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I am having problems receiving some OTA
Reception problems usually occur with stations operating on the higher channel numbers (higher frequencies). For example you may have problems receiving WKMG-DT 6-1 while not have any problems on WKCF-DT on 18-1. Remember that the channel number shown on the TV does not necessarily match the channel the digital TV station is broadcasting on. In the case above, WKMG-DT is broadcasting on channel 58 while WKCF-DT is broadcasting on channel 17. The signal loss due to coax and connector problems is much greater on the higher channel numbers like WKMG-DT than it is on the lower channel.
One of the first things to check is the
picture quality on analog channel 65. If the
picture is snowy, you probably have coax,
antenna and/or connector problems. If the
picture quality is good, may need to do a
re-scan of the digital channels (See the
section below on PSIP).
Reception problems are usually caused by problems with the coax cable and/or the connectors. Something as simple as a loose connector can be the culprit. The Florida weather can also cause connectors to loosen either by wind moving the coax around or from the heat causing the connections to expand and then contract at night when it is cooler. Remember that wall plates have connectors on the other side of the plate than can come loose and you have to remove the plate to get to the connector.
Loose connectors which are exposed to the elements can cause additional problems. Rain can collect inside of the connector and can be absorbed by the center foam insulator of the coax. The water can cause your signal strength to be reduced by a factor of 20 or more. It is not uncommon to suddenly have reception problems after a heavy rainfall and have it go away a few days later when the connector(s) dry out.
Coax which has been contaminated by water
for a period of time will become discolored,
specifically the center foam insulation will
turn from white to yellow or black. You should also periodically check the
condition of your coax cable. Any nicks or
cuts in the outside jacket can allow water
in be absorbed by the coax. Coax also ages
in the Florida sun and it is unreasonable to
expect it will last forever.
connector which has survived the
connector which has had rain water
collected. Note the discoloration of
the foam insulation.
Connectors which have allowed water to contaminate the coax should be cut off and the coax trimmed back until the center foam is no longer showing discoloration. Do NOT use crimp on connectors, use good
quality water proof connectors for those
connections exposed to the elements. It is
also best to use coax sealing tape which can
be bought at Radio Shack, AES (Orlando) &
TedCo (Melbourne) to keep the connections
Always use good quality RG-6 coax and not
RG-59 or RG-58. For long lengths of coax
(greater than 100ft) you should consider
using RG-11 coax.
While it might be obvious to most, some
homeowners (past or present) like to paint
their wall coax outlets (and the
female coax connector) to match their walls.
Paint is not a conductor and will severely
affect your ability to obtain a good signal.
It is also not a good idea to paint the coax
cable itself as the paint can be absorbed
through the outer plastic jacket and change
the characteristics of the coax.
It is also possible that the antenna itself has failed. Antennas are mostly likely to fail after a strong storm. Check the connection at the antenna and verify that none of the matching feed lines on the antenna boom are shorting to each other or the boom. If there is a balun at the antenna, check its connections and consider replacing it if looks badly weathered.
Note: Antenna mounted
amplifiers rely on DC power being supplied
through your coax, as do DirecTV, Dish and
VOOM STBs. If you are doing any work on the
coax or connectors, unplug your amplifier or
STB so you don't accidentally short out your
equipment (possibly causing it to fail).
It is unlikely your reception problems are caused by a station reducing their transmission power. Stations may reduce their power in extreme conditions, such a a hurricane but otherwise try their best to operate at full power. They may reduce power when work is being done on the tower; however this usually happens during the day time and they try to return to full power during prime time hours.
I am having problems with HD Channels over cable.
Many of the same issues affect reception over cable.
Things to check:
Check all connections to see if they have come loose. Connections can come loose just from day time heat expansion and night time cooling contraction.
Check to see if any outside
connections have water in them. If so you
may need to trim back the coax and place a
new connector on it. Always seal
outside connections to keep the water out
using coax sealer tape.
If you are using a HDMI cable, it can come loose if it's bumped even slightly.
The HD channels are on the
highest frequencies of the cable system. Do
not use low quality coax, even for short
When using a power strip to lightning protect the cable signal be aware that not all surge protectors are the same and the loss from having the surge protection in the loop may be enough to degrade the signal. If the problem goes away by removing the surge protector from the loop, you'll know where the problem lies.
You can reboot the SA8300HD cable box by holding down the power button on the front panel.
If that does not fix the problem call the cable company.
If you are using the hdmi connection and do not see a picture or any warning messages make sure the 480i scan rate is turned off in the advanced settings menu. Settings>more settings>Digital output>480i unchecked.
What size antenna do I need ?
To find out what size antenna you will need to receive over the air HDTV broadcasts, click
here. Follow the 3 steps and you will receive a map showing
the direction to point your antenna and a list of stations that
can be received. The TV stations are grouped and color coded to
indicate the size of the antenna needed to receive the station.
Click on a TV station to see the recommended antenna size to receive
the station. Radio shack carries a wide variety on TV antennas
that will most likely fit your needs; Lowes, AES (Orlando) and
TedCo (Melbourne) also sell antennas. See the
hardware page links to various
If you plan on placing the antenna in your attic, you should
consider going to the next larger size antenna because the roof
will will attenuate the signals and the antenna will probably be
lower than if it were mounted outside on a mast.
For the Orlando area, all the digital stations are currently broadcasting on UHF channels except for WESH-DT which is on a VHF channel. A VHF/UHF is necessary to receive all stations unless you live close to the TV towers.
Any regular TV antenna will work, special HDTV antennas are
nothing more than re-branded TV antennas.
Those who need only a small antenna can also consider the
Sensor and the
Many of those who live in this area report the Terk TV antennas achieved poor results.
Where do I Point my antenna?
www.antennaweb.org and enter you address.
The site will give you headings to all the
stations in your location.
I have a strong signal on a
particular station but no picture?
First check the
Orlando OTA AVS forum to see if others are
experiencing a problem. Often the station is in
the process of changing something and the
problem will go away in a few hours.
Particularly with older receivers, it may be
necessary to re-scan the OTA channels.
What is PSIP ?
PSIP stands for "Program and System Information Protocol". PSIP is data that is sent along with a station's digital signal that tells HD receivers information about the station and what is being broadcast. The most important function of PSIP is to provide identification of the station and the stations channel mapping information. PSIP also tells the receiver whether multiple program channels are being broadcast and, if so, how to tune them. It also identifies whether the programs are closed captioned, conveys V-chip information, and programming information. If a station does not include properly encoded PSIP data in their signals, receivers may not correctly identify and tune to the station. If a station changes the PSIP data, a viewers' STB may need to re-scan the digital channels to obtain the updated information.
More information on PSIP can be
found at the ATSC
When I tune to the digital stations I still
see bars on the side of a 4:3 picture.
Typically the bars you see on the left and
right side of 4:3 picture are either
black or gray. For stations which are
broadcast in 1080i or 720p, the station
purposely places the gray bars on the left and
right side to help reduce burn-in effects
which can occur on CRT and especially Plasma
displays. Burn-in is not a problem on
LCD, DLP and LCOS displays.
Stations broadcasting in 1080i & 720p
are broadcasting in 16:9 and the bars on the
side are there because of the program
material is 4:3 rather than 16x9. The stations
which are currently placing gray bars
on the side of the picture are: WKMG-DT,
WKCF-DT & WOFL-DT. WESH-DT, WFTV-DT, WRBW-DT &
WMFE-DT do not program in the gray bars, so the
bars are black.
Stations which are broadcasting in 480i are
broadcasting in 4:3 and your TV is placing the
gray bars on the left and right of the
picture. The list of stations broadcasting in
480i include WRDQ-DT, WCEU-DT, WBCC-DT,
WOTF-DT, WOPX-DT, subchannels of WMFE-DT, WMKG-DT, WESH-DT,
WRBW-DT & WFTV-DT.
I have a picture but no audio?
Check to see if you have not
accidentally changed the audio stream to a
secondary audio stream. Many of the digital
stations have secondary audio streams but there
may not be any audio being broadcasted by the
Many displays which have HDMI ports do not know how to handle Dolby Digital audio. You may have to supply stereo audio from the STB to your TV with another set of cables to use the speakers in your TV, use a separate DD decoder (like a Home Theater receiver) or disable DD audio in your STB.
If you have a SA-8300 cable box,
you may need to go the the advance settings and
change the Audio Output to Dolby Digital from
HDMI (or stereo). If you have just received the
box, you may have to re-enter this setting even
though it is already selected. You may also have
to reselect this setting if the box has
What to I need to receive HD
signals From Tampa (or other out of market
It is possible to receive
stations from Tampa, Jacksonville or Ft Pierce
if you are close enough. To reliably receive a
station you need to be within 60-70 miles of the
transmitter. This is due to the
curvature of the earth limiting your line of
sight to a little over 75 miles. For stations
which are 60+ miles away you will need a large
antenna and most likely an antenna mounted low
noise amplifier. The higher you can raise your
antenna the better. Also consider these
stations can shape their transmission pattern to
cover their market and they may have purposely
shaped the pattern so not to interfere with
stations in our area or other neighboring
Do to the unique conditions which exist in Florida, it is possible to receive stations all over the state early in the morning and later after dark. Unfortunately the signals will vary greatly and you may only be able to receive the station for a few hours. The conditions will vary with the time of the year, the weather and solar activity.
Should I take down my Dish or
Antenna in preparation for a hurricane?
If a hurricane is approaching your area,
you should take down your antenna and
satellite dish. They are not made to
withstand strong winds and if they come
down, will do damage to you or your
How come the lip sync does not match?
When you see the sound is not lined up with the picture your first instinct is to blame the broadcaster but they are rarely the cause. The likely suspect is actually your display. The cause is the picture is run through much more circuitry and processing than the sound so it arrives later and causes the out of sync look. If you have a digital AV receiver for your surround sound look for a lip sync delay feature and adjust it so the sound arrives later and lines up with the picture. This is normally adjusted using a "ms" millisecond scale. It could be anywhere from 16 to 100 depending on your display. Watching the news anchors on local news is a good way to eyeball this setting.