Question about over the air TV reception and signal strength

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by True Colors, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. True Colors

    True Colors Member

    485
    1
    Oct 18, 2006
    I have a Tivo Premiere. I decided that I wanted to put an antenna on top of my house and use my Tivo Premiere to receive the signal.

    First, I hooked the antenna directly to my television. My television has a meter which shows the signal strength. It is good.

    Then I took the antenna cable wire out of the TV and plugged into the Tivo premiere. The premiere signal meter shows my signal to be about 20% lower than the TV.

    Does anyone else have this problem? What kinds of things can I do to boost my signal strength?

    Thanks,

    TC
     
  2. dwit

    dwit Active Member

    1,660
    0
    May 4, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    There are all manner of signal boosters(amplifiers). They can run the range of just a simple little device for barely 10 bucks or so to fancy ones costing many times that.

    In essence, it operates by connecting directly to your antenna and a power source, amplifies the signal, and feeds it to one or more devices(Tv's, Tivos, etc).

    Just do a shopping search for antenna signal booster, or coax sisgnal booster, etc. You may prefer to buy something locally though from Radio Shack, Best Buy, Sears, etc. That way it will be easier to return if it doesn't meet your needs.
     
  3. scandia101

    scandia101 Just the facts ma'am

    11,107
    154
    Oct 20, 2007
    MN, greater...
    It's not necessarily a problem. Unless the signal tends to drop out causing artifacts in the video or no video, I wouldn't worry about it at all. The picture quality is no different between the high end of excellent signal strength and the low end of good.
     
  4. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

    4,089
    0
    Apr 19, 2004
    East Moline, IL
    Don't use "Signal Strength" as a measurement of performance. Use picture quality. To make an analogy, the TV may be measuring signal strength like european cars measure speed, in kph, while the Premiere measures signal strength like american cars measure speed, in mph. So while the TV measures a signal strength of 90 and the Premiere measures signal strength at 56, both would be equal, just reported in different units.
     
  5. replaytv

    replaytv gun talk ignore list

    4,401
    1
    Feb 20, 2011
    Denver ish...
    I have tried all kinds of signal amplifiers and antennas for that matter. None seemed enough improvement, if any, to warrant their use. I even tried a antenna that mated to a converter box that electronically tuned the antenna to get better reception. Didn't make a bit of difference.
    The only thing that really helped was going with a Series 3 or 4 Tivo, rather than a Series 2 with a converter box. Series 3 and 4s have a much better receiver than any of the converter boxes.
     
  6. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

    2,969
    290
    Jun 22, 2008
    Sounds like you've been using an Apex converter box. Apex converters have really poor reception. Try Tivax, Zenith or Magnavox.
     
  7. scandia101

    scandia101 Just the facts ma'am

    11,107
    154
    Oct 20, 2007
    MN, greater...
    It is well documented, especially in these forums, that the series 4 TiVo Premiere's OTA tuners are sub par in terms of sensitivity.
     
  8. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

    4,089
    0
    Apr 19, 2004
    East Moline, IL
    That is the perceived issue. The tuners themselves (MicroTune MT2131) are identical between the Premiere and the TiVo HD. It appears the issue with the Premiere is poor handling of multipath signals, which can be overcome with a quality antenna. The simple relocation of my antenna has proven effective for me.
     
  9. True Colors

    True Colors Member

    485
    1
    Oct 18, 2006
    Thanks for all the responses.

    Another question....

    My television has one over the air tuner in it.

    My Tivo Premiere has two over the air tuners.

    So is it possible that I get a stronger signal on my TV because one single tuner receives all the signal, while the Tivo is dividing the signal two ways?

    TC
     
  10. dwit

    dwit Active Member

    1,660
    0
    May 4, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    What are you using to determine "stronger signal"? Meter readings, or visible picture quality differences?

    I don't think the "signal split between 2 tuners" can explain it all. Instead of being sent to the television, if that signal were sent to say a Tivo HD, then it would be split the same as to the Premiere.

    That is the way I had my Tivo HD and Premiere set up for ota. Indoor antenna, to 2 way splitter; one lead to Premiere, and one lead to Tivo HD. I would often encounter channels that were totally watchable on the Tivo HD, but basically "unwatchable" on the Premiere. I did not do a lot of investigating on this, because most of the "unwatchable channels", I don't tune to any way. I did not think to look at the signal strength diagnostics and such, as I had other concerns at the time.

    I have since removed the Premiere from the system, as I have decided not to activate, for various reasons. OTA reception was not one of the reasons, as I am usually able to resolve any OTA issues I may have, eventually(antenna positioning, outdoor antennas, amplifiers, etc).

    Just an anecdotal observation on my part.
     
  11. timatkn

    timatkn New Member

    73
    0
    Oct 1, 2010
    I don't think that makes a difference. Also as someone else pointed out signal scores between devices are not comparable. On my old DIsh DVR OTA signal of 70 would be unwatchable while a score of 50 is still quite good for most channels on my Premiere. You have to go by quality of signal more than strenght. Also on my TV--all of my signal scores are higher than my Premiere but I can tune in more channels on my Premiere. So it is liek comparing apples to oranges.

    Also if you want to improve signal form your antenna I have had more luck using a pre amp than an amplifier. If there are signal issues an amplifier may just make it worse. I added a channel master pre amp form solid signal and it imroved my scores on my Premiere by 10 helped me pick up a few further away channels I had never seen before.

    T
     
  12. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

    4,089
    0
    Apr 19, 2004
    East Moline, IL
    That's a good point - static on an AM radio doesn't make the channel come in any better when you turn the volume up; it just makes the static louder.
     
  13. replaytv

    replaytv gun talk ignore list

    4,401
    1
    Feb 20, 2011
    Denver ish...
    My thoughts would be that if the Tivo amplifies the signal before splitting it into two signals for each tuner, then it shouldn't make a difference as far as a degraded signal.
    But if the Tivo just has a splitter to that sends the same signal to each tuner, then it would make sense you would only get half the amount of strength to each tuner.
    Maybe someone has a opened up Series 3 or 4 that they can trace it on the circuit board and see if there is a amplifier before the splitter.

     
  14. True Colors

    True Colors Member

    485
    1
    Oct 18, 2006
    I think that I know what an amplifier is but I do not know about preamplifiers. Can someone please explain the difference to me?

    Also, where can I buy a pre-amp, and how much do they cost? Which brands are good?

    Thanks,

    TC
     
  15. JimboG

    JimboG New Member

    520
    0
    May 27, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    A preamp is a low noise device that applies moderate amplification to overcome signal loss due to cable transmission line loss. If the noise figure of the preamp is lower than the noise figure of the tuner (or Tivo) then the preamp actually can improve the received signal to noise ratio.

    Winegard and Channelmaster make good preamps. Blonder Tongue makes good preamps, but they are too pricey for consumer applications. Radioshack and most of the eBay special preamps under $40 are cheaply made, noisy, and not worth the trouble.

    Don't buy a preamp that is more powerful than you need. Preamps can be overpowered by FM transmitters or powerful nearby stations. The Winegard HDP-269 is useful for suburban applications; the more powerful Winegard and Channelmaster preamps are better suited to remote rural locations.
     
  16. dwit

    dwit Active Member

    1,660
    0
    May 4, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    For an online source for things like antennas, etc, I have had great service from www.solidsignal.com. I bought some outdoor antennas, and later a distribution amplifier. Exceptional service both times. They used to run some great specials back in the day(analog changeover) but I don't know if they still do.

    They also have a nice article in their blog, explaining a little about amplifiers and pre-amplifiers:

    http://blog.solidsignal.com/ (First few articles or so. Probably others reading back).

    Never really used them as far as support(alway did my own research), but I would bet they offer pretty good support, for an online outfit. Never knew about their blogs before, but I have found some blogs can be great knowledge resources.

    As always, amazon.com probably has a decent selection and good prices on many things one needs.

    Again though, try local sources also. If you have some dedicated TV shops in your area, try them. Otherwise try places like Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sears, etc. Selection may be limited, but the return policies are usually very liberal, and more convenient.

    Just take your time and do a little research and reading up so as to be able to make more informed choices.

    Good luck.
     

Share This Page