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Mystery TV Troubles – Ghosts in the Machine? (1 Viewer)

Scott Dautel

Second Unit
Oct 6, 1998
I’m appealing to the vast experience of the HTF collective for help with a real headscratcher. This involves a TV repair mystery at my parent’s house. Here’s the background ....

Mom & Dad had a nice Sony 27” in the family room. The signal source is analog cable (NO converter box). About 1.5 years ago, the tuner seemingly went out. I.e after it warmed up, the picture would scramble; to me, it looked like it wasn’t able to lock on the channel.

So I went out and bought them a new Panny 25” TV/VCR combo. They loved it and used it every day. It lasted about 12 months, then ... same problem.

Hmmm, What to do ... in Feb 2002, replaced it again with same model of 25” Panny TV/VCR combo. (This is really starting to get annoying). This one lasted only 3 months before the tuner bug bit.

Thanks to Costco liberal return policy, we’re on the 4th TV now. Here’s some more info ... When the tuner goes, the TV still seems to work fine with a direct video source (via RCA or integral VCR). This is why I think it’s the tuner “burning out”. If you let a “bad” TV cool, it will work OK for about an hour before the tuner craps out again. Over time, the “warm-up time to tuner crap out” shortens.

There are only 2 connections to the TV, electrical & cable. The electrical outlet was going thru a cheap surge protector, which I trashed last month. The cable feed was via a Radio Shack 4-way splitter/booster. I replaced the splitter/booster with a new one and a cable serviceman checked the signal strength.

No other TV’s in the house have trouble. So what do you think could be the explanation? electrical power spikes? cable power spikes, an EMF pulse from nuclear weapons testing? I’m just stumped.


Kevin P

Jan 18, 1999
It could be surges coming through the cable line. This can happen during thunderstorms, etc. I suggest getting a surge protector that also has a coax pass-through for surge protection on the cable coax. Monster makes one, as do other manufacturers.


John Royster

Oct 14, 2001
could the cable signal be running too hot? Could be too much voltage or just out of spec. I'd have the cable company come check.

I too have had problems with lightning coming in over a cable outlet/line.

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