Hello everyone. I own two RCA DTA800B1 boxes and so does my brother. These were purchased in January 2009 using the coupon program available at that time. One of my units is still in the box, unopened. I use one for my TV at home. My brother uses both of his for two TVs at his house.
Sometime around a year ago we each noticed that our boxes would lock up when trying to do either a full new scan for channels, or when doing a scan-add. The lockup happens at about 64% of completion. The green light on the front of the box goes out. The only way to recover is to physically unplug power from it and then power back on. I'd tried letting it sit as long as overnight and it didn't recover.
We had each thought that "it must be these cheap boxes, last only a couple of years and then gone." Well, I'm learning there's a different reason for it.
In web searches for info about "RCA DTA800 scan lockup" I found others had run across this problem. In those cases, they found that if the scan locked up, they could disconnect the antenna from it, and it continued the rest of the scan (with no other channels added). One of the responses said that the problem was with the TV station it was scanning at the time of the lockup, that it was transmitting bad CRC's, and the RCA box just tried over and over to get it. The firmware provides no bailout point to just scratch that channel and continue looking for more.
That's making sense. I'd had a need to do full rescans every so often, since sometimes a channel gets added in (just recently, GetTV, for instance). The scan-add function doesn't add new digital subchannels to an RF channel it already knows about. So, when KFTR that only had channel 46.1 just added GetTV on 46.2, the only way to get 46.2 in there is to do a new full scan rather than scan-add on this device.
To keep it from locking up, I kept my finger on the Menu button on the remote during the scan, watching that percentage on screen go higher and higher, and when it got to 63% I hit the button and stopped it there. That's been able to get me the new channels I was looking for, but at the expense of any channels higher up on the RF channel spectrum. I suppose I can do what some other folks found, unplug and replug the antenna connector briefly and let it finish the scan.
What channels am I obviously missing? A number of channels on KJLA virtual 57.x (RF 49), and one of the PBS stations here in Los Angeles, KOCE on virtual 50.x, which is on RF 48. And RF 48 seems about right for being 64% of the way through the scannable spectrum. RabbitEars.info lists only a couple of stations on RF channels above 48 for this area (http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php
) so I'm not missing out on too much from stopping the scan early.
It's looking very much, from purely circumstantial evidence, that if there's a station transmitting bad CRCs, that it's probably KOCE. Here is why I think so. The RCA box has an occasional glitch, when I am going through the channels one by one using the channel up or down button, on channel 50.1 it drops all audio and the control doesn't do a thing. Then anywhere from 20-60 seconds later, it jumps up a couple of channels (like it had the pending channel change command in buffer) and all is well again. And this only happens at KOCE 50.1, and like I said only occasionally.
The only reason KOCE is in my brother's two boxes is that he has not done a full rescan. KOCE was added way way back, presumably before they started transmitting bad CRCs. He does not wish to lose that channel, and does not feel it's worth doing a full rescan to get a couple of subs he doesn't have if it's going to mean losing KOCE.
If the problem lies with KOCE as I suspect, how can we prove it so that the station engineer can be informed about specifically what needs to be fixed? It probably requires special ATSC scanning hardware we consumers don't generally have access to.
A lot of people won't run into this issue; the stations in your area might be putting out fine data. Others may have decided the box went out, and got some other brand which doesn't have that issue, or went to a regular HDTV and don't even use a converter box anymore. But for anyone who has run into the channel scan lockup, try unplugging the antenna for a moment and right back in, and at least you'll get some of the channels.