Bad Reception on One Channel only

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by jcantrell, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. jcantrell

    jcantrell New Member

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    Sep 5, 2001
    Atlanta, GA USA

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    I recently noticed that my DT Tivo is getting terrible reception on Channel 4 (Local Fox affliate). When I watch the channel bypassing the Tivo, it has no issues. Further, this problem only occurs on this one channel. Anyone have any ideas about what could cause something like this? I thought I remembered some posts from long ago about something similar, but I could not find anything via the search engine.

    Jonathan
     
  2. JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

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    Sep 19, 2001
    Binghamton, NY
    Probably a low signal for channel 4. Any splitters being used?
     
  3. jcantrell

    jcantrell New Member

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    Sep 5, 2001
    Atlanta, GA USA
    I added a splitter to work around the problem with the DT Tivos not properly going into standby mode.


    Why would the signal degrade so much for just one channel. Also, the TV is receiving a signal post-splitter and it has no clarity problems on that channel.


    Jonathan
     
  4. litzdog911

    litzdog911 TechKnow Guide

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    Oct 18, 2002
    Mill Creek,...
    Does it work without the splitter? Tivo tuners are not as sensitive as most TVs, so any weaker channels can have problems on your Tivo even though they're OK on your TV's tuner.
     
  5. Jan 6, 2007 #5 of 13
    gfxguy

    gfxguy New Member

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    Dec 15, 2005

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    Having the exact same problem. Had the problem badly with series 1, which was showing it's age anyway, so decided to upgrade to series 2 DT. The reception is MUCH better with the newer unit, but it's still not as clear as the other channels.

    It's the same thing. I'm in the Atlanta area, with comcast, and it'd been working for years just fine, and all of a sudden, a couple of months ago, channel 4 just got crappy. TV and VCR tune the channel perfectly.

    Remarkably, our OTHER Tivo (single tuner series 2) get it just fine, but it is closer to the amplifier.

    Really annoying, with 24 starting next week, but the reception is acceptable with the new unit. I'm not thrilled, but it IS better.

    In your case, you may need an amplifier. Comcast gave me a VERY nice one outside that can actually be powered through the cable. Works great (or worked great, up until this problem), but if you can get the amp closer to your Tivo, it might work.
     
  6. Jan 6, 2007 #6 of 13
    betts4

    betts4 I am Spartacus!

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    A Galaxy...
    Interesting. I was going to post a question here and then saw this thread and had to stop and look.

    We recently added a comcast digital cable box to our already working cable system. Our tivo didn't like it, we got some IR cables (as suggested here) and things are now okay. Not great, not fine, but okay.
    However, we have one channel that gets bad or no reception - TNT. Can't figure it out, have resent tivo, called comcast and had them resend signal, and all that.

    Anyway, why would only one channel be 'out'?

    Personally I am ready to send the whole thing back. Got a great speech from comcast about using their dvr units. hunh.

    I may now call them back and ask them about an 'amplifier'. Is there a good way to ask for that and not sound stupid? I don't know what that is or means, but it sounds like it helped.
     
  7. Jan 9, 2007 #7 of 13
    gfxguy

    gfxguy New Member

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    Dec 15, 2005
    I don't visit the forum that often, so I apologize for the delayed response.

    I'm abandoning the thread I started for this one, so hopefully we can figure out what the problem is.

    I was having a problem with my internet service when I called Comcast to come help. That's when they gave me the amplifier and some new cable up to the entry point in the house. That solved a lot of problems (I was having bad reception on several channels that I didn't care about, so I never bothered complaining). I actually had to replace the cable to my office (and therefor to the cable modem) myself.

    The nice Comcast amplifier has three cables being output from it. One goes the family room Tivo, with maybe 10 feet of cable, and the reception there is just fine. The cable going to the office had to be replaced, it was about 30 feet, and the internet worked just fine after I replaced it, but I wasn't watching TV in the office.

    The third cable is about 30 feet, also. It goes to a bonus room over my garage. This is now where my cable modem, as well as the Tivo that I'm having problems with is. The internet works perfectly. Every other channel works perfectly. The channel looks fine when the cable is hooked up to the TV (even after the splitter!) or VCR.

    So here's the problem; we're between Tivo, who will claim there's a problem with the cable signal (rock) and Comcast, who will claim it's a problem with the Tivo since the channel is fine going straight to the TV (hard place).

    I tried adding another amplifier, but it sucked badly. In fact, while channel four was improved, every other channel got worse.

    I'm going to try another, more expensive one. The one I tried had four outputs and was $27 at Home Depot. The other one they had at Home Depot had only one output but cost $10 more. So it was a no brainer to get the cheaper one. That's right, I have no brain. Because the more expensive one works on a WIDER range of frequencies. With all the digital signals and bandwidth being squeezed into these small cables - hey, analog AND digital AND internet AND (in some cases) digital phone service - I've discovered, for example, a cheap splitter will not do the job, I needed to buy the really expensive one.

    So I'm going to try the more expensive amp to see if it helps. I will post back here with the results.

    I hope Home Depot will accept my open package for return. From what I see on the shelves, it seems like they would.

    For passers-by, here's the stats: in the family room the S2 Tivo works great, it's about 10 feet of cable away from the amp. In the bonus room the DT S2 (which replaced an S1 with the same problem) is about 30 feet after the amp, but the internet service works great and the regular TV and VCR tune all the channels beautifully.

    And yes, it's just the ONE channle that has bad reception.
     
  8. gfxguy

    gfxguy New Member

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    Dec 15, 2005
    Other amp didn't have a wider range. I'm going to try something drastic this weekend.
     
  9. danschn

    danschn Member

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    Apr 22, 2004
    New York
    I presume channel 4 is broadcast in your area?

    I think most of the time a problem like this occurs is that the cable at one of the terminals is not properly insulated, and the coaxial starts acting as an antenna. A relatively weak cable signal is then being interfered with the broadcast signal.

    An easy test is to tune the TV into the bad channel, then jiggle each cable right at the terminal where it's screwed into any box (TiVo, STB, etc.) or wall, and watch the effect it has on the picture. If the patterns of interference change as the cable is jiggled, you're probably looking at a bad terminal installation (either original, or as a result of being pulled at too strenuously), which could be redone, or replaced with a trip to Radio Shack for new terminals or cables.

    Also, try swapping in new cables from rooms that don't suffer this problem, as older cables probably weren't as well insulated.

    Of course, the problem could be cable/terminal/insulation behind the wall too. That would probably be apparent when the cable guy/gal was measuring the signal.

    Good luck.

    Dan
     
  10. gfxguy

    gfxguy New Member

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    Dec 15, 2005
    Thanks for the suggestions, Dan.

    Given this: there is an outside splitter/amplifier supplied by the cable company about a year and a half ago.

    One cable goes to the family room Tivo, and the family room Tivo works great. That cable length is maybe ten feet. After the amp was added, this room worked great.

    One signal goes to a bonus room, and goes through the outer wall on the far side of where the splitter is. Why? Ask the jerk who lived in the house before me - I don't think he had the brains go through the soffit overhanging where the splitter he used to have was and into the wall of the bonus room, so he went all the way to the end of the house, wrapped around the overhang up to the second floor, then through the wall. Anyway, the cable length is somewhere around 25 feet. Up until about three months ago, the Tivo in this room worked great, too.

    Nothing was changed. The internet service worked great, everything worked great. Then, all of a sudden, about three months ago, channel four got snowy.

    This cable was not split. Both connectors were redone by the cable company, and are really solid and worked great up until October. Thinking it might just be the old cable, I bought a new length of shielded satellite cable (with factory connectors) and ran it from the amp through the window just to try it out. There was no difference at all. So I added an amplifier. I think the frequency range of the amplifiers at Home Depot are not up to snuff - the one supplied by the cable company goes 50 to 1000MHz, the ones at Home Depot, the GE ones, only go to 900MHz. With as much bandwidth as they are squeezing into this cable, it might make a difference.

    So I ran a new cable up through the soffit into the wall of the bonus room (the upper floor actually overhangs the lower floor by about a foot, so it was perfect). This made the length of cable only about 8 feet (although I had to redo the connector on that end, but I used a good crimp on connector). I moved the TV cart over to that side of the room and tried it out with EXACTLY the same results - everything was great except channel four. So I did a whole lot of work for nothing (except maybe to add $0.50 value to the house).

    So, if you've made it this far, I have one more thing to try - although it's not a solution, it's only diagnostic. Tomorrow I'm going to switch upstairs/downstairs units. This will tell me once and for all if it's the signal or the Tivo.

    If it is the Tivo, that makes two - when I got snowy channel four I decided to upgrade the old Series 1 to a DT Series 2. Both have the problem. The one that works in the family room is single turner series 2. So we'll see.

    Thanks to all who've waded through this with us.
     
  11. gfxguy

    gfxguy New Member

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    Dec 15, 2005
    Ok, last post. I switched Tivos, and after all that, the old S2 worked just fine in BOTH locations, the new DT S2 and the old S1 both did not work at the location they were at, and I tried the DT S2 in the other room and it STILL didn't work. So it's hard to believe, but the only answer is two Tivos with problematic tuners.

    I don't see how Tivo will be able to deny it if one unit works and the other doesn't, but it might be a defect at the manufacturing level - not just a bad unit, but that's how they're made now or something. So we'll see.

    At best, I'm going to be watching the first four hours of 24 fuzzy.

    EDIT: Now I'm mad at Tivo. The phone support guy wouldn't even listen or bother forwarding my call to someone who might actually know anything. He said he was "100% sure" that I could get a new Tivo and it WOULD NOT work, even after telling him that I had another unit that worked perfectly. Refused to RMA my brand new, disfunctional Tivo, or even pass me on to someone who could explain why it's NOT a Tivo problem, even though every other turner in the house, including another Tivo unit, works fine.
     
  12. danschn

    danschn Member

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    Apr 22, 2004
    New York
    When you swapped the Tivo's did you leave all the cables where they originally were so the Tivo was the only part of the equation that was changing? Or perhaps because of different TV inputs you carried different output cables with you - like an S-Video cable? (Not saying you're overlooking the obvious, but trying to rule out everything else.)

    It is hard to understand that you could have 2 Tivos, and effectively 3 tuners (with the DT) that can't lock into channel 4. I confess, I don't use the tuner on my S2 Tivo, as I run it through my HD cable box. I know I have fairly strong signals throughout my house, but not great, but I have no tuning issues except for SD ESPN has some modest diagonal line interference which Cablevision couldn't do anything about. With ESPN HD it's not there, so I stopped worrying about it.

    But assuming that your cable signal is weak, but generally acceptable, and that Channel 4 broadcast signal is the strongest in your location, and ruling out all external cables as contributing to your interference, that leaves the internal workings of 2 Tivos as inferior to a TV (possible) and a VCR (unlikely). If all that is true, that leaves the internal tuner (who knows?) and the internal cables that lead to/from it.

    If you open the unit, can those internal cables be replaced?

    Dan
     
  13. gfxguy

    gfxguy New Member

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    Dec 15, 2005
    Dan - the only thing that I swapped were the units. The cables, including the A/V cables stayed with their respective TVs - even the power cables.

    One does use s-video, the other does not, but that's a function of the TV, not the Tivo, so the unit that won't tune channel four won't tune it with the exact same setup, same cables, as the Tivo that does work. And the Tivo that does work works with the same cables that the other fails on, in both locations.

    You seem to think the VCR likely has a worse tuner - if you see my solution to the problem, you will see that I ended up using a VCR to tune channel 4.

    W.R.T. your last question - I'm not going to open my brand new Tivo to find out.
     

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