Dodgy Freeview reception on ITV, C4, C5 with Grundig GDT 1000

Discussion in 'Freeview & YouView' started by AOD, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. AOD

    AOD
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    I recently took the plunge and picked up a Grundig GDT 1000 from RS.

    It installed without any problems and even found and downloaded an update without any prompting. So far, so good.

    Sadly the picture quality is not so hot. BBC channels seem fine, but the majority of the others are completely unwatchable. ITV1/2, C4 C5 all break up, pixellate and give a "spitting" effect to the sound. In short, not very nice.

    As we live in an apartment building, we're all sharing a communal aerial. The system was recently upgraded so we could use Freeview boxes, the previous system effectively blocked the signals.

    What I'm wondering is what I should do next? The way I see it there are a couple of options:

    1. Get a box with a better tuner.
    2. Complain to the managing company that their new system is no good and get it fixed (if there is a problem)
    3. Give up on Freeview altogether.

    Is changing the RF cable I use from the wallplate to the Grundig likely to make any appreciable difference? Obviously I can't change anything before the wallplate.

    One other thing I may try is connecting the box in our lounge (which is the primary wallplate for the apartment). The one we're currently using in the other room gets fed from this.

    Suggestions & comments most welcome.
     
  2. bobones

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    ITV, Ch4, Ch5, QVC, BidUp are on muxes 2 and A, which are transmitted using a different scheme than the BBCtv and Sky ones
    (64QAM for 2 and A, 16QAM for the others). 64QAM is much more susceptible to interference and so needs a more powerful and cleaner signal to avoid breakup.

    I'm in much the same boat as yourself with a communal aerial and dodgy ITV and Ch5. Things that can be done are:

    o transmitter increases power output for these muxes - this is happening to mine soon.
    o install bigger aerial and/or masthead amplifier in your building
    o improve cabling from aerial to help prevent interference. Is yours shielded satellite type cable or normal tv aerial cable?
    o use a different STB that is more sensitive. My Nokia is much better than others I have used. The Setpal boxes (Daewoo, Labgear, Triax) are meant to be good in weak areas but I haven't tried one
    o use a booster at your end. Only marginal improvments likely.

    Try talking to the installer who put the system in your building.
     
  3. AOD

    AOD
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    Thanks.

    It's really annoying, where we are we have a clear line of sight to Crystal Palace (for those of you who don't know this is where the primary transmitters for London are located).

    I don't know what power the ITV transmissions uses, but given the location I'd imagine it's pretty powerful.

    I will try and get in touch with the company who installed the system to see what they have to say.

    Another box may be an option, but the other half was adamant that she wanted to get the cheapest box initially to see if the service (as in the selection of channels) was any good. We've just cancelled our sub with Sky becuase we rarely watch any of the "non-free" channels anyway.

    The good thing is because I got the box from RS, I have a 14 day supposedly "no quibble" period during which I can return the box.

    So much for a smooth entry into the wonderful world of Freeview!

    :(
     
  4. PhilipVass

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    Freeview is much more wide spread than NTL, which only covers 40% of the population where as Freeview covers 75% of the population. The tuner on my Grundig GDT1500 i find very good i do not think a new box is required, did you check freeview.co.uk for your reception and if it comes to the worst you can watch ITV1,ch4 and five from analogue you won't be missing much from bid-up.tv and ITV-2. :)
     
  5. AOD

    AOD
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    Yes I did a Post Code check and it came back saying I should be able to receive all the channels.

    The only thing I can think is that either the aeriel in our building is dodgy, or there's a wiring issue between this and my wallplate.

    One of the joys of a communal system!

    I'm tempted to hang an aerial off the back of the TV and see how this gets on.

    I don't want to have to switch between analogue and Freeview for ITV, C4 & C5. Can you imagine the reaction from the other half? If it doesn't work, then it's going back! :(
     
  6. PhilipVass

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    Your aerial on your box could be doddy i found that with mine and i had to buy a new one, there is also the option of a signal booster?.. if not i guess it is the out door aerial but i would check the one in your box and try and signal booster though.
     
  7. Arthur Dent

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    That's what I did to overcome poor reception for five, Bid up etc and I get them fine now. My aerial although I'd fitted a masthead amp, just wasn't quite up to it. So I just connected a plug in booster at the wall socket.
     
  8. Fernsehman

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    The usual problem with apartment blocks is that they are originally wired by electricians who give the lowest quote. Sometimes this means ordinary brown "TV aerial" cable is used instead of the proper double-shielded stuff. Obviously any system "upgrade" has to include changing the cable. If this wasn't done, call them back, because ordinary cable is simply no use.

    In addition, electricians usually think it's a marvellous idea to run coaxial cable in the same conduit as the mains cables. It's not. The mains cables transmit horrendous interference and you'll get a picture loss each time someone switches something on or off in the building. It will be especially noticeable around "kettle time". The coaxial cables should be kept well away from mains wiring. If the cables are replaced, it would make good economical and technical sense to run them outside the building.

    Frankly, I would try a cheap indoor aerial first, if you are not too far from the transmitter. I don't expect you to leave a 12 element Yagi hanging from the lampshade but, just to prove the point, it's worth a few quid to try it!

    If it works, you might be lucky and find that you can position it on top of a cupboard out of sight. Otherwise, it's back to the communal system so...

    Ideally, you want a massive signal coming down the cable then fit an attenuator just before the Freeview box. The effect is to reduce the signal to an acceptable level for the Freeview receiver while also greatly reducing the amplitude of any interference coming down the cable. A variable attenuator is handy for testing this. Obviously a more sensitive receiver will tolerate a bigger value attenuator so that should be an improvement. (Without an attenuator, a more sensitive receiver would be a disaster because the interference will have even more effect).

    Hope this makes sense!

    Fman
     
  9. AOD

    AOD
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    Thanks everyone for your contributions.

    Just to update you on the situation, I've discovered the following.

    My Grundig was sitting under the TV (not immediately under, say with at least 50cm between them) and on top of a DVD player that we don't use anymore and is not plugged into anything.

    I was going to unplug the box and try in it our lounge, but I noticed that when I pulled the box out and put it on the floor, the signal on the "dodgy" channels was fine.

    Checking the manual setup showed a signal strength/quality of 8 to 9. Previously it was more like 5 or 6.

    Putting the box back on top of the DVD player reduced the strength again and once more they became unwatchable.

    This leads me to think that the perhaps the cable from the wall to the box is dodgy, very poorly shielded or perhaps even both!

    So now the question is, any recommendations for a decent aerial cable? Should I consider something such as QED Qunex TTV or will something a little more down to earth suffice?

    I also made the mistake of showing my wife the new Pace box, she wants me to change ours for this one as she thinks the Grundig is "extremely ugly". :laugh:
     
  10. Pod Person

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    I think, though I am not 100% sure, that these are 64 QAM broadcasts notorious for break up problems.

    The sooner this 64 QAM is ditched the better.
     
  11. Arthur Dent

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    I would think that a length of double shielded co-ax off a reel would suffice, or perhaps a length of H100 co-ax, (the stuff used on a satellite installations). Don't put sharp bends in that type though. In order to make a more positive connection between the wall box and the cable, I changed my wall box for a satellite one using F connectors which I find better than the standard co-ax connector, although you're still left with one of those at the STB end
     
  12. AOD

    AOD
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    Thanks for the suggestion.

    However I don't think I'll be changing the wallplate anytime soon.

    We're in a rented apartment and I don't think the owner would appreciate us monkeying around with this.
     
  13. headache

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    I have been suffering poor Channel "five" since the weekend.

    I have a setpal box and the signal strength values displayed on the engineering screen have dropped, particiularly on ch 25. I had previously had excellent signals on all muxes.

    I have a mast head amp and "five" is still good on analogue. I dont know if something has happened at crystal palace. No transmitter work seem ongoing according to BBC website.

    It is a mystery.
     
  14. Arthur Dent

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    Just spotted your location. You're a bit of way from the Crystal Palace xmtr I think. Still if you normally get a good signal, that's all that matters. :)
     

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