Tivo Bolt : Extremely sensitive to the type of splitter?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by wei_c25, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. wei_c25

    wei_c25 New Member

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    Dec 5, 2016
    I have a Renewed TIVO Bolt 500gb, bought during the recent black friday sale. After lots of trial and error, multiple calls with Verizon Fios and Tivo, a trip to Verizon to get a new cable card, and a service call from Verizon Fios, I have found it works with a 6 way splitter with the unused outputs capped, but not with a 2 or 4 way splitter. So... are TIVO boxes really this finicky???? Is there something wrong with the box? This has basically become a part time job trying to get this thing to work correctly.

    Long story:
    Initial install with Verizon Fios split the coax coming out of the ONT box with a 6 way MOCA splitter. Only two outputs were used, one for the coax to the tivo, the other to the gateway moden/wireless router. Remaining four output uncapped. Verizon box worked great, no picture issues. Open up and install the Bolt - the TIVO box works except for tons of pixelation on most channels. I'm given multiple fixes from TIVO and Verizon over the next 12 days: "change to F type splitter", "replace cable card with latest model / part number", "get a signal booster", "have Verizon come to to check the signal". I ignore the F type splitter and booster advice, I swap the cable card with no improvement, finally we schedule Verizon service call.

    Verizon guy comes, says signal is probably weak because 6 way MOCA splitter is leaking signal through the upcapped extra outputs. He swaps it out with a 2 way splitter, and also just gives me a 4 way splitter with extra caps just to have for the future. End result: no picture on TIVO box. NOTHING AT ALL. Forget pixelation, now there just is zero picture. Verizon guy confirms signal is good coming into Tivo box, and much stronger than before. He says call Tivo and he'll talk with them. But TIVO is closed on Sunday mornings here on the East Coast. As Verizon guy leaves, he says, "good luck".

    So as I wait to TIVO service to open, I try the 4 way splitter, and now I get picture again, but pixelation issues are even worse than before. Also not getting all channels. So I try the 6 way splitter again, this time capping all the unused outputs and the picture is perfect, no more pixelation. Original problem FINALLY solved.

    Are TIVO boxes really this finicky? Do I have a lemon? I'm glad I finally have good picture, but worried if I have to change my setup in the future I may have a hard time finding the right/magic combination again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  2. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Ashland, PA...
    I'm glad it's working now. You didn't happen to check the signal levels during your testing?

    Also posted in Bolt forum.
     
  3. fcfc2

    fcfc2 Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    I have seen too many reports of problems with the Bolt series with finicky/problem tuners on both the CATV and OTA side. It may be my imagination, but I don't think so. I would suspect that the refurb Bolt you received was returned for the same problem you are reporting. Frankly, I suspect some kind of quality control issues on the Bolt series, especially since many of the problem reports indicate no issues with the tuners on older model Tivos on the same system.
     
  4. wei_c25

    wei_c25 New Member

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    Dec 5, 2016
    Yes, tested the signal, it was weak with lots of RS uncorrected on many channels. That led to the multiple fix suggestions, none of which worked until I tried a 6 way splitter capping the unused ports. And now when I check the signal strength, its the SAME. But much less RS uncorrected. Weird.
     
  5. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    The basic Roamio and four tuner Bolt do not count RS Corrected errors. A good signal level is 90. A good SNR is 36. My feed doesn't have RS Uncorrected, but I see them on my Premiere. I can't make more conclusions since I don't have a Bolt. But from your description, it sounds like a very hot signal. It happens more frequently with ONT feeds.

    While you probably check the signal level with TiVo Diagnostics, you might check the Settings, Channels, Signal Strength. It gives a more real time value, and you can watch AGC lower the signal level.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  6. wei_c25

    wei_c25 New Member

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    Quick update - The pixelation issues actually still crop up, but much less than before (it used to make certain channels unwatchable, now I could almost ignore them because they are less frequent and intense). I called TIVO and explained the whole story. They acknowledge the box could be the issue, but aren't convinced and still think it could be a Verizon Fios signal strength issue. Regardless, they think replacing the box would be the next appropriate troubleshooting step, so a replacement box is shipping out tomorrow morning. Will post updates.
     
  7. thyname

    thyname Well-Known Member

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    It is a bit tough to track your issue, as you have two threads open on this.

    What are your SNRs? I am guessing either too high or too low.
     
  8. wei_c25

    wei_c25 New Member

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    Dec 5, 2016
    Sorry about the second thread, the other thread now links to this thread.

    With the original problem, the signal strength on the most problematic channels was 67%. RS uncorrected was high as well but I don't remember off the top of my head what it was, I think around 30,000 or 300,000.

    When I talked to TIVO today explaining how it is nearly fixed but only with a very specific splitter configuration, we checked the numbers again and signal strength was still 67%, but RS uncorrected was 1 billion something.

    Is it weird how the Verizon rep said the signal strength is strong, but the box still only registers 67%? And that the verizon box never had an issue?

    (Also, for those that know what this might mean: during the two way splitter set up where I was getting no reception at all, the QAM constantly and repeatedly would fluctuate between QAM 256 and 64. Signal strength was zero for all channels).
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  9. thyname

    thyname Well-Known Member

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    You did not say what your SNRs are (see below my previous post).

    You must have them at least 29 db for QAM256:
    https://support.tivo.com/articles/T...oamio-Series-Premiere-Series-and-Series3-DVRs

     
  10. wei_c25

    wei_c25 New Member

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    Dec 5, 2016
  11. thyname

    thyname Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps. You can try. Or, you may have a bad Bolt. These issues are hard to diagnose and fix. TiVo and Verizon will blame each other, and you would be caught in the middle.
     
  12. thyname

    thyname Well-Known Member

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    One more thought: would you be able to bypass the splitter and connect the coax directly fro ONT to Bolt?

    Maybe the splitter is bad, or simply degrades the signal too many db's
     
  13. wei_c25

    wei_c25 New Member

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    Dec 5, 2016
    It doesn't work plugging directly into the ONT box - no signal, no reception, no channels. Tivo had me do this over the phone as well. I asked the Verizon service guy and he said it's not supposed to work like that - the router also has to be connected to get TV reception, and bypassing the splitter means the router is disconnected. He said the router is the "brains" that makes everything work.
     
  14. thyname

    thyname Well-Known Member

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    No. Not for the tv signal. They told you wrong. Router does not have to be involved, unless you can only have the router to establish MoCa network. Coax from ONT to Bolt is all that is needed to get signal for tv. Verizon techs are just stupid and/ or clueless about TiVo
     
  15. TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

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    Just a shot in the dark, but if the picture gets better as you increase the number of "splits" i.e. 2 way is bad, 4 way is a little better, 6 way is best, perhaps the signal is a little too strong (despite what the TiVo levels are saying). I have found the recent generations of TiVo's are very sensitive to signal levels both too weak AND too strong. If you had an assortment of signal attenuators available you could try those. I've experimented a little with attenuators on a couple of TiVo's and it can definitely make a difference in reception.
     
  16. wei_c25

    wei_c25 New Member

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    UPDATE: It was a bad Bolt.

    Summary: Got the replacement Renewed 500 GB Bolt today. Before I installed it, I check the signal strength and the SNR on the current Bolt: signal strength 67% and SNR of 27 (and still with some mild but persistent pixelation). Unplugged it, moved cable card to replacement box, and went through set up and activation --> Replacement box signal strength is 90% and SNR is 36!!!! No pixelation at all!!!!

    So, glad it all works. But frustrated first that I got a bad Bolt, and then even worse I had to go around in circles between Tivo and Verizon before Tivo would reluctantly acknowledge that it might be a bad Bolt. I spent alot of time dealing with this on the phone, took a trip to Verizon to swap the cable card, and had to schedule a Verizon Service technician come to my house. At no time did Tivo ever suggest I get a new box, instead they discouraged it. Instead I was told to "change your splitter", "get a booster", "call Verizon", "call Verizon again". Only when I was firm with them that it really seemed to be an issue with the Bolt did they entertain the thought.

    Should I have not bought a renewed Bolt? I'm new to TIVO, and I called in to talk with sales before ordering, and they said the renewed ones were as good as new. Maybe it's poor QC on the Bolt line? The replacement box they sent me is a renewed one from May 2016, the bad bolt was from October 2016. Thinking I should buy whatever warranty I vaguely remember the salesperson mentioning...
     
  17. thyname

    thyname Well-Known Member

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    Glad you got it working! Thanks for the update. I thought so (see post #11)

    Unfortunately TiVo would not replace their product until everything else has been ruled out. There are so many issues with setting it up (CableCard, tuning adapters, signal issues, etc.), that they would go bankrupt quickly if they sent a new unit to everyone who had those issues.
     
  18. TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

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    I don't have much experience with Bolt on cable but have worked with several on OTA. I'm playing with one right now connected to the same antenna as my Roamio. I've had the same experience that the reception tends to improve when I use a splitter with more ports. But the signal strength isn't to high on the problem channels regardless (only about 55 to 65%). I'm wondering if the Bolt has a very narrow range of signal strength/signal to noise ratios and needs them to be in its "sweet spot" to tune properly. My Roamio doesn't seem to have nearly as many problems with the same signals.
     

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