Coax solution and another question

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professor229

Member
Original poster
Dec 1, 2023
12
7
St. Paul, MN
I need to do a follow up solution to the coax failure problem. Nothing seems to work and my friend has abandoned the project, but not quite entirely. He will mount a new antenna on his roof, and run one new cable to the room that houses his router and WIFI unit... He will install a Tablo unit which I have already done and broadcast the local OTA stations using his WIFI... each of his TV units is a ROKU TV and mine are Insignia Fire TVs.... Thanks for all the help and suggestions though... it is/was greatly appreciated.

Now, I have another question. I installed yet another Insignia 55 inch TV in another room. I am still using coax for the most part, and my Tablo unit is used primarily for recording programming. I would like to keep the coax functioning but the new Fire TV was experiencing some problems with less than stellar picture quality. There are many possible reasons for this and every year, during the winter solstice, we have encountered problems with picture quality and even some channels going black... and suspect this is the reason. In the very early morning hours, TV picture quality is perfect....

I also suspect that a TV coax cable splitter may be an issue as well. The previous owner was great for installing a Menards RCA el cheapo. In our old house, years ago, a tech came in and shook his head at the splitters installed by a previous tech from his company, went to his work truck, got a better splitter he said was the best and the picture quality improved immediately... He called it "leaking"....

My question.. I researched looking for "the best coax splitter" and hoped to get one simple answer but that seems to be impossible... What is the best one in, two out coax splitter that is reasonably priced? Most indicate that it is made by General Electric (GE) and also a comment or two about RCA splitters would help as well... Are all the best splitters gold coated or is that a gimmick? Can anybody recommend a big box store where I can walk in and simply buy a more than decent coax splitter and be confident that it will not be an issue????? It's that simple... Thanks again for your help....
 
I need to do a follow up solution to the coax failure problem. Nothing seems to work and my friend has abandoned the project, but not quite entirely. He will mount a new antenna on his roof, and run one new cable to the room that houses his router and WIFI unit... He will install a Tablo unit which I have already done and broadcast the local OTA stations using his WIFI... each of his TV units is a ROKU TV and mine are Insignia Fire TVs.... Thanks for all the help and suggestions though... it is/was greatly appreciated.

Now, I have another question. I installed yet another Insignia 55 inch TV in another room. I am still using coax for the most part, and my Tablo unit is used primarily for recording programming. I would like to keep the coax functioning but the new Fire TV was experiencing some problems with less than stellar picture quality. There are many possible reasons for this and every year, during the winter solstice, we have encountered problems with picture quality and even some channels going black... and suspect this is the reason. In the very early morning hours, TV picture quality is perfect....

I also suspect that a TV coax cable splitter may be an issue as well. The previous owner was great for installing a Menards RCA el cheapo. In our old house, years ago, a tech came in and shook his head at the splitters installed by a previous tech from his company, went to his work truck, got a better splitter he said was the best and the picture quality improved immediately... He called it "leaking"....

My question.. I researched looking for "the best coax splitter" and hoped to get one simple answer but that seems to be impossible... What is the best one in, two out coax splitter that is reasonably priced? Most indicate that it is made by General Electric (GE) and also a comment or two about RCA splitters would help as well... Are all the best splitters gold coated or is that a gimmick? Can anybody recommend a big box store where I can walk in and simply buy a more than decent coax splitter and be confident that it will not be an issue????? It's that simple... Thanks again for your help....
Do you have a Menards store nearby? If so, these are the best splitters out there at present, that can be found in a store: TELEVES PROFESSIONAL 2-Way Signal Splitter
 
Do you have a Menards store nearby? If so, these are the best splitters out there at present, that can be found in a store: TELEVES PROFESSIONAL 2-Way Signal Splitter
OK... perfect answer and yes, Menards is less than a mile from my house. I just checked their inventory online and they have three in stock... I will pick one up soon... busy... like the whole world it seems.. thanks Mike(?) ... it is greatly appreciated..... Dennis
 
I hope you do realize that a 1 in, 2 out splitter will cut signal to each TV in half. You should see it right on the splitter.
-3 dB, -3 dB.
Not such a big deal if you split cable service because the signal is usually adequate. Or if you're in a strong OTA signal area. A mast mounted amplifier could help. Or if hooking up a single TV with no splitter give no problems and you put a splitter in the mix and signal sucks. A distribution amplifier should help a lot.

"There are many possible reasons for this and every year, during the winter solstice, we have encountered problems with picture quality and even some channels going black... and suspect this is the reason. In the very early morning hours, TV picture quality is perfect...."
A bit confusing. For OTA with an antenna? Understandable with satellite. I do actually change my dish declination angle slightly depending on the season. But OTA?
Have you tried aiming the antenna when signal seems weak during those times? Perhaps the antenna might be aimed using an actual side lobe instead of dead nuts on the tower?

Wifi and streamers. What do you have for walls, etc. in the way from the main router?
My preference is to always, always use Ethernet connection from the router.
Also. Realizing that 2.4 GHZ travels better and further through walls. Have you tried connecting to that network?
If your router has external antennas. The Alfa patch antennas DO work and help beam Wifi in the direction of the remote streamer, TV.

Gold coated, plated. Sort of a farce. It can help if you see tarnishing on coax connections. But remember that the center conductor of coax is still copper and the braided shielding is still plated copper (if you're lucky) or aluminum.
A little spritz of silicone spray or Deoxit is worth it's weight in gold and a lot cheaper. My opinion is anything on these things touted as 'gold' is just enough to make it look like it has it.

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I pretty much know all about signal degradation because of splitters but they still work extremely well. I had four splitters installed from the previous owner and three of them were Menards el cheapo RCA splitters. I bought three Televees at Menards and yesterday I installed them. There is some improvement but I also found two cable ends to be less than adequate so I had to reinstall new ends. But, it is Murphy's Law... I bought and installed a new 55 inch TV the day before the largest solar flare ever recorded and all afternoon there would be some noticeable decline on all my TVs..... at least that made me feel decent that since it was all of them, it wasn't just my new TV having grief.... Very early in the morning there was no issue at all with any of my TVs.... I have now seen two news broadcasts about how potent and even dangerous these solar flares were especially at airports. And then a side note.... three days ago, my sound failed on my new Fire TV and I did the tech support chat thing. The agent told me to unplug the TV wait a few seconds and plug it back in (reboot). I did and the sound returned and that was it.... however, the next morning, the same thing happened... reboot and the sound was back.... until I switched channels and it automatically lost the sound again..... chatted with two tech support agents from Amazon and both had the same recommendation after checking all the sound settings which were normal and also after "reinstalling" the entire software package... problem still was there..... "take it back;defective"...... and I did on Saturday.... Waiting for my new Fire TV to be delivered tomorrow. Still getting some very minor distortions after lunch only and not at night or early morning... more solar activity? and yes, OTA, with the broadcast towers less than three miles from my location as the crow flies. We have lived here for over eight years, and every year at this time nearing the winter solstice we have some frustrating issues and understand why.... Gunsmoke comes on at noon.... watch for 50 minutes and all of a sudden the broadcast goes black so you don't see the ending.... frustrating in a way but almost expected until we get past the winter solstice....

But overall we are back in business with almost perfect TV viewing...... I also have a TV with a signal booster added to it, in my garage antenna..... and it does not better than the basic house antenna on my house roof.... Thanks for all the help and advice and confirmation of products..... it is greatly appreciated.
 
Well heres my experience with splitters. I have a box full of splitter that varies from cheap $1 units to expensive Antronix. My cable TV box has a service page where you can view signal strength and S/N for the entire cable TV band. Cable TV band overlaps the OTA band with a mix of VHF and UHF channels. So one day I decided to test this assortment of splitters by inserting them inline with the cable going into my cable box. Guess what? From the cheapest to most expensive there was a marginal difference of no more than .5 db loss. I was stunned. I fully expected the expensive splitters to out perform the cheap ones!
 
My 2 cents. Solar flares aside. 3 miles away from the tower and experiencing signal loss due to sun interference?
I don't know. Unless the sun is blazing at the tower inline with you and it. Maybe. Unlikely. Interesting though.
One thing. Many TV stations still use microwave point-to-point linking from the studio to transmitter.
Most have gone to fiber optic links. Any solar/weather influences disappear. Why not give them a ring or hit their website and ask?
Not so sure about off-brand, all-in-one TV's. Just like all-in-one printers, if the scanner dies. No scanner you have. If the ink head dries up, you know the rest. Ink? in 2023? I should work at Best Buy. Or Staples. It tickles me when an older couple browses for a new printer or laptop. They'll walk out with a laser. Knowing that 6 months from now it will print flawless after sitting. Or how long did the battery in your laptop last? Two years you say? Well this $2k lappy will do the same. Do you play games? Solitaire you say? Spades? Nothing online? Here's my card. I can refresh and put a new battery in your Dell for.....ohhhh.....a hundie. A buck-thirty max. Maybe less if you bake brownies!
The customer service guy (or gal) will always agree that the most expensive choice is the best thing to do online banking, Facebook....Satellite Guys newest posts with. Anything on the eenernet. When I get a few seconds alone with them, the tables turn.
A regular and new TV without integrated Fire, Roku will always get my vote.
It's funny how "they all" suggest a factory reset. I'm wary of buying anything on Amazon for fear of getting a clone or bootleg copy. But even myself with a new Sony a few years ago had a big bummer. Got it at Best Buy. Sound issues. Called Sony. "Factory Reset it". "Try a firmware update". "We can email you a beta to try" Took it back (Sony even offered to ship a brand new one and pick up the one I had). Got the next model up. Same thing. 100 mile or so round trip. I lived with it, grinding my teeth.
Then a firmware update for Dolby Vision issues came out. Problems all went away. Perfect everything.
Not so sure a ring-chow-ping 89" deal of the day would give you the same thing. Pretty sure the only thing Ka-Pow on those "kit" TV's that is Ka-Pow is the silkscreened logo. Or not. Okay, they put it together. Deal?
But. With a decent antenna, a mast mounted amplifier, everything done neat and proper and antenna aimed right at the transmitter. And getting sporadic signal loss on your end. Something smells fishy.
Happy Holidays.
 
Issues.... I installed the better splitters. Decided to put a bigger/better TV in the guest bedroom. It had a ten year old Samsung dumb TV on the wall which was fine, but I wanted something better. I have a 50 inch Insignia Fire TV on this floor of the house (basement family room) and it works great.. that's the first fact.... Next, I bought a 55 inch Insignia Fire TV for this bedroom off the family room for a great price ($239) and installed it on a wall mount. It was all good... Fired it up, jumped through the hoops, and it was doing well until I made one change. It was too bright.. so I turned that down a couple notches and when it came back on, the sound was muted like on "one" so I looked at the settings again to see if there was something obvious... There was not. Chatted with Amazon tech support. Reinstalled the software, rebooted the machine several times. Each time, the sound came on OTA channels fine, first, and then when I went to the online "guide" and selected a different OTA channel, no sound. Reboot again, same thing... good... then nothing when you changed channels. Alexa talks/answers fine for sound.... you can hear the click sound each time you use the remote.... but this went on and on... went through several techs.. no help. Last tech said something was defective and take it back.... I was disgusted but.... took it back...

Got my credit card reimbursed, went to the TV section and talked to a guy there... No more Fire TVs from Insignia but would order one and it would be delivered free on Tuesday. Fine. I bought the same unit... 55 inch Insignia because the wall mount was set up for that.... It arrived... took me less than ten minutes to set it up and do the hoop jumping... and everything was fine.... for about ten minutes..... then I went to the online guide, selected another channel.... and... well... you guessed it... with a few words from me directed at the TV..... So did the Amazon tech support thing and by now, I suspected these were Amazon people who had a scripted notebook in front of them who followed a trouble shooting protocol.... unplug, wait 60 seconds, plug in... and YES... sound, until I changed to a new channel.... no sound.... hmmmmmm ...... then a complete reinstall of the software again.... and the same results.... so then you get passed to the next tech who joins the conversation and you think maybe this guy will have an original idea.... but no.... he follows the same script... I went through five techs and had no more prospects and was ready to take it back......

I am NOT one to give up. I used to trouble shoot network installation problems professionally so it was time, the next morning, really early, to do some interventions of my own before I boxed up this second Fire TV and returned it.... I started with a google search of "Insignia no sound problems" and was totally amazed at how many hits I got.... and then watched four You Tube videos hoping to find that one guy who knew something other than the standard protocols... I never found him.. all the videos showed essentially the same things the techs had suggested the night before.... no help....

It was MY turn to try a few things... so I did... My first thought was that maybe, it wasn't the TVs at all.... Now, the other Insignia Fire TV runs off the same roof antenna... so I though maybe, just maybe it had something to do with a faulty coax patch cable running to this TV.... so I replaced it.... and it did not make a difference.. no sound after choosing another channel through the on line guide..... hmmmm

I got out my little test TV... non-smart but a small TV we always use to try on new installs.... and hooked it up to the coax patch cable.... scanned for channels OTA... and everything worked just dandy... 70 channels and sound was perfect on them all..... which gets me closer to the problem.....

I put the coax back on the Fire TV.... and tried one more software re-install... and a definition of insanity hit me..... same old... second and subsequent OTA stations, there was NO sound.....

Had an idea.... the week before I had installed a TABLO device.... and love it.. It depends on one coax line for input from an antenna.... and then connects to the WIFI with an ethernet cable... it then broadcasts to the TABLO app via WIFI to the ROKU device we have on all TVs..... The TABLO also has the same Guide downloaded from the internet and is almost identical to the Fire TV guide system.... So I went to the TABLO app on this new problematic Fire TV..... opened it... and now the signal would becoming via WIFI to the TV instead of via coax cable.......

The sound worked fine on everything.... Conclusion... the WIFI system to the TV did not have a problem... the coax cable and splitter system had to be the culprit... and further, there must be enough signal degradation through the coax and splitter on this line of the system to not provide enough.... whatever... to make the sound work......

I got on Amazon chat after typing this explanation out on Microsoft Word... copied and then pasted it into chat.... the gal asked me to wait until she got her supervisor to review this... not a problem but they were not impressed....

I took the TV back to Best Buy... got my account credited back... and went to the TV section and asked the kid for the biggest dumb TV they had.... and knew already that it would be a 43 in Insignia TV... $129.... bought it, installed it... and not one issue or problem with sound... I then added a premium ROKU unit to it... and here we are...

Is my theory right?
 
PS ..... forgot one more intervention... near the end when I moved the roof antenna coax to the small remote dumb TV and the sound worked fine on that.... I also had a better than average digital in house antenna..... I dug that out... never use it much and hooked that into the no sound troubled Insignia 55 ..... and reinstalled everything again and rescanned etc.... I got many many channels again... and the usual promotional ad screen comes up and the sound works on that..... then went to the guide, selected a channel.... no sound on this portable antenna coax lead either....
 
Morning. A few things keep coming to mind. I'm surprised that the Insignia is giving you so many problems. I don't know if it was a price consideration or your loyalty to the brand. But reviews and reported like issues would lend me to get my money back and do some shopping.
You're just having just having too many bad out of box experiences to put up with them. I don't.
Dealing with Amazon instead of Insignia tech support directly seems like kind of a bad idea. In other words. Do you really think Amazon (which I didn't even know had any support options available) has any product specific staff?
Yeah. Reading out of a notebook and suggesting obvious solutions would seem typical.
Firmware, "software" shouldn't have to be reinstalled. Updated, okay. A factory reset should be all you have to do if the firmware you reinstall is the exact same version. If it didn't install right the first time you would get a failure notification. Firmware doesn't degrade as a general rule.

Android TV isn't perfect. But a TV bundled with Fire TV, Roku integrated inside. Even though my neighbor with a Roku TV has no problems at all. That bugs me. Why? Convenience? With as many HDMI ports that TV's have. Just grab a streamer and plug it in and call it a day.

How did we jump from Amazon to Best Buy? Did you buy from Best Buy through them as a reseller?
I''m going to have to say. $129 isn't going to get you a very good TV. I mean. After all we had the Chevy Chevette.
Said it before. Go down to the local recycling center and look at all of the TV's stacked up. Even though Insigina has been around for a long time. They sleep right there with Westinghouse and all of the no-namer bargains.
Very few Samsung, Sony, LG's. If any.
A large PC monitor costs that much and more.
There are NO "Digital Antennas". An antenna may be optimized for certain frequencies and frequency bands. But. Eye-candying an an antenna as digital is pure BS. RF is RF.
As close to the transmitter tower as you say you are. I'm surprised that a chunk of coax with a meter or so of the outer braid stripped off doesn't give you a blazing picture.
But sound issues? That's a TV thing. You want to open the box. Plug it in. And watch TV. With just the normal setup process.

I may be spoiled, too much of a stickler. But when I traipse into Best Buy and check out TV's for TV's sake. And PC monitors. I look for how robust and complete the setup menu is. A sparse and lacking menu is a dead give away.
If you have a great picture but defective sound. Too MUCH signal? That's a thought. With no signal strength indication. As is typical. But is on external, stand alone tuners (Antenna Guy and others demonstrate). Who knows?
Insignia. Return-it-for-another-brand-ignia.
Beat one up in the store. Grab the remote. Factory reset it. Scan for channels. Turn it on and off. If it gives you any crap. Leave it up to the store staff to fix it. They live for it. "Geek Squad".
Happy Holidays!
 
I got out my little test TV... non-smart but a small TV we always use to try on new installs.... and hooked it up to the coax patch cable.... scanned for channels OTA... and everything worked just dandy... 70 channels and sound was perfect on them all..... which gets me closer to the problem.....

I put the coax back on the Fire TV.... and tried one more software re-install... and a definition of insanity hit me..... same old... second and subsequent OTA stations, there was NO sound.....

Conclusion... the WIFI system to the TV did not have a problem... the coax cable and splitter system had to be the culprit... and further, there must be enough signal degradation through the coax and splitter on this line of the system to not provide enough.... whatever... to make the sound work......

I took the TV back to Best Buy... got my account credited back... and went to the TV section and asked the kid for the biggest dumb TV they had.... and knew already that it would be a 43 in Insignia TV... $129.... bought it, installed it... and not one issue or problem with sound... I then added a premium ROKU unit to it... and here we are...

Is my theory right?

IMHO, the fact that your coax signal works just fine with two dumb televisions but does not work with the two identical Insignia 'smart' television models negates your theory about the coax being the problem. You said yourself that it worked fine at first even with the smart tv until you made a settings change.

The issue definitely appears to be with the firmware and/or hardware processing of the signal in that particular model of Insignia television. Companies, for whatever reason, do release 'dud' tv models from time to time. It appears you may have found one. Whether the issue lies in the firmware or hardware is irrelevant. Just use the dumb tv or find another brand/model of smart tv and your problem is solved. ;)
 
Hi..... I will try to provide some answers.... We bought an Insignia quite a few years ago... not a smart TV but a 50 incher.... and it has been the best TV we have ever owned.... so I went in to buy another 50 incher for the family room... but they no longer had one and the salesman said he had only two 50 inch Fire TVs left.... Insignia.. and I bought one just because.... At first I didn't like it.... but it grows on you and I have owned it now for 14 months and it has been perfect the entire time.... So I went back to Best Buy again.... The reviews on the sound systems on Insignia larger models is NOT good... but the reviews on the non smart 43 were more than excellent.... and I have had zero problems with it... so far... time will tell....

As far as tech support... On the Insignia settings page is the "help" icon and when you click on it, you get a variety ways of communicating with them.... and the tech support is well done as far as that goes.... The problem is that they have people just reading from a script... Since the Insignia Best Buy brand uses Alexa, and Alexa belongs to Amazon, you get to deal with Amazon tech support. The first time I used it was because my program guide disappeared... you call them, leave your number and they call you back instead of making you wait on hold.... and the person I got was very good that time... and all that was done was an update on the software, but not one; there were three updates... and life was good again... I prefer to "chat" instead of trying to talk to someone with a foreign accent... and the last communication with them the night before taking it back was somebody in India but her accent wasn't too bad....

I thought $129 was a really decent price until I read the reviews and one guy paid $80 for his 43 inch Insignia conventional TV... I suspect it was a Black Friday deal.. I don't do Black Friday. But you have to remember too... I am old.... my first color TV was a 19 inch Magnavox "portable" that only a weight lifter could love and we paid $348 for it because it had a dent. So today's technology is amazing.... but then again, it's the same as cars.. the more bells and whistles, the more there is to go wrong... so... I am happy with the conventional 43... with a ROKU added and the Fire TV is good too.... I could have kept the bad sound Fire TV but it would mean accessing the Over the Air programming through TABLO each time...

Did get into it with one of the support people though.... kept asking me for my order number until I figured it out... they thought I bought the TV through Amazon and I got them straightened out by telling them I bought it at Best Buy... another wanted/needed the serial number.... geez... it was already on the wall... but found out that you can go to the Amazon website designed to record your unit information when you jump through the hoops... and there it was... convenient... but how would a customer know that?

and finally... one tech had a decent idea.... move the sound problem 55 next to the good Insignia 50 that has been a good TV, and use that known good coax cable on the poor 55 and see if the problem stops.... and of course, the next would be to move the 50 inch where the 55 would not work... see if the problem swapped.... but I am not in the habit of trouble shooting for tech support... so I just boxed it up and returned it...

I avoided Best Buy for a bunch of years.... but have to admit the return policy went so smooth.... only questions I was asked was "does it still work?" The kid there scanned my receipt... pressed a button and said my credit card would be credited back.... I have a credit union that notifies me of large (over $100) deposits and almost immediately I got a text, both times, that my account was credited with $260.....

So I am good to go.... one year warranty ... and if I buy any more TVs I will have to start putting them in the bathrooms...

The only thing I would do different if I was just starting out, is that I would buy a TABLO and forget about pulling coax..... It works so well....

Thanks for all your help and ideas and suggestions.... Merry Christmas...
 
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Your comment re the Tablo, be aware that the 4th gen wifi series, there is a very limited number of devices that will work. You need device specific apps otherwise it does not work!