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Advice on my issues...dealing with Rogers

9305 Views 39 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  corpfan1
I will try to outline my story as best I is complicated and very frustrating. I am looking for advice or ideas on how to move forward and what I should be asking when speaking to the Office of the President and customer service.

- This issue has been ongoing for about 2 years now...there have been 14 techs out to visit my apartment including 2 senior techs. I live in a 21-story building in Brampton.

About 2 years ago, I started experiencing intermittent pixelation on several channels (mostly HD). It has "seemed" to progessively worsen with time.

I had 7 techs (1 senior) out last year and all "saw" the problem. Most of them replaced all my cabling, splitter, inserted a booster, removed a booster, replaced my PVR 3 times, told me to replace my HDMI cables, etc...

Nothing was solved.

Over that time, I was credited 2 months free...

I got used to the issue and kind of just gave up because I was frustrated and extremely tired of having to move furniture, be home, replace cables, make calls to technical support, etc...

The pixellation seemed to worsen this summer and I decided that I have had enough of it, especially since I bought a $6000 Pioneer Kuro and new set of speakers.

So, I started calling in again to see if the problem could get resolved...

Again, more techs, more redundancy. I got another 1 month credit. Still pixelation...this time the techs finally came to the conclusion that the issue isn't INSIDE MY APARTMENT UNIT.

Another tech came out (claiming to be a senior tech - I was told later he was not) and didn't do anything except tell me that he sees this problem all the time and that nothing could be done as it is a "building issue" and that I should "move" or "switch to Bell". He then told me that what he said is "off the record" and that I shouldn't tell anyone what he said as he was "just being honest with me".

I complained again that I was still having issues...So, they sent a senior tech to come monitor the feed from the main cable box in the building. He came twice and sat in the hallway to monitor the feed on a small monitor. He stayed for 2 hours each time...1st time with a digital box (4250?)...and then with a PVR (8300). He had me on the cell phone watching my tv and told me to tell him when I see pixelation and he would turn to the channel to see if he could see the same. Of course, he saw no issues at all...but then again, I wasn't seeing many occurrences as it was during the late afternoon - when the issue seems to be least prevalent. I explained to him that my issue seemed to be most prevalent during evening hours and weekends and he said that was "nonsense" and "impossible" as time of day can not affect the signal...yet I am 100% sure that it worsens at night and on the weekends.

After asking me if I was "really seeing the issue?", he concluded that the feed is fine and that the issue must be between my apartment and the cable room (cables within the concrete walls). He sent that as his report and said he doubted that anything could be done as they wouldn't be able to replace the 40 year old cables in the concrete walls. He gave me his cell phone number and told me he would contact me over the next week to 10 days with any solutions, etc...

I did not hear back from him. I waited 10 days and called him leaving a message indicating that the problems had continued and that the picture quality seemed to get worse and that also some of my Super Sports Pack channels were no longer working. I was also experiencing blurring/pixelation during fast moving scenes in movies and sports. He did not return my call.

I tried again, 7 days later - no answer, no return call.

I put another call into Rogers tech support, and again they sent a tech to investigate the issues, especially the Sports Pack channels not working (just showing black). I am currently dealing with that as channels 378, 379, 380, 381, 495, 496, 497 (all at 435mHz) have been black during events (and all the time). This tech's boss is now trying to solve the issue. The phone techs said they show them working at their office and that they see a "really weak" signal coming to my digital box. Yet the tech that was here says the signal is fine.

I sent a letter to the office of the president, and they called me back 3 times - all early in the morning when I was sleeping. They left a message each time, but no return number to call. They then sent me a letter indicating that they tried calling, but was unable to reach me and that I should call 1-XXX-XXX-XXXX to get ahold of someone. I tried calling, but it keeps going to a automated message and directory that requires a password. #, 0, * didn't work to get to an operator or anything - it just would hang up.

I have sent another letter to the office of the president and have not heard back at all for 10 days now.

So, to recap...

- I have intermittent pixelation that can get really bad at times (sometimes breaking up the pic and sound every 30 seconds for about 1 second continuously for an hour or more).

- 7 of the Super Sports Pack channels don't work. They are just showing black at all times, even during scheduled football and hockey games.

- I am now getting breakup / pixelation during fast moving scenes in movies and sports (this just started in the last 3 weeks since the last senior tech was monitoring things in the main cable room).

Any suggestions? Unfortunately, I can't get any other service in my building as they are Rogers exclusive and don't allow satellite dishes.

Please help.
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Yes, I understand about: "safety issues" with a special cable run ... and with making "other tenents jealous".

From the Cable Co's and the Building's point of view / point of reference ... these are real concerns.

If one tenent gets something better ... it will soon precipitate to everyone wanting it.

... and of course that may require a possible resolution of the whole problem for the whole building. An expensive and lengthy exercise everyone wants to avoid.

Maybe they'll find a "work around" solution. An alternate solution.
The problem is cable plant will deteriorate with time. IIRC, the OP said the cabling in his building was about 40 years old. If so, it's well past due for replacement. Whether the building or Rogers does it is another matter.

BTW, I have twice had the experience of living in an apartment building that was re-cabled. The usual practice is to run conduits on the outside wall.
JamesK ... you know what ... what a coincidence ... I thought more about it today ... and had the same thoughts ...

I imagined a similar solution to this problem and it went something like this.

Each floor must have a connection closet - with coax to each unit.

Run a conduit up the outside of the building and feed each floor's connection closet with a fibre. Demux unit/ fibre to coax on each floor ... and reconnect each user on each floor.

Something like that.

They must have solutions like this.

But there's always the issue of how to re-connect the lobby camera to this new system. There's some extra work there ...

Just imagining a solution ...

Rogers and Building... are you monitoring our posts / ideas ???
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Can you explain in "simple terms" what you mean by the solutions?

The building has a cable room on the 6th and 17th floors that is the "hub" for the building.

The 6th floor serves floors 1-11 and the 17th serves floors 12-21 from what I know. The rooms look like a closet filled with tangled webs of wires all coming out of about 6-8 boxes that are attached to the wall with labels.

The wire coming out into my apartment comes out of a foundation wall between the kitchen and the living area. It is a concrete wall.

Hope some of that info helps.

thanks... now we know a little bit more about structure of how the units in the building are fed.

really ... first they gotta figure out where the real problem is.

Is the problem in (one of) the feeds to (one of) the hub's on the 6th or 17th floors?


Is the problem in the feeds from (one of) the hubs (6th or 17th) to the units?


Is the problem something else ?

What we are talking about is re-running part(s) of the feeds to the units in the building. But you've gotta know what NEEDS to be re-run.

If they can pin point where the trouble(s) actually lie(s) ... then an entire re-wireing of the whole building may NOT be necessary.

Sometimes there is just one thing ... or a just a couple or just a few things causing all the problems.

Find those few troubles ... fix those few troubles ... and there's no need to re-wire the whole building.

It's all in the testing and analysis ... and determining where the real "troubles" lie.

Does that help in the understanding of what we're talking about?
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Each floor must have a connection closet - with coax to each unit.
In the buildings I used to live in, they ran the cables up the exterior walls in conduits, with cables for each apartment running down to a box on the first floor. In the condo that I live in now, cables run from each unit directly to the utility room. However, this building may not be a good example, as there are only 48 units and 3 floors.
my guess is with time, the building codes get changed, if something is done to "old" code, and needs to be worked on or repaired or what ever, chances are, they would have to bring it up to code. Perhaps the newest building code states the way the cables are run must be different now than they were before. Probaly because of this, a lot more work must be done. Rogers because they do not own the building, may not have access or permission to do the work because of possible new permit requriements or changes in the installation procedures. It may be to the point where the entire sistem may need an overhaul and all new cables pulled, so theyre saving some money and may do it when other work is scheduled, but that could be one reason rogers may not have access, the building itself may be holding them back from doing such..
The problem isn't codes. Buildings have been wired for cable for many years. The problem is you can't reuse the conduit, without ripping out the existing cables. This would leave the residents without cable/phone/internet service for a significant period of time.
I've worked in the cable room of apartment buildings and condos. I must say, some of the older ones, are wired really bad. To me it looked like it would be better to rip the entire thing out and start all over again. Who knows if the condos when they were originally wired thought the wire would last for ever, lol. guess not. lots of dwellings had RG59, I remember seeing cable splices everywhere in one building, and this was in good ol brampton.. A lot of these customers were on analog, using old TV sets, lots of static, etc. no one seemed to care or complain, or perhaps they just put up with it?

who knows
Bottom line is Rogers and/or the building are not going to spend a dime to upgrade or repair anything unless they are receiving a lot more than a couple of complaints from the tenants. The cost of repairing your problem is more than what you are worth to them. Sadly, it's just a reality of the way things are done today..
Does anyone have any more ideas before we test some more things out?

I am in discussion with the superintendent and the building management as well as the Office of the President of Rogers and the area rep. The only one who doesn't seem on board at the moment is the senior Rogers tech. Not sure how that works, or who makes the decisions, but here is an update:

- Building has 2 main cable rooms - 1 on 6th floor (controls my feed) and one on 17th floor (controls floors 12-21).

- Signal to my digital box appears to be fine according to techs.

- I am experiencing pixellation and sound dropouts that repeat often. When this happens, it does it for about 1-2 seconds, then repeats again usually a set time later (5 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, etc... usually in a pattern). It is most prominent during evenings and weekends, however it has happened occasionally during daytime hours.

- The cable comes out of the wall in my unit, wraps around to my dining/living area and reaches a 3-way splitter. Out of the splitter, 1 cable goes to my internet connection/Rogers modem, 1 goes to my PVR (8300HD), the 3rd goes to my bedroom.

- I only experience the issue on the TV/Stereo connected to the PVR (digital). I have experienced it for about 2 years now. We have replaced all cabling in my apartment, as well as the splitter. We have tried 4 PVRs. We have also added a signal booster and removed it later as it seemed to "worsen" the effects of the pixelation/sound dropout.

- Again, when it happens, it usually is about a 1-2 second stutter of sound and feed with some pixelation that repeats every 30 seconds or so (sometimes quicker, sometimes more spread out). It does not happen all the time on every show, but most of the time on most channels. There is no channel pattern.

After talking to the superintendent, she is okay with running a direct cable from the 6th floor to my apartment to test things out. She is seeking permission and further ideas from the building management.

The guy at the Office of the President, suggested getting a connector to try a direct line to my PVR without the splitter for a couple days (of course that would mean no internet or bedroom tv for that time, but I am willing to see if that would help).

Any other ideas? Just want to isolate the problem and the source so it can get fixed.
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is there some way you can measure the signal strength when this is happening? if you know the times it usually happens, open the diags screen, and check the RX/TX dB levels in the screen, you can make the black background transparency so you can see the tv show at the same time, and if there is a drop in signal, something in your appartment's building is emitting it into the cable streams and its interferring. it could be the lobby cam, it could be something else? who knows??
Just some suggestions ... ideas for testing.

1. Disconnect everything in your unit, except the PVR/digital box and the TV it runs - and monitor for some time - and see if the problem continues.

i.e. just disconnect the cable going to the input of 3 way splitter and run it straight to the PVR/digital box and run only that TV in your unit. (Use a straight coupler and a separate length of (known good) coax extension / good piece of coax to extend the cable to your PVR/digital box if necessary)

(that will remove everything else in your unit from the setup... It'll remove the other 2nd TV, and remove the internet/cable modem/and computer from the unit set up. it will also remove the 3 way splitter, it's "losses" and all those other cables and connectors in your unit. will also remove the existing piece of cable from the splitter to your PVR from the testing setup.)

[ the splitter, all cables, connectors, equipment etc. in your unit - are all suspect - for leakage, intermittent shorts, interference etc.(coax braid/connectors/foil,staples,bends/center conductor), bad connections/connectors, crappy leaky cables - we're trying to remove as many of these things from the testing setup as possible to try and isolate if any of them are "bad" or causing any trouble or interference. The cable modem and internet setup are also suspect. Signals are fed back through the splitter from the computer and modem - back to the Cable co. ... and even those signals might affect your PVR/digital box operation and reception - turn off the computer and the cable modem - and TV#2 - power them down.]

2. Glad to hear they "may" let you run a cable direct (for testing) to your unit from the distribution room.

Again ... for testing ... first run it direct to your PVR/digital box with nothing else attached. No splitter, no internet, no other TV.

If tech comes, take comparison measurements with tech's test set - and note down those measurements.

Current setup - measurement? (in your unit. before and after splitter. At PVR/Digital box. At internet/cable modem. At second TV.

Test cable direct to distribution room - measurement(s)? At your end. At distribution room. Note down measruments.

See if there's any major signal losses anywhere.

[ You may have done some of these things already ... but humour me ... try it the way I describe. ]

3. Power (?).

Not likely ... but never know ...sometimes the power feeding the equipment causes trouble.
If the power to your PVR/Digital box has lots of noise, spikes, or has a loose connection ... power variations or noise in the power feed to your digital devices can cause trouble. Is power clean and good? Are you using a surge and noise protector? Is ground good?

4. EMI - Electromagnetic Interference. Need more Sheilding?
EM radio waves in the area causing trouble with your digital equipment? Cell phones being used nearby? Nearby Cell phone towers or other transmitters? Wireless routers or computer networks in the area? Anything that transmits.

(solution might be better sheilding of your equipment. PVR/digital box / TV. Is ground good on your AC power? )
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test ideas continued ...

5. BER test - Bit Error Rate test.

In Telecommunications we used to do a BER test. Bit Error Rate test.

A soft or hard "signal loop-back" is created at one end of the facility (coax cable) being tested... and at the other end a piece of test equipment (digital test-set) generates a signal that sends a digital test pattern down the line.

The digital "test-set" receives back the signal it sends out (the loop-back at the other end sends it back)... and the test set compares what it receives back with what it sends out - digitally - bit by bit (byte by byte comparison).

The digital tester/test-set counts the differences - the errors - and keeps a running count on the display.

Usually the BER test would be run for 24 hours straight (if not more ... like days). Digital tester/ test-set remains in place.

The test should be almost perfect. No digital errors. Maybe only one or two errors acceptable over 24 hours.

If it's counting more errors ... there's a problem.

We'd set it up ... and let it run...

We'd even go around all the suspect cables and connectors and equipment... wiggle all those connections in the path and see if they were solid ... or if wiggling any cables, connections etc. generated errors.

We found all kinds of troubles and weaknesses that way.

One guy would watch the tester display ... another guy would go around and wiggle and shake stuff - they'd be in communcation with each other via a cell phone or 2 way radio.

Hard loop back = a physical loop-back connection - probably near your PVR.
(something at the end of your PVR's coax-cable that will feed back the signal)

Soft loop back = a software initiated command to your equipment - probably to your PVR - to set up a loop-back internally. This tests deeper into your equipment - into some of your PVR's internal circuitry as well.

I do not know if PVR's can do this sort of thing ... or not ... but I've seen that some PVR's can count digital errors.

Ask your service providor / tech if they can do a BER test. Bit rate error test with a digital test-set and a digital loop back.

This is the real way to track down digital errors.

At least that was what we used to do in Telecommunications.

Go for it ... ask em' to do that ... see what they say ...

now you're pulling out the Big Guns ...

I'd be interested to hear what they say about that request.

CorpFan - rock'n roll Bud ... all the best/best of luck with this ...

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They want to send another "standard" tech to "check my

When will Rogers figure out how to connect the arm to the body to the foot?
My two cents..... A few years ago I was getting intermittent interference on my PVR. On a hunch I disconnected my cable modem and sure enough the problem cleared. I reported this to Rogers. They asked if I had a TV problem or an internet problem so I had to explain the whole story. They sent a tech who fixed something out on the street. He told me there was a "bad ground" there and that data from the cable modem was "bouncing" back into the house and causing the interference on the PVR and TV. Maybe only worth one cent but I thought it was interesting.
Yes. What Snorlax wrote makes sense.

One possibility is that the signals from the cable modem interfere with the function of the digital box / PVR.

I wrote earlier in my long post:

mrvanwinkles said:
The cable modem and internet setup are also suspect.
The cable splitter is designed to split signal and feed it to all devices.

But the splitter is also designed to provide signal isolation between the various devices connected to it - so their signals don't interfere with each other.

So - if the cable modem for your internet is not isolated quite enough from your other devices (ie digital box / pvr) - via the splitter ... that may cause interference.

Anyway ... my testing advice in my long post earlier - was to disconnect everything else from the setup. Turn everything else off / power it down / shut all the rest off and even un-plug it from the AC power to make sure it's actually dead ... and then try ONLY the Digital box and TV connected straight to the cable coming in to your place.

Probably this test has already been done - you've done it already... but humour me ... try this test - and see if the intermittent pixellation stops.

(consider all the other things I've mentioned also)

(would be surprized if your service providor actually agreed to try and do a BER test with an expert tech and a digital test set ... but you never know... you can always hope ... or ask)
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I wrote:

mrvanwinkles said:
One possibility is that the signals from the cable modem interfere with the function of the digital box / PVR
... or that signals from other people's equipment in the building, connected to the cable wiring in the building ... is causing issues.

In which case the service providor / cable company will have to monitor very carefully (probably digitally) what's coming down your line ... or the "lines" near to yours, in your distribution room ... to figure out if there's interference coming from the other customers.

Ya .. it could be long and complex ... finding the real source of the trouble.

Then again it could be simple. Like the line to your place is just crap ... and needs to be changed.

But it needs to be proved by testing - before they go and rip anything out or start changing things - trial and error replacing stuff not a good way to solve these sorts of intemittent troubles.
It's a long shot ... but what about your TV receiver Corpfan?

Corpfan said:
I bought a $6000 Pioneer Kuro and new set of speakers.
... remember everything is suspect.

That seems like a very special and unique high end TV receiver!

For fun ... try a different TV with the Digital Box.

Try your 2nd TV from the other room - hooked up to the digital box - instead of your high end Pioneer Kuro.

( I'm just trying to give as many ideas / possibilities as I can think of ... )
I only mentioned that I bought the TV as part of my rant (being that I now have an amazing tv and it sucks that the signal is bad)...I had the stuttering/pixellation before that equipment.

I will try disconnecting the modem and see what happens...

I have kind of taken a bit of a break from the whole ordeal because it was making me very very Rogers response was to "start from scratch" and send a "run-of-the-mill" tech over to "check the cables inside my apartment again - something that has been done over a dozen times.

When does the circle of pain end?
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