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Old 07-27-2015, 10:58 PM   #1
thefisch
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Wiring - am I ready for install?

So now that I've gotten advice on what to purchase, I've placed an order for a roamio plus and a mini to start my tivo journey on BHN. So I thought I would focus on my cable wiring, amp, and splitters and networking to be sure I am ready. Any advice is appreciated.

Coax lines in house:
The access box on the outside is locked so I can't see what is going on in there but I suspect it is just a connection to the coax cable that enters my house and shows in my media box on the laundry room. I doubt there is a POE filter out there.

In the media box, the main coax line connects to this splitter:
20150727_211401_resized.jpg
One line leads to the cable modem and the other leads to this amp:
20150727_211255_resized.jpg
The out from the amp goes to this 8 way splitter which connects 8 of the 9 drops in the house (some rooms have two coax each that I didn't bother getting connected).
20150727_211333_resized.jpg
Two of these lines go to the den where I plan to setup the Roamio plus and the tuning adapter (Cisco STA1520) so won't need a splitter in the den.

Based on what I have read here, the splitters should be alright if I use MOCA since they go up to 1000mhz. When I got cable installed 4 years ago, I was concerned about the 8 way splitter impacting signal quality, but the installer added the amp to make sure there was no issue with the HD cable box I was using at the time. So I assume the signal will be sufficient for the roamio and tuning adapters. FWIW, even though there are 8 lines attached to the splitter, I only have something connected to 5 of them. Is there anything else I should check on the coax end?

Networking:
I have 10/100 routers and switches and ethernet at both tivo locations. Streaming HD camcorder files across my network now to my TV from my pc works fine so I expect the 10/100 should work fine for tivo too.

Also, I plan to try the moca network out since the plus and mini can do it. That way I can add tivo boxes later where I don't have ethernet. Should I install POE filters from the get go or wait and see if there are issues with the tuning adapter or cable modem after? I've read where some didn't need to use them for moca to work.

If it is must to get the POE filters, is the best place to get them from tivo or through amazon or ebay? No stores around here seem to carry them from what I can tell. From what I can tell, there are two likely locations for POE filters in my wiring setup if they are needed at all:
1. the coax line from the amp to the 8 way splitter (to keep signals from going back to cable modem or out of the house). That way separate filters are not needed at the main line and the cable modem.
2. on the coax line going to the tuning adapter.
Do I have that right?

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Old 07-28-2015, 07:16 AM   #2
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I'm new to the Roamio, just did it this week. But this stuff is fresh in mind since I just went through it.

I don't expect you'll see a difference whether you use MoCA or Ethernet. I already have a MoCA network in my house at a couple of locations so connected on Mini by Ethernet and the Roamio and other Mini by Coax... they all just worked out of the box and no difference in performance that I've seen. As an FYI, the existing MoCA network is 3 adapters... on right at my router.

I bought a POE filter from Amazon (where I got all the Tivo gear a well), and planned to use it in front of the Tuning Adapter, but haven't needed it thus far. I did put a splitter in front of the Tuning Adapter / Roamio based on advice here, so not doing passthrough on the TA.

Best of luck and be patient... it takes a while to go through the setup and multiple reboots the first time. And for me, I'm with TWC and it took waiting overnight for the setup to complete to the cablecard. I was about to give up and go get another cablecars, but decided to wait overnight and the next morning some magic had happened.

Coming from years with prior Tivos up to the Series 3 HD, I am loving this. Much faster and cleaner and the Minis are working great.

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1 x Tivo Roamio Pro w/3TB
2 x Tivo Mini
1 x Tivo HD with DVR Expander (retired)
2 x Tivo Series 2 Dual Tuner (retired)
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:01 PM   #3
thefisch
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So I did the install this evening. Ethernet did not work for one of my locations due to a wiring issue. The tivo thought the cable was disconnected at 10/100 just like my other devices do. So I throttle the port down to 10mbps and it could connect and get updates, but that was not enough throughput to stream from the plus without constant stuttering. So I switched to moca and the mini was able to connect after a hard reset. Seems to be working fine over moca. No stuttering at all. Looks perfect.

When cable installer was here, he added moca filters anyway. He added one right after the amp before the cable splitter, one right on the cable modem and another on the back of the TA. He didn't think the TA filter was needed, but he obliged my request. This way there are blocks around the moca network and the cable modem and TA are isolated.

He also tested the signal strength on the lines coming to the tivo and the TA from the 8 way splitter. He said they were good, but he wanted to make a wiring change to reduce the signal loss they were getting from the 8 way splitter. So he added a 3 way splitter before the 8 way splitter. 2 of the lines coming out of the 3 way splitter now go to the tivo plus and the TA. He test those again and said the signal improved by 3-7db per line.

The third line goes to the 8 way splitter. He said since I am not connecting digital boxes to any of those 8 lines that the additional signal loss from adding the 3 way before the 8 way won't matter. Now the mini is on one of the 8 way splitter lines but it has no issue connecting to the tivo plus anyway. I will continue to check that but since it is not relying on the outside signal I hope it will be fine.

So far all is good. Time to train the family.

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Old 07-29-2015, 10:14 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by thefisch View Post
So I did the install this evening. Ethernet did not work for one of my locations due to a wiring issue. The tivo thought the cable was disconnected at 10/100 just like my other devices do. So I throttle the port down to 10mbps and it could connect and get updates, but that was not enough throughput to stream from the plus without constant stuttering. So I switched to moca and the mini was able to connect after a hard reset. Seems to be working fine over moca. No stuttering at all. Looks perfect.

When cable installer was here, he added moca filters anyway. He added one right after the amp before the cable splitter, one right on the cable modem and another on the back of the TA. He didn't think the TA filter was needed, but he obliged my request. This way there are blocks around the moca network and the cable modem and TA are isolated.

He also tested the signal strength on the lines coming to the tivo and the TA from the 8 way splitter. He said they were good, but he wanted to make a wiring change to reduce the signal loss they were getting from the 8 way splitter. So he added a 3 way splitter before the 8 way splitter. 2 of the lines coming out of the 3 way splitter now go to the tivo plus and the TA. He test those again and said the signal improved by 3-7db per line.

The third line goes to the 8 way splitter. He said since I am not connecting digital boxes to any of those 8 lines that the additional signal loss from adding the 3 way before the 8 way won't matter. Now the mini is on one of the 8 way splitter lines but it has no issue connecting to the tivo plus anyway. I will continue to check that but since it is not relying on the outside signal I hope it will be fine.

So far all is good. Time to train the family.
It sounds like you were lucky and got a good tech that actually knew what he was doing and did things the right way. The 3-way splitter was a good idea, as well as the filters at the modem and the TA.

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Old 07-29-2015, 10:32 PM   #5
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He was very helpful, especially since I was prepared and had most of the tivo/cable card/TA setup done online ahead of time. When I got the cable card/TA from the service center, they recommended making an appointment as a backup since I told them I would try to self install. That was a good idea.

Once I got the tivo and mini, it was connected and updated. The cable card was in and TA connected. I worked with the very helpful online rep from BHN through their direct support forum and he got it paired up in less than 15 minutes. After a reset signal 30 minutes later, I finally got all my channels. But I kept the appointment so the tech could verify everything and check the signal. I spent the time waiting for him (2 hours) going through settings and playing around. Spent a lot of time hiding SD channels and stuff I'll never watch on the guide.

So when he arrived he seemed pleased to find the pairing was done - he said that was the hardest part of the tivo cable card install. So he was more than accommodating to check the signal strength and make that improvement and give me the moca filters at no charge. He didn't touch the TA or tivo except to remove the coax to test the signal. Overall, I was very happy with a 'free installation' truck roll with a new splitter, signal check and moca filters all for a $3 cable card.

Of course, if I add another tivo with cable card later I will have to rethink that 3 way splitter. I wonder if the signal quality matters more to the tivo or the TA. This tech thought the TA should get the lower signal loss line on the 3 way splitter. I thought it should be the Tivo as the TA is just tuning, not providing the picture - right?

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Old 07-29-2015, 11:48 PM   #6
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Of course, if I add another tivo with cable card later I will have to rethink that 3 way splitter. I wonder if the signal quality matters more to the tivo or the TA. This tech thought the TA should get the lower signal loss line on the 3 way splitter. I thought it should be the Tivo as the TA is just tuning, not providing the picture - right?
The Roamio Plus doesn't seem to like a signal that is too hot, due to it likely having its own internal amplifier to power the 6 different tuners. This has been discussed previously in various threads. And unlike the Tivo which only handles the incoming signal, the TA also has to be able to successfully handle 2-way communication. I agree with the tech that the TA should have the lowest signal loss path for the benefit of the return signal, especially since the picture of your amplifier above shows that it is a passive (unamplified) return rather than an active (amplified) return. I actually had to replace the drop amp the cable company had installed that had a passive return with one that had an active return to get my Tuning Adapter/SDV channels to work reliably.


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Old 07-30-2015, 12:40 PM   #7
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The Roamio Plus doesn't seem to like a signal that is too hot, due to it likely having its own internal amplifier to power the 6 different tuners. This has been discussed previously in various threads. And unlike the Tivo which only handles the incoming signal, the TA also has to be able to successfully handle 2-way communication. I agree with the tech that the TA should have the lowest signal loss path for the benefit of the return signal, especially since the picture of your amplifier above shows that it is a passive (unamplified) return rather than an active (amplified) return. I actually had to replace the drop amp the cable company had installed that had a passive return with one that had an active return to get my Tuning Adapter/SDV channels to work reliably.
Thanks for the explanation. Had the tech explained it that way it would have made sense. All he said is that some TA's can be touchy. I can switch the lines if need be. So far the TA works fine but time well time if it works reliably. I assume that not tuning to the correct channel is not reliable or are there other symptoms?

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Old 07-30-2015, 12:53 PM   #8
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Thanks for the explanation. Had the tech explained it that way it would have made sense. All he said is that some TA's can be touchy. I can switch the lines if need be. So far the TA works fine but time well time if it works reliably. I assume that not tuning to the correct channel is not reliable or are there other symptoms?
If you start getting SDV tuning failures, you'll know. When you try to go to the channel, you'll get a black screen and a pop-up message saying something like "This channel is temporarily unavailable." If you want to see what it looks like, just disconnect the USB cable between your TA and Roamio and try viewing a SDV channel.

The tuning adapters certainly can be finicky. The cable companies made them as cheaply as they possibly could. It's generally a good idea to try to reboot your tuning adapter approximately every 3-4 weeks. About once a month I'll start getting some weird behavior being caused by the TA, and rebooting the TA fixes it.


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Old 07-30-2015, 05:14 PM   #9
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If you start getting SDV tuning failures, you'll know. When you try to go to the channel, you'll get a black screen and a pop-up message saying something like "This channel is temporarily unavailable." If you want to see what it looks like, just disconnect the USB cable between your TA and Roamio and try viewing a SDV channel.

The tuning adapters certainly can be finicky. The cable companies made them as cheaply as they possibly could. It's generally a good idea to try to reboot your tuning adapter approximately every 3-4 weeks. About once a month I'll start getting some weird behavior being caused by the TA, and rebooting the TA fixes it.
Thanks for the tip. There is no menu on my cisco TA so I assume rebooted is just pulling the power cord for a hard reset.

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Old 07-30-2015, 08:54 PM   #10
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Thanks for the tip. There is no menu on my cisco TA so I assume rebooted is just pulling the power cord for a hard reset.
Yep, just pull the plug. I generally disconnect the USB cable before I plug the TA back in, and reconnect the USB cable after the TA is booted up completely.

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Old 08-12-2015, 09:10 PM   #11
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one more moca related wiring question. have a roamio basic with separate moca adapter coming to setup in a room with only 1 cable line. will need to wire tuning adapter with cable card also. I need the moca adapter in the room to provider ethernet to the roamio basic. The moca network is setup by a plus in another part of the house.

Since there is one coax line, I could run the line using the internal splitters as follows: outlet---> moca adapter---> tuning adapter---> roamio.

Is that a mistake? Should I used a 2 way splitter and daisy chain two of these? If so, then which two components? Or should I use a 3 way splitter?

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Old 08-12-2015, 09:40 PM   #12
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one more moca related wiring question. have a roamio basic with separate moca adapter coming to setup in a room with only 1 cable line. will need to wire tuning adapter with cable card also. I need the moca adapter in the room to provider ethernet to the roamio basic. The moca network is setup by a plus in another part of the house.

Since there is one coax line, I could run the line using the internal splitters as follows: outlet---> moca adapter---> tuning adapter---> roamio.

Is that a mistake? Should I used a 2 way splitter and daisy chain two of these? If so, then which two components? Or should I use a 3 way splitter?
Personally, I'd suggest using a 3-way splitter, with the stronger output going to the TA. Tuning Adapters tend to be temperamental and I'd want it to have the lower-loss return path to try to prevent tuning failures.

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Old 08-15-2015, 08:05 PM   #13
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Personally, I'd suggest using a 3-way splitter, with the stronger output going to the TA. Tuning Adapters tend to be temperamental and I'd want it to have the lower-loss return path to try to prevent tuning failures.
So I put a 3 way splitter near the outlet in that room with the least loss line for the TA as you suggested. I moved my roamio plus and TA back there to test it out. No issues so far. I've been checking the signal rate and SNR and they have been between 95%-100% and 38db-42db. Network diagnostics showed rates of 266-282Mbps for MOCA on both the plus and the mini on the other side of the house. I checked the TA diagnostics and the dBmV levels for tuner, FDC and RDC are all within the ranges I found via search on here.

The only unexpected thing was when I was disconnecting my plus from the living room to take it back to the kids room. At the time there were a few suggestions recording. I removed the coax from the Tivo and then had to take a call before removing the coax from the TA. Live TV went black and I got the tivo message there there was a signal issue. It was like this for about 5 minutes before I shut it down. When I setup the plus back up, I checked the recordings expecting to find blackness recorded for the last 5 minutes. To my surprise I found it was recorded the show for another 5 minutes after I had disconnected the coax. I did notice some blocking/pixelating about the time I removed the coax. The TA was still connected.

Thinking I was crazy, I started watching a familiar show on live tv to see if I could replicate it. Next I disconnected the coax from the tivo at a certain scene and left the TA connected. The screen went black with the same error message again. 5 minutes later I reconnected the coax to the Tivo and the picture came back. But I was able to rewind and watch the 5 minutes that recorded while the screen was black. I did notice some blocking and pixelating at the time when I disconnected the coax from the tivo.

I thought the tivo would be getting the video feed from the coax, not from the usb connected to the TA. I expect there is a good explanation for this, but I have no idea what it is. Any ideas?

UPDATE: I am crazy. See post below.


Last edited by thefisch; 08-15-2015 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 08-15-2015, 09:38 PM   #14
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The only unexpected thing was when I was disconnecting my plus from the living room to take it back to the kids room. At the time there were a few suggestions recording. I removed the coax from the Tivo and then had to take a call before removing the coax from the TA. Live TV went black and I got the tivo message there there was a signal issue. It was like this for about 5 minutes before I shut it down. When I setup the plus back up, I checked the recordings expecting to find blackness recorded for the last 5 minutes. To my surprise I found it was recorded the show for another 5 minutes after I had disconnected the coax. I did notice some blocking/pixelating about the time I removed the coax. The TA was still connected.

Thinking I was crazy, I started watching a familiar show on live tv to see if I could replicate it. Next I disconnected the coax from the tivo at a certain scene and left the TA connected. The screen went black with the same error message again. 5 minutes later I reconnected the coax to the Tivo and the picture came back. But I was able to rewind and watch the 5 minutes that recorded while the screen was black. I did notice some blocking and pixelating at the time when I disconnected the coax from the tivo.

I thought the tivo would be getting the video feed from the coax, not from the usb connected to the TA. I expect there is a good explanation for this, but I have no idea what it is. Any ideas?
That sounds very strange. Are you sure you were completely caught up to live TV and that the Roamio wasn't just recording off the buffer after you disconnected the coax? I didn't even think it would be possible for the TA to send a video stream to the Roamio through the USB cable, but if what you are saying is correct that is the only explanation I can think of. But I don't think the TA was ever designed to do that. Very strange indeed. Going off the premise that science is repeatable, I may try to replicate this unusual behavior myself at some point to see if I can confirm your observations.

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Old 08-15-2015, 11:46 PM   #15
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That sounds very strange. Are you sure you were completely caught up to live TV and that the Roamio wasn't just recording off the buffer after you disconnected the coax? I didn't even think it would be possible for the TA to send a video stream to the Roamio through the USB cable, but if what you are saying is correct that is the only explanation I can think of. But I don't think the TA was ever designed to do that. Very strange indeed. Going off the premise that science is repeatable, I may try to replicate this unusual behavior myself at some point to see if I can confirm your observations.
Well it turns out I am crazy. Perhaps it was recording off the buffer as you mentioned. I just tried again with a NFL preseason game so I could monitor the game clock. When I pulled the coax from the tivo it went black and I hit back 8 seconds and pause on the remote to note the game time. After a few minutes, I reattached the coax to the tivo and hit play. The gameplay jumped in time almost seamlessly with a little pixelation. If it had been during a commercial break or had their not been a game clock, it might have been hard to notice a few minutes missing. Instead of recording black screen, the tivo seems to pause recording until the signal is restored.

At any rate, don't waste any time as I was mistaken.

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