TivoHD Input issues. Maybe you can help?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by riguitargod, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. riguitargod

    riguitargod New Member

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    Oct 30, 2009

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    I'm not really sure if this is an issue with my Tivo, or with my input cable... But I figured I'd ask here and get some opinions on it.


    I live in a small apartment building. There's a cable coming out of my wall, that when I plug into my TV, I get all the over-the-air broadcast channels with perfect reception. I don't think it's getting a cable signal, because the channels are assigned to their broadcast channel numbers, not the cable channel numbers.

    When I plug it into the antenna input on my TivoHD, it gets no signal on any channel, and likewise, it gets nothing if I plug it into the cable input.

    Any thoughts as to what this cable might be, and how I could get it to input some signal to the tivo? I've resorted to hooking in an antenna, but a couple of channels are spotty, and on more than one occasion, it's gone to record an episode while I was out, and it had no signal. So I'd really like to find a way to get the nice clear reception!


    Thanks
    -Justin
     
  2. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    First let me recommend the TiVo HD Overview, Q&A, setup, tips sticky thread which is kept up to date and tells you much more than the users manual. In particular look starting at Item 8 in the "Using TiVo" Section.

    An HD without CableCARD(s) will receive antenna signals or analog signals and local broadcast digital channels on the cable input. Some cable systems no longer broadcast any analog signals at all. However the local broadcast digitals should be there. Maybe you just need to scan to find them. Maybe the instructions in the sticky thread will help.
     
  3. riguitargod

    riguitargod New Member

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    Oct 30, 2009
    Thanks for your reply, and I will try those steps.

    Just in case it's not clear from my original post, I don't have cable service.

    Also, it seems to me that finding the channels wouldn't be the problem? When I have either the antenna or this cable plugged into my TV, I get the signal for, for example, channel 64-1. So if I'm able to pick up channel 64-1 with the antenna on the Tivo, wouldn't it also show up with the cable?

    But I'll still try those steps in the morning, as it's very possible I just don't understand the way the cable works its magic!
     
  4. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I don't believe the TiVo tuners are as sensitive to antenna signals as most other tuners. If could be your signal is just too weak for the TiVo, in which case you need a better antenna or an amplifier.

    I also believe there have been cases where the antenna signal was too strong for the TiVo, and attnuators or splitters were required to reduce it. If you can ever tune a channel you will be able to see its signal strength in the TiVo menus. It's a 0-100 scale and the ideal range is 80-99 although levels as low as 65 or less are sometimes tuned.

    From what you say this cable is an antenna signal and should go into the antenna input.
     
  5. riguitargod

    riguitargod New Member

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    Yeah I had checked the signal strength, and when running off the cable, it was a flat 0 on every channel, and with antenna I think I got in the 60s and 70s.
     
  6. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    But you still never tuned a channel? SNR is also important. What value does that have?

    I can't remember from when I ran without CableCARDs: If you go into the DVR Diagnostics page do you see info for two tuners? If so that is the best place to get Signal Strength and SNR.
     
  7. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

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    It sounds like you have what is in effect your own private cable system for your building. The building is taking in a feed from probably the cable company (but could be satellite), and then redistributing it to all the apartments.

    You should attach your cable to the cable input of the TiVo (that will work if anything will). You should then do a channel scan (settings/channels/channel scan) to see where the signals are coming in on. If your building is doing everything right in its redistribution, you should find the channels, though perhaps not at their proper locations. Try the channels it finds.

    At some point you need to do a guided setup to tell the TiVo you are getting input from cable (or cable plus antenna if you want to run both at once, which I suspect you may while debugging). Unless somebody else from your building has gone through all this, there may not be guide information for your building - as I said, it is in effect running its own cable system. But TiVo/Tribune are willing in principle to add custom lineups for buildings.

    Given the large possibility that your building is not quite set up right, I'm not sure you'll be able to get everything you need for the TiVo to succeed without working with whoever setup the building system. But you should be able to get further than you have. Under-signal strength should not be a problem; it's conceivable that over-strength could be, but that sounds unlikely (unless it's extremely high, you'll get bad signals, not none). What is more likely is that the building system isn't quite getting the PSIP info (within each signal) correct that identifies which channel and frequency the signals should appear on. The TiVo is more susceptible to errors in the PSIP data than most TVs, and won't tune channels with errors.

    Good luck with this! Tell us what happens when you do the channel scan.
     
  8. riguitargod

    riguitargod New Member

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    I tune a channel when I have an antenna plugged in... That's when I'm getting in the 70s. But with the cable plugged in, I get zero.

    So far I haven't been able to find anything that gives me the SNR value.
     
  9. riguitargod

    riguitargod New Member

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    Oct 30, 2009
    You believe it's a cable feed, even though the channels are only the OTA Broadcast channels? There have never been any cable channels showing up.


    I did channel scans with it on both cable and antenna when I first tried setting it up a month and a half or so ago, but I'm trying both again now. It's currently halfway through scanning with it plugged into antenna, and no channels have been found. If this finds nothing, I'll try on cable next.
     
  10. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

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    So far it's the only scenario that fits all the facts as you've presented them. The building is obviously redistributing the signals from somewhere. It's not just a big antenna redistribution, otherwise you'd be able to see it on the TiVo.

    Cable companies make just the local channels available for a cheap rate - I would not be surprised if that were being done here. At a minimum, I would think your apartment manager would have to know what the source of the signal is - they're the ones paying for it!
     
  11. Len McRiddles

    Len McRiddles New Member

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    Why not just ask the landlord? Or am I missing something?
     
  12. riguitargod

    riguitargod New Member

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    Oct 30, 2009
    Ok, I ran the scan with it plugged into cable, and it found over 300 channels. Most of these have a signal strength of either 75 or 81, but they're just showing gray screens. Burried within these 300 are the dozen or so broadcast channels.

    So what's the next step from here? Just go through all the channels and delete the ones that are broadcasting nothing? Is there anything I can do to label the channels, since these numbers don't match to what they would be?


    Thanks
     
  13. a68oliver

    a68oliver Member

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    Crawfordsvil...
    If you have 300+ channels (blank) then you probably have a feed from a local cable company. Have you talked to the landlord yet?

    What provider have you used in guided setup? OTA? You might try running it with the local cable company as the provider and see if that matches some channels.

    Also, if you have 300 channels, you probably have digital service. If that is the case, you would need a cablecard to get correct channel listings. The grey/blank channels are probably encrypted digital and the local broadcast may be unencrypted (in the clear) digital or analog channels.

    Tune to one of the channels and press the record button on the Tivo. If it asks you to select a quality setting, then the channel is analog, if not, it is digital.
     
  14. rocko

    rocko Cuckoo for TiVo

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    I second the idea about talking to the landlord or building management to get a better idea about what's going on.

    In many cases where the building is providing some sort of modified cable lineup TiVo can provide a custom lineup for you. Find out what's the real story and move on from there.
     

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