Channel Scan results: Engine vs Tablo 2/4 question

Has anyone noticed a signal quality difference in the scans between the 2 platforms? We recently moved to a new home and still struggling to work out the best antenna placement. In my testing I have my outdoor Clearstream 2 routed from outside into the basement into a 2 way splitter going to my older Tablo 2 and also to my Shield / Engine setup. Each new spot I move the antenna too i’ve been doing a channel scan on both setups and seeing different results.

In general, for the major networks (abc, nbc, fox, cbs), Engine will show full 5 green bars/dots and Tablo 2 will show 3 (orange). My tablo 2 is setup 5 ft from the 2 way splitter and the Engine setup has an additional 75ish ft of coaxial run so seems odd to have the results in this way (i’d expect maybe a little less on the Engine given the distance). For my Engine setup i’m using a Haupage USB tuner so curious if this is normal that Engine just does a better job w/ the signal than the older Tablo 2 or could Engine be false reporting the signal ? i’m just not sure which to trust before i find a permanent antenna spot

For our location we are about 35 miles from the towers (we are north west of Milwaukee) and all the stations are almost exactly the same degree distance. My Clearstream seems really touchy to the angle that i have it so i was considering trying a Mohu Sky 60 since its omni directional (even though all my stations are in one direction i thought maybe my angle wouldnt be as critical then)…if anyone has any thoughts or tips i’d appreciate it!

The Hauppauge tuner is better than the one that the Tablo 2 uses. I have a set of Hauppauge products and also a Tablo 2; my Hauppauge tuners are more sensitive than my Tablo’s. Hauppauge has always been known for its quality and is an industry standard.

As well the Hauppauge USB tuner you have uses one incoming signal whereas the Tablo 2 splits its incoming signal in two through an internal splitter to feed its two tuners.

At 35 miles from the broadcast tower, I would go with a Clearstream 4, not a Clearstream 2 with possibly a preamp (RCA TVPRAMP1Z or Winegard LNA200).

The Clearstream 4 has a broader sweep and wouldn’t be as sensitive to the angle of reception as the Clearstream 2. At 35 miles out, the C4 has more gain than the C2. I would try a C4 before a Mohu. The Mohu people aren’t entirely forthright about their mileage assessment…:wink: An omni-directional loses gain when a directional antenna is best suited for broadcast towers all within the same range and sweep.

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thank you for the info! Not sure if it matters but my Haupage USB is a dual tuner so wouldn’t that be splitting the signal to 2 tuners as well?

Either way it sounds like the signal results i’m seeing with Engine/Haupage would be safe to trust and maybe the Tablo 2 tuner maybe is just degrading the signal w/ its older tech you think? I have tried using a winegard pre-amp and it actually gets worse so i took that off. I really would prefer using Engine but at my new location i’d have it full signal and then Engine would go to “weak signal” on all channels and I’d have to fully kill the app or reboot my shield before any would work so wasn’t sure what to make of it

As far as the Clearstream 2 vs 4, even if if i see fully green on the channels i need w/ the 2 it would be worth it to jump up to the 4? I wasn’t sure about Clearstream vs Mohu but was curious if Mohu’s was more marketing than performance

“I really would prefer using Engine but at my new location I’d have it full signal and then Engine would go to weak signal on all channels and I’d have to fully kill the app or reboot my shield before any would work so wasn’t sure what to make of it.”

That sounds like a multipath problem when a signal fluctuates this way. A C4 with its 4 bay architecture would be stronger against multipath than a two bay such as a C2.

My Hauppauge products came with a signal meter so it was easy to observe any signal fluctuation moment to moment and determine the source of the problem. I guess the Hauppauge\Tablo USB tuner doesn’t come with a signal meter for the Shield? Tablo’s 5 dot signal assessment doesn’t show signal fluctuation - it is a fixed one time measurement as of a certain second or minute. Hauppauge products on the other hand show a moment to moment, second by second, minute by minute signal performance evaluation. Much better measurement than the 5 dots…:roll_eyes:

I’m not sure how accurate those 5 dots are anyway. My Tablo will show 5 green dots whereas my Hauppauge tuner measures like a 24 db signal for the same channel and I know that a 24 db signal is NOT a 5 dot thing. More like a 4 dot thing! Sometimes the Tablo reminds me of a restaurant client who orders a $5 bottle of wine and thinks its a $50 bottle in taste…

Is there any way of downloading a Hauppauge app on the Shield and using that to measure the signal of the USB tuner temporarily? Or plugging that tuner into a PC and getting a Hauppauge app to make the signal measurement? That tuner if it is a Hauppauge device may not be a Tablo specific device only.

I’m not sure about this, but I have read in the past that the Tablo 2 tuner using the same 4-way internal splitter that is in the 4 tuner model. Thus any signal is being split 4 ways, just something to consider when evaluating what could be going on between the signal differences.

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That’s correct with the OG 2-Tuner, but not Tablo DUAL.

awesome thanks for all the input here! i’m tryign to setup a windows laptop quick so i can try the hauppage app like suggested to see what luck i have.

but from how it sounds my hauppage usb SHOULD give a better signal compared to my OG 2 then, right? so maybe those readings i got were at least somewhat correct since the OG is split 4 ways? I’m just trying to be cautious before i permanently mount my antenna. (right now its just on a long 2x4 leaning on the house

I might try picking up a clearstream 4max to test along with my 2 max just to be safe as well since all my stations are in 1 direction

There are quite a few Tablo users here at this forum that have the C4 at the same mileage as yours. The C4 for me would mitigate the effects of multipath that causes signal fluctuation and wide variation in spite of the 5 green dots. I had a channel a few years back that exhibited this phenomenon in which it would be at 100% one minute and down to 50 just a few minutes later. I set up a wider antenna and that fixed the problem.

The C4 also should have a better “view” (angular) of the broadcast towers than the C2 due to the extra bays and mitigate having to get the antenna to within an inch in direction.

It also depends on where you have the C2. Leaning against the house, lower, below the roof, will expose it to signal influencing conditions such as ground objects and what is around the house and across the street. The earth itself forms a signal reflector that can bounce signals from below at an antenna. I used to live below street level in a valley and passing cars above (especially trucks) would interfere with signals.

awesome thank you! i really appreciate everyones help on this! so I had a bit of luck w/ my C2Max over lunch but still going to go pick up a 4Max after work to be safe. I found that on my roof about 10-12 ft off the ground i had my angle off a bit. Right now i have it mounted to a 2x4 and holding it up in the air and running the scans from the app on my phone. Doing that I seem to get full green bars (for what its worth) so thats progress. I figure if I add the 4 max in there it should be at least the same if not hopefully adding some consistency.

Next trick is how to safely mount it to the roof w/out damaging anything. My big concern is drilling into the roof for long term effects

I am going to try the wintv signal monitor as well before i do anything to make sure i’m in the right spot

If you have a chimney, tying the antenna to the chimney with the appropriate straps may be an alternative to drilling a support through the roof (at least for testing).

Did you get the right direction from TVFool for aiming the antenna?

I’d be interested to know if plugging the USB tuner into a PC without any Tablo software works (like with the WinTV monitor). Keep us informed about this aspect of the tuner. This may become an option for others with the Engine for determining signal strength and antenna placement apart from the Tablo app.

no chimney unfortunately…

I checked out tvfool but wasn’t quite sure what to make of the results since the channels they brought back dont match the ones in my area (ie nbc= 4.1, abc 12.1, etc)

I did end up using the satellite map from antennaweb to see which area in my yard i should point it at though to get to the right location of the towers and that seems to have helped a good amount so far (or i’m just getting lucky since its decent weather today) but progress i guess.

My roof concern i guess is that i dont leak any spots that could leak and also it seems like a big broad antenna that the win could catch and rip off (we get some nasty cross winds)

We have a gazeebo thats pretty close as well i could maybe use but it didnt get AS good of a signal there

Looking at your TVFool report, you have 1 and 2-edge signals which may be susceptible to multipath interference. This means there is no direct line of sight to the broadcast towers and signals may arrive at your location from them through indirect means. The significance of this is that signals taking different paths through reflection off intermediate objects in the way may interfere with each other and cause signal fluctuation (even though in themselves the signals may be strong). In which case consistency becomes more important than gain.

All my signals are 2-edge and I have had to accomodate that condition through antenna types and placement.

Right now you are also testing in the best possible condition - i.e. winter with cold weather. Come the summer and heat, you may get different results. So you may want to “over-compensate” given the season of testing…

Whereas the Tablo may give you 5 green dots for two different placements, the Hauppauge monitor may give you a better picture in which placement 1 yields a 24 db SNR and placement 2 yields a 28 db SNR. In the long run, the second placement gives you an additional 4 db so that when summer comes and you lose that 4 db you still have an adequate signal.

That is because TVFool is currently experiencing issues with their data base. Their reports are not going to give you any good info right now.

that makes sense… the cold weather up here has not made this a terribly fun process either with the coaxial cable getting rigid and tough to be constantly connecting/disconnecting the ends as i try new spots. i seem to be having the best luck w/ the antenna mounted to a long post and holding it up in the air and running a scan. I’m hoping I can do the same thing w/ the hauppage signal meter before i decide on a permanent spot. My wife is nervous about us drilling into the roof of the house so it may fall back to the gazeebo roof (only 10 ft to the east of the house and about the same height so not terrible. Otherwise i thought i could just go 10 ft further south on the house to where i’m over the garage so not as much of a downside w/ a hole there maybe. I picked up the C4 Max last night so we’ll see how that works. in those other spots i’ll need to add about 20-30ft to my coax run into the basement so hoping that extra distance doesn’t add too much of a signal drop

A preamp may come in handy (which you already have) to compensate for any extra distances in the wiring.

Also are there trees around the house and\or specifically the gazebo? That may factor in the antenna placement. Swaying trees and moving branches can affect reception and cause inconsistency even with strong signals.

well so the direction that i have to place it whether its on the house or gazeebo, theres a large 6 car garage directly in the line of sight. so far w/ my tests in both locations that doesn’t seem to be causing an issue but i understand as you said in the warmer/humid/leaves on tree’s months that could change a bit so we’ll see. If i go w/ the gazeebo route i’ll be sure to get it up as high as i can. we get some strong cross winds though too so hopefully the c4 mount can hold since the antenna has some big broad spots to catch the wind

BTW it took me THREE friggin years to get mine right!!!

And since the antenna will be outside - grounding it will be mandatory.

i just started to look into that as well since i never have done that in the past 2 houses so gotten lucky so far i guess so best to take care of it now. so for yours was it fine for a while and then a change of season or something it would change? what was your big helpful change that you found? more so location or height?

When we first bought our property, we had cable. My wife and I were going to make this a veritable garden of Eden. Trees of every kind everywhere, bushes, flowers, vines, etc. Who knew about OTA and HD in those days? As the vegetation grew and grew and kept growing…

My neighbors decided to compete with us for the nicest flora and fauna and soon enough we were all surrounded with tall, big green things everywhere on all sides.

Trees in Georgia grow at three feet a year! By year 20 we had 60 foot trees EVERYWHERE surrounding the house and property. And in front of the trees tall vines and shrubs… Impenetrable fortress - a thick green wall. Buy a small 2 foot tree for $3 and watch it zoom up in a decade!

Had to keep moving the antennas around and trying different antenna types. Went through every antenna on the market to see which ones could cope with the vegetation.

The wife had a rule: not one tree to be cut down, not one bush moved. Garden first, antenna second. Work around what grew up.