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  #1  
Old 09-04-2008, 07:52 PM
wfudan wfudan is offline
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Cable tv periodically fuzzy

Preface: I have called the cable company and they are sending a tech next week, but I'm looking for solutions before then. Watching fuzzy college football is less than desirable.

For the past week, my cable TV has gotten fuzzy for extended periods of time, usually starting between 2PM and 4PM and ending between 6PM and 8PM. My internet connection (also through the cable company) goes out as well.

Channels 3-23 are only mildly fuzzy, but the interference makes channels above 23 or 24 unwatchable. There is no obvious trigger for this problem, and the start/end times aren't perfectly consistent. Any guesses? What do I tell the cable guy, especially if he shows up when this isn't happening?
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  #2  
Old 09-04-2008, 08:32 PM
Bag of Mostly Water Bag of Mostly Water is offline
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Do you have an amplifier in your house? These are frequently used when you have more more than four devices (TVs, cable modems, etc.) but may have been installed in any house. If you do, there's a good chance that's the problem.

If it's not an in-home amplifier, describe the issue to the technician exactly as you did in this question. If they're any good at all, this is enough information to start troubleshooting.

Good luck.
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Old 09-04-2008, 08:38 PM
wfudan wfudan is offline
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I think there might be one in the box where the cable actually enters the house. But what would account for the reasonably regular times of the problem? Would it be overheating or something? If it was just faulty it would seem more random, and I'm pretty sure that it only happens in the time period I described.
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:45 PM
Bag of Mostly Water Bag of Mostly Water is offline
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The amplifier could be heating up when it's in the sun. The amplifier chips used in these devices can fail by showing degraded performance when hot. Can you relate the problem to time of day and amount of direct sunlight?

However, the amplifier may be owned by your cable provider. You may or may not be permitted to change it.

If you want to do some troubleshooting, get an F barrel connector (shown here) and connect the drop cable from the pole directly to cable that goes to your TV, bypassing the amplifier and any splitters. (Note that this will cause you to drop cable modem and voice service, if you have them.) If the picture is good, the problem is probably the amplifier.
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  #5  
Old 09-04-2008, 09:58 PM
wfudan wfudan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex_Chemist View Post
The amplifier could be heating up when it's in the sun. The amplifier chips used in these devices can fail by showing degraded performance when hot. Can you relate the problem to time of day and amount of direct sunlight?
I think you may have figured it out... that side of the house gets more sunlight in the late afternoon, so the overheating amplifier is plausible. I think you're right about it being a violation of my contract to mess with it though, so I won't mess with it, but will suggest the possibility to the tech when he shows up.

Is this something that would be fixed by replacing the amplifier, or would we have to shade the area in some way?
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2008, 07:42 PM
Bag of Mostly Water Bag of Mostly Water is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wfudan View Post
Is this something that would be fixed by replacing the amplifier, or would we have to shade the area in some way?
They would most probably replace the amplifier. If it's having problems in the sun, it will fail completely soon.
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