POE filter for MoCA drops my speed down to a crawl

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by Lothar_HP, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Jan 4, 2017 #1 of 31
    Lothar_HP

    Lothar_HP New Member

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    I am trying to set up a MoCA 2.0 network in my new house. I have a Comcast cable internet service that easily gives me a blazing-fast 300 Mbps download speed.

    I have a TiVO Roamio OTA that I am using for local OTA channels, with this window-mounted
    OTA antenna:

    Antennas Direct - ClearStream Eclipse Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna - Black and White

    It seems to be doing a good job of pulling in my local channels.

    Today, I tried to install a point-of-entry filter, at the demarcation point where Comcast's cable connects to the outside of my house. It's not at the green metal box near my street, but at an unlocked plastic box on the outside of my house. The plastic box contains several coax cables that appear to run into my house, and through trial-and-error, I figured out which cable appears to be the main feed from the street (can anybody educate me about the green/blue color codes on Comcast's cable terminators?). The coax cable does run into the ground, in the direction of the green Comcast box.

    I tried to install this POE filter, in-between the feed from the street, and the first node where there is a splitter inside that plastic box:

    Amazon.com: TiVo Authorized MoCA / Point of Entry (PoE) Filter: Home Audio & Theater

    That's the filter that TiVo officially authorizes.

    I bought a second of the same POE filter to install on that antenna input, if any of you think it's needed, but have not yet installed it.

    With that POE filter installed, my internet speed is a sluggish 10Mbps. With the filter removed, it is 300Mbps. Obviously something is very wrong.

    I have not yet tried connecting my new MoCA network adapters to the network yet. I bought a couple of

    What is going wrong here?
     
  2. Jan 5, 2017 #2 of 31
    krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Did you try both MoCA filters at that particular location? (Could be a bad filter; though it could just be the wrong location.)

    Also, we couldn't tell you whether you need one of those MoCA filters, both or neither without knowing more about your setup and how it all connects together (or will). A diagram (however roughly drawn) can be immensely helpful (examples attached); short of that, detailing how the rooms are connected using coax and/or Ethernet, and what equipment is to be connected and where, can be enough (e.g.).

    Example diagrams...

    MoCA_diagram_eg1.jpg MoCA OTA.png MoCA - simple cable setup.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  3. Jan 5, 2017 #3 of 31
    fcfc2

    fcfc2 Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    A couple thoughts, if the OTA antenna is directly feeding the Roamio OTA DVR and only the DVR, then you would not normally need a MoCA filter at that location but if the antenna is connected to the common house coax system you will either need a filter or the judicious use of a Diplexer or 2 on your setup.
    Your discription of the coax connections in that open plastic box are not clear as is a your description of the overall coax network. A picture of those connections in the plastic box would help as would almost any kind of diagram/sketch of your coax system to include the router. The router make and model number would help also as some models are not MoCA compatible and these will often react badly when a strong MoCA signal is present. (As a test, take that spare MoCA filter and place it on the input of the cable modem and see if the speed returns to normal.)
     
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  4. Jan 5, 2017 #4 of 31
    scole250

    scole250 Member

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    Post a pic of the box, cables, splitter, POE filter installed.

    Or call Comcast and ask them to come out and verify how everything is connected.
     
  5. Jan 5, 2017 #5 of 31
    Lothar_HP

    Lothar_HP New Member

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    Thanks for being so willing to help, guys, I appreciate it...

    I've attached a diagram of the setup that I am trying to build, as well as the photo you requested of the plastic enclosure box on the outside of my house. The two splitters labeled "Splitter #1" and "Splitter #2" are the splitters show in the photo. One splitter is attached to the other via a short patch cable.

    The splitters are exactly as the Comcast installer set them up, except that I detached that top center cable to insert the PoE filter. That cable runs to the metal Comcast box up at the street (i.e., it's the feed from the street into my house).

    The white cable in the photo is an old cable that is no longer connected to anything.

    I did try that spare PoE filter today, and it had the same result--very slow download speeds (but acceptable upload speeds, as with the other filter). When I remove the filter, my download speed jump right back up to 300 Mbps. So the filters are not faulty, but they are doing something to slow down my internet connection.

    My router is an Asus RT-AC68U. I haven't tried your test yet, fcf2, because there is no MoCA signal as of now that could be overloading the router. I haven't yet constructed the diagrammed MoCA network. All I've done so far is the very first step--installing a PoE filter at the coax feed into the house. I don't want to bother constructing the rest of the MoCA network until I figure out why that filter is slowing down my internet speed.

    You did give me an idea for something else to test though. I tried plugging my laptop computer directly into the modem, using an ethernet cable, bypassing the router entirely. The download speed is still very slow, with the PoE filter in place outside the house. So that removes the router from consideration as having anything to do with my problem.

    The modem is an Arris Surfboard SB6183, in case that makes any difference. It's a non-WiFI modem.

    MoCA diagram for new house_1.gif coax splitters.jpg
     
  6. Jan 5, 2017 #6 of 31
    fcfc2

    fcfc2 Well-Known Member

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    Hi again,
    Question, does your current MoCA setup work without the filter, test it if you haven't already? Results? Then try putting one MoCA filter on the input of your cable modem and one back where you had it on the input of the first 4 way in the picture. Results? Then with the filters inplace, try swapping out the MoCA adapter with another one? Results?
    A bit of clarification, your cable modem already has a builtin MoCA filter and it is the device that otherwise might need protection from the MoCA frequencies not the router. I was suggesting you try installing the filter on the input of the cable modem to insure that the MoCA signals were not interfering with it, but that model "should" be immune.
    I can tell you that based on the diagram, you do not need the filter on the antenna line, there is no common coax carrying MoCA.
    Moving on, the coax connections and splitter arrangement are not standard. I have seen situations where the line starts with a 2 way splitter with one leg feeding the line going to the cable modem, as this generally helps insure a good feed to the cable modem and the other goes to the house TV feeds. This is not what you have...the way it is now is that you have 5 feeds going into your home and none of them is optimized for your cable modem.
    The diagram is a bit confusing on the upper left where you show a coax split with one leg going to a MoCA adapter and another feeding the cable modem...but without showing any splitter. Also although you start out showing 5 incoming feeds, your diagram only accounts for 4 "primary" feeds plus one additional 2 way feeding the bedrooms.
    Some more clarification...the situation you describe with the internet speeds taking a dive after the installation of a MoCA filter usually occurs when a Non-MoCA friendly cable modem reacts to the stronger MoCA signal triggered by the use of the filter overwhelmes the modem as interference but that should not happen with that Arris modem. Another possibility would be the malfunction of either the MoCA adapter and / or any one of the MoCA devices on the system which is why I suggested swapping the MoCA adapter if you have one. You could also try alternating powering off one mini and then the other.
    A general note, apparently none of the splitters in your home are optimized for MoCA but I doubt that is the source of the problem.
     
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  7. Jan 5, 2017 #7 of 31
    krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    FYI... Just to clear up one point of confusion... earlier when fcfc2 requested ...
    ... he really meant "cable modem" or "cable gateway," as a standalone router won't have any coax connections and so wouldn't be directly affected by MoCA signals becoming active on the coax lines.

    And as he later stated, your SB6183 cable modem *is* MoCA-compatible, in that it has a built-in protective MoCA filter and so shouldn't be affected if/when MoCA becomes active on your network.

    That said, that a simple MoCA filter install is killing your Internet connection is surprising, since the cable Internet signals should be within the pass-band of the MoCA filter (i.e. should be allowed to pass through) -- though it isn't unheard of as a problem. I'll see if I can find some past examples on the forums.
     
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  8. Jan 5, 2017 #8 of 31
    krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    That's very surprising, as normally the cable tech would ensure that the strongest possible signal would be directed at the cable modem, and feeding the incoming line into the 4-way splitter first doesn't do that.

    Could you try flipping the hierarchy of these splitters? Run the Comcast signal into the 2-way, and then have the 2-way's outputs connect to:
    • 4-way input
    • cable modem run

    edit: p.s. Phrasing it another way, what fcfc2 said:

    p.p.s. Once you have the splitters rearranged and your Internet connection again working at its expected speed, THEN try inserting the "PoE" MoCA filter... but on the input to the 2-way.

    upload_2017-1-5_22-43-0.png

    It's *possible* that the additional slight loss of the MoCA filter, on top of the 4-way split, was enough to cause your Internet signal to degrade enough for your modem to throw a tantrum. (no guarantee, but you *will* benefit from the change)

    JoeKustra and some others on the forum could assist in checking the modem's signal levels via its web-accessible UI. A quick web search turned-up the following page, which may be of some help in checking the modem stats before and after the "PoE" filter-related breakdown...

     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
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  9. Jan 5, 2017 #9 of 31
    krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Again, what fcfc2 said...

    upload_2017-1-5_22-31-50.png


    edit: p.s. Maybe there are 2 separate runs to the Living Room and the Dining Room was previously connected using that white cable? Or there's some additional splitter not pictured?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  10. Lothar_HP

    Lothar_HP New Member

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    Thanks again for your replies guys, you helped me to completely fix the problem! Before I get to that, let me answer your questions...

    fcfc2, I did not have the diagrammed MoCA adapters even installed yet when I was experiencing the slow internet speeds that resulted from installing the PoE filter, so I didn't try your test swapping the adapters.

    The white coax cable that I had pictured in my photo, which I had said was disconnected, goes to a some sort of other enclosure box on the outside of my house that has another kind of cable coming out of it, that runs into the house where I can't follow it. That other cable is not a coax cable--it's sort of flattened a bit in shape. I have no idea what that was. Could that be for an old rooftop antenna? Since it's disconnected, it is currently serving no purpose. The enclosure is sealed up pretty tightly, so I didn't bother opening it up.

    Good catch about how I didn't have the upper left corner of my diagram drawn correctly. I actually have a bonded MoCA 2.0 adapter from Actiontek (the ECB6200), which has a coax passthrough. I have the coax input of that adapter plugged into that living room wall jack, and the coax output plugged into my modem. The adapter's Ethernet cable goes to my router.

    krkaufman, your suggestion to reconfigure the hierarchy of the splitters (following fcfc2's comment that my splitter arrangement wasn't standard) fixed my problem. Your suggestion to use the modem's web-accessible UI to check the levels was also a huge help! I reconfigured the splitters the way you guys described, checking the levels on that UI before vs. after reconfiguring.

    The downstream power levels and signal-to-noise ratio at my modem increased dramatically after I reconfigured to splitters. More importantly, it brought my internet download speed right back up to where it should have been--300 Mbps--with the PoE filter installed on Comcast's feed to the splitters. Score!

    Strangely though, after reconfiguring the splitters, my upstream power levels dropped quite a bit, and are now reading in the "unacceptably low range" for all four channels. They had been in the unacceptably low range for 3 out of the 4 channels, but at higher power levels, in the original splitter configuration (either with or without the PoE filter installed--the filter didn't make any difference to the upstream power levels). I don't get why reconfiguring the splitter would increase the downstream levels so dramatically, but decrease the upstream levels. I'm not sure if the low download signal level matters though, since my download speed is right where it should be.

    When I was reconnecting all those splitter connections, the coax terminal on that cable that runs to to modem's jack fell off of the cable. So that terminal may have had a bad connection all along. I'm now not sure whether it was the misconfigured splitter connections, or the bad terminal, or both, that was causing my problem. I assume though that the loose terminal was still connected well enough to serve its purpose, because I had been getting the full 300 Mbps signal (with the PoE filter uninstalled) before I started constructing this MoCA network).

    I'm not sure what's the proper way to fix that terminal, since I don't have any sort of tool for that repair. So I just jammed it back onto the cable as tightly as I could with my fingers, then wrapped it tightly with electrical tape. It seems to be doing the job, though I'd feel better if that was properly fixed.

    I have two other questions for you guys:

    1) Since I now have a second (spare) MoCA filter that is not connected to anything, should I install that anywhere, or should I just leave well enough alone? What I had bought those two filters for in the first place was for security, to prevent my MoCA signal from leaking out of my house and getting into the neighbors' houses, either through the main Comcast feed or through my OTA antenna. I didn't realize until you guys started writing that they also serve a purpose for preventing the MoCA signal from overwhelming the modem with noise.

    2) fcfc2, you noted that "none of the splitters in my house are optimized for MoCA." Could you please elaborate on that, and let me know if I should swap those out with the proper type? I'm not sure if that matters at this point, since I am getting full download speeds, but I will if you think it's necessary.

    Now that I'm got the MoCA network fully assembled, I am completely blown away by the speed! I am getting the exact same download and upload speeds (300 Mbps and 30 Mbps, respectively) in my bedroom over MoCA, as when I plug my computer directly into the modem in the living room. I was expecting some signal loss as it travels through all the house coax wiring and connections, but there is no detectable loss whatsoever. Very impressive!
     
  11. fcfc2

    fcfc2 Well-Known Member

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    2) fcfc2, you noted that "none of the splitters in my house are optimized for MoCA." Could you please elaborate on that, and let me know if I should swap those out with the proper type? I'm not sure if that matters at this point, since I am getting full download speeds, but I will if you think it's necessary.
    First, almost all currently available CATV splitters and some Sat grade splitters will "work" with MoCA but being "optimized" or "rated" for MoCA is another thing. The splitters from Holland and Verizon are the only 2 available retail brands which are truly "rated" for MoCA. What this means is that these splitters perform better at the MoCA frequencies, theoretically because they have "lower port isolation" at the MoCA frequencies that allow the MoCA signals to pass more freely between their ports than standard splitters ,i.e., they have less loss at those frequencies. This becomes increasingly important because in most homes there are a number of "cascaded" splitters of varying quality. Although MoCA was designed to overcome quite a bit of loss and still function, it may function at a lower level or become intermittent, on the off, rinse/repeat or simply fail altogether. Note: Many standard splitter manufacturers try to confuse buyers by adding terms like "MoCA" or "MoCA compatible" but this is simply marketing bs which means nothing.
    So what I recommend is that if the splitters you have are working fine with MoCA simply keep them, but if the performance is subpar/intermittent etc, consider upgrading to either the Verizon or Holland MoCA rated CATV splitters. Here is a link for the Holland brand, Cable and Satellite Tools - Distributor of Tools for CATV, Satellite, Home Theater, Security, Telecom
    PS. Always try and use a splitter with the least amount of ports to do the job and cap any usused ports on the splitters or wall outlets with an 75 Ohm f-type Coax terminator, which are usually available at home repair / hardware stores, a 10 pack usually is under $5.
    To repair that coax connector, and perhaps others or make a few custom coax cables, look here,
    Coaxial Compression Connector Stripper Crimper Tool Set For RG6 RG59 Coax Cable | eBay
     
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  12. Lothar_HP

    Lothar_HP New Member

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    Thanks so much for the splitter recommendations, fcfc2. I'm definitely going to buy those Holland splitters, as well as some of those terminators for unused ports, and the crimper tool.

    That actually raises another question for you:

    It looks like I am going to need to buy another couple of MoCA adapters, for use with a couple of Amazon Fire TV boxes that I want to put in my bedrooms. I don't believe those Fire TV boxes have MoCA inputs, but I know they do have Ethernet ports.

    Should I buy a couple more of the bonded Actiontec adapters, and just cap the unused coax port on each of them, or should I just buy the unbonded type that only has one coax port? I wouldn't currently need the passthrough coax port (I don't think) on those bedroom adapters, but if there is anything inherently better about a bonded adapter, the price difference isn't that much.
     
  13. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Re: bad connector
    You definitely need that cable properly fixed, and my first thought, lacking any tools, would be to contact your cable provider to have them send a tech out to fix that connector, and check all the others, since that's an "outside the house" problem that they should take care of at no cost.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
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  14. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Re: Fire TV connectivity
    Per the specs for the Fire TV on Amazon...
    • Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks
    • 10/100 Ethernet
    ... either of those Actiontec MoCA 2.0 adapters (capable of <400 & <800 Mbps throughput) would be technically overkill, as the Fire TV appears to only have a Fast Ethernet port (max 100 Mbps).

    As it happens, I'd written a post answering a very similar question just last night, >here< --- though in your case I'd add the caveat that the Wireless-AC capability of the Fire TV devices may suffice for their networking needs, depending on your home's wireless network coverage and speed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
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  15. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Re: standard MoCA 2.0 vs bonded/extended MoCA 2.0
    Basic info:
    • MoCA 1.1 is spec'd between 140-170 Mbps

    • standard MoCA 2.0 is spec'd to <400 Mbps

    • bonded/extended MoCA 2.0 is spec'd to <800 Mbps

    • a pair of MoCA nodes will communicate at the highest spec supported by BOTH nodes; so, a bonded/extended MoCA 2.0 node would communicate at:
      • 140-170 Mbps with a MoCA 1.1 peer node
      • <400 Mbps with a standard MoCA 2.0 peer node
      • <800 Mbps with a bonded/extended MoCA 2.0 peer node
    • a device with a Fast Ethernet connection would still just communicate at 100 Mbps, regardless of which MoCA spec is negotiated between the adapters
    As a test, you could use iPerf, jPerf or LAN Speed Test on your two computers to test your LAN throughput between your MoCA adapters (i.e. rather than just what your Internet-bottlenecked speed test reports).

    edit: Updated MoCA 2.0 data rate limits
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
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  16. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Re: spare MoCA filter
    Save it in a drawer, donate it to a friend, return it or sell it. (You don't need it.)

    As fcfc2 said, since your antenna coax is isolated from your MoCA network, and your cable modem is MoCA-compatible (with a built-in protective "MoCA immunity filter"), you don't need the second MoCA filter.

    As a side note, given how you have the cable modem connected to the ECB6200's "RF/TV Out" pass-through port ...
    ... the cable modem didn't even need its built-in MoCA filter, since the "RF/TV Out" port on the MoCA adapter doesn't pass MoCA signals. Connecting the cable modem as you have effectively filters the MoCA signals from the modem, already.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
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  17. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Re: base-lining and comparing connection quality
    Keep that modem info & URL handy so you can check your modem's signal levels as you make any changes to your network.

    However, you may also want to similarly check and document your MoCA connection quality, currently and as you make any modifications to your coax plant. See >this post< for info on checking MoCA connection stats from a MoCA-connected Mini. (Sadly, I don't believe Actiontec provides an easy way to check the MoCA node statistics from their adapters.) Each node's TX/RX PHY rates and power estimates are relevant, and ideally your MoCA 1.1 nodes would report PHY rates of 250-280 Mbps, plus negative TX and sub-0.5 dBm RX power estimates.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
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  18. fcfc2

    fcfc2 Well-Known Member

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    Below are some slightly less expensive MoCA 2.0 adapters which I and others have used quite satisfactorily. The third option down has 4 Ethernet ports, but they are only fast Ethernet so each port will individually top out at about 90Mbps or less. These are still handy for home theatre type setups where you don't want the clutter of hanging up a small switch to the MoCA adapter. The single port adapters are gigabit though.
    Amazon.com: Yitong Technology MoCA 2.0 Ethernet to Coax Adapter TIVO (YTMC-51N1-M2): Computers & Accessories
    Amazon.com: Yitong Technology MoCA 2.0 Ethernet to Coax Adapter, 2 Pack (YTMC-51N1-M2): Computers & Accessories
    Amazon.com: Yitong Technology MoCA 2.0 Ethernet to Coax Adapter 4-Port Fast Ethernet Switch: Computers & Accessories
     
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  19. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Re: Connecting via standalone switch vs router built-in

    Ok, you seem to have it all well in hand, so I figure I'd throw one final consideration your way, and let you do with it as you will.

    Though it's entirely contrary to TiVo's (oft-unachievable) recommendation to connect all TiVo devices through the router's built-in switch, my personal preference is to NOT do so, instead connecting them, including any bridging MoCA adapter, through a separate, standalone switch. The main value in doing so, in my view, is that communication between TiVo devices would not be disrupted during any router outages/reboots, allowing streaming of live or recorded TV on a Mini from its host DVR to continue, unaffected. (Streaming of any Internet content would, of course, still be snuffed by the router disconnection.)

    See attached for an updated diagram illustrating the tweaked connections for the standalone switch in the Living Room (and the assumed network switch in Bedroom #1).

    MoCA diagram for new house_1 (ALT 4).png
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  20. Lothar_HP

    Lothar_HP New Member

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    Thanks so much for the additional thoughts and considerations, krkaufman, and particularly for taking the trouble to redraw my diagram to incorporate the switch!

    When you pointed me that other post that you made yesterday, for that other person you were helping, it made me reconsider something that I had been planning on doing... In my bedrooms, I had originally been planning to install a MoCA adapter, and use two of its Ethernet ports, to connect the TiVo Mini and the Amazon Fire TV. I hadn't considered that Fast Ethernet is slower than MoCA though, so it now sounds like the better approach would be to use a MoCA-compliant coax splitter in front of the MoCA adapter, such that I'd send a coax cable (MoCA signal) into the TiVo Mini, and just use one Ethernet port on the MoCA adapter (for the Amazon Fire TV). Does that sound like the way to go?

    I wish I didn't have to buy an Amazon Fire TV and MoCA adapter at all, for each of those bedroom TVs, because the TiVo Mini already does almost everything that I need it to do for viewing Amazon/Netflix content. Unfortunately though, I subscribe to Playstation Vue, and there is no app for Vue on Amazon. So for the very few TV channels that I use Vue for, I apparently need to buy a lot of extra hardware to use Vue in my bedrooms, which is negating a lot of the savings that I'm getting for cutting the cord with my cable TV provider.
     

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