Did you know every TV station in the USA has 2 transmitters?
One is for Analog TV. The other is for Digital TV. The quality of the digital image is much better. Unfortunately, unless you have a Digital TV converter box, like a Tivax box, your analog TV cannot receive the digital television programs.
1. What is Analog Television?
Analog TV signals were designed in the 1940s, long before computer technology existed. Analog TV is based on an old standard called NTSC. Compared to Digital TV signals, the Analog picture is fuzzy and very inferior to Digital TV. This is why the US Government decided to turn off Analog TV signals in 2009.
Analog TVs cannot receive Digital TV signals. There are only 3 ways to see digital TV signals on your Analog TV:
A: You must have a Digital TV set. Your Analog TV cannot receive the amazing world of digital television
B: You must have a Digital TV tuner(converter box). Tivax converter box is a Digital TV tuner.
C: You must pay for cable or satellite.
This is the new broadcasting standard. Digital TV signals are based on a new standard called ATSC. In early 2009, all Analog TV signals will be turned off. This is Federal Law. Under the new Federal Law, cable and satellite may not be required to provide you access to all the FREE digital signals. Eventually, you will get some of these signals, but no one knows for sure when this will happen. It could be many more years before cable or satellite decide to give you access to all FREE Digital TV signals.
Digital Television is very exciting and offers too many features to be listed here. However, your Tivax Set Top Digital Receiver gives you the ability to enjoy most of these advantages on your Analog TV set!
- High Definition Television
The High Definition Digital TV is similar to a computer data signal. It is also called HDTV. In other words, it is very sophisticated and can do many more things. The broadcast station can do more interesting things with a Digital TV signal, such as broadcast High Definition television. This is a very superior picture.
Your Tivax will easily decode the HDTV signal. You will be able to watch HDTV on your Analog TV. While you will NOT see the picture in its true High Definition format (only expensive High Definition TV sets can do this), you will be very surprised with the excellent picture quality.
The Digital TV signal is very powerful. A broadcaster can do many things with the Digital Television signal. Sometimes, when they want to show you a very high quality picture, they will transmit the program in High Definition. When this happens, you will only get ONE Digital Television signal at that moment in time. A good example when this happens is during Prime Time (8 pm to 11 pm). Football and baseball games are commonly transmitted in High Definition.
- Multicast TV Signals
The Digital TV signal is very powerful. A broadcaster can also choose to show you more than one TV signal on the same frequency. (Analog TV cannot do this!) A broadcaster can provide FOUR or more excellent quality signals AT THE SAME TIME! This is called “multicasting”. Tivax can decode this signal for you! A good example is during Day Time. Imagine signal #1 is dedicated to a soap opera, signal #2 is dedicated to a documentary, signal #3 is dedicated to a talk show and signal #4 is dedicated to a medical program. Only Digital TV can do this and Tivax can decode this for you!
Standard Definition Television
This refers to a TV picture that is NOT High Definition. When the broadcaster wants to show you more than one signal, they refer to this as Standard Definition (as opposed to HDTV). Standard Definition TV is also called SDTV.
3 Converter box-initial setup
Some customers think that the converter is defective when at first power on, they only see a small menu, which among others has a selection for language.
There are in fact two options. You can use the center cursor buttons to move your selection up and down, and use the left and right buttons to make changes.
Make sure you are on the field to auto program the unit and hit the OK button or press the right cursor button to initiate channel search.
The unit will not allow any other function until that initial scan has been performed.
If the menu is in another language use the left right cursor keys to change the language while the language field is highlighted.
You can also change the language in the menu. See page 20 in your manual.
4. Converter got hot?
It is important to keep the converter out of direct sunlight. Do not place it on top of hot appliances like TV’s and keep space around the converter clear to not block the vent openings.
Converters can be left on, but in the interest of energy savings, no matter how small, we recommend to switch them to standby.
Converters are designed with an operating temperature of about 100-120F surface temperature. Converters will shut down when getting about 200F which is below boiling water temperature.
5. Converter doesn’t work on cable?
Sorry, but the Tivax converters T8/T9 will NOT work on cable or FIOS. They have only an ATSC or over the air tuner and REQUIRE an antenna. Most cable services have analog signals and only need a converter for their premium cable programming for which they charge you a lease fee. The Tivax converter can not be used to get around that situation.
The converter was built to specifications from NTIA to help people who receive TV programming over the air to continue receiving TV after the February switch over without having to replace their TVs.
The unit can be used to supplement your cable by receiving over the air channels that are NOT carried by your cable company by hooking the unit up to an antenna and feeding the outgoing signal to your TV in various ways, either by connecting the RF output to the cable reciver’s RF/Antenna input (not cable input) if it has one, or, by connecting the A/V output to your TV’s Video or AUX input and using the TV’s input switch capability to switch between cable and A/V.
6. Can the converter be connected to other entertainment devices?
There are many ways to wire up an entertainment system and it is impossible to cover all possible permutations. Tivax can not advise on particular setups nor can we design or troubleshoot your particular system.
In general, the Tivax receiver goes between your existing antenna and the point where that antenna was connected to. An Antenna MUST be connected to the outermost RF connector of the Tivax Unit. The TV must be tuned to either CH3/4 if using RF connections and must stay that way. You change channels on the converter, not the TV. You also need to program the converter by running a channel scan.
Note: if you have a cable provider and have no antenna then the T9/8 will NOT work for you unless you get an antenna. The T9/8 can not decode cable signals or satellite broadcasts.
The Tivax T9/8 has 2 outputs (RF and composite) that can be used in parallel, feeding to separate units of your entertainment system.
The only difference between the T8 and T9 is that in OFF-Mode, the T8 will pass any RF signals from the Antenna to the RF-Out port. This is referred to as “pass-thru” and is used if you like to receive analog signals on your TV that may either come from the antenna or a VCR.
Please also note that with the use of the Tivax you no longer use your TV or VCR remote to switch channels but the remote of the Tivax-T9/8. Some remotes are capable of learning other remotes code or can be programmed to assume another remote’s role. Starting in June 2009, your current TV will no longer be able to use its analog tuner to tune to broadcast channels.
But you may still need that tuner for some of the examples below.
1) You can feed the RF-out of the T9/8 to your TV, and the composite video to your VCR.
Note: your VCR will NOT be able to tune the T9/8 unless it has some feature to learn and transmit IR signals to the T9/8 via an IR emitter. If you don’t know what this means, then your system probably does not have this feature.
Also, some VCRs may need to be set to receive on CH3 from the converter while they transmit on CH4 to the TV, or vice versa. Using the A/V connection may not have this issue.
2) You can feed the RF-Out of the T9/8 to your VCR RF-IN and from the VCR-RF-Out to your TV RF-IN.
You need to tune your VCR to CH3/4 to receive the Tivax signal and you need tune your TV to whatever Channel your VCR sends out its signal. When the VCR is off, most units just pass the input thru to the output, which is referred to as pass-thru.
Then you need to tune your TV to the channel that the T9/8 transmits on. There is a switch on the rear of the T9/8 that allows you to select that transmission channel.
The T9 does not do passthru, our model T8 does.
3) If you have a DVD player then most likely the output of the DVD player uses either composite signals (Red-White, Yellow) or Component signals (Red-Blue-Green and Red-White) Red-White is used for the audio signals while Yellow or Red-Blue-Green are used for Video signals (RF-connections carry both Video and Audio but at lower quality). Quality of Component signals is superior to Composite signals, and Composite signals are better then RF.
Most DVD players have no RF input and thus their output needs to be connected to an input at the TV, most likely composite or component, and no pass-thru is available.
That leaves the TV-RF-input for the Tivax. You will need to use your TV remote to switch between the RF input (ch3 or ch4 depending on the tivax T9/8 output switch) and your auxiliary or video inputs to either watch your DVD or Tivax-T9/8 signals. And you use the Tivax remote to tune to different channels.
4) If you have a DVD and VCR then you can use a combination of example 2) and 3).
5) If you have a more recent TV and/or VCR that utilizes multiple inputs then we highly recommend to dedicate each input to one of your video sources, Tivax, VCR, or DVD for much better quality.
If you need to record transmissions from your T9/8, then try to connect the T9/8-composite output (Red-White, Yellow) to your VCR Composite input, and the VCR Composite output to your TV-Composite input. You will record much better quality that way.
If the TV does not have any more Composite inputs you can then still use the VCR-Rf-Output to connect to your TV-RF-Input.
6) If you have a a satellite system and the receiver down-converts its signal to either RF-ch3/4 you can either use the RF option from satelite to TV and use A/V from tivax to TV. You switch your TV between RF and A/V to watch either signal source. If your TV does not have A/V and only RF, then you may try to either use a RF-Mixer (reverse splitter – not supplied) to lead both RF outputs (satellite and tivax) into the TV. Have the output of the Satellite receiver on CH3 and Tivax on Ch4 (or vice versa). You could also take the Tivax output and feed it into the antenna input of the satellite receiver, assuming the satellite has a passthru. If the satellite receiver has its own terrestrial tuner then it would need to stay on ch3/4 (to whatever the tivax output is set) and you may need to “scan” for channels in the satellite receiver.
We hope this little introduction will help you to enjoy your viewing experience.
Any entertainment system that did not get covered in the examples above is beyond the support we can provide and we highly recommend to consult some experts in your area to help you out.
8. Converter—the ‘pass thru’ Mode
To use Pass-Thru mode the T8 unit needs to be in stdby mode (red light) and the TV
must be hooked to the converter via the RF cable.
Once the converter is in stdby mode you can use your TV remote to switch to other channels.
Pass-Thru means the signal is routed via an electric switch to the RF output. The converter is not even on at that time and processes no signals. Analog signals are not received or processed by the converter.
As a result of longer cable path ways, weak signals may get attenuated below some levels that other TV might no longer be able to recognize. An amplifier on the antenna side is therefore recommended.
If you have a model T9, using the A/V (red,white,yellow) cables with your TV in A/V mode and the RF antenna connected to both the converter RF Input and TV-RF Ant Input, the same result can be achieved. Some TVs may not have those A/V inputs, and only the T8 model will provide that feature.
Pass-Thru is generally only needed before the February 09 switch over, or in areas where there will be analog broadcasts after Feb 09, like near the Canadian or Mexican borders.
Some customers are asking about Antennas and why they do not receive digital stations even though they receive analog channels.
In general, whenever possible, an outdoor antenna should be used to maximize reception.
Indoor antennas are susceptible to loss of signal from walls, especially if the walls are made of concrete or have stucco on the outside. Metal components in walls will weaken or inhibit reception.
Amplifiers only amplify what they receive. In most cases they just bring up signal levels so that long cable runs would not worsen signals.
If there is insufficient signal strength intermixed with noise, then that noise will be amplified as well as those amplifiers are broadband amplifiers.
Walking inside the room can affect reception even if the antenna is not moved. Walls will reduce the amount of signal received by the antenna.
The tivax should receive a signal that is at least in the middle range of signal quality to experience no dropouts. You can check signal quality by pressing the signal button on the remote, and use that to adjust your antenna.
The Tivax converter needs to be programmed after purchase by getting into the menu and selecting auto-channel-scan. This process will scan the airwaves for existing broadcast stations. If at first it did not find any stations, then there could be a problem with your antenna or even the cable between the antenna and the Tivax. Try changing that cable.
Some people reported bad signal from the Tivax when using the RF connection between the Tivax and their TV. Make sure your TV is tuned to the same channel as the selector switch at the rear of the Tivax converter. If in doubt, use the A/V cables (red/white/yellow) and switch your TV AUX input or Line1 or similar. A/V gives you a better quality.
Some channels may be received on a different channel than its name. For instance CBS on CH5 may broadcast on CH29 in digital. This has an impact on your antenna. The antenna may be optimized for CH5 but may have a lesser performance at the higher channels (UHF versus VHF). If the signal is not strong enough, the converter may never receive the digital information to recognize the channel.
Most digital channels are in the UHF range. If you have only a VHF antenna you may not receive those channels. Digital stations also use less power than analog stations and thus may require a better antenna.
In some cases it may be possible that the signal from the antenna is too strong and overloads the tuner. In that case the antenna signal needs to be attenuated, or, if you use an amplifier, the amplifier should be removed or turned down. Sometimes, an antenna pad is needed. A pad is a small connector that gets screwed in between the tuner and the antenna cable and it will lower the signal strength by a certain amount.
It is also possible the that there is interference from radio stations and their harmonics which might fall into the some TV channels. To eliminate such interference you may need an FM-Trap which is a filter that prevents radio signals from reaching your TV/Converter.
10. Converter—VCR recording
We sometimes receive questions in regard to recording via a converter.
1) VCRs and VDRs have timers built in that allow to turn on the recorder at a set time and start recording.
2) To record programs with a VCR/VDR make sure the converter is set to the channel beforehand, is turned on, and the sleep timer is set to off.
You do NOT select the channel on the VCR but on the converter. You can NOT record on one channel at one time, and then record on another channel at some other time, without manual intervention.
3) if your VCR/VDR is connected via the black RF Cable, make sure you set your VCR to record on that same channel as the switch at the rear of converter.
4) if your recording device is connected via A/V connections (Red/White/Yellow),
make sure your recording session records from that input source.
5) We can not give you advice on how to setup your recording device to perform the recording function or how operate your VCR/VDR. We do NOT have manuals or devices at hand to give that advice. Please see your VCR manual or contact support for that recording device.
6) The principle of recording is that you either record from A/V or from an RF source. In case of using the RF source solution, make sure the same channel is selected as the one that the converter is TRANSMITTING on.
7) In some cases users use the VCR in between the TV and converter. If you use RF cables to go into the VCR from the converter and an RF cable between the VCR and TV, it might be necessary to use CH3 between the converter and VCR, and CH4 between VCR and TV, as the VCR may not be capable to receive AND transmit on the same channel without interference or other side effects. Using the A/V connection between all three devices is always recommended if it is supported on all those devices to achieve best quality.
If you recorded poor or no quality, that usually means the VCR was not tuned to the converter output.
The advice given in this FAQ is all the advice we can give for your set up.
We can not give specific advice about specific scenarios or brands of components. We do not have access to those devices or manuals which should be with your device. We are not a consulting firm to design, setup, or debug particular environments of an entertainment system. Please consult with a local professional if you need help beyond what is covered in this note.
11. The function of “manual add”
To add any channels manually try the following procedure.
Find out from titantv.org, tvfool.com, or other sources on which channel the missing channel is supposed to transmit. (i.e. CBS-5 transmits on UHF-56)
Press the signal button on remote.
Enter 56 OK on remote.
Adjust your antenna to maximum signal.
If in fact you can receive this channel at your location, that channel should then appear in channel slot 5.1
It may take a few seconds before the station has sent the channel information that the converter needs to sort it into memory and store it.
Some people had some problems with this procedure.
Try this test:
Disconnect your antenna, do a channel scan. The converter will complain about no signal being present. Now enter a known physical channel number (not the logical, like abc is ch7 logical, but transmits on ch 27 uhf physical as an example). If you entered 27 OK the channel would be displayed and after a few seconds it will be in memory and be displayed as ch 7-1. Try pressing the guide or info button and see if it received sufficient information from the station yet.
If you do not get any signal by adjusting your antenna then you may either have the wrong type of antenna or an antenna that does not bring enough signal into the converter.
Many if not MOST digital channels are on UHF as the VHF channels are used for analog.
If your antenna does not receive UHF it may not work. If your antenna is not amplified it may not work in your area.
In some rare cases it might be possible that a single station’s signal is TOO STRONG and overload the tuner. In this case turn the antenna away from the station or insert an attenuator or antenna pad into the line.
There is not one solution that fits all locations and your situation may vary.
These explanations are just a few possibilities of how to address your particular situation.
12. Converter Remote code
Some customers assume that the Tivax Remote is capable of controlling their TV (Volume, On/OFF). The Tivax remote is NOT a universal remote and thus can not learn or be programmed to control any other device.
Some customers have universal Remotes. We often get asked what is the remote code for Tivax.
There is some reference on the FAQ site addressing remotes. Please follow those links.
In general, if you have an older “universal remote” it just may not know about the tivax product.
Control codes are indices into tables inside the universal remotes. Each universal remote uses their own code. We do not have that information. You need to contact the manufacturer of the universal remote about this. We use codes and chips that were designed and manufactured by NEC. It may take some time before vendors of universal remotes add new devices to their list of supported vendors.
If your remote is capable of “learning” codes and assigning them to select buttons then you will be able to control the tivax converter with your universal remote. Please consult the manual that came with your universal remote to find out how to do this. We can not assist you in this matter.
13. There is no signal on my TV
No signal may mean that you have not “auto programmed” the unit or there is insufficient signal strength for the digital signals, or you have connected the converter to a cable system.
Press the menu button and select the first item that auto program (manual Page 17).
HD type antennas are mostly UHF antennas as the VHF channels are currently used by analog TV.
If you get only ch2-13 on your current antenna that may indicate that you have a VHF antenna only and most likely will not receive UHF digital channels.
Smart Antenna are very expensive and are active amplified antennas that can electronically change their directional sensitivity. They usually only needed if your broadcasting sources are spread around you and would otherwise require the antenna to be reoriented every time you change the channel.
The following is writeup is designed to help you determine the next steps.
1) We have had customers who have a tv the displays “No Signal” when no antenna is hooked up and they decided to use the A/V input, but failed to set the TV AUX input or second input or similar.
2) Some customers thought the converter box IS the antenna and never bothered to hookup an antenna to the RF-IN/ATSC-IN on the converter.
3) Some customers have only a VHF antenna and their digital signals are on UHF.
Check with the stations in your neighborhood and find out where they transmit. You also may just have an UHF antenna and some digital stations come in on VHF. Also after the digital switch rescan since some channels may have moved.
4) Check on titantv.com or tvfool.com for your zipcode what stations are supposed to be available. And yes, there may be areas where digital may not be available yet.
In Canada try http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=129
5) Some customers never performed a channel scan on the converter. Each region has different broadcasters, so the converter needs to scan the frequencies to see what is available and program it’s internal memories.
6) All digital stations have a format of x.y where ‘x’ is the main channel and ‘y’ is the subchannel as in 7.1 . Not all channels start with a sub channel of ‘1′.
Digital channels are currently broadcast on different channels than their analog counterpart. (this will change after the switch over).
If you receive ch7 analog, the digital counterpart may be on ch53.1 .The converter recognizes this, and puts the channel in slot 7 not in slot 53.
7) If you unfortunate enough to receive channels from different directions and must turn your internal antenna to receive different station, consider buying an amplified circular sensitive antenna, or an even more expensive smart antenna.
In some cases internal rabbit ears may just not work and you need to find a better antenna solution.
9) in some cases your amplified antenna, if you use one, may just create too much output and over drive the tuner. In that case turn down the antenna amplifier, or turn it off, or adjust the antenna away.
10) in same cases there might be interference from nearby radio stations and an FM trap is needed. This is a filter that goes in line with your antenna and prevents radio signals to enter the converter.
If you check the physical frequency of the TV station and you find a multiple of that frequency falls into the FM range of 88-108, then this may be a strong indication of FM interference. Frequently those interferences may be limited to certain times of the day.
11) If you have more than one converter and you find that there are different reception results, try to exchange the converters with each other and see if the problem goes with the converter or stays with the location.
This can be caused by bad wiring and you may need to replace that cable.
You might want to try some of these links to get you going with your configuration:
15. TV lost channels
If a channel is no longer visible, please go into the menu and check under manual channel set if the missing channel shows up as non viewable. The signal may have fluctuated and the converter may have marked the channel as non viewable.
If this does not work, run a channel scan (add channel scan) to re-detect the channel.
If this still does not work, find out the physical channel number from titantv.com
(you need to be logged in to see that info) or visit the website of that station.
Enter the physical station number (i.E ch2 may transmit on ch 53 physical), then try to adjust your antenna for maximum signal strength.
It may be possible that a particular channel is being interfered with by some other strong broadcaster like a radio station. Sometimes, it may help to add an FM-Trap or filter in the antenna to solve that problem.
16. The function of “add scan”
The Add Channel Scan is a feature that was added after the manual was printed.
Its purpose is to add channels that require a repositioning of an antenna.
Each new scan would overwrite existing channels and possibly delete channels if not found. Some people may live in an area where they need or use a movable antenna. Adding channels allows them to automatically scan and add channels to the memory without loosing existing programming.
The symptom of blocks of pixels showing on the screen can be caused by one of two reasons:
1) you have tuned to a weak station and your signal is marginal.
Add an amplifier, or re-adjust antenna.
2) Your station has a signal that is too strong and overloads the tuner.
Turn the antenna away from that station, or add an attenuator.
Attenuators reduce signal strength on ALL signals.
A suitable attenuator can be obtained from this location:
Re-adjusting the antenna is the better solution. Remember, you don’t need stronger signal to get better quality.
18. TV-Smart antenna
We get occasional questions about “Smart-Antenna”. Please read the following article to understand what a Smart Antenna is and does.
Tivax implemented the ANSI/CEA-909A standard. We do not, at this time, recommend any particular brand of smart-antenna, nor do we have any testing results with a particular brand. We do not sell smart antenna at this time.
A smart Antenna is NOT required. Any regular antenna that is capable of receiving analog channels 2-69 is sufficient to receive digital signals.
If you happen to live in an area with poor reception, you may need an outdoor or roof antenna. Indoor antennas are frequently affected by walls and furniture and even people walking around.
Smart antennas will not work any better inside than a regular inside antenna which has the same receiving characteristics.
The only time smart antennas are needed is when you live in an area where one TV station is on your right side and the other one on the left or some other direction that can not be “seen” when looking towards the first station. The smart antenna is capable to automatically “look” where the best signal for the other station was received from, and “turn” towards that station either electronically or mechanically.
In order to use a smart antenna 2 cable connections are used. Once carries the RF signals and one carries the commands and data from the controller of the smart antenna to the Tivax. Information about best antenna position is then stored inside the Tivax T9/8 and reused when tuned to that channel, or, the T9/8 will adjust the antenna for a better signal. This process may add to the time tuning to a different channel.
Instead of using a smart antenna, you may also use several antennas and combine their signal onto one cable and feed it to the Tivax.
For more information you might want to visit the following Sites:
19. TV-sound levels
Some users notice various sound levels when a broadcaster switches from main programming to commercials.
In general it is the job of the broadcaster to feed material at pre-determined sound levels. Some material the broadcaster airs may not meet those standards and thus you may need to adjust your volume level on the receiver.
This has little to with the receiver and is up to the broadcaster to address.
Some consumers state that audio levels are too low. While it is possible that some older TVs may have some issues with the audio level provided to them, this is in general not true. It is possible that a unit is defective or has been damaged by consumers due to improper hookups.
If there is a low sound level on ALL channels, then there could be an issue with your TV, or the cable connecting the TV with the converter. You might want to try to find a replacement cable in a local electronics store. If you use RF connection, see if switching A/V connection solves this problem. Or, if you use the A/V connection try the RF cable. See if the cables are properly seated by wiggling on them and try to insert them better.
20. TV- change language
To change the language, press the menu button. Press the down button 6 times to highlight the language field. Then press the right button to cycle through the various languages.
If you are still in the initial setup screen, highlight the language name and use the right cursor key ‘>’ on the remote to cycle through the languages.