My DECT phone "blocks" Channel 4 +1

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by aerialplug, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. aerialplug

    aerialplug Serious TiVo User

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    Oct 20, 2000
    Swansea
    Sorry - I know this is off topic so I'll keep it brief - it may affect some others here.

    My Sky+ box has no problems with Channel 4 +1 but while testing the new channel logos earlier on I discovered that my second Sky box, connected to the same dish and in the same rack of equipment almost completely fails to display the +1 channel unless I turn off the DECT phone base station (or make a phone call on said DECT phone!)

    Apparently this is a known problem.

    The down-shift frequency used when converting the signal from the dish's LNB to the set top box for the transponder used by Channel 4 for their +1 service is roughly the same as that used by DECT base stations.

    I have a known shielding issue with the main input component on my aging Sky box and I guess this is the first time it's manifested itself as this is the first time I've tried picking something up on this transponder...

    I hope this helps/explains if someone's scratching their head wondering why Four+1 (and the Big Brother live stream) don't work but everything else does.
     
  2. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    My box is an old Panny TUCT20 that I keep in use because it never gives any trouble and hasn't burnt out in over 2 years of 24/7 use with my Tivo.

    The only time I have previously seen this issue on the box is with some dating or chatting channels in the 800s and 900s and they clearly use a much lower amount of bandwidth for their signal than a main channel like BBC1 on 101. I have never seen it before with a channel I actually want to watch.

    So is the issue in fact that Ch4 have tried to do this +1 channel on the cheap by paying for the minimum amount of bandwidth for the channel signal from Astra? Kind of ironic in view of the huge fuss they made about the launch of this channel in the media, which the stupid media then fell for by just writing up the C4 press release. Whereas so far as Freeview is concerned people should just have been getting really angry about yet another valuable channel slot being wasted on a +1 channel.

    I don't have a problem with +1 channels on Sky or Cable, where there is room for them, but not when they are created to the complete detriment of adequate total channel choice on a very limited platform like Freeview. Once again Ofcom is snoozing and saying that anything goes.
     
  3. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Yes it is DECT related as if I make a call on my DECT phone I get a No Signal Is Being Received message and if I turn the power off on the DECT base unit C4+1 appears in all its normal glory.

    But if you are getting this problem and I am getting this problem then think just how many people nationally will be affected. So it seems C4 made a very bad choice of frequencies for this channel to be broadcast on. If they were a dating channel then they wouldn't care as long as the slot was cheap and as long as at least the majority of people could watch it.

    It seems scary that a DECT base unit is putting out enough signal power to do this. I thought these things were low power compared to a mobile phone.
     
  4. aerialplug

    aerialplug Serious TiVo User

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    Swansea
    I have to wonder if there is some sort of deal in this for C4 - Ive since learned that a series of channels were recently moved off this transponder for precisely this issue. Most were channels I've never heard of, and that's saying something given my exposure to finding logos for some of these stations.

    For anyone who's interested, this is what I see on 4+1 when viewed on my old Pace Sky Digibox:

    [​IMG]

    Despite the jumbled up appearance, the image is completely static - the only movement is the occasional flicker at the top of the screen where you see the programme attempt to draw a frame - you can just see the 4+1 logo in the right hand corner.

    The rest of the screen is residual garbage left over in the MPEG decoder's memory from the last image that it decoded prior to channel change.

    In my case I know exactly why this is happening - there's a vital component on the main board of the digibox with no shielding on it - and this erratic behaviour is exactly what you'd expect to see.
     
  5. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    I have encountered the issue before on this box but basically only for shopping channels or ripoff premium text dating channels that most of us would never really want to watch let alone record on Tivo.

    So it seems Ch4 have been sold a pup by Astra (or would be it Sky who would organise this with Ch4), which is kind of ironic in view of what a big bally hoo fuss they made about launching the channel a day or so ago.
     
  6. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Mine starts off with No Signal is Being Received for several seconds when I first change to the channel then I just get some serrated coloured patterns that are static and frozen. But not so much of the Green that you get. I am getting jagged serrated sections in several colours. Mid blue, beige, off white and some purple and turquoise.

    No doubt the symptoms will vary by box and possibly DECT phone make.

    My DECT unit is a BT Studio 100. I don't suppose that is what you have?
     
  7. aerialplug

    aerialplug Serious TiVo User

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    Oct 20, 2000
    Swansea
    It won't matter the brand - all DECT units use a common air interface so to all intents and purposes they look the same RF wise.

    As I mentioned in a previous post (though it was added later so you may not have read it) my first generation Pace digibox is missing a vital lid off one of the components that's very prone to RF interference so it's no surprise to me that this is happening to it.
     
  8. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    This Panny has no specific issues other than that it is about 8 years old.

    All I'm saying is that if in this incredibly small universe of UK Tivo enthusiasts its happening to both you and me its going to be affecting tens or hundreds of thousands of customers with older Sky boxes nationwide.

    C4 obviously need to press to have a better frequency allocation from Astra in order to ensure maximum viewing figures for the channel as I certainly won't be getting a new box just so I can watch Ch135!
     
  9. iankb

    iankb New Member

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    Just in case anybody wants to try, I had no problems getting my old out-of-warranty Sky digibox replaced for free with a brand new box - just by threatening to cancel my subscription because the old box was locking up. You have to hold your ground when they try and offer you a half-price box. But you should be able to get a free box in the end.

    I still cancelled it in the end, because of the pin-entry issue. But I've now got a nice new freesat box.
     
  10. Ashley

    Ashley Aibo nut

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    Apr 20, 2002
    Windsor UK
    I have 2 DECT base stations in the house - one in the same room as my Sky Box (An old Panny box bought s/h off eBay). I receive ch135 perfectly.
     
  11. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    What model of Panny though?

    Perhaps not the the black TU-CT20? Perhaps a little silver number instead? eg TU-CT30 or 31
     
  12. kitschcamp

    kitschcamp Tweaked and poked

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    I have a couple of 30s and they receive 135 fine.
     
  13. kitschcamp

    kitschcamp Tweaked and poked

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    I would hazard a guess that they're using this transponder as a holding pattern until Astra 2C gets into the correct location and adds additional transponders at 28.2E.

    I would hazard a guess that plans were made for this based on transponder space promised by Astra months, or even years, ago and now Astra is in a bit of a pickle until the "new" old satellite gets there.

    I would further hazard a guess that when 2C does get there some existing channels will move off 2D onto 2C, allowing C4+1 onto 2D.

    My logic being related to Freesat plans.
     
  14. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Interesting. Is there any particular website that gives further information on all this?
     
  15. kitschcamp

    kitschcamp Tweaked and poked

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    satellites.co.uk and the Astra2D forums for starters.
     
  16. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    This morning I am now getting a C4+1 picture that you can actually see the program on but that keeps stopping and starting and breaking up in to separate frozen parts before starting again.

    I notice that the Sky EPG only lists the current program on the channel.

    It seems C4+1 have launched with only an engineering test. If they keep at it they might have this sorted out so that it can actually work on all Sky boxes in a few days time..............
     
  17. OzSat

    OzSat Very Nice Moderator

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    Feb 15, 2001
    Oxfordshire, UK
    My EPG is listing normally

    This DECT 'phone problem has been around for a long time - but only now have the channels on that frequency been of much interest. In Germany, popular channels have been moved off that frequency (12.480GHz) - although the LNB shifts this down to the frequency which is actually clashing.

    Apart from all the C4+1 regions - the only other thing on the same frequency is the Big Brother interactive feed - which people in other forums are also reporting as being affected.
     
  18. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Correct. I have seen the picture breakup problem before on obscure shopping and dating channels on this Panny TUCT-20 box but never on one from a mainstream broadcaster. All I knew was that certain very obscure channels broke up - I never traced it to my DECT phone so thanks to aerialplug for that info.

    However since the problem exists and since Channel 4 made such a fuss about launching this channel they would obviously be better off trying to shift it on to a frequency where this problem does not occur on certain older Sky boxes when a DECT phone is near by (as these days it is very likely to be).

    Alternatively if this problem is going to become more common as Astra try to squeeze more and more channels on to their satellites and if newer Sky Digiboxes are not afflicted by it then perhaps it is time to upgrade my Sky box to a more recent model?

    I have reported the problem to Channel 4 Viewer and Listener enquiries and at the same time also added Channel 4's 020 London switchboard number to the www.saynoto0870.com database as a way of reaching viewer and listener enquiries without having to be ripped off by paying to call an 0845 call charged at up to 40p per minute and excluded from landline and mobile phone fixed price inclusive calls packages.
     
  19. kitschcamp

    kitschcamp Tweaked and poked

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    I think the launch time would have been largely out of C4's control.

    They had to book a transponder - they had an agreement for one with Astra.
    They had to book EPG space - they are at the whim of when Sky are prepared to add it to the EPG, and I seem to recall that is done months in advance.

    To co-ordinate both, especially with the shortage of space on the 4 satellites there at the moment, is difficult.
     
  20. OzSat

    OzSat Very Nice Moderator

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    Oxfordshire, UK
    The problem will not go beyond the one frequency - and so never more than around 8 channels - there are 6 C4+1's and a BB feed.

    The 11GHz frequency doesn't hit as a direct match and doesn't seem to be affected.
     

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