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DirecTV Picture/Signal Issues


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17 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   widmark

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 06:20 PM

Our picture/audio stalled and pixelated intermittently for about 20 minutes.  While troubleshooting we discovered that on Satellite 101°, 4 of 32 transponder signals are not being received (#4, #12, #20 & #26).


DirecTV techs said the picture was not affected due to weather, so I should have my equipment and connections checked at a charge of $50 which seems ludicrous.   When I have had any signal issues with cable the cable company is very responsive and there is no charge to fix.  But I rarely had them during my 20+ years with cable, and now I have them in 6 mos with DTV.

We have a brand new installation only 6 mos old with homerun, high quality shielded cables going to each, brand new receiver.  There is nothing obstructing the dish.  We have had nearly perfect weather here (west coast) so there is no chance weather caused an issue with the equipment.

I am not sure what caused the issue and the picture/audio seems normal again.  However, the DirecTV tech led me to believe that the 4 transponder signals, which still show zero, are a problem.

 

Can anyone tell me if these transponders are really an issue and why?  Thanks



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#2 ONLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 06:29 PM

My signal on #4, #12, #20 & #26 are, 42, 100, 99, 0.


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#3 OFFLINE   widmark

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 07:23 PM

My signal on #4, #12, #20 & #26 are, 42, 100, 99, 0.

 

Thanks.  How is your picture/audio?

 

Assuming its fine, then that supports my gut which is... this was a weather related scramble and everybody at least once in awhile if not all the time has low to no signal on some transponder channels.

 

DTV needs to get buyers past their intuition that satellite tv is susceptible to weather so it can compete better with cable.  They quote 99% time signal.  That number I bet is based on techs categorizing signal issues as "equipment issues" pending customer agreeing to have a tech come out for $50 to "research".  After the weather passes and the signal improves, as it did with me, many people don't bother with the $50 visit to establish weather causation.  Nice way to falsely substantiate the "near 100%" signal claims.


Edited by widmark, 14 April 2013 - 07:24 PM.


#4 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 08:59 PM

THose 4 transponders are actually spot beams aimed at specific cities.  If you are not in those cities, it is normal to see zeroes.

 

99% signal reliability  is actually pretty accurate.  actually the number should be higher. This number means that DirecTV expects you to loose the signal due to weather about 605 hours in a year. I don't think I have ever lost my signal for more than a day in a whole year!!!!!!


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#5 OFFLINE   Go Beavs

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 10:03 PM

THose 4 transponders are actually spot beams aimed at specific cities.  If you are not in those cities, it is normal to see zeroes.

 

99% signal reliability  is actually pretty accurate.  actually the number should be higher. This number means that DirecTV expects you to loose the signal due to weather about 605 hours in a year. I don't think I have ever lost my signal for more than a day in a whole year!!!!!!

 

I think you're off a little bit on your numbers. 365*24 = 8760 hours per year. 1% of that is 87.6 hours of signal loss at 99% reliability.

 

That still a big number though and longer than most people will ever loose signal for. I think I average about 10-15 minutes per year!


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#6 OFFLINE   mystic7

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 06:58 AM

Maybe it was sun spots. The sun's been pretty active lately.



#7 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 09:11 PM

I think you're off a little bit on your numbers. 365*24 = 8760 hours per year. 1% of that is 87.6 hours of signal loss at 99% reliability.

 

That still a big number though and longer than most people will ever loose signal for. I think I average about 10-15 minutes per year!

 

RIght on.  I never said math was my forte!   !rolling


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#8 OFFLINE   widmark

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 11:00 PM

The main point here is that, don't take DTVs word for it that you need to pay them to have a tech visit because you have some temporary garbling and some transponders showing zero signal.  Two reps from DTV told me zeros in the transponder signal matrices are bad... which I've since learned is poppycock.  Information on transponder channels can be found in this forum.

 

I still have those "pesky" zero signals on some transponder channels, but my picture and sound are back to normal.  So is the weather here.



#9 OFFLINE   mystic7

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 08:41 AM

Well, after almost two weeks of trouble free reception I'm getting pixelation and digital breakup and freezing on all of my local channels. I'm sure that, like your problem it will just go away in a while, but thought I'd add to the the database.



#10 OFFLINE   CCarncross

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 11:16 AM

Maybe its your internet provider messing with you for illegally downloading copyrighed materials.... :righton:


Edited by CCarncross, 16 April 2013 - 11:16 AM.


#11 OFFLINE   fleckrj

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:01 AM

As peds-48 stated, those channels are spot beams, so it is notmal to have 0 or a low number on one or more of those, depending on where you are located. If you have low numbers on all of the odd or even numbered transponders, then you have a system problem.

 

Weather and sunspot activity will not cause low numbers on isolated transponders. The numbers will be low for the entire satellite if it is weather or sunspot related. When the problem is only with your local channels, then it is usually due to a problem with the channels delivering a high quality signal to DirecTV. Many stations deliver the signal via fiber optic links, and problems can happen. Since all of the local channels in a given area are sharing the same fiber optic system, the problem affects all of the locals, but none of the national channels. Sometimes an individual channel does have a problem dilevering the signal to DirecTV, so that only affects one channel.

 

The channels on 101 are all SD channels, so if you were having problems with an HD channel, then it has nothing to do with the signal you received from 101. The signal strength (not the number reported on the receiver, but the actual RF power of the signal) is lower on 1the 03 and 99 satellites than it is on the 101 satellite, so if it is a weather related outage, often times the SD channels are fine, but the HD channels are affected.

 

I live in an area that has frequent thunderstorms and occasional tropical storms, but I rarely lose my signal for more than 10 minutes at a time, and then only on a few days of the year.

 

We have been on the bottom half of the sunspot activity cycle since about 2003, but we are now moving into the upper half. Interference from solar flares, not only on satellite television, but on all forms of wireless communication will be increasing for the next two years, then it will start to drop. By 2017 it will be back to the 2012 level, and it will bottom out around 2020 before it starts to go back up again.

 

If you have intermittent problems on most of the channels, then you might have a loose conection or a connection tha is not watertight.


Edited by fleckrj, 17 April 2013 - 11:04 AM.

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#12 OFFLINE   widmark

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 01:03 PM

 If you have low numbers on all of the odd or even numbered transponders, then you have a system problem.

 

 

Great reply thanks fleckrj.  I have outages on even numbers (#4, #12, #20 & #26) as said but since it is not on all of the evens, I assume that means I am in the clear on a system failure.  And I was watching a HD local channel (I believe it was CBS's coverage of the Masters).

 

I learned a lot from your post so thanks again.

 

Based on your description, especially since this was a live sports broadcast, I suspect the feed to the satellite from the fiber sourced video was a problem.  The garbling went away after 15 minutes.  By then I was already sensing that DTV was jumping to a premature conclusion that customer equipment issues were the culprit.


Edited by widmark, 17 April 2013 - 01:04 PM.


#13 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 01:58 PM

However, the DirecTV tech led me to believe that the 4 transponder signals, which still show zero, are a problem.

 

A usual, those "tech" CSRs are clueless.


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#14 OFFLINE   fleckrj

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 06:11 AM

I did not watch the Masters, but I do watch a lot of cycling.  Picture breakups there are very common, because the signal is going from a camera on a motorcycle that is following the action to an aircraft (fixed wing or helecoptor) to a studio, and then distributed around the world.   There are so many ways that signal can get corrupted before it ever gets to DirecTV, but almost always, the problem is somewhere between the camera and the signal getting to DirecTV.  Golf is probably the next most difficult sporting event to broadcast, especially when the cameras are following the golfers rather than being on stationary platforms. 

 

I remember the old days when golf tournaments only televised holes 15, 16, 17, and 18, because the cameras had to be mounted on platforms, and they could not put cameras on every hole.  Now, with the small, hand-held cameras, you get much better coverage of the entire golf course, but you pay a price in picture quality.  In the analog days, a loss of signal just meant a less clear picture.  With digital, it is all or none.  If the signal strength is too low, the picture will pixallate or freeze.  With analog, you just got snow or ghosts, but you did not lose the image entirely.

 

As I stated before, if you were watching HD,then the signal was coming from a spot beam on 103 or 99, depending on where you live.  It does not matter what the signal strengths are on any of the other spot beam transponders.  All of your locals will be on two or three transponders on the same satellite, and as long as you have a high signal strength on those, you are fine.  There is a sticky that lists which local channels are on which transponder.  All HD comes from either the 99 or 103 slot.  101 only has SD channels.



#15 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 12:07 PM

I was watching the Masters on cable, and also watched a few hours of it on Directv and didn't notice any issues with the picture breaking up on either. Assuming no one else watching it on Directv did, it had to be something on the system of the person who had the problem, so he should call Directv and have it checked out.

 

Maybe his dish is out of alignment or LNB is going bad. I recently replaced my LNB, the symptom was that randomly for a couple hours I'd have problems with signal breaking up on the 103ca satellite but not the 99c satellite. It used to be once a month or so, but started happening more often until it was every few days when I had it fixed. That's hard to diagnose or even realize it is a problem with your own system rather than Directv or weather conditions until it starts happening more frequently.


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#16 OFFLINE   alnielsen

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 02:51 PM

Maybe it was sun spots. The sun's been pretty active lately.

Actualy, It hasn't. Any solar ejections that have happened, have missed the Earth. You can track it at: www.spaceweather.com


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#17 OFFLINE   mystic7

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 03:15 PM

Maybe its your internet provider messing with you for illegally downloading copyrighed materials.... :righton:

No, they seem to be less anal about the situation than you are.



#18 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 04:14 PM

someone is about to get a warning…. :rolling:


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