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Did I lose the need for tuning adapters in the switch from TWC to Spectrum?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by abovethesink, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. rcoates777

    rcoates777 Member

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    Oldish thread, I know, but rather than starting another one ....

    I'm in NC (Southern Pines) and have a Bolt with TA. Still on TWC - haven't switched to Spectrum yet. My system is running pretty well but was not getting Velocity. Getting messages like "channel temporarily unavailable." Rebooted TA with no success.

    But in my experimenting everything works fine if I break the USB connection between Bolt & TA. As soon as I plug it back in I lose that channel. So I leave it disconnected and my TA continually does its 6-blink thing and everything seems fine. That's only since yesterday so not sure how long that will last. Perhaps all the channels I watch are not SDV. But strange that I lose that channel with the TA connected. I currently have the TA between the cable input & the Bolt - not in parallel as some of the instructions indicate. (I was baffled when checking my wiring yesterday to find nothing attached to the TA Coax OUT but then found that is how they suggest wiring it. I changed it so that the TA Out went to the Bolt.)

    The Spectrum documentation Q&A has this:

    Q: Will I continue to get channels without a TA?"
    A: Yes - but maybe not in the future

    My guess is it depends on where you live and what channels are SDV in that area.

    For now I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I probably have a bad TA but if it's not needed why replace it?

    Thoughts? Thanks!

    BobC
     
  2. Rugged Ron

    Rugged Ron Member

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    This probably has no relevance to your problem since you didn't mention a Mini on MOCA, but if you did, it is mandatory that the TA be in parallel with the Bolt. If they are in series, the TA will block the MOCA signal to the Mini. That is why it is suggested that the Bolt and TA be fed in parallel from a splitter. Just tuck it away for future knowledge.
     
    wish_bgr likes this.
  3. tatergator1

    tatergator1 Well-Known Member

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    What you describe points to a flawed Channel Map on the TA. Without a TA, the Tivo defaults back to the Channel Map on the Cable Card, which sounds like it has the correct linear frequency for Velocity. There is no reason for the direct coax connection between Tivo and TA, the TA is just acting as a Channel Map, and, in the event the channel you select is broadcast via SDV, asks the head-end to broadcast that channel and tell it what frequency to look for it on.
     
  4. rcoates777

    rcoates777 Member

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    Rugged Ron -

    Thanks for your reply. In fact I do have a Mini on MOCA! Before posting this morning I checked how the Mini was running and was able to tune all the channels. Perhaps nothing I did during my test generated a signal to the Mini - I just don't know the architecture/protocols.

    It had been a while since I hooked up my Bolt & Mini so I'd forgotten some of the wiring details. When I was on the TWC Cable Card Hotline (excellent resource!) and discovered that I had no TA output I thought I had completely fouled something up. But then this morning I felt vindicated when I saw that as the preferred wiring configuration. Just seemed wrong not to have anything connected to the output.
     
    Rugged Ron likes this.
  5. rcoates777

    rcoates777 Member

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    TaterGator -

    Good explanation- thanks. So I wonder why my TA has a bad Channel Map. I've had TAs go bad in the past so maybe this is another case of that. I think I'll document this but leave my existing setup the way it is for now and only worry about it if something breaks down the road. I wonder what the signal loss is passing my signal through the TA vs. through the splitter.

    Thanks again - good information!

    Bob
     
  6. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    If you are really curious check Diagnostics. The Signal Strength % for each tuner is there. But there may be no change when you alter the rf path.
     
  7. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    On my Moto TA, it's close to 10 dB which is huge compared to a 3.5 dB splitter. Keep in mind that every 3.5 dB is roughly a 50% loss. I've been told that the loss in a Cisco TA is much lower because they have an internal unity gain amp. So maybe Cisco is a wash compared to a splitter. In any case, Moca frequencies probably won't pass thru, so it's still a bad idea. If the unconnected port bothers you, cover it with electrical tape so your eye isn't drawn to the shiny part, or connect a piece of coax that doesn't go anywhere.
     
  8. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Connecting the BOLT via the TA's RF/STB Out port doesn't entirely block MoCA signals, but the port is only designed to pass TV frequencies... and will severely attenuate the signal at MoCA frequencies. So the MoCA connection passing through the TA may work, until it doesn't, and the size and complexity of the MoCA network would be much more limited.

    'gist: Don't connect MoCA-enabled DVRs through a tuning adapter's coax pass-through port.

    Also, it is generally recommended to install a "prophylactic" MoCA filter on the input of the TA, to prevent MoCA from interfering with the TA and vice versa.
     
  9. XIBM

    XIBM Member

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    When Charter went digital in my area a couple of years ago, NW GA, I found that all my Silver Package channels came in fine without the TA except one which is likely a mapping error on the CC. The TA is in a storage box for the last two years...
     
  10. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Disconnecting is definitely a great option if the channel losses are insignificant. In my market, several premiums and sports channels were also on SDV, so I chose to leave mine connected. Now that I've cut the cord, everything is disconnected, so I have no TA or CC troubles whatsoever.
     
  11. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    The TA is definitely a candidate for the National Kludge Hall of Fame Museum.
     
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  12. rcoates777

    rcoates777 Member

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    KRK -

    Thanks for the tips. Can you be a little more specific re. the filter I should use on the input to the TA? I have a POE filter where my cable enters the house (in an attempt to not disrupt the neighbors.) Would it be that same one? I haven't seen any mention of this filter in the TiVo literature.

    Not sure why I care but does the TiVo know which channels are SDV and make a request to the TA only for those or does every channel change generate this sort of request if a TA is connected?

    Thanks!
     
  13. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Yes, you just need to buy/acquire another of the same type of filter (e.g.); they're all just MoCA filters, but many refer to them simply as "PoE filters," since they're primarily used at the signal point-of-entry to prevent MoCA signals from exiting the home and keeping foreign MoCA signals out. (another post on the subject here)

    p.s. See this post for more info on setting up a tuning adapter in a MoCA environment.
     
  14. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    If connected, ALL requests go through the TA. In my cable system, the channel map in the cable card lists every SDV channel as 9999. TA asks the head end to put it in the stream (or take it back out) and returns the real channel number. If the TA is not connected, Tivo just tunes what it got from the cable card's channel map, bogus SDV channel numbers and all. I'm no expert, but that's my basic understanding of how it works.

    The only reason TA's exist is because cable cards are incapable of 2-way communication with the head end. Otherwise a CC could do a TA's simple job.
     
  15. rcoates777

    rcoates777 Member

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    MDaveJ -

    Do TiVo user have the ability to see the channel map in the cable card?

    Anyhow, I removed my TA completely and everything is running fine for now. I will keep this setup until one of my channels goes to SDV.

    Given how many problems I've had with TAs over the last few years I feel foolish that I ever installed it in the first place. But I believed the TWC party line that it was required.

    I've learned a lot by hanging out here - thanks to everyone for their help.

    Bob
     
  16. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Many of the Spectrum (formerly TWC) channels we watch are SDV (requiring TA). Have to power-cycle the TA every few weeks. And recently the system has started making an SDV channel unavailable if a tuner is parked on it for some unknown time. If the channel is being watched it pops up a message asking if you are still watching. If not being watched it just removes the signal and when you switch back to that tuner you get the "temporarily unavailable" message and have to click several times to retune it. My understanding is this has always been acceptable (to somebody, not me) behavior of SDV systems, but we went 7 years without it happening before it recently started. I presume this is because Spectrum is crowding more channels into their SDV group.

    Sooner or later we will drop cable and not having to deal with a TA will be one of the huge benefits of that. Of course our un-bundled internet will cost us 2/3 of what we now pay for cable+internet. :mad:. Spectrum has a local monopoly on high-speed internet in our neighborhood, so no other choice.
     
  17. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    I don’t think so. The only way I could see the map was with some special software and a Ceton tuner back when I ran WMC. It was nice because I could see at a glance exactly which channels were SDV.
     
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  18. UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    Several months ago I installed timers on our two TAs set to turn off and on the power to the TAs once a week in the middle of the night. We have not had a single problem since. So if you ever have to use the TA in the future, consider this solution.
     
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  19. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Luckily I never had any trouble at all with my Moto TAs. They would run forever without reboots. Cisco is another matter, from what I’ve read.
     
  20. UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, mine's a Cisco. And coincidentally I had issues with it this morning. Most likely a headend issue with Charter, but I kept getting the nag message "are you still watching this channel?". About every three minutes. Had to press select every time (If I didn't the channel would go black), then it would come back. Finally it stopped. This is bad news if it keeps up.
     

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