problem with second tv tuner

JackOTrades

Standard Member
hello everyone,

i have been using MCE 2005 successfully with one Sweetspot MCE TV tuner.
recently decided to buy a second to be able to record one program while watching another. from reading threads on this forum it should be very straightforward to get it to work... shouldn't it? :rolleyes:

maybe i am missing something... your help is much appreciated.
i installed the second card in the spare pci slot. used a Y adapter to split the tv signal and two aerial cables one to each card.

MCE recognised the card, no problem. installed the drivers automatically, and all.
At this point I tried the existing, working card with either of the aerial cables and it worked with either, so I thought the signal was strong enough on both.

Next up I rebooted MCE and went in the TV Settings menu. Ran the Setup TV Signal wizard, chose 2 tuners, installed anew the listings and rescanned all the channels. it all worked well and it found all the channels.
I then go and try to watch a channel: no signal... :mad:

the problem: when I try to watch TV with both cards in and selected in MCE, I get a "no signal" error message.
Taking the original card out the second one (new) works fine, and I get good picture. So the new card works, that is not the problem...
Putting the original in (that worked fine until now) and telling MCE to use both always causes the signal to evaporate... :(

Any ideas of what could be wrong?
Could it be the signal is too low for both being working at the same time and I need a signal booster?

They are both working as they do standalone... so either PCI slot and either card, on its own, works fine. Just together, they dont...

Any ideas or help or experiences in getting the dual tuner setup to work will be gratefully received.

Thanks all!
Jack
 

gphillips

Novice Member
Did you try both cards inserted and installed, but with the working ariel cable connected directly into only one of them at a time?

That would prove or disprove that the signal is being degraded somehow after being split.

Other than that, youd best wait for the experts to answer!
 

deksawyer

Active Member
I'm pretty lucky in that I can use both my Nova-T's using the RF loopthrough from one card into the second as I'm fairly near the transmitter.

I think you need a powered booster, costing around £8 from Argos etc....I bought one but never needed it. It doesn't come with any coax, so you'll need to buy that as well.

Link

D.
 

WheresMyArtisan

Novice Member
Sounds like good advice above.

I reckon, from experimentation, that the channel scan only uses one of the cards. You'll only get the scan to work with the aerial plugged into the one that it happens to use.

After getting the scan done, I suppose you could set two recordings going, then swap the aerial over every few seconds. You should see the programme stop and start on both when playing back. If so, get a booster.

I'm just a bit unsure about the problem being signal strength though - my split aerial is strong enough for watching, but it struggles on the scanning. Do you always get a consistent number of channels with the scan, through the splitter? It should be somewhere around 65 (depending on where you live).
 

JackOTrades

Standard Member
hi guys,
thanks for the help. i have just bought a signal booster and will be doing some tests soon. hopefully that will solve the problem. i spoke with david at pluggedin.tv earlier and he also thought that was the issue.

with both cards plugged in i never got a signal but i always found all the channels... 42 here in London, i never managed to get more than that... should i have more?

i'll let you know soon what the result of my tests is... i hope it all works out this time.

cheers!
jack
 

WheresMyArtisan

Novice Member
42 sounds a bit low. Perhaps there are fewer channels in London, but I find that hard to believe.

I reckon your aerial may be crap, even without the splitter. The amplifier isn't a guaranteed fix by any means. If the signal/noise ratio of your aerial is crap then you'll just get more crap out of it!

Nothing that a six-foot pole and an aerial from an alien planet can't solve. It certainly worked on my place. Does look a bit strange on a 1930s bungalow in a sleepy street, but we're outside the official freeview area.
 

markxtc123

Novice Member
The other advantage of using a signal booseter is that, when using twin DVB-T tuners, it is very important that the two cards receive signals of equal strength. If one receives a signal that is stronger than the other then you may get the symptoms you are describing.

Mark
 

WheresMyArtisan

Novice Member
markxtc123 said:
If one receives a signal that is stronger than the other then you may get the symptoms you are describing.

Mark

Really???!!! any ideas why? I would have thought both cards would have their own independent AGC, so it shouldn't matter.
 

JackOTrades

Standard Member
hmmm... maybe the aerial is the problem... the signal booster i got has not solved the problem. i have tried all kinds of combinations, from switching pci slots to having just one of the cards, then the other, switching RF leads, the turnout is always the same: one tuner works fine, the two together dont work. :(

the booster is at maximum gain (18db i think) but it doesnt help.
when i tried searching for channels with both tuners in this time, with the booster, it didn't find any channels at all... with any of them hooked up it works fine and finds the 42 channels i normally get access to.
no doubt both cards are working, no problem with pci slots as far as i can tell or with the RF leads...

is there some registry hack i am missing?

btw i am connecting to Crystal Palace as I was told it was the closest to where i live, in London. I can't recognise any of the others as being any closer... any ideas?

thanks for all your suggestions guys. i dont see why they shouldnt work together if independently they seem to work fine from both outputs of the booster...

i dont think i can do much to the aerial as it is a communal one.
would using a dual tuner card from blackgold (is there one?) work?
any suggestions?

thanks!
jack
 

JackOTrades

Standard Member
Quickly addition to what i said above. No, i havent solved it. too late in the night for that unfortunately.. can't think what else to do really... :(

Just to let you all know that i am using MCE 2005 but without the rollups (any of them if there is more than one). I never installed rollups because i read mixed reactions to them and my system has been pretty stable so far. If you think the rollup may help with this i can give them a try.

Also would you think reinstalling MCE altogether (something i would rather not do as the system is otherwise working very well) would make it work? I am a bit sceptical but if you think i should try it i may well give it a go...

Thanks again everyone.
Jack
 

markxtc123

Novice Member
One of the reasons you may not be gatting all of the stations is that you will be missing the radio stations if you do not have rollup 2 installed. Personally I would strongly recommend having rollup 2 installed for the follwoing reasons.

1) Access to Freeview radio stations.
2) Better burning of recored TV to DVD, inclusing support for dual layer DVDs and automatic compression of shows longer than 1 hour.
3) Better stability, after rollup 2 MCE does an automatic soft restart in the middle of the night which cleas out any accumulated cr*p.

I think, if I understand your first post correctly, you have said that with both cards installed either one on its own works with the full aerial feed. What I am not sure of is if you have split the aerial feed into both cards, but then tried setting up a single card. Does this work? If it does then then the problem is not the signal strength but the fact that both cards active at the same time is causing the problem.

This would imply a problem with the computer set up, either the motherboard or an IRQ conflict. When you have both cards fitted try going into the device manager and seeing if you have any RED exclamation marks. TO do this right click on "My Computer" and click on "Properties" > "Hardware" > "Device Manager".


Regarding the question of both cards needing a signal of equal strength. I am not sure WHY this is the case. Just that I found when adding the second tuner to my setup that it did matter. I spoke to s friend who builts custom media PCs for a living and he told me that there was a problem if the signal strength was not equal. He recommended the use of a booster to maintain the signal quality into both tuners.

Mark
 

JackOTrades

Standard Member
Mark,

Thanks for your message and for taking the time to help.
When having both cards installed (in the PCI slots) I checked the device manager and there are no warnings or red lights.

The closest I got to having MCE working properly was when I had one tuner working, installed the second, went into TV Signal Setup and chose two tuners but did NOT rescan for channels. This meant MCE recognised both tuners, the one that was working before continued to work and recorded fine. I could choose another channel to watch but the moment i chose a new channel (with the other one recording) I would get a "no signal" message. If I stopped the recording and changed channels I would watch tv fine. With the original card, not the second...

This behavious was with the booster already in place, so both cards should be getting the same strength of signal. Does the type of RF cable have real influence here? It shouldn't should it? I mean i swapped the cables around and both cables worked with the card that was originally working, neither did with the second one...

I am at a loss, honestly.
If there is a hardware conflict, I can't see it in the Device Manager... no idea what could be.

I will install rollup 2. Do I need to clean install MCE or just install as an add on?

Thanks everyone!
Jack
 

markxtc123

Novice Member
JackOTrades said:
Mark,

Thanks for your message and for taking the time to help.
When having both cards installed (in the PCI slots) I checked the device manager and there are no warnings or red lights.

The closest I got to having MCE working properly was when I had one tuner working, installed the second, went into TV Signal Setup and chose two tuners but did NOT rescan for channels. This meant MCE recognised both tuners, the one that was working before continued to work and recorded fine. I could choose another channel to watch but the moment i chose a new channel (with the other one recording) I would get a "no signal" message. If I stopped the recording and changed channels I would watch tv fine. With the original card, not the second...

This behavious was with the booster already in place, so both cards should be getting the same strength of signal. Does the type of RF cable have real influence here? It shouldn't should it? I mean i swapped the cables around and both cables worked with the card that was originally working, neither did with the second one...

I am at a loss, honestly.
If there is a hardware conflict, I can't see it in the Device Manager... no idea what could be.

I will install rollup 2. Do I need to clean install MCE or just install as an add on?

Thanks everyone!
Jack

OK Lets answer the easy question first. You do not need to reinstall MCE to get rollup 2. Just go to Start > Windows update and select it from there.

Second easy question. The RF cables would have little or no effect so that isn't the problem.

After you fitted the two cards I assume you went into settings in the MCE front end and then ran the "Set up TV Signal" option? Did it show both cards? Were both cards ticked? Did you go through the entire TV setup from scratch (ie entering your postcode, choosing the transmitter)?

I would suggest that the best way forwards is to install rollup 2, then go through the entire TV setup with both cards fitted. Make sure you see both cards with ticks next to them at the beginning of the TV set up sequence.


I hope this helps a little.

Mark
 

JackOTrades

Standard Member
Mark, very helpful thanks a lot.
I've had no time on sunday to dedicate to this... so haven't got any further. Might try tonight but during the week is always difficult to find the time.
Will post back as soon as I have tried the rollup 2 install.

Just one thing I noticed from your description: currently when I go into "Setup TV Signal" wizard (my MCE is still without the rollup 2) with both tuners in, I accept the zone (UK) and went through all the setup process, inserting postcode, the lot. With both cards in and the booster attached, it found NO CHANNELS. If I take one of them (either, I tried with both) and go through this wizard again it finds all the channels again.

An important thing is that in this setup process there's a screen with two radio buttons to choose if I want to use ONE or TWO tv cards. No tick boxes, no card names, just a screen saying "How many cards do you wish MCE to use? One or Two?" and then it goes into the normal process of guide setup, channel discovery, etc.

Maybe with the rollup 2 installed I will get a different screen... I will test that as soon as I can.

weebroonieuk if i find out anything i'll let you know. what is the area you're in? let me know if you find a cure as well. thanks!

Jack
 

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