Over The Air (OTA) upgrade and pixelation

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Over The Air (OTA) upgrade and pixelation

TPRIBORSA
Camera Crew
I lost my password so this is a new username, my old posts being under "tpribors". I documented my experience with the OTA issues that started with a software update U501 in (8/19/17) and continue with U503 (10/11/17).

I started with a single-tuner dongle. Since some had reported better results with the dual tuner dongle I recently acquired one. Here are the results.

1. I powered off the unit and swapped the dongles and all of the previously scanned single-tuner channels were still there. The characteristics didn't seem to change much. Not knowing if the second tuner was operational I did a rescan. Boy was that a mistake. I had done a scan before the U501 and had discovered over 50 channels/subchannels. I had tuned the list back to eliminate the satellite/local duplicates and other uninteresting (Spanish/shopping) to get the total number of channels under the limit for a problem that I reported earlier that seemed to limit the number of SAVEABLE channels to around 30. The rescan with the new dongle resulted in less than half of the number of channels previously discovered. This scan missed channels in blocks, ie, all of the n.* channels, but if it found a channel it would find all of the subchannels.

Some channels that it missed were ones that were fully operational before U501 but marginal with U501 and later. These exhibitied no pixelation before but now were prone to varying degrees of pixelation: some channels were virtually unusable and some would periodic or intermittent issues.

I attempted to rescan several times and the channels were not the same. There were some solid channels that always appear. But the ones that it missed were the ones that fell into the marginal category. It took 4 or 5 rescans to get the channels to finally settle on most of the ones I wanted but could never get all of them.

2. Now here's a revelation. And it just happened again. Occasionally one of the solid channels (Las Vegas 8.2, MeTV in the example here) will get pixelation and sound choppiness. I was experimenting with the two tuner configuration. While the main TV/Hopper was tuned to a channel that was getting some pixelation I was using my tablet with DishAnywhere to tune to another channel to see if the dual channel config was good (it was!) Then I noticed something. For the marginal channel which was getting random corruptions, the tablet version was perfect!.

On a lark, I tuned both TV and tablet to neutral stations, then in order, I tuned the tablet first to the channel. There was pixelation to the same degree as before on the main TV. Then secondly I switched the TV to the same channel and IT WAS PERFECT just as the tablet had been before. There is definitely some "order of operation" going on here. It seems at first blush that the processing of the single tuner and first tuner of the dual-tuner dongle are subject to the corruption, while the second tuner of the two-tuner version is either immune, as I have yet to see corruption on it.

This just happened again and a tuner swap fixed it again.

I wonder if the scan were performed with the second tuner if it might be more predictable.

3. Another block of channels that we watch regularly is 21.*. This block has become practically unusable with the U501 update. The two-tuner dongle didn't improve it, and the tuner-swap mentioned above does not improve it noticeably. So I was on the tablet/DishAnywhere and experimented with the signal quality settings to see if that would help. Changing the video quality between SQ and HQ didn't affect the pixelation or sound.

However, the sound quality SIGNIFICANTLY improves when selecting the AUDIO ONLY setting!. The sound isn't perfect, but if I were to rate the combined video/audio to be 90% corrupted (unintelligible), the audio only setting is 10-20% corrupted (intelligible but still intolerable for viewing).

If it matters the channels involved are:
Virtual 8.*, RF 7 (VHF-HI)
Virtual 21.*, RF 2 (VHF-LO)
According to the locator I'm 7.7 miles from the tower farm. I haven't done a RF/virtual mapping for all of the good/marginal/bad channels but I noticed that some of the channels that did not scan at all with the dual-tuner dongle were all UHF.


Hopefully this info will get passed to the engineering team to help diagnose this problem and get a speedy fix. As before, they are welcome to contact me and I will work with them to help resolve, including trying experimental software if it will help fix it.

Thanks!
Tags (1)
6 Replies

Re: Over The Air (OTA) upgrade and pixelation

TPRIBORSA
Camera Crew
Regarding antennas: I've tried all types of rigid concave, flexible bowtie and a solid solid-rabbit ears combo. No appreciable difference is noted.

The same antennas attached directly to the TV give a scan result that is predictable and includes all of the channels that were found pre-U501.

Re: Over The Air (OTA) upgrade and pixelation

d4g4m
Visual Engineer
I was going to suggest plugging the antenna wire directly to TV 'ant in' to see what you get but you've already done it with satisfactory results.
I no longer have 'locals'. I use the antenna when I want to watch local primes/subs. I have two cables, one from antenna and one from sat dish. I use the TV remote 'input' to switch between TV and HDMI1 [dish receiver]
This is the way to go if the DISH dongle becomes really annoying.

Re: Over The Air (OTA) upgrade and pixelation

TPRIBORSA
Camera Crew
d4g4m wrote:
I was going to suggest plugging the antenna wire directly to TV 'ant in' to see what you get but you've already done it with satisfactory results.
I no longer have 'locals'. I use the antenna when I want to watch local primes/subs. I have two cables, one from antenna and one from sat dish. I use the TV remote 'input' to switch between TV and HDMI1 [dish receiver]
This is the way to go if the DISH dongle becomes really annoying.


Like I said I'm about 8 miles from the antenna farm and there are no tall anythings between me and it.

All of the network channels do tune (although one of them was a little problematic, but it comes in strong). However, as I understand the new price of alacarte to unbundle the locals we would lose the local programming grid and thus I would lose all of my timers, and we'd also lose the prime-time-any-time stuff. Besides, when I looked at the programming we do use I'd have to select all of them, and the cost was close to the group we have (middle one I think). I use the OTA to get the "dot subchannels" that have some good old programming (we watch them alot during the day) and the dongle gives us the ability to record them also.

Re: Over The Air (OTA) upgrade and pixelation

TPRIBORSA
Camera Crew
U504 found its way to my Hopper 3 overnight. The OTA reception seems to have improved, but it still does not seem to be as clear as it was pre-U201. Anyone else seeing a change? Better, worse, same?

Re: Over The Air (OTA) upgrade and pixelation

TPRIBORSA
Camera Crew
I'm thinking that U504 didn't change much. Shows recorded this morning still show almost constant pixelation. While it's possible the OTA signal was at fault it's a show recorded at 4AM but last night and now this morning the OTA version is not showing any corruption. And the channel that I thought yesterday was now working today is not.

Re: Over The Air (OTA) upgrade and pixelation

CBS
Extra
The problem with pixelation local channels with an antenna is that the adapter overheats. Dish knows this and is too cheap to supply a fan to cool it down. They are available online. We shouldn’t have to pay for one when Dish knows what the problem is and what the solution is.