TV Problems (Updated!)

I mentioned recently that the hand-me-down TV from my father seemed to be dead, in the form of UHF no longer processing a signal.  It had started as bad sound on some stations, before becoming pure fuzz.  We haven’t swapped the smaller TV back into place yet, given that there’s nothing to watch, really, and the TV displays DVD perfectly.  That’s 95% of its normal use, to the point where I thought of keeping it for the kids for DVD viewing only, rather than trying to dispose of it or return if for a refund.  Heh.  Yesterday the sound starting flaking out on some of the VHF stations, so the assumption was it’s dying the rest of the way.

Last night Deb noticed it was getting signal on some UHF channels.  No sound, and the best of them barely usable, but clearly UHF was not in fact dead, as it had appeared.

I just played with the connections and at least briefly managed to get sound, but it didn’t really change much.  If I unplugged the antenna entirely, there was nothing, so the antenna does something, and its signal gets through the splitters and cables, however badly.  The connections are all solid, and I put the mess of cable and splitters back on the shelf, though likely no harm existed in the way it was hanging.

So.  Any opinions as to whether this is likely to be death of the antenna, or a cable, or a splitter, rather than the TV?  Again, DVD works fine.  I don’t believe we have tried a tape since the onset of the UHF problem, but that would have more in common with the antenna than does the DVD, which plugs one to one into the TV.  VCR is the reason for the splitters in the first place.  Tests would be to play a tape, and to record something, anything on a UHF station and play it back.  Dang, I should have thought of this before.  It’s no different from computer troubleshooting, the way you can rule things in or out.  All I had thought of was trying the other TV with the antenna and cables, but the VCR processes incoming TV signals from the antenna independently.  If VCR to TV is clear, then if antenna to VCR is clear, we’ll get clear tape of UHF via tape and know it’s the TV’s UHF processing.  If UHF to tape is fuzzy, it’s probably the antenna.  If commercial tape to TV is fuzzy, it’s probably a splitter or cable problem.

Still.  Thoughts until I get around to testing more?

Update:

I didn’t even have to test recording through the VCR, since duh, the VCR processes incoming signals and feeds them to the TV live if it is the active device and not just recording on one channel while you watch another.  I played a previously recorded tape and it was fine.  Then I saw what the reception of UHF looked like upon stopping it.  Beautiful.  If anything, better than normal.

Conclusion: It’s a specific cable or splitter that affects the antenna to TV routing but not antenna to VCR or VCR to TV routing.  I’d have to look back there to see which that must be.  I may even have a spare cable around, but I’d have to find it, and buy a splitter.  All we really have to do for now is watch the TV through the VCR feed.  That becomes an issue only when we return to having shows opposite each other that require the TV and VCR to be used on separate channels.

Posted by on 01/02 at 03:28 PM
  1. Could it have to do with the all-digital switch?  I know some stations are already going all digital, which means you cannot get them on rabbit ears. Or maybe just this crazy weather we’re having out here!

    Posted by  on  01/02  at  05:40 PM  from  too close to DC
  2. BINGO!!  Looks like your getting the idea. Troubleshooting TV/Video problems is the same as with a computer. Whether you use process of elimination or equipment substitution, you can figure it out.
    I would say, based on your description so far, that it sounds like a cable or splitter is broken or you just have poor reception from the antenna.  It doesn’t sound like it’s the TV though.

    Posted by  on  01/02  at  05:40 PM  from 
  3. It could also be the UHF tuner section in the TV. If the VCR can use the same connection to receive UHF, but the TV can’t, it is likely the tuner.

    Older tuners had two distinct sections: one that deals with VHF channels (2-13) and the other with the UHF channels (14-82). (It’s only been over the past 10 years or so that the solid state tuners have become so integrated that they are no longer sectioned into VHF and UHF. Most newer tuners cover such a wide range of channels to cover the ‘over-the-air’ channels as well as the CATV channels.

    If the TV has an older tuner it could be the UHF section has problems.

    Posted by DCE  on  01/03  at  12:58 AM  from 
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