Pixelation problems (normal or signal strength?)

GunnerJoe

GunnerJoe

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 2, 2004
64
0
Hey folks,

We upgraded from a 522 to a 722 at the new year, but have been having an issue with pixelation. It happens maybe twice an hour, and I've only caught it on stations broadcast from the 129 satellite. It usually lasts less than a second, sometimes the sounds drops as well. I live about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. We have a single dish to pick up the 3 sats (110, 119, 129).

A little long-winded history:

After the initial install, 129 signal dropped out completely whenever someone across the street sneezed. The tech came back and repointed the dish, and RMA'd the 722 due to HDMI not working (unrelated). He said it was "perfect" now.

We haven't had a full dropout with an error message since, but we see pixelation occur on live and recorded HD programs. So we had the installer come back and take another look. He says signal strength is "perfect" on 129, and that they aim for a signal strength of 30 for sat 129 tp 8. I'm getting 37. I showed him a recording of the pixelation, which he called "picture freezing". After talking to Dish, he RMA'd the 722, and will be coming out with a new LNB when I call him back saying I have the new 722.

The newest 722 came in and exhibits the same problem. (Plus this new one makes a squeeking sound every now and then! :rolleyes: ). We saw pixelation at least twice watching last night's American Idol. I checked signal strength on that transponder (tp10) this morning and it reads 45.

Any ideas on what gives? Is this just one wild goose chase? Does everyone have this problem in LA? Is the installer clueless? Am I too picky?

Seriously, what should I do?
 
J

JEFFinINDY

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 31, 2004
1,139
0
Indianapolis, IN
Hey folks,

We upgraded from a 522 to a 722 at the new year, but have been having an issue with pixelation. It happens maybe twice an hour, and I've only caught it on stations broadcast from the 129 satellite. It usually lasts less than a second, sometimes the sounds drops as well. I live about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. We have a single dish to pick up the 3 sats (110, 119, 129).

A little long-winded history:

After the initial install, 129 signal dropped out completely whenever someone across the street sneezed. The tech came back and repointed the dish, and RMA'd the 722 due to HDMI not working (unrelated). He said it was "perfect" now.

We haven't had a full dropout with an error message since, but we see pixelation occur on live and recorded HD programs. So we had the installer come back and take another look. He says signal strength is "perfect" on 129, and that they aim for a signal strength of 30 for sat 129 tp 8. I'm getting 37. I showed him a recording of the pixelation, which he called "picture freezing". After talking to Dish, he RMA'd the 722, and will be coming out with a new LNB when I call him back saying I have the new 722.

The newest 722 came in and exhibits the same problem. (Plus this new one makes a squeeking sound every now and then! :rolleyes: ). We saw pixelation at least twice watching last night's American Idol. I checked signal strength on that transponder (tp10) this morning and it reads 45.

Any ideas on what gives? Is this just one wild goose chase? Does everyone have this problem in LA? Is the installer clueless? Am I too picky?

Seriously, what should I do?

Does it only happen on local HD stations? If so, it could be an issue with your local stations and how they uplink their signal to Dish.

I watch satellite locals out of Atlanta, and there are sometimes problems like you describe. It's worse on some stations than others (ABC out of Atlanta via Dish seems to be the most problematic).
 
GunnerJoe

GunnerJoe

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 2, 2004
64
0
I've also seen it on Animania (ch 9474)
 
highdefjeff

highdefjeff

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 20, 2006
615
1
St. Louis
You're not too picky...

Pixelation is not the hallmark of a correctly installed HD system. You either have too low of signal or you have poor cable connections.

Your connections should be examined closely, looking for any foil or strands of the braid that are near or touching the center conductor. Your system should be grounded correctly, and checked for loose connections. Barrel connectors (F-81) should be 3.0 Ghz and a failing barrel connector can cause pixelation as well.

If there is still pixellation, you may need a better installer or a separate dish for 129.
 
GunnerJoe

GunnerJoe

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 2, 2004
64
0
Thanks Highdef, that gives me something to look for. Installer is coming Monday to replace the LNB, I'll ask him to keep a look out for that. Finding a way to do that without making it sound like I don't think he knows what he is doing won't be easy though. :)

There are 2 cables running from inside the house to the roof from my install 3 yrs ago. The new setup only uses one of them, so maybe we can even switch to the other cable to see if things improve from that. I'll probably use the spare one for an OTA antenna.

What should I look for to determine a good system ground? The only physical connection to ground I see is that the 722 is plugged into the 3-prong outlet on the wall. I don't see any ground connections on the dish, ad no ground wires coming down on the outside of the house. I only see the RG6 coming down directly through an exterior wall into our living room. I never gave it much thought because lightning strikes are very rare in this area.

Another question: Where is a good place to buy 3 GHz grade connectors and RG6 cable? I have tried buying at Lowes hardware but didn't see bulk RG6, so I bought a Philips brand RG6 cable (25 ft) with the intent of making shorter cables out of it. When I cut and stripped it, the braided shield inside it was a joke. There are only like 4 or 5 small groups of stranded wire in there, and flaring them back just completely separated those groups.

Thanks for the insight. I hope this all gets solved soon.

-Gunner Joe
 
highdefjeff

highdefjeff

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 20, 2006
615
1
St. Louis
The installer should have the 3.0 Ghz barrels (they have a blue center instead of white).

Grounding has less to do with lightning than one might think. It drains excess noise from stray RF and EMI. Increasing signal quality requires either more signal or less noise. In the case of HD's low signal strength, every bit helps-including the quality of connections and a ground.

Here's where to look about whether you're grounded or not:

Grounding

Skywalker Communications is a good place to get supplies, but someone here on the forums may have other good choices. Skywalker has very good prices and open to the public.

Skywalker Communications: Satellite Sales, Consumer Electronics
 
GunnerJoe

GunnerJoe

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 2, 2004
64
0
Thanks for the info. Your website is very informative and easy to understand. I know exactly what to look for now.

-Gunner Joe
 
GunnerJoe

GunnerJoe

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 2, 2004
64
0
You're not talking about the OTA loss of signal message, are you? I have only seen a full solid yellow screen (sometimes white or green) when loading an "Enhanced TV" interactive app, like when pressing Select while watching the Weather Channel. I don't think I've ever seen a yellow screen otherwise.

Just a quick update on my situation:

The tech came by Monday and seemed a bit perplexed. He RA'd yet another 722 (sigh). He swears that since the signal strength is good (37) that there is nothing wrong with the connections or pointing. He also doesn't think proper grounding would make a difference (I looked and there are NO ground wires outside!). When asked to check the connections as Highdef Jeff suggested, he went outside and just stared for a while. He didn't get his ladder or anything.

I took some pictures of the lack of grounding here: Ungrounded Dish Install

Oh, and instead of a replacement 722, Dish sent me a Smartcard? :confused:

What next? Sheesh!

-Gunner Joe
 
N

NpaulTodd

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 13, 2005
1,368
0
Fresh out of Prison !!!!!!!!!!!!
You're not talking about the OTA loss of signal message, are you? I have only seen a full solid yellow screen (sometimes white or green) when loading an "Enhanced TV" interactive app, like when pressing Select while watching the Weather Channel. I don't think I've ever seen a yellow screen otherwise.

Just a quick update on my situation:

The tech came by Monday and seemed a bit perplexed. He RA'd yet another 722 (sigh). He swears that since the signal strength is good (37) that there is nothing wrong with the connections or pointing. He also doesn't think proper grounding would make a difference (I looked and there are NO ground wires outside!). When asked to check the connections as Highdef Jeff suggested, he went outside and just stared for a while. He didn't get his ladder or anything.

I took some pictures of the lack of grounding here: Ungrounded Dish Install

Oh, and instead of a replacement 722, Dish sent me a Smartcard? :confused:

What next? Sheesh!

-Gunner Joe
lol
 
whatchel1

whatchel1

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 30, 2006
9,099
48
Great High Plains
Time to get big boys involved

You're not talking about the OTA loss of signal message, are you? I have only seen a full solid yellow screen (sometimes white or green) when loading an "Enhanced TV" interactive app, like when pressing Select while watching the Weather Channel. I don't think I've ever seen a yellow screen otherwise.

Just a quick update on my situation:

The tech came by Monday and seemed a bit perplexed. He RA'd yet another 722 (sigh). He swears that since the signal strength is good (37) that there is nothing wrong with the connections or pointing. He also doesn't think proper grounding would make a difference (I looked and there are NO ground wires outside!). When asked to check the connections as Highdef Jeff suggested, he went outside and just stared for a while. He didn't get his ladder or anything.

I took some pictures of the lack of grounding here: Ungrounded Dish Install

Oh, and instead of a replacement 722, Dish sent me a Smartcard? :confused:

What next? Sheesh!

-Gunner Joe

After all of this s**t that you are going thru it's time to email ceo@echostar.com. 37 just isn't that great of a signal level. Which dish do you have? I bet it is the standard dish 1000. Sounds like you need the larger 1000.2 and a different installer. BTW I just read today we may all be getting smartcards. The article I read sounded a bit like E8 is getting worried about signal theft again and may be issuing new one's for SD receiver and maybe for us also.
 
GunnerJoe

GunnerJoe

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 2, 2004
64
0
I'm patient about this, probably too much so, but I like the Dish receivers. My wife, however, is screaming for us to drop Dish.

I bet the smartcard was probably just someone punching the wrong key in the computer. I also read about us all getting smartcards in the near future, but this one came UPS 2nd Day Air with the RA# for my 722 on the label, and had absolutely NO instructions. So I don't believe this is part of that "upgrade".

I'm starting to think that the root of the problem might actually be heat. The 722 runs pretty damn hot, and I have it in an enclosed cabinet. I had installed a small under-powered fan to the back of the cabinet which only helped a little bit, but was quiet. Now I've installed a 120mm case fan running at full speed just to rule heat out of the equation. It's a little noisy, but it sure keeps that 722 cool now. I finally got to watch a full episode of Lost with no pixelation. I'll leave it like this over the weekend and see if I get pixelation again.

I hope that's all it is.

- Gunner Joe
 
Q

qsoundrich

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jul 12, 2004
29
2
I've got a 722 and I'm having issues with MSNBC/CNBC and CSPAN having a jerky picture every once in a while. It may be related to how much wind we're getting at the time, though.
 
H

hendrix04

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 16, 2008
601
0
my 722 is in a hole just barely big enough for it with no issues, so unless your house gets really hot itself, i dont see it being a heat issue.
 
K

kvnfl

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 19, 2008
531
0
SWFL
In addition to highdefjeff's connection checking recommendation, it never hurts to grab a 7/16 inch box wrench and make sure all your connections are tight. DO NOT USE PLIERS. Sorry for screaming, but if you use anything other than a 7/16" box wrench you run a high risk of destroying the connector.
 
highdefjeff

highdefjeff

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 20, 2006
615
1
St. Louis
In addition to highdefjeff's connection checking recommendation, it never hurts to grab a 7/16 inch box wrench and make sure all your connections are tight. DO NOT USE PLIERS. Sorry for screaming, but if you use anything other than a 7/16" box wrench you run a high risk of destroying the connector.

Caution: Yes, check for tightness but don't over tighten them as you may also risk destroying the connector!

As far as the heat issue, I believe you found your problem. Not all, but many 722's have heat problems that can be dealt with using fans, etc. You should find several threads regarding the issue here in the forum.

And to qsoundrich, one particularly disappointing downside of UHF signal is how it can be affected by wind. In some places the wind does destroy the signal, whether your antenna is inside or out. There seems to be no getting around it.
 
whatchel1

whatchel1

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 30, 2006
9,099
48
Great High Plains
No box end wrench

In addition to highdefjeff's connection checking recommendation, it never hurts to grab a 7/16 inch box wrench and make sure all your connections are tight. DO NOT USE PLIERS. Sorry for screaming, but if you use anything other than a 7/16" box wrench you run a high risk of destroying the connector.

You can't use a box end wrench. If you do it will not come off the wire. It is a box end and that has no opening to remove it from the cable. Use an open end wrench but you will have to be very careful or yo will twist the connector out of the case of the DVR.
 
highdefjeff

highdefjeff

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 20, 2006
615
1
St. Louis
You can't use a box end wrench. If you do it will not come off the wire. It is a box end and that has no opening to remove it from the cable. Use an open end wrench but you will have to be very careful or yo will twist the connector out of the case of the DVR.

Use the wrench on other connections - never use a wrench on a tv or receiver!!!
 

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