Inconsistent signal strengths

I’ve done several channel scans over the last week during different times of the day and I’ve noticed a big disparity between signal strengths for channels I know I get pretty well in my area. Sometimes a channel will show as solid green and other times it won’t show up at all. Is this usual behavior for the tuner? Obviously I haven’t changed my setup or antenna positioning, so I’m just looking to see what others have experienced with their Tablos.

Some questions to help figure out why you may be getting low signal quality:

  1. What is the make and model of your antenna?
  2. Is it amplified?
  3. How long is the cable run from the antenna to the Tablo?
  4. Is the cable split anywhere between the antenna to the Tablo? Or any couplers in line because it’s not actually one cable?
  5. What kind of coaxial cable is it? RG59 or RG6? They are quite different in terms of signal loss over longer distances.

Look for changing conditions between the signal source (broadcaster) and the antenna. These can be such things as obstructions, wind, rain, ham radio sites, and a bunch of others. Wind moves things like tree branches, dust and debris. Storms always cause loss in signal strength/quality. CB’s 2nd harmonic frequency is near channel 2 frequency, ham radio is all over the spectrum. Sun spots also play havoc with OTA signals in all spectrum’s. You antenna can be right on the edge of acquiring a poor signal and it takes very little to make it no signal at times. Time of day makes a difference as well. As the Van Allen belt increases (night) and decreases (day), more or less signals from distant sources come into play.

Do all the problem channels act up at the same time? If it’s the same set of channels, look for commonality between them. Same general area, close to the same broadcast frequency, signal power output at the transmitter. Have a second TV? Look and see how it is working on those problem channels when they go out.

If nothing comes to light, can you lift your antenna up another 5 or 10 foot? This is almost always a good why to overcome spotty signal strength, along with good alignment.

Bunch of generalities here, but chances are good, one or more of them might be the problem/resolve.



Well my setup is tuned in pretty well. I was just wondering if anyone else was experiencing similar results. I have an 8 bay Xtreme Signal UHF/VHF antenna mounted in my attic with both panel sides amplified with one PCT signal booster each running into a signal combiner and then the output of that running down 50’ of rg6 right into the Tablo. Most of the time I can run a channel scan and get all my channels solid green, but occasionally a couple will either disappear entirely, or change from green to red. I wasn’t sure if that was normal to see such a difference throughout the day. I’m sure environmental conditions play a roll, but I’m just trying to determine if going this route will prove reliable for regular use.

So the real question is are you actually having signal problems? Do you get pixelation of the video in recordings or even low signal when trying to tune a live TV channel?

You shouldn’t need to rescan the channels after your initial setup. Just let it be if you’re not having recording issues.

Well that’s where things get a little tricky. I can run a channel scan and get solid green throughout, but then a station or two may not come in when trying to view it. I sometimes get an error in the playback window that says unable to playback stream. This was particularly the case today when trying to view a channel in Chrome. That’s why I’m trying to troubleshoot whether it’s the feed from the antenna or the Tablo hardware.

Can you plug the cable from the antenna into a TV and see if the same problem occurs?

Yeah I have wanted to do that so I’ll have more of a live signal meter that Tablo doesn’t have, but I don’t have a small portable TV, or coax long enough to reach one of my other tvs from the attic. It’s just strange that the signals can be so all over the place throughout the day. Like I said, it’s usually very good, but there is the occasional hiccup and I just didn’t know why sometimes the Tablo would give me the playback error. It’s not the weak signal error either, it’s the unable to playback stream error.

If you open a Support Ticket directly with Tablo they can remotely log into your Tablo and check the signal levels. They will tell you if you’re just on the fringe of the signal cliff where any small changes results in loss of video.

My strongest signal strength is between 8 PM and midnight in the evening. My weakest is between 1 and 3 in the afternoon. It’s strong from 7 AM to 10 mornings then tails off from 11 to 2. So my signals vary throughout the day during those time spans by as much as 20%.

I also have US Air Force flights several times a day over my house and they disrupt the signal.

Thanks for your replies. I have had Tablo remotely access my device before so I may do that again to see if they say anything about the signal strengths. I’ll also see if I notice any pattern of signal disparity throughout the day to explain the change in quality.

@kandrews - There’s ONE more thing that might be at play that hasn’t been mentioned: LED lights. The shielding on some of these bulbs is less than adequate and can create interference that blocks OTA signals so if the ‘bad’ results happen particularly in the evening when you might have a light on it may be the source of the signal loss.

But definitely touch base with the team. They’ll be able to give you more LIVE insight.

Yeah that’s a good call. I have a pretty new house outfitted with all led lights, however I’m noticing the signal becomes more finicky during the day, and it actually improves at night. I am thinking is atmospheric conditions coupled with my geographic location and distance from the towers. The one station in particular is actually the furthest station from me and broadcasts on VHF. The majority of the time it’s coming in fine with a solid 5 bars, but I can run the scan again 15 minutes later and all of a sudden it’s 3 bars. Thanks for your response!

RF signals are at their worst during the day (afternoon) especially in clear sunlight. They’re at their best at night. Heat also affects RF transmission as my signals are 20% stronger in winter than in summer. Signals are at their best in cloudy weather which most people don’t suspect.

“The majority of the time it’s coming in fine with a solid 5 bars, but I can run the scan again 15 minutes later and all of a sudden it’s 3 bars.”

That could be a sign of multipath interference - bouncing signals that impinge on one another. Trees (branches-leaves) in front of the antenna\house blown by the wind can cause signal fluctuation as well.