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Stephan55

Anybbody else experiencing TCM broadcast reception problems?

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Today I was having the following problems when trying to enjoy TCM:

 

Audio not in sync with video.

This problem has occurred all day today. I contacted my cable provider and they told me that since this is occurring only on the TCM channel that it is likely a sync issue at the TCM end, not theirs. They would check their equipment and if nothing was found faulty, contact TCM and report the problem. They said that it could take up to 48 hrs to correct. That's great, I have today off and sat down to view my favorite channel and see some movies I haven't seen for years and it could take my entire time off to correct. I can't believe that I'm the only one experiencing this and that it could take so long to fix. Isn't there anybody at TCM minding the store?

 

Another issue that occurs more frequently is pixilating during a program when a section of the movie is entirely unviewable.

Usually it only occurs a few times, but sometimes it happens sporadically throughout a movie and is annoying enough to ruin it for me. Rarely does it occur on channels other than TCM. So of course the cable company says it's a TCM broadcast issue.

 

What gives. I love this channel, and the primary reason I subscribed to this cable company is so that I can have TCM, but the broadcast quality is terribly inconsistent.

It would be nice if I could call/contact someone at TCM directly, and not have to go through a middle person.

I'm currently in the Amarillo, TX area, but this also occurred when I was staying in KS. In both locations I used the local cable provoider (KS: Cox/TX: Sudden Link).

 

Is there anyone else out there experiencing a similar frustration?

If so, any suggestions on a favorable resolution?

 

Message was edited by: Stephan55

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Stephan,

There have been a few times when I've felt the audio of a few movies was ever-so-slightly out of sync with the image. It didn't seem that bad, maybe a second or a fraction of a second. I wish it didn't happen but it hasn't quite hampered my enjoyment of the rare movies TCM shows.

 

I'm glad you posted and hopefully the TCM techs might take a look at the technical stuff on their side to determine whether something is happening on their end, or if the problem has to do with specific cable or satellite carriers.

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Thanks Film_Fatale, for the reply.

This was not a fraction of a second delay,

The movie was 'Kid Galahad" and when Gig Young or Charlie Bronson's lips moved and it was Lola Albright's voice it was amusing, but it was hilarious when it happened and Elvis was trying to sing. It was more like a poorly dubbed oriental flic. The kind we used to laugh at.

 

Unfortunetly, this was a film that I hadn't seen since I was a kid at the theater. And I really wanted to see it as I had remembered it. I never saw it aired on TCM before, and I don't know when they'll air it again. I had the day off and I popped some popcorn and sat down to enjoy this movie, for old time nostalgia sake, but I didn't anticipate a poorly dubbed comedy.

 

This is an infrequent occurrence for me, what happens far too commonly is the very annoying pixalation transmission errors.

 

Likewise I hope that someone with enough substance at TCM to follow-up on these issues will check it out to see how common this problem is in some areas and what can be done to help assure viewer satisfaction.

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Stephan,

 

It's been awhile since we've had this problem pop up. Here is the info from TCM in regards to this problem,

 

I found it in their FAQ in their Support Center:

 

Help! I am having problems with my TCM signal!

 

Your cable or satellite company is largely responsible for the quality of your picture and sound. TCM monitors and quality controls its signal when it leaves the building and usually that signal is in pristine condition. How you receive the picture is largely dependent upon your cable or satellite company, and consequently, they are often in the best position to correct any glitches. In fact, if the problem is from our signal, EVERYONE watching would be experiencing the same problem and we would receive thousands of complaints.

 

We recommend contacting a friend or family member in the area and asking them if they are experiencing the same problem. If they are, you know the problem is in your area. If not, the problem is likely more isolated. Either way, this is good information to have when calling your cable provider.

 

If the problem continues for more than a few hours, please contact us.

 

And to contact them:

 

http://www.tcm.com/support/

 

Hope that helps!

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Thanks lzcutter, for the info.

I kinda figured that if it was a TCM broadcast error that it would be occurring in a widespread reception area.

The typical response I get from SuddenLink is that if the problem is only occurring on one station then it's not them, or more channels would be experiencing the same error.

So it's pass the buck. They always say they'll check their end, correct it, or pass the info on to the broadcast station.

I'm not familiar with the ins-and-outs of how a "station," such as TCM, "broadcasts" its signal to a provider's receiver, such as SuddenLink, which in this case transmits the signal via cable to its subscribers. Certainly there are numerous places along the line from the various senders to receivers for corruption to occurr, just as a dish reception can be upset by weather (rain/snow, etc.). But it did sound logical that if it was the cable that more than just one station would be affected. Likewise, if it was the broadcaster (i.e. TCM) I'd imagine that everyone, at least in a large, or regional area, would be having the same problem viewing the affected channel.

I would sure appreciate a simple explanation as to how these things can happen???

 

I guess for better troubleshooting at my end I'm going to have to expand my connections down here so that I can call someone close by with a cable or dish that also has TCM and inquire if they are having the same problem as myself, when it occurrs. For now I live in an apartment and don't even know my neighbors name.

 

Anyway, thanks for the response.

For the moment, TCM is coming in fine: No audio sync issues and no pixilation malfunctions. So wherever the problem was, apparently someone corrected it. I requested a call back from SuddenLink to inform me where the problem was, but they said they don't make call backs like that, and I would know when the problem was corrected when the signal finally improved. So no way for me to know when I experience this again, as I most certainly will, where the malfunction is likely rooted, and they can say the same thing to me again, without confirming anything.

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I did manage to see the last half of *The Music Box Kid* , and didn't notice any problems. I've had my share of trouble over the years with TCM's picture breaking up, but it was always DISH Network's fault, which they eventually admitted (and fixed) twice. Knock wood. Be persistent with your provider, maybe they'll eventually listen.

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I have been having less problems lately but they still occur more than I would like. Recently when they showed *Platinum Blonde* the picture pixelated and then there was the dreaded "poor quality signal" notice appearing at the top of the screen. The picture just went blank for a long time and completely ruined the film for me. This is the main problem I have. The "poor quality signal" or "weak signal" notice followed sometimes by some technical looking code jargon, then the blank screen. I have Comcast cable.

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I forgot about the dreaded blue screen and the "poor quality signal" notice that appears at the top of the screen. This sometimes happens to me as well.

 

So what does this mean?

Does this message emanate from my unit and is it trying to tell me that the signal reception strength is just too weak at the cable going into my box?

Or does it come from, in my case, SuddenLink cable, and if so are they telling me that their amplifier is too weak to send me a decent signal, or are they saying that the broadcast that they are receiving from TCM is at that moment too weak to pass on?

I'd like to know where along the chain is the weak link.

I used to think that it had to do with the TCM broadcast, as when I'd switch stations the problem seemed to be isolated to the TCM channel. But if the signal is always "pristine when it leaves the building" as some have suggested, it must be a weak signal from the cable company to me, though they claim if that were the case the problem wouldn't be isolated to the TCM channel?

 

If it was solely at my hook-up I'd think that the other channels would be affected as well as the phone and internet connections since I have all three runnning through the same line. Also I'd think that it wouldn't be sporadic if it were a line connection at my end....

 

But if TCM was sending out a poor signal it truly would effect a large number of viewers and I'm sure that they would be inundating both their local cable provider and TCM with complaints...

So I am at a loss here...

 

I am confused as to what I can do at my end to better troubleshoot the problem, since I know it exists but no body up line from me wants to credit themselves as being part of it.

 

Message was edited by: Stephan55

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It might not be applicable here, since I'm with DISH, but the only time a "poor quality signal" message ever appears is when there is bad weather over Cheyenne, Wyoming, the location of their satellite uplink center. Usually right before I lose the picture altogether. Bad weather over my house, no message, just pixelated image, or no image at all. When DISH was screwing up TCM, it was either pixelated or frozen. When I can rule out the latter two problems, I can go online and more than likely will see thunderstorms over Cheyenne.

 

Maybe bad weather somewhere along the line could be causing your troubles, or at least some of them?

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Good insight ydobon. I doubt that SuddenLink has a hard line connection to TCM, so they likely get the signal from space. I'm aware that SuddenLink covers a large area of Texas, and they may or may not transmit all of their signals by cable. In any event, weather at one of their receiving dish points could be a factor, as you suggest. But I wonder, if that were the case wouldn't it affect more than just TCM reception? They'd likely be using each giant receiver dish to pick up multiple broadcasts, I'm guessing.

 

Anyway, I have more food for thought when I next discuss this issue with SuddenLinks tech support personnel. I'll try to pick their brains and get more difinitive answers as to how their system works.

 

I currently live in an apartment building that doesn't allow individual dishes, but I'm curious as to how reliable "Dish" network is (likewise "Direct TV"), and after all the fine print hype is added, whether they would be a cost effective alternative to cable?

What kind of a fluff package does one have to purchase in order to get a desired channel like TCM?

 

Message was edited by: Stephan55

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*...if that were the case wouldn't it affect more than just TCM reception?*

 

Not sure. I know that TCM and BBC America get the short end of the stick on DISH, thus they seem to have more problems than the other channels. Then again, during local storms, TCM usually will still have a picture when others don't, maybe due to its higher signal strength.

 

*What kind of a fluff package does one have to purchase...*

 

America's Top 200 is the lowest tier with TCM, and it goes for $43/month ($49/month with local channels, which I skip), plus the usual fees added on to raise it to just under $50, I think. Still cheaper than our cable.

 

Other than the two instances where they were screwing up TCM's picture, outages during our infrequent storms, and the continuous price increases (in 1999, it was only $25/month), I really don't have that many complaints about them.

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Here's a national weather satellite map:

 

http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/full_loop.php

 

I haven't had any recent trouble with TCM on Direct TV.

 

A few months ago I was watching a news-mix channel on Direct TV. It shows 8 news and business channels on the same screen. All of a sudden CNN went off the air, then a few seconds later CNN Headline news went off the air. I checked the weather map and there was a big thunderstorm rolling over Atlanta at that time.

 

Sometimes I wake up early in the morning and turn on my TV. If I get no signal at all from Direct TV, that means there is snow on the bottom half of my dish, so I have to go out in my pajamas and clean it off before I can receive a picture.

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*I haven't had any recent trouble with TCM on Direct TV.*

 

It's been 23 months since my last DISH trouble, but I still wonder each December-January if it will happen during long-awaited movies. Shudder...

 

Speaking of shudder, I finally had to go outside last winter to clean ice off my dish after remembering that you said it caused outages. Thanks, Fred. Hopefully I don't have to climb up the side of the house again this year.

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