Builtin Signal Strength Meter

Looking at a larger tv. I would like it to have a built in signal stength meter. When I find a tv that I like, I download the manual for it. Several brands reference signal strength indicators by various names in their manuals. My only source for this information seems to be from the manuals. I am leaning toward a 65” Samsung. When I go into my Best Buy, they either have never heard this menu item or they can not assure me that a partilcular model has the Signal Information option. They can not display or demo that option because I do not think the option shows up on the menu unless the tv is connected to an antenna with a DTV signal and most of their TVs are not connected to an antenna. I contacted Samsung and they verified that their TVs in the USA have a Signal Information menu selection and all indications are that it is what I am after. So I reckon that I will take my Ipad with the manual up to Best Buy and see what I can find out.

Best Buy’s prices did not change much over Black Friday, They mainly packaged the TVs with discounted installaion and discounted extended warantees. They had some good prices on models they are phasing out but most of those are gone now. Now that I have the money, I’ll see what happens closer to Christmas.

Unless I am missing something, most of the new features will not be of much value to me until ATSC comes along and then everything will change. Going to 1080p will double my resolution but I am not certain if anything other than more HDMI ports are of benefit to me.

Any suggestions on what to look for will be appreciated…

I have not touched my antenna or missed recording a show since the Repack in Dallas, a few months ago.

I really like my TCL Roku TV. I can’t see my TV very well when I am adjusting the antenna unless I walk back and fourth so Roku TVs in general are nice for me. All Roku TVs support the following technique. It’s attached to the network and I just type in a URL to see the signal strength. You would replace “RokuTVIP” with the actual IP of your Roku TV

It brings up XML which isn’t difficult to read. I highlighted the important bits below. RF signals are measured in a way that might be unfaniliar to lay people. You will notice in the picture below it’s a negative number. The closer that number is to 0 the better. You can however ignore that number if you like and just use the more intuitive “signal quality” number that’s basically a 0-100 scale with 100 being perfect. You will need to refresh the page when you adjust your antenna since that page does not auto refresh. The on screen signal meter isn’t that great for adjusting the antenna but the web browser trick using the API more then makes up for that in my opinion.

EDIT: I should have mentioned the screenshot is from my computer but this works just as well with almost any web browser on just about any device.


The LG smart TVs (WebOS) have a dynamic signal meter which numerically shows you by the second both signal strength and signal quality. I have the 65UK6300PUE (65") and the Tablo app on it is crystal clear (better than through my Roku). Also the LG tuners in my experience over the past 5 years have been the best period.

One selects the Tools menu, then All Settings, Channels, Channel Tuning…chooses the specific channel.

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Thank you taking your time to share. I always appreciare that. It will take me awhile to work my way through it but I have copied the solution to my folderof things I don’t want to lose.

Thank you. LG was my first choice but I was not certain about the meter option.

Question: I assume these works like my old Sharp menu and the menu option does not appear except when you have Antenna selected as the input. On my Sharp it does not appear on the menu when cable is selected as the input.

In the Channel Tuning menu, there are 4 options such as “Digital Television,” “Analog Television,” “Cable,” etc. I select “Digital Television” for HD reception. One can choose a specific channel or all channels.

The LG has all the signal monitoring and channel scanning capabilities that Tablo users would like to see in the Tablo :grinning: I chose the LG because in my experience the LG tuner has always led the way. They were the first to incorporate signal contention strategies in their chips when the 5th generation tuners came out a few years ago.

I used to use my Homeworx DVR to watch live sports events since it had my best tuner and picture quality. But no longer - it has been surpassed by my LG TV.

The LG app store isn’t the greatest. My sole criterion for choosing LG was OTA reception. I’ve heard that TCL is a little bit better in terms of HDR and PQ. But I was willing to sacrifice that for OTA. The LG does do a good job of upscaling lesser resolutions up the ladder. The older SD programs on MeTV look excellent.

One caveat that caught me - if not wall mounting, make sure you have a long enough cabinet to place it on. The legs on the 65" are 48" apart not like 34" on other brands.

PS. LG TVs in Asia have tuner chips that support both ATSC 1 and ATSC 3. In some markets it’s just a question of firmware and not hardware. Some LG TVs already come ATSC 3 capable (but the firmware has not been turned on). I’d love to hear one day that all it takes for my TV to become ATSC 3 capable is a firmware enabling.

Thanks for the information.

I assume that initually I will have some type of converter, hopefully combined with a DVR and my TV will continue to act as a monitor for awhile.

Not sure I know what you mean when you say, “I assume that initially I will have some type of converter.” One plugs the antenna coax directly into the LG.

I have several recent Samsung smart TVs and they all have signal quality screens, visible only when TV is on Tuner mode, e.g. Menu - Support - Self Diagnosis - Signal Information.
It shows Virtual channel, physical channel, Modulation, Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR).
In the store, they likely have the tv set to a video input, and these sets don’t list that broadcast-specific menu there.

If the TV that I am buying does not have a hidden ATSC tuner, then I am hoping for a converter to allow me to use the tv that I buy for awhile to receive ATSC programming, if they ever start broadcasting ATSC. I also hope that the converters will be able to pass thru a compatable 4k, UHD signal to our current TVs. I think there will be a market for a DVR with ATSC tuners that will output a signal compatable for our current TVs. Only Time will tell. Right now, I will be buying a TV that has some great features that I will rarely use. My understanding is that 4K, UHD is rare but I am happy to be moving to a larger screen with upscaled resolution. It is getting harder for me to read printed material on my 43” 720 screen. I rarely use the tuners in my current TV. For the most part I use it as a monitor for my Roku and occasionl DVDs.

ATSC is the protocol being broadcast currently - which you receive - i.e. ATSC 1.0. ATSC 3.0 is the future projected standard. ATSC 1.0 is supposed to be broadcast in parallel with ATSC 3.0 for 5 years. This crop of tuners (like the Tablo) is good until 2025 (or thereabouts).

Yes, exactly the same way the signal strength display works on my current Sharp receiver.

Three issues with checking out the Samsug: signal information is only visible when the TV is using an antenna with a digital signal, my Best Buy store only has their low end TVs connected to an antenna and the Samsung manual says this option is not available in all geographic locations. Samsung customer support says all their tvs in the USA have the signal information display but try to find any one in Best Buy that knows any thing about it. So I decide to post here and verify my assumption s before buying. One interesting notation is that a sales rep at Best Buy claims all new TVs with the Roku interface have a simple bar graph signal display displayed when the channel is selected.

I am leaning toward the LG.

"It is getting harder for me to read printed material on my 43” 720 screen."

And to think we used to squint at 19" TVs… When we got our 22" I thought that was fantastic.

Yes but it is frustrating to either have to buy one of a dwindling number of 2015 models or to be buying a tv loaded with features that I may not use. I was woried about upscaling issues to 4k because most of my viewing is Ota but I figure that if I stick with a higher rated model, I should be ok. It would be nice if Best Buy would allow you to view 720 and 1080 upscaled video on their models.

My parents got the second B&W 19” tv in our town. The first TV that I watched had an 8” to 12” screen and the screen was on the sides.

If one of your criteria for selecting a TV is the signal meter, then this may be misleading in terms of your Tablo. I cannot really evaluate the Tablo’s performance using my LG tuner because the LG tuner is head and shoulders above the Tablo’s. For the LG tuner, a ten decibel signal may be a 100% measurement whereas for the Tablo it may be like 80. A signal’s strength and quality are relative to the receiving instrument. My LG gets a signal the Tablo doesn’t even see! Is the LG’s tuner the objective standard for other tuners?

I use it for an approximation. With my Sharp TV, it seems I lose the picture when it the reading gets below 40 or above the mid 50s. I only use the reading coming through the Tablo. I am just trying to be proactive. I have been hands off with my system since June. The system has been so dependable, it is almost boring.

My TV is connected to the antenna but only because I want a backup in case I lose my Tablo or Inrenet.

Another solution is this one: get the TV based on a number of criteria (not only signal metering). For $30 get a Homeworx DVR that displays the signal strength in numerical terms and use that as the signal measuring tool. Which then can also serve as a backup DVR… In fact you can daisy chain Antenna–>Homeworx–>Tablo–>TV. The Homeworx has a coax output connection to pass along any input it gets from an antenna to the next device.

I expect that we will see them here in the US very soon but it will take a while before 3.0 becomes widespread. I don’t think very many TV’s made before 2019 will be capable with just a firmware update. Hopefully I’m wrong about that but what I’ve read suggested a new component that only recently started production is needed. There was and ATSC 3.0 push for the winter Olympics that got ATSC 3.0 pushed ahead in South Korea. The question is do you buy the newest and best or do you grab the deals that we will see as the current models are replaced. Then you can spent the extra loot on ATSC 3.0 Tablo units.(fingers crossed)

It seems as though current 1.0 TVs will likely get a converter that looks like an amazon fire or Roku stick rather then a large box like we had when we went from analog to digital. I think many 2019 TV models will support ATSC 3.0 capability. If the trend continues we’ll see plenty of ATSC DVRs in the coming years since DVRs are beginning to become more mainstream in the OTA market. Hopefully Tablo will keep up because I like the company and would like to stick with them after the switch.

I base some of my timelines on the fact the production of ATSC 3.0 tuners on a chip are ramping up and the added BOM is projected by some to be around $4 US. Some TV’s may have more capable tuners in them that could do a simple firmware update but I have my doubts because of the extra processing power required and the extra R&D costs that TV makers could use to make the next generation TVs.

All Roku TV’s are running Roku based firmware so he’s right that the user interface will be basically identical no matter which manufacturer you buy from. That little signal display he mentioned doesn’t stay up on the screen very long and it would be inconvenient to use it to adjust an antenna. That’s why I suggest the other approach above when using a Roku TV.

The TV tuners signal meter is still a good reference for adjusting your antenna. It’s likely that if your antenna is positioned for the best reception on your TV it will also be the best position for your Tablo in most situations.