Recently there have been different post regarding OTA channels having issues. Almost two years ago when I made the jump to Channels DVR, I struggled with OTA channels for about 6 months. I hesitate to offer help because, honestly, I have no idea, I am not an expert. Also, it’s not always clear how things are setup by folks. I do know what I did to solve my problems. I thought I would share both problems and how I solved each in the event it can help someone else. BTW - I spent freaking hours Googling the Internet.
Issues #1: Pixelization, dropouts and choppy playback made a handful of channels unwatchable. This did not happen until I installed an attic antenna. Moving from the “leaf” type antenna introduced this problem. Solution: LTE filter placed at the antenna connector that feeds the coax to the HDHRs. For a few weeks, I used the feed directly from the antenna directly into my HDHRs. I received ~110 channels (up from ~70 with the leaf) and the quality of the signal was great on every channel (quality of the programming is a different issue ;).
I then decided to connect the antenna feed into the coax splitter I had installed to get MoCA in most rooms. So, I combined the ISP “internet” feed and the antenna feed to the splitter’s input and this allowed me to place my cable modem and switch anywhere I wanted and locate the HDHRs anywhere as well. After getting this setup, Issue #2: all the sudden I was down to ~80 OTA channels and many of those had video freezing, stuttering plus audio issues, different from the first issue, but “freezing” is the best description. No matter where I connected the HDHRs, I would have problems with a “bad signal”. It wasn’t chronic but occurred enough that the experience was very poor.
Again, I Googled the hell out of the Internet and found an obscure post (cable people hung out on the site) and the bottom line from what I could pick up is that limiting the signals (frequencies) on the coax line is a good thing to do. I don’t subscribe to cable TV, but apparently that doesn’t stop my cable company from sending those signals/frequencies into my home anyway. I saw this as being like the LTE interference I was getting on the attic antenna.
The post suggested placing a filter on the incoming coax line from the cable company to block everything except the internet (PPC Data Only Wide Band Reject Filter - “cable trap” is the colloquial name used). Once I added that filter to the coax line coming from the cable company, I was back to ~110 channels and they were perfect. No more issues have occurred since. Also, after adding the cable filter my MoCA speed went from ~600mb to ~930mb.
I decided to write this post this morning. After work this evening, I removed the filters from the system just to see. Ugh! I was right back to the problems I had fixed. Put the filters back on, awesome OTA is back. Again, I don’t know if this will help anyone, but this is my experience with bad OTA.