Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Story Of Ann Tenna

(with sincere apologies to children's book writers everywhere...)

Once upon a time there was a little TV signal flying through the air.

The little TV signal was trying to find a nice TV tuner to demodulate and decode it. But...like the little TV signal, the TV tuner was little as well. So, just like the host of this blog trying to find his perfect match, the chances of the TV signal and the TV tuner getting together were pretty slim.

A nice guy gave the TV tuner a small home-made antenna named UHF DiPole made from PVC pipe and some copper wire. Mr. DiPole allowed the TV tuner to see some of the TV signals, but the little TV signal the tuner was looking for had a lot of trouble being seen.

One day, a new friend came along: Ann Tenna - an Antennacraft C290 from the planet Radio Shack - who came to live in the attic of the home where the TV tuner lived. Ann Tenna was much bigger and had a wider frequency response than UHF DiPole, so she could capture smaller TV signals, and ones that were in both the VHF or UHF frequency bands. In fact, Ann could even see FM radio signals (I was going to say "pick-up FM radio signals," but then you'd think that Ann Tenna was kind of slutty, and she really isn't...think of her more as a matchmaker!!).

The only problem was that with Ann's rather wide (110")...girth...she had a big problem finding a good place to live in the attic. While there was a great place near the roof's peak that would have been ideal for receiving signals, some poorly-placed support beams and a large skylight column didn't allow Ann to fit there. With a great deal of effort, some stuff from Lowe's, a DTV receiver, and an old green-screen monitor, Ann finally found a resting place in a not-so-ideal location just at the roofline, and probably a bit too close to some foil-backed house insulating styrofoam. However, she seemed to consistently pull-in all the interesting TV signals - including the troublesome little one - pretty well.

The TV tuner seemed to be happy now, seeing the VHF signal strength (according to Mr. TiVo) at between 92-95%, and all other local signals (that happen to be UHF) at close-to or at 100%. Some more distant signals are being received at between 50-60%, but even at this smaller strength, the tuner is able to see enough of these tiny TV signals to produce a consistently good digital picture. Ann is thinking of partnering with a nice 4-output drop amplifier to prevent signal loss when using a splitter (the splitter will allow the signals to go to multiple TV sets (including the TiVo), and eventually the FM receiver).

Everyone lived happily ever after.
(end of story)

Well, kind of happily. For a few days this week, FOX7 had problems where their video and sound would freeze for a couple of seconds about once every 5-10 minutes or so. I thought that I was about to have to post what an idiot I was and say a million apologies to Time Warner Cable, since this looked similar to the pixelation problem I had with cable. To confirm it really wasn't my TiVo (it wasn't), I saw the same thing (at the same exact times) on my DTV converter box connected to a different TV. I also grabbed a whip antenna from my laptop USB TV adapter and hooked that to the DTV converter, and had the exact same results. A couple of days ago I reported the problem to the engineering staff at FOX7 via e-mail, and the problem seems to have gone away as of last night. Thank goodness. I was beginning to think that I was experiencing a neurological problem where everything would seemingly.................couple of seconds every 5-10 minutes or so and I would start missing pieces of sentences people said in real life. I guess FOX7 had some minor issues they managed to resolve. Maybe they could teach Time Warner Cable a thing or two about how to fix digital TV transmission issues. Sigh. (PS: If it weren't for the fact that FOX and Time Warner recently had a falling-out over carriage price negotiations, I almost thought that FOX may have been using Time Warner Cable to transport their programming from the studio to the transmission tower.)

1 comment:

PercyAyer said...
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