FAQ: WinTV Digital TV signal strength monitor

WinTV Digital Signal Strength Monitor

The WinTV Signal Strength Monitor displays the relative strength of the digital signal on the channel you are tuned to. It will show the Signal to Noise ratio, the number of Received Errors and the number of Uncorrectable errors.

The Digital Signal Monitor will not work with analog TV channels. It will work with ATSC and QAM digital TV channels on most Hauppauge digital TV tuner boards.

The Signal Monitor is a handy tool which can be used to either adjust your digital TV antenna, or when used with digital cable TV, to know if your digital signal is too weak to receive a signal without distortion.

Using the Signal Monitor to adjust a digital TV antenna:

Look at the Received Errors indicator, and position your antenna to minimize the number of errors. Once you have positioned your antenna, take a look at Uncorrectable Errors. If it is 0, you will get a digital TV picture without any distortion. If you have Uncorrectable Errors after positioning the antenna, the digital TV signal is too weak to receive a Digital TV program without distortion. In this case, you might want to consider an antenna "booster" or a better TV antenna.

Using the Signal Monitor to monitor the quality of a digital TV channel:

If you are watching a digital TV channel which is on cable TV (often called 'clear QAM'), you can use the WinTV Signal Strength Monitor to see the reception quality of that channel. If the number of Uncorrectable Errors is 0, then you should see a undistorted TV picture. If there are Uncorrectable Errors, your TV picture will have some amount of distortion. In this case, you might want to check your cable system in your home and either remove splitters (each splitter you have on a home cable network lowers the signal strength) or use a "cable TV signal booster".

The WinTV Digital TV signal strength monitor is currently available for these Hauppauge products:

WinTV-HVR-850
WinTV-HVR-950
WinTV-HVR-950Q
WinTV-HVR-1150
WinTV-HVR-1250
WinTV-HVR-1500
WinTV-HVR-1600
WinTV-HVR-1800/1850
WinTV-HVR-1950
WinTV-HVR-2250

WinTV Signal strength monitor version 1.0

Installation:
Download and run the signal strength install program. Once installed, there are two ways to run the monitor:

  • you will find a program called Signal Monitor in the WinTV Program group. Its program name is hcwSigMon.exe
  • if you are running the latest version of WinTV v6, click the Menu button and run Digital Signal Monitor

After running the WinTV Signal Strength Monitor, if you minimize it you will see an icon on the status bar on your PC screen (normally this is in the lower right side of your monitor screen). It will show you the colors of the signal strength.

The colors / levels indicate a measurement of the SNR (signal to noise ratio):
The higher the SNR number, the better your digital TV reception will be. We have color coded rececption quality to make it easier to determine how good your digital TV reception is:

SNR indicator:
Green - optimal signal level
Yellow - O.K. signal level
Orange - Poor signal level
Red - no signal

You will have the best reception of the digital TV signal if Uncorrectable Errors is 0. A number of Received errors will not affect your digital TV reception, as long as the Correctable Errors is 0. We display the Received Errors so that you can better orient your digital TV antenna.

If you minimize the WinTV Signal Strength Monitor, you will see an icon on the status bar on your PC screen (normally this is in the lower right side of your monitor screen). It will show you the colors of the signal strength.

Notes:

  • The Faster/Slower indicator tells the WinTV Digital Signal Stregth monitor how often to check the signal. The default is once per second.
  • You may notice that you can have "received errors" without any loss of quality of the video stream. This is normal. However, when you have "uncorrectable errors", that is when your video stream will suffer.
  • Some of the digital TV hardware decoders used on the various WinTV boards do not have all of the Status indicators in the picture above. This does not affect the signal reception. If your product does not have a status indicator, it will be greyed out.