Help with Pixelization

Hello. We’re new here, having purchased our first Tablo – and having finally cut the cord – earlier this year. We’re here hoping that someone who is knowledgeable about how digital TVs & signals work might be willing to help us with a problem I’m having.

We have two TVs that we watch, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. Our Tablo device is connected to a Roku in the bedroom, and we have another Roku in the living room.

The picture quality on our TV while streaming programs will decrease during cut scenes or fast-moving video, to the point where the entire screen is made up of small, equally-sized monochromatic squares. This effect is fleeting, lasting only a fraction of a second, but it happens frequently (more often than once a minute), after which the picture quality reverts to acceptable quality until the next incident.

This problem occurs no matter what we’re watching. It happens if we watch programming recorded by Tablo, and it also occurs if we watch programs that we are streaming through our Roku from Discovery+, Hulu, Netflix, or whatever else. So this does not appear to me to be an antenna problem.

It seems to us that the issue is likely one of the following:

  1. Our internet service is too slow, so the signal making it to our TVs is too weak;
  2. The processors in our TVs are too slow, making it so that the TVs cannot draw the HD content quickly enough; or
  3. Enough signal loss is occurring in our internal delivery system (either WiFi or Ethernet) to prevent the TVs from drawing the HD content quickly enough.

We’ve attempted to troubleshoot these three as follows:

  1. Today we upgraded the internet service being provided by our local cable company (Comcast) to the fastest that they offer. We upgraded from download speed of up to 200mbps to download speed of up to 1200mbps. This did not affect the problem.
  2. We have two different TVs of varying quality that seem to experience the problem to the exact same degree, which to us implies that the TV processor is not the factor causing the problem. Additionally, we tried watching a Discovery+ program on one of our PCs and observed the same pixelization on the computer monitor. The PC used is a gaming PC approximately two or three years old, with a good video card, so we don’t think the problem is processing power.
  3. Over the course of the past few weeks we’ve tried both WiFi and Ethernet connections and switching from WiFi to Ethernet, or vice versa, doesn’t seem to affect the problem.

So, after all the troubleshooting that we have tried, we have been unable to affect this problem at all. I’m not a technician and have been trying to find a solution just based on logic, or articles I’ve read on the web. So please be forgiving if you think me ignorant.

Can anyone provide any suggestions for other things we can try?

We realize that a Tablo forum is not the ideal place to go for more general types of issues like we are having. Perhaps if it was inappropriate to create a topic of this nature here, could someone suggest a forum elsewhere that might be appropriate?

Based on what you’ve described I’d look at your router (where the Ethernet ports and wireless access point are). Try power cycling it, and check to be sure there aren’t any Quality of Service (QoS) settings in place. If the router is Comcast’s maybe you could ask for a replacement (just to rule out the hardware as a cause).

I agree with ‘mbellaire’. The router appears to be the one thing in common in all of these scenarios. While the Tablo does require an Internet connection, the streaming data does not traverse the Internet when watching locally. Your Internet speed is not relevant in this situation. So your third item listed above is the most likely cause. If you have a separate Ethernet switch, you can running a cable from your router into the switch and hooking both your television(s) to the switch as well as your Tablo. This will move the packet switching into the switch and not your router. If this solves the issue with your Tablo, you might want to look replacing your router with a faster unit. Using the switch will obviously not resolve the issue for your Discovery+ or other Internet streaming since this is still going through the router, but doing so with the Tablo might at least show you where the problem resides. If you do not have a spare switch, they can be purchased quite inexpensively: https://amzn.com/B07S98YLHM

Here are some of tablo’s support articles, blog post etc

https://support.tablotv.com/hc/en-us

“the signal” comes from your antenna via coax cable, tablo streams data over your local network (not internet)

Using a Roku device, I believe that’s the processor “processing” the video and playing through HDMI to your TV.

that would be a buffering issue – then you’d search on that instead of pixelization.

First let us thank each of you for taking the time to provide your input. We found all of your comments to be very helpful.

We have mostly solved our problem, but thought that it may be helpful to come back and tell you what happened.

After reading your comments and some of the article links provided, we decided it might be advisable to check each and every connection. We undid each connection, used a can of air to spray both sides of each, and then carefully reconnected each one.

Believe it or not, after doing that, the majority of those awful square boxes all over the screen seem to have disappeared.

We are still seeing them occasionally, and near as we can tell, they only seem to be appearing in one show that we watch on Discovery+. The appearance of the squares occurs as I indicated before – in cut scenes or fast-moving video – and in multiple episodes of the show. Importantly, the squares have identical appearance on both of the TVs and on the computer. (By this, I mean that they form an identical grid on the screen at the exact same points of the video.) This implies to us that the remaining portion of our problem is specific to the show we’re watching and that no tinkering on our end could stop it.

We will continue to monitor the problem, and we’ll return here if we see this happening outside of the one show on Discovery+.

Again, thanks to the Tablo community for your help!

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Just to be clear - this has nothing to do with your tablo at this point? Discovery+ is a streaming service and has no OTA broadcast you can record with your tablo, to watch from your tablo, to have an issue with “the squares”.

That’s correct, and is a big part of the reason I was so appreciative of those of you who took the time to answer me on these Tablo forums.

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