Cannot Tune Channel & Poor Signal to Noise Ratio

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koberhol

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Cannot Tune Channel & Poor Signal to Noise Ratio

#1

Post by koberhol » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:22 pm

About 3 months ago I found that I can no longer tune in roughly 20+ cable channels on my system. I have had the cable company come out and check feeds etc with no avail. The only thing I see is that Signal to Noise Ratio on those channels are all less than 24Db. I know S/N is important and that is a low level could it be the source. Could it be my tuner? I have had them insert other CableCards and it didn't resolve the issue. Overall signal strength is +9Db. Thoughts?

Space

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#2

Post by Space » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:57 pm

Does your system use a tuning adapter? Are the channels that are not working SDV (which would need the tuning adapter)?

Is there anything special about the 20+ channels that are not working, such as are they copyOnce (DRM protected)?

It might be helpful to know the cable company and the area you are in (particularly if you don't know the SDV or copyOnce info about your system).

koberhol

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#3

Post by koberhol » Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:56 am

They are a combination of SDV and HD. There are no copy restrictions. Cable company is WOW. Thank you for the reply.

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#4

Post by Space » Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:03 am

I'm not sure if you understand what SDV is, I am not talking about SD (Standard Definition), but Switched Digital Video. To be able to tune in SDV channels you need a separate box from the cable company called a tuning adapter.

From my limited research, it appears that WOW does not use SDV, but not 100% sure of this.

There is a possibility that your Ceton is bad, but I am not familiar with it, so I don't know any troubleshooting steps for this device, perhaps someone else can chime it.

You can try running another cable (if you have one) from where the signal comes in to your house to the Ceton to make sure none of the existing cabling/splitters has/have gone bad, although if WOW already tested your internal cabling then it is probably good, assuming they knew what they were doing.

koberhol

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#5

Post by koberhol » Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:43 pm

Oh yes. No Tuning Adapter is needed for WOW. All cables/connectors/splitters have been replaced.

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d00zah

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#6

Post by d00zah » Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:05 pm

koberhol wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:22 pm
Overall signal strength is +9Db. Thoughts?
IIRC, Ceton claimed "optimal" signal levels of +/-6dB, so yours MAY be considered a tad hot. Attenuating it w/ a splitter (2-way ~ -3dB, 4-way ~ -6dB) would be a simple test, tho not the best solution.

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Scallica

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#7

Post by Scallica » Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:18 pm

koberhol wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:22 pm
About 3 months ago I found that I can no longer tune in roughly 20+ cable channels on my system.
What error message do you receive? How about a screenshot?
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koberhol

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#8

Post by koberhol » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:48 pm

Error Message is "Service is unavailable" then after a minute changes to "No Signal". I would also like to say that my Cablecard is paired but I get the Ceton Step 4 "CABLECARD is not receiving messages yet" along with Step 6 "CABLECARD is not not received VALIDATION signal yet". I know this will cause people to maybe jump to a conclusion but I have had WOW re-pair the card several times and as I said before we have tried 2 different cablecards. I don't get any "No Subscription" channel errors and do receive channels that I do have a subscription to. Lastly, when this problem started I had complained to WOW about severe pixelation. It is now after they fixed that issue I lost all the channels whether this is coincidence or not but we now have excellent picture on all the channels we do get.

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#9

Post by Space » Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:23 pm

Can you verify that the channels that you are having an issue with are copy-once?

Here is a thread that lists some of those channels (it is old, so may not be up to date):

https://www.dslreports.com/forum/r29434 ... DRM-issues

In general, copy-once channels will not work if the pairing is not correct (I am pretty sure those errors you are getting indicate that it is NOT paired correctly). You may not have problems with other subscribed channels, but copy-once will not work (although you should get a "Copying Prohibited" error, not "no signal").

It is fairly common for cable companies to not know how to pair CableCards properly (they may say they are re-pairing them, but really aren't), so you may want to ask them if they have someone with more knowledge to help you.

Note that there is no way for them to tell on their end if things are paired correctly, as CableCard devices are OCUR devices (the "U" stands for "unidirectional") which means they are one-way and do not send any feedback back to the cable company. The cable company blindly sends "pairing" information to the device and just has to assume it works, as there is no way for them to tell (other than you telling them it looks good on your end, which in this case it does not, as you are getting those error messages).

With the regular company-supplied cable boxes (which also use CableCards), they have an external mechanism to communicate back and forth, so they know the stats of the box, but not with stand-alone CableCard devices. The cable company is "blind" to the status of stand-alone CabeCard devices such as those made by Ceton and SiliconDust (and TiVo devices as well).

Also, there could be an issue with CGMS copy protection (on channels that are NOT copy-once) if you are not running the latest beta firmware on the Ceton (mentioned in the above referenced thread).

koberhol

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#10

Post by koberhol » Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:13 pm

Thank you for the reply Space. WOW said they are no longer providing technical support for Cablecards.. Ugh.. I spent 4 hours on the phone with them Monday and 2 hours today. All they want to do is send another tech, charge me another $50, and tell me it is fault on my side. All that you said I understand with single direction for which they cannot see on their side if it's connected properly. The techs they have sent thus far require me to explain the whole history of what cablecards are and windows media center. The call centers are with people who's first language is not english and all they are willing to do is follow a script of do this do that which I have done many times with them. The Firmware is Beta 15.1.13.152. All other things check out with what I have read in other posts.

So what words can I say that the card says it is "Not Validated" and "Validation Message not received yet"? When I say it needs a CCV signal sent it creates further confusion. Should I just keep resetting the paring and have them re-pair until it works praying for a miracle? It just seems this is as many have found a difficult thing to pair unless it you get lucky and actually forwarded to someone who knows cablecards. I asked sever times to speak with a knowledgeable cablecard tech.

Thx

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#11

Post by Space » Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:41 pm

I know in the past that people have made a complaint to the FCC regarding the poor support for CableCards from providers, and it helped. Although that was before the current administration was in office and pretty much turned the FCC in to cable company lobbyists.

There is probably more specific "keywords" you can use with them that may help, but I would have to do more research and I can't right now. Maybe someone else will chime in here with more information, otherwise I can look later.

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#12

Post by Space » Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:39 am

This post indicates that WOW has good technical support for CableCards, although that was in 2012, so things change:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2117&p=20142

I"m afraid I can't find any good info on dealing with cable companies when trying to get CableCards to work. I think the errors you are seeing are indicative of the card not even being registered (not just not paired), so I am not sure if there may be an issue with how that is set up on the provider end.

I really don't know much about this stuff (and forget most that I did know back when I was setting up my own Prime device). So hopefully someone else can help here.

DSperber

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#13

Post by DSperber » Sat Aug 08, 2020 3:44 pm

d00zah wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:05 pm
koberhol wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:22 pm
Overall signal strength is +9Db. Thoughts?
IIRC, Ceton claimed "optimal" signal levels of +/-6dB, so yours MAY be considered a tad hot. Attenuating it w/ a splitter (2-way ~ -3dB, 4-way ~ -6dB) would be a simple test, tho not the best solution.
I agree. Signal level of +9db is very very high. Your idea of using a splitter to experimentally attenuate is a good idea.

Or, try an inexpensive inline attenuator. This place sells items for attenuation of 3db, 6db, 8db and 10db, each for about $1. Ships out on Monday. Worth a try.

For comparison, I have an internal InfiniTV 6-tuner PCIe card in one of my HTPC's, on a Spectrum Motorola cablecard system which does involve copy-protected channels (virtually everything) as well as SDV (hence the need for a Motorola DTR700 digital tuning adapter which I've connected "serially", i.e. coax from Spectrum into DTA and then output coax from DTA to Ceton). The main Spectrum coax entering the house passes first through a Spectrum-provided amplifier, and then through a primary splitter (-3.5db on each output of the splitter). One output of the splitter goes to this (downstairs) HTPC (with internal 6-tuner Ceton PCIe and DTA) and the other splitter output goes to a second (upstairs) HTPC (with an external 6-tuner Ceton ETH and DTA). It's all RG6 coax for cable runs.

Furthermore, the coax going to the downstairs HTPC location enters a second coax splitter (again, -3.5db). One output goes to an internet cable modem and the other output goes to a third coax splitter (again -3.5db). One output of the third splitter goes to a telephony modem and the outher output goes to the Ceton PCIe. The two additional splits at the downstairs HTPC location is why the inline primary amplifier was required back where the Spectrum coax entered the house and into the main split to the two main runs to downstairs and upstairs locations.

And, to summarize, I have excellent problem-free reception of all channels, both SDV and non-SDV, on both HTPC's.

(1) Here is what the downstairs PCIe tuner looks like for a non-SDV channel (that's after three splits following the amplifier, as well as passing through the DTA):

Image

(2) Here's the same PCIe tuner but on an SDV channel:

Image
Last edited by DSperber on Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.

DSperber

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#14

Post by DSperber » Sat Aug 08, 2020 3:44 pm

(3) Here's the upstairs ETH tuner on a non-SDV channel (that's after one split following the amplifier, and again passing through the DTA):

Image

(4) Here's the upstairs ETH tuner on an SDV channel:

Image

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