TV converter boxes not working

audrey_gwJanuary 7, 2012

Hi, everybody. At the house where I work as a home health aide, the TV converter box stopped working recently. It wouldn't turn the digital TV on at all, except once in a great while. Though, once it was on, it worked fine.

The daugher of my patient didn't want to have to buy a new box, so she got a used one from her sister--who runs a thrift shop. This one turns the digital TV on quite nicely. But the picture will cut out abruptly at wildly unpredictable intervals--sometimes after an hour or so, sometimes after just ten minutes. I can get it back by turning the box off, then on again. But then I have to find the right channel again, as it doesn't generally return to the one we'd been watching.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the TV itself, as it will play DVD's and videos just fine. If anybody has any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them.

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Your term "converter box" is a little confusing here. Is the signal source from a cable service provider or over-the-air broadcast television?

Also, what do you mean by "turning the TV on?" Is the television AC power cord plugged into the back of the box?

Do you know what type of video or signal connection is being used between the converter box and the television?

Please post back with more information and I'll try to offer whatever help I can.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 7:55PM
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Thanks! All I can tell you is that it is a Magnavox set-top box used to convert a regular TV, so that it can receive digital signals. I did try looking up an online manual for the box and decided then--from its appearance-- that it was probably the model TB100MW9. But the manual didn't help me much!

No, there is no cable service involved, just broadcast TV. After I turn on the TV, I have to turn on the box before I can receive any picture at all.

The first box actually worked fine for a year or so--and brought in quite a few channels--before developing the problems I mentioned. These days it will seldom produce a picture at all. The second one is the same model. And, although it will bring up the picture right away when turned on, it tends to cut out frequently. I suspect it was probably donated to the thrift store for that reason!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 9:27PM
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You said "digital TV", is this a flat panel, or maybe a newer tube type television with an ATSC digital tuner built-in? If so, the box is not needed.

Anyhow, it sounds like an antenna signal strength issue. Analog broadcast television used to get snowy with a poor signal. Digital requires a little better signal, and if it's not strong enough, it simply blanks the picture.

On top of that, many newer televisions (as a power saving feature) turn off if they do not detect a video signal on the input.

Could be an antenna problem or just a bad cable. Looks like you may need to call someone familiar with television antenna installations.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 10:08PM
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Thanks for the advice. No, the TV isn't a digital once, or they wouldn't have needed the box. The second box has now quit working altogether too. So I suspect it is--as you suggested--some problem with the antenna. In which case it probably won't get fixed, since my patient plans to go into a nursing home shortly anyhow.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 3:59PM
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