Friday, February 24, 2017

Signal issues and deafening commercials giving me second thoughts

Last night's adventure 

Was getting ready for bed last night an went to turn on Colbert on the Tivo and found dead air. Flipped to ABC and it was dead too. This was to be my third debug mission just since I started for bed some 2 hours ago at this point so I was not happy! Having cable flashbacks I tried all the usual quick fixes including pulling stuff from the Goodwill pile to swap out but no help. Using my TiVo into signal strength mode and found the signal strengths were the same with either amp. Plus they were about what I recorded over a month ago. So finally I gave up and went to bed thinking the antenna must have slipped or something and it would just need to wait. However ABC and CBS look fine today so thinking they must be testing dropping to a lower power at night or something. I noticed ABC seemed weak the other early morning too. I messaged both to confirm. But no reply as yet. Does not bode well. Especially combined with the CW having slipped below the watchable at least 50% of the time level.

So now what?

You might recall I started streaming stuff I can't get over the air since last November when I got fed up with Time Warner knocking my cable box (tuner) and sometimes even my TiVo off line. I've been mainly streaming from Hulu or the network's sites since TWC's streaming is usually days behind everywhere else. I can not stream the morning news though. And I have to admit I'm getting pretty fed up with the cranked up commercials most of the networks are streaming. I have to sit with one hand on the mute button they are so much worse than when the feds stepped in back in 2011 to make them stop it when broadcasting. So I'm thinking of just switching my remaining TiVo back to cable for any broadcasts not on Hulu. Especially since now that Comedy Central is pulling their stuff off Hulu and using those windows rattling commercials on their streaming site. Plus it would be nice to see The Daily Show and @midnight on the same day they broadcast again. In a related story I found my missing extra cable card last weekend. No less than 3 times Time Warner has told me they have taken it off my bill since it was never activated because they sent it without a tuner about 2 years ago. Just checked and they are still monthly charging me for it. Granted not enough to warrant a special 50 mile round trip to town just to turn it in. So it all this seems to be telling me I should give a more hybrid approach (cable card but no tuner) a try to see if TWC can keep from knocking it off line. And even if they do it is starting to look like I probably will not be worse off. It is either that or try and cobble together an even stronger antenna / amp combo which would seem to probably require a radio tower to get more signal over the ridge. That does not seem like that good of an investment if the stations might be turning down the power.

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