Sony RDR-HXD870 Weak Digital Tuner

kewa

Standard Member
I got my RDR-HXD870 on Saturday and am having problems with pixelation and picture freezing on the weaker digital muxes.

I've got a Sky+ receiver and a Topfield 5800 Freeview PVR in the chain but whichever order I connect the receivers (or even if I remove everything except the RDR-HXD870) the problem persists.

When the signal has passed through the RDR-HXD870 I'm getting no break up on the same channels when watching directly on the TV so the signal coming out is fine.

The Topfield always gets a good signal on the weakest muxes wherever it is connected in the chain and has never suffered pixelation or freezing.

The RDR-HXD870 is connected to the TV via HDMI but I've swapped that out for a Scart and there's no diffeence.

I've also put a signal booster in the line between the aerial and the digital tuner on RDR-HXD870 and that hasn't solved it.

Recordings from an external source are absolutely fine.

Given all of the above I can't see why it would be my aerial and everything points to a possible problem with the digital tuner on the RDR-HXD870. Does this sound likely?

Other than change the aerial I'm running out of ideas but has anyone else experienced this or have any suggestions as to what else I can do other than take it back?

Thanks a lot

Kewa
 
M

Miller

Guest
I have had a similar problem when I set up my sony X lcd. I had a old aerial in the loft (not the best place I'm told to recieve digital signals) and looped through via an 860. The X just would do an auto set up for me. I plugged my aerial feed straight into the X, and the auto tune went ahead fine. I've since put the dvdhd back into the loop (first) along with my Sky box and everything worked okay. My suggestion is to put your aerial feed into your 870 first (that's assuming you haven't already) and then just looped to your tv with nothing else in the chain, and then do an auto set up. I just bought an 870 and had to do a second scanned auto set up, the first one did'nt pick up some channels (don't know why!). I have a new digital aerial (still in the loft though), but I still have weak signal strength for channels ITV.
 

Asriel

Active Member
I have to say I don't have problems with the freeview signal on my Sony HDX-870 even though I only have an indoor aeriel with no booster. My old cheapo freeview box used to break up frequently, and still does a bit even though it's in a chain before the 870.

I seem to remember that other people seem have had problems with reception, some of which were sorted by re-installing, but I didn't pay too much attention as I didn't have the machine yet. There are posts and threads about that though I think.
 

mouthrush

Standard Member
I live in a weak reception area and we find the picture via our 870 breaks up less than with our standalone (cheapie) freeview box.
 
V

ViragoRider

Guest
I have a cheapo Freeview box and the HXD870. The cheapo box receives more channels and has better picture quality. I haven't been too impressed with it overall.
 

kewa

Standard Member
Thanks a lot for the replies.

Having tried everything I gave up today and returned the recorder to the shop. They tested it and were getting 90% plus signal strength rather than the c.70% that I'm getting at home and there was no pixelation or freezing.

They very kindly agreed to exchange it anyway so I could prove whether there was a problem with that box or it's the aerial and the second box is doing exactly the same.

So, seems I need to get a new aerial fitted on my chimney to be able to record the digital channels.

Thanks again
 
M

Miller

Guest
Thanks a lot for the replies.

Having tried everything I gave up today and returned the recorder to the shop. They tested it and were getting 90% plus signal strength rather than the c.70% that I'm getting at home and there was no pixelation or freezing.

They very kindly agreed to exchange it anyway so I could prove whether there was a problem with that box or it's the aerial and the second box is doing exactly the same.

So, seems I need to get a new aerial fitted on my chimney to be able to record the digital channels.

Thanks again

I have had a hit and miss approach to tuning freeview tunners. I think I am right in saying, that the picture quality is far superor to annalogue, but you need far better equipement than annalogue to recieve it. A £30 set top box at work auto tunned fine with an old outside aerial, but every time a motor bike goes by the picture pixelates and freezes. As I said before I have a loft aerial at home, and I had to auto tune a couple of times before my 870 woked properly, even now itv signal strength is only 70%. Just make sure that there is nothing is in line before you connect up your 870. Check the aerial lead connections either end, and perhaps even remake the connections, some hi-fi buffs do this all the time as they feel the connections can degrade over time. I think you mentioned a signal booster, but I've read somewhere that this type of device cannot boost a poor signal, most are designed to enable multi connections to other devices in your house. Although I think there is device you can buy to boost a poor signal, perhaps someone can answer that question?
 

JH4

Well-known Member
Tips for getting the best Freeview reception for Sony DVDRs if you are in a poor reception area :
1. Get a high gain (not 'wideband') aerial - of the correct band for your area.
This type of aerial has a tube construction for the back reflector- don't get the cheapo ones with the slotted plate reflector, that you see everywhere. These are rubbish, unless you are in a strong signal area.
2. Mount the aerial high outside (not in the loft), and make sure it's fixed securely, as these aerials can snap thin mounting poles in very strong gales. (I know this from experience !), and mount the aerial in the centre rather than at one end, using a U shaped bracket. This will minimise shake.
3. Use the newer double screened (braid and foil) aerial cable and all metal connectors to feed your equipment, and try to keep the length to a minimum, with no other connectors in the cable.
4. You can 'daisy chain' the feed from one piece of equipment to another. It works fine, but all the items obviously must be 'on' or on 'standby' for this to work. The best way is to feed the aerial into the recorder first, and then into the TV. This way you can switch the TV off when you don't need it. (and help to save the planet - yawn..)
5. When you auto tune the Sony DVDR, make sure you only get one instance of each channel. This is the reason for specifying a 'high gain' rather than a 'wideband' aerial. This latter type may pick up faint signals from the wrong transmitter, which can cause real problems when recording.
6. If you still have problems, an aerial amplifier may help. Most people would recommend a mast-top amp, but in my experience, an indoor one will work as well.
7. It's a fact of life that Freeview signal strength is not as high as analogue. There are good reasons for this, so until analogue transmissions are switched off, we are stuck with this situation.
8. Even with a good signal strength, sometimes motor bike ignition interference can give spurious picture dropouts. We have to live with that also.
9. Very occasionally they change the channel designations, so if you are missing a particular channel that you had before, do a complete new scan - not an 'add channel' scan, and it will pick it up.

It really is worth the effort to get a strong signal into Sony DVDRs. You will save a lot of aggro later !
Hope this helps.
 
M

mrfreeview

Guest
Tips for getting the best Freeview reception for Sony DVDRs if you are in a poor reception area :
1. Get a high gain (not 'wideband') aerial - of the correct band for your area. .

Agreed that would be ideal however given the spread of the DVB-T MUXs across the UHF band from some transmitters Wideband is sometimes the only option.

The key point I think is always use quality apparatus! Example Triax, Televes. i.e. Televes DAT45

Basically a trip to B&Q for some device marked "Digital Aerial" may not give the result that you would wish for!

3. Use the newer double screened (braid and foil) aerial cable and all metal connectors to feed your equipment, and try to keep the length to a minimum, with no other connectors in the cable..

This is a key point. Double screened coaxial cable comes with a choice of aluminium or copper foil around the dialetric. Copper is the best!

If you have to have a connector use "F" connectors and if you must use the BellingLee plug the centre conductor must be soldered to the PIN. Wall outlet sockets should be avoided!

4. You can 'daisy chain' the feed from one piece of equipment to another. It works fine, but all the items obviously must be 'on' or on 'standby' for this to work. The best way is to feed the aerial into the recorder first, and then into the TV. This way you can switch the TV off when you don't need it. (and help to save the planet - yawn..)

However should a device introduce noise when the signal passes through then this noise will be transferred to the next device where more noise could be introduced only to be passed on again.

I prefer to use a Star connected arrangement with each DVB-T device having one output port from a splitter. By this method no noise can be "transferred" from one device to another.

6. If you still have problems, an aerial amplifier may help. Most people would recommend a mast-top amp, but in my experience, an indoor one will work as well...)

A mast head is designed to compensate for losses in both the received signal and primarly loss introduced in the coaxial cable.

Receiving a good signal is far better then trying to amplify a poor received signal!

The fitting of an amplifer at the mast head rather than behind the telly is preferable in that it will amplify the signal BEFORE any noise has been introduced onto the coaxial down lead.

If you amplify after the down lead, at the back of the telly, you will also amplify introduced noise.

A key point is use of low noise amplifers and take care with the amount of gain you introduce as it is very easy to overload the amplifier.

7. It's a fact of life that Freeview signal strength is not as high as analogue. There are good reasons for this, so until analogue transmissions are switched off, we are stuck with this situation....)

Nor will they ever be, even after Analogue turn off.

20KW of ERP for DVB-T has just about the same coverage area as 1MW of ERP on Analogue.

Given the much lower signal levels thus the increased serceptability to noise means that much higher graded cables and antenna have to be used for DVB-T

I hope my post has been of use :)
 

JH4

Well-known Member
I agree with all Mrfreeview has to say above - with the exception of the splitter comment. If it's a 'one in 2 out' passive splitter you will lose more than half the signal strength in each leg. My experience with daisy chaining is that no noise will be forwarded if the equipment is working properly.
Glad we are (nearly) on the same wavelength !
 
M

mrfreeview

Guest
I agree with all Mrfreeview has to say above - with the exception of the splitter comment. If it's a 'one in 2 out' passive splitter you will lose more than half the signal strength in each leg.

Agreed! But if you have sufficient signal to start with does it matter that the output signal strength from each side of the 2 way splitter will be 3dB less (theory 3dB, practice about 4dB!) than what went in? Provided the signal strength that comes out of any splitter is "good enough"

& of course a passive splitter introduces no noise.

For my own set up for DVB-T I use a Televes DAT45 and then as the DVB-T is "out of band" to the Analogue which is in Group A, a diplexer A/E connected in reverse (The diplexers signal out is my signal in!) with the Group A "IN" terminated in a 75ohms. Then the Group E "IN", (which is my signal out) now containing only DVB-T signals is feed into a 26dB masthead amp (400 times amplification). This then followed by a 4 way passive splitter. So the signal that comes out of each port of the splitter is 20dB higher (100 times louder) than what went into the amplifer.

The little signal strength bar on my HXD1070 reports about "95" for all 6 MUXs and signal quality is 100% And I think that is good enough!

With some thought and engineering DVB-T can be made to work very very well.

Clearly the days of just putting up "any old aerial" connect with the cheapest coaxial cable on gods earth, complete with twist joints! and then swinging the aerial about until in the right general direction and the picture looking "sort of OK" are over!

I hope my post has been of use :)
 

JH4

Well-known Member
Hi again mrfreeview - Wow, that is one helluva config you have there !
Have you thought of just ditching analogue TV altogether, as I have done?
I haven't watched analogue TV for many years now, and don't see the point of returning to it really. Just a thought. Thanks for your comments though - nice to hear from one so knowledgeable.
Ah, reading your post again, it seems you already may have done so..
 
M

mrfreeview

Guest
Hi again mrfreeview - Wow, that is one helluva config you have there !
Have you thought of just ditching analogue TV altogether, as I have done?
I haven't watched analogue TV for many years now, and don't see the point of returning to it really. Just a thought. Thanks for your comments though - nice to hear from one so knowledgeable.
Ah, reading your post again, it seems you already may have done so..

Living on the fringe of DVB-T from Sandy Heath then desperate measures were needed to ensure my DVB-T install was to be a success. :)

Perhaps I was fortunate that with the DVB-T out of band to analogue I could easily surpress the analogue prior to applying amplification. Thus allowing me to apply a higher level of amplification, 26dB, than would normally be possible with the analogue carriers each at +17dB above the DVB-T still present.

My C/N is 24dB which I think is "good enough"

As for analogue TV - the signal I receive is terminated in 75ohms which is perhaps the best place for it!!!!
 

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