TiVO with Comcast and signal amp...?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by hybucket, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. Nov 4, 2011 #1 of 10
    hybucket

    hybucket Member

    638
    18
    Nov 26, 2004
    There is somewhat of a similar thread on here, but it goes back to '07, so I'll move on.
    THe setup is - I have Comcast cable going into a TiVO HD (with an M-Card). The signal I get (according to the TiVO Cable Signal Strength thingy) is 80% or better on most channels. I wanted to split the signal, with one going to the TiVO and the other to a digital (non-HD) box in order to get On Demand. When I did that, the signal deteriorated on the TiVO to 50-60% and lower on most channels, I got pixielization on several TiVO channels, and on the digital box, several channels would not come in at all (again, no big deal there because I was only going to use it for OD). My question is - would a signal amp/booster help? I've used an amp years ago when it was all analog, but I'm wondering if this would help me in this situation. OR is there an amplified splitter that would work?
     
  2. Nov 4, 2011 #2 of 10
    SNJpage1

    SNJpage1 Well-Known Member TCF Club

    4,526
    250
    May 25, 2006
    Atlantic...
    First you need to see what kind of splitter you bought. Some have very large built in losses. Second make sure your connectors are good. It sounds almost like one of the grounds isnt made correctly. As for a powered amp I am using one with 8 outputs. I have a splitter ahead of it so that my cable modem signal doesnt go thru it. From the 8 way splitter it is about 100 feet to my Tivo. I also have a Comcast DVR sitting next to the Tivo. It also has it's own feed from the 8 way splitter. I dont have any problems with pixielization. When I originally did the jpb I ran three Rg 6 quads and three cat5 cables to the Tivo location.
     
  3. Nov 4, 2011 #3 of 10
    hybucket

    hybucket Member

    638
    18
    Nov 26, 2004
    Thanks - if it was just one of the two that had low signal, it could be a bad connection, but I don't think so. The splitter is just a standard one that Comcast used on an old setup a long time ago. It did seem odd that so much of the signal was lost by splitting - the TiVO maybe, but not the Comcast digital box.
     
  4. Nov 4, 2011 #4 of 10
    Millionaire2K

    Millionaire2K Active Member

    254
    37
    Jun 15, 2008
    Philadelphia
    You need to get a new splitter. The old splitters will not work. I have my line split to a 2 way splitter.

    1 of the 2 goes to my cable modem

    the other 1 goes to a 3 way splitter

    The 3 way goes to 2 tivos and a cable co box

    Everything works great! AFTER I got better splitters. My old 900mhz splitters did not allow this setup. You need atleast a 2Ghz splitter.
     
  5. Nov 4, 2011 #5 of 10
    84lion

    84lion Member

    62
    2
    Jan 22, 2009
    We had a similar issue with our setup. The cable signal into our house was "just good enough" for one Tivo. When we got our second Tivo and needed to split the line, that's when the troubles started. I tried different splitters and whatnot but the bottom line is that if the signal coming into the house is substandard there is nothing you can do to make it better. If you try to amplify it, all you'll wind up doing is amplifying a bad signal.
    It took several service trips but I finally got the guy to check the signal at the street pedestal and sure enough it was bad ("unbalanced" was the word I believe he used). Once that got fixed we've had very few problems. The tech also installed a splitter amplifier that so far has provided good service.
    If your signal is only about 80 or so (be sure to check the SNR also by going into the 'DVR Diagnostics' screen, SNR should be in the mid-30s or better) it probably isn't good enough. Ideally you should have no RS Uncorrected errors and any RS Corrected errors should be a small number (let's say under 1000 over several hours).
    If your system is "older" (built prior to the 1990s), it's likely that it hasn't been upgraded. Such systems were OK for analog but for digital they're not adequate. Call Comcast and ask them to fix it if you continue to have problems.
     
  6. Nov 5, 2011 #6 of 10
    hybucket

    hybucket Member

    638
    18
    Nov 26, 2004
    Thanks. I never thought of that. I'm headed to Best Buy for a new 2.05 GHz splitter. I just found it amazing that splitting it would cause an almost 50% drop in signal, when I was getting between 80-100% on most channels on the TiVO with a direct signal.
    UPDATE:
    Just put on the new 2 GHz splitter, and there is a noticeable difference. The average droppage is about 10 (so a channel in the 90s range of signal now down to the 80s). Several of the channels in the high 70s are now in the 60s, however, and the signal on the digital box is odd. There are several channels not coming in at all (BBCA, for one), and that one is in the low 80s on the TiVO. I'll wait to try the amp when it comes in to see if that helps. But this should work for now, as even the lowest channel signal is the upper 60s-low 70s.
    Question: Should I connect the amp where the cable comes in, and THEN to the splitter and then TiVO and the digital box, or connect the splitter first and then to the amp?
     
  7. Nov 6, 2011 #7 of 10
    SNJpage1

    SNJpage1 Well-Known Member TCF Club

    4,526
    250
    May 25, 2006
    Atlantic...
    Amp the signal before it hits the splitters. That way you will get a cleaner signal.
     
  8. Nov 6, 2011 #8 of 10
    mazman

    mazman Member

    200
    13
    Nov 13, 2002
    Alamo, CA
    I had similar issues a few years back using several store bought amps and splitters. I had Comcast come out and install one of their amps and replace a few splitters and wow, what a difference! 100% signal on 3 Tivos. I think they charged me $50 for the amp plus installation - best $50 I've ever spent.
     
  9. bareyb

    bareyb Under Maintenance TCF Club

    26,169
    65
    Dec 1, 2000
    Silicon Valley
    I agree with this solution. Low signal strength is Comcast's problem to fix. Not the OP's. Amps can be a double edged sword and often cause more problems then they solve. Comcast can usually boost the signal for you at the pedestal and no onsite amp is necessary. More often than that, they simply come out and find a bad fitting and replace it and voila! You're back in business. You really don't want an Amp if you can avoid it. I'd call Comcast and have them fix it for you. Once they get things going you are usually good to go for quite a while. Until it happens again... :D
     
  10. hybucket

    hybucket Member

    638
    18
    Nov 26, 2004
    While I certainly agree it's a Comcast problem, it usually depends on who does the truckroll. As for me, I installed an amp easily where the signal enters my unit. It then splits a total of 5 times. The signal strength on the TiVo HD is now between 95 & 100% on all channels so, for now, I'm happy. Thanks all for your replies.
     

Share This Page