Please help! My new BOLT's OTA Reception is Terrible

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by Me3, Jan 21, 2018.

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  1. Me3

    Me3 New Member

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    Jan 21, 2018
    I just purchased a new Bolt VOX. My Bolt is having a terrible time picking up a watchable signal from several of my local OTA stations. It appears that the Bolt believes that the signal is low on strength with horizontal bars of picture interspersed between blackness. I wouldn't personally call it pixelization, but then I'm a TiVo nOOb.

    My Bolt is connected to an HDTV antenna. I have about 100' of coax cable between the antenna and a two-way splitter that then connects to my Bolt and to a Hauppage TV tuner card on my PC. I've checked all of the connections.

    The TV tuners in my PC have no problem picking up any of these channels. The tuners in my LG TV also pull the signals in without issue.

    Could I have a bad TiVo? Is this a common problem with the Bolt's OTA tuners? Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to improve this situation?

    I really want to love my TiVo. Unfortunately, I'll be returning mine if I can't resolve this problem.

    Thanks!
     
  2. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    First, with the remote, hit TiVo, select Menu, select Help/Account & System Info, select Diagnostics. Each tuner has a Signal Strength % and SNR. What do all four tuners have for numbers? Scroll down to see all tuners.
     
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  3. Me3

    Me3 New Member

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    Jan 21, 2018
    Thank you so much for your help!

    The offending channel today is currently reading an SNR of 15dB and a Signal Strength of 37%. Perhaps interestingly, all four tuners are listed as being connected to that channel. Each of those tuners reports the same values of SNR=15dB and Signal Strength of 37%.

    When I did a signal strength check earlier today all of my channels fell between 50% and 60% except for two. My best strength was 72%. My worst was 37%. That's the same channel that I listed above.

    Clearly, this one channel has a much lower signal strength than the others, so I'm guessing the TiVo box is doing the best it can with a so-so situation/signal. Any suggestions on my options?
     
  4. PSU77

    PSU77 Member

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    Nov 3, 2017
    Where is your Antenna located. Can you put it on the roof?
     
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  5. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    The 72% number is what happens when the software adjusts the signal to make your tuner happy. You have an issue with one channel and that's not the TiVo. Previous post is the way to proceed.
     
  6. Me3

    Me3 New Member

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    Jan 21, 2018
    Thanks for replying!

    I would have to get a contractor to install an antenna on the roof. Plus, I would probably have to go thru some process with my Home Owner's Association. I'm not sure that I want to go that far yet (famous last words). However, my antenna is mounted to the exterior wall of my building at the height of the 2nd-floor windows.

    How much improvement might be experienced if I could get the antenna higher off of the ground?
     
  7. Me3

    Me3 New Member

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    Jan 21, 2018
    Thanks very much!
     
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  8. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Use this site to get an idea of your reception possibilities -> TV Fool

    It's a good starting point.
     
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  9. Me3

    Me3 New Member

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    Jan 21, 2018
    AWESOME! Checking out that website will keep me out of trouble for a while! Thanks again.
     
  10. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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  11. 19972000muskrat

    19972000muskrat Active Member

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    Jan 2, 2008
    Here is a rather technical site on antenna issues for those interested.
    Siting the antenna
     
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  12. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    May 28, 2005
    New Mexico...
    Antenna placement and orientation can be more like a black art than a simple task - it all depends on your specific details of how far away the transmitting towers are, the terrain, trees, other buildings, airports and roads, etc. And all this will be complicated to an extreme if you are trying to receive signals from towers located in two different directions. Without more information, it is tough to give you meaningful suggestions. The fact that your TV and PC both have no problems with those stations is a bit problematic, since the bolt tuners are usually quite good. You need to see if you can find any diagnostic information in either of those devices to show what signal strength they see. While you cannot directly compare any numbers between devices, if you do not see the same relative differences between channels, then I'd start by looking for problems with your coax. Move the antenna cable currently connected to the TV to the Bolt and see what difference that makes.

    And the specific antenna you have can make the most difference of all. In my opinion, the vast majority of antennas being marketed today specifically as "HD" antennas are nothing more than plastic garbage being dumped on uninformed home owners. Tell us specifically what brand and model of antenna you have, and does it include a powered amplifier; you may find someone with personal experience with that device.

    While mounting an antenna higher and outside is USUALLY the best location, it is not always so. In extreme cases of location where signals are being blocked or reflected, you can sometimes find that the best location is just one small spot somewhere around the house. You can test for this sort of thing with an antenna mounted on a pole that you can move round while someone else watches the signal strength.

    On a Bolt, you generally need a signal strength of 42% or better to get a good picture. With digital transmissions, once you get a clear and stable picture, a stronger signal will NOT improve it in any way (but it does give you some extra margin of safety in cases of inclement weather or other things that may temporarily interfere with the signal strength). So tune your antenna to improve the weakest signal, and USUALLY all others will be fine. You may find that simply twisting your antenna a fairly small amount can make a big difference in the signal (depending on how directional the antenna is), so start there.
     
  13. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    May 28, 2005
    New Mexico...
    I want to give a tremendous thanks to you for sharing this link - that is an EXCELLENT site that provides detailed technical information in a way that should be understandable to most educated people. Although I have specific training in this subject, I had not seen any documentation quite that clear before.

    Anyone struggling to resolve OTA reception issues really needs to review that site!
     
  14. Banana-Heads

    Banana-Heads Member

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    7
    Feb 26, 2010
    Got to Amazon and read some of the reviews about the Bolt. Lots of people having pixelation problems. Seems they changed the metrics for signal tolerance in the Bolt.

    After 3 months of troubleshooting with no luck, Tivo is replacing my box which is coax\MoCA. Will see if it fixes it. Don't know about OTA but you may just have a lemon.
     
  15. TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

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    Oct 22, 2013
    Ohio
    I have set up OTA TiVos for a dozen or more friends. Several of those I tried with a Bolt. All three of those did away with their Bolts and went with The Roamio OTA model. Not only is it cheaper but in my experience it tunes much better than the Bolt does. Some people on this forum have had OK luck with Bolt used for OTA, but for me in every case when I have directly compared the two the Roamio was significantly more successful.
     
  16. Teeps

    Teeps Well-Known Member

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