Poor signal using tivo OTA, antenna works fine on tv

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by mbartlett44, Dec 25, 2015.

  1. mbartlett44

    mbartlett44 New Member

    3
    0
    Jun 6, 2010
    I am using the Tivo Roamio OTA I purchased at best buy with a Sumsung LCD tv, using an indoor hdtv antenna

    The signal strength meter shows max at 72 and can go as low as 60. I get a pixilated picture, especially during windy conditions when it drops below 70.

    However, it I plug the sane antenna directly into the tv, the picture is stable, always.

    My only guess after searching the forums is that because the Roamio has 4 tuners, it must be splitting the signal and losing quality.

    I hear conflicting opinions on whether a inline amplifier would work.

    I checked tvfool.com and the stations should all be accessible using an indoor antenna. The stations transmitters are < 15 miles north of me within 20-30 degrees.

    The antenna forums are way to technical for me to decipher.

    I thought about trying the ClearStream Micron-XG antenna for sale, but don't want to spend $100 for an antenna that won't help.

    I also ran across a comment that said the tivo has a built in antenna amplifier, but was not good at reducing noise.

    I could really use some guidance from someone with some knowledge in this area.
     
  2. HD_Dude

    HD_Dude I Want HD in my Car

    260
    1
    Sep 11, 2006
    Washington, DC
    Hi...

    Same here.

    I bought an inexpensive inline signal amplifier. Solved my problem. Works perfectly now.

    I would get the inline amp, and also, take notice of how many times your antenna signal is split. Every time you split the antenna's path you lose signal strength. So, try to minimize that...like, disconnect the antenna input to your TV...and just route it thru the TiVo. Might help.
     
  3. cosmicvoid

    cosmicvoid Tivo noob

    66
    0
    Oct 13, 2013
    Seattle-ish
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
  4. jth tv

    jth tv Well-Known Member

    1,693
    147
    Nov 15, 2014
    I am far from an expert...

    72 is pretty much the max most see with a Roamio after letting the signal strength settle down for a minute or so. Even though the numbering scale of signal strength can be different most people find a TV gets the same results as a Roamio. Good stations are good, bad ones are bad.

    I think if you experiment using a splitter and send the antenna to the TV and the Roamio at the same time and use the TV's remote to quickly switch between the TV and the Roamio you will find they get the same reception. In my case, it turned out that it was Truck traffic that interfered with reception, took a long time to isolate that as the problem. Fortunately, during prime time, here, there is about no truck traffic, so its not really a problem.

    Also I ended up putting an large outdoor antenna indoors, in an inside hallway, it works much better than those small antennas. At least for me those small flat antennas weren't really any better than a set of rabbit ears, just a waste of money.
     
  5. RockyBob

    RockyBob New Member

    10
    0
    May 19, 2014
    I have the same problem of poor video quality (picture tears, freezes and breaks) with my Roamio. Before I knew it was the Roamio I upgraded to an expensive, high gain outdoor antenna with pre-amp. After the upgrade and after seeing no improvement in picture quality, I experimented by moving the antenna coax directly from the TiVo to the TV (two different Samsung LCD sets, actually). With either TV connected directly to the antenna coax the picture is rock solid, but seconds later with the TiVo in line the tears come back. Back and forth, seconds apart; TiVo/tears, no TiVo/ no tears. TiVo technical support is worse than useless; they seem to think (or at least they are told to say) that of course the TiVo must reduce signal strength by 75% because the signal is split into four tuners -- of course TiVo doesn't put a preamp in front of the four-way split.

    I contemplated switching to the new TiVo box (bolt?) and asked support about a preamp in that box. NOPE! No preamp there, either. Is TiVo conspiring with the cable/satellite companies to make OTA unworkable? Hmmm ?

    I now have a second preamp in line but it doesn't seem to help.
     
  6. jth tv

    jth tv Well-Known Member

    1,693
    147
    Nov 15, 2014
    I am pretty sure that is just a myth. I can't find it but a while back someone who works in broadcast tv said not with todays electronics.

    It could be a defective Roamio, if it is a recent purchase, BestBuy should replace it.
     
  7. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    17,804
    3,155
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    There are two locations to check the signal level you are receiving. First is what, for OTA, is usually 72. That's the one shown with Account & System Info, TiVo box Diagnostics. This gives you the signal after it has been adjusted by the AGC circuit for each tuner. It's usually pretty steady and includes the "SNR".

    The other location is in Settings, Channels, Signal Strength. This will be more real time and can vary quite a bit. You can change the frequency (channel) there also. The signal on your TV is normally shown after its AGC circuit has adjusted it. Sometimes it's even labeled AGC %.
     
  8. RockyBob

    RockyBob New Member

    10
    0
    May 19, 2014
    It isn't a myth. The total energy output of an antenna is extremely limited, unlike, for example, the power in house wiring. That is why any two-way splitter will indicate that the signal strength is down by 3 db. 3 db is essentially halving the power. A four-way splitter will attenuate by 6 db. TiVo support fully agrees with this, as do RF engineers. The trick is to boost the signal before splitting, something that would cost TiVo pennies per unit if they were so inclined.
     
  9. RockyBob

    RockyBob New Member

    10
    0
    May 19, 2014
    From channel master website:
    Channel Master TV splitters are designed to equally divide the signals on the input port of the splitter to each of the output ports. Graphically, it looks like Figure 1. As this shows, 100% of the signal level is put into the input port, and 50% of the signal is on each of the output ports. This is typically measured in dB. A splitter will have approximately 3.5 dB of loss on each port.
     
  10. GoodSpike

    GoodSpike Active Member

    40,566
    1
    Dec 17, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Also not an expert, but that sounds more like multipath interference. An attenuator might help more than an amplifier.
     
  11. mbartlett44

    mbartlett44 New Member

    3
    0
    Jun 6, 2010
    Thanks for the replies. I think I will try the KT-100VG amp.

    I may also try returning it for a replacement, but since it's the day after Christmas, I will wait, don't want to deal with the long lines. Should have dealt with this sooner.

    I was not using a splitter, but regards to the truck, I do live in some woods so I may be experiencing the same effect. However, it doesn't bother the signal if antenna is just plugged into the tv.

    I will also test the other location for checking the signal strength, see if that gives me any insight.

    I don't think my tv has a setting on it that shows me the channel strength, and I also read it wasn't fair to compare the tivo vs tv's numbers anyway.
     
  12. mbartlett44

    mbartlett44 New Member

    3
    0
    Jun 6, 2010
    What is the difference in an apmplifier and attenuator. Since I live in the woods, do you think I might also need an attenuator? Do you have any suggestions on which to get?
     
  13. RockyBob

    RockyBob New Member

    10
    0
    May 19, 2014
    This is weird. I have a Winegard powered preamp at the outdoor antenna (with the preamp power supply providing power at the TV end of the coax.) I have a Trisonic 36 db preamp at the TV location. When no preamps are used the TiVo says "32% Signal strength". When I insert either preamp into the line the TiVo remains unchanged; with both inline it reports 35% signal strength. I'm guessing that preamps may be output limited; regardless of input strength they may be designed to only put out a limited amount.
     
  14. GoodSpike

    GoodSpike Active Member

    40,566
    1
    Dec 17, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    An attenuator reduces the signal, so it's just the opposite of an amplifier. I actually thought about trees before posting, and don't have an opinion on that, but I think the devices are fairly cheap so it might be worth a try. Trucks seemingly would be clearly multipath, while trees could be just signal degradation/blockage.

    FM car radios from the 70s had a switch for FM reception, and I forget how they were labeled, but they were basically reduced the signal to reduce the impact of multipath. The idea is to reduce the reflected signal to the point where it doesn't affect the tuner.

    At my old house I had a Radio Shack "RF Signal Attenuator" 15-678, which could vary the level of attenuation. They don't seem to sell that any longer, but if you buy one I would try to find one that you can adjust.
     
  15. jth tv

    jth tv Well-Known Member

    1,693
    147
    Nov 15, 2014
    We need better tools for antennas, I wish Tivo would have a timestamped signal strength log so we can watch the effect of tweaks over time.

    I have 4 ways of tuning TV, a Tivo, a portable TV, a large TV and a Homeworx HW-150PVR. They all get the same results, good stations are good, bad are bad. The antenna is about 6 feet away. I currently use No amps, no splitters, didn't see any difference using them or not, well within the margin of error.

    I found the discussion I was thinking about (the myth):
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=531291

    Message 22 onward
     
  16. dstrong

    dstrong dstrong

    14
    0
    Oct 22, 2015
    Austin TX
    My own experience after buying an OTA a few months ago...I'm only 8 miles from the cluster of antennas where I get all my stations. I figured an Weingard indoor flat antenna would do the trick but I couldn't get it to pick up Fox AND PBS at the same time. So I returned the flat antenna and bought the Weingard "FreeTV" antenna and put it in the attic. I mounted it on a loose 6' 2x4 so I could change positions by resting it between the rafters...I could change the location and the direction easily to get the best reception. I was still having a little difficulty and on a whim, rotated the antenna about 45-degrees, so instead of the crossbars (whatever they're called) running vertically and horizontally, everything is at 45-degree angles...cleared everything up.
     
  17. IrishOyes

    IrishOyes New Member

    10
    0
    Jun 18, 2016
    Same issue for me: I have a powerful HD antenna that was installed on the outside of my house up at the attic level (3rd story). Certain channels (especially the one VHF transmission still used by ABC) come in perfect when I connect the antenna cable directly to my HD TV. But upon connecting the antenna cable to the Tivo Roamio OTA, the VHF degrades and sometimes is completely unwatchable.

    Don't know what to do as there are several ABC shows I want to record and the signal is pixelated and jumpy.

    Any ideas?
     
  18. jth tv

    jth tv Well-Known Member

    1,693
    147
    Nov 15, 2014
    Where are you located ? Both my Roamio Basic and my TV started having problems here in Los Angeles with ABC7 (VHF RF7) after it working pretty close to perfectly for 2 years. It was the strongest signal, but now at certain times the signal strength per Roamio is 50% or lower and becomes unwatchable. Almost all the time I check it, it is fine but 3 recent recordings of the 6:30 Evening news where unwatchable and there were periods of unwatchable during Saturdays college football recordings. At this point I am thinking local interference but it could be the station itself or anything.

    I pulled out an old Homeworx DVR (USB) and rabbit ears and set it up as a backup to the Roamio for ABC7. The rabbit ears can be set for good ABC7 during the interference but few other stations come in. When Roamio gets bad ABC7, Homeworx with rabbit ears says signal strength is 80%. When the Roamio gets good ABC7, Homeworx says 98%, so they are both seeing the interference, its the placement of the rabbit ears which makes the difference. The old Homeworx has worst remote but hopefully the problem is only temporary. If not I'll have to get more USB space. Or try something else.

    I need better tools.

    Update 2016-09-28:

    My window fan is the problem. Fan On, bad reception ABC7, fan Off, good reception ABC7. I am using a outdoor antenna indoors in an inside hallway semi-pointed at the fan and the exterior walls are stucco.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  19. MikeBr

    MikeBr New Member

    12
    0
    Mar 4, 2017
    Manhattan, NYC.
    I have reception problems with my Roamio OTA Tivo 1TB. Old Tivo HD perfect reception with same antenna. Also Samsung UHD TV perfect reception. I connected antenna to both the Tivo Roamio OTA and Samsung TV with a splitter to compare. Samsung perfect, Tivo Roamio problematic. By the way the Roamio is my second one since first one replaced under warranty (bad hard drive). Both had same reception problems. Clearly a reduction in tuner quality I assume to save a few pennies in production. By the way Tivo essentially admitted as much when I questioned the tuner quality. Tivo tech's response was that the signal goes to 4 tuners hence more problematic.
     
  20. jth tv

    jth tv Well-Known Member

    1,693
    147
    Nov 15, 2014
    I think it is fair to say that, for most people, including me, reception for a Roamio is the same as for their TV. Good stations are good, bad ones are bad.

    It probably has nothing to do with there being 4 tuners. See message 22 and replies
    Roamio OTA tuners not good?

    For me reception problems have to do with truck traffic, which is, fortunately, practically non-existent during prime time. Took a while to figure that out. Also, turns out my window fan makes channel 7 unwatchable, so I turn the fan off if there is something to watch/record. I use a outdoor antenna indoors.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017

Share This Page