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Old 07-28-2012, 12:04 AM   #1
tvoe
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New tivo will not tune channel being broadcast only 1.4 miles away!

I live only 1.4 miles from my local Great Falls, MT tv stations (can see their towers in my backyard!) and pick up KFBB (5-1, real channel 8), KRTV (3-1, real channel 7), and KUGF (21-1, real channel 21) signals just fine using an attic antenna that feeds all the TV's in my house. (80-95% signal strength)

However, I recently purchased a TIVO and for some reason when the signal is fed through it, I only get 10-20% signal strength for channel 5-1 (KFBB), while KRTV and KUGF are about the same as they were before.

I can disconnect the coax from the TIVO, hook it directly to my set, and get good reception with 5-1. I even went as far as running a direct line of coax (with no splitters, etc..) to the peak of my roof to a set of rabbit ears. No orientation gave better than 30% signal strength when hooked to the TIVO.

Can't post my info from TV Fool because the forum won't let me if I've had less than 5 posts! : Here is the info from their table:
KFBB-DT 8 (5.1) ABC 77.2 -13.7 LOS 1.4 98 deg
KRTV-DT 7 (3.1) CBS 72.2 -18.6 LOS 1.4 98 deg
KUGF 21 (21.1) PBS 66.9 -24.0 LOS 1.4 98 deg

Called customer support and was very disappointed. They were more interested in assuring me that they could not guarantee ota reception and that from the description of the problem that they were sure that the TIVO is not faulty.

It seems that there has to be a logical explanation somewhere for this. If the TIVO is not faulty, is there anything else that could explain?

Note: KFBB and KRTV are at exactly the same azimuth and distance, and have very similar frequencies. I am using a directional antenna in my attic, and one comes in at 90% while the other is at 10-15% with the TIVO, while both come in around 90% without the TIVO.

Any thoughts here would be greatly appreciated. I still have about a half of a month of my 30-day guarantee left and if I don't resolve this issue I'm afraid that I'm going to have to return this TIVO box that I otherwise love!
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Old 07-28-2012, 08:09 AM   #2
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Probably you're getting to strong of a signal. Try an attenuator.
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Old 07-28-2012, 08:55 AM   #3
tvoe
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Thanks for the suggestion! But before I purchase one - see if my reasoning is correct with this evidence:
- The TIVO is located in my basement
- When it is connected to a set of indoor "rabbit ears," 3-1 and 21-1 come in (with lower signal strength than my attic antenna), but it is the same story with 5-1.

So doesn't this rule out the possibility of too strong of a signal?
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:58 AM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestion! But before I purchase one - see if my reasoning is correct with this evidence:
- The TIVO is located in my basement
- When it is connected to a set of indoor "rabbit ears," 3-1 and 21-1 come in (with lower signal strength than my attic antenna), but it is the same story with 5-1.

So doesn't this rule out the possibility of too strong of a signal?
Where was your TiVo purchased? If local I'd explain the situation and do an exchange. You mention your 30 day period so I'll guess it was a TiVo direct purchase. Even if that's true I'd make a last call to TiVo support and make sure your situation is documented and ask for an exchange from them.

You might want to make your first call to the TV station and ask to speak to the engineer regarding a reception issue. They're often very helpfull.
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Old 07-29-2012, 02:57 PM   #5
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Yes - it was a direct purchase online. It seems obvious to me as well that switching it out and trying a different one is the obvious route to go, but dealing with shipping/returning will be a pain in the neck. Wish they were sold locally, but they are not...

If the Tivo was not at fault, I suppose I would get stuck with shipping return costs for both units if I decide to back out using the 30-day guarantee.

I have emailed the engineering departments at both the station that does not work and the one that does - but haven't heard back from them as of yet. Just wondering if there is some fundamental difference in their signals other than frequency. As my TV Fool data shows, they are very similar in the stats provided there.
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:23 PM   #6
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Just to be sure -- you're hooking the antenna up to the correct coax input on the Tivo, right? One is for cable, and the other is for antenna.
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:59 PM   #7
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Just to be sure -- you're hooking the antenna up to the correct coax input on the Tivo, right? One is for cable, and the other is for antenna.
Yep - just went and made sure. I am on the correct input.
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:04 AM   #8
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Probably you're getting to strong of a signal. Try an attenuator.
OK - think I can rule this out without actually buying an attenuator. The TV is in the basement, and I hooked up some rabbit ears folded completely down. That brought the 3-1 (KRTV) signal down from 90 to 55-60. But the problem channel is still not able to lock in, staying at signal strength 10-20.

It seems no matter what I do, that the signal strength is 10-20% for this channel, although when I disconnect the antenna completely it does at least drop to zero.
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:56 AM   #9
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Is it possible that TiVo is using a channel frequency of a nearby town and not that of the nearby towers? Have you verified that TiVo is mapping the correct frequency to the problematic channel? Did you do a channel scan?
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:34 AM   #10
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Is it possible that TiVo is using a channel frequency of a nearby town and not that of the nearby towers? Have you verified that TiVo is mapping the correct frequency to the problematic channel? Did you do a channel scan?
I have done multiple channel scans with different antennas attached.

This channel does transmit in other cities in Montana (such as Helena).

Quote from their facebook page: "KFBB-TV also operates a semi-satellite for the Helena area, KHBB-LD channel 21 (UHF). Both stations offer Fox via their digital subchannels (until 2009, only KHBB did so, as Fox programming in Great Falls was seen on KLMN) KFBB-TV is also repeated on several translators."

How do I check the frequency on the tivo? All it shows is the virtual frequency (5-1) on the screens that I see. Haven't seen the "real" channel listed anywhere...
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:06 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by tvoe View Post
I have done multiple channel scans with different antennas attached.

This channel does transmit in other cities in Montana (such as Helena).

Quote from their facebook page: "KFBB-TV also operates a semi-satellite for the Helena area, KHBB-LD channel 21 (UHF). Both stations offer Fox via their digital subchannels (until 2009, only KHBB did so, as Fox programming in Great Falls was seen on KLMN) KFBB-TV is also repeated on several translators."

How do I check the frequency on the tivo? All it shows is the virtual frequency (5-1) on the screens that I see. Haven't seen the "real" channel listed anywhere...
You can see the frequency in the settings/channels/channel list. You may have multiple channel 5-1's and need to select the correct one for your location.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:49 AM   #12
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You can see the frequency in the settings/channels/channel list. You may have multiple channel 5-1's and need to select the correct one for your location.
Thanks - but been there, done that. Only one channel 5-1 is listed.
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:01 PM   #13
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Thanks - but been there, done that. Only one channel 5-1 is listed.
Is it using the correct frequency? If its not then there's a problem with TiVo's channel line-up.
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:41 PM   #14
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Is it using the correct frequency? If its not then there's a problem with TiVo's channel line-up.
Just checked - it is correct: digital frequency 8
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:19 AM   #15
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Angry

WARNING: Any of you who are lucky enough to enjoy Tivo with free over-the-air signals - my experiences clearly show that the company wants out of this segment of their business.

First you will note that their newest and best tivos don't even support over-the-air. Second, my customer service experiences have shown an unwillingness to provide any real help. When I initially called customer service, the representative was trained more to distance tivo from any responsibility in this issue than providing any real help. When I emailed customer service, the repeated response was "The issue you are experiencing is not a TiVo issue, so replacing the TiVo unit will not fix that. If you are unable to improve the signal strength of the antenna channels my adjusting the antenna, then you may want to cancel the service."

So I have one last idea - someone correct me in my thinking before I try this please: What if I use one of those converter boxes that the government issued coupons for when stations went digital, tune it to the problematic channel, and then use a combiner with my other antenna before going to the tivo box. On a channel scan, wouldn't the tivo likely find this channel on 3 or 4 since the converter box picks up the signal? But the signal would be analog, so would I have no guide information or ability to schedule recordings ahead of time?
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:45 AM   #16
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WARNING: Any of you who are lucky enough to enjoy Tivo with free over-the-air signals - my experiences clearly show that the company wants out of this segment of their business.

First you will note that their newest and best tivos don't even support over-the-air.
BOGUS> You don't know what you are talking about. But I will not go into the legitimate technology reasons why the XL4 does what it does (and what it doesn't do), as that is not relevant to your problem.

You could also try their twitter feeds or asking for a replacement box (things do happen). But, this does seem to indicate a non-tivo problem. I would go a few more steps before asking for a replacement box.

While this board is NOT Tivo, these folks continue to help support you.

Two things I would try:
Move the Tivo to a different location(s) and tell us what happens. Perhaps you have an issue with the wiring to the basement that impacts only certain frequencies that the Tivo is sensitive to.
I would also try your rabbit ears experiment up high to see what you find.

You clearly have an signal issue, external to the tivo, and it just needs to be nailed down. While a little painful at first, this is only the third day that ideas have been flowing here.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:30 AM   #17
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Just checked - it is correct: digital frequency 8
Try using the rabbit ears. The fact that your TV set gets the channel without an attenuator doesn't mean that the signal is nopt too strong for your tivo.

Before you go through another round of channel scans, try simply entering the channel 8-1 to see if your tivo can tune to digital channel eight. Try this with the attic antenna and the rabbit ears. Good luck.
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:11 PM   #18
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WARNING: Any of you who are lucky enough to enjoy Tivo with free over-the-air signals - my experiences clearly show that the company wants out of this segment of their business.

First you will note that their newest and best tivos don't even support over-the-air. Second, my customer service experiences have shown an unwillingness to provide any real help. When I initially called customer service, the representative was trained more to distance tivo from any responsibility in this issue than providing any real help. When I emailed customer service, the repeated response was "The issue you are experiencing is not a TiVo issue, so replacing the TiVo unit will not fix that. If you are unable to improve the signal strength of the antenna channels my adjusting the antenna, then you may want to cancel the service."

So I have one last idea - someone correct me in my thinking before I try this please: What if I use one of those converter boxes that the government issued coupons for when stations went digital, tune it to the problematic channel, and then use a combiner with my other antenna before going to the tivo box. On a channel scan, wouldn't the tivo likely find this channel on 3 or 4 since the converter box picks up the signal? But the signal would be analog, so would I have no guide information or ability to schedule recordings ahead of time?
I wouldn't take customer service not being able to help you personally. It is very unlikely they can do much for you.

From my personal experience the Premiere has issues dealing with multi-pathing interference and overload issues(check the link out for a sight that helps trouble shoot OTA issues). I have an original Series 3, a TiVo HD, & a Premiere all used for OTA only and there are times when the Premiere can not tune channels that the other 2 units can.

If you end up returning the Premiere you might want to consider a used Series 3 (original or TiVo HD). If you know someone with an Original Series 3 or TiVo HD I would see if they would bring it over to test it's reception. Actually if you know someone with a Premiere you could do the same to verify if your issues where specific to your Premiere or generic to all Premieres.

Good Luck,
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:29 PM   #19
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First you will note that their newest and best tivos don't even support over-the-air.
Nitpick, there's only ONE model that doesn't support OTA. The XL4, previously called the Elite. (The 4 tuner model.)

I'm not claiming that they won't release other models that don't support OTA, they probably will.. but you make it sound like there are bunches of them that don't support OTA.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:32 PM   #20
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From my personal experience the Premiere has issues dealing with multi-pathing interference and overload issues(check the link out for a sight that helps trouble shoot OTA issues). I have an original Series 3, a TiVo HD, & a Premiere all used for OTA only and there are times when the Premiere can not tune channels that the other 2 units can.
Thanks for the very useful information. The link you have had some very good things to consider. As complicated as things can get with OTA, I can see a little bit why tivo support washes their hands of the issue... But at the same time, if it does turn out being their hardware issue, it turns out to be a very difficult situation for the customer.

So my experimenting goes on.... Unfortunately, I don't know anyone in my area to bring over their tivo to try. That would be ideal. (Anybody in Great Falls, MT reading this?? )

But here is what I have done:
- I turned off the breakers to everything in the house except for the circuit that runs the tivo and tv. (with no other electronic devices connected to this circut). Result: No change. Conclusion: not affected by electronics or wiring within the house.
- I used a smaller TV that was easy to move and a set of rabbit ears, and set up the Tivo in various locations within the upper level of my house. Use three different corners of the house (NW, NE, SE). Result: Other networks did come in stronger on the eastern corners facing the towers, but the problematic channel did not improve.
- I used a 50' extension cord and set the tivo and tv up on my front lawn, within view of the towers (see pics below). Result: Same as above. Very strong signal from other networks, problematic channel did not improve. Still have a signal strength that fluctuates wildly between 5 and 20%.





(Sorry if the pics don't show for you - I tried. Try this web address if you want to see one: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B2K...1hMQ0JBMnh6Snc)
Note you can see the TV towers in the background. Talk about frustrating...


Overall results and conclusion from above: Interference not likely the issue? Is my reasoning correct here?

My suspicion now lies the most with overload issues. Is an overload consistent with the fact that even folded down rabbit ears in the basement result in no change? If I do seek an attenuator, how much attenuation would anyone suggest I start with?

BTW: Thanks a ton to everybody who has given me some input thus far. And I apologize to those of you I offended when I ranted and raved after my dissatisfaction with customer service. Tivo is a pretty cool device - and obviously has some loyal followers. Just hoping I can get mine tweeked to my satisfaction.
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:54 AM   #21
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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.
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:34 PM   #22
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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.
No - signal strength drops to zero and don't get anything with nothing connected.
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:51 PM   #23
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Antennas are only 1.4 miles away? Try putting a paper clip in the antenna input connection.

Only half kidding.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:32 PM   #24
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Antennas are only 1.4 miles away? Try putting a paper clip in the antenna input connection.

Only half kidding.
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?
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Old 08-02-2012, 03:07 PM   #25
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I am surprised radio shack doesnt sell them.....
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Old 08-02-2012, 07:05 PM   #26
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What do you get on 8.3 and 8.4!
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:45 PM   #27
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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?
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.
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:16 AM   #28
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Antennas are only 1.4 miles away? Try putting a paper clip in the antenna input connection.

Only half kidding.
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.
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:30 AM   #29
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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.
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.
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:41 AM   #30
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before i demand anything, i would get an attenuator and try it
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