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BOCS Troubleshooting - Poor Video Quality

This article supplements the "Troubleshooting" section in the user manual. Try the remedy suggested in that section first.

There are several reasons that the BOCS channels video quality is poor. We discuss ways to isolate the problem and suggest possible solutions.

BOCS media hub

Connect your system as shown below. You would need to have an AV device (such as DVR, cable setup box, or DVD player) to produce an A/V signal for testing. In this configuration, no antenna or cable signal is connected to the setup. This is to eliminate the possibility of signal interference. This also assumes that your remotes and media hub have been configured properly.

BOCS media hub test 1

BOCS media hub back panel

  1. Use a coaxial cable to connect the media hub "Ant In" to the local TV "Ant In". Play some movie or video files and check if your TV has a good signal.
  2. Use a coaxial cable to connect the media hub "Local TV" to the local TV "Ant In". Play some movie or video files and check if your TV has a good signal.

If the signal quality is poor, it can be any one of the following:

  • BOCS broadcast frequencies: Make sure the BOCS broadcast frequencies match with your TV channels. See "Adjust BOCS to broadcast on CUstom Frequencies" on the manual for more details.
  • Bad coaxial cable: Try a different cable.
  • Defective BOCS unit: Replace unit.

After confirming the media hub is working, the next step is to check the cabling.

Supercombiner

If you are using TV antenna, skip this step as you do not need the supercombiner.

From the last setup

  • Use a coaxial cable to connect the media hub "Ant In" to the supercombiner "Xtender" terminal.
  • Connect the supercombiner "RF Out" to the local TV "Ant In."
  • Play some movie or video files

If the local TV picture quality is poor, either the supercombiner or the coaxial cable is defective. Replace as required.

Extensive signal loss

In this configuration, use a regular splitter to connect the media hub "Ant In" to the remote TVs and the media hub "Local TV" to local TV. No cable from antenna or cable is connected.

BOCS media hub test 3

Play some movie or video files and observe the video quality on your local TV and remote TVs.

The video quality in the local TV should be similar to the last test; otherwise the media hub is defective.

If video quality of the remote TVs is poor and yet the local TV signal is fine, this is probably caused by signal loss in the cabling system. Try one of the following remedies.

  • Increase the signal strength from the media hub. See "Adjust the Video quality of BOCS channels" in the manual.
  • Use a TV signal amplifier to boost the signal. See Antenna Preamp & a Distribution Amplifier for more details.
  • Replace any old coaxial cables and splitters.
  • If you have a RF signal tester, you can trace the signal from the "Ant In" terminal at BOCS all the way to the remote TVs. This would give you a better idea of what is going on.

Skip the following test if you are not using cable TV.

When your coaxial cables are marginal, the additional signal loss due to the supercombiner can cause problem. Use the following steps to test your cables.

  • Replace the splitter with the supercombiner.
  • Use a coaxial cable to connect the media hub "Ant In" to the supercombiner "Xtender" terminal.
  • Connect the supercombiner "RF Out" to the remote TVs.
  • Play some movie or video files

If the video quality at the remote TVs is poor, the cabling system is marginal as the slight additional signal loss due to supercombiner is enough to cause the signal quality to deteriorate. Follow the remedies suggested above to fix the problem.

At this stage, you know that your media hub and house cabling system are not the culprit. You can broadcast all the BOCS channels to your remote and local TVs when there is no TV or cable signals. The next step is to add the TV or cable signal and determine how the signals work together.

Over the air TV (antenna)

BOCS media hub test 4

From the last test, add the antenna signal to the house's main splitter. In the gadgets shown between the antenna and the cable junction box are optional.

If the video quality of the BOCS channels degrades, this is caused by interference from the anternna signals. Try the following to minimize the interference.

  • Try different BOCS channel frequencies. To minimize interference, there should be at least one channel separation between two active channels. For example, if there is already a channel 26, avoid using channel 25 or 27. An active channel can either be a TV channel or BOCS channel. See "Adjust BOCS to broadcast on Custom Frequencies" in the manual on how to change the BOCS broadcast frequencies.
  • If there are too much signal interference in your area, an alternative is to use a notch or low-pass TV signal filter to remove the interference.

To find a list of local TV channels, see TV Station Index for details. For example, in Houston, we got excellent result in using Channels 14, 16, 50, 52, 54 and 56 for the BOCS channels.

Cable TV

With cable TV, replace the splitter with the supercombiner as indicated in the following diagram. The supercombiner is basically a splitter with a filter that clears up a block of frequency spectrum (CATV 14, 96 and 98). Only these channels are usable as almost all cable companies have utilize the entire frequency spectrum and there is no available space for the BOCS channels. As a side effect, the original cable TV channels in this space would no longer be available. It is possible to assign other channels; however RF filters with different cutoff frequencies are required.

The diagram below shows the test configuration. Make sure that the media hub "Antenna In" is connected to the "xtender" terminal of the supercombiner.

BOCS media hub test 5

Play some movie or video files and observe the video quality on your local TV and remote TVs.

If the local TV video quality is good and remote TV video quality is bad, this probably caused by weak signals. See the suggestions above on how to boost the signal strength.

If the video quality of all TVs is poor, the supercombiner is not filtering the signal properly. Replace the supercombiner.

There are other reasons that may cause the poor signal quality, see "Troubleshooting" in the manual.

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