Odd things are happening with my TV signal…

I’ve recently unhooked my Tivo… I picked up a Media Center Extender (the HP one) and that was the final step to moving all of our television watching to MCE 2005. We love it and we record tons of shows. Extender works wonderfully, better than the XBox extender because there is no stupid DVD to put in to watch TV and it is a lot quieter.

Everything looks great, except for the occasional thing on some of the lower channels (5 and 6). I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out what could be messing up the signal to those two channels on the cable feed in my office that is not messing up any others and doesn’t affect the feed in the living room… I’ve decided that my cable modem might be the problem, or at least part of the problem. The feed running into my office is split into 3 and hooked into my cable modem and into two Hauppauge 250 cards. The splitter is the right kind for this type of operation (I think), a 1Ghz 3-way splitter with the 4db output going to the cable modem and the two Hauppauge cards fed off of the 8db outputs. Everything seems to be working fine most of the time, but the occasional show looks horrible. It is only recently that we noticed that it was always West Wing and/or Alias (channels 5 and 6 respectively, around 9pm)…. and then when my wife added a season pass for Oprah (4pm, channel 5) it also experienced the same issue. All the time, lots of shows from the higher channels (30+) were recorded without any issue at all and a perfect picture.

Very puzzling…. any folks out there knowledgable about cable tv signals who have thoughts on my problem?

Author: Duncan Mackenzie

I'm the Developer Lead for the Channel 9 team, formerly worked on MSDN as a developer, content strategist and author.

One thought on “Odd things are happening with my TV signal…”

  1. A couple of thoughts…

    First, is your splitter a decent quality one? Cheap ones use cheap components and can end up being fairly non-linear, which could manifest itself in strange ways.

    Second, the cable should be well-grounded where it comes into the house. It it isn’t, it may be picking up a fair amount of interference.

    Third, it could just be that you don’t have enough signal. You might be able to get the cable company to boost it up some – 8 db is a fairly big drop. Do you have other splitters upstream? That would be bad…

    Fourth, it could be cable-related. What kind of cables are you using from the splitter to your system? What kind of coax do you have? Lots of houses are wired with RG59 which is okay but not as good as RG6 (which is what the cable company uses).

    Send me a sched+, we can talk about it over lunch.

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