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OTA Splitting question

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by L2BENGTREK, Nov 6, 2007.

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  1. Nov 6, 2007 #1 of 20
    L2BENGTREK

    L2BENGTREK Godfather

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    May 31, 2006
    Hey guys....it's been a long time! Been lurking daily but haven't posted in a while.

    Got a question:

    I've got this antenna http://www.solidsignal.com/prod_display.asp?PROD=AD-DB2 on my house for OTA going directly to my TV's tuner...not the HR20. Don't know the exact length of the cable run, but I'd say within 50 ft. Lowest signal strengths for all of the channels I get are in the 80's...according to the TV. Most of them are high 80's to mid 90's.

    Can I split the cable in back of the TV to feed both my TV tuner and my HR20 to add OTA to the DVR? I would like to keep a feed for the TV itself...if God forbid a satellite outage happens!!

    !rolling

    Looks good on paper....just thought I'd see what you think.

    I assume I'd need a decent splitter? What rating would you recommend?
     
  2. Nov 6, 2007 #2 of 20
    Michael D'Angelo

    Michael D'Angelo Lifetime Achiever

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    Yes you can split the OTA line and connect it to the HR20 and the TV both.

    Your signals may go down a few % but that is it.
     
  3. Nov 6, 2007 #3 of 20
    MarkJones

    MarkJones AllStar

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    That's just like my setup. I have OTA on its own cable run from the attic antenna, which is split behind the TV. One run goes into the TV's OTA connector and the other goes into the back of my HR20. I just got a splitter from Radio Shack.

    I was worried about signal loss from splitting the signal so I did signal strength testing from the TV with the signal split and not split. There was hardly any difference either way.
     
  4. Nov 6, 2007 #4 of 20
    L2BENGTREK

    L2BENGTREK Godfather

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    May 31, 2006
    Cool, thanks for the quick answers guys!

    Just a cheapie splitter or what? I think I might have a couple of better rated ones from using Time Warner a couple of years ago...will that do?
     
  5. Nov 6, 2007 #5 of 20
    Mike728

    Mike728 Icon

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    Oct 29, 2007
    Cheap worked for me.
     
  6. Nov 6, 2007 #6 of 20
    gcisko

    gcisko I am Iron Man!

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    Sep 27, 2006
    This is what I did. I went to ACE hardware and bought the best signal amp and splitter they had. Should be no problem.
     
  7. Nov 6, 2007 #7 of 20
    jeff125va

    jeff125va Godfather

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    Jun 4, 2007
    Um... not sure if you know this, hence the rotfl, but a satellite outage wouldn't prevent your the HR20 from receiving the satellite signal. But splitting it would allow you to watch something live while you had two other things recording.

    Like others have said, you shouldn't experience much of a signal drop with just a two-output splitter, but you might have some channels that are just barely strong enough right now without the splitter. A small drop might be just enough to go from a perfectly fine picture to none at all. It happened to me last year and I missed a few weeks of Smallville before I realized it (we're usually several weeks behind on most shows). And that was with a 4-way splitter, and only on the longer cable runs, and only on that channel. Just a heads-up to go ahead and check out all the channels you watch.
     
  8. Nov 6, 2007 #8 of 20
    L2BENGTREK

    L2BENGTREK Godfather

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    May 31, 2006
    Basically, I was just looking to still have a feed going directly to the TV so that if anything at all happens to the box....I'm covered.

    You're saying that let's say for example a hell of a rain storm comes through and wipes out the strength of D*'s signal, are you saying that for the time being I can change to one of the off-air channels through the HR-20? If that's the case, I think I remember that now...I never thought about it!
     
  9. Nov 6, 2007 #9 of 20
    jeff125va

    jeff125va Godfather

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    Absolutely. I often set up multiple recordings for important shows when I know there's a chance of bad weather - one on the satellite channel and one on the OTA.
     
  10. L2BENGTREK

    L2BENGTREK Godfather

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    May 31, 2006

    That's cool. I remember that now, I just never thought about it cuz' I never was really interested in hooking up OTA to the HR20 til' now.
     
  11. goober22

    goober22 Godfather

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    Sep 8, 2004
    Sunny...
    I have a pre-amp on my antenna but I split the line at both my 2 digital sets and HR20s and saw no loss of signal (I was surprised). So I say - go for it!
     
  12. jeff125va

    jeff125va Godfather

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    Jun 4, 2007
    I agree - after my pre-amp, it's split 3 ways, one of them going to a multiswitch to the room where I have both an HR10 and an HR20, then after the diplexer it's split again to go to the HR10 and HR20. As long as the pre-amp is there it all works fine.
     
  13. donshan

    donshan Godfather

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    Jun 18, 2007
    I just installed a DB-4 ( which is just two DB-2s ganged together) on the roof through a splitter to two HR20-700s. I chose the DB-4 because I do not like to to use preamps/amps which add noise. Got 98-100 readings on one HR20 and the second HR20 is one of those new ones that reaches a max of 77% meter reading on all strong signal levels. When I put this RG6 leg from the splitter directly into the HDTV tuner I got 100% on five UHF HD channels. I found the 77% is a bogus meter reading when I added attenuators into that RG6 line it took a -20db drop in signal level before the meter went down to 75% which was still producing good HD pictures.

    OTA digital HD does not get better once the signal locks in, which typically is 70 better. Once the receiver locks and is decoding an accurate bitstream of numbers more signal does not make it any better.

    I would say go ahead and try the DB-2 and splitter, but if you decide you want more signal strength upgrade to a DB4 rather than spending the money on a preamp on the DB-2.
     
  14. L2BENGTREK

    L2BENGTREK Godfather

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    May 31, 2006
    Thanks for all of the great advice guys.

    I hooked it up last night and it went fairly smooth. I'm having a problem with my local FOX affiliate though. Guide shows info for it, it's got the right subchannel assigned to it (19-1). But I can't pull it in with the HR20. The TV tuner itself pulls it in fine with around 82-84% strength....but the HR20 says "signal not acquired"

    Ideas?

    Note: In case it matters, my local ABC affiliate is kind of on the weak side also, but it locks in. In the 50's and 60's on the HR20. High 70's - low 80's on the TV.

    Another tidbit.....all other channels come in good, but on a couple of them the signal signal levels on HR20 are lower than expected. 70's and 80's. All others are 90's -100%

    I'm using RG6 for all the feeds. I've used a couple of different splitters also.

    Out of all this, I'd be good with just being able to pull my FOX affiliate in on the HR20.

    Suggestions would be great.
     
  15. donshan

    donshan Godfather

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    Jun 18, 2007
    If I understand your post you are getting a picture and sound and signal of 82-84% on your HDTV internal tuner, but the HR20 is not finding 19-1 at all. Does the HR 20 show any meter reading at all on 19-1?

    First try a menu reset if you have not done this. Sometimes the reset allows the HR20 to find the signal that it missed if you just did the OTA setup without a reset.

    You might try rotating the antenna back and forth plus/minus 30 degrees or so to see if it helps. Keep in mind the DB2 has only a 90 degree beam angle meaning that all the towers must be within the same 90 degree pointing angle.

    These meters do not actually measure signal strength, but rather the digital decoding accuracy of the MPEG data stream. Sometimes reflections on a specific channels ( similar to a ghost in analog TV) can cause multipath decoding problems on one channel. Better aiming of the antenna towards the tower sometimes helps. Just a guess, but something to try since internal HDTV tuners seem to have better digital error correction than the HR 20 has.
     
  16. L2BENGTREK

    L2BENGTREK Godfather

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    May 31, 2006
    Thanks. Makes sense what you're saying. I'll try adjusting the aim a little bit. At first, the HR20 was showing no picture at all and no signal on the meter.....last night I came home and tuned to it and I had a picture and signal in the high 60's. Maybe the antenna just needs a little tweaking!
     
  17. jwd45244

    jwd45244 Hall Of Fame

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    Aug 18, 2006
    19-1 is susceptible to multi-pathing. I turned my antenna about two degrees to the north of where antennaweb.org said to point to get WXIX. I can't get 64-1 at all (but I don't really care).

    I found that the best site for antenna pointing is www.tvfool.com as you can put in antenna height and it will tell you if you have line of sight to the tower and will tell you how high your antenna woudl have to be to get LOS. It is much more accurate than antennaweb because it uses the underlying radiation patterns the tv station have to send to the FCC.

    My antenna is at about 19 feet above ground level and tvfool say in or to get LOS on WXIX I need to put my antenna at 24.3 ft. For me, many of the Cincinnati stations are in the 1st Edge Diffraction area (much more multi-path is possible) caused by terrain issues.
     
  18. MikeR7

    MikeR7 Icon

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    Jun 17, 2006
    I have done this too, mainly so I can do picture and picture with the satellite and OTA feeds. I have my OTA split down to 4 receivers plus the TV, wouldn't have been possible though without an inline amp. :)
     
  19. donshan

    donshan Godfather

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    Jun 18, 2007
    Yes I agree. Preamps ( especially the low noise Channel Master series) are most useful for overcoming the line losses of splitters and multiple cables when hooked to a good antenna to begin with. These preamps amplify the signal at the antenna before any splitters and extra cables. Each split divides the signal strength of the antenna so a preamp helps. .

    The best solution is to use a higher gain antenna to begin with, and then add the preamp onlywhen is more is needed ususally for stations more than 30 miles away. For example the DB-2 two bay UHF antenna that the OP used is good, the DB4 model is even higher gain, and several 8 bay such as the CM 4228 is very high gain, but narrow beam width. By raising the antenna gain preamps can be avoided.

    Unfortunately a lot of BB & CC antennas use a weak antenna and then try to compensate with by adding amplifier. This is not as good as high gain antenna to begin with. In my previous antenna install I wanted to pick up our channel 8 ( hi VHF) FOX digital from 66 miles away and added a preamp to a combo VHF-UHF antenna, only to find the signal went DOWN on the channel 8 signal. I eventually found that the preamp was also amplifying local FM radio stations, overloading the digital HD tuner which caused the auto gain control to turn the total signal down, which then cut my channel 8 digital tV signal too. Adding FM trap cured it, but I don't like amplifiers except as a last solution and sometimes they cause problems.
     
  20. L2BENGTREK

    L2BENGTREK Godfather

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    May 31, 2006

    Thanks Jim. I'll tweak the aim a little and see what happens. I can't get 64 either.
    well, through the HR20. I get it through my TV tuner though....weird. But like you, I really don't care that much.
     
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