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Discussion Starter #1
From other postings it seems most Signal Strength indicators actually measure Signal Quality. I’m using WMC7 on an HTPC but also have a Dish DVR with an OTA tuner that has a signal indicator which displays from 0-100%. It seems I’m having a bit of a multipath problem which causes the signal indicator to sometimes display fluctuating readings which could mean it‘s displaying quality. However when I removed a 4-way splitter from the antenna coax the signal indicator gave a higher reading which could mean it’s displaying strength. Is there any way to tell what it’s really measuring?

Hauppauge tuners come with software that indicates SNR and errors. However my HTPC uses AVerMedia Duet tuner cards which don’t have anything similar. I’ve seen “TSReader Lite” mentioned & it appears to indicate SNR and errors. Instead of buying a Hauppauge tuner would TSReader Lite do about the same thing regarding signal quality?
 

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What are you asking? Why are you bringing up Dish or DirecTV -- they don't interface w/HTPC. TSReader has no bearing on satellite TV, right?


MediaPortal shows signal Strength and Quality on tuners and the Duet does fine -- I have one. I also have a Hauppauge 1600 and an ATi HDTV-Wonder... it only provides strength though. Their skin has a detail view that shows packet errors. Sometimes these Open Source products provide utility the mainstream providers do not.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I meant to post this in a different forum.

That being said, I want to adjust the antenna in my attic & would like some kind of a signal indicator in order to optimize it's orientation. The HTPC uses WMC7 & its signal strength "meter" is very crude & displays only 1-6 colored bars. The Dish's OTA tuner "meter" displays numbers from 1 to 100 which is a much finer resolution. But if I drop Dish then I'll need some HTPC software to use as a signal strength indicator.
 

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I don't know what the Dish numbers mean. But I can tell you that a 4-way split will reduce the signal strength by a factor of 4, electrically speaking.

I find that the signal indicator on my TV is actually best. Could you not use that to tweak your antenna, then connect to WMC when you have it dialed in?
 

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I meant to post this in a different forum.

That being said, I want to adjust the antenna in my attic & would like some kind of a signal indicator in order to optimize it's orientation. The HTPC uses WMC7 & its signal strength "meter" is very crude & displays only 1-6 colored bars. The Dish's OTA tuner "meter" displays numbers from 1 to 100 which is a much finer resolution. But if I drop Dish then I'll need some HTPC software to use as a signal strength indicator.
Old splitter, or new? Does it show the attenuation? Most of the 4-way I have seen drop it by 7-9dB and the distance from the tuner to the antenna matters WRT additional loss. Also, make sure none of the taps on the splitter or cable ends are un-terminated. If they are, put terminal caps on- these short the individual balun for that tap, in the splitter. The reason is to prevent signal reflections from interfering with the raw signal.

Are you combining the Sat and OTA signals and splitting them at the TVs?
 

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In theory, signal strength would indicate how much of the transmission is being received cleanly vs how much of it is having to be reconstructed from the error correction bits. If you have 100% signal strength, you're not using the ECC at all, and if you have a signal strength of 70%, then 30% of the data is having to be error corrected, but you may still have a 100% clean stream. Signal quality would indicate how much of the transmission is being successfully reconstructed. If it's at 100%, then the ECC is able to fully correct all the errors in the stream, so you're not experiencing any audio or video breakups. If it dips below 100%, then you're going to start seeing glitches, because the signal strength was so low that the ECC was not able to correct all the errors. As long as signal quality remains at 100%, signal strength doesn't really matter. If signal strength starts approaching 50%, then it's likely that the ECC isn't going to be able to compensate all the time, and glitches are going to start creeping in (which would be evidenced by the signal quality meter dipping below 100% every time a glitch appears).

Again, this is all in theory and seems to be what the meters on my LG TV represent. There isn't really any ruleset for what the meters are supposed to measure, so your Dish box could be measuring something totally random with its meters to give you the illusion that it knows what's happening with the signal.
 

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Would you happen to have a SiliconDust HDHomeRun by any chance? Because there's an Android app available for that which tells you signal strength, SNR and symbol quality. Really nifty when you need to adjust an antenna that's far from the HTPC.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
mdavej -
According to the TV’s manual it has some type of signal strength indicator. I’ve never connected it directly to an antenna so not sure how well it works. Previously I used the Dish’s OTA SS indicator to adjust the antenna. I plan on changing antennas & was hoping to find some PC software to provide a SS display.

highfigh -
I’m not sure how old the splitter is, but each output is labeled “-7dB”. Sat & OTA are kept completely separate.

Aleron Ives -
Thanks for all the information. I wasn’t sure which was more important, strength or quality. I have no idea what the Dish box is indicating.

ilovejedd -
Unfortunately I don’t have a SiliconDust HDHomeRun. You mention “symbol quality”. Is that the same as signal quality?

Is the Android app available from SiliconDust or the Google Play Store?
 

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ilovejedd -
Unfortunately I don’t have a SiliconDust HDHomeRun. You mention “symbol quality”. Is that the same as signal quality?

Is the Android app available from SiliconDust or the Google Play Store?
That depends on how you define signal quality. App is available on the Google Play Store but afaik, it only works for HDHomeRun tuners.

Here's a good explanation and some tips on antenna placement I found on the SiliconDust forums:

https://www.silicondust.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4474
There are three percentages reported by the HDHomeRun -

Signal Strength (ss)
- raw power level as measured by the receiver

Signal Quality (snq)
- how clearly defined the digital data is

Symbol Quality (seq)
- Amount of correct or corrected data over the last second

The above definitions can be confusing, so a much simpler definition is to imagine listening to the radio:
- Signal Strength represents the volume
- Signal Quality represents how clearly you can hear the lyrics
- Symbol Quality indicates the percentage of the lyrics you could hear or guess correctly

As it turns out, Signal Strength is somewhat irrelevant; if your antenna isn't pointed properly, it doesn't matter how loud you turn up the volume, the static will prevent you from hearing the lyrics correctly. Similarly, amplifying a weak HDTV signal can result in a high signal strength but too much noise to decode the digital data correctly.

Use the Signal Strength for a rough idea of direction, but align the antenna for the highest Signal Quality, ignoring Signal Strength. When aimed correctly, Symbol Quality will show 100%, indicating no errors in the output. Splitters and amplifiers can introduce noise which will lower the Signal Quality, even if the Signal Strength increases.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
ilovejedd -

Thanks for the information.
Some time back I tried to download the manual for the HDHimeRun Connect but there did not appear to be one & still does not. When I go to Support > Instructions their website wants to proceed to setup the unit & then states they do not detect a HDHimeRun unit on my network. Which of course there isn't.

I'd like to see what kind of signal strength & quality I get when trying to align a new antenna but don't know if it's worth buying another tuner to do that. I was hoping to find software for the HTPC that could tell me the same information but that seems like a difficult thing to find.

EDIT - I guess I didn't look far enough. Even though a unit was not detected there is a list of devices listed along with instructions. You have to go page by page vs downloading a complete PDF but at least some info is there. I'll have to look through all the steps.
 
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