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AM21 + OTA = New Problem


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16 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   dublus

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 04:09 PM

I hope this is the right place to post this question / plea-for-help. If not, please move it where it belongs.

We have an HR21-700 with an AM21 for OTA. It has worked perfectly fine for several months. We have the AM21 primarily so my wife can record 18-2 (KSCI in the L.A. area) for the Japanese programming. A couple days ago, well after the digital switch, she started complaining that her shows were "all messed up". When I finally checked it today I found that there was no signal on several channels, about 50% on some and 100% on others. Nearly all of these had previously been at or close to 100%. I did a complete reset including the OTA antenna part and had it redo the initial setup. When it got done I thought it had fixed it because the first channel I checked was 2-1 and it showed 100% signal strength where before it had no signal at all. Then I checked the rest of the channels only to find not much had changed other than channel 2-1. There could have been other changes but I didn't write everything down before the big reset so who knows. I was really focusing on 18-2 and just noticed 2-1 because it's the first in the list. The only things I know for sure is that just about every channel used to be at or near 100% and now most aren't and before the reset 2-1 was 0% and now it's 100%. 2-1 has a sister station, 9-1 (KCAL), and it has always followed 2-1 signal-strength-wise and both before and after the reset 9-1 has had 0% signal.

Has the AM21 bit the dust? Is it the HR21-700? It wouldn't make sense to me to blame the antenna, cables, etc.

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#2 ONLINE   evan_s

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 04:17 PM

First thing I would check is to see what changes may have happened with the digital switch in your area. Stations may have changed frequencies, changed transmitter locations both which could have effected your reception.

#3 OFFLINE   50+

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 04:26 PM

I agree with evan_s check what has happened to your local channels.
In southern In. I have several channel that, after the digital change over, have not been upgraded to there new digital slot. I am trying to be patient. On my tv tuner I get several more channels. What I do think is odd is my LIL sat channels are working fine.

#4 OFFLINE   timmmaaayyy2003

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 04:51 PM

Try clearing OTA settings and redo initial setup to see if it resynchronizes the frequencies with the virtual channels. If you have strong signal with no picture, this usually means the guide data does not line up and a rescan/reset is needed.
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#5 OFFLINE   litzdog911

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 04:58 PM

Menu
System Setup
Sat & Ant
Antenna Setup
Reset Settings

Then repeat Initial Setup
HD DVRs: HR34-700; HR24-500; (2) HR20-700 + WD eSATA 1TB drive/Antec MX1 case; HR21-700; HR21-200 w/AM21
Receivers: H25-500 HD Receiver; H21-100 HD Receiver
Mobile Devices: Nomad

Additional equipment configuration details

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#6 OFFLINE   50+

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 05:03 PM

I am not sure about dublus but I have reset every thing. I believe this will be fixed.

#7 OFFLINE   dublus

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 05:08 PM

Menu
System Setup
Sat & Ant
Antenna Setup
Reset Settings

Then repeat Initial Setup


I did all that and I thought I said so in my original post :rolleyes:.

I also said this problem popped up well after analog ended. At that time I had to do a full reset to get some of the channels back. I knew some of them were moving to their permanent frequencies so this was no surprise. What is a surprise is that a week or two later this has happened. Are you saying that this is a temporary side effect of stations changing broadcast frequencies and I'm the only one in the L.A. market that noticed the problem? That seems pretty unlikely, doesn't it?

#8 OFFLINE   David MacLeod

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 05:22 PM

I'd look at the usb cable and reseating it.
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#9 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 05:24 PM

I did all that and I thought I said so in my original post :rolleyes:.

I also said this problem popped up well after analog ended. At that time I had to do a full reset to get some of the channels back. I knew some of them were moving to their permanent frequencies so this was no surprise. What is a surprise is that a week or two later this has happened. Are you saying that this is a temporary side effect of stations changing broadcast frequencies and I'm the only one in the L.A. market that noticed the problem? That seems pretty unlikely, doesn't it?


Does your HDTV receive the channel in question? It doesn't seem likely that 2 weeks after the switch, they changed something. You've done the right reset, and that didn't help, so I'm left wondering a few things:

1. Do other HDTVs receive the questionable channels?
2. Any bad weather that may have changed your antenna situation?
3. Ditto, but cables/connections...have you checked them?

If you can't identify anything has changed and you can confirm that other HDTVs are receiving the signals, then, yes, your AM21 may have bitten the dust.

I have two AM21s and both are receiving normal signal levels with an outside antenna on one and an inside antenna on the other. There are database issues on some channels, but not major networks.

...hasan, N0AN

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#10 OFFLINE   dublus

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 11:17 AM

Okay, just a quick update. I did all the reseating/resetting that I could think of - more than once. When I got done with that I checked signal strength (again). Something strange happened. The first channel is 2-1 (KCBS) and it showed 0% signal. It had shown that before but had been 100% the last few times I checked. I went through every channel looking at the signal strength. I also noticed 50-1 (KOCE) was also 0% which should never happen because it is a very strong signal like 2-1 is. When I got to the end of the list I let it loop back around to 2-1. When I did that the signal strength on 2-1 was now 100%. How can it do that when only 2 minutes before (at the most) it was 0% ? Seeing that I decided to check 50-1 and, sure enough, it was 100%. I think the AM21 is the only thing that could cause that. Does that seem like a reasonable conclusion? I don't have any other ATSC tuner to debug with.

#11 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 11:48 AM

Okay, just a quick update. I did all the reseating/resetting that I could think of - more than once. When I got done with that I checked signal strength (again). Something strange happened. The first channel is 2-1 (KCBS) and it showed 0% signal. It had shown that before but had been 100% the last few times I checked. I went through every channel looking at the signal strength. I also noticed 50-1 (KOCE) was also 0% which should never happen because it is a very strong signal like 2-1 is. When I got to the end of the list I let it loop back around to 2-1. When I did that the signal strength on 2-1 was now 100%. How can it do that when only 2 minutes before (at the most) it was 0% ? Seeing that I decided to check 50-1 and, sure enough, it was 100%. I think the AM21 is the only thing that could cause that. Does that seem like a reasonable conclusion? I don't have any other ATSC tuner to debug with.


Either borrow someone's digital converter box and plug it in, or borrow a small hdtv (portable). You need to verify that the signal coming from your antenna is stable. If you don't eliminate this possibility, you'll only be chasing your tail. The symptoms sound like an intermittent antenna/cable connection.

...hasan, N0AN

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#12 OFFLINE   ukdave

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 12:25 PM

I have a somewhat similar problem after the digital transition (HR22-100 with AM21, all locals via OTA). Channel 7.1 gives me a 771 searching for signal error. All other OTA channels including subchannels 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4 are OK. Signal strength for 7.1 shows >90%.

I tested the OTA signal by plugging the antenna into the HDTV. I get 7.1 with no issues.

I've reset antenna settings and redid intial setup twice. Also RBR's. No success. Guide data matches what is actually showing.

I plan to swap in the HR20-700 tonite to see if this is a AM21, HR22-100 issue.

#13 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 12:50 PM

I have a somewhat similar problem after the digital transition (HR22-100 with AM21, all locals via OTA). Channel 7.1 gives me a 771 searching for signal error. All other OTA channels including subchannels 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4 are OK. Signal strength for 7.1 shows >90%.

I tested the OTA signal by plugging the antenna into the HDTV. I get 7.1 with no issues.

I've reset antenna settings and redid intial setup twice. Also RBR's. No success. Guide data matches what is actually showing.

I plan to swap in the HR20-700 tonite to see if this is a AM21, HR22-100 issue.


...but the frequencies don't match. By that I mean the frequency the tuner is going to (when viewing) is not the frequency that the channel is actually transmitting on. This is caused by an error in the Tribune Media database that D* uses to set our units' tuners. The problem can only be corrected by Tribune. Some have had success by contacting zap2it.com (might be wrong address or spelling).

...hasan, N0AN

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#14 OFFLINE   mdavej

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 01:41 PM

I have the same problem on my HR20-700. One particular station that's 80% + on my tv tuner is 0% on my DVR, even after several resets, setups, and reboots. I get the same channel perfectly on my H20-100, so the frequency database must be correct (unless they send different data to H20's and HR20's). I did notice that my H20 seemed to actually scan for channels like a normal tuner or converter box would. The HR20 did no such thing. I know my antenna and all connections are good because I get several other OTA channels fine. Since the HR20 worked fine pre-transition, I think a hardware problem is very unlikely. I just don't get it.

The biggest problem of all is there's no one at D* you can talk to about this. They either have no idea what you're talking about or deny any responsibility for OTA performance. Why didn't they prepare their CSR's for transition issues? Are OTA users that rare that they can just ignore us?

#15 OFFLINE   sum_random_dork

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 02:58 PM

I would do as hasan said, plug your antenna directly into your TV, I am going to guess since your using an HD DVR your TV has a digital tuner. Have it scan all the channels, if the channels you want show up on your TV you know it's an issue with the AM21. If the channels don't show up on your TV then it could be the stations are changing their locations or changing the height of their antenna. In the SF and Sac area many stations will not be at full power until around 10/15 of this year. They are moving their antennas up on their tansmissions towers, placing new transmitters etc.

#16 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 06:32 PM

I have the same problem on my HR20-700. One particular station that's 80% + on my tv tuner is 0% on my DVR, even after several resets, setups, and reboots. I get the same channel perfectly on my H20-100, so the frequency database must be correct (unless they send different data to H20's and HR20's). I did notice that my H20 seemed to actually scan for channels like a normal tuner or converter box would. The HR20 did no such thing. I know my antenna and all connections are good because I get several other OTA channels fine. Since the HR20 worked fine pre-transition, I think a hardware problem is very unlikely. I just don't get it.

The biggest problem of all is there's no one at D* you can talk to about this. They either have no idea what you're talking about or deny any responsibility for OTA performance. Why didn't they prepare their CSR's for transition issues? Are OTA users that rare that they can just ignore us?


We are not being ignored. There has been a lot of development (earlier, especially) on OTA, but the recent problems seem difficult to deal with. The transition was bound to have significant problems because D* relies on the Tribune database. If it is flawed (and it is), then problems ensue until such time as Tribune gets the data right.

This is the result of a design decision that D* made with the boxes. Problems of this sort are inevitable. They eventually get sorted out (more or less), but require follow up by the consumer with either their local engineer in charge at the TV station or with Tribune.

I didn't like the design decision at the time, but have learned to live with it. I didn't like D* being less than interested in helping OTA users solve problems based on Tribune's bad data, but after waiting nearly a year for 3 channels to get straightened out last time, I went to the local TV station engineer and he had it resolved in 10 days.

As far as OTA users being rare, I think that is relatively true. The best guesses I have seen on OTA users within D* are much less than 10%. I don't know how much protracted effort we can expect given our relatively low numbers, and given that OTA is not exactly what D* is in the business of providing.:)

As a long time OTA advocate for these boxes, I can only say that a lot of good things have been done, and done well. The one particular problem is design based and we just have to work our way through it.

...hasan, N0AN

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HR44-700, WD20EURX 2 TB eSATA/ThermalTake Max 5 Enclosure

HR24-200, WD20EVDS 2 TB eSATA/ThermalTake Dock

HR24-200, H21-200. Samsung UN60C6400 60" LED/LCD

DirecTV since 1995


#17 OFFLINE   dublus

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 12:43 PM

So I spent a couple hours on Saturday switching from one antenna to another one that is better for handling 7-13 VHF (CM 4228). The original was doing what I thought was an ok job with 18 (KSCI), the signal ranging in the low-to-mid 70's. After the 4228 was in place and pointed the signal showed mid-to-upper 90's.

I confidently told my wife that her Japanese stuff should record fine now. WRONG! This morning it (again) got nothing recorded (it shows an entry for the show but is zero minutes long) and upon tuning to that channel got the "searching for signal (771?) message. I immediately checked the signal and it was still mid 90's. Went back to 18-2 and still no signal. Tuned away from 18-2 and back and the signal instantly locked and I was unable to get it to mess up again.

This has got to be either the HR21-700 or the AM21. Any reason to suspect one over the other?




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