Help -- Tablo Affecting My Happy Wife and Happy Life


#22

I am surprised that you only have one antenna to receive stations which are about 84 degrees apart. But Tvfool does indicate strong signal levels for both cities.

If that 15 db amplifier is amplifying the Cleveland stations then bypassing it may be good enough to run a test.

Remove the power to it and then cable around it. You will probably need what is referred to as an F barrel. It has female connections on both ends.

This may also weaken your Akron stations excessively, which would affect any recordings.

The Tablo’s internal 4 way splitter is irrelevant to an excessive signal problem.

Too much speculation! Please just run the test.


#23

I don’t know the type of antenna, but here’s a photo of it I found on my phone. According to Google Earth, my house faces about 38 degrees, and, though it’s hard to tell exactly from the photo, it’s clear that the antenna is oriented at something less than 38 degrees. Whether it’s 25 or 30 or 35, I can’t tell until I get home tonight and have a look from a better angle. Certainly, it’s not oriented for Akron, so perhaps the amp had that in mind and I’ll lose those without it. I believe I have a coupler to bypass the amp. If not, I know I can pick that up locally. I’ll give it a try tonight.


#24

WOW, THANKS! !!! You are “da man”. Problem Solved! Mine was set to “leveling” which also screws up SS on Tablo - this audio setting must be set to OFF for Tablo to work in SS. But finding that setting on my Roku was not easy because you cannot access it from the menus - you can only get to it during Playback. So I will post official Roku instructions below. Hope this helps someone else.

What devices support volume modes?

To help determine if your Roku device supports volume modes, you need to know the software version and device model. To find this information, go to the home screen on your Roku device and select Settings > System > About .

In Roku OS 8.2.2, support for volume modes is available during video playback when Roku TV™ Wireless Speakers are connected to a Roku TV. In Roku OS 9, support is added to the Roku players listed below, as well as select Roku TVs whether paired or not to Roku TV Wireless Speakers.

Device Model
Roku Express 3900X
Roku Express+ 3910X
Roku Streaming Stick 3800X
Roku Streaming Stick+ 3810X
Roku Premiere 3920X
Roku Premiere+ 3921X
Roku Ultra 4660X, 4661X

Roku OS 9 has rolled out to Roku players, and is expected to roll out to Roku TVs early next year. It is expected to be completed in Q1 2019.

  • Note : Information on the Roku TV models that will support volume modes will be available in early 2019 when Roku OS 9 begins rolling out to Roku TVs.

Enable volume modes during playback

When streaming a movie or TV show, or watching content from another device on your Roku TV (e.g., cable set-top box, Blu-ray™ player), you can enable Automatic Volume Leveling or Night Mode from the options menu as described below.

  1. Start playback.
  2. Press the Star button star button on Roku remote on your Roku remote.
  3. Select Advanced sound settings .
  4. Use the directional pad to switch Volume mode to the desired setting. The directional pad is plus-shaped and is in the center of your Roku remote.
  • Off : Volume modes are inactive and content volume is unmodified.

  • Leveling : Enables consistent volume across different types of entertainment so you do not have to change the volume every time you switch channels or a commercial comes on.

  • Night : The volume of soft sounds like whispering is increased while the volume of loud sounds like explosions is decreased, making it easier to hear your TV at night without disturbing others.

  • Note : In some streaming channels, the Star button star button on Roku remote is assigned a different function meaning it will not open the options menu as described above. In these cases, you must launch a different channel, such as The Roku Channel, and follow the steps above. Once the volume mode is switched, the setting will remain when you return to the original channel.


#25

The Roku OS 9 settings are all messed up now actually.

On my Roku Premiere+ Model 4630, night listening mode is missing from my settings, and so is the new automatic volume levelling settings.

See thread below:
https://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?t=138514


#26

Both night listening and ‘leveling’ are settings we can also detect on the Roku so we’ve talked about making the SS warning on the Roku app a bit more specific.


#27

I bypassed the 15db amplifier last night and immediately investigated whether it caused me to lose any of my channels, especially those originating from Akron. A quick flip through all the channels on the TV connected directly to the antenna revealed nothing lost, though I didn’t linger on any of them more than a couple seconds. Then I started trying to watch live TV via Tablo on a couple different TVs. Initially, I was optimistic, because I didn’t observe any freezing on either TV for a few hours. However, while giving me cause to be hopeful, it wasn’t an absolute sign that things were fixed because it would occasionally work well for chunks of time that long. The real test was always going to be whether it continued working into the early hours of the morning when my wife got home from work and tried watching. I fell asleep to it working for me in the bedroom, but woke up at 5 am to a frozen screen and a text message from her showing a picture of the living room TV with the “Playback Error - Your tuner has been reassigned…” message. She later told me that she got it to reconnect, but then fell asleep on the couch and woke up to it frozen. So, bypassing the amp hasn’t eliminated the problem, though, admittedly, it only removed 15dB of gain instead of the 20dB attenuation that was recommended. Is it worth trying to attenuate the signal more? Or am I better off investigating the hard drive?


#28

BlueCalcite,

For now, I would not worry about the “Playback Error - Your tuner has been reassigned…” message. I received one of those this morning after leaving the Tablo on a Live channel. I got busy doing something in another part of the house and when I reentered the room, the program had ended and there was the “Playback Error - Your tuner has been reassigned…”. I have noticed that behavior before. This seems to be the Tablo’s way of insisting on ownership of all unused tuners. LOL

You initially wrote: “But starting a couple months ago, we’ve been having more and more problems with freezing of live TV and recordings. It started as an annoyance that we’d have to close and reopen the app a couple times per hour, and occasionally have to cycle the power on the Tablo. For the past few weeks it’s been virtually unusable with reopening the app and rebooting the unit more and more frequently not helping.”

So you seem to have improved that situation. But your signal is still too strong or you would have lost at least some of those Akron channels which are coming in on the side of your antenna.

If I were in your position I would pick my strongest channel (WEWS in your case) and attenuate it in steps until the Tablo was reporting a Weak Signal error. Then record the channel and the total attenuation and remove the pads. Then repeat the same steps on one of the weakest Cleveland stations.

To do that you will need 3db, 6db, 12db, and 20db pads. One of each would give you a total of 41 db loss.

You would work up sequentially 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, 35, 38, and 41. Do this carefully and after each increase in attenuation, pause for about 15 seconds to verify normal operation. At some point you should get a Weak Signal error. Write down the channel and total attenuation before continuing the next test.

This is a meaningful test, especially for you. With your total attenuation numbers on both the strongest and weakest stations, we should be able to select an amount of attenuation that will set the strongest channel at the high side of the normal range. Yet still allow that weakest Cleveland channel to be used reliably. (Information is power.)

This will be a balancing act. But you were happy with the Tablo reception for 4 months, so you should be able to attenuate this problem away.

Edit: I don’t really know how high your signal level might be. So I believe that you should buy an extra 20db attenuator. That would allow you a total attenuation of 61db.


#29

Thanks. It’ll be a tedious exercise, but I think a necessary one, and, as you said, the data will be valuable going forward. I’ve ordered the pads, but had to find a different source from the one you advised. For some reason I kept getting the message “one or more items in your cart cannot be shipped to your location.” I’ll report back once they’ve arrived.


#30

They probably just did not have one of the values in stock. I had that problem when I picked up mine.

You can make it a little less tedious than a sequence. Start by putting in 30db of pads or something close.

If you don’t get the “Weak signal”, then add 15db more of pads. Keeping adding half of what you last added until you do get the “Weak signal”.

Once you do get the “Weak signal”, remove half of what you last added. and keep removing half until you get channel video.

Then go back to adding pads.

That should get your large pads in place very quickly. At some point you will have to switch to sequentially adding pads.

Just remember that the last step should be inserting a 3db pad to go from channel video to “Weak Signal”. We want to know exactly how many db it took to cause that “Weak Signal” error.

That might mean removing a three and adding a six, or some manipulation like that.

And I believe that you might avoid that “Playback Error - Your tuner has been reassigned” issue if you just click on the channel number instead of the program. Except if you are trying to record 4 channels at the same time. That should always post that error for Live TV viewers.


#31

I received the pads today and immediately started testing systematically. After each change in total attenuation, I did a channel scan and recorded the signal strength as reported by the Tablo for each channel. Results tabulated below. For now, I’ve left the attenuation at 18 dB since any more than that results in a loss of a couple of PBS stations that I watch. My hope is that this is enough pad on the strong channels to bring them within range for the Tablo. If not, then I guess we can investigate the possibility of getting a second antenna to pick up the Akron stations.


#32

BlueCalcite,

Wow, you are very thorough. What is your line of work?

So in total you have removed about 33db of signal. (You removed a 15db amp and inserted 18db of attenuators) On a linear scale you have reduced your signal at the Tablo by a factor of 2,000!

Using your measurements, I calculate that WEWS is now coming into the Tablo at about -49 dbm. That is not excessive. But before you removed that 33db of signal your incoming level at the Tablo was about zero dbm and that was way too excessive!

The testing which I have done indicates that once you see anything other than 5 Green dots you are about 1 db from completely fading out. So your PBS station has at least a 16db fade margin, That should be good enough except for reception during bad storms in Medina, at the transmitter location or anywhere directly between you.

You should be fine for now if your measurements were made with only the ground showing on radar. (In Medina, at the transmitter location, and anywhere directly between you)

In the spring as the foliage comes back on the tress, you may have to drop this 18db down to 15db of attenuation.

But when the trees are back in full foliage, you should do this test again. (And record you results) You may have to put that amplifier back in the line to get enough fade margin.

There is no substitute for good data!


#33

BlueCalcite,

Your Akron stations are coming in on the side of your antenna. That might result in some multipath. But that multipath should be more or less constant. And your measurements show that the Akron stations are coming in at about -61dbm at the Tablo.

So I believe that your reception of those Akron stations which you listed is good enough.

You should never adjust your antenna or the attenuators to receive Akron.

I would not change your antenna system in any way! (You might bring on other issues.)


#34

I already have some less-than-satisfactory results with the 18 dB pad. There may be improvement, but it’s not where I want it to be. I was watching one of the ABC stations subchannels last night (my strongest station), and the video froze on me at the beginning (though the audio continued). I closed the app and reopened it and I didn’t notice any problems for maybe 30-60 minutes that I watched. I later was watching the news on channel 3 (NBC; my second strongest station), and, though I didn’t observe any problems, I fell asleep and woke up a couple hours later to the picture frozen. My wife got home late and reports that she was able to watch most of her recording of the Bachelor (ABC) before she fell asleep, though it was a little glitchy right at the very beginning. An improvement over last week’s episode that she couldn’t watch at all via the DVR. All in all, last night was a short sample size, but I want it to still be more reliable than last night’s results. It’s worth noting that the two channels we are currently watching the most are the two strongest, and maybe careful monitoring of every other channel would prove them to be flawless. Our TV viewing changes season to season (and weekday vs. weekend), so our goal is to have all of them functioning reliably.

For fun, I plotted the tower locations in Google Earth, and put a line representing my approximate antenna location and orientation. The photo I posted earlier of my antenna is a little misleading. It appears in the photo (to me) that the antenna is pointed noticeably more northward than my house, but when I looked at it the other night it’s clear that the antenna is oriented pretty close to the same direction as my house. Thus, that line is oriented at roughly 38 degrees, making it deviate quite a bit from the direction of the Cleveland stations.


#35

Don’t worry about your antenna not pointing directly at your strongest stations. Because of the testing, we know that you are getting plenty of signal at the Tablo.

I have a 1000kw transmitter about 10 miles north of me but I only receive a -45dbm signal level. That is happening because my antenna is pointed about 19 degrees east of that station’s tower. I get great reception on that channel.

Every time I switch channels there is frozen picture at about 5 to 10 seconds into that program. And it lasts for about 5 to 10 seconds. But then I get perfect reception for the rest of that program. This must have something to do with the communication between the Tablo and the FireTV stick even though I use ethernet cables not WiFi.

Edit Earlier I wrote "You should be fine for now if your measurements were made with only the ground showing on radar. (In Medina, at the transmitter location, and anywhere directly between you)"

If the weather was less than ideal when you made your measurement, then WEWS may be stronger than your test implied.

**But for now you should check these:Edit end

  1. Are you using WiFi?

  2. What were you using before you bought the Amazon Fire 4k sticks?

  3. What quality level are you currently using?


#36

I should have clarified – the picture wasn’t frozen immediately upon tuning to that channel. I was watching it for maybe as much as a minute or two before the video froze, with the audio continuing. So, “beginning” meant “early on in the viewing period” in this case. I’m accustomed to the video taking a few seconds to buffer upon tuning to a new channel and am not concerned about that.

I’m not worried about the antenna not pointing directly at the Cleveland stations. I guess what I’m wondering is if I’d be better off with it pointed a few degrees MORE towards Akron. With my Cleveland signals so strong, is it not desirable to try to balance the signals from the two locations so that they can be attenuated (or amplified) in unison?

  1. The Tablo is directly connected to the router. The Fire 4k sticks are all utilizing the WiFi. Because of my ability to stream content from Sling and Plex without issue, I’m inclined to not think the WiFi is my problem. The house isn’t wired for ethernet (that I’ve noticed), so that would be an undertaking.

  2. Prior to the 4k sticks, two of our TVs had whatever the most recent Fire stick was (they weren’t more than a few months old). The third TV had one of the original Fire TV boxes.

  3. I currently have the quality for live TV and recording set at 1080/8. Until these problems presented themselves, I had virtually flawless performance with both set to 1080/10. I briefly reduced the settings to 720/5 (a couple weeks ago, I think) to see if it would solve my problems. When that wasn’t the answer, I compromised and set them to 1080/8 and continued troubleshooting via other avenues.

I forgot to check the radar when doing my tests yesterday, but the weather was clear here, and all indications (based on the weather reports on the news last night) are that it was a beautiful day in Cleveland as well. I assume that there wasn’t any kind of rogue weather passing between my antenna and the towers.

EDIT: I misread your comment about getting a frozen picture for 5 to 10 seconds. I thought that was immediately upon tuning to the channel, but I see now that it’s 5 to 10 seconds later (for 5 to 10 seconds). Still, I’m 95% sure that my frozen video was more than 10 seconds in, and I gave it probably 30 seconds (of frozen video, continuing audio) before I closed the app and restarted.


#37

Glad to hear about the clear weather during your testing. So my calculations using your data are good. You don’t have an RF signal level problem any more. So don’t make any changes there.

So before November 2018 you were satisfied with your Tablo, then the foliage fell off the trees and your signal increased excessively. You have now corrected that problem.

There has been another significant change after November 2018. You are now using Amazon Fire 4k sticks instead of the FireTV stick. You should remove one of the Amazon Fire 4k sticks and reinstall an old FireTV stick. See if your reception issues improve.


#38

That’s a good idea…if I hadn’t already sold them. I justified the upgrade (to myself and my wife) by the prospect of being able to recover a good portion of the cost by passing them on to somebody else. (In fact, the old Fire TV box turned out to have a huge market on eBay and sold for over $60, twice what I paid for each of the 4k sticks).

But if this is the next logical thing to test, it should be easy enough to find one for sale locally. I hope this isn’t the issue, because it’s not the 4k that we care about…it’s the new remote with the TV power and volume buttons we coveted. It’s been nice not having to use two different remotes.


#39

You really need to get back to the same type of equipment that you were using when you were satisfied with the Tablo operation.

You may not have noticed any degradation in your Tablo operation when you installed the Amazon Fire 4k sticks because of the excessive signal level problem.

EDIT - Let me try to speed this up a little. You are using an external hard drive. Does it have its own power supply?

Are you talking about this remote control? (Apparently it can be paired to a FireTV Stick)
New%20FireTV%20Remote


#40

Yes, that’s the one. And I see that it is compatible with the previous Fire TV Stick (2nd Gen), which I’m certain is what I had. So if this problem turns out to be related to the new 4k stick, and we have to “downgrade”, at least we’ll have the option to buy the newer remotes.

I’m fairly certain that I have the newest firmware for the 4k sticks (I think it prompts me to download new software automatically), but I’ll check that when I get home tonight, and then go shopping for a used 2nd Gen stick.


#41

Okay, I understand that you are going to pick up a FireTV stick.

Does your external hard drive have its own AC power supply?

Is that drive using a USB3 port?