Things I wish I had known setting up and first using TVServer for good reception of DVB-T (1 Viewer)


September 29, 2012
Bahamas Bahamas
I'm almost sure all has been written before in both the instructions and on this forum but, I thought I'd write about what I've learned in just one place in the hope it might help someone either starting out or, having issues with DVB-T aerial reception. Whilst there are many variables I've not listed I think I've covered the more generic issues.

Over the years I've bought DVB-T and DVB-T2 USB tuners and seen many a complaint on various Internet sites that they don't work or some other issue. Some of those complaints appear to be due to lack of knowledge rather than defect.

Let me skip the process of installation of drivers and assume at the very least that you've read the installation documentation for MediaPortal and TV_Server has recognised the tuner(s).

So, you're in TV_Server configuration and selected your country and region and scan for channels but some or many appear to be missing.
What to do? Buy a new aerial, an amplifier, move house? Not yet.

Before you do all that, I suggest you (using TV_Server Configuration):

1. Go into General. Select the Tab for Scan. Change the default Tune from 2 secs to 3. Perform another scan. Do more (or all) channels appear? If they do, then your tuner(s) need more than the default 2 secs to warm up and find channels. You could try 4 secs for more results but beyond 4 secs I don't think will help.

2. We're not dome yet. Lets assume you still have a few missing channels how can we immprove matters? Select Manual Control and click on one of the tuners listed. Then select a TV channel from the dropdown box and click on Start Timeshift. After a while a signal strength and signal quality meter appear. Is the quality meter between 75% and 85% and holding steady? Good for you. If you are still missing channels then I suggest you re-tune but search the whole of your country regions; that might find the channels you are missing.

3. Let's assume your signal quality is poor (less than 75%) and/or going up and down like a slow moving yoyo? In some cases it might be atmospherics of the day as the cause or, it could be caused by obstacles between you and the transmitter. If you have more than one tuner is the signal splitter of good quality? Try removing it and see signal strength using one tuner. No improvement? In these cases I'd now start considering a mast-head TV amplifier (please don't use other sorts as they usually give poor results).

4. In my case, I'm not too far from a transmitter but some channels have a lot weaker signal strength and these are hard to pick up reliably - I frequently get the signal strength yoyo affect. My solution was to buy both a mast-head TV amp and aerial coaxial variable attenuator. Without the attenuator, my signal strength, in some cases, were 100% and this is unwanted - 75-85% being ideal. With very careful (and patient) turning of the attenuator control I find I can boost the weak signals without causing the high powered signals to cause issue.

5. If none of the above work to your satisfaction then perhaps the TV aerial does need replacing but I'd try all of the above before considering the aerial and/or cable quality/connections - but don't forget the cable and plugs. In a few cases the plugs had bad connections to the cables and that weakened the signal.

Hope this is useful to someone and not too 'old news'.

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