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Trying to remedy the "Channel is currently unavailable" error

Trying to remedy the "Channel is currently unavailable" error

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Copper Contributor Morgan19
Copper Contributor
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎12-02-2013
Message 1 of 17
(27,224 Views)

I started getting "channel not available" errors a couple weeks ago on our main (living room) DVR STB as well as pixelation, stuttering, and choppy audio; some channels are fine while most others are having these issues, seemingly depending on their frequency. We've had that particular box for about five years and never had any issues until now, and I can't think of any event that would've caused the sudden errors.

 

It's important to note that a secondary (bedroom) STB is functioning perfectly with no problems whatsoever.

 

What I've tried so far, with no luck:

 

  • replacing the STB
  • rebooting both the old and new STB (a half-dozen times over the last week)
  • re-plugging the coax cables
  • unpplugging/replugging the STB's power cord after a few minutes
  • replacing the splitter outside (between the ONT and the cables leading to the two STBs) with the exact same branded type from Verizon
  • replacing the coax cable going from the wall to the STB

Additional info...

  • The lights on the battery backup and ONT are all green.
  • OnDemand stuff appears fine for the most part, with some glitchiness here and there.
  • A technical support call indicated no apparent problems leading up to the house, and suggested the problem is local and/or isolated to my residence.
  • Using the info panel, the "not available" channels on the problematic STB have SNR Levels of "n/a" and SNR Values of "0". The channels that do work come up as FAIR/31db. The OoB Data lists FAIR/19db.
  • The secondary perfectly fine STB has all channels working at GOOD/36db, with OoB of GOOD/23db.
  • Internet and phone appear fine, for whatever it's worth.

I'll see if I can drag the working secondary STB down to where the first one is, hook it up, and see if it works in place of the offending STB. I assume it won't, since everything seems to be pointing to an issue with a coax cable... Maybe the cable running from the splitter outside the house and through the wall into the jack (before it reaches the portion that I replaced) has gone bad, perhaps?

 

Unless you guys can think of anything else to try, I'm thinking a tech needs to come out to isolate the actual problem. But is there anything else I should be trying?

 

Thanks for any ideas, advice, etc.

 

16 REPLIES 16
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Silver Contributor II
Silver Contributor II
Posts: 334
Registered: ‎04-24-2014
Message 2 of 17
(27,189 Views)

Hi,  I was going to suggest blowing any dust out of the box, but your "what I've tried" list tells me you've replaced the box, so i guess that's not needed.....my daughter has directv and every 6 months or so the sound goes out, she blows out w air, works again ....good luck

 

 

you could take the offending box to the location of the working secondary box and see if the offending box is still offensive when connected there in place of the secondary box....if it doesn't have trouble there, you'll know for sure your box is ok.

 

you could also remove the wall jack cover and inspect the coax connection to back of the wall jack

 

it is odd that your troubles aren't across all channels if your coax is the problem

Copper Contributor Morgan19
Copper Contributor
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎12-02-2013
Message 3 of 17
(27,095 Views)

Well, that was fun!

 

In addition to the "what I've tried" list in my first post, I did some additional testing by running a new coax cable directly from the ONT to the STB, from the splitter to the STB, and a few other iterations, to further narrow down where the issue might be.

 

Based on what did and didn't work depending on what was hooked up to where, I narrowed the culprit down to the coax running from the ONT to the splitter. After poking around under my deck where the cable ran through, I discovered what appears to be the problem: it looks like something--probably a squirrel--chewed through the outer sheath of the coax down to the exposed copper wire...

 

So at least now I feel better (hopefully) knowing what the issue is. I'd already scheduled a tech to come out tomorrow before I'd made this discovery; would the solution be the tech cutting out this bit of destroyed coax and patching in a new length to replace it? Or would the entire run of cable need to be replaced?

 

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Platinum Contributor III Platinum Contributor III
Platinum Contributor III
Posts: 7,732
Registered: ‎11-04-2008
Message 4 of 17
(27,043 Views)

They might do either.

BTW, there may be a charge for this as Verizon is not responsible for house wiring.

If you can replace it yourself, it would be a lot better.

Depending on the length of the run, you can buy preterminated cables to amke it easier.


If a forum member gives an answer you like, give them the Kudos they deserve. If a member gives you the answer to your question, mark the answer as Accepted Solution so others can see the solution to the problem.
Copper Contributor Morgan19
Copper Contributor
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎12-02-2013
Message 5 of 17
(27,023 Views)

Thanks. Yeah, I'd considered attempting fixing it myself, but the cable runs quite a ways under the house and through the siding that I don't want to mess with it as a first attempt at doing something like this.

Platinum Contributor III Platinum Contributor III
Platinum Contributor III
Posts: 7,732
Registered: ‎11-04-2008
Message 6 of 17
(27,020 Views)

You think there is enough cable to cut it off, terminate and run it to the ONT?

You can get screw on F connectors at the big box home improvement stores.


If a forum member gives an answer you like, give them the Kudos they deserve. If a member gives you the answer to your question, mark the answer as Accepted Solution so others can see the solution to the problem.
Copper Contributor Morgan19
Copper Contributor
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎12-02-2013
Message 7 of 17
(27,008 Views)

You know what, you may be on to something... I think there *is* enough extra cable wound up under the deck that I could remove the bad part and attach what you mention: I wasn't aware those existed. I'll definitely check it out.

 

There's currently 20m left in my window for the tech to arrive so, who knows, I may end up doing it myself anyway. Smiley LOL

 

(EDIT) Yep, window's over, no sign of the tech or even a call. Yay. I found the screw-on connectors you mentioned so I'll be picking up one of those tonight. Thank you again! I'll reply again with how it goes once I've had a chance to attempt to fix.

Copper Contributor Morgan19
Copper Contributor
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎12-02-2013
Message 8 of 17
(26,911 Views)

@CRobGauth wrote:

You think there is enough cable to cut it off, terminate and run it to the ONT?

You can get screw on F connectors at the big box home improvement stores.


Success! Thank you, CRobGauth! Heart

 

I bought up two different cable strippers and two brands of twist-on connectors last night, to be over-prepared. I tested the strippers on a spare cable I had lying around (one was a dud, the other worked perfectly) until I was comfortable with the feel of them, went outside and cut off the bad cable, made the new twist connection, and was done in about 10 minutes. Everything's working perfectly now and I'm absolutely ecstatic. The only thing left to do it protect the cables so the squirrels don't go after them again.

 

I have to say, this is great feeling. Smiley Very Happy THANK YOU so much again for your advice!

Platinum Contributor III Platinum Contributor III
Platinum Contributor III
Posts: 7,732
Registered: ‎11-04-2008
Message 9 of 17
(26,888 Views)

Congrats.

And did it fix the original issue?

Don't forgett o call and cancel tech visit. Even though he didn't show up, they may reschedule.


If a forum member gives an answer you like, give them the Kudos they deserve. If a member gives you the answer to your question, mark the answer as Accepted Solution so others can see the solution to the problem.
Copper Contributor Morgan19
Copper Contributor
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎12-02-2013
Message 10 of 17
(26,882 Views)

Yep all is well, no more issues. And I cancelled the appointment a couple hours after the window had passed.

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