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Question about tivo freezing and rf input strength

Last response: in Home Theatre Legacy
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Anonymous
July 1, 2005 11:22:55 PM

Archived from groups: alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

So my tivo is still freezing up occasionally on me, and my last call yesterday
to try to return this POS resulted in the tivo techie telling me that the tivo
might be freezing up because of insufficient rf signal strength from the
cable, that I should buy a rf amp with a 30db gain from rat shack and see if
the tivo still freezes. If it does then, THEN they'll authorize a return for
me, oh, and then I can return the amp unit to rat shack and get a refund from
them.

Are they full of nonsense or will a low rf input signal strength cause a tivo
to completely freeze up every couple of days?
Anonymous
July 2, 2005 1:22:54 AM

Archived from groups: alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

Joe St. Lucas wrote:
> So my tivo is still freezing up occasionally on me, and my last call yesterday
> to try to return this POS resulted in the tivo techie telling me that the tivo
> might be freezing up because of insufficient rf signal strength from the
> cable, that I should buy a rf amp with a 30db gain from rat shack and see if
> the tivo still freezes. If it does then, THEN they'll authorize a return for
> me, oh, and then I can return the amp unit to rat shack and get a refund from
> them.
>
> Are they full of nonsense or will a low rf input signal strength cause a tivo
> to completely freeze up every couple of days?

The answer revolves around the type of signals that you are recording.

If the signals are digital data streams (digital cable channels?) that
are modulated onto an RF carrier, then yes an ampifier can help.

The Techie is working on the theory that, due to a weak RF carrier
signal on the cable, the error rate on the data stream would reach a
point where the TiVo (or any receiver for that matter) would simply stop
receiving the signal. In the broadcast world, it is called the
"Tabletop Effect" because a digital broadcast signal will suddenly
"disappear" or fall off the edge of the table when the signal strength
is weak enough to exceed the receiver's allowable data error rate at
the receiver's decoder. In the satellite world, it is called "Rain Fade".

So, a possible test would be to hook up some other receiver to the cable
connection and watch the same channels. If that receiver behaves the
same way (assuming the TiVo and the test reciever have the same
signal-to-noise specifications), then your problem is with the cable
company not providing a strong enough (or possibly clean enough) signal.
Thus the amplifier suggestion made by the TiVo Techie. If the cable
signal is weak or noisy, the amplifier is only a patchwork solution.
You would really need to get the cable company to come out and fix
things (assuming the problem isn't inside your house/apt. -- if it is,
then it is YOUR problem!).

Ack
Anonymous
July 2, 2005 7:58:41 PM

Archived from groups: alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

>> So my tivo is still freezing up occasionally on me, and my last call
> yesterday
>> to try to return this POS resulted in the tivo techie telling me that the
> tivo
>> might be freezing up because of insufficient rf signal strength from the
>> cable, that I should buy a rf amp with a 30db gain from rat shack and see if
>> the tivo still freezes. If it does then, THEN they'll authorize a return for
>
>> me, oh, and then I can return the amp unit to rat shack and get a refund from
>
>> them.
>>
>> Are they full of nonsense or will a low rf input signal strength cause a tivo
>
>> to completely freeze up every couple of days?
>
>The answer revolves around the type of signals that you are recording.
>
>If the signals are digital data streams (digital cable channels?) that
>are modulated onto an RF carrier, then yes an ampifier can help.
>
>The Techie is working on the theory that, due to a weak RF carrier
>signal on the cable, the error rate on the data stream would reach a
>point where the TiVo (or any receiver for that matter) would simply stop
>receiving the signal. In the broadcast world, it is called the
>"Tabletop Effect" because a digital broadcast signal will suddenly
>"disappear" or fall off the edge of the table when the signal strength
>is weak enough to exceed the receiver's allowable data error rate at
>the receiver's decoder. In the satellite world, it is called "Rain Fade".
>
>So, a possible test would be to hook up some other receiver to the cable
>connection and watch the same channels. If that receiver behaves the
>same way (assuming the TiVo and the test reciever have the same
>signal-to-noise specifications), then your problem is with the cable
>company not providing a strong enough (or possibly clean enough) signal.
> Thus the amplifier suggestion made by the TiVo Techie. If the cable
>signal is weak or noisy, the amplifier is only a patchwork solution.
>You would really need to get the cable company to come out and fix
>things (assuming the problem isn't inside your house/apt. -- if it is,
>then it is YOUR problem!).

Well, the tivo should come back to life if the signal strength is high enough
then, right? The tivo quits responding to any remote, typical of the "hard
drive is dead" things. This tivo is using the same rf input that my toshiba
w. dvd tivo used with no problems for 9 months (have it somewhere else), but
this one had problems after 3 weeks. Yes, the cable COULD have changed
somehow...
Related resources
Anonymous
July 4, 2005 5:34:01 PM

Archived from groups: alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

That may be my problem. Digital channels break up badly via my Tivo, but
analog channels are fine. I do have the original cable signal split a few
times going to my cable modem and direct to the TV tuner. Will give a cheap
Wal-Mart RF amp a try. Thanks for the idea!

"Ack" <acker_dackerly@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:o uixe.2852$cb6.1725@newssvr30.news.prodigy.com...

> If the signals are digital data streams (digital cable channels?) that are
> modulated onto an RF carrier, then yes an ampifier can help.
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 3:05:24 AM

Archived from groups: alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

> That may be my problem. Digital channels break up badly via my Tivo, but
> analog channels are fine. I do have the original cable signal split a few
> times going to my cable modem and direct to the TV tuner. Will give a
cheap
> Wal-Mart RF amp a try. Thanks for the idea!

Before you go trying amps, try a clean signal first. Get a connection to
the cable box as close as possible to the source coming into the house.
Disconnect all other splitters during this test. Run a long coax cable to
the source point if needed. Make sure you've got as good a signal as needed
BEFORE you complicate things with more splitters and amps.
Anonymous
July 15, 2005 5:59:25 PM

Archived from groups: alt.video.ptv.tivo (More info?)

wkearney99 wrote:
>>That may be my problem. Digital channels break up badly via my Tivo, but
>>analog channels are fine. I do have the original cable signal split a few
>>times going to my cable modem and direct to the TV tuner. Will give a
>
> cheap
>
>>Wal-Mart RF amp a try. Thanks for the idea!
>
>
> Before you go trying amps, try a clean signal first. Get a connection to
> the cable box as close as possible to the source coming into the house.
> Disconnect all other splitters during this test. Run a long coax cable to
> the source point if needed. Make sure you've got as good a signal as needed
> BEFORE you complicate things with more splitters and amps.
>

I agree - adding an amp at the TiVo is only likely to make matters worse. And
30dB? There really is a point where 'more' != 'better'.

You shouldn't *ever* use that much of an amplifier in a home system. All you
will get is noise. 30dB provides a 1000x gain! The 30dB cable amps that you
find are more likely to oscillate than amplify.

If you find that it all works when you use a direct, clean signal, you might
consider adding 10 dB of gain *before* your first splitter.

To do it 'right' is actually more complicated than that, and gets even more
difficult if you have a cable modem (cable Internet), but it's never useful to
put a cable amplifier at the end device (the TV or TiVo). By that time, you're
just making the noise louder, the signal is already weak and in the noise.
!