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hr21-200 and am21 ota problem

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by mrmojo, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. Aug 9, 2010 #1 of 23
    mrmojo

    mrmojo Mentor

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    I live in the Tampa Bay area and a few days ago I noticed that all of my OTA channels have no signal with the exception of 10-1 and 10-2 (local CBS). I have tried the rescanning procedure including disconnecting the AM21 and sometimes only 10-1 and 10-2 show up in the OTA channel table and sometime all channels appear but only 10-1 and 10-2 have a signal (94-97).

    I have checked all connections and have tried checking the signal levels with a smaller indoor antenna to rule out the antenna but still no luck. I use this indoor antenna for troubleshooting as it will pick up a very low signal from all OTA channels in my area. Still only 10-1 and 10-2 showed a signal. The weird thing is all of the OTA's missing are broadcast from the same antenna farm near Tampa while 10-1 and 10-2 are from a different location. I posted on another forum (TampaHDTV) and someone in Lakeland said they were receiving all OTA channels - don't know if they have DirecTV or not.

    I called DirecTV but the tech was of no help and said there were no other problems reported and he couldn't do anything else. When I asked to be transferred to someone with more tech knowledge he said no one was available!

    Anyone else in the Tampa Bay area with an AM21 having a similar issue or does someone have any ideas of what happened?

    Thanks...
     
  2. Aug 9, 2010 #2 of 23
    cover

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    My best guess is that it has become "confused" about which actual frequencies to tune for which channels. When this has happened to me, often a reboot has fixed it but other times I've had to reset OTA and do the Initial setup again.
     
  3. Aug 9, 2010 #3 of 23
    mrmojo

    mrmojo Mentor

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    I tried both before but nothing helped...
     
  4. Aug 9, 2010 #4 of 23
    hasan

    hasan Well-Known Member

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    You need to do a complete reset of the antenna settings. Start by:

    1. Reset Settings

    2. Initial Setup

    3. Provide zip code(s) when requested.

    Let it finish.

    If you just go into initial settings, sometimes it doesn't clear out the old stuff.

    If this doesn't work, you can try doing the same thing, but with no antenna connected. Somewhere in the morass of posts, someone mentioned this trick. Do the full setup from scratch with no antenna connected. Then connect the antenna a do it again. It strikes me a pretty strange, but if you are desperate enough, it might be worth it.

    Also, verify that you are receiving all the proper channels on your HDTV fed directly by the antenna (bypass the sat box completely and use the the exact feedline that is going to the HR box as the one feeding your TV (to preclude a bad cable or connector).
     
  5. mrmojo

    mrmojo Mentor

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    Feb 11, 2008
    hasan - thanks for the input but I did try all of this already with no luck. I do not have a tuner in my HDTV (circa 2001 Mits) but others in my area reported no problems with ota reception.

    I remember reading something about a channel/freq database that the Tribune maintains along with the guide data. Does this ring a bell? I am wondering if maybe this database info got hosed as my problems started after a reboot due to a power outage.

    UPDATE: I read in a post that you should re-enter all the digits of your zip code rather than just pressing enter when your zip code appears in the initial setup screen. When you do this you apparently are requesting the channel table to be downloaded again. When I did this only channels 10-1 and 10-2, the only ota's I get a signal for, appeared as available channels. I remembered when I entered my old NY zip code that all the NY area channels appeared so now I am convinced it is a channel table issue.

    If anyone knows who I can contact about this (Tribune?) please let me know. DirecTV techs seemed clueless when I mentioned this.
     
  6. Apr 1, 2011 #6 of 23
    mrmojo

    mrmojo Mentor

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    Well my AM21 lasted only 7 months this time. Yesterday all OTA stations are "searching for signal" with the exception of 10-1 and 10-2 here in the Tampa Bay area. The signal strength on those channels is about 65 instead of the usual 100%. My check with another outboard OTA tuner shows the antenna, cabling, etc., is all fine as the signal strengths are normal 85-100%.

    This is now the 5th AM21 that has stopped working for me in just over 2 years. I have the same HD DVD for that period of time so I just think the AM21 is a P.O.S. Anyone else having this many issues?

    BTW - I only paid for the first one. I threatened to cancel my subscription is DTV did not send me a new one especially since I have the protection plan I pay extra for even though they say the AM21 is not covered.
     
  7. Apr 1, 2011 #7 of 23
    CCarncross

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    I think its time to figure out why you keep burning them out....thats an awful lot for one location to die. My guess is there is something in your specific environment that is affecting these...
     
  8. Apr 1, 2011 #8 of 23
    hasan

    hasan Well-Known Member

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    Ogden, IA
    I've had two since before they first came out (I was involved in the beta testing of the hardware). I still have both, and both have worked for about 3 years, I think. One is sitting on top of an H21-200 (hd receiver), and the other is sitting on top of a Samsung Blu-Ray player.

    The only problems I've had were related to bad guide data (from Tribune).

    Something has to be very, very wrong for you to have lost 5 in two years. Both of mine are on UPSs (as is all my equipment). Maybe the AM21 is vulnerable to power line problems, and I've never seen it because of the UPS.

    The other data point I would look at is the relatively low failure rate of AM21 as pointed out by other people on the forum. Very, very few report real failures, rather the experience the problems that many of us do with bad data provided by Tribune (which eventually gets worked out).

    I agreee with the other poster: something is wrong outside of the AM21, or you are the most unlucky person on the forum.:)
     
  9. Apr 2, 2011 #9 of 23
    mrmojo

    mrmojo Mentor

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    Well it's not my setup or surge/line conditioning protection as I have high quality surge/line conditioning receptacles that the AM21 is plugged into as well as a whole-house surge arrestor/line conditioner which is on my power meter. I live in the Tampa Bay area which is known as the lightning capital of the U.S. but I have had no issues with any of my other equipment which includes a stereo power amp that is 24 yrs old. All equipment is well ventilated and we keep our home cool all the time.

    All I know is that the tuners in the AM21 are poor quality which may be some of the problem as their reception capabilities seem to decrease with age. Also where they are manufactured may be the issue as I had problems with 2 initial DVRs within days of receiving them (blank recordings) and when I got my current one I noticed it was manufactured in a different country and has been fine for 2 yrs or so.
     
  10. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Not sure of your reference here, but the AM-21s beat the crap out of the OTA tuners in the HR20.
     
  11. hasan

    hasan Well-Known Member

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    Ogden, IA
    I'm not sure what to tell you, but something has to be different. No one should be that unlucky. As far as tuner performance, I have done some pretty sophisticated measurements on the AM21, and as VOS has noted, it outperforms the HR20 tuners by a long shot. When I compared the AM21 to two different Samsungs (high end), and three Sanyos, its performance was equal to the Samsungs and better than the Sanyos, (especially sensitivity in the Sanyo case). This is with 3 year old products (AM21).

    Unless you are using a UPS on the setup, I'd still be looking there. You mention surge and line conditioning, but I'm not sure we're on the same page. In any case, I hope you make progress.
     
  12. texasbrit

    texasbrit Well-Known Member

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    I have three AM21s (my first one was a beta test unit) and have had no problems at all. Their reception performance is middle of the road from me - much better than my HR20s, better than my sanyo and not as good as my Samsung (new).
    Are you using a powered antenna and if so where is the power supply? there have been cases of the antenna power supply generating spikes that kill the AM21.
     
  13. mrmojo

    mrmojo Mentor

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    No, I am not using a powered antenna. It is a "Tampa Bay Special" which is basically 2 antennas combined as 1 OTA station is in the opposite of all others in the Tampa Bay area.
     
  14. mrmojo

    mrmojo Mentor

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    Definition: "An AC power conditioner is the typical power conditioner that provides "clean" AC power to sensitive electrical equipment. Usually this is used for home or office applications and has up to 10 or more receptacles or outlets and commonly provides surge protection as well as noise filtering."

    As I stated previously I have had no other problems with any of my A/V equipment including an amp that is over 20 years old.
     
  15. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Not sure how you've done this, "but" you may have multi-path issues.
     
  16. mrmojo

    mrmojo Mentor

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    Not sure why you think I would have multi-path issues. The antenna is specifically designed for OTA reception in the Tampa Bay area. It is mounted in my attic and when the AM21 worked my signal strengths were in the 90-100 range. I have an inexpensive Coby (non-HD) converter box that actually reports higher signal levels on the stations that the AM21 reports a 90-98 signal strength on.

    My original and subsequent upgraded DirecTV non-DVR receivers that had the integrated OTA tuner had absolutely zero problems picking up my local OTA channels for almost 7 years. This problem is very frustrating as I have no other way to receive my OTA sub-channels with DirecTV and am starting to think that Verizon FIOS may be a better choice.
     
  17. mdavej

    mdavej Hall Of Fame

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    Does FIOS really have OTA tuners or local sub-channels?
     
  18. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Without knowing what you're using, I can only say that each antenna has a backside that also picks up signals. Unless these are filtered out, these will combine and more than likely be out of phase, which is the definition of multi-path.
     
  19. CCarncross

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    Based on this I think you may have multi-path issues. In your situation, the AM-21 may be too good a tuner as far as sensitivity is concerned and is being over driven or amplifying the weaker multi-path signals causing more interference. I have multi-path issues, but I've been able to orient my antenna to minimize multi-path so it doesnt cause issues.
     
  20. mrmojo

    mrmojo Mentor

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    They carry all the local sub-channels in my area which include local radar and local politics.
     

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