Attenuator Update

The Tivo/attenuator situation is frustrating.  (What the heck am I talking about? See this post)

I now have four different strengths of attenuators.  The purpose of these little electrical gadgets is to reduce the signal strength coming in to my TiVo.  The problem is that only SOME of the channels have too strong of a signal, so when I attach the attenuator, it is either not strong enough for the super strong channels or too strong for the other channels.

I called TiVo for the fourth time, and got a tech lady.  The tech lady told me that the high signal strength can burn out my TiVo box, great.  She suggested combining the attenuators in various combinations to try to get the right mix.  A creative idea.   If that does not work I have to call Time Warner to ask them to reduce the signal strength.  Not looking forward to that phone call.  She also confirmed that upgrading to a TiVo Premiere wouldn’t help the issue.

Many have asked why I don’t just get a DVR from my cable company.  TiVo invented the DVR.  I graduated from my very cool VCR that auto-forwarded through commercials (loved that thing back in the day) to the TiVo.  I was a pretty early adopter in 2002.  I dressed as TiVo for halloween that year.   TiVo is part of who I am.  I can’t imagine not having one.  Would you Apple fans give up your Macs or your IPhones? I think not.

TiVo does have features that a cable DVR does not have.  Admittedly, I don’t use most of them.

  • I do use Netflix “watch instantly” through my TiVo.  I can select any DVD available for “watch instantly” and stream it immediately to my TV  (Got sucked back in the Battlestar Gallactica on Netflix “watch instantly” last weekend while I was avoiding work.)
  • I sometimes stream Pandora though my TiVo.  Sounds better through the TV.  Would be even better if I had any kind of sound system.
  • I can transfer many programs from my TiVo to my computer and/or IPhone (if they are not copy protected.)  I sometimes watch TV on my IPhone on the treadmill.  If I had an IPad I could carry around a mini TV with me!
  • TiVo can connect to a special external hard drive to add more disk space.  I added 100 hours last year so I will NEVER run out of space.
  • I have 8 hours of Inhale yoga on my Tivo that I can’t get off (because it is copyright protected) and the show isn’t on any more.   Since I don’t have time for a 1 1/2 hour studio yoga class these days, Inhale is imperative.

Why not Hulu?  I definitely don’t want to spend more time on my computer.  I know there is a way to hook the computer up to the TV, but I have never had the time to figure that out.

Off to play with my attenuators.  Find out what happens next here.

My Attenuators Have Arrived

I hate to say anything bad about TiVo.  I think of my TiVo as one of my best friends.  But lately, we have been on the outs.  My five blog fans probably don’t have much interest in this, but this is for my TiVo peeps out there who are on the outs with their TiVos.

About a month ago I started to notice partial recordings (nothing more disappointing that that!)  Sometimes, I would turn on the TV and notice the picture had been frozen in the same spot for hours.  Other times the playback would start skipping or get stuck and then the remote would stop working.  A couple of times it just freaked out rebooted itself!  Lots of weird stuff going on.  I was watching stuff on Hulu because my TiVo failures.  Not cool after a 13 hour day at work.

I have to say, TiVo support was not very helpful.  Tech support guy #1 mis-diagnosed it as a hard drive issue.  I ran hard drive diagnostics (which happen to know how to do) and all was well.  Tech support guy #2 had me check the signal strength and SNR (in the DVR diagnostics) and said they were too high.  Signal Strength was 100 (supposed to be closer to 90) and SNR was 37dB (supposed to be below 35).  Apparently Time Warner bumped up the signal on some of the HD channels and my TiVo can’t handle it.

Tech support guy #2 told me to go out and get a cable splitter.  Did not help.  Called back again and tech support guy #3 told me to get a 30dB attenuator.  The dude at Radio Shack had no idea what that was.  J&R had no idea what I was talking about.  I found some on the internet, but not 30dB and he specifically said 30dB (I am very literal.)

What is an attenuator?  It is a little metal thing that you screw on between your cable TV cable and your TiVo that lowers the cable signal.

After another week of non HD television I caved in and ordered a 20dB attenuator from Amazon.  It was too strong!!  I had no signal!!!  (Tech support guy #3 was way off.)  I went back on Amazon and ordered a 10db, 6db, and 3db Attenuator.  These things cost $3 each and I paid more than that for shipping, twice!

The attenuators have arrived BUT I can’t try them out because the TiVo is recording (non HD channels of course).  You are now in suspense until we can find out if one of these attenuators will work….

Continue reading my TiVo saga here.