Internet is now MoCa instead of Ethernet. It fixed the macroblocking on that channel, and I haven't seen any picture quality issues on any channel in the 2 hours I've been playing with it. I also notice that my SNR is 37 or 38 on many channels. For the time being, it seems to be working nicely, so let's hope it stays that way.

Edit: Also, I'm getting +3dB signal strength from the wall, and the installer told me they are putting out +11dB at the central office (where ever that is), and hope to bump it up to +18dB (for reasons I can't remember).
Good info. Thanks for posting.
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Old 03-22-2008, 08:05 AM   #159
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I'm going to post a more in-depth report in the FioS thread, but I thought I'd briefly mention my experience with macroblocking on the CC install I had this afternoon.

After getting the CC's functional, my installer flipped through various channels to make sure it was all working. We found macroblocking, but ONLY on channel 803, which is CW. It could have been on more, but none we saw. I mentioned the signal could be "too hot" as I've seen around the forums, and he pulled an attenuator from his pocket (not sure what size) and tried it, but didn't make a difference. Eventually, he decided to swap out my OTN box, upgrading me from "806 to 812".
Perhaps you could verify with installer that it's a Motorola ONT. They usually call back or leave a card. A number of techs have bemoaned the fact that they couldn't upgrade my ONT further - & from Tel Labs to Motorola. Incompatilbility with old equipment at my central office. Motorolas are supposedly better at dealing with line errors. My ONT is a 612 as I recall.
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:38 AM   #160
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My Update

I had the Verizon tech out to look at my HD boxes. His meter showed a "perfect signal" (according to him); 0db and full signal strength. We tried several combinations of attenuators to no avail -- they didn't seem to improve the affected channels and made unaffected channels worse.

Interestingly, before the tech arrived, some of the channels experiencing problems cleared up on their own, but the problem returned on those same channels after the tech disconnected and reconnected the coax. And after a couple of days the channels cleared up again. As it stands now, it seems the affected channels have moved and reduced in number (as far as I can tell as it's hard to keep up with 300+ channels).

None of my HD channels seem affected anymore (at least for now), so I'm just going to live with the situation. I did call Verizon's cancellation department even though I really didn't want to cancel the service, and asked for a "free" HD set-top box so that when I encounter an affected channel I can switch TV inputs to watch the set-top box. Not only did they agree, they also gave me the movie package for free for the rest of the year AND $100 off my first bill!

I really don't know what to think, but my feeling is that the problem has less to do with the actual signal and is an issue with the CableCards and/or the TiVo tuners. But that's just my gut talking.
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Old 03-30-2008, 02:16 PM   #161
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As a soon to be HD TiVo user with Verizon FiOS, you guys are doing an amazing job of making me panick. Potentially annoying to unusable service. Not having happy thoughts.
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Old 03-30-2008, 02:25 PM   #162
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Keep in mind we aren't posting about all the beautiful channels we are seeing (well, some of us are). The pixelation stuff is only on a few channels, and most people aren't seeing it. I wouldn't recommend worrying until (if) you actually see if on your setup.

Be sure to let us know how your install goes tomorrow (or whenever it comes).
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:17 AM   #163
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As a soon to be HD TiVo user with Verizon FiOS, you guys are doing an amazing job of making me panick. Potentially annoying to unusable service. Not having happy thoughts.
I have to admit that I'm a little concerned as well. We currently have Comcast, but Verizon is spray painting various colored stripes all over our streets and driveways in preparation for FIOS in our neighborhood. I was initially jumping for joy, but I'm a little worried now.

Currently everything we have is almost perfect, but I understand that Comcast is beginning to compress their HD even more now (to be able to brag about having more HD channels at the cost of PQ) and I'd really love to have the huge "pipe" that FIOS offers for broadband. But all of the attenuation and macroblocking talk is putty a big wet blanket on things.

Webin, you say you're "near Portland". Where exactly and how would you rate your overall experience w/Verizon and FIOS? TIA!
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:21 AM   #164
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I had the Verizon tech out to look at my HD boxes. His meter showed a "perfect signal" (according to him); 0db and full signal strength. We tried several combinations of attenuators to no avail -- they didn't seem to improve the affected channels and made unaffected channels worse.

Interestingly, before the tech arrived, some of the channels experiencing problems cleared up on their own, but the problem returned on those same channels after the tech disconnected and reconnected the coax. And after a couple of days the channels cleared up again. As it stands now, it seems the affected channels have moved and reduced in number (as far as I can tell as it's hard to keep up with 300+ channels).

None of my HD channels seem affected anymore (at least for now), so I'm just going to live with the situation. I did call Verizon's cancellation department even though I really didn't want to cancel the service, and asked for a "free" HD set-top box so that when I encounter an affected channel I can switch TV inputs to watch the set-top box. Not only did they agree, they also gave me the movie package for free for the rest of the year AND $100 off my first bill!

I really don't know what to think, but my feeling is that the problem has less to do with the actual signal and is an issue with the CableCards and/or the TiVo tuners. But that's just my gut talking.
$100 off your first bill! How much IS your bill?
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:44 AM   #165
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I have to admit that I'm a little concerned as well. We currently have Comcast, but Verizon is spray painting various colored stripes all over our streets and driveways in preparation for FIOS in our neighborhood. I was initially jumping for joy, but I'm a little worried now.

Currently everything we have is almost perfect, but I understand that Comcast is beginning to compress their HD even more now (to be able to brag about having more HD channels at the cost of PQ) and I'd really love to have the huge "pipe" that FIOS offers for broadband. But all of the attenuation and macroblocking talk is putty a big wet blanket on things.

Webin, you say you're "near Portland". Where exactly and how would you rate your overall experience w/Verizon and FIOS? TIA!


FiOS is head and shoulders above Comcast and DirecTV (IMO) that it's not even funny. You will notice the picture quality difference in both HD and SD broadcasts. Didn't know that L.O. was finally getting FiOS, that's great news!
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:51 AM   #166
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FiOS is head and shoulders above Comcast and DirecTV (IMO) that it's not even funny. You will notice the picture quality difference in both HD and SD broadcasts. Didn't know that L.O. was finally getting FiOS, that's great news!
Good to hear and I think we'll take the leap when it's available. I know most of the people that find their way here have a problem and only account for a very small percentage of the TiVo/FIOS population...but some of the stories are real nightmares and I can sympathize with their frustration. People that are happy with everything rarely end up posting on forums like this.

Not sure when it'll be ready at our house, but our streets sure look like a graffiti artist has been busy!
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:02 AM   #167
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Webin, you say you're "near Portland". Where exactly and how would you rate your overall experience w/Verizon and FIOS? TIA!
I wrote much more than I expected, and it'd be better in the Verizon thread, so I'll answer there.
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...38#post6134538
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:35 AM   #168
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I wrote much more than I expected, and it'd be better in the Verizon thread, so I'll answer there.
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...38#post6134538
Excellent! Thanks very much!
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:50 PM   #169
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Question Confused

Colour (I'm English) me confused.

I thought the ONT converted from incoming optic to coax. So how can the strength of the signal change? I'm really confused.

Anyway, to my real problem.

At this moment I have tuner 0 tuned to 170 (429Mhz; Comedy central) and the signal strength is changing from 100 to 93 to 87 to 61 to 43 (eep; just hit zero) and back to 100. SNR is bouncing from 37db down to 33db and back. It has 28,000 RS uncorrected (increasing by 100 or so every second) and 620,000 RS corrected (increasing by 1000 every second).

But at the same time tuner 1 is tuned to 825 (717Mhz; TNT HD) and is a rock solid signal strength 100 and with SNR bouncing between 36 and 37dB with an (unchanging) 255 uncorrected errors over the course of 1.2 hours.

Now for an experiment, I just changed tuner 0 to 169 (627Mhz; BBC America) and am now also getting solid 100 with SNR 36/37. So I don't _think_ it's a cable card issue.

Could this be Verizon being bad on Comedy Central? Or could it be the signal is "too hot" and needs attenuating? Some of my symptoms appear to match the too hot side (high SNR, RS uncorrected increasing) but why does this only impact some channels, and why does the signal strength keep changing?
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:09 PM   #170
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At this moment I have tuner 0 tuned to 170 (429Mhz; Comedy central) and the signal strength is changing from 100 to 93 to 87 to 61 to 43 (eep; just hit zero) and back to 100. SNR is bouncing from 37db down to 33db and back. It has 28,000 RS uncorrected (increasing by 100 or so every second) and 620,000 RS corrected (increasing by 1000 every second).
This is exactly the symptom of a "too hot" signal coming in to the TiVo.

I had the same problem. I think that the displayed SNR value caps out at a maximum value, and the actual value is higher.

I ended up adding 11 dB of attenuation before my SNR finally showed a drop, but even then it was just 2 or 3 dB on the screen. At that point, my error rate finally stopped increasing and stabilized.

I think that the signal strength affects certain frequency rather than others, so you'd see the problem on some channels but not others.
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:32 AM   #171
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Update on my setup: I initially reported that I was experiencing macroblocking on CW (in HD), but that swapping the ONT fixed it. As time has gone on, I've encountered macroblocking on several channels, as least CW and Fox (both HD). I haven't really had time to diagnose the problem and figure out the full range of channels I'm getting it on, but I'm sure it's the same hot signal problem. When I finally get some time off (dern deadlines), I'm going to get some attenuators and knock the signal down.
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:14 PM   #172
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This is exactly the symptom of a "too hot" signal coming in to the TiVo.
Ok, thanks. I've ordered a set of attenuators and will play with them when they arrive. 10:30pm on Wednesday on Comedy Central seems a good time for problems.
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:14 AM   #173
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I just got FiOS and (knock on wood) have had no problems. Installer said the signal was coming in very hot, too, so I was worried, but everything seems to be running a-ok.
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:46 PM   #174
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I had to add 8 + 8 + 3 + 3 = 22 Db of attenuation to drop the SNR to 33 Db !!!
These 4 attenuators was what FIOS guy gave me when he did the install. I guess
I have to spring for an extra one or see if local RatShack has the variable attenuator.

The fact my Tivo HD was showing 38 Db originally prolly means that it is the max
value it will display (some folx reported seeing 39 Db).

About attenuators reducing the noise along with the signal - they do reduce incoming noise, but the "native" thermal noise of Tivo's own RF stages is not affected and stays constant (within reasonable temp range).

About macroblocking - even with my extremely hot signal, most channels seemed to be OK. But, I _did_ see totally random pixelization/macroblocking on different channels. Hopefully it is gone now ... I'd still like to get down to the "golden" 31 Db SNR number
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Old 04-12-2008, 09:44 AM   #175
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Stage 1 test; 1 put in a 20db attenuator and the system wouldn't tune into anything at all. It could be a bad attenuator, or it could just have degraded the signal too much.

So I put a 10db in. Now on Comedy Central the signal strength bounces between 68 and 75, and the SNR bounces between 32 and 33dB. A little high compared to what others have written, but in the past 12 hours there have been zero Uncorrected errors on that channel. RS Corrected goes up occaisionally (4180 in 12 hours).

(Annoying design; the cable input is very close to the eSATA connector, and wobbling that cable caused the box to reboot; the TiVo eSATA port is a little too loose).

Hopefully this has solved my problems and I won't need to add in a second attenuator.
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Old 04-12-2008, 02:22 PM   #176
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(Annoying design; the cable input is very close to the eSATA connector, and wobbling that cable caused the box to reboot; the TiVo eSATA port is a little too loose).
It's more likely that the cable's connector is the culprit. You might want to replace it with the recommended SIIG Serial ATA external cable...less than $10. Other cable recommendations (Section III, #26)
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:23 AM   #177
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Last night I noticed that one of my cable cards was no longer working in FIOS. I attemted to run Diags and it stayed at please wait forever. I had to hard boot the tivo and when it came back both cards were working again and I thought everything was good until I started flipping between Showtime, Starz and they all were pixalating every 10-15 seconds. ON local channels HD and SD I experience no pixelation. I never had a problem before with my SNR prior to the card quit working. It is doing this on both cards as well. Is there anything I can check to determine what my problem may be? or do I need to call FIOS?
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:04 AM   #178
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Thanks for the update and welcome to the forum.

I don't have any real macroblocking problems, but I have one of these and wondered if it is the same thing you're using JIC.

We'll I have one of these (at about 60% between min & max) plus a 6 DB pad.

I am truthfully amazed at the change (HBO HD, BBCA, 5starmax were my bad channels). I actually just bought an HD Tivo to replace a S3 because my other TivoHD was showing stability until a few recent recordings. I need to get more Pads in and then I should be set (fixing the S3 and my other existing TivoHD) and the new replacement HD Tivo gets returned unopened. I'm getting signal that bounces between 68 and 72 but steady at 31 SNR. I'll fix up the existing HD Tivo also (unless you thin it's OK to attenuate before the splitter) (2 Tivos (HD & S3) , data, and 1 Fios HD DVR box)

Side item: I was having lots of issues with 8.3 and I'm wondering now (after I replaced the HD) if I shouldn't go back to my old one that had the nightly reboots (or toss it into an enclosure and try to make it a second drive married to my already larger drive in the S3).

THANKS!!!!
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Old 05-28-2008, 10:26 AM   #179
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I have been using a 10db attenuator to help with my pixelation. I still get minor pixelation on some channels... notably FoxHD, and will also get signal drop out from time to time, where sound and video cut out for a few seconds (on any channel, even FoxHD). I chalk it up to bouncy signal strength, and was planning to try 8db at some point.

Anyways, onto my question. I woke up this morning and was getting the grey screen with a "can't find signal" message. My cable cards were showing signal strengths of 45 and "-". I took the 10db attenuator out of the line, and the video signal returned (though I didn't check strength).

The question: Have cable attenuators been known to go bad? It seems like a fairly simple piece of hardware, so I wouldn't expect much failure, especially after months of use. I think it could also be a suddenly weaker signal from Verizon, but haven't had time yet to look into the issue.
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:20 PM   #180
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I've had FiosTV since March and experienced pixelation for the first time last night. Thanks to this thread, I was prepared with attenuators, and fixed the problem...for now.

What is bugging me is this: Why did I not have a problem for the first few months? It seems like it should be either my signal is either too hot, or not. It shouldn't suddenly manifest itself out of the blue. I doubt that Fios suddently decided to boost my signal yesterday and cause the problem. If it is the tuner section in my Series 3 being inadequate to the task, is it a function or the circuitry "wearing out" over time from receiving a hot signal, and the eventual solution will have to be a new tuner board? Or perhaps the next generation of Tivo will be the solution as it may or may not have a better built tuner section?

Very strange...

Thos.
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