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Old 04-11-2009, 06:23 PM   #1
chucky23
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Will Disabling MoCa Get Rid of FIOS TV Dropouts?

I've had FIOS (TV/Internet/Phone) for about a bit less than a week now. I'm getting some minor audio/visual TV dropouts on certain stations.

I've been checking my RS Uncorrected numbers on a regular basis, and they are often not zero. (Although the RS Uncorrected numbers are not zero, they generally are in the hundreds, not the thousands.)

My dropout problems are minor, but still reasonably annoying.

-----

My question:

Will connecting the ONT to the Actiontec via Ethernet and disabling MoCa likely get rid of my dropout problems?

I have no Verizon STB. My entire internet setup uses wifi. It seems as if there is nothing I would lose by going from the ONT to the Actiontec via Ethernet rather than via Coax.

I'd love to avoid learning the details of the whole attenuator / low-pass filter shebang if I can. And if just ditching MoCa is an easy solution here, that's my ticket.

-----

Assuming disabling MoCa is a solution for the TiVo/FIOS interface woes, a couple of minor questions:

- I can choose between using my three year old Belkin router and Verizon's Actiontec to receive the Ethernet cable from the ONT, right?

- I need to call Verizon and tell them to disable the MoCa and enable the Ethernet, right? Anything else I need to tell them?

If disabling MoCa isn't the solution to my problems, I'll start studying up on attenuator/filter issues or just decide to go back to my cable company, but that's for another day.

-----

Also, is it normal to have non-zero RS Uncorrected numbers? Should I expect the RS Uncorrected numbers to be zero?
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Old 04-11-2009, 08:56 PM   #2
bkdtv
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No matter what ONT you have, you're probably going to need some attenuation. A high percentage of installs require 10-12dB attenuation to avoid pixelization. I would go ahead and order a pack of attenuators now ($12.99). Don't delay, as you only have 30 days to cancel FiOS service if you cannot eliminate these issues.

Check to see what ONT you have outside your home. There are MoCA issues specific to 2-3 different ONT models, which will produce pixelization if the FiOS installer did not add a low-pass filter. That said, these models still require attenuation; they just need a low-pass filter (or a switch from MoCA to ethernet) on top of the attenuation.
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Old 04-12-2009, 06:39 AM   #3
chucky23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
Check to see what ONT you have outside your home. There are MoCA issues specific to 2-3 different ONT models, which will produce pixelization if the FiOS installer did not add a low-pass filter.
I have a SFH ONT 612A. It's inside my home rather than outside, should it matter, (which I can't imagine it would.)

- Any idea if this is one of the the ONT's that has MoCa problems with TiVo?

- Assuming it is, I'd guess disabling MoCa is a "better" solution that installing a low-pass filter. Am I wrong in this? Should I have any preference in whether I have them disable MoCa or install a low-pass filter, or do they produce identical results in practice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
Don't delay, as you only have 30 days to cancel FiOS service if you cannot eliminate these issues.
It's 14 days to cancel, not 30 days. But I'm going to have VZ roll a truck back out here on Monday or Tuesday to fix things, or I'm canceling and going back to my old cableco.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
No matter what ONT you have, you're probably going to need some attenuation. A high percentage of installs require 10-12dB attenuation to avoid pixelization. I would go ahead and order a pack of attenuators now
I'll tell VZ to bring me some attenuators when they come back out here to disable the MoCa or install a low-pass filter.

------

Also:

- I should never be seeing any non-zero RS Uncorrected numbers, correct?

- My A/V dropout problems are the same as the "pixelation" problems, correct?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv in a different thread
The solution is to further reduce signal strength to -6dB or lower by adding an attenuator to the end of the coax cable.
- There is no way for me to see the signal strength from the TiVo on-screen diagnostics, correct?

- Can I can have the VZ service guy measure the signal strength? Or does the fact that the signal varies by channel mean that I just need to have him leave me a bag of attenuators and test various channels after he leaves?

Last edited by chucky23 : 04-12-2009 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 04-12-2009, 07:00 AM   #4
bkdtv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky23 View Post
I have a SFH ONT 612A. It's inside my home rather than outside, should it matter, (which I can't imagine it would.)

- Any idea if this is one of the the ONT's that has MoCa problems with TiVo?
No, it isn't.

A low-pass filter is required for the Motorola 1000v and any Tellabs model lower than 612 (such as the 611i). It is unnecessary for the Motorola 1000M or Tellabs 612, which you have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky23 View Post
But I'm going to have VZ roll a truck back out here on Monday or Tuesday to fix things, or I'm canceling and going back to my old cableco.
Make sure you insist on the attenuation.

Some Verizon installers will say your nuts if you ask for 10dB attenuation. That's because they are trained on the Motorola DVRs, which are much less sensitive. You should insist on -10dB to start, and have them leave you another -6dB attenuator on top of that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky23 View Post
I should never be seeing any non-zero RS Uncorrected numbers, correct?
Every provider is going to have the occasional RS uncorrected error. What you don't want are lots of them. A few per minute would be fine, but you don't want any more than that. For the purposes of applying attenuation, you should try to get the RS Uncorrected error counts to 0.

Remember that changing the channel or starting a recording will reset the error counts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky23 View Post
My A/V dropout problems are the same as the "pixelation" problems, correct?
Yes. RS uncorrected errors by the dozens can cause audio droputs; RS uncorrected errors by the thousands will cause pixelization.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky23 View Post
There is no way for me to see the signal strength from the TiVo on-screen diagnostics, correct?
You can see the signal strength on the same System Information -> DVR Diagnostics screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky23 View Post
Can I can have the VZ service guy measure the signal strength? Or does the fact that the signal varies by channel mean that I just need to have him leave me a bag of attenuators and test various channels after he leaves?
You can have him measure the signal strength, but you've got to remember that they are trained based on the Motorola boxes, and the TiVos are far more sensitive. IIRC, their meter should read -4dB to -6dB for the TiVo. The typical install for a Motorola box is closer to +6dB.

Last edited by bkdtv : 04-12-2009 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:52 AM   #5
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Dont over think the problem, you need to attenuate the signal. The FiOS signal is to hot for TiVo. Many of us have had to do it and it will fix your problem!
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:08 AM   #6
chucky23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
No, it isn't. A low-pass filter is required for the Motorola 1000v and any Tellabs model lower than 612 (such as the 611i). It is unnecessary for the Motorola 1000M or Tellabs 612, which you have.
OK. So let me make sure I'm understanding you perfectly on this one:

Since I have an SFH ONT 612A, I don't need to disable MoCa, and I don't need to deal with low-pass filters.

Your opinion is that MoCa has nothing to do with the A/V dropouts I'm experiencing, and I should forget about the whole issue? Your opinion is that I have no reason whatsoever to disable MoCa? Your opinion is that attenuation is the only thing I need to worry about?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
You can see the signal strength on the same System Information -> DVR Diagnostics screen.
Oh, really? News to me. By skimming through the relevant threads, I thought the signal strength numbers on the DVR Diagnostics screen were unrelated to actual signal strength, and were measuring something else totally.

Here are the possibly relevant numbers from DVR Diagnostics. Which ones should I be paying attention to?

Both Tuners:
Signal Strength: always 100
SNR: always 36-38dB

(I've been watching those numbers all along, though I thought they weren't relevant.)

CableCARD:
OOB SNR: 26-27db

(I haven't been watching that number, so that's just the measure over the past hour or so.)

How do those numbers relate to the desired -4dB to -6dB signal level you're saying I should be trying to achieve?

-----

Also, let me just say that you are a godsend, bkdtv. If TiVo ain't paying you, I'll write 'em a letter saying that they should be.
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:55 AM   #7
chucky23
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OK. Here's something that may or may not complicate the troubleshooting:

I just watched a show on the NBC HD channel. The show had many A/V glitches. But I was simultaneously monitoring that tuner on the DVR Diagnostics screen, and there were 0 RS Uncorrected and 0 RS Corrected for the duration of the show.

Does that tell us anything meaningful?

If the A/V glitches happen without RS Uncorrected errors, does that mean there is something going on that doesn't have to do with the FIOS pixillation problems others have experienced?

-----

To describe the A/V glitches more precisely: it's always a loud audio digital static blip that lasts for a fraction of a second, sometimes accompanied by a black video blip, and sometimes without any video interruption.

I've only noticed these glitches on SD programs - though this morning's glitch happened on NBC HD, the show itself was an SD show. The other times I've seen the glitches, it's been on SD channels.

I've monitored non-zero RS Uncorrected errors on HD channels, (in the hundreds, not the thousands,) but I've never seen the glitches on an HD show.
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Old 04-12-2009, 02:27 PM   #8
bkdtv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky23 View Post
Your opinion is that MoCa has nothing to do with the A/V dropouts I'm experiencing, and I should forget about the whole issue?
That's correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky23 View Post
Oh, really? News to me. By skimming through the relevant threads, I thought the signal strength numbers on the DVR Diagnostics screen were unrelated to actual signal strength, and were measuring something else totally.
Note signal numbers reported by TiVo do not correspond to the equipment used by FiOS installers (or other DVRs, for that matter).

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky23 View Post
How do those numbers relate to the desired -4dB to -6dB signal level you're saying I should be trying to achieve?
They don't directly correspond. The -4dB to -6dB refers to the numbers reported on the installer's signal meter. The TiVo will report well under 100 on it's own screen -- that's for certain.

You could need more attenuation that that to eliminate A/V issues on all channels. That's the starting point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky23 View Post
I just watched a show on the NBC HD channel. The show had many A/V glitches. But I was simultaneously monitoring that tuner on the DVR Diagnostics screen, and there were 0 RS Uncorrected and 0 RS Corrected for the duration of the show.
Were you monitoring the correct channel? Remember, the DVR Diagnostics screen shows the information for two channels (one on each tuner). You need to make sure you look under the right channel.

If there are A/V glitches for a channel with 0 RS Uncorrected errors, that suggests what you are seeing is part of the original signal. You would see those A/V glitches no matter what box you have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky23 View Post
To describe the A/V glitches more precisely: it's always a loud audio digital static blip that lasts for a fraction of a second, sometimes accompanied by a black video blip, and sometimes without any video interruption.
I suppose that could be caused by a temporary loss of signal lock, due to the signal being too strong. The fact that your signal is 100 suggests that.

Attenuation should address all of the A/V issues you've mentioned. Just don't let the installer talk you into less than -4dB to -6dB signal as reported by their meter. That typically involves a -10 to -14dB attenuation, depending on what type of splitter you have. And make sure they leave you another -6dB attenuator in case you need more.

Last edited by bkdtv : 04-12-2009 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 04-12-2009, 06:19 PM   #9
chucky23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
Were you monitoring the correct channel? Remember, the DVR Diagnostics screen shows the information for two channels (one on each tuner). You need to make sure you look under the right channel.
I'm 100% sure I was looking at the correct channel.

Not only have I been careful about looking at the two different channels on the two tuners of DVR Diagnostics, but I noted that there were 0 RS Uncorrected numbers for both tuners at the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
If there are A/V glitches for a channel with 0 RS Uncorrected errors, that suggests what you are seeing is part of the original signal. You would see those A/V glitches no matter what box you have.
I'm obviously can't be 100% sure that the glitches weren't part of the original signal, but I'm pretty damn close to sure that isn't what's going on here.

I'm getting the A/V glitches on a regular basis on shows I regularly watched when I had TWC. And I never saw anything like those glitches with TWC.

It'd be a bizarre coincidence if the appearance of identical glitches in the original signals of multiple channels just happened to coincide with me getting a TiVo and switching to FIOS.

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Verizon is coming to me tomorrow, so attenuation will soon be in effect, and we'll see what happens.

The fact that I had no RS Uncorrected errors during a glitch-filled show does make me wonder if something else is going on, though.

My symptoms seem a bit different than the normal FIOS pixelation case study - problems with SD instead of HD, for example.

Attenuation does seem the likely cure, but we shall see.

-----

Despite your confidence in my ONT handling MoCa, I may just have VZ switch off the MoCa and wire me with Cat5 while they're here, on the basis that running unnecessary signals over the Coax is stupid if I'm trying to troubleshoot something vaguely obscure.

Also, I can't see the point of employing a bleeding-edge technology that I don't understand and that provides me no extra benefit when the ONT is able to shoot out old-fashioned ethernet. So, MoCa may not be causing my problems, but why not ditch it anyway? I like to keep to a KISS philosophy with tech.
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