Info support needs to track low signal error with spontaneous reboots

If you’re seeing this error then note the channel you’re watching. Apparently my logs show stream detail changes are happening mid-broadcast which shouldn’t be happening. They need to know what channel it’s happening on so instead of trying to remember, make a note of it.

well nothing to report yet. They’re digging into the logs of two stations to identify the issue causing this unexpected behavior. They said it would be best if they could see the behavior ‘live’ but I’m not sure how they would be able to do that.

I remember the last 2 channels this occurred on. Support hasn’t asked me to provide this info though… They just told me it’s my USB or hard drive. Did they finally acknowledge it might be something else?

@Tablosupport Could it be that 2.2.8 handles weak signals much better than 2.2.10 and doesn’t reboot Tablo?

@dlrmn’s issue is different from what we’ve seen. While a USB disconnect during a transcode will reboot the Tablo - this is not what’s happening.

This is not new to 2.2.10, and would have the same repercussions in 2.2.8. The format of the stream on one or two particular channels is changing mid-stream which is causing errors.

they did in looking at my logs. Stream detail changes happening in mid-broadcast. I don’t know what that means exactly but it shouldn’t be happening.

On those two stations recently but I don’t know if it’s happened on others because I don’t remember what stations I was watching all the other times. It would be good to know if it’s the same stations others are seeing it on.

Edit: I never saw this error on 2.2.8 though.

Is this happening on two adjacent channels (side by side frequencies)? This situation is known to cause problems when gapless frequencies inpinge on one another. Even strong FM signals will disrupt close television frequencies so that people put FM filters to block off such interference.

And the condition only affects tablo when using Live TV and not recording any shows for later viewing.

nothing new to report on this. Engineers digging into the logs. Going to try to catch one “live” during support hours next week.

Yhis just happened to me while watching This Week on channel 7.1 in San Jose, CA (9:45am). The streamed just stopped and my Tablo rebooted itself. I am now going to start recording the love stuff I am watching then watch the recording as it happens. Reboots never seem to happen with recordings. I think this is not a problem with USB cables or drives, there’s something wrong in the software.

open a ticket and put in the station you were watching so they can check your logs too.

What I’ve seen on my Tablo is that on rare occasions, when two or more tuners are in use, I’ll see a reboot. There will be an erroneous “weak signal” error indicated, but I know for a fact that I have really good signal strength on all channels I’m set up for. Support thinks it may be a hard drive issue, but it only has just over a year of use, and it is a recommended drive (WD Elements 2 TB).

It’s possible that the drive is going bad, but the reboots are very rare… I’d hate to buy a new one, with all the associated hassles of migrating from my existing drive, if it turns out to be a software issue rather than a hard drive issue. I also see another issue which may be unrelated, but I’ll note it here. I’m using a Roku device on all 4 TVs, and occasionally, I’ll be watching a live broadcast and Tablo will exit back to the guide. The spontaneous exits don’t happen often enough to worry about though.

Anyway, the last time a reboot happened was on Friday evening, which of course was the start of a 3 day weekend for our friends in the great white north… I’ve sent support a note, and saved the recordings from the time of the incident, and offered to put my Tablo in heartbeat mode in the event they want to examine the log files.

“I know for a fact that I have really good signal strength on all channels.”

Signal strength is not a continuous unvarying quantity. External random events can disrupt a signal and render it null. For example, a friend lives below street level on a slope. A huge aluminum truck driving by can deflect his signals and cut transmission momentarily. An airplane flying overhead, thunder and lightning, an electrical transformer on a street, even cars on a road nearby - all these can deflect and disrupt RF signals.

How the Tablo behaves when something like that occurs may be interesting. It may not even be the Tablo’s software but the tuner chip (which is not from Nuvyyo) inside it that may respond to a signal condition unpredictably. For instance, my Hauppauge tuner within my PC can crash and bring down the PC if it gets hit by a certain signal error condition even when it appears that I have 100% signal strength.

Every night the air force sends a helicoptor over my house around 7 PM from a nearby base. That chopper really chops up my reception to pieces. Can’t wait till we have millions of drones circulating in the skies…

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I knew when I wrote that, that someone would jump on it. I do know a little about signal fluctuations that can occur during the course of the day, variations from season to season, fluctuations with weather conditions, obstructions, etc. I spent a long time getting licking the location, aligning the antenna, checking signal strength on all channels, going through an iterative process of tweaking the alignment, checking, retweaking, checking to get the strongest possible signal strength on all channels… additionally, I periodically monitor what I’m getting on random days and times. In practice, I get no video breakups on any of the channels on which I record, or watch live. The antenna is high enough that the passing truck shouldn’t interfere with signal reception, and low enough that we’re probably in trouble if an airplane interferes, and I’m located in a flight path for normal airport traffic.

Not to say that the signal could never be interrupted, but I’m very confident that I have a good signal… I’m about 11 miles away from the broadcast towers, which are generally in a southern direction from me, and are a combination of UHF and VHF. The signal really is very good, and gives me generally excellent performance with the Tablo (other than the rare reboot issue). It’s also possible that rather than a Tablo software issue, it could be a hardware issue… anything from one of the tuners, to power supply fluctuations to anything in between. I specifically mention power supply issues because the problem seems more likely to happen shortly after more than one tuner is put in to play, but it doesn’t happen often enough to see a pattern. Could also be heat related, but can’t say for sure because I haven’t seen it happen often enough. I have seen Tablo reboot when I touched the underside front edge (static electricity sensitivity) but after discovering that, I put the Tablo out of site so that I wouldn’t be tempted to touch it. It’s also possible my hard drive could in fact be flaky, but again, the problem doesn’t happen that often.

A word about antenna selection… I spent a fair amount of time selecting and testing my final antenna. Some that looked good on paper didn’t work for me in practice. My RCA ANT702F that I had been using for a couple of years was a little marginal on a couple of channels in rainy weather, and particularly in the hot weather at the start of summer. The Mohu Sky 60 looked good on paper, yet tested poorly for my location and channel selection. I went through several other antennas, and settled on the Channel Master CM3000HD, which gives me outstanding performance on all VHF/UHF channels I wanted. This includes all the major networks (ABC/CBS/NBC/Fox/TheCW) and their subchannels, and also brings in some of the oddball popular channels bearing H&I, This, GetTV, ION, Retro, Decades, AntennaTV, Cozi, etc…

I wasn’t jumping (as you say) on your signal strength estimation. Only that any signal strength is a varying condition and given that variability random strikes can cause a major disruption (eg. my PC tuner crashing the PC). I wasn’t expecting such a full and complete justification of your signal environment. Why so jumpy?

My point (2nd paragraph of that post) was that hardware chips behave unpredictably when such random events happen. A system is at the mercy of hardware when electrical signals “jump the rails.” How Tablo behaves in those situations was the point of that post.

So if you are aware of all these conditions then you surely are aware that a signal varies as much as 30% during a 24 hour period. Measure a signal at 2 PM then measure it again at 2 AM. The difference will be up to 6 db. That’s quite a swing!

@CraigRoyce, @lkahhan, it doesn’t appear that what’s happening in my case has anything to do with either the antenna or the number of tuners since there is only one tuner in use when I watch live TV. What they’ve seen in my logs is clearly unexpected behavior that they haven’t seen before and that’s why they are digging into it. Anybody that sees the same behavior should open a ticket and include what station they were watching when it happened.

“Mudflap” and flat surface omnidirectional antennas can pick up spurious RF signals and. multipath reflections from every conceivable direction. Also read where moisture can be a problem if located outdoors. I’ve gone thru a slew of them with inconsistent results before settling on a good ole fashioned unidirectional yagi. Luckily all signals here are coming from the same direction. Might add I’m directly in line with a very busy ( LA) flight path with low flying commercial aircraft coming at a 90 degree direction from my antenna headiing. Nary a dropout.

The gist of my argument, using my PC Hauppauge tuner as example, is not that the antenna per se is causing the problem but that a random RF signal event may cause the tuner chip itself to crash the device. Because an RF signal is not a constant, unvarying wave, an unpredictable peak or trough in the wave can cause an electro-magnetic “event” that the tuner is not prepared for.

That Tablo support saw a change in the video stream encoding may be something traceable to the station’s encoding engine. May even be a corruption in their process… or it may not even be a “corruption” but a change in the encoding engine\software used by many TV stations since they all use the same equipment for transmission.