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Non-stop pixilation; one channel only

Discussion in 'DISH™ High Definition Discussion' started by Poco Askew, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. Poco Askew

    Poco Askew AllStar

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    Sep 25, 2007
    I hope I put this thread in the correct forum. Feel free to move, if not.

    We've been with Dish since January. I have not yet made it through a single show on ABC in HD without multiple pixilation/video drop out problems. It happens on both recordings and live TV. The local tech's have been out six times. They've replaced and re-aimed everything. They even sent their senior QC tech out with a special meter he could use for more accurate dish alignment. Everyone agrees there is nothing close to obstructing the dish's view. They find the signal strength to be OK. I'm on my third 722, all new cables with no splices, other than the grounding block (they tried single and dual cables), a new LNB, etc. They checked the torque on the cable fittings and checked for moisture or corrosion throughout. Several tech's have the same DVR and live in the area. They claim they do not have this problem with ABC-HD. Unfortunately, this is our favorite channel to watch.

    We get our locals out of Medford, Oregon, 97504 on channel 12, and live a few miles away at zip 97540. On sat 110 we get 55-70 for strength, On 119 we get 52 - 56. On 129 we get 46 - 70.

    There is no pixilation on the SD version, and only the rare random pixilation and audio drop-out/sync issues on other channels. On ABC-HD we usually have at least two dropouts in a half hour show and three or four in an hour show. Each time they last from only one or two seconds, up to 15 seconds or longer. Sometimes after these the audio is out of sync and cannot be fixed for the remainder of the show.

    I don't know what other information might help with ideas. I'm beginning to think I already know the answer and the problem is unsolvable. Any ideas?
     
  2. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    Sounds like a problem on the uplink side.

    What did DISH Network say when you informed them of this problem in painstaking detail?
     
  3. coldsteel

    coldsteel Hall Of Fame

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    Mar 29, 2007
    Out of curiosity, have you tried OTA with being that close, to rule out an issue with the affiliate?
     
  4. Poco Askew

    Poco Askew AllStar

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    Sep 25, 2007
    Honestly, they are pretty useless. They are always "very sorry for the inconvenience." They have checked to see if there are any reported problems, but I'm told none exist. They offer to send out another technician, but the communication is so poor between the call center and the local installers/tech's, I've found it more productive to call the local guys direct. When Dish sends them out, it's like starting from scratch. That would be fine, but it hasn't fixed anything. I believe Dish has given up. They offered to let me out of my contract. That's fine, but I'd rather have working service. If I could get OTA or if D* had my locals in HD, I'd jump at their offer. I'm sort of stuck no matter which way I go.

    Even though we are close, OTA is not available. We live in a valley at the bottom of a mountain range. I've tried several times over the years but cannot make OTA work. I have friends in town that watch "Lost" via OTA and they don't see the problem.
     
  5. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    15,104
    330
    Jan 18, 2007
    Northern...
    I would suggest that you email dishquality@echostar.com and the station (preferably, if you can, to the station's engineering folks).

    Assuming that it is not a unique problem of some kind in your installation, there are other folks who may be having the problem and the stations are sensitive to their viewers as is Dish Quality.

    In passing, I have to ask if you have a clear line-of-sight to the satellites. I had a problem with trees when the wind would blow (I just moved the dish over 4 feet myself).
     
  6. Poco Askew

    Poco Askew AllStar

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    Sep 25, 2007
    I'll send the email, per your suggestion. I had a conversation with the local station's chief engineer and have his email address to include. He has confirmed no problems with the uplink signal which is monitored by Dish employees. He also told me the SD signal is down-converted from the HD signal, so if it was a problem at their end, the drop-outs would happen to both.

    Every tech that has come out feels line of sight is not the issue. I have a survey transit that is quite accurate. Because I wanted to be sure myself, I used it to read the sky. The tallest tree anywhere close to the dish's view comes in just below 38 degrees elevation. It is not very close to where the dish "looks". But even if wind could blow it all that way, it would get lower in the process as it bends. Everything else is considerably lower. Our dish elevation is above 40 degrees. Again, it seems a mystery since it is only a single channel, but constant with that channel.

    Thanks!
     
  7. Lostinspace

    Lostinspace AllStar

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    Oct 24, 2007
    I'm also in Southern Oregon and see this problem regularly on the HD feed for KDRV 12, the ABC affiliate. I currently have four episodes of V recorded, and I when catching up watching yesterday evening I observed that all had one or more pauses with pixelation. I do not see this regular of a problem on other channels I watch live or recorded and have good signal strength with clear LOS, so that is not the issue. That said, I watch very little local programming, so the problem could be on more than just the ABC local feed.
     
  8. Poco Askew

    Poco Askew AllStar

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    Sep 25, 2007
    WOW! Good to know. I thought it was just me. We do watch a fair amount of the major networks, and ABC more than any other channel, by far. Only it gives us consistent grief.
     
  9. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    15,104
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    Jan 18, 2007
    Northern...
    I would suggest that both of you report it to dishquality@echostar.com as it is likely a "fixable" problem on their end though it might require interaction with the station. And if you can, give them the link to this thread and keep this thread alive with updates on communications.
     
  10. Poco Askew

    Poco Askew AllStar

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    Sep 25, 2007
    I did the email to dishquality@echostar.com. I sent them a link to this thread and the email of the chief engineer at the local station. I also let the station engineer know what's going on and gave him the same info. I called the senior tech with the group that provides the local Dish installs and service to update him, but have not gotten a call back yet. [​IMG]
     
  11. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

    8,969
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    Nov 13, 2007
    The problem is that only the HD feed is being converted from MPEG2 to MPEG4; the SD version remains in MPEG2 (though it's likely center-cut and re-encoded). The type of problem you describe is usually the result of errors in the MPEG2 data stream that MPEG2 error correction can handle gracefully, but that chokes an MPEG4 encoder. It's a common problem in the industry and affects most DMAs to one degree or another. And even the TV station engineers don't always understand the problem because they don't know what Dish is doing to the signal (converting to MPEG4, in this case).
     
  12. fudpucker

    fudpucker Godfather

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    Jul 23, 2007
    NW Iowa
    Hmm. Since I had Dish installed, we have had, quite a few evenings, problems with our HD locals feed from ABC. Almost like a flickering, with static pops, which gets faster and faster, then stops. I thought my TV was going bad, but it was not happening on the SD channel at the same time.
     
  13. Poco Askew

    Poco Askew AllStar

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    Sep 25, 2007
    I'm beginning to wonder if it does effect the SD signal from our ABC local as well, but the way it is manifested is very different. In HD, it's the usual pixilation/blocks of color. I Started recording more SD to see what I could learn. I see very brief video dropouts - almost like a poor edit. It is so quick, it would be easy to ignore. I have not recorded the same shows in SD and HD to compare. I may do that to see if they correlate.
     
  14. Poco Askew

    Poco Askew AllStar

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    Sep 25, 2007
    I just received this reply from Dish:
    ------------
    Dear Mr. XXX,

    Thanks again for all the information, it’s a great help. I did confirm problems today on the HD channel. I have opened a Discrepancy Ticket on this service. This means this service is checked up to 9 times a day until the problem has been resolved. I have also escalated this to our Locals Engineering Department. I do apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

    Thank you,
    EchoStar Broadcasting Corporation
    Quality Assurance Department
    dishquality@echostar.com
    -------------

    As they say, I'm cautiously optomistic. We've lived with this for so long, I just can't believe someone in the area didn't bring this to their attention before now. Of course it's taken me four months of working with Dish to get this far. WOOT!
     
  15. jpeckinp

    jpeckinp Legend

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    Nov 5, 2006
    Better than the normal canned response.:biggthump
     
  16. JWKessler

    JWKessler Legend

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    Jun 2, 2004
    A bit of a ramble here for what it's worth...

    When I was on Bell Express Vu (the Canadian dish system) we got networks out of Boston. There were always problems with the signal breaking up. At the time they claimed the problem was related to the DSL link between where they picked up the signal in Boston and the uplink center.

    Later we switched to cable and had lots of problems with the local channels. In this case the cable company picked up the local channels with an antenna at their head end, which was quite a distance from the transmitters. Any time we had bad weather we could expect the locals to mess up. One of our locals (the ABC affiliate) was using a low power temporary transmitter during the digital transition and we would get drop outs every 20 to 30 seconds. This went on for years. They have since switched to their full power transmitter and things got much better but we still see dropouts.

    Now I'm on Dish and things are much more reliable. They don't offer locals here however so I still have cable for that. I get two OTA channels with an antenna and two networks from American Direct on Dish. That gives us the best reliability of all. Cable still is the most unreliable of all the services I have ever used.

    So in general, the local channels can be the most problematic on any system with the method of getting the signal to the uplink center or head end being the weak link.
     

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