Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 2250 - Owner's Thread

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Re: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 2250, Digital Signal, & Poor Picture

Post#41 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:12 am

I am using this one and it rocks:
http://www.amazon.com/DIGITAL-AMPLIFIER ... im_sbs_e_1

I disconnected it and measured signals- all were horrible with THOUSANDS of irrecoverable errors - and then I put it back and and the SNR was 40+ again. [edit: and when I reconnected it the irrecoverable errors went to zero!]

HOWEVER.... I just discovered a disk verify fail error on bootup - and I got it to happen twice out of the last 5 reboots... and it was on the hard drive I was using for TV recording. I have switched to another drive and we'll see how things go.

Hard drives suck. I must have about 20 Western Digital drives total and I send back at least 1 a month. Segate, same thing. This is even with the Western Digital Black drives with 5 year warranties. WD is a nightmare, and too unreliable to even be permitted to be in this business I think... it's out of hand!
Last edited by robthecomputerguy on Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post#42 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:15 am

@2wheels- typically, you are supposed to install these as far upstream (closer to where it enters your house) as possible, so that when you do end up using a bunch of splitters, the SNR is still decent. So that would mean either outside your house where the cable goes into your house, or inside your house, immediately where the cable first enters.

Can't tell you which amplifier is best... I've heard lots of people who have had luck with the motorolas, but it sounds like rob's suggestion looks decent too.
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Post#43 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:17 am

makryger wrote:I would get the indoor one and install it on the inside of your place, where the cable enters the house.



Thanks for the input. I see it does not come with a power adapter. Do you know if I need to order that too?

Update: I see a connector for it, so I am guessing you will say yes. The link to the outdoor one comes with the power adapter. Sounds like the "better" purchase???
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Post#44 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:21 am

FYI, I edited my last post a bit- but to answer your other question, both of them come with power adapters.
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Post#45 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:24 am

makryger wrote:FYI, I edited my last post a bit- but to answer your other question, both of them come with power adapters.



Thanks! I'll let you'll know which of the three I settle on and how it goes.
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Post#46 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:47 am

I also want to add I live in NYC and the Hauppauge guys are in Hauppauge Long Island and when I needed buying advice I called the sales department more than once and they were super helpful. I don't know who does their tech support, but its a relatively small company and they were responsive in the past. I just thought these problems couldn't /not/ be addressed sooner rather than later, you know?

FYI, the most problematic channel was TBS HD... I rescanned and it is indeed a weak channel on QAM 114.205 - and its' weak. The only channel I have higher than that is TNT at 117.205, and that channel is flakey too but I never watch law & order, so... Anyway, I found the 480p version of TBS and added that, and that channel is fine... the HD is a mess though. Not sure what to do after that?

I've been watching TV on other channels and not having a problem in the past day or so - but also I have changed out of the hard drive that was giving intermittent errors.

@2wheels - The inside/outside thing is a good question, but you probably want to strive to have only 1 junction between the entry point to the house and the amplifier... does that make sense? Once the connection comes into the house, it would be optimal to have a continuous run of cable to the amplifier and then continuous runs of cables to the devices? I think the only reason to put the amplifier outside is if the lines branch out from an exterior point of contact, not because you want to amplify the signal earlier rather than later. However, I'm no engineer and I could easily dream up scenarios where amplifying the signal earlier rather than later could help... but not usually.
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Post#47 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:13 pm

robthecomputerguy wrote:I also want to add I live in NYC and the Hauppauge guys are in Hauppauge Long Island and when I needed buying advice I called the sales department more than once and they were super helpful. I don't know who does their tech support, but its a relatively small company and they were responsive in the past. I just thought these problems couldn't /not/ be addressed sooner rather than later, you know?

FYI, the most problematic channel was TBS HD... I rescanned and it is indeed a weak channel on QAM 114.205 - and its' weak. The only channel I have higher than that is TNT at 117.205, and that channel is flakey too but I never watch law & order, so... Anyway, I found the 480p version of TBS and added that, and that channel is fine... the HD is a mess though. Not sure what to do after that?

I've been watching TV on other channels and not having a problem in the past day or so - but also I have changed out of the hard drive that was giving intermittent errors.

@2wheels - The inside/outside thing is a good question, but you probably want to strive to have only 1 junction between the entry point to the house and the amplifier... does that make sense? Once the connection comes into the house, it would be optimal to have a continuous run of cable to the amplifier and then continuous runs of cables to the devices? I think the only reason to put the amplifier outside is if the lines branch out from an exterior point of contact, not because you want to amplify the signal earlier rather than later. However, I'm no engineer and I could easily dream up scenarios where amplifying the signal earlier rather than later could help... but not usually.



Some of my channels are not bad. The one I took pics of was NBC Universal Sports as I recall. I think it is the worst. I do not think the HD channels are as crisp and clear as when the TV was direct connect (no TV tuner card). I like WD drives the best. I have had good luck with them.

On the amplifiers, I found the Motorola 484095-001 is outdoor rated, has a 1 yr. warranty, and comes with 2 6' coax cables. The Motorola BDA-S1 does not come with any cables and has a 5 yr, warranty. It is the commercial version.

Between the Motorolas and the PCT, I choose the Motorolas because the gain is 15dB vs. 8dB and the noise is 2.5dB vs. 2.7dB. Between the two Motorolas, I selected the commercial one (BDA-S1) since those two length cables are of no use to me and I would rather have the 5 yr. warranty.

As far as installing the amplifier, yes it makes sense to install is as early as possible where the signal is at its best for amplification. That way the end result is as strong as can be. Better to amplify a strong vs. a weak signal.

I looked inside the cable box on the exterior of the house. Comcast has the line split into two -- one for TV and the other for Internet. Comcast then has the TV line split three ways. I was thinking if installing the amplifier right after the first split (into two). Thinking about it again this morning as I write this, it would be better to install it before Comcast's first split. If I got a two line amplifier, I could just replace Comcast's first splitter with it. Then my plan is to run the power under the vinyl siding around the back side of the house to the exterior electrical outlet, which has a big plastic box covering it. The attic does not have power (that's where the TV lines go from the exterior box), so placing the amplifier there would be more challenging.
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Post#48 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:26 pm

Sounds like a plan. Yes, I would install the motorola amplifier before splitting the internet and tv signal. In a perfect world, you should only split your signal at one junction. In other words, one cable comes to your house, then that cable is split all four ways at once- using a four-way splitter like this from monoprice. It's generally not good for the signal to put splitter after splitter. In fact, had I known that your signal is split that many times, I probably would have recommended trying that first. Although, as I explain below, results can vary. I'm reading one review of that monoprice splitter that says it doesn't work well for his cable modem, but does for TV... which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Unfortunately, while all of this makes sense theoretically, in the real world, it's very difficult to predict that adding or removing components will make a difference, unless its very obvious that the signal level or SNR is low, which is not the case for you. I'm not sure if you've bought the motorola amplifier yet, or what else you've tried, but you should know that doesn't always fix the problem. So I would recommend to you to test things about before going through an elaborate installation (like what you mention regarding getting power to the amp.) Before the amp even arrives, you could try temporarily removing the three-way splitter, and seeing if that improves your image. If it does, that'll suggest to me that an amplifier will probably be helpful. Also, when you do get the amplifier, it would be wise to test it first before a huge installation. So try to get ahold of a long extension cord to power the device (or a long thing of coax cable), and then just put it in line, and see if it works. It may turn out that it doesn't help, and you may have to return it.
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Post#49 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:26 pm

makryger wrote:Sounds like a plan. Yes, I would install the motorola amplifier before splitting the internet and tv signal. In a perfect world, you should only split your signal at one junction. In other words, one cable comes to your house, then that cable is split all four ways at once- using a four-way splitter like this from monoprice. It's generally not good for the signal to put splitter after splitter. In fact, had I known that your signal is split that many times, I probably would have recommended trying that first. Although, as I explain below, results can vary. I'm reading one review of that monoprice splitter that says it doesn't work well for his cable modem, but does for TV... which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Unfortunately, while all of this makes sense theoretically, in the real world, it's very difficult to predict that adding or removing components will make a difference, unless its very obvious that the signal level or SNR is low, which is not the case for you. I'm not sure if you've bought the motorola amplifier yet, or what else you've tried, but you should know that doesn't always fix the problem. So I would recommend to you to test things about before going through an elaborate installation (like what you mention regarding getting power to the amp.) Before the amp even arrives, you could try temporarily removing the three-way splitter, and seeing if that improves your image. If it does, that'll suggest to me that an amplifier will probably be helpful. Also, when you do get the amplifier, it would be wise to test it first before a huge installation. So try to get ahold of a long extension cord to power the device (or a long thing of coax cable), and then just put it in line, and see if it works. It may turn out that it doesn't help, and you may have to return it.




No, I haven't placed the order yet as I need a measurement for the coax cable for the power adapter. I did not know Comcast had it split like that either till last night after we had all posted, and I was gathering what I felt I needed to order from all the advice. Just so you know I did not know that until last night. I like your idea of the 4-way splitter, so I need to investigate that before ordering. Thank you for the testing idea/advice. I really appreciate it. Stayed tuned you'll. 8-)


UPDATE: The 4-port Motorola only has a 7dB gain. Rob's PCT has a bit higher gain (8dB). Is it better in light of the gain loss (15dB with the 1-way vs. 7-8dB with a 4-way) to install the one-way after the first Comcast splitter then? I do not know which is better with the gain changes and loss after each of Comcast's splitters. I do not know how to calculate my answer.
Last edited by 2wheels on Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post#50 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:47 pm

Now what I'm about to say might vary by cable company, but to my knowledge, the split to cable signal and internet is a specific and important split and I would test the internet speed before and after attaching the amplifier.

I have had Time Warner come out many times and resolve an internet problem by adjusting the power on the line down (I'm not using the correct vocabulary there), amplifying the signal can go either way when it comes to the internet part of the signal.

Since the splitter has current attached to it I'd be concerned for power spikes, too.
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Post#51 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:10 pm

@2wheels, could you do me a favor before ordering the amplifier? Trying removing the three-way splitter and plugging in the cable that goes to the HTPC directly into the two-way tv/internet splitter. Then check your HTPC to see whether that has any impact on the signal. Afterwards, you can go back to the original configuration.

@rob, I am no signal expert... I just know stuff from my own experience and what I've read. But from what I understand, the internet and tv signal are really the exact same signal- they just are transmitting different information. So I'm not certain about the cable/internet split vs just splitting it all at once. I guess 2wheels will just have to try both and see which resolves things.
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Post#52 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:40 pm

makryger wrote:@2wheels, could you do me a favor before ordering the amplifier? Trying removing the three-way splitter and plugging in the cable that goes to the HTPC directly into the two-way tv/internet splitter. Then check your HTPC to see whether that has any impact on the signal. Afterwards, you can go back to the original configuration.

@rob, I am no signal expert... I just know stuff from my own experience and what I've read. But from what I understand, the internet and tv signal are really the exact same signal- they just are transmitting different information. So I'm not certain about the cable/internet split vs just splitting it all at once. I guess 2wheels will just have to try both and see which resolves things.




No difference at all to my naked eye and ears.
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Post#53 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:53 pm

The signal may be the same but the special splitter is required, and internet can only be gotten through one of those ports on the special splitter. It's not a 2 way splitter, its' a signal splitter of some sort. That said, it's not necessarily wrong to amplify the signal before splitting it, it's just so unspecific to us laymen.
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Post#54 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:03 pm

robthecomputerguy wrote:The signal may be the same but the special splitter is required, and internet can only be gotten through one of those ports on the special splitter. It's not a 2 way splitter, its' a signal splitter of some sort. That said, it's not necessarily wrong to amplify the signal before splitting it, it's just so unspecific to us laymen.




Comcast's first splitter is a 2-way Genesys II PCT-NGNII-2S. On the output side it states 3.5dB. Comcast's second splitter is a 3-way SVI Digital SV-3G. The output sides are 3.5dB, 7dB, and 7dB. The TV line I am using is connected to one of the 7dB outputs.

These dBs I see... does that mean both splitters are amplifying?
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Post#55 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:16 pm

No, the dB indicate how much the signal is losing when it is split.
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Post#56 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:34 pm

makryger wrote:No, the dB indicate how much the signal is losing when it is split.


NO WAY! But the Time Warner guy said once that all my problems were because I had swapped those two connections... does that even make sense?
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Post#57 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:48 pm

If it was just a two way splitter... I don't see how that could make sense. if it was a three-way splitter, then one is -3.5dB, the other two are -7.0dB, so a swap between 3.5 and 7 could cause a difference.
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Post#58 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:16 pm

makryger wrote:If it was just a two way splitter... I don't see how that could make sense. if it was a three-way splitter, then one is -3.5dB, the other two are -7.0dB, so a swap between 3.5 and 7 could cause a difference.



I thought this was an excellent read, and it might also shed light on the discussion about which splitter I should replace the amplifier with. It explained to me why there two splitters vs. a single 4-way splitter in my box. It also taught me about Active Return (I bumped into that topic on Amazon reviews this morning).

http://www.cabletvamplifiers.com/Info/T ... CATION.htm


I also learned on Amazon this morning through reading reviews about another important difference between the two Motorola amplifiers (484095-001-00 and BDA-S1). The BDA-S1 has a remote power option. The 484095-001-00 does local power only. Remote power requires a power inserter (Motorola BDP-100/PI). In return you can run the power through the coax cable. Reminds me of PoE (Power over Ethernet). I am definitely going with the BDA-S1 due to the remote power option. That way instead of running that coax outside to the rear of the house to the exterior outlet for power, I can just use an interior ac outlet next to the PC/HTPC.
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Post#59 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:57 pm

makryger wrote:If you're getting the weak signal, that makes me think even more its a signal issue. As I mentioned before, Media Center for some reason needs a better signal than some other sources to get clearqam working. Maybe try lugging your computer to another coax outlet in your place and seeing if that makes any difference. What you may end up needing is a signal booster (motorola makes the best one).



I have not had any luck with testing (the TV tuner card) on another outlet, but I did do the following today -- disconnected the long coax cable going from the wall outlet to the HTPC TV tuner card (at the card end) and connected it directly to the TV. Problems are gone.
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Post#60 » Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:16 am

Did another test last night. I installed SageTV ver. 7.1.9. During the configuration, you test 4 different video playback settings (pg. 157 of the manual). Playback did not operate correctly under either if the 4 settings. Two of them crashed SageTV. The other two were pixelated. The channel being tested seemed to be NBC Universal Sports (the same one I posted the four pics of earlier in this thread).

I also attempted last night to change the codec WMC live TV uses (for Win7 64-bit). Unfortunately I ran into the problem of not being able to find a 64-bit codec (that would not break live TV). WinTV v7 uses a 32-bit codec per Hauppauge.
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