Digital Cable audio problems...HELP!!

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by CraigL, Mar 7, 2004.

  1. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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    I was wondering if some other people in NYC with home theaters would be able to help me out. I'm having a problem with the stereo balance on certain channels of my Time Warner digital cable. It's been going on for about a year now (on and off). At first, I think it was always there on my MTV but now it's changed to NBC as well. That was in March of 2003 and it's still here. It is too right heavy and has never gone away. I have tapes from around that time with the same problem.

    At this point, it's happening on a multitude of channels. E! at the moment ONLY has sound coming out of the right speaker. CBS is very left-heavy. AbC is a bit left heavy. And then other channels are touch and go.

    What I noticed is that if you unplug the cable from the box and plug it right into the recorder and let it do the decoding, everything is fine (except for NBC, which still has a little problem). I can't get that many channels but the ones that I do get are totally fine. No imbalance and they sound great.

    I speak with Time Warner and they think I'm crazy. They've sent people out and they can't hear it but they're all pretty much deaf. I'm a sound engineer and I've actually looked at the sound waves from the DVD's I've burned and they all have the problems I'm looking at. It's not the set-up.

    I am using the analog outs on the back of my cable box and even using the digital out, you get the same results. Does anyone have ANY idea what could be causing this???

    Any assistance would be appreciated. I'd love to know what to tell their engineers.
     
  2. Tod Golden

    Tod Golden Stunt Coordinator

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    Craig

    If you have an additional box, try switching them to see if the problem follows the box. I am having the same issue with my cable and am going to try this tonight. Will post results.

    Tod
     
  3. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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    Tod,

    I actually went to the Time Warner cable location and got a totally new cable box (I live in an apt and only have 1 TV) and it's the exact same problem. I'm wondering if it's JUST a digital cable problem and want to see what would happen if I had regular cable without the digital decoding. I dunno if it makes a difference but SOMETHING has to be happening when it goes from the line to the cable box.

    Do you have Time Warner as well? Digital?
     
  4. Tod Golden

    Tod Golden Stunt Coordinator

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    Craig

    I have Comcast digital service "without" the DD and S-Video box. Seems I don't have the right package to get this box.

    Here is my current setup. The one I use for my home theater is hooked up to the receiver via analog cables, with the video being fed to the tv via an RCA cable. With my other setup the cable box is hooked directly to the TV via the caox cable.

    Both setups exhibit the heavy left sound output. I didn't bother switching boxes because the problem exists in different setups. Therefore, one would assume there is a problem with the transmission.

    I have called them once on this issue and got the same response as you did. I am going to have to give it another shot.

    Tod
     
  5. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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    Any response? I haven't had my cable even going through the cable box for the last week. The only station that has a problem right now (with this setup) is the WB. The rest are all perfect. Funny, cable is better without paying for the freakin' box. Totally stupid. I'm going to have them come out this week and change it to a regular cable box and see if there's a difference. If there is, then I'm getting rid of Digital Cable. I don't know what the box is doing but OBVIOUSLY it's not good. If it's not the digital cable box, then...I guess I'm going to have to stick with what I have and then disconnect whenever I want to watch one of the channels that's messed up.
     
  6. Tod Golden

    Tod Golden Stunt Coordinator

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    Just to rule out the boxes anyway I did switch them and the problem is still there.

    I have a service call scheduled for tomorrow 3/16. The tech on the phone said it appears to be a weak signal with the FSN station. Maybe I can talk him into a new box with the S-Vid and the DD connection. I'll post tomorrow with the results.

    Tod
     
  7. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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    Any results? To be honest...my box has a digital sound output and s-video and it doesn't make ANY difference. I don't know what i'm going to do. I don't really watch much TV so i still haven't hooked it back up through the cable box.
     
  8. Tod Golden

    Tod Golden Stunt Coordinator

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    I wasn't home for the service call, but somebody else was there to let them in. Now I wish I had been home for this one.

    Here are the comments that the tech left on the repair order: No fault found. 32 has sound on all TV's. Well DUH, but it is only coming from the left channel, on both TV's. I wonder what this tech was thinking? And it cost me 28.00 to boot.

    At this point I have no idea what to do next. Craig, I was hoping to get this resolved and pass along whatever info I could. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

    Tod
     
  9. Ray_C

    Ray_C Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm experiencing the same thing with my digital cable box on CBS and Cartoon Network, here in NYC w/ TWC. Doesn't look like there's anything we can do about it. Luckily, the HBO broadcasts in DD 5.1 come through just fine.
     
  10. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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    Ray,

    Just for shits and giggles...

    unscrew your cable wire and run it directly into your vcr or dvd recorder (whichever you're using). You should get perfect sound on cbs. I was having problems with NBC and now they're all gone.

    Which type of cable box do you have? I have the Scientific Atlantic Digital Cable box. Have you tried calling Time Warner?
     
  11. Ray_C

    Ray_C Stunt Coordinator

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    I also have a ScAtl, it says Explorer 2100. I get the same thing (left heavy) using both the digital out and L/R RCA audio outs. I can't quite see how either my VCR or TV would be able to decode the cable channels coming in...isn't that what the cable box is supposed to do? Anyway, I did call TWC about three months ago, and never in my life have I ever heard such a quiet silence as when I finished describing what was technically going on.

    Wait...i get what you're saying. I usethe S-video out of the box for video and the audio outs (both coax and RCA). So you're saying cable coax out of the box into the TV or VCR, then maybe re-rout the sound back to my Pre/Pro. Well, since I don't reaklly watch anything on CBS since there's no Football, I'll try it later. Thanks. But really, you shouldn't have to do that. This darn thing should just work.
     
  12. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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    No...i'm saying send the signal DIRECTLY from the wall into your VCR. Trust me...it'll decode them properly. You just won't be able to get anything above channel 13. But try it anyway. You'll see that it's the Digital Cable box that's messing everything up. Your sound will be fine.

    How's your NBC?

    BTW...since I let TWC know about this problem, they've been calling me back every week saying that they're working on the problem. You might want to try back. I'll let you know the guys name that I'm talking to.
     
  13. Adam Demuth

    Adam Demuth Agent

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    I work for a cable company (not TW), I think that it is odd that a) TW is having this sort of problem, especially in a big city, and b) they didn't at least _offer_ to have a repair tech come out and look at the problem (that's what our CSR's do once they've eliminated that it's not a problem with your AV reciever/AV cables).

    I normally don't recommend this, but I'd hound them until the problem is fixed. The problem is more than likely the feed they are receiving from the stations, which TW can't do anything about except hound their stations to fix. (we get our network feed issues resolved in about 24 hrs). If you've switched digital cable boxes, and that doesn't fix it, and you've plugged in the cable to a vcr/tv and the analog channels are fine, there is something wrong with the digital signals they are sending to you. With the digital channels, (unless your cable box is bad) the way you receive them it the way they were sent, as long as the picture isn't tiling or digitizing, or the picture doesn't "freeze frame". The video requires more data, so it is the first to go in the case of a line condition problem). You've virtually eliminated the possibility of a bad digital box, and have isolated the problem down to digital channels only.

    The problem could also be in the slot that sends the digital channels to your particular neighborhood (our "neighborhoods" consist of around 2000 households) do any of you live close to each other?

    Either way, TW needs to solve this problem, which it sounds like they may be trying. I just find it odd that they have been working on it for so long, TW usually gets right on these types of problems.
     
  14. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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    Well...i've had a couple of people come out to my house. To be honest...they look at me like i'm crazy when i explain the problem. Then I try and have them sit down and hear it. Neither one of them could and said they've never heard of anything like this before.

    I've actually burned material from NBC and CBS and other channels onto DVD-R (I only have a DVD recorder hooked up at this point), ripped it into my computer and looked at the audio signals via wav and it is OBVIOUS that one channel is higher than another.

    The problem isn't really with the digital channels though I watch fewer of those so I wouldn't really know. I'd have to go through and actually write down which ones are having problems.

    As I've said, the problems that i've really noticed are CBS, NBC, WB11 and Cartoon Network. But I just happened to be on those channels for recording or whatever. And NONE of those are digital cable channels. And as I've said, the CBS/NBC problem disappears when you plug the coaxial right into your recording device. WB11 however, STILL only has 1 channel. And since I can't get anything above 13, I don't know about Cartoon Network or E!.

    Yes, it's very frustrating. Especially because no one else is calling in and it makes ME look like i'm crazy. I want to send them screenshots of the wav forms so they can see for themselves.
     
  15. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

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    Well...NBC seems to be fixed. CBS, E! and MTV still have MASSIVE sound problems with the sound ALL in one speaker though. I don't know what to do at this point.
     

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