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Old 01-04-2009, 12:51 AM   #451
substance12
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why would placing the diplexer after the ONT vs at the tivo make a difference?
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:00 AM   #452
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Perhaps the "backfeed' (or better known as feedback to most of us) is the original cause of problems, at least in the ONT(s) stated.
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Old 01-05-2009, 01:29 PM   #453
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pixelation on HD locals in Portland, OR?

I have been having a similar problem as described by subgenius below. I'm in the Portland, OR area and for the past few weeks have been getting a lot of intermittent pixelation and audio drop-outs on the HD local channels around the low 500MHz frequency range (particularly on channel 508). Verizon has been out twice to try to resolve the problem, but no success. I have an HD Tivo with two single-stream cable cards.

The SNR on these channels is 31-32dB, but the signal strength is much lower than on the channels that don't have the problem, usually around 60-70, but often dropping below 40 or as low as 0, resulting in hundreds of thousands of RS errors.

Are others in the Portland area still having this problem? Does anyone know how to get this fixed? Every time Verizon sends out a technician, the problem doesn't seem to be happening while they are at my house, but then it starts up again a few hours later. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.


Quote:
Originally Posted by subgenius37 View Post
So this is a follow up to some of my posts earlier, talking about a diplexer fixing my particular Verizon FiOS cable card + TIVO HD problem. It is still working except between 8-9:30 on Tuesday night. For whatever reason on that night I get a bunch of RS errors all around the 5.1 MHz frequency, which ends up being HD broadcast channels. I am in the Portland, OR area and I am wondering if others are seeing this too. I tried to attenuate the problem away on Tuesday night and that made it WORSE. So this is an altogether new problem. But as someone else in this thread wrote, heck if it works 98% of the time I guess I'm happy. Still want to get this resolved though.

- SubG


Last edited by wsc123 : 01-05-2009 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:26 PM   #454
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Well, I just joined the club!

Got Verizon Fios the other day as well as two Tivo branded HD units. Within hours I noticed major pixelation problems. Spent most of the day on the phone with Fios who helped me discover that the pixelation was only happening on those televisions in my home with Tivo. It was at that point Verizon would help me no further as they claimed they don't support Tivo since it is not their equipment.

I then found this thread and countless more across the Internet. I just ordered a package of signal attenuators from SmartHome, but God knows if that will work or not.

The more I think of this problem and the amount of complaints posted across the Internet, the more angry I have become. To think that Tivo has known about these issues for the past three years and done nothing to upgrade their units is quite disturbing.

I went over to the Tivo website in hopes of firing off a pointed letter to their customer service and executives. No such links to contact either exist. All that does exist over there is a discussion support forum. I posted this message to it today...

http://forums.tivo.com/pe/action/for...ostID=10413471

Who knows if anyone with influence will read it. My goal at this point is to make
some noise. I need contact information for any executives with that company. I think that Tivo owes it to its customers to upgrade these units and make replacements available to those who may be out of warranty and are still experiencing problems with the Fios service --- especially for the fact that the company has been ignoring these complaints for the past three years.

Anyone that can assist?

I contacted Tivo Corporate today at 408-519-9100 about thsi very issue. I've got a Verizon DVR and two Tivo HDs. The Verizon unit isn't great, but it's really reliable and does not ever have this problem. The 2 THDs are experiencing more and more pixelation problems. It's getting really bad. Verizon won't help any more because they say this is a product quality issue with Tivo and that Tivo is responsible for fixing this. Tivo today was of very little value and I'm not expecting much out of them. I'm going to try the attenuator route at my own cost, but because of the signal readings on my units I'm not expecting the issue to be resolved. I'm very unhappy with Tivo at the moment. It appears to be a very clear product design flaw, otherwise the Verizon Moto units would also experience issues. There is nothing proprietary about those moto units - they are the same units being used by Comcast for example. Since the issue is a "tuning" issue it affects live viewing. The core product is failing and Tivo has yet in my case to even attempt to resolve it other than telling me to call Verizon. They told me today that any costs associated with rolling a truck to me are my responsibility.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:52 PM   #455
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More specifically, the TiVo is far more sensitive than, i.e., not as robust as, the standard cable company boxes, and too much so, given the typical variation of signal quality we see out in the wild. Of course, that doesn't mean it cannot work -- it does in most cases -- but there does seem to me to be a difference in the extent to which the TiVo's are subject to pixelization as compared to cable company boxes.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:07 PM   #456
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Originally Posted by wm2008 View Post
I contacted Tivo Corporate today at 408-519-9100 about thsi very issue. I've got a Verizon DVR and two Tivo HDs. The Verizon unit isn't great, but it's really reliable and does not ever have this problem. The 2 THDs are experiencing more and more pixelation problems. It's getting really bad. Verizon won't help any more because they say this is a product quality issue with Tivo and that Tivo is responsible for fixing this. Tivo today was of very little value and I'm not expecting much out of them. I'm going to try the attenuator route at my own cost, but because of the signal readings on my units I'm not expecting the issue to be resolved. I'm very unhappy with Tivo at the moment. It appears to be a very clear product design flaw, otherwise the Verizon Moto units would also experience issues. There is nothing proprietary about those moto units - they are the same units being used by Comcast for example. Since the issue is a "tuning" issue it affects live viewing. The core product is failing and Tivo has yet in my case to even attempt to resolve it other than telling me to call Verizon. They told me today that any costs associated with rolling a truck to me are my responsibility.
An attenuator solves the problem for most, but not everyone. It's still unclear why some people still have problems after attenuating their signal.

It is certainly frustrating when you are seeing an unwatchable picture on your screen due to a signal issue.

Before you put all the blame on TiVo though, consider that they completed the design for the TivoHD before FiOS TV became readily available. FiOS TV only became available to a significant number of potential customers in 2007, and the TivoHD was released in July, 2007. The actual hardware design was probably completed 6-12 months before that.

The signal levels coming out of a Verizon FiOS ONT are basically unheard of when it comes to other cable providers. It is unlikely that TiVo would have tested anything during the design phase would have prepared them for the kind of signal levels -- typically between +14dB and +24dB -- coming out of a FiOS ONT. Most cable providers put out a signal between -6dB and +6dB.

The signal levels at the far end of this range can also cause problems for the FiOS' Motorola DVR, although with the Motorola, the problem first takes the form of stutter (dropped frames). Pixelization only results with the strongest of signals.

I have one of the circa-2006 Motorola 610 ONTs which output an average signal of around +22 dB. The ONT / splitter output isn't 100% linear across all frequencies, so some channels were +18dB and others were as high as +25dB. Even with two splitters subtracting -3dB to -4dB each, I had terrible pixelization on perhaps a dozen HD channels with the TivoHD. These were the channels that were output by the ONT in the +24dB to +25dB range. In fact, this signal was strong enough to cause problems for Verizon's Motorola QIP6416; on the 6416, I saw dropped frames / stutter on many of the same channels that were causing problems for the TivoHD.

With the Motorola DVR, I needed a -3dB attenuator to eliminate the dropped frames / stutter. To completely eliminate the pixelization on a TivoHD XL, I needed a -10dB attenuator. If you add in the two splitters I have, that's a total of of -16dB to -18dB attenuation. Even with all that, the TiVo still reports the signal on many of my channels at 92-95, and the channels that used to have problems are reported with a signal strength of 99-100. If those channels are 99-100 (out of 100) now, imagine what they must have been before I added the -10dB attenuator.

It's impossible to say how exactly much attenuation you will need because the signal strength varies by the ONT model. Verizon has gone through several different ONTs in the past three years. At around +22dB average output, the Motorola 610 that I have is at the extreme end of the spectrum. My understanding is that the latest ONTs output closer to +16dB. Depending on your installation / splitters, you may not need any attenuation at all. Or you may need -6dB to -10dB. When the installer comes to install your CableCards, I would ask them to install a -6dB attenuator right off the bat, and I would ask them to leave you a spare -10dB attenuator in case you need it later.

In a perfect world, the TiVo would be able to adjust the sensitivity of its tuner based on the signal levels it detects. Or at the very least, adjust the sensitivity of the tuner when you select Verizon FiOS in Guided Setup. But we don't really know what kind of system-level options they have with the tuner they opted to select for the design. It may not be possible to adjust tuner sensitivity to the degree necessary to support FiOS without an attenuator.

Now that TiVo is aware of the issue, one would certainly hope that a future model would incorporate a tuner that is able to handle stronger signals without the need for the user (or installer) to add an attenuator to achieve an acceptable picture.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:20 PM   #457
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Well, I appreciate your perspective bkdtv but I don't necessarily agree. Here are my issues - and a clarification for you. The clarification is that I already HAVE the cablecards installed, and have had for many months. So there is nobody coming to my home unless I somehow get it scheduled and pay for it.

The reason that I strongly believe that Tivo is completely to blame here is because reasonably high quality engineering knows what a "FMEA" and a "C&E Matrix" is. Apparently Motorola does, as the 6416-2 units which were designed even before the Tivo HD can deal with the "Verizon signal issue" with no visible downside to the customer. The Tivo units cannot. The Moto 6416-2 is the exact same unit - with no design changes - as has been used for example by Comcast.

I have a 612 ONT - not the often blamed 610 or 611 units. Signal strength is not necessarily consistent across all channel blocks. This means that it is in fact possible that attenuating the "problem" channels may in fact introduce current or future problems with other channels which are not at this time having a problem. The attenuation is a bandaid if it works - nothing more. I'm hoping it works, but honestly do not have high hopes. I understand that design problems can happen, but I am incredibly disappointed in the attempts to defer blame onto Verizon and the apparent lack of urgency toward supporting existing and paying customers. Also, this past weekend my "problem channels" show up with a signal strength of peak 94, but really averaged between 60-80 - at the exact same time that the pixelation was happening

Last edited by wm2008 : 01-05-2009 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:53 PM   #458
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Originally Posted by wm2008 View Post
Apparently Motorola does, as the 6416-2 units which were designed even before the Tivo HD can deal with the "Verizon signal issue" with no visible downside to the customer. The Tivo units cannot. The Moto 6416-2 is the exact same unit - with no design changes - as has been used for example by Comcast.
The QIP6416 used by Verizon is very similar in design to that used by Comcast, but not the same. It adds MoCA (used by Verizon to download guide information) and it has more memory than the earliest versions of the DCT6416. It also uses firmware and settings customized for Verizon.

Even then, the Motorola DVRs still have problems with the unattenuated signal from some ONTs, like the Motorola 610. Verizon installers are instructed to install attenuators for the Motorola STBs/DVRs with those ONTs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wm2008 View Post
Also, this past weekend my "problem channels" show up with a signal strength of peak 94, but really averaged between 60-80 - at the exact same time that the pixelation was happening
When the tuner in the TivoHD is "overpowered," it doesn't show a stable signal of 100. That is responsible for some of the confusion on this subject. People look at the TiVo diagnostics screen, see a signal that alternates between 40 and 80 (or even 0 and 60), and they their signal is too low. The opposite is usually true.

On the channels that exhibited pixelization for me before the attenuator, my signal would constantly alternate between 30-50 and 80-95. Once the -10dB attenuator was added to the cable, I got a constant 99-100 on those channels, and 92-95 on most of the others.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:59 PM   #459
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Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
On the channels that exhibited pixelization for me before the attenuator, my signal would constantly alternate between 30-50 and 80-95. Once the -10dB attenuator was added to the cable, I got a constant 99-100 on those channels, and 92-95 on most of the others.
odd. when I added a diplexer/attenuator, the signals that were wildly fluxuating did not go back to the 90s. they stayed low but the fluxuations were less.
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Old 01-05-2009, 05:50 PM   #460
wm2008
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Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
The QIP6416 used by Verizon is very similar in design to that used by Comcast, but not the same. It adds MoCA (used by Verizon to download guide information) and it has more memory than the earliest versions of the DCT6416. It also uses firmware and settings customized for Verizon.

Even then, the Motorola DVRs still have problems with the unattenuated signal from some ONTs, like the Motorola 610. Verizon installers are instructed to install attenuators for the Motorola STBs/DVRs with those ONTs.
.
Ah, but there's the rub. The tuner is in fact the same. I'm not disputing that there may be more memory than the earliest versions, but memory is not the issue here, correct? And similar comcast units have similar memory capacity, correct? This would be more related to buffering than to tuning. As for firmware, well, assuming that a firmware change could correct this than Tivo is even more to blame than before. But I don't think that's the case. I think this is a tuner design issue whereby it is far too sensitive. As mentioned, I have a 612 ONT - which is not covered by the recommendation to install attenuators.

The other problem is that adding attenuators simply applies a bandaid to this which can in fact cause problems on OTHER channels. This has been reported on this site. Tivo should fix the problem. Not rely on Verizon for a bandaid. Frankly, if Tivo were so certain of the issue, they should send out attenuators at no cost. Heck, they should package them with the Tivo HD!
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:27 PM   #461
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Over a week ago I sent snail mail letters to both the CEO and Vice President
of Distribution/Sales for the Tivo Corporation.

It was a polite, yet pointed letter about Tivo's lack of addressing problems
that have been reported to them for well over the past year or two.

Thus far, I have received no response.

I have posted this issue on Tivo's own forum, and it comes of great surprise
to me when I am told that Tivo management doesn't even read nor respond
to what gets posted there.

In fact, talking with long-time Tivo users, it seems the company is bent on
selling more Tivo units with less emphasis on customer support.

I bought over $1200 worth of Tivo product and services that will be returned
and canceled should I continue to get no reply from the corporate office. At
that point, I will be sure to post letters of warning to potential Tivo/Fios customers
on every website across the Internet that deals with Tivo discussion.

Personally, I am very upset that I made this sort of investment with a company
I had thought were a little more quality conscious than they now appear to be.
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Old 01-09-2009, 06:03 AM   #462
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I have posted this issue on Tivo's own forum, and it comes of great surprise
to me when I am told that Tivo management doesn't even read nor respond
to what gets posted there.

...

Personally, I am very upset that I made this sort of investment with a company
I had thought were a little more quality conscious than they now appear to be.

Your post highlights the key failing that TiVo has. It's not that the box has problems, it's that these problems have existed for well over 1 1/2 years and TiVo has done nothing about them. TiVo management obviously just doesn't give a flying f*** about this. They're glad-handing twits who just want to keep making "deals" and keep adding useless features that are poorly implemented.

And, just to forestall any comments about how this isn't really TiVo's fault, I say: Bull****. If the Motorola box works much much better than the TiVo, then it's de facto TiVo's problem. I'm really tired of reading about +dB, -dB, attenuate this, diplex that, etc ad nauseum.

They should just fix the f'n hardware. Period. And then, just for grins, they should squash a few software bugs.
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Old 01-09-2009, 06:10 AM   #463
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While I think your comments are over-the-top, I think you're right that TiVo should have acknowledged the fact that the S3 and HD are not sufficiently robust, and should have been/should be working on that. I contrast this issue with the silliness regarding QAM mapping, for example -- it really helps show the types of issues that TiVo should be working on (pixelization).
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:13 PM   #464
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Actually I think his comments were spot on, though I also agree with you that other issues (such as QAM mapping) are relatively insignificant. Core product reliability and performance issues are being swept under the rug all while new (some would say useless) features are being added. Tivo has not stepped up to address the issue and insists on abandoning customers and telling them to call Verizon. The actual adjectives used in the previous post might be a bit emotional, but the meaning is no less clear and relevant. If VZ were to enable eSATA storage support and MRV at this point, I would probably abandon Tivo without question. I would definitely miss the Tivo UI, but I'd be much happier to be able to watch content. Even live content, which I cannot reliably do with my Tivos.
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:21 PM   #465
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I'm having a fios rep come over to give me their HD box as well as 2 new cable cards. from my viewing, w/o attentuators and a diplexer, I have pixelation on 3 channels. 1 is cleared up using the attentuators, the other 2 are "better'. i'm getting cold feet in that perhaps the new cable cards might be worse...

thoughts?
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:38 PM   #466
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input...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsc123 View Post
I have been having a similar problem as described by subgenius below. I'm in the Portland, OR area and for the past few weeks have been getting a lot of intermittent pixelation and audio drop-outs on the HD local channels around the low 500MHz frequency range (particularly on channel 508). Verizon has been out twice to try to resolve the problem, but no success. I have an HD Tivo with two single-stream cable cards.

The SNR on these channels is 31-32dB, but the signal strength is much lower than on the channels that don't have the problem, usually around 60-70, but often dropping below 40 or as low as 0, resulting in hundreds of thousands of RS errors.

Are others in the Portland area still having this problem? Does anyone know how to get this fixed? Every time Verizon sends out a technician, the problem doesn't seem to be happening while they are at my house, but then it starts up again a few hours later. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
I'm in the Oregon market as well (beaverton area) and I had attenuation on my S3 (w/ cablecards) and no attenution on my upstairs THD (w/ cablecards). I was noticing the low signal levels on the local network HD channels myself (even to the point of losing season pass recordings altogether), so I decided to remove the attenuation (-12db) from my S3, which bumped the signal level considerably on the suspect channels and also bumped all of the other channels up to the mid 90's to 100. I've been happy with my S3 since then.

Alternatively, I placed the -12db attenuator on my upstairs THD to see if that would resolve the pixelation issues on the THD up there, and what do you know, voila, it was fixed.

Obviously I'm not sure why that fixed it on either TiVo, but needless to say, I'm happy with it, and so is wifey. Is there a technical explanation? probably, but I'm happy as a clam right now. The upstairs THD is closest to the ONT physically, while the S3 is the furthest away in the house from the ONT. I did not have any coax replaced when I switched from Comcast to FiOS TV.
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Old 01-09-2009, 04:06 PM   #467
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In order to be completely fair to both sides of this situation, I thought I would bring you all up-to-date...

In response to the letter I sent to the CEO and VP of Sales at Tivo corporate, I received a call from their executive offices the other evening.
Basically, there is very little Tivo can do to fix the problems with Fios. Although they have been aware of the Fios situation for some time, the problem is that their units are also used with cable services, and if there were any modifications done to their tuners, it would jeopardize the performance with those cable services. In other words, they claim they can't alter their tuners to work with one service without affecting the other.

The tech that called me was very knowledgeable. I told him I put a -10b attenuator at the Tivo connection and that most all the pixelation has disappeared except for some fleeting pixelation that comes and goes. The tech said rather than throw another attenuator on the problem and risk losing the signal on some channels, to use a small piece of coax and a barrel connector to bring the signal down just ever more slightly. He said that may resolve the problem.

I will say that they were generous enough to give me an extra 30 days on trial service and the option to return the hardware directly to them if I am not able to resolve the situation.
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Old 01-09-2009, 05:19 PM   #468
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Originally Posted by NJRonbo View Post
In order to be completely fair to both sides of this situation, I thought I would bring you all up-to-date...

In response to the letter I sent to the CEO and VP of Sales at Tivo corporate, I received a call from their executive offices the other evening.
Basically, there is very little Tivo can do to fix the problems with Fios. Although they have been aware of the Fios situation for some time, the problem is that their units are also used with cable services, and if there were any modifications done to their tuners, it would jeopardize the performance with those cable services. In other words, they claim they can't alter their tuners to work with one service without affecting the other.

The tech that called me was very knowledgeable. I told him I put a -10b attenuator at the Tivo connection and that most all the pixelation has disappeared except for some fleeting pixelation that comes and goes. The tech said rather than throw another attenuator on the problem and risk losing the signal on some channels, to use a small piece of coax and a barrel connector to bring the signal down just ever more slightly. He said that may resolve the problem.

I will say that they were generous enough to give me an extra 30 days on trial service and the option to return the hardware directly to them if I am not able to resolve the situation.
In response to the post above, I'm sorry to see that you've swallowed the total BS that the Tivo pointy-heads fed you. "Tivo cannot fix Fios problems"? Really? You now agree that it's a Verizon problem?

Here is the problem with their lies. They claim that they cannot modify their units to allow them to operate correctly on Fios without creating a situation where they then don't work on other cable systems. Well, perhaps they should call Motorola. That would be the manufacturer of the 6416-2 which does not experience pixelation on the same exact Fios system. It's also the unit used by Comcast, Time Warner, etc in different parts of the country - NOT on Fios. Somehow Motorola understands that the tuner cannot catastrohpically fail when signal strength variation occurs. That would probably be because they understand the concepts of 6 sigma, C&E matrices, FMEAs, and other quality tools to be used in engineering and manufacturing environments. Let's be clear. This is NOT a Verizon issue. The TivoHDs have also been reported to have the exact same issue with OTA reception as a result of tuners being altogether too sensitive. Who then does Tivo say is responsible?

To be clear, Tivo MUST be able to play nicely on other peoples networks, such as Verizon. Without Verizon, Comcast, etc - Tivo is nothing but a hunk of worthless circuitry. By failing to properly design products and then subsequently failing to provide adequate support, Tivo is isolating themselves. I have zero interest in playing a finger pointing game between two vendors who I am paying. 30 days of service is a worthless gesture intended to reduce stress, but in no way serves to remotely address the issue. In my case, I've been listening to Tivo make worthless promises for over a year to fix the issue - and I purchased my devices from a retailer. For me that means that I made a mistake in believing that Tivo was still the same company that they used to be, and that they would resolve the issues. I am now faced with abandoning Tivo and losing my investment of 2 Tivo HDs, as well as all the service fees I've paid for over a year with absolutely no fixes (other than replacing one of the units that failed completely). Until Tivo steps up to the plate and accepts responsibility for this, I strongly recommend avoiding Tivo products for anyone who is actively considering such items at this time.
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:32 AM   #469
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I am now faced with abandoning Tivo and losing my investment of 2 Tivo HDs, as well as all the service fees I've paid for over a year with absolutely no fixes (other than replacing one of the units that failed completely).
I hope you lose a ton of money when your temper boils over and you finally give up the Tivos. Karma's a bitch sometimes.

We all understand your frustration. We all understand your point of view. We don't all agree with you 100%. Yes, the tuner's in the THD aren't a perfect solution for FiOS, but the experiences you've had with your specific tivos, tvs, and set top boxes have really skewed your point of view. It's NOT just tivo hd units. In fact, that Moto box you say is so bulletproof is probably experiencing the same RS Uncorrected errors the THDs are, but doing something to hide them (dropping frames perhaps?). Rich Adams tried to explain this to you in the other thread: Just because your equipment is showing you one thing does not mean it's the universal truth. Most importantly, you MUST realize there are thousands upon thousands of TivoHD units out there on FiOS that are performing perfectly.

What's more, your point of view has skewed what you believe to be the facts about Tivo the company. They have acknowledged the issue for a long time. They have had engineers look at as many "pixellating" boxes as they can. They have determined that the best solution is to attenuate the signal. Don't believe me? Call Tivo tech support and ask. Tivo has been forthcoming and open, as demonstrated by the phone call mentioned above. It should be noted that the "best solution" of attenuating was determined by looking at many factors. They could have people install a dollar worth of equipment, or they could issue a multi-million dollar recall that may or may not fix the problem, but would definitely sink the company. I attenuated, and I'm happy with my tivo.

Stop letting your anger rule your emotions, look at all the facts in a logical manner, and if it doesn't make sense to keep your tivos, get rid of them.

I'm keeping mine, and will continue to buy them as often as the need arises.
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:58 AM   #470
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We all understand your frustration. We all understand your point of view. We don't all agree with you 100%.
That's a good point: I find myself agreeing with OP precisely 50%.

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Originally Posted by webin View Post
In fact, that Moto box you say is so bulletproof is probably experiencing the same RS Uncorrected errors the THDs are, but doing something to hide them (dropping frames perhaps?).
Which would be less objectionable to more consumers, so there would be no reason for TiVo to take that approach as well. How a device handles failure is as important as how infrequently it experiences failure. I remember teaching this engineering lore over 25 years ago, when I worked at Bell Laboratories. I'm sure designing for robustness is still part of the engineering curriculum.
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:23 AM   #471
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Originally Posted by webin View Post
I hope you lose a ton of money when your temper boils over and you finally give up the Tivos. Karma's a bitch sometimes..
Nice. Real nice. So the device has a known issue and your Fanboy response is to blame the poster. Very very helpful. If I were as juvenile as you I would respond with something like I hope your Tivos fail catastrophically tonight and you experience the issues that so many others experience. Maybe a better description of "Karma" would be that Tivo would see the results they deserve for abandoning customers. IMHO. Obviously not your.

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Originally Posted by webin View Post
We all understand your frustration.. We all understand your point of view.
I don't believe you do.

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Originally Posted by webin View Post
the experiences you've had with your specific tivos, tvs, and set top boxes have really skewed your point of view. It's NOT just tivo hd units. In fact, that Moto box you say is so bulletproof is probably experiencing the same RS Uncorrected errors the THDs are, but doing something to hide them (dropping frames perhaps?).
This illustrates how you don't understand my perspective. I wouldn't care if there were some dropped frames that I didn't notice. I do care that last night again my family and I attempted to view the most recent NCIS (which the kids really like) and it was totally unviewable with massive pixelation. As Bicker noted, you are clearly not an engineer, as you would otherwise realize that how devices handle failure modes is every bit as important as how what causes them to fail. The moto unit deals with this failure mode incredibly better than the Tivo unit - which frankly just fails and leaves the owner without recourse.

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Originally Posted by webin View Post
What's more, your point of view has skewed what you believe to be the facts about Tivo the company. They have acknowledged the issue for a long time. They have had engineers look at as many "pixellating" boxes as they can. They have determined that the best solution is to attenuate the signal. Don't believe me? Call Tivo tech support and ask. Tivo has been forthcoming and open, as demonstrated by the phone call mentioned above. It should be noted that the "best solution" of attenuating was determined by looking at many factors. They could have people install a dollar worth of equipment, or they could issue a multi-million dollar recall that may or may not fix the problem, but would definitely sink the company. I attenuated, and I'm happy with my tivo.
I'm happy that you're happy. Nonetheless, I totally disagree with your description of the situation above. First of all, this has been going on for over a year. Tivo has responded as quickly as - well - they haven't. Let's get first things first. The issue could be designed out of the unit. They failed to do this to begin with. Moto didn't. Second. The attenuation "solution" is not a total solution. It creates a band-aid that "sometimes" works, and "sometimes" doesn't. In some cases it started working but stopped later due to changes in SNR. Not an issue with the Moto design. In other cases attenuation allowed some channels to start working, but reduced signal on other channels creating a new problem. Known, documented fact. It's a dice roll. Third. IF it's really a problem and the Tivo solution, then SEND USERS SOME ATTENUATORS WHEN THEY CALL. DON'T BE SO DARNED WORTHLESS AND STOP TELLING CUSTOMERS TO CALL VERIZION. I wouldn't be as critical of Tivo if they even made that effort, but they haven't. And frankly I see no evidence whatsoever having talked to Tivo a number of times about this issue (with corresponding ticket numbers) that they have done anything to support their customers. This doesnt' even consider the fact that the Tivo tuner ALSO experiences OTA issues with high signal strength. I suppose Tivo would have users call every broadcast channel when that occurs? That's a real solution.


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Originally Posted by webin View Post
Stop letting your anger rule your emotions, look at all the facts in a logical manner, and if it doesn't make sense to keep your tivos, get rid of them.

I'm keeping mine, and will continue to buy them as often as the need arises.
Right back at you. Stop letting your fanboy love of Tivo keep you from looking at them just like you would any other company that you provide product from. Here's my position - and it isn't much different from my perspective about what has happened to the auto industry. When imports were becoming far more competitive in the US, some people walked around screaming "buy american" - and took the heat off of detroit when they had the means to really change processes and revamp. We didn't do it and we let them off the hook. Now, when push comes to shove they can't compete AND they don't have the resources to restructure without a ton of help.

Tivo is now in a market where there is real competition, and where the competition has some direct advantages. Maybe not to you, but most certainly (as evidenced by fact) to so many others. Abandoning customers and providing less than properly engineered product should not be rewarded by blanket acceptance. If they continue down this path, I fear that you won't have the opportunity to buy that many more devices from them in the future.
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Old 01-10-2009, 03:01 PM   #472
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Originally Posted by webin View Post
I hope you lose a ton of money when your temper boils over and you finally give up the Tivos. Karma's a bitch sometimes....
Stopped reading this post after the first sentence. What a di*k!

Hoping for someone to lose a ton. Real nice.

I hope you have a wonderful day.
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Old 01-10-2009, 03:30 PM   #473
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Hoping for someone to lose a ton. Real nice.
It would be nice to lose 20-30 pounds though.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:46 AM   #474
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Originally Posted by ah30k View Post
Hoping for someone to lose a ton. Real nice.
I admit, it was a pretty d*ck thing to do. I'm sorry. Whether or not I'm a Tivo Fanboy or not is a matter of perspective, but I responded to wm in the same manner he was posting. It's not what I want for this board.

What I have a real problem with, is reading post after post that is nothing more than whining and complaining and spouting things that aren't necessarily true.

Vehemently complaining on this board doesn't help solve problems. It only helps the poster blow off some steam. I believe there are better ways to do that, and we shouldn't have to read it in every post someone writes. I'm reading a book called "Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life" by Larry Winget, which teaches that whining and foot stomping doesn't change anything. You actually have to do something if you want to make things better. I might suggest buying some attenuators.

And now I'm going to remove myself from this thread (and the sticky thread) for a while. I really enjoyed the months of troubleshooting where we searched for causation and solution, but that's not what's happening anymore. It's just a bunch of whining.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:47 AM   #475
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update

I had a FIOS tech who came over today who had a lot of experience with tivo. Here are the highlights:

- use splitters to attenuate as oppose to attenuators. his logic was that the splitters are more effective in knocking down the signal across all applicable frequencies. attenuators did not do as good a job.
- he experimented with various splitters and barrel connectors trying to find the sweet spot
- the best results were a combination of attenuator, diplexer, and splitter
- he left me 3 splitters to play with if I wasn't happy with the results
- my original signal was hot... even for fios boxes. the first tech didn't tell me this.
- he claimed there was a sweet spot with tivos... but i think we already know that.

i'm going to echo what another person in this thread said. tivo knows about this. they made their box to be compatible with cable companies... not fios.

he also said the most effective complaints to verizon are via letter. send an angry letter to the thousand oaks, CA address (i can't find it at the moment). Now i'm not implying this is all verizon's fault and you should bitch to them about it. i have other complaints with them... this last bit of info is just fyi.
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Old 01-11-2009, 01:46 AM   #476
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Originally Posted by substance12 View Post
why would placing the diplexer after the ONT vs at the tivo make a difference?
Well, if one has more than one TiVo, then putting the filter before the splitter eliminates the need for two or more filters. Otherwise, it really doesn't matter where the unit goes from a signal quality perspective.
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Old 01-11-2009, 02:42 AM   #477
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webin View Post
What I have a real problem with, is reading post after post that is nothing more than whining and complaining and spouting things that aren't necessarily true.

Vehemently complaining on this board doesn't help solve problems. It only helps the poster blow off some steam. I believe there are better ways to do that, and we shouldn't have to read it in every post someone writes.
+1
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Old 01-11-2009, 02:58 AM   #478
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Originally Posted by wm2008 View Post
The reason that I strongly believe that Tivo is completely to blame here is because reasonably high quality engineering knows what a "FMEA" and a "C&E Matrix" is.
What utter nonsense! No amount of clever engineering on earth can avoid physical limitations. Indeed, at its heart, all engineering is about dealing with physical limitations - with a hard eye on implementation costs. The simple, unalterable fact is that the amount of 3rd order distortion in a receiver or other active device increases 3 dB for every 1 dB increase in signal level, resulting in a 2 dB decrease in the signal / distrotion figure for every 1 dB increase in level. The amount of distortion also increases as 20 times the base ten logarithm of the bandwidth (or number of carriers). Finally, for a given receiver design, it increases 2 dB for every 1dB increase in sensitivity. Thus, any designer is faced with a simple, unalterable choice. One can deploy a sensitive receiver capable of dealing with low signal levels, or one can deploy an insensitive receiver capable of dealing with higher signal levels. Note even the most insensitive receiver will overload with high enough signal levels. Industry standard CATV specifications call for an ideal minimum of -10 dBmV on any digital channel behind a receiver. To deliver that ideal, most CATV systems design to a minimum of -3 dBmV (+7 dBmV for analog channels) at the subscriber tap on the lowest frequency and around -1 dBmV (+9 dBmV on analog channels) at the highest frequency. Since subscriber taps are engineered in 3 dB increments, this means the output at the low end should never be more than 0 dBmV at the low frequencies unless the signal has a reverse tilt (near the end of the feeder line), in whihc case the high end should never be more than +2 dBmV. It is assumed the cable drop length will be about 35 meters maximum, and the customer will have 2 TVs. In the late 1980s, many CATV systems increased their subscriber tap levels by 3 dB to allow for customers with 4 TVs. Note it is not a simple matter to increase subscriber tap outputs. The number of subscribers serviced by a feeder realm can drop by more than 75%, greatly increasing the number of required amplifiers, thereby increasing the amount of noise and distortion. The standard levels are a compromise between being the cost of delivering service to the average user versus the cost of supplying individual amplifiers to those customers falling outside the norm. FIOS does not suffer this limitation, so they can simply eliminate the need for subscriber amplifiers by delivering ungodly signal levels to the customer's demark. They also stuck a carrier way up above normal RF frequencies, one I suspect happens to be very near the TiVo's RF section's IF carrier. Dealing with an Out of Band input carrier near or above the IF carrier of any superheterodyne receiver can splash distortion products all over the map.

The situation is exacerbated by the very wide bandwidth of the FIOS spectrum. Their spectrum is roughly 133 carriers, and they load it to the gills. Now, that is mostly a good thing for FIOS subscribers, but a spectrum with 133 carriers exhibits a whopping 42 dB greater 3rd order distortion than a system with a single 6 MHz carrier. Most CATV systems only deliver at most 110 carriers, and nothing even close to 1200Mhz.

The bottom line is TiVo is left deciding between using a tuner which can deal well with the (extremely common) problem of low signal levels, whether OTA or on CATV systems, or designing for FIOS subscribers, who make up a very small percentage of their subscriber base. They cannot do both.

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Originally Posted by wm2008 View Post
Apparently Motorola does, as the 6416-2 units which were designed even before the Tivo HD can deal with the "Verizon signal issue" with no visible downside to the customer. The Tivo units cannot.
What evidence do you have to support this? Have you tried both the Motorola and TiVo units side-by-side with inputs of -30 dBmV to compare their performance?

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Originally Posted by wm2008 View Post
The Moto 6416-2 is the exact same unit - with no design changes - as has been used for example by Comcast.
Which proves nothing. If Comcast's subscriber only has 1 or 2 TVs and their plant has been well designed, and the subscriber tap is not too far away, then everything will work just fine. If not, Comcast will simply install a house amplifier, just as TWC had to do in my house.

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Originally Posted by wm2008 View Post
I have a 612 ONT - not the often blamed 610 or 611 units. Signal strength is not necessarily consistent across all channel blocks.
If not, then FIOS has more problems they need to fix. The difference between the lowest level and the highest level of any carrier in the spectrum should never under any circumstances exceed 9 dB. The difference in level between any two adjacent carriers should never exceed 4 dB. Those are the FCC specifications.

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Originally Posted by wm2008 View Post
This means that it is in fact possible that attenuating the "problem" channels may in fact introduce current or future problems with other channels which are not at this time having a problem.
Which is one of several reasons why an attenuator is not the best idea, unless signal levels are high across the band. An equalizer or an equalizer in conjunction with an attenuator may be a more appropriate solution to signal level issues, and an appropriate band pass filter is indicated if there are any high level out of band carriers present.

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The attenuation is a bandaid if it works - nothing more. I'm hoping it works, but honestly do not have high hopes. I understand that design problems can happen, but I am incredibly disappointed in the attempts to defer blame onto Verizon
It is a simple fact: Verizon's signals lie WAY outside normal industry specifications. Fortunately, equalizing signals, attenuating them, and removing spurious OOB signals is easy and cheap. Dealing with low signal levels is much more expensive and difficult. Dealing with a low S/N is impossible, and unfortunately there are people out there who suffer this issue. They are really stuck.

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Originally Posted by wm2008 View Post
and the apparent lack of urgency toward supporting existing and paying customers. Also, this past weekend my "problem channels" show up with a signal strength of peak 94, but really averaged between 60-80 - at the exact same time that the pixelation was happening
The TiVo does not measure signal strength. It measures S/N, which is a completely different animal. Given FIOS's system design, a very high S/N is not surprising, and although a high S/N is anything but a bad thing, it is not a comprehensive measure of signal quality.
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:33 AM   #479
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Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
An attenuator solves the problem for most, but not everyone. It's still unclear why some people still have problems after attenuating their signal.
I cannot speak with 100% authority, since I don't have any ONTs on the bench, but from reports on this very website I think the answer is pretty clear. Some ONTs produce an Out of BAnd signal up above 1000MHz. I suspect that, combined with high signal levels and possibly equalization issues are the culprit. Since an attenuator only addresses the issue of high signal levels, it is far from surprising it cannot always solve the problem.

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Even with all that, the TiVo still reports the signal on many of my channels at 92-95, and the channels that used to have problems are reported with a signal strength of 99-100. If those channels are 99-100 (out of 100) now, imagine what they must have been before I added the -10dB attenuator.
The Tivo does not report signal strength. It reports S/N. In a hypothetically noiseless receiver in a hypothetically noiseless environment, a signal can have a very high S/N, even if it is infinitesimally small. In practice, both the environment and the receiver have a certain noise floor. This means even if presented with a "perfect" signal whose S/N exceeds 80dB, the S/N measured at the receiver will be considerably lower. It will, however, track precisely with signal level, meaning the S/N will increase precisely 1 dB with a 1 dB increase in signal. Generally speaking, most real-world digital signals are probably going to have a S/N of around 45 dB or so. Given their systems topology, a FIOS signal may actually be somewhat higher, perhaps even 60 or 65 dB.

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Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
In a perfect world, the TiVo would be able to adjust the sensitivity of its tuner based on the signal levels it detects.
That is nonsense given the definition of "sensitivity". The sensitivity of a tuner is defined as the minimum signal level it can recover with a given set of quality specifications. It is by definition not "adjustable". The TiVo, like most modern receivers is quite capable of receiving signals over a very broad range of levels, generally much broader than an analog TV tuner. Like any tuner, however, there are overload levels above which the TiVo's tuners cannot operate reliably. On any receiver, those overload levels are dependent upon a number of factors, including signal level, total input power, bandwidth, carrier spacing, etc.

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Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
Or at the very least, adjust the sensitivity of the tuner when you select Verizon FiOS in Guided Setup. But we don't really know what kind of system-level options they have with the tuner they opted to select for the design.
Yeah, we do. The sensitivity of a tuner is a fixed result of its design. As I said, it cannot be made variable. While it is hypothetically quite possible to insert a variable attenuator in front of the tuner section, doing so inserts its own set of issues into the situation, not the least of which is an increase in cost.

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Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
Now that TiVo is aware of the issue, one would certainly hope that a future model would incorporate a tuner that is able to handle stronger signals without the need for the user (or installer) to add an attenuator to achieve an acceptable picture.
I doubt it. Doing so would require utilizing a less sensitive receiver, which would only serve to have other users start complaining while the FIOS users stop complaining, robbing Peter to pay Paul, as it were. What might be practical, especially in light of the advent of SDV, is to incorporate a low pass filter in front of the tuner section. This would havea very low impact - perhaps 1 dB - on sensitivity, would not affect either OTA or CATV users in general, and would solve many FIOS user's problems out of hand. For the rest, attenuating the signal to industry standard levels is simply not difficult or expensive, and any subscriber unwilling to take the minuscule trouble to do so is just being obtuse and indolent.
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:00 AM   #480
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Originally Posted by substance12 View Post
I had a FIOS tech who came over today who had a lot of experience with tivo.
His "experience" leaves a great deal to be desired.

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Originally Posted by substance12 View Post
- use splitters to attenuate as oppose to attenuators. his logic was that the splitters are more effective in knocking down the signal across all applicable frequencies. attenuators did not do as good a job.
This is utter nonsense. Attenuators are extremely simple passive devices whose frequency response is very flat - far flatter than any splitter. Within their specified bandwidth, they will attenuate the signal by precisely the specified amount within limits defined by the precision of the attenuator. Of course, one may acquire both low and high precision attenuators, and the band specification will vary from one attenuator to another, but even the most generic, least expensive CATV attenuators will perform admirably from 5 MHz to 1000Mhz or better. By comparison, a high quality splitter will typically have up to 2 dB higher loss at 1000MHz than at 50 MHz.

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Originally Posted by substance12 View Post
- he experimented with various splitters and barrel connectors trying to find the sweet spot
As a general rule of thumb, one is always best served to minimize the number of devices and especially the number of connectors. At best, each device and each connector represents an additional point of failure, and connector issues are the most prevalent cause of signal problems.

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Originally Posted by substance12 View Post
- he claimed there was a sweet spot with tivos... but i think we already know that.
While the Automatic Gain Controls on modern receivers - including the TiVo - are quite effective, and while digital receivers enjoy the benefits of digital signal recovery, one of which is a wide range of acceptable signal levels, every receiver has an optimum receive level. The problem is, with a broadband receiver that optimum value drops with increasing numbers of carriers. With analog TVs the situatin was simple. All TVs by design (and law) had an optimum input level of 0dB mV, and OTA carriers were very sparse. Most TVs were able to produce excellent pictures with levels between -3 and +15 dBmV. With the advent of CATV and its highly packed spectrum, many TVs began having problems with levels above +6 or even +3 dBmV.

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i'm going to echo what another person in this thread said. tivo knows about this. they made their box to be compatible with cable companies... not fios.
Well, I don't know if they "know" about it. There are a large number of anecdotal reports of problems from FIOS subscribers. The suggestion - even a very strong one - that a certain sector of subscribers are having trouble is
not in any way diagnostic of a root cause, even if numbers of them report alleviating the issue through some means. Surely, it is pertinent information, but before a company hauls off and implements system wide design changes, they need to have confirmation on the bench.

Last edited by lrhorer : 01-11-2009 at 04:06 AM.
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