Roku says "weak signal"; Tablo reboot fixes everything

You know that exciting Top of the 9th in Game 5 of the World Series on Fox OTA television? I missed the last five minutes of it!

For the second time in three days, Tablo crapped out on me with no warning. I can watch (and have watched) Tablo for hours over my Roku 3, iPad, or webapp with NO SIGNAL ISSUES. Then, wham!, this terribly frustrating, annoying "inifinite loop"of 30 seconds; the only solution – and that solution is 100% successful – is rebooting Tablo! I am not touching the antenna when I reboot Tablo, but miraculously everything works great again after the reboot.

Tablo Preview Roku app leaves no clue as to reason. Tablo standard Roku app says “weak signal”. Webapp also shows the infinite loop but leaves no clue as to reason. I did not check iPad in this instance – I just wanted to watch the baseball game!

I call bovine excrement on that one, The signal is spotless for hours and hours; I pull the plug on Tablo and reboot it, and suddenly everything is beautiful again.

I have had Tablo for about six weeks. I installed the latest firmware update last weekend (Oct 24). I do not recall this happening with the earlier firmware. As i have stated, this behavior is not app-/platform-specific, and I strongly disagree with the notion that this a “weak signal” issue. (My house is less than 1 mile from the towers.)

Same problem with mine. Top of the ninth and I lost it. got the 30 sec loop over and over again. Very frustrating. Mine could possible be linked to weak signal, but Tablo should say what the problem is. Don’t keep playing the loop over and over again. That is annoying. I tried rebooting but it didn’t help. And it was on my other devices also, the android app. So I know it wasn’t my Roku.

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The repeating segment of video, or looping, is generally caused by poor OTA signal. Any drop in the signal results in a video encoding error that the Roku does not handle well. This results in the loop of death.

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@tablotv @theuser86 How long can Tablo tolerate a weak signal before it craps out?

As I stated above, I did not touch my antenna when I rebooted the Tablo and then everything was perfect again (just as it has been perfect for 99.9% of my six-plus weeks of Tablo ownership and viewing).

It is interesting that @jwwhite001 lost signal at the same time:
a) @jwwhite001, is your local Fox KSAZ-10, Phoenix, Arizona? (Did KSAZ have a dropout?)
b) @tablotv @theuser86 Hypothetically, if Fox “headquarters” had a blip but my local Fox (KSAZ) kept broadcasting “dead air” at “full strength”, would Tablo still crap out?

If this were a KSAZ-10 problem, it makes me wonder if the Black Canyon City 3.2 foreshock earthquake had anything to do with it; I think my problem occurred right at 9pm… when the foreshock occurred… (Admittedly, Black Canyon City is 50 miles from the broadcast tower, while my house is less than one mile from the broadcast tower)

As TheUser pointed out, when the Tablo stops feeding video segments to Roku it will replay the last few segments over and over again until it receives a new segment. In the case of this ‘dead air’ there is no video being delivered…

Unfortunately there is no way at this time for the Tablo app to talk to the Roku player after a certain amount of time and tell it to give up on waiting for a new segment and go back to the main menu.

If you see this again, going back to the live TV menu and starting playback again should get you back in business if the signal is back (vs a full reboot).

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Unfortunately, @tablotv, going back to the live TV menu and starting playback again did not get me back in business again.

To elaborate on my initial posting here:
I was watching Fox on Roku 3 Tablo Preview App when Tablo crapped out. We then went to Roku Home and then to Roku Tablo Standard App, where we did receive the “weak signal” message. We then went back to Roku Home and then back to Roku Tablo Preview App, and the infinite loop was still ongoing. I then went to my Linux Chrome and used the webapp, which was showing the infinite loop.

So then I simply disconnected the power from Tablo, reconnected the power to Tablo, and waited a minute or so for Tablo to boot up (and for Roku so sync with Tablo). I DID NOT TOUCH THE ANTENNA.

Then, and only then, did I exit the infinite loop.

@clmssun - Interesting… If you do see this again, can you try something… If you’re on a 2-Tuner Tablo, try tuning to 2 DIFFERENT live TV channels then go back to the channel you were trying to get.

This should free up the tuner and then re-acquire it.

Drift?

-Rodger

@tablotv I have a 4-tuner model.

To date, I think we have only ever used two (at most) tuners simultaneously. Last night, all I wanted to do was watch the World Series, but it got stuck in the infinite loop on Fox. My wife was watching PBS and having all kinds of problems (not the infinite loop, however). After I got Fox back on (by rebooting Tablo), my wife still had trouble with PBS so THEN I adjusted the antenna and that seemed to help her PBS feed.

But, again, we live less than one mile from the towers, so I just don’t think “weak reception” should ever be an issue.

In other words, maybe “weak signal” IS what causes the infinite loop, but I suggest that the signal is not actually weak… that somehow Tablo is not processing the signal optimally and so that truly-strong signal is perceived as “weak”, and then the infinite loops and failed recordings start.

Thank you.

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It is a FlatWave Amped, but I do not power the amplifier. (We used to live further from towers).

There are a number of threads in this Community about how even a strong signal can be a corrupted signal (becuase of multipath or excess amplitutde, etc) that gives rise the “weak signal” (AKA weak usable signal). That may or may not be your issue, but it could explain the symptoms you describe.

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Strong signals, close metal structures can cause ghosting of the signal. This would cause the signal level to sort of flutter. Flutter is also a sign of a weak signal. Get a directional antenna and point it at the signal source and see if that fixes it.

-Rodger

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Serious question:

Should I buy a very low-end antenna? I had/have been so seriously impressed with FlatWave Amped (using the amplifier when we were further from towers, not using the amplifier now that we are so close)… so often everything is beautiful, but this problem is becoming prevalent.

Thank you all.

I live within 2 miles of almost all the towers I care about. Any problem I have ever had with the Tablo has been an antenna reception issue. Lots depends on antenna location - even moving or orienting the antenna small distances can make a difference. I find weather can make a difference. In short, it is really hard to generalize what would remedy the situation. I use an AmazonBasic non-amplified antenna. I leave it to people more technical than I am to weigh in on whether the presence of an amp - even if unused - can cause a problem. I guess if it were me, I would fool around with antenna location and orientation before trying out other antenna alternatives.

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I’d look for something directional as this will pull the direct signal in stronger and the weaker reflected/refracted (ghost) signal(s) will have less, or no effect. If this is the cause, this is the fix.

-Rodger

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Why not connect the amplifier again? The antenna is meant to work with the amplifier in line. I have the same antenna and it works well with the Tablo.

Good catch, I missed him saying he didn’t have the amp on. Antenna’s designed to be amplified, can exhibit very erratic signal strength when not amplified. They can also pull in greater interference as the amplifier would be designed to amplify the bandwidth of the antenna greater then side bands.

-Rodger

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When I had the FlatWave Amped downstairs directly connected to TV, I had many reception problems with amplification; without amplification, reception seemed to be more steady. Now I have Tablo (hard-wired to router hard-wired to DSL modem hard-wired to phone-jack) upstairs. When I scanned the channels with Tablo, etc., upstairs without amplification, my scan-list had it all! And 99.9% of the time all is terrific… but there are problems (as you have read).