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Discussion Starter #1
I got a TiVo Series3 HD DVR shortly after the first of the year because its tuners will receive not only cable, Cox OKC, but OTA HD, too. With one notable exception, which I will describe here, my S3 has reliably recorded and played back both OTA transmissions and cable transmissions.


One OTA digital channel, the OKC ABC affiliate, KOCO HD, is driving me crazy. The local HD enthusiast Web site, HDTV in Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma City thread in the local HDTV forum here demonstrate that a lot of people have had a lot of trouble with KOCO. Me, too, alas. I am stuck with KOCO, though, because its owner, Hearst-Argyle is insisting on an exorbitant payment to allow Cox OKC to retransmit its digital transmissions.


Here's the problem. When I record an ABC show, most recently Lost and Boston Legal, the picture is perfect until about the last 10 minutes of the telecast. At that point audio dropouts and pixelization show up and get progressively worse over the next 2 or 3 minutes at which point the rest of the show is unwatchable. This has happened with such distressing frequency that I have had to watch the end of several ABC shows on the ABC Web site.


I have a simple combination rabbit ears and loop antenna, which has been perfect with every other channel, and KOCO, too, except for the problem with KOCO described here. I am less than 5 miles from the local TV antenna farms and my S3's signal strength meter reveals that the signal strength of all digital channels, including KOCO, is about the same, in the neighborhood of 90 out of 100.


Finally, here is my question: Does anybody have a suggestion about what might be causing my KOCO problem and whether a change of antenna or addition of an amplifier might solve it. If so, what antenna or amplifier, or both would you recommend?
 

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I took a wild guess at the Oklahoma City zip and got a response from www.antennaweb.org . KOCO is broadcasting their digital signal on VHF channel 7 with a frequency of 174 - 180 Mhz. This part of the VHF band can be very suseptable to interference from other VHF frequency users.


I suggest you consider a small "urban" VHF/UHF antenna mounted in your attic or very low on the roof. If your roof is oriented properly, you may be able to mount the antenna low on the back side of the roof so it won't be seen from the front (wife factor).


Do not use a amplifier. If your signal breakup is due to multi-path signals or other VHF interference, an amp will only make it worse. A small directional antenna pointed towards the towers is your best bet.
 

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Curious your reception is excellent until 10 minutes before the show ends. Is that rather consistent? You mentioned both Lost and Boston Legal, both of which air at the same time of night, and therefore your reception issues start about at the same time... so I wonder, are you experiencing this at other times of day as well? If you set any 60-minute recording, do you get breakup around x:50 as well?


The idea being, are you experiencing a "50 minutes of reception now we have breakup" issue, or a "it's 10:50PM and we're having breakup" issue?


If it's the latter, there might be 'something' going on in the neighbourhood (or at the TV station, or in your house) interfering with reception.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your suggestions. I have had my rabbit ears antenna sitting on top of my TiVo, where it was located the last time I checked my signal strength. As a result of your replies, today I decided to move the rabbit ears to a higher shelf on the built in bookcase that holds my TiVo, a vertical distance of about 4 feet. As a result KOCO's signal strength has increased from the 85-90 range it was producing when it was atop the TiVo to the 95-100 range. The only other digital channels I receive on which I must watch OTA, the Fox and CW affiliates, are still as strong and stable as they were before I moved my rabbit ears. I am encouraged that this change may have done the job and will report more later. Thanks again.
 

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This is the later report I promised earlier. I recorded Boston Legal last night, after earlier having raised the height of my rabbit ears antenna about 4 feet.


When I watched the show, the audio and video were pristine until, as before, about 45 or 50 minutes into the recording, that is about 9:45 or 9:50 pm, local time. Beginning then I started getting very occasional pixelized video and accompanying audio dropouts. Unlike earlier occasions when problems had started at about the same time on earlier recordings of Boston Legal and Lost, the glitches were rare enough and infrequent enough that they were little more than a minor irritant.


I am coming around to the idea that my pixelization and dropout problems on KOCO may be time related and I am hopeful that the increased signal strength I get from having raised the height of my antenna have mostly, although not entirely, overcome them.


Once again, thanks to all for your suggestions.
 
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