1. Guest,
    If you need help getting to know Xenforo, please see our guide here. If you have feedback or questions, please post those here.
    Dismiss Notice

Experiencing "Pixelation" using analog TV converter Box

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by patsycar, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. patsycar

    patsycar New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I found this site through Google while looking for answers to my questions. I think you all can help me. I still use rabbit ears on my 20 yr. old TV. I've always been happy with the 10 channels I get very clearly. It's not High def, but I'm Ok with that. When I hooked up the new converter boxes I bought with the government coupon, I just about cried. It was practically traumatizing! Is this what the future holds for me? Several reasons for the trauma:

    1. Extensive pixelation. What the heck??!! Do others with the converter experience this? Do all you people with digital cable or satellite dishes experience that? It's sooo annoying to watch! The picture freezes and jerks around every few seconds. Although, I'll have to admit, that when the picture isn't freezing or jerking, it is clearer than the analog picture. But all in all, this is TOTALLY unacceptable to me. I have actually disconnected the box because of this and am back to rabbit ears.

    2. At the time I purchased the boxes, I also purchased a "better" set-top antennae which doesn't seem to make any difference in the picture. I'm told I probably need to get a rooftop antennae with directional change capability. WHAT???

    3. Slow channel changing. With the dumb remote they give you, it took about 3-6 seconds or more to switch between channels. That may not sound like a lot of time, but when you're used to immediate, it feels like an eternity.

    4. Dashes?? When changing channels with said dumb remote, you must input a " - " to get to the channel you want. "7-1" or "4-1" - thus the extra seconds. Did I say DUMB??

    I am surrounded by trees. Practically NO sky visible in my S.E. Michigan neighborhood. If my only remedy is to subscribe to a service, I guess I'll bite - reluctantly. But, in the mean time, I have some general questions Any help appreciated:

    Yes I know we're going digital Feb. 17th. And I understand that those with cable, and other subscription services do not need converter boxes.

    5. Are those services currently using digital signal rather than analog? Will they switch to digital from analog in Feb? or have they always been using digital not analog? Is there a difference between "cable" service and "digital cable" service?

    7. Do subscribers of those services have a lot of "pixelating" problems? Service comes to your house through a cable from the telephone pole, right?

    8. Where does the cable company get it's signal from? Does the satellite in the sky send the signal to their corporate office and from there does it go through wires (cables) to the subscriber's home or is more localized? If this is the case would many trees on my property not affect reception?

    9. Our phone company (AT&T) is offering several different TV subscription services (DISH Network, & U-Verse). Would that signal come through my phone lines? (I have AT&T internet also). Would I experience the pixelating with either of those?

    Sorry for the essay about probably basic TV land concerns. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
    Patsy
     
  2. sptrout

    sptrout Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    You ask a lot of questions, but I will give it a go!

    1. Absolutely not! With a digital signal there are basically two conditions, perfect, or nothing, with just a brief area in between with a lot of pixelation. With analog TV the picture gradually degrades as the signal gets weaker down to the point where it is unwatchable. Your viewing tolerance for what is acceptable may be lower than what is acceptable to the converter box's D to A converter.

    There are only a couple reasons for pixelation (assuming that the converter box is functioning properly), 1) poor reception/antenna, or 2) interference. IMO, you almost certainly have poor reception due to: a) you are located too far from the desired TV stations for the antenna you are using, b) signal losses from too many trees or other obstructions, which again, your antenna is probably not able to overcome.

    2. I agree, the odds are that you need a much better antenna system. In the attic may be a possible solution depending on distance to TV stations, and local obstructions. An outdoor antenna will always be the best for reception, and the higher it is mounted the better.

    3. My guess is that your converter box is having trouble decoding the poor incoming signal, which causes a delay before it sends a decoded picture to your TV.

    4. Digital TV stations have the ability to broadcast "subchannels." The "-X" selects which subchannel you want to watch (the "X-1" is the main channel). In my case, I usually remove the subchannels from my scan list because there is nothing I want to watch on them. Some stations use a subchannel to broadcast their weather radar which is nice, but IMO the rest of the stuff is junk. Remove the subchannels, then more than likely your converter box will allow direct entry of "7" for example to go directly to the main channel.

    5. Only the over-the-air (OTA) transmission of TV signals will change from analog to digital. Cable and satellite will not be directly affected. If you connect today to either of these services you will not see any change next February. Cable services can deliver their signal to your house via either analog (like they have done since day one), digital, or both. For compatibility with all TVs, most cable company's lowest tier of service is analog only. If you want more channels, then you will have to buy their digital package and you will need a converter box that will be placed between the incoming cable and your TV. (This functionally is the same as the old higher-tier analog cable service; you needed a converter box.)

    6. Missing

    7. Pixelation is never the norm! Cable is connected to your house via a coaxial cable that is hung on telephone poles (old cable systems anyway). Newer services use buried cable, and cable companies are moving to fiber-optic cable, which has much, much more capacity. What you may get depends on the capability of your local cable company.

    8. The cable company gets its programming from a variety of methods including satellite (CNN, HBO, etc), direct cable feed from the local TV stations, or they can receive local channels OTA. The condition of your property (trees) has nothing to do with cable. It is possible that trees could block reception from Dish or DirecTV, but that usually can be avoided by placing the antenna in an open area.

    9. More than likely AT&T is providing service to your house via fiber-optic cable, or maybe coaxial cable. In either case, you as the user should not be able to tell the difference. Again, pixelation is never, ever the norm!!!
     
  3. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2003
    Messages:
    2,701
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    Real Name:
    Ed
    What are you using as your signal? Did you hook rabbit ears to the converter box? If so, you're trying to convert an analog signal, to an analog signal! It's probably not going to work right...........yet. Wait until February to hook it up. The box is for converting digital to analog. Not analog to analog.
     
  4. sptrout

    sptrout Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0

    The OP should be able to receive the mirror digital stations today. Is there any place in the US that does not have most of the digital stations operational? I have two new converter boxes connected to a couple old analog TVs and they are working fine; much better picture with the converters than when they were still receiving analog stations.
     
  5. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2003
    Messages:
    2,701
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    Real Name:
    Ed

    Ok, I thought the mirror stations were their HD channels, and since her tv isn't HD, well................
    Maybe she just got a bad STB?
     
  6. patsycar

    patsycar New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh my gosh, what an amazing response! I just got home from work and look to see all my questions answered! Also, thank you so much for answering "at my level". Sorry I asked so many, but you can't believe what a help you were. My son just told me he's getting AT&T's U-Verse, so I think I'll wait to see what he thinks of that. Like I say, I'm not opposed to going with a service, just been "cheap" for so long, I got used to it.

    Your answer to my #5 was very eye opening. Thanks for clearing that very confusing aspect for me. And... Yes, I probably have a low tolerance level, and live in a poor reception area, and have a terribly old antennae.

    My only hesitation about the whole poor reception angle is that I get a great picture on all 10 of my channels through the old rabbit ears. ("great" meaning clear most of the time with some "snow" at others).

    You're right about the sub-channels. They're playing 70s TV shows and weather. Maybe removing them would help as well.
     
  7. sptrout

    sptrout Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    You're welcome!

    One additional comment concerning your note about what you are receiving today. Remember that the current analog channel for each TV station is being broadcast on either a VHF or UHF channel, and their mirror digital channel is being broadcast on a different channel usually (but not always) in the other band (for example; today'a analog #7 is probably being broadcast somewhere in the UHF band digitally). Therefore, just because channel 7 in this example may look fine in analog does not mean that the reception on its digital counterpart will be good because it is very likely to be in a different frequency band.

    To make OTA even more fun, next February the FCC has decided to allow each broadcaster to decide which channel they will keep, and which one they will free-up. In most cases, whatever channel they they are using today for their digital channel will become their final broadcast channel, but they can convert their existing analog frequency to digital and keep it. I live in Houston, and our local stations are doing both (some will stay on their current digital channel, while others are converting their old analog channel to digital).
     
  8. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2000
    Messages:
    8,264
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Real Name:
    Robert
    Rabbit ears are for VHF. According to antennaweb.org, all of the current Ann Arbor digital stations are broadcasting in the UHF band. No wonder you can't get reception.

    -Robert
     
  9. pankarty

    pankarty Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    kanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabka nmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanm anabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanman abkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanab kanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabka nmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanm anabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanman abkanmanabkanmanabkanmanabkanmanab
     
  10. Josh Simpson

    Josh Simpson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Messages:
    926
    Likes Received:
    0
    So does anyone have any recommendations for converters, or know of a site that has recommendations? Some brands seem to be quite slow responding, as mentioned above.
     
  11. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 1998
    Messages:
    2,406
    Likes Received:
    0
    Under some conditions pixellation can be the in between results between perfect reception and no reception of digital channels.

    Don't throw away the rabbit ears yet, if they give good clear analog reception on your old TV. Some stations that are VHF analog and UHF digital now will become VHF digital in February. A few stations are VHF digital now. Most stations have UHF digital channels now because those channels were the only unused channels available.

    Rabbit ears are not "just for" analog but anecdotal evidence is that an antenna that gets analog stations so many miles away is good for digital stations 2/3 of that distance. Many rabbit ears antennas have a bow tie or ring. That part is used for UHF and you should be able to adjust that independently to improve the UHF reception. If, come February, all of your local stations are UHF digital, you can get an ordinary UHF-only antenna that is better than what you have. Otherwise you can get an ordinary UHF/VHF antenna that is better than what you have.

    Practically all "sensitive" antennas are unidirectional and need to be rotated to get stations from different directions. You can install multiple fixed antennas instead of one rotating antenna but you should use a switch box and not a Y-connector to feed the signal to your TV.

    Some converter boxes (and some TV sets) are more sensitive (pick up more stations) than others. This is a matter of luck unless Consumer Reports has listed this attribute in their ratings or unless you have gotten suggestions from friends or from magazine reviews or laboratory reports. This is in addition to the evidence that digital signals don't carry as many miles from the station.

    Video hints: http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/feb2009.htm
     
  12. chuckg

    chuckg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    0
    There are exctly two things that make an antenna better:

    1) height above ground.
    2) size.

    Maximize those two, and you should be fine. I had thought that the VHF spectrum was being taken away, and given to other uses (mainly communication, like cell phones) Of course, I haven't spent much time worrying about it. I actually get better reception via digital!
     

Share This Page